Tag Archives: ashurst

Ancestral Profile: Jane HAYBITTLE (1827-1905)

15 May

Jane HAYBITTLE was one of my 3x great-grandmothers. As is fairly typical of many of my female ancestors most of what is known about her relates to her role as a wife and mother, rather than as an individual in her own right.

Jane was born in 1827 in Ashurst, Sussex and was the daughter of John and Harriet HAYBITTLE, she was the third of nine children (six daughters and three sons). She was baptised at St. James’ Church, Ashurst on the 16th December 1827.

In the 1841 census the thirteen year old Jane is living with her parents and four siblings in Ashurst at Little Wood Ease. Her father is recorded as an agricultural labourer.

On the 3rd November 1847 Jane married Henry TROWER in St. Peter’s Church in the neighbouring parish of Henfield, Sussex. The TROWER family had been resident in Henfield for about 200 years by this time.

It seems quite likely that they began their married life living at the TROWER family home of Harwoods, on the western edge of the parish of Henfield, very close to the boundary with Ashurst. In 1851 the couple are living with Henry’s parents, William and Mary TROWER and his older brother William Luther.

By 1851 Henry and Jane had three children and they would go on to have another ten children together. Their first child, Abraham, was born on the 29th February 1848, a little under four months after the couple were married.

  1. Abraham TROWER (baptised 9th April 1848)
  2. Anne TROWER (baptised 15th May 1849)
  3. Isaac TROWER (baptised 11th May 1851)
  4. Mercy TROWER (born Q3 1852)
  5. Faith TROWER (born Q1 1854)
  6. Luther TROWER (born Q1 1856)
  7. Mary TROWER (born Q1 1858)
  8. Sarah TROWER (born Q2 1859)
  9. Jane Kate TROWER (born Q3 1862)
  10. Ruth TROWER (born Q4 1864)
  11. Ebenezer TROWER (born Q1 1866) [my 2x great-grandfather]
  12. Martha TROWER (born Q4 1867)
  13. Eliza TROWER (born Q3 1870)

It appears that all the children were born in Henfield, but I have only found baptism records for the first three. During this time the family were still living at Harwoods Farm. After the death of Henry’s mother (in 1855) and father (in 1875), Henry and Jane took over farming at Harwoods Farm. Jane’s own father died in 1874 and her mother in 1879, both were buried in Ashurst churchyard.

The family remained at Harwoods Farm for many more years, they are living there in 1861, 1871 and 1881. At some time between 1881 and 1891 Henry and Jane moved to Rusper, Sussex. In the 1891 census they are living at New Barn Farm and Henry is listed as a farmer, their eldest son Abraham and his family are living at Harwoods Farm. Abraham and his family appear to have moved back to Henfield (from the Brighton area) between 1885 and 1887, and this may have coincided with Henry and Jane’s move to Rusper.

Henry and Jane were back in Henfield by the time of the 1901 census, they are not at Harwoods Farm but living nearer to the centre of the village at Rose Cottage in Church Street. By this time Henry appears to have retired because his shown as living on his own means, he was aged 77 and Jane was 73 years old.

Jane died on the 14th October 1905 aged 77 years old. Less than two weeks later her husband died. They were both buried in Henfield Cemetery, Jane on the 17th October and Henry on the 28th.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Henry and Jane TROWER of Henfield, Sussex.

29 Jan

I have already written quite a bit recently about the various children of Henry and Jane TROWER of Henfield, Sussex. Henry TROWER and Jane HAYBITTLE were my 3x great-grandparents, they married in Henfield on the 3rd November 1847.

Henry was the son of William TROWER and Mary TIDEY. He was born on the 26th April 1823 presumably at Harwoods Farm, Henfield and baptised not in Henfield but at the Providence Chapel, Brighton. His parents going through a non-conformist phase at the time.

Jane HAYBITTLE was the daughter of John HAYBITTLE and Harriett WOOD. She was baptised on the 16th December 1827 in the neighbouring parish of Ashurst, Sussex.

They seem to have spent almost all of their married life in Henfield, mostly at Harwoods Farm, but in the 1891 census they were living in Rusper, Sussex where Henry was still farming as he had always been whilst in Henfield. By 1901 Henry had retired and they were back in Henfield, living in Church Street.

I have mentioned Mercy, Martha, Mary and Jane in past posts, but there were thirteen children altogether. I shall try and cover each of them in a bit more detail, but in brief their children were:

  1. Abraham TROWER (1848-1930)
  2. Anne TROWER (1849-1920)
  3. Isaac TROWER (1851-1911)
  4. Mercy TROWER (1852-1929)
  5. Faith TROWER (1854-1870)
  6. Luther TROWER (1856-1912)
  7. Mary TROWER (1858-1918)
  8. Sarah TROWER (1859-1930)
  9. Jane TROWER (1862-1922)
  10. Ruth TROWER (1864-1950)
  11. Ebenezer TROWER (1866-1956) my 2x great-grandfather
  12. Martha TROWER (1867-1942)
  13. Eliza TROWER (1870-1940)

Jane died on the 14th October 1905 aged 77 years and was buried in Henfield Cemetery on the 17th October. Henry’s death followed shortly afterwards on the 25th October (aged 82) and was buried on the 28th October. I have featured a photo of their gravestone in a previous post. Their grave was on un-consecrated ground, presumably as a result of Henry’s non-conformist baptism.

I have been unable to find a will for either Henry or Jane. Abraham had already taken over farming at Harwoods Farm many years ago, and there was probably nothing else left to worry about.

The lives of Henry and Jane TROWER seem quite mundane and what I considered to be quite typical of my ancestors lives. However, once I started looking at the lives of their children all sorts of more interesting stories started to appear.

Introducing the HAYBITTLE family

5 Nov

I have spent a couple of evenings this week filling in the gaps in the HAYBITTLE family. My 3x great-grandparents Jane HAYBITTLE and Henry TROWER married in Henfield, Sussex on the 3rd November 1847. Together they had thirteen children including my 2x great-grandfather Ebenezer TROWER.

Jane HAYBITTLE was from the neighbouring parish of Ashurst, Sussex and was the daughter of John and Harriet HAYBITTLE, she baptised in Ashurst on the 16th December 1827.

Jane appears to have been one of nine children, although the youngest died as an infant. John HAYBITTLE and Harriet WOOD were married on the 8th November 1823 in nearby Steyning, Sussex although both were born in Ashurst.

John appears to be the youngest child of Thomas HAYBITTLE and Mary DALE, who were married in Washington, Sussex on the 13th May 1776. It looks like they had seven children in total, the first six being baptised in Ashington, Sussex and the last one, John, was baptised in Ashurst, Sussex.

It appears that some time between 1795 and 1800 the family moved from Ashington parish to Ashurst parish, which is not a great distance, about four or five miles. As well as the children of John and Harriet being baptised in Ashurst, there are a couple of other HAYBITTLE families, Thomas and Barbara and William and Ann, who were probably also the children of Thomas and Mary HAYBITTLE.

For this work I used the following sources: Census returns on Ancestry.co.uk, Ashurst parish register transcriptions from the Parish Register Transcription Society and the Sussex Marriage Index CD from the SFHG. The parish register entries will need checking at a later date for accuracy.

I have gone back a little bit further than I needed to for my Christmas Tree Project, but I feel I have a good understanding now of where my HAYBITTLE family came from and good base from which to carry out further research at a later date.

More maps for my collection

30 Oct

These are my latest finds from my local Oxfam shop. Three Ordnance Survey maps of Sussex dating from around 1948-9. Not particularly old or in top condition, but they were real bargains, or at least I think so, at £1.99 each

Three maps

The scale of all three is the same,  1:25,000 (about 2½ inches to one mile), which is detailed enough to show the locations and outlines of larger buildings and farms. Most of the farms are named as are many of the country roads.

The one on the left is of the Haywards Heath area. Not so many places of ancestral interest here, apart from the asylum and the village of Cuckfield.

The middle one covers an area from Washington and Thakeham in the west to Bramber and Partridge Green. This includes part of Henfield, where the TROWER family were, Ashurst (home to the HAYBITTLES) and part of West Grinstead, showing some of the places where the FAIRS family lived.

The one on the right covers many ancestral villages: Cowfold, Twineham (showing the location of Ridden’s Farm, believed to be home to my WELLER ancestors), Bolney, Slaugham and Warninglid.

Whilst I don’t expect to actually discover much new information from these maps, there is always a chance of finding the location of a previously unidentified family home, that has since been demolished or changed its name.

The real interest comes from studying the maps and comparing with the present-day maps, seeing how things have changed. For example, one thing that immediately stood out was the number of trig points on these old maps, and how few of them survive today.

They had a few others in the shop, from the same series, if they are still there on Monday I may well get another couple, although these were the only ones of real family interest for me. Although I think I need to make a list of the ones I already have because I am starting to build up quite a collection.

Yet another FAIRS gravestone with an interesting story to tell

27 Jul

This is another FAIRS gravestone from West Grinstead, Sussex. It is for my 5x great uncle Harry FAIRS, son of Thomas and Elizabeth FAIRS.

Gravestone of Harry FAIRS, West Grinstead, Sussex

Gravestone of Harry FAIRS, West Grinstead, Sussex

This kept me occupied for several hours yesterday evening. At this stage of my research into the FAIRS family I wouldn’t normally have spent so much time on a family group who weren’t my direct ancestors, but this one seemed particularly interesting.

Harry FAIRS died on the 16th July 1850 aged 54 and was buried on the 20th July 1850. The condition of the gravestone is quite poor, but I was able to check the inscription (or at least parts of it) against the transcription I already have.

Interestingly the transcription has the name Henry FAIRS but the stone itself has the name Harry FAIRS (and it is one of the clearest parts of the inscription), as does the burial record and the GRO Death Index entry.

However, the most interesting thing is that it is a double headstone but there is only one name on it. I assumed that this meant that Harry had been married but for some reason his wife hadn’t been buried alongside him, the mostly likely explanations being that she had married again or moved away from West Grinstead after his death.

This set me off on a journey through the census years on ancestry.co.uk in search of Harry’s wife.

It was quite a journey, which took me to the neighbouring parishes of Shipley and Ashurst before arriving back in West Grinstead where Harry’s wife Ann died in 1882 aged 84 years. The journey also introduced me to several of Harry and Ann’s children and their spouses and families, with whom Ann was living (she didn’t re-marry).

Ann was buried in West Grinstead on the 16th February 1882, 32 years after her husband. I will probably never know if she was buried alongside her husband, but there appears to be no other gravestone for Ann recorded, so it seems likely she was.

Annoyingly I have not been able to find Ann’s maiden name or a record of their marriage. I would expect it to have been around 1815-20 so it should be on the Sussex Marriage Index, but I can’t find it there or in the transcriptions of the marriage registers for West Grinstead or Shipley, where Ann was born. I am sure it will turn up eventually.

The other thing I learnt whilst chasing Ann through the census was a selection of different spellings of the surname FAIRS. Some were transcription errors (like FARIS and FUIRS) and one was as different variant on the original census return (FAYERS). All useful information for my future research.

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