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Portrait possibly of William Harvey, Rector of the Church of St Martin, Fincham, Norfolk, 1695-1786.  
Click for larger  



William Harvey
Rector of West Winch, Norfolk
Rector of the Church of St Martin, Fincham, Norfolk
Vicar of St Mary's, Crimplesham, Norfolk


Born: around 1695 at Beechamwell, died 1786 aged 92, buried at Crimplesham, Norfolk.
Parents: Robert Harvey of Crimplesham, Norfolk (possibly: Robert Harvey, 16??-1720).
Brother of:
1. Robert Harvey (1700-1756), of Stoke Ferry, Norfolk.
2. Possibly Lieut John Harvey RN (1700ish to mid 1700ish).  
William married:
1. Elizabeth Vincent (?-1737) daughter of Thomas Vincent of C.  Married in April 1727 in Crimplesham.  Elizabeth was buried at Crimplesham 25 May 1737.
2. Martha (1695-1775) the widow of Joseph Forby (Rector of Fincham from 1723 - 1744). Married 30 May 1745 in St Martin with St Michael, Fincham.

William and Elizabeth had issue:
1. Possibly Elizabeth who was born 3 October 1728 at Downham.  Possibly buried 4 February 1737 Downham.
2. Possibly George Harvey who was born 19 June 1730 at Downham.
3. Possibly William Harvey who was born 15 March 1732 at Downham.  Possibly buried at Crimplesham on either 9 January 1737 or 1738
4. Possibly Henry Harvey who was born 25 May 1733 at Downham.  Possibly buried 22 February 1734 at Downham.
5. Possibly Edward Harvey who was born 9 August 1734 Downham.  Possibly buried 19 March at 1735 Downham.

6. Possibly Mary who was christened on 31 December 1735 in Crimplesham.
7. Possibly Dinah who was born on 23 May 1737 at Crimplesham and was buried on 25 September 1737 at Crimplesham.

William Harvey: An Overview

The information I have about William Harvey is very limited and comes from the following sources:

1. The diary of his brother's great grandaughter Elizabeth Jones (nee Helsham) who makes reference to him but gives no information about him (written in the mid 1800s).
2. A list of rectors of the Church of St Martin, Fincham, Norfolk.
3. The will of his brother Robert Harvey of Stoke Ferry, Norfolk
4. His gravestone at Crimplesham, Norfolk.

William Harvey's existance is briefly mentioned in the diary of Elizabeth Jones where she records him as a relative of her grandfather (Robert Harvey). Robert Harvey's will lists William as being his brother.  William is also recorded on a list of Rectors inside the Fincham Church as follows:

1723-1744 Joseph Forby
1745-1787 William Harvey
1787-1799 Joseph Forby (Uncle of Robert Forby)
1799-1826 Robert Forby

It is interesting to note that William married Martha (1695-1775) who was the widow of his predecessor Joseph Forby.

Fincham Rectory

Church of St Martin, Fincham

The diary of Elizabeth Jones (nee Helsham) reads as follows:

My Grandmother was Anne Harvey, and I should think that she was both born and married at Stoke Ferry, her parents being Robert and Mary Harvey.  A relative, the Rev William Harvey, was incumbent of Fincham Church the years 1745 and 1787 [1786].  Another of the name, a cousin, resided at Watton in Norfolk, whose only child married Sir Robert Harvey, and their son is the Mr Harvey whose entertainments at Crown Point cause such a sensation from year to year.  My Grandmother had, I believe, more than one brother but the only member of the family we knew and loved was her sister Susan who is very imperfectly represented by the portrait which hangs over my fireplace.  She married Mr Forby of Stoke Ferry, whose brother [uncle], the Rev. Joseph Forby, was Rector of Fincham from 1787 to 1799 and he it was who, while travelling on the Continent before the French Revolution, left some small sum in the French Fund of which mention was made some years since.

William Harvey is buried in Crimplesham Churchyard. His large tomb near the church porch is of a 'box' type and is collapsing slowly.  On the end can still be clearly seen his family crest consiting of an upheld hand and cresent.  He held various posts including Vicar of Crimplesham 1735-1785.  He married the widow of Joseph Forby, Rector from 1723 - 1744 in the last service held at St. Michael,s Church, Fincham, before it was pulled down.

There is also an Elizabeth Harvey recorded as buried at Crimplesham on 25 May 1737.  She may have been an earlier wife of William?

Grave of William Harvey

Grave of William Harvey
Click for larger image

A note sent to me reads as follows:
College: CAIUS Entered: 1713 More Information: Adm. sizar (age 18) at CAIUS, Sept. 14, 1713. S. of Robert, of Crimplesham, Norfolk, gent. B. at Beechamwell. School, Norwich (Mr Pate). Matric. 1713-4; Scholar, 1713-8; B.A. 1717-8; M.A. 1726. Ord. deacon (Norwich) July 13, 1718, as C. of Cockley Cley, Norfolk; priest, June 12, 1720. R. of West Winch, 1732-86. V. of Crimplesham, 1735-85. R. of Fincham, 1745-86. Buried at Crimplesham, 1786. (Venn, I. 531.).

A few years ago a large portrait of a "William Harvey, Mayor of Norwich" came up for sale (Sotheby's Olympia, 21 January 2004).  It had been relined and the inscription had been rewritten onto the new backing.  Unfortunately no further provenance was recorded.  I checked with the County Record office in Norwich who confirmed that there had never been a mayor of Norwich by the name of William Harvey.  A number of other Harvey relatives did in fact become mayors of Norwich so it would appear that there has been a mix up somewhere.  Existing portraits of some of these other Harvey relatives do show a family resemblance and as the portrait appears to date from around this time there is a possibility that it is our William Harvey.

Note from Julia Poole.
William Harvey (1695-87) married twice. His first wife, Elizabeth Vincent in April 1727 at Crimplesham. (Family Search says she was Mrs but Venn, Caius, says her father was Thomas Vincent of C). She was buried at Crimplesham in 1737. I couldn't find a child of this marriage in the parish registers on Family Search, but parents of the same name had a child called Constance christened 26 January 1734,in Norwich. If not one of the Norwich Harveys, this might be the Constance who married Joseph Forby junior. This would explain why William Blyth (Rector of Fincham), Historical Notices & Records of the village & Parish of Fincham in the County of Norfolk, didn't think it necessary to explain who Constance Harvey was on p. 74 'He [Joseph Forby] died in 1744, and was succeeded by William Harvey, who married his widow, and died in 1787. the next incumbent was Joseph, son of the aforesaid Joseph Forby, who, having married Constance Harvey, died without issue in 1799.'
Re parentage of Robert and William Harvey, Ann's father and uncle. Have you looked at the Norfolk Poll Books on GENUK Norfolk? The 1714 one includes Robert Harvey living in Beacham Weld (Beechamwell) in Clackcross Hundred who was an elector for land held in Crimplesham in that hundred.  This would xplain why William Harvey's birthplace is Beachamwell, while his father is described as gent of Crimplesham in Venn, Caius, and also explains why William chose to be buried at Crimplesham rather than Fincham.
The Poll book 1714 also mentions another Robert Harvey, and a John Harvey and a William Harvey all resident in Beechamwold.
Since I wrote I discovered that William Harvey and Elizabeth  had at least three children:
Martha who was buried on 22 December 1730 [daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Harvey]. Mary who was christened on 31 December 1735 . Dinah who was born on 23 May 1737 and was buried on 25 September 1737 at Crimplesham. Her mother died two days after her birth or was buried at Crimplesham on 25 May 1737 recorded as Elizabeth Harvey. A William Harvey was buried at Crimplesham on either 9 January 1737 or 1738 with father William Harvey. So it looks as if there was an earlier birth of a little boy. There seem to have been several couples called William and Elizabeth Harvey, so its probably not possible to work out if the Constance born in Norwich was theirs.  It looks as if although he was Rector of West Winch quite close to Lynn, he chose to live at Crimplesham.


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