84 – Nantwich and Jervises

Nantwich is an ancient market town in Cheshire, founded in Roman times.

Today, Nantwich has one of the largest collections of historic buildings in the county, second only to Chester.

Nantwich has long been strategic for its salt production. Salt was used as a food preservative and condiment, and in the production of Cheshire cheese and the tanning industry.

Nantwich hosts the International Cheese Awards, a prestigious event that celebrates the finest cheeses known.

Leather tanning fed the region’s important shoemaking industry, which was vibrant until the 1800s. I hope you can read the small print of the article below. It’s interesting.

A History of the Town and Parish of Nantwich – 1883


What’s a cordwainer?


cordwainer is a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather. The cordwainer’s trade can be contrasted with the cobbler’s trade, according to a tradition in Britain that restricted cobblers to repairing shoes.



John Jarvice was a heelmaker. He made heels for shoes.

In his inventory of goods, his heelmaking shop comes to life:

Jervises in Nantwich

There are Jervis citations in Nantwich during the mid-1600s. From the citations, it looks like there are two Jervis families in town – John and James.

John Jervis family

Here are baptisms of children of John Jervis. No wife is recorded. The baptisms are in Nantwich, in the Church of England parish registers.

  • Mary b. May 1652
  • John b. December 1653
  • Infant b. August 1657 d. August 1657

And September 23, 1658, the burial of Margaret, wife of John Jervise

James Jervis family

James Jervis and Mary Burscoe married February 13, 1638, in Nantwich.

Here are baptisms of children of James Jervis, all in the Church of England.

  • Mary b. December 1639 d. June 1642
  • James b. December 1641 d. Jan 1642
  • Henry b. January 1643
  • James b. August 1645
  • Mary b. March 1647 d. March 1648
  • Rachel b. September 1650
  • Jobe b. May 1654
  • Nathan b. April 1655
  • Mary b. 1657 d. Feb 1657

James Jervis died in 1656. Mary Burscoe Jervis died in 1695.

John Sr and John Jr

In the families above, there are two John Jervises, father and son in the same family. The other family James Jervis didn’t have anyone named John.

So we have two John Jervises, Sr and Jr. Is one of these the husband of Elizabeth who died in 1680? Is the other the John Jervies that was a signatory witness to Elizabeth’s administration request letter?

Let’s see what we can find.

John Jr

John Jr was born in 1653. That’s about the same time we think Elizabeth was born, so Jr would be a good match as her husband.

John Jr would be of age to have children starting around 1673, when he’s 20. Sure enough, we find a few baptisms.

Benjamin b. September 1676 father recorded as John Jarvise jun.

William b. October 1678 father recorded as John Jarvise jun

John b. September 1681 father not recorded jun, one John has died 1680

Remember. One of the Johns died in October 1680. So this baptism is to the other John. We don’t know which.

It’s tempting to assign John Jr as Elizabeth’s husband. They’re about the same age. But as far as we know, Elizabeth didn’t have children Benjamin, William, or John.

John Jr would be age 27 in 1680, not a good fit for a death age.

Let’s reserve judgement.

John Sr

John Sr had a child Mary in 1652. So he was likely born before 1632. That would make him about 20 years older than Elizabeth. Not a good age match as her husband.

But John Sr’s wife Margaret died in 1658. So he could have re-married. But we haven’t found a citation.

And he could have had children with a second wife, but we haven’t found citations.

John Sr was about 50 years old in 1680. That’s a more reasonable death age than John Jr.

Elizabeth’s husband had a reasonably large estate for a tradesman. That would fit John Sr at age 50 better than John Jr at age 27.

Let’s reserve judgement.


2 thoughts on “84 – Nantwich and Jervises

  1. Brenda Teply June 20, 2020 / 4:49 pm

    I find it most interesting that the shoe making industry in Nantwich—and probably in many other towns—in the seventeenth century was so great that it supported an entirely separate set of tradespeople who specialized “solely” in heel making.


    • Mark Jarvis June 21, 2020 / 11:04 am

      Good one Brenda. I need you to be my ghost writer when I need to say something clever.


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