Select Pertwee Surname Genealogy

The name Pertwee is of Huguenot extraction and was originally Perthuis.  After the French purge of Huguenots in 1685, many refugees fled to Protestant countries such as England.  In England, the Perthuis settled in Essex.  Due to the locals' inability to pronounce Perthuis, the name got corrupted to Pertwee.

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Select Pertwee Ancestry

England.  The name Pertwee was originally Perthuis and is of Huguenot extraction. 

Essex.  A Perthuis family settled at Langenhoe near Colchester in Essex, after having been expelled from France in 1685.  The name was still recorded as Perthuis in 1813.  But Thomas Pertwee, presumably a descendant, was a farmer at Langenhoe Lodge later in the 19th century.  He survived the great Langenhoe earthquake of 1884, reporting that the chimneys were thrown
down, the walls much cracked, ceilings uplifted, and bottles thrown down and broken. 

Canon Arthur Pertwee was the vicar of Brightlingsea from 1872 to 1917.  He was known to climb the belfry tower during stormy nights to shine out a lantern for distressed mariners at sea.  In 1883 he established a memorial at the All Saints church for all those from Brightlingsea lost at sea.  The Rev. Ellsworth Pertwee, described by a friend as a "saintly, spry, white-haired elf," went out to South Africa in the 1970's to give support to the anti-apartheid cause. 

James Pertwee was a farmer at Woodham Ferrers near Maldon in the 1820s.  His son or grandson Albert was recorded at the Fen farm forty years later.  And there were Pertwees prominent in local affairs in Chelmsford and Colchester.  Charles Pertwee, an architect and subsequent borough engineer, designed many of Chelmsford's Victorian buildings.  Frank Pertwee started as a corn merchant at Hythe Quay in Colchester in 1899.  The business has passed through four generations, although it now manages real estate in Colchester.   

Elsewhere.  There was said to be a family link between the Charles Pertwee of Chelmsford who died in 1905 and the Ernest Pertwee who married Emily Moore in Brighton in the early 1880s.  Ernest compiled and edited verse anthologies while his wife was active in the suffragette movement.  Subsequent Pertwees of this line made their names in TV and film.  Son Roland and grandson Michael Pertwee were screen-writers; and grandson Jon Pertwee and cousin Bill Pertwee became well-known TV actors in the 1970s, Jon in Dr. Who and Bill in Dad's Army.

Canada.  The Perthuis who left France for Canada kept their Perthuis spelling.  Charles Perthuis arrived in the early 1690's and became a prominent merchant in Quebec.  His sons Joseph and Jean-Baptiste followed in their father's footsteps but returned to France after the defeat to the English in 1763.

The descendants of Pierre Perthuis, a fur trader in Montreal, did stay.  They moved south to Detroit and later as Pertuis to Arkansas when it was still a French trading outpost of colonial Louisiana.  Pierre Pertuis there became Peter Pertuis.

Select Pertwee Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Pertwee Names

Charles Perthuis was a prominent Quebec merchant in the early 1700's.
Canon Arthur Pertwee
of Brightlingsea saved many a mariner out at sea in the 1800's. 
Jon Pertwee the actor made his name on TV as Dr. Who.

Select Pertwees Today
  • 100 in the UK (most numerous in Essex)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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