Sergison, Charles (DNB00)

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SERGISON, CHARLES (1654–1732), commissioner of the navy, born in 1654, entered the service of the crown as a dockyard clerk in July 1671. In 1675 he became clerk to the clerk of the acts, whose office was then held jointly by Thomas Hayter and John Pepys, a younger brother of Samuel Pepys [q. v.] John Pepys died in 1677 and was succeeded by James Sotherne, who, after March 1680, held the office by himself till 25 Dec. 1689. Sergison was then appointed in Sotherne's room, and remained clerk of the acts for thirty years, for the most part single-handed, but from 1701 to 1706 jointly with Samuel Atkins, formerly clerk of Samuel Pepys. During this period, which included the war of the Spanish succession, as well as the little war of 1718, the work of the navy board was excessively heavy, and Sergison won the highest opinion of the several administrations with whom he acted. The emoluments of the office were large, though rather by perquisites and fees than by pay, and in 1691 Sergison was able to purchase Cuckfield Park in Sussex. During the reign of Anne he more than once asked for permission to retire, but was told that he could not be spared. Afterwards, when he was superseded at the age of 65, in 1719, he seems to have felt it as an undeserved insult. During the rest of his life he lived at Cuckfield Place, and there he died on 26 Nov. 1732. He was buried in Cuckfield church, where there is a tablet to his memory. Sergison married Anne, daughter of Mr. Crawley of the navy office; she predeceased him; and on his death without children the estate passed to his grand-nephew, Thomas Warden, who took the name of Sergison. He also died, leaving no children, and was succeeded by his brother Michael, who assumed the name of Sergison. In his family the estate still remains.

Sergison formed a large collection of manuscripts relating to the navy; and though many of these have been dispersed, many are still at Cuckfield Place. He had also a fine collection of models, which has been preserved entire and in beautiful condition.

[Sussex Archæological Collections, xxv. 62–84; Duckett's Naval Commissioners.]

J. K. L.