The Sayers of Middlesex

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It is believed that this branch stems from the Sayer family of Croft and is thus connected only remotely with the Worsall line. It has been shown in the account of the family at Croft that in the middle of the 17th century George and Mary Sayer had ten sons the second of whom, born in 1651, was named Henry. Under his father's will, proved in 1671, he received £100 and a further £100 came to him at his mother's death in 1681. By that time he appears to have moved to Stockton where the parish registers show that Henry and Margaret (or Margery) Sayer had four children three of whom died young. Henry himself died about 1691, and his widow in 1705.

Nothing is known of their surviving son Henry except that he was baptised at Stockton in 1680, but it may be assumed that he became the father of yet another Henry Sayer.

From this point onwards, all the particulars given here are based on the notes of the Rev. Dr. A.C. Bouquet of Trinity College Cambridge and his late wife (nee Sayer). At the time of writing no serious attempt has been made to elaborate or verify this information.

We find then, that the third Henry Sayer was born in 1720, that he and his wife Margaret left Teesside and settled at Northolt in Middlesex and that he died in 1796, nine years after his wife.

In 1758, before Henry and Margaret moved to the South, their son, the fourth Henry Sayer, was born. In 1787 he married Mary Fearne who owned an estate at Pinner which had been in her family for about two centuries. Henry himself bought property at Northolt but is said to have lost this through gambling in the Regency period. Property called Hooking Fields and other freehold lands at Pinner were sold in 1811 and 1813.

The son of Henry and Mary Sayer – once again, a Henry – was born at Harrow Weald in 1790 and became Surveyor to the old Office of Works in early Victorian times. He was the original designer of the first underground railway in London, although the project was not carried out during his working life and his Managing Clerk put the plans into operation. Henry had been granted a Grace-and-Favour house in Bushey Park and when he died, in 1864, was buried, with his wife, in Kensal Green Cemetery. She was Mary Ann Feist of Horsham and had married Henry about 1817 in Brighton parish church.

Of their three sons, the two elder, Henry Frederick and Edwin Matthew, both died unmarried in their early twenties; they were drowned while sailing their yacht off the coat of British Guiana in 1844. The third son, George Witham Sayer was born in 1829 and married Fanny Emily Hollowell who was related to the Irish family of Digby and is said to have been a great beauty. George Sayer considered himself entitled to the arms of Sayer of Worsall but never applied for a grant. It may be remarked that, even if the Sayers of Worsall had not allowed their right to bear arms to lapse, it is very unlikely that his claim would have been successful.

George Sayer owned property in London and also bought an estate in France. With a French partner, he then became an importer of wines and is said to have achieved something of a coup by foreseeing the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and putting large quantities of French wines and brandy in bond in London before hostilities cut off the supply. The French estate was sold in 1906, the year in which he died. He left two sons and a daughter, Edith Gertrude, who became the wife of the Rev. Dr Bouquet in 1910 and died in 1952.

The elder son, George Digby, was trained as an engineer but never practised. During the first world war he was a liaison officer with the Zonaves and died childless in Paris in 1928 at the age of forty-four. Cyril, his younger brother, was a successful engineer who worked on hydro-electric schemes in northern India and other large scale enterprises. He married twice and died in 1965. His sons by his first marriage had no issue. Martin Sayer, the only son of Cyril and his second wife, was married at Holy trinity Church, Brompton, in May 1966, and had a daughter Joanna born in 1967.

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