Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.


My wife's ancestors - Kerr - Contents

William Kerr, of Kelso

Cleuchside and Bloodylaws, near Oxnam.

William Kerr,
of Kelso, in Roxburghshire, Scotland,
and of Cleughside (or Cleuchside), NE of Oxnam, Roxburghshire (see map),
and of Bloody Laws (or Bloodylaws), SE of Oxnam (see map),
born 18 June 1709,
descendant of Robert III, King of Scotland and of Henry I,
mar 1stly, 1736, to Helenor Cranstoun [dau of Rev. John Cranstoun, Minister of Ancrum],
mar 2ndly to Marianne Scott,
died 1785-86, age 76-77 yrs,
had issue by 1st wife:

  1. Dr. William Kerr,
    doctor, of Northampton,
    eldest son, born 12 Jan 1738, Roxburghshire.

  2. Charles Kerr, born 4 Feb 1748,
    of Kelso,
    and of Antigua, West Indies,
    mar Jane Tweedie,
    died 1796, age 48 yrs,
    had issue:

    1. Jane Kerr (search here and here),
      only child, heiress of her father's estate.
      She was born 5 or 15 Feb 1780. Her birth date is given on two memorials at Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Northampton. [Cox and Serjeantson, 1897] has them giving two different dates. Need to see originals.
      She mar 1stly, 3rd Oct 1799, to Shuckburgh Ashby Apreece [born 1773], no issue.
      He died 6th Oct 1807, age 34 yrs.
      She was left with money, no compelling need to marry, no children, and still young. She was a wealthy socialite and widow in London and Edinburgh. She became well known in social and literary circles in England and Scotland.
      She mar 2ndly, 11th Apr 1812, to Sir Humphry Davy, 1st Baronet [the famous chemist, physicist and inventor, born 17th Dec 1778, often incorrectly spelled Humphrey], no issue.
      Humphry had just been knighted 8th Apr 1812.
      He gave highly popular lectures.
      He was cr Baronet 1818.
      President of the Royal Society 1820-27.
      He died Geneva, Switzerland, 29th May 1829, age 50 yrs. Title extinct.
      He was bur at Cimetiere de Plainpalais, Geneva. Memorial tablet in Westminster Abbey.
      Jane lived for many years a widow.
      [Cox and Serjeantson, 1897] says she lived for some time (must be 1841-55) in the house in Sheep St, Northampton that formerly belonged to her uncle Dr. William Kerr.
      Her grave says she lived for many years in Park St, Mayfair, London (see map).
      She died Park St, London, 8th May 1855, age 75 yrs.
      She was bur with her uncle at Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Northampton.

Sir Humphry Davy, 1821.
From here.
See images at [NPG].

Walter Scott connection

Charles Kerr, of Kelso (and hence Dr. William Kerr) is somehow a relation of Sir Walter Scott (see ancestry).
Can't see any obvious connection. There are some marriages between Kerr and Scott over the centuries, but they all seem very distant to Sir Walter Scott, who says about his relation Jane Kerr that she "has been known to me all my life".

The Journal Of Sir Walter Scott, 7 Feb 1826.
From pp.107-108 of vol.1 of 1891 edn.

There is a verse of 1811, printed on p.108 of The Journal Of Sir Walter Scott above, about the impact Jane Kerr made on the scientist John Playfair, and on other intellectuals:

"Have you seen the famed Bas bleu, the gentle dame Apreece,
Who at a glance shot through and through the Scots Review,
And changed its swans to geese?
Playfair forgot his mathematics, astronomy, and hydrostatics,
And in her presence often swore, he knew not two and two made four."

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