Furse (surname)


Furse (surname)

Furse is a Devon surname as well as one of several names for the evergreen shrub more widely known as Gorse. The name is believed to be derived from Old English: "fyrse" (meaning "gorse"). the name is often compared to that of "Furze" that is also found in Cornwall. [http://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts/Fact.aspx?&fid=10&fn=&ln=Furse Furse Name Meaning and Origin] Retrieved on 2007-10-14] . The first Furse is recorded in the South-west circuit of the Domesday book (known as the Exon Domesday) as Robert Furse.

Furses of Halsdon and Morshead

Introduction

The Furse Family was resident on the Estate of Halsdon in North Devon ( [http://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/index.php?section=places:reserves Map of Devon with Halsdon marked] ) from 1680 until the early 1980s [Burke's Landed Gentry, 18th Edition, Ed. Peter Townend (Burke's Peerage Limited - 1965), Furse of Halsdon - Page 295] [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, International Genealogical Index (Internet Version) (Copyright 1999-2002), Parish Records of Stockleigh English, Devon] . Up to 1680 the family was resident at Morshead, this being established before the first Visitation to the county of Devon in 1534 [Visitations to the county of Devon (the 1531, 1564, & 1620 editions.)] . Little is known about Morshead as most records for that period no longer exist.

Earliest recorded history

Although various records for short periods after the C.11th Domesday book exist, conclusive proof of lineage of the Furses of Halsdon in Parish records is not found until the end of the 17th Century with Philip Furse (1650-1720) who acquired Halsdon from a maternal uncle [Burke's Landed Gentry, 18th Edition, Ed. Peter Townend (Burke's Peerage Limited - 1965), Furse of Halsdon - Page 295] . Parish records before this time do not exist as the local churches were subject to attack during the English Civil War (1642-1651). The area was a royalist stronghold and so fighting was particularly bitter, leading to the destruction of a number of important local buildings [Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660, by Trevor Royle Pub. Abacus 2006, ISBN 978-0-349-11564-1] .

Nineteenth century to the present day

Despite the lack of Parish records, other sources exist for lineages of the landed gentry [Visitations to the county of Devon (the 1531, 1564, & 1620 editions.)] , enabling genealogists John Green [http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=furse+halsdon+green+&meta= (John Green's Geneaolgy Website, Furse Family 1650-C.20th)] and Carina Robins [ M. and C. Robbins -- The Furse Family 1820-1980. December 1981] , to compile family trees.

The family's working lives mostly consisted of one or more of Church of England duty, public service in the armed forces (except for the RAF) and oil painting. See section below of more notable members of this period. Until the middle of the twentieth century, the family was generally restricted in marriage to a handful of other large families from the same part of the country, but that were of the same sphere, those being Chadwyck-Healey, Marriott, Lubbock, one of the Church of England (English) Abraham families, and Maud (see John Redcliffe-Maud). Others include the French name Dolignon, and Addington Symonds.

The Halsdon Estate (1680-1983)

The earliest moves towards creating the Halsdon Estate were made by Philip Furse of Spreyton (1650-1720) [Burke's Landed Gentry, 18th Edition, Ed. Peter Townend (Burke's Peerage Limited - 1965), Furse of Halsdon - Page 295] and various records held by the North Devon Records Office show how the Estate was added to, showing title deeds for a considerable area surrounding the house. These included parts of Alverdiscott, Ashreigny, Beaford, Bideford, Dolton, Fremington, Great Torrington, Hartland, High Bickington, Poughill, St Giles in the Wood, Weare Giffard, Winkleigh and Yarnscombe. Despite this success during the 18th century, the Estate as it was became unsustainable. How much of this can be blamed on poor transport facilities and few natural resources in the area, and how much on a failure of the family to adapt to the changing climate of the Industrial Revolution is debateable, however the result was that it was no longer cost-effective as it was and so a good deal was sold off over a period of time during the 19th century [North Devon Records office. Readers may prefer to look at the on-line summary via Access to Archives [http://www.a2a.org.uk/default.asp] as in 1. [http://www.a2a.org.uk/html/821-4222.htm] and 2. [http://www.a2a.org.uk/html/821-b268.htm] ] .

These decisions proved prudent for the changes in the law brought in by socialist and liberal governments in the early part of the 20th century that changed the way property was owned and could be inherited, statuting the requirement of the payment of Death Duties. The burden of payments on inheritance was therefore diminished significantly and the Estate remained much as it was until it was finally broken up in 1983.

The house is now owned by Charlie Watts, drummer of the Rolling Stones, whose wife Shirley breeds Arabian horses on nearby land that was part of the Estate ( [http://www.halsdonarabians.com Halsdon Arabians] ). The farms owned by the Estate were sold to their tenants and remaining woodland donated to the Devon Wildlife Trust ( [http://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/index.php?section=places:reserves&reserveid=25 Halsdon Nature Reserve] ). The Estate was photographed in the late 1970s and early 1980s by James Ravilious ( [http://www.jamesravilious.com/default.asp James Ravilious' website] and [http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/content/image_galleries/james_ravilious_gallery.shtml?2 BBC Tribute to JR] ) for the Beaford Archive ( [http://www.beaford-archive.org.uk/] ). Parts of it were photographed again, with the surrounding area, by his son Ben Ravilious in 2005 ( [http://www.benravilious.com/category.asp?category=devon Ben Ravilious' professional website] ). James Ravilious had a personal connectionn to the Furse family, marrying Caroline (Robin) Whistler, daughter of Theresa Whistler (neé Furse, see below)

Members of the Furse family of Halsdon (C.19th-C.21st)

Currently living

*Clara Furse (nee Siemens), current CEO of the London Stock Exchange (LSE)
*John Furse, film and television director/writer. Notable films include Blind Flight, the true story of journalist John McCarthy and teacher Brian Keenan's hostage ordeal in Lebanon (1985-1990). Professional website [http://www.johnfurse.co.uk] .
*Anna Furse, theatre writer and director specialising in innovative 'physical' theatre. Professional website [http://www.athletesoftheheart.org]

Deceased members

*C. W. Furse (1820-1901). Archdeacon of Westminster and Rector of St. John's, Smith Square.
*John Henry Monsell Furse (1860-1951). Sculptor.
*Charles Wellington Furse (1868-1904). Painter and contributor to the New English Art Club (NEAC)
*Rear Admiral John Paul Wellington Furse (1904-1978).
*Bishop Michael Bolton Furse (1870-1955).
*Lt. Col. Sir Ralph Dolignon Furse (1887-1973), m. Celia Newbolt, daughter of Sir Henry Newbolt in 1914. Head of Recruitment at H.M. Colonial Service 1931-1948. Four children; Jill, Patrick, Nicolas and Theresa (all deceased).
*Dame Katharine Furse (1875-1952). Director of the WRENS 1917-1919.
*Roger Kemble Furse (1903-1972), Film set designer. Notable work included Olivier's Henry V. Married to Alice Margaret Furse (neé Watts).
*Judith Furse, character actress (1912-1974).
*Jill Furse, actress (1915-1944). Married Sir Laurence Whistler (1939), two children; Simon Whistler (d.) and Caroline (Robin) Whistler.
*Patrick John Dolignon Furse (1918-2005). Married Elisabeth Haden-Guest (1946), four children John, Katharine (Katya), Anna, Sara. Tutor in enamelling department (1959-83) at Central School of Art and Design, London whose work included collaborations with Stefan Knapp on the Heathrow Terminal 2 enamel murals. Obituary ( [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article567508.ece] )
*Theresa Furse (1927-2007), chidrens' writer and authorised biographer of The Life of Walter de la Mare. Married Sir Laurence Whistler (m.2) 1950 (see Whistler family. Two children; Daniel and Frances. Obituary ( [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/theresa-whistler-461114.html] )

Persons who share the surname Furse, but who are not of this lineage, or for whom it is an assumed name

*Elizabeth Furse (1936- ), American member of the United States House of Representatives.
*George Armand Furse (1834–1906), British Army officer, and author.
*John H. Furse (1880–1907) American officer in the United States Navy.
*Tomethy Furse (1987- ), English musician.
*Patrick Furse, (1966- ), graphic designer, Royal College of Art, Chelsea School of Art. (http://www.linkedin.com/in/patrickfurse)
*John Furse, art critic.

References


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