Joseph Phillips (1730-1796) and Catherine Seriven (c.1735-?)

Our (probable) Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents

Joseph Phillips was 67 years of age at the time of his death in 1796, meaning that he was born around 1729. He is likely, therefore, to have been the Joseph Phillips who was baptised at St. Botolph-without- Bishopsgate, London on 10 January 1730, the son of Joseph and Martha Phillips.

Catherine Seriven was probably born in London or surrounding counties between 1730 and 1735, but no birth or baptism record has been located.

Joseph and Catherine married clandestinely1 at Mayfair on 2 February 1752. The marriage record says that both were residents of St. James’s. They had at least three children together:

  1. Joanna (b.1758) – baptised on 23 March 1758.
  2. William ( our ancestor - 1759-1827)
  3. Amelia (b.1763) – baptised on 29 July 1763 at St James, Westminster. In her father’s will she was referred to as Anne Amelia.
  4. Elizabeth (?) – only known from a mention in her father’s will. No other details have been found.

The UK Poll Books and Electoral Registers, 1538-18932 list several individuals in Westminster named Joseph Phillips, including a pastry cook (1774), a chairman (that is, a person who carried a sedan chair - 1774), a shoemaker (‘Cordwainer’ is the occupation as recorded - 1788) and a bricklayer (1788 and 1796).

Joseph died in 1796 in the London Borough of Camden. He left a will with bequests to his three daughters. His son William was mentioned in relation to one of the items bequeathed to Elizabeth, but was not otherwise named.

It is not known when or where Catherine died, but since she is not mentioned in Joseph’s will it must be assumed that she predeceased him.


1 Up to 1754, some couples chose to marry outside of church to circumvent rules imposed by the Church of England. One venue for these “clandestine” or “irregular” marriages was the May Fair chapel, where a cleric flouted the rules.

2 UK, Poll Books and Electoral Registers, 1538-1893 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: London, England, UK and London Poll Books. London, England: London Metropolitan Archives and Guildhall Library.


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