THE GAYERS OF CORNWALL
FRANCIS AND ROGER GAYER OF MINSTER
SONS AND GRANDCHILDREN OF ROGER GAYER:
William Gayer of Okehampton, Devon
John Gayer, Week St. Mary;
Samuell Gayer of Stratton;
Benjamin Gayer of Stratton
Rev John Gayer
Edward George Gayer
John Gayer of Dublin and children
FRANCIS GAYER OF MINSTER
Francis Gayer was the Rector of Minster from 1572-1585. He was the father of Roger Gayer and was probably born about 1550 or earlier and died about 1592. (Ref. for age at death “Colby of Gt. Torrington, Devon. Some account of that family and its alliances for five generations”. By Frederick Thomas Colby)
Evidence of Francis Gayer of Minster:
Upon a hearing in chancery it was decided by Lord Chancellor Hatton that the fine was due only upon induction to a vacancy caused by death, and the plaintiffs were non-suited”.
Source: The Parochial and Family History of the Parishes of Forrabury and Minster. BySir John MacLean
and Minster is a civil parish on the north coast of Cornwall, England,
United Kingdom. The parish was originally divided between the coastal
parish of Forrabury and inland parish of Minster until they were united
ROGER GAYER OF MINSTER (GENT.)
There are no records of a baptism or of a marriage for Roger Gayer. Roger’s children were probably born about 1600-1625 which means he would have married about 1590/1600 and he was probably born about 1570-1580. His will was dated 1646, and he died 25 Dec 1647 in Forrabury.
On a slab, with
an inscription around the margin, in these words:
"Here lieth buried, the body of Roger Gayer, Gent. Who died the 25th day of December 1647.
beneath must fade both earth and skie
Shrink to an atome – death itself must die-
The weep you noe more, for feares no merit have
To work redemption from th’ all conqu’ring grave."
In Roger Gayer’s will of 1646, (obtained from the Cornwall Records Office) he mentions his children Martin, William, Penelope, John, Samuel, Mary and Benjamin (presumably listed in birth order). Martin and William are obviously the eldest as they inherit far more than their other siblings.
Roger Gayer’s children, as mentioned in his will
- Martin (of Whitstone). Born circa 1603/5, married circa 1635/6). Died
10/08/1672 in Whitstone. Although there is no record of a marriage for Martin,
in the “Pedigree of Cottell and Gayer” (The Parochial and Family History of the
Parishes of Forrabury and Minister, By Sir
John Maclean), Martin is shown to have three children:
- Roger, Martin’s
son (died in 1637, and is not mentioned in Roger’s will),
- daughter Honour; and
- daughter Margaret, born before 1646 (is mentioned in her grandfather Roger’s will)
- William Gayer, (born circa 1607, in Whitstone). He married Hester Bremelcombe of Okehampton, Devon, and died there in 1648
- Penelope Gayer, (born circa 1609, in Whitstone) married James Pearse, before 1646, probably about 1630.
- Samuell Gayer of Stratton, (born circa 1620, possibly in Stratton), married Grace Downe in 1642 and was
buried in 1676. Grace died in 1689.
- Mary Gayer, (born circa 1627/29) married in Trevalga, 5th March 1649 to John Cottell of Botreaux Castle. She died Mar 1690. They had, two daughters: Grace and Mary
- Benjamin Gayer of Stratton, (born circa 1622, possibly in Stratton). He was identified as the executor of his father’s will. According to MacLean Benjamin was married and had a daughter Elizabeth. But no other child was mentioned so his year of marriage is estimated to be 1644 and his birth year as 1622.
Of all the children of Roger Gayer only the birth year of John Gayer is known (1611). Other children’s ages have been estimated. However, the Cornwall OPC lists Roger Gayer (of Forrabury) and four of his sons signing the Oath of Protestation in 1641 (Signatories to the Oath had to be 18 years or older i.e. born before 1623).
Forrabury Roger GAYER
Week St Mary John GAYER
Whitstone Martaine GAYER
Stratton Beniamen GAYER
Stratton Samuel GAYER “
Note 1 : The Protestation Oath of 1641
During the spring of 1641
there was great unrest in Parliament with discord between the House of Commons
and the House of Lords, and plots and sub-plots against both the King and
Parliament itself. In May 1641 Parliament agreed upon the following
“ I, ?--- ?--- do in the presence of Almighty God, promise, vow and protest to maintain and defend, as far as lawfully I may, with my Life, Power and Estate, the true reformed Protestant Religion, Expressed in the Doctrines of the Church of England, against all Popery and Popish Innovations, within this Realm, contrary to the same Doctrines, and according to the Duty of my Allegiance, His Majesties Royal Person, Honour and Estate, as also the Power and Privileges of Parliaments, the Lawful Rights and Liberties of the Subjects, and every person that maketh this Protestation. In whatsoever he shall do in the lawful Pursuance of the same; and to my power. And as far as lawfully I may, I will oppose and by all good ways and means endeavour to bring to condign punishment all such as shall, either by Force, Practice, Counsels, Plots,, Conspiracies, or otherwise, do any Thing to the contrary of any Thing in this present Protestation contained; and further, that I shall in all just and honourable ways, endeavour to preserve the Union and Peace betwixt the three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland; and neither for Hope, Fear nor any other Respect shall relinquish this Promise, Vow and Protestation.”
On the 6th May 1641 a Bill was introduced in the House of Commons imposing the signing of the Protestation on all Englishmen of 18 years and above. All who refused to sign were deemed unfit to hold office in Church or Commonwealth.
At the end of February or the beginning of March 1641 incumbents read out the Protestation in the parish churches. The parishioners then signed or made their mark before him and the other officials present, who testified that the oath had been taken, or refused. Many women took the Protestation Oath. Many Roman Catholics refused.
The only safe assumption as to whether a man could or could not write is where it says he made his mark. Many incumbents wrote the whole list of names. In many family groups every name was written by one person. Do not assume that a man could write even if it does not say he marked.
This work is a transcription of a transcription and is therefore open to human error. As always the original documents should be consulted. The original Protestation Returns are held in the Parliamentary Archive in the House of Lords Library.
It is known that both William and John were born in Whitstone (William mentions that he was born in Whitstone in his will); There is a record of John's baptism in the Whitstone Parish Records. There are no records of baptisms for the three younger childern: Samuel, Benjamin and Mary. There is a large gap between the baptism of John Gayer in 1611 and Samuel (estimated year of birth as 1620). It is possible that Roger's wife died after 1611 leaving him with four young children. I speculate that he may have re-married and then lived in Stratton where his three younger children were born. There are no Parish records or Bishops' Transcripts available for Stratton to prove this conjecture.
CHART TO ILLUSTRATE THE DESCENDANTS OF ROGER GAYER OF MINSTER
The chart below, shows the descendants of Roger Gayer. It is a composite of information from various sources i.e. The wills of Roger Gayer, William Gayer and William Watts; Records from the Cornwall OPC; Records from Family Search.org; Legal documents (such as deeds and leases) from the Cornwall Records Office and the National Archives.
There are many other Gayers born, married and buried in both Whitstone and Week St. Marys in the mid to late1600s, many having the same names as earlier Gayers. It is impossible to determine relationships among these Gayers.