Margaret Mercer

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Margaret Mercer

Also Known As: "Margaretta", "Marged Marsser", "Merser", "Mercier"
Birthplace: Lancashire or, Oxfordshire , England
Death: May 01, 1610 (25-34)
Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales (Child Bed)
Place of Burial: Tenby, Pembrokeshire, UK
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Mercer, of Ewelme and Johanna Mercer
Wife of Thomas ap Rice
Mother of Perrot ap Rice; John ap Rice; William ap Rice; Letitice ap Rice; Bartholomew ap Rice and 2 others
Sister of Maximilian Mercer, of Ewelme; Lettice "Miriam" Mercer and Francis Mercer, of Oxfordshire

Managed by: Kris Hewitt
Last Updated:

About Margaret Mercer

Margaret Mercer, daughter of William Mercer of Lancashire and Johanna Mercer, was born circa 1580, probably at Oxfordshire, England, although some sources list her place of birth as Lancashire. She died 1 May 1610 at Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, and is interred at Tenby Church, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom. In 1598 she married Thomas ap Rice (c.1570 - 1650), son of John ap Rice of Rickeston and Katherine Perrot, and became the mother of eight known children.

Margaret Mercer's parents were definitely William Mercer of Ewelme, Oxfordshire (PCC Will, proved Jan 1590/1) and Joan Lovelace, not William Mercer & Alice Hindley of Lancashire.

Marriage and Children

  1. Thomas ap Rice (c.1570 - 1650), married 1598
    1. Perrot ap Rice (c.1595 Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales - before 1650); predeceased his father
    2. John ap Rice (born c.1597)
    3. Willliam ap Rice (born c.1605)
    4. Bartholomew ap Rice (died before 1650)
    5. Letitice ap Rice (born c.1608)
    6. Alice ap Rice
    7. Jane ap Rice
    8. Lloyd ap Rice


Please note that the exact birth order of the children of Margaret Mercer and Thomas ap Rice is not known. There seems to be a discrepancy between the dates of Margaret Mercer's marriage to Thomas ap Rice and the birth of their two oldest children - who appear to have been born prior to the marriage. This, of course, is incorrect, but it is not known at this time whether the error is in the date of the marriage or the birthdates of the eldest children.

Mercer Tomb and Coat of Arms

The Mercer coat of arms, as displayed on her funeral monument, is Gules, on a chief indented or three martlets in fess sable (Laws & Edwards, 79). Pat English of The Squirrelbasket blog describes the tomb, “Although the tomb of Margaret Mercer may look cheerful with its bright colours, the story behind it is sad, but sadly commonplace. She died in childbirth in 1610 at the age of 30, having given birth to 10 children already. The kneeling man is her grieving husband and the seven sons and daughters surviving at the time of her death are lined up below her 'sleeping' form.”

"The Scotsborough monument is very rich in heraldry. On the upper part is a shield, on which are marshalled the coats of Ap Rees and Mercer, baron and femme, the former with its eight quarterings; below, on the dexter side, Ap Rees, and on the sinister Mercer. The quarterings of Ap Rees are as follow:" "1. Ap Rees.—Argent, a chevron between three ravens sable, within a border componey azure and or. He inherited the ravens from his grandfather, David, who was a natural son of Sir Rhys ap Thomas." "2. Martin or Cemmaes.—Or, two bars gules. Thomas's great grandmother was Alsonde, daughter of Arnold Martin, of Richardston." "3. Marles Of Marloes.—Or, six martlets gules, three in chief, three in base. Arnold Martin's mother was daughter of Richard Marles." "4. Batman Ok Honkyborough.—Sable, a chevron between three escallop shells or. Thomas's grandmother was Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Batman." "5. Perrot Of Scotsborough.—Gules, three pears pendant or, on a chief argent, a lion issuant sable. Catherine Perrot, Thomas's mother, was representative of the Scotsborough branch of the Perrot family." "6. Verney (?).—Quarterly, azure and gules on a cross or five ermine spots (?). Catherine Perrot was fifth in descent from Isabel Verney. See monument No. III." "7. Levelance (?).—Gules, on a chief indented sable three martlets or. Isabel Verney's mother was Elinor, daughter of William Levelance." "8. Roch.—Gules, three fishes naiant in pale or. Elinor's mother was Lucy, daughter of Thomas le Roch."

(Laws & Edwards, 77-8)

Discussion of Coat of Arms by Justin Swanström

"Baron and femme" are old legal language for man and wife. (It doesn't mean her husband Thomas ap Rees was really a baron.)

The arms marshaled on her shield are Ap Rees (dexter) and Mercer (sinister). This is what we would expect for a married woman. The shield is divided down the middle. Her husband's arms are on the left and hers are on the right. (In heraldry, the directions are reversed because they are from the standpoint of a man behind the shield -- dexter is his right, our left, and sinister is left, our right.

The book says the Ap Rees arms have 8 quarterings, and it lists them. These start with the paternal arms of Ap Rees, then it has quarterings for all of Thomas ap Rees' heiress ancestors. (On the following page is a pedigree that shows how he inherited each of those quarters.)

Then the book says the Mercer arms are on the right. It doesn't list any quarterings. Her ancestors had apparently never married a heraldic heiress. If Margaret had been an heiress herself, her arms would have been on a smaller shield in the middle of her husband's shield, so we know she must have had a brother. (On the following page we find out that there was another example of the Mercer arms on the tomb: "On the sinister side of the monument (east) is the Mercer shield: Gules, on a chief indented or three martlets in fess sable." No quarterings.

Burke's General Armory gives these as the arms of Lovelace, not Mercer.

Ancestry of Margaret Mercer by Justin Swanström

Laws & Edwards [] give some good clues to the ancestry of Margaret Mercer. Near her tomb is the tomb of Ralph Mercer: “This tomb was erected by his son-in-law, Edmund Smith, rector of the parish.The book says, "When Joseph Lord made a plan of the church, in 1720, he described this monument as "of the same family" (i.e., Ap Rees)."

A bit later it says he was "Rodolph, or Ralph, son of Francis Mercer of Lancashire (according to Lewis Dwnn), or Oxfordshire if we believe the Dale Castle MS. Francis was the son of William Mercer, and brother of Margaretta, so Rodolph was nephew by marriage to Thomas ap Rees of Scotsborough." (p. 78).


  1. Heraldic Visitations of Wales and Part of the Marches Between the Years 1586 and 1613 by Lewys Dwnn (1846), Dwnn, Lewys; transcribed and edited with notes by Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, (2 volumes. Llandovery: William Rees, 1846), vol. 1 p. 74. "Margred, (of) William Marsser of Lancasir, Esgwier. (married) Tomas ag Rys ..."
  2. Notes on the Sheriffs of Pembrokeshire, 1541-1899 By James Allen (Dean of St. David's.). Page 23. "1610 Thomas ap Rees,1 of Scotsborough, son of John, Sheriff in 1582, married Margaret, daughter of William Mercer, of Lancashire (£. Dwnn, I. p. 74), who died 1st May, 1610, aged 30, leaving, with other issue, Perrot, father of James, Sheriff in 1655.—For her monument in Tenby Church, see Fenton, p. 449."
  3. Archaeologia Cambrensis (Google eBook) Cambrian Archaeological Association, 1905 - Wales. Page 88 "The House of Scotsborough." "12 James ap Rhys, gent., was bailiff for Tenby in 1678; Mayor, 1681. He conveys land to the Tenby Corporation, 1682. "He was succeeded by his son Thomas, who married Margaretta Mercer in 1598 (see her tomb in Tenby Church). The Mercers had been friendly with the Ap Rhys family for some time. In 1596, Alban. eldest son of George Owen, Lord of Kernes, married Lettice (or Miriam), daughter of William Mercer, deceased: and Maximilian Mercer, of Ewelme, in the County <>t' Oxford, was co-trustee with John ap Rhys of tbe marriage settlement (see Owen's Pembrokeshire, p. .5'23). Margaretta seems to have been sister to Madam Alban Owen; and Rudolph Mercer, who married Anne. daughter of Edmund Smith, Rector of Tenby (see tomb in Tenby Church), was son of Maximilian Mercer, Margaretta's brother."
  4. Edward Laws & Emily Hewlett Edwards Church Book of St. Mary the Virgin, Tenby (1907).
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Margaret Mercer's Timeline

Lancashire or, Oxfordshire , England
Age 8
Tenby Church, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, UK
Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Great Britain (United Kingdom)
May 1, 1610
Age 30
Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales