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The 1820 Settler Correspondence
 as preserved in the National Archives, Kew
 and edited by Sue Mackay

Additonal Information

This is pre 1820 information mainly taken from actual images of UK parish registers and other primary sources which I have personally researched. Further information about the settlers and their families once they reached the Cape can be found at

Sue Mackay

PIRIE, Robert - Extra Data


(member of WILLSON's party)


See correspondence of Robert PIRIE of 12 Turnmill Street, Clerkenwell

Mary PIRIE who emigrated was not the first wife of Robert PIRIE. Sources in South Africa give the maiden name of Robert's first wife as BOULDEN, but this marriage might indeed have been that of a Robert PERRY. The marriage to Elizabeth BOOTH is far more likely to be correct, as Robert clearly signed himself PIRIE and the signature matches that of the 1823 settler petition, as well as that on his 1818 marriage licence application.


London Metropolitan Archives

Robert PERRY, bachelor, married Elizabeth BOULDEN, spinster on 16 February 1801 in St.Leonard Shoreditch.
Robert PERRY (signed)
Elizabeth BOULDEN (X)
Witnesses: Joseph PERRY and William MARSH

Robert PERRY, bachelor, married Elizabeth BOOTH, spinster on 29 March 1807 in St.Botolph, Aldgate.
Both signed their names. (Robert clearly signs PIRIE and the signature matches the settler correspondence)
Witnesses: Peter BOOTH and Mabel BOOTH


Margaret, daughter of Robert PIRIE, baker, and Elizabeth, Ship Street, baptised 18th December 1808 in St.George in the East (born 29th February)


20 August 1818 Marriage Licence


Appeared personally Robert PIRIE and made oath that he is of the parish of Lee in the County of Kent, a widower, and intendeth to marry with Mary Rachel HORN of the same parish, a spinster, of the age of twenty one years and upwards, and further made oath that the usual place of abode of him the appearer hath been in the said parish of Lee for the space of four weeks last past.


N.W. Kent FHS Index


Robert PIRIE, widower o.t.p. married Mary Rachel HORN, spinster o.t.p. by Licence on 27 August 1818 in St.Margaret’s, Lee, Kent
Both signed
Witnesses: Will’m [AVERY] and Sarah HORN


London Metropolitan Archives


Robert, son of Robert and Mary Rachel PIRIE, 12 Turnmill Street, Baker, was baptised on 26th December 1819 in St.John, Clerkenwell (born 16th December)


Freedom of the City of London Admission Registers (Held at the LMA)

Baker's Hall, London
7th September 1823
This is to certify that Robert PIRIE, 84 Fetter Lane, was this day admitted into his Freedom of the Worshipful Company of Bakers by Patrimony. NB His Father's is Lost, who was admitted to his freedom in the Worshipful Company of Bakers as appears in the Minute Book of the said Company on the 1st day of February 1779.
A second document states
Robert PIRIE, son of George PIRIE, Citizen and Baker of London, came before the Chamberlain the day and Year aforesaid and desired to be admitted into the Freedom of this City by Patrimony in the said Company of [Bakers] because he is legitimate and was born after the admission of his Father into the said Freedom....
A note on this document states that Robert PIRIE was born in 1786

N.B. This document has previously been taken to refer to the settler Robert PIRIE and his father, George PIRIE, who married Elizabeth Catharine Anna WADE. However, the will of Elizabeth Catharine Anna PIRIE (National Archives), proved in 1845, states that her son Robert is still alive, and Robert the settler died in 1827 (according to the Lower Albany Chronicles Part 2 p.16). The Baker’s Hall document is dated 1823, two years after Robert the settler emigrated. The will specifically mentions property in Fetter Lane, so the Robert PIRIE, baker, of 84 Fetter Lane, mentioned in the Freedom of the City of London papers, cannot be Robert the settler. There were therefore two Robert PIRIEs, both bakers, and both born around 1785-6!

It may be that this second Robert PIRIE is the one who was living in Rotherhithe, as seen in the following:


London Metropolitan Archives


Robert PIRIE, widower, married Mary PEARCEY, spinster on 25 June 1815 in St.Mary's, Rotherhithe.
Both signed their names.
Witnesses: William ROBINSON and Ann PEARCEY

Robert George, son of Robert and Mary PIRIE, Adam St, baker, baptised 23 June 1816 in St.Mary's, Rotherhithe (born 26 May 1816)

Robert George, son of Robert PIRIE, baker buried 11 May 1817 in St.Mary's, Rotherhithe, aged 1.


Cape Archives MOOC 711/117 - Will of Robert PIRIE, 1820 settler


In the name of God, Amen.
I, Robert PIRIE of Beaufort Vale in the District of Albany, farmer, being very sick in Body, of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God, calling into mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament, that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my Soul into the hand of Almighty God that gave it, and my Body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian Burial at the discretion of my Executor nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God, - and as touching such worldly Estate where with it hath pleased God to bless me in this Life, I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form:
First, I leave the whole of my personal and landed property to Mary Rachel PIRIE, my beloved wife, to be enjoyed by her in undisturbed quiet (who also I appoint, constitute and ordain the sole Executrix of this my last Will and Testament) during the state of her Widowhood and that she shall receive & pay all my lawful and just debts out of my personal property, the house and land not to be sold.
Secondly, but in the event of her altering her situation an Inventory of things shall be taken and fair valuation put upon them, so that my eldest daughter Margaret PIRIE (by my former wife) shall then claim her share of my property so valued at the same security shall be given by the person with whom she may marry, for the remainder of my property, which I leave to my dear children Robert, Sarah Ann, Mary Ann and Elizabeth PIRIE at the death of their mother.
Signed: Robert PIRIE
Signed, sealed and declared by the said Robert Pirie as his last Will & Testament this 10th day of May 1827 in the presence of us, who in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribe our names.
William DOLD
George WELLS
X the mark of James HUTCHIN
X the mark of Richard CALVER
John Mathew DOLD

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