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From: (M.Delano Warner)
Subject: Richard Sears and KNYVET SEARS
Date: 26 Nov 2003 10:44:59 -0800


Please scan down to the end of this posting:

Found at: http://www.btinternet.com/~breckels/stpeters/sayer.html


From: St Peter's Church, Colchester, commemorating the SAYER family.

The text in this article is taken with only minor changes from an
anonymous pamphlet dated 1880 and called "Among the Tombs" which
carries details of memorials from many of Colchester's churches. The
transcriptions have been checked against the memorials themselves, and
some additional transcriptions made, but the other details have not
been verified.
For a long Succession of years the SAYERS may be traced by the
frequent mention of them in the town records, as holding the highest
offices in the Corporation of Colchester, and retaining most extensive
influence. About the close of the fifteenth century, JOHN SAYER held
the office of Alderman of Colchester, a dignity at that time of great
importance attached to cities somewhat similar, and next in rank to
the still more ancient title of Ealdorman attached to manors, but
exempted from military service. JOHN SAYER died in 1509, and was
buried in St. Peter's Church under the south aisle, a mural brass
recording in old English letters his name and honours."

This brass, recording the death of JOHN SAYER in 1509 and of his wife
Elizabeth in 1530 is still in good preservation, and may be the oldest
monumental record in the town. It is on the south wall of the south
aisle and shows a man, wife, four sons and one daughter in the
attitude of prayer. Beneath is written:
In this yle and neare unto this place are buryed the bodyes of John
Sayre, sometyme Allderman of this Towne of Colchefter and Eliza=
beth his wyfe which faid John dyed the xiij day of February in the
yere
of our Lorde God m ccccc ix and which faid Elizabeth dyed the xxvij
daye of Aprill in the yere of our Lord God m ccccc xxx
He had three sons, JOHN, ROBERT, and GEORGE. The eldest, JOHN SAYER Of
Colchester, died in l563, and was buried near his father, with a
similar brass memorial on the east wall of the south aisle.
It depicts the deceased kneeling with both knees on a small cushion,
his hands held together indicating that he is at prayer. He is dressed
in an elaborate Elizabethan costume with a ruff collar and a cloak.
Before him is a small table or altar which is covered with a cloth and
on which a prayer book or Bible lies open. Above is shown his coat of
arms, and he is in a church building which has pillars and a
chequerboard tiled floor. The inscription informs us:


John Sayers bodye lyeth enclofed here in Grave,
Whofe ghoft the heavens do poffeffe, whofe fame on earth we have,
His lyfe and eke his death with good report he paffed,
And nowe he (doubtles) doth enioye, the lyte that aye fhall laft,
When fyftene hunideth yeares, and sixtie three were fpent
From Chryft hys byrth accoumpted wft, from payne to wyes he went.
he dyed in Ano Dm 1563

He left two sons, viz.:- I. RICHARD his heir, II. GEORGE, Who obtained
possession of the family inheritance in consequence of the flight of
his elder brother to Holland. He died in 1577, and was buried with his
ancestors likewise in St. Peter's Church, where in the south side of
the Chancel wall a curious marble monument is erected to the memory of
"the Worshipfull GEORGE SAYER, the elder."
The monument represents the effigies of five male figures, and as many
females, kneeling on opposite sides of a kind of altar table, beneath
a pediment supported by Corinthian columns, and bearing the arms of
the SAYER family at the top. Below, in characters which it is now very
difficult to decypher, is the following epitaph :-
O happie hoared heares that here in grave doth lye,
Whose body resteth nowe in earth, his ghost with Christ on hie
His youthfull race he ran with travayle and with troth,
His myddle and his aged years with wealth and worship both.
Full thyrtye years or more cheefe rule or place he bare
In this his native auncient Towne, whereof he had great care.
With Justice he did rule, and eke with mercy myld,
With love he lyved many years of man woman and chylde.
A Monument he made for ever to remain
For ayde to poor and aged wights, which are oppress'd with payne.
Posteritie he had to his great joye of mind,
His place and portion to possesse, which he hath left behynde.
O happie Sayer, not for theis thinges alone,
Which were but mundane, vayne, and vyle, and fade, and fayle eche one:
But happier thousande-folde to lyve and love those dayes
Wherein Goddes gospell brightlye shynes to his eternall prayse.
Thy oft desired wyshe thou doubtless didest obtayne,
With Symeon to departe in peace, and lyfe by death to gayne.
Thy ofspringe may rejoice for this thy happye ende:
Thy friends and tenaunts all are gladd that God such grace did send.
And we, that yet remayne within this vale of teares,
By thine example maye be taught for to contemne all fears,
And always for to praye that God our stepps so gvyde
That we lykewise may hence depart in endlesse blisse to byde


In spite of the "monument he made for ever to remain," which implies
that he had founded Almshouses in this Town, this is all that now
remains of them. His only descendant, ESTHER SAYER, married SIR JOHN
MARSHAM, and thus, in his branch of the family, the name became
extinct. Of the elder Brother RICHARD I have more to say—born in
Colchester in 1508, he married ANNE BOURCHIER, daughter of EDMUND
KNYVET, Esq., of Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk, the representative of the
ancient and distinguished family of KNYVET.
"It was during the time of this RICHARD SAYER that religious
animosities and religious persecutions, excited by the violence of
HENRY VIII. and other concurrent causes, attained their height.
Unfortunately for his worldly peace and prosperity, RICHARD SAYER
became a warm and zealous partisan on the side opposed to his own
relatives, as well as to the existing Government, and found it prudent
to escape with his wife and other refugees to Holland, wllere he
settled at Amsterdam."
This was in the year 1537, and he died in 1540, leaving an only son,
JOHN BOURCHIER SEARS, born in 1538. But the same difficulties that
forced his father to quit England still existed, and he was excluded
from the succession to the ancestral estates. Nor do we find that he
made any effort to regain them. Being of a bold and adventurous
disposition he preferred to seek renown for himself by his own
exertions, and accompanied his father-in-law, Sir JOHN HAWKINS, in
several of his voyages. He died in Holland, leaving by ELIZABETH
HAWKINS (his wife) four sons, JOHN, HENRY, WILLIAM, and RICHARD.
Taking into consideration that there were no male descendants of the
other branch of the family (that of GEORGE SAYER) and the concurrence
of dates, it may be presumed that the youngest of these four sons,
viz., RICHARD, must have ventured into England, probably in the more
tolerant days of Queen ELIZABETH, that, settling in Colchester, he
died here, and that it is his monument which is now to be seen on the
East wall of the Church, between the Chancel and Vestry door; the
inscription on which is as follows:-
HERE LYETH THE BODY OF RICHARD SAYER GENT.
WHO WAS BVRIED THE 7TH DAY OF SEPTEM 1610.
HE HAD TO HIS FIRST WIFE AILSE SPOONER BY
WHOM HE HAD ISSVE ONE SONN, & TO HIS SECOND
WIFE ELLEN LAWRENCE, WIDDOWE, BY WHOM
HE HAD ISSVE ONE DAUGHTER NAMED IANE.
BYRTH, LIFE, AGE, DEATH FOVRE BLESSINGS FROM ABOVE,
HE HATH POSSEST, TRUE TRYALL OF GOD'S LOVE,
BYRTH GENTLE, LIFE SOBER, AGE FVLL FOVRSCORE YERE,
DEATH LAMBE-LIKE, MILDE, WITH CONSCIENCE GOOD & CLEAR,
HEAVEN HATH HIS SOVLE, THE WORLD GOOD NAE HOVGH SORY
YET IOY HIS LIFE IS CHANGED FOR ENDLESS GLORY.

I have now to show what became of the elder branch of the family: JOHN
BOURCHIER, so named after his father,

"he married MARIE L. daughter of PHlLIP VAN EGMONDE, of that city, and
acquired with her a large fortune, principally in money. With this he
was enabled to purchase property in Essex, adjoining the lands which
he hoped soon to recover as his lawful patrimony. Amongst the estates
thus bought were Bourchier and Little Fordham Manors, both of which
had in former times belonged to his ancestors. But his return to
England was resisted by those who were deeply interested in keeping at
a distance so formidable a claimant to many of their broad acres.
Strenuous and energetic were the efforts JOHN BOURCHIER SEARS made to
remove the obstacles which intervened to keep him in exile; but all to
no purpose. His opponents were inexorably hostile, and even threatened
him with a prosecution, as a participator in the gunpowder plot, if he
ventured to set foot in England. The attainder, it must be remembered,
which hung over his grandfather, had never been removed, and still
impended over the family at the time of his death in 1629."

He left two sons and two daughter, RICHARD, JOHN, MARIE, and JANE, the
three latter settled in Kent; the eldest son

"worn out by his parents' want of success to recover their English
possessions, determined at his father's death to quit England for
ever. He accordingly took passage, with a party of Puritans, for New
England in America, and landed at Plymouth in Massachusetts on the 8th
of May, 1630. Here he became the founder of a family which has
attained wealth and honours in the New World, and died in 1676,
leaving behind him three sons, KNYVET, PAUL, and SYLAS.
"In the year 1851, a descendant of this family, the Honourable DAVID
SEARS, of Boston, visited Colchester in company with a friend, Mr. H.
G. SOMERBY, of London, and inspected with much interest the monuments
in St. Peter's Church. With a view to perpetuate the recollection of
the ties that attached his family to the town of Colchester, Mr. SEARS
caused a brass tablet to be engraved, and obtained the permission of
the late Vicar (the Rev. S. CARR), for its erection on the North wall
of the Church."

This brass is divided into three columns, with the copies of the
memorials on either side. The central column is headed by a coat of
arms bearing the mottoes "EXALTAT HUMILES" and "HONOR ET FIDES".
Beneath is repeated the motto "Exaltat humiles" and the following:

Worth is better than wealth,
Goodness better than nobility,
Excellence better than distinction.

To their Pilgrim Fathers,
a grateful posterity.


The outer columns transcribe the following memorials:

Sacred to the Memory of
Richard Sears,
son of John Bouchier Sears and
Marie L. Van Egmont
in lineal descent from
Richard Sears of Colchester
and Ann Bouchier Knyvet,
England.
he landed at Plymouth in 1630,
Married Dorothy Thacher
and died in Yarmouth in
1676.

Sacred to the Memory of
Knyvet Sears
eldest son of Richard Sears of Yarmouth,
born in 1635, married
Elizabeth Dymoke
and died in England in
1686.

Sacred to the Memory of
Paul Sears,
second son of Richard Sears
born in 1637, married
Deborah Willard
and died in Yarmouth in
1707.

Sacred to the Memory of
Sylas Sears,
third son of Richard Sears,
born in 1639, married

and died in Yarmouth in
1697.

Sacred to the Memory of
Daniel Sears,
son of Knyvet Sears of Yarmouth
born in 1682, married
Sarah Hawes
and died in Chatham in
1756.

Sacred to the Memory of
Daniel Sears II
son of Daniel Sears of Chatham
born in 1712, married
Fear Freeman
and died at Chatham in
1761.

Sacred to the Memory of
David Sears I
son of Daniel Sears II of Chatham
born in 1752, married
Ann Winthrop
and died in Boston in
1816.

An explanation for this plate is given along the bottom edge:
ON GRANITE MONUMENTS IN THE GRAVEYARDS OF YARMOUTH, AND CHATHAM,
IN MASSACHUSETTS, NEW ENGLAND, IN NORTH AMERICA, ARE THE ABOVE
INSCRIPTIONS TO THE MEMORY OF THE DESCENDANTS OF THE SAYERS OF ALDHAM,
AND COLCHESTER. 1830.

"Pleased at the courtesy with which this request was met, Mr. SEARS
further expressed his wish to endow the Church with the sum of £100
under certain conditions, which required the consent of the Mayor and
Aldermen of the Borough to act as a Board of Control, the Vicar and
Churchwardens being Trustees. The Mayor and Aldermen, however,
declined to act, and other difficulties having arisen, Mr. SEARS
subsequently proposed to substitute a donation of Church Plate for the
£100 in trust."
T
he Vicar, on receipt of the gift, summoned a meeting of the
parishioners, which was held on the 29th July, 1852, at which it was
exhibited. It consists of a Flagon and Paten of elegant design
elaborate workmanship enclosed in a handsome wainscot box.

In March, 1854, Mr. SEARS wrote again to the Rev. S. CARR, expressing
disappointment at the failure of his former plan, to endow the Church,
and again proposing to do so on conditions which were accepted, but
some time elapsed, owing to the death of the Rev. S. CARR, before any
legal steps were taken in the matter. Early in 1855, the trust was
accepted, and the principal sum of £100 was invested. One main feature
of the trust deed consisted in the power it gave to DAVID SEARS, or to
any of his descendants, to claim one half of any year's interest, but,
in default of such claim within the current year, the said half of the
year's interest was to be added to the principal sum. The other half
of the interest to be at the disposal of the trustees for charitable
purposes, but unless disposed of within the year, to be added to the
principal sum; no portion of the interest that has been thus invested
and added to the original sum, ever being afterwards available for any
other purpose.
In the year 1858, Mr. SOMERBY applied to the then Vicar, the REV. H.
CADDELL, on behalf of Mr. SEARS for permission to erect a ***carved
oak memorial of the SEARS family in the Church,*** and the monument
was erected on the East wall of the north aisle, over that of RICHARD
SAYER. As an expression of Mr. SEARS' satisfaction with the manner in
which his wishes had been carrried out, he sent a further sum of money
to be added to the Fund, with a fresh Deed of Trust, enlarging the
powers of the Trustees. Such is the history and origin of the Fund
called the SEARS Family Fund, with some of its singular conditions.
This last monument is surmounted by an oval escutcheon, at the top of
which is a carved scroll bearing the words SAINT PETERS CHURCH.
**********************************************************************
Below this is the Brass or plinth that draws my interest. Please see
the date of making. If this brass is true, then the Richard Sears
family does in fact have Royal background. It would seem that the
creator of the monument below would know in 1687 what she was talking
about.

"Below is a plinth [Brass] supporting an heraldic helmet, supported by
a Knight in armour on one side, and a figure on the other which may be
a native north American, complete with bow. The plinth bears the
family names thus— "
SCEARSTAN
SAYER
SEARS
COLCHESTER.

RICHARD SEARS, IN LINEAL DESCENT FROM
RICHARD SAYER, AND ANN BOURCHIER KNYVET
OF COLCHESTER,
DRIVEN BY PERSECUTION FROM HIS NATIVE LAND,
SOUGHT REFUGE AMONG THE PILGRIMS IN HOLLAND;
HE UNITED WITH THEM IN THEIR BOLD ATTEMPT
TO FIND A HOME AND A COUNTRY IN THE NEW WORLD,
LANDED AT PLYMOUTH, IN 1630,
AND DIED IN NEW ENGLAND IN 1676.
KNYVET SEARS ELDEST SON OF RICHARD BORN IN 1635
VISITED ENGLAND IN 1686, AND DIED THERE IN THE SAME YEAR
IN THE HOUSE OF HIS AFFLICTED RELATIVE.
REQUIESCAT IN PACE.


THIS MEMORIAL, SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF KNYVET SEARS
AND DEDICATED TO THE EXILED FAMILY
WAS INSCRIBED BY CATHERINE HARRIS IN 1687.


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