Tag Archives: blackboys

Satisfying my curiosity – ordering the wills of my ancestors

27 Aug

The recently released National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk has tempted me into ordering copies of four wills, three of which I wouldn’t have even thought about ordering for a long time, the other one I probably would have ordered in the near future.

I don’t think any of these four wills are actually going to solve any particular research problems, but they should hopefully satisfy my curiosity.

  • John FAIRS (my 3x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in November 1915. John FAIRS was an agricultural labourer and if the cross on his daughter’s wedding certificate is anything to go by he was not well educated. So why was his estate valued at over £982? Where had this wealth come from?
  • William TROWER (my 4x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in January 1875. William TROWER was a farmer, almost the last of several generations to farm and live at Harwoods Farm in Henfield. I will be interested to see if the TROWER family were still owners of the farm.
  • Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great-grandfather) of Blackboys, Sussex who died in January 1914. Henry HEMSLEY was the licensee and owner of the Gun Inn, and the attached farm. This is the will I would probably have ordered quite soon, in the process of trying to find out everything I can about the inn.
  • Henry WRIGHT (my 3x great-grandfather) of Alton, Hampshire who died in August 1895. Henry WRIGHT was originally known as Henry SHORNDEN and he moved from Kent to Hampshire for some reason, I don’t really expect find answers as to why he changed his named and moved to Kent, but I would like to find out as much as I can about his life.
    If nothing else these wills are going to give me plenty of work to do as I process this lot, but it is also going to force me to get my act together when it comes to recording all the details in my database, in fact it might be worth starting now and deciding how all the information should be recorded.

Whilst I am waiting for them to arrive I should probably also write a post on how to order copies of wills, and how easy it is if you live in the UK and have a cheque book, otherwise things start getting a little more difficult.

More HEMSLEY pub connections

8 Jul

Anyone who has spent any time looking into the lives of licensed victuallers will know that it is not unusual to find multiple connections with pubs within the family tree. The HEMSLEY family of Framfield, Sussex seem to have been no exception.

I was looking at Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great-grandfather) and his connection with the Gun Inn at Framfield, Sussex, and in the process have come across another family connection, or actually several other family connections with Framfield public houses.

It appears that Henry’s son John was also a licensee, firstly of Crown Inn at Blackboys and then of the Barley Mow at Mount Ephraim. Sadly it looks like neither of these pubs are actually functioning as pubs, but it does look like the buildings are still there.

The Uckfield Petty Sessional Division registers of licenses (held at the East Sussex Record Office) reveal that John HEMSLEY took over the license for The Crown on the 14th September 1876, and on the 21st October 1880 it was transferred to Alfred SEAMER, although there is no indication why.

In the 1881 census John is back at the Gun Inn, working as an agricultural labourer. On the 11th September 1890 he took over from Emma MARCHANT as licensee of the Barley Mow. According to the license registers the license was transferred to Henry HEMSLEY (probably his father Henry) on the 14th April 1898.

In this case the likely reason for the transfer is more obvious. John HEMSLEY died on the 3rd March 1898, aged 38 years. It is quite possible that Henry was acting as executor for his son, although John did also leave behind a widow (who later remarried).

On the 21st July 1898 the license was transferred from Henry to Reuben STEVENS. Reuben was Henry’s son in law, having married Henry’s daughter Edith in 1893. Reuben’s time at the Barley Mow was quite brief because the license was transferred to William HOAD on the 13th April 1899.

After Henry’s own death in 1914 the license for the Gun Inn was transferred to his son Joseph, although is seems to have taken a few years for the register to be updated to reflect this.

It all seems to be getting quite complex, and I feel that there really needs to be a better way of showing all these pub connections and the locations of the pubs themselves. On top of that there is also further work that could be done within local newspapers, trying to find reasons for the transfers of licenses.

Genealogy gold discovered in a newspaper

21 Apr

Sometimes it is worth taking a chance and searching for things which you don’t really expect to find. Such was the case last week at the Brighton History Centre, when I had an hour to spare in Brighton and wanted to check a local newspaper for details of the sale of the Gun Inn at Blackboys in Framfield, Sussex.

I had a date for the sale and wanted to find out who had been the auctioneers responsible, so I could see if there might be a sale catalogue for the Gun Inn languishing in an archive somewhere. I found the advert I was expecting (although not as much information as I had hoped) and a brief report the following day confirming that the sale took place.

The sale was as a result of the death of Henry HEMSLEY my 3x great grandfather who was the owner, occupier and licensee of the Gun Inn. I thought that as I had the microfilm loaded into the reader and I knew the date of Henry’s death from his headstone, that I might as well check to see if there was a mention of his death or burial.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting to find anything, perhaps a brief notice about his death or maybe something longer if his cause of death had been unusual. There didn’t really seem much chance of find anything more than a few sentences.

What I found was a report of his funeral that had so much detail in it that it will probably take me several weeks to actually process it all. I don’t think I have ever seen a newspaper report for one of my ancestors that goes into such detail, come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever found the report of a funeral for any of my ancestors.

I don’t think I have the space to bore you with all the details in this post, but if you are interested you can have a look at my transcription as a pdf. Over the next couple of days I will highlight some of the information that makes it so valuable to my research.

Another late night with the WRENs

22 Sep

My quick bit WREN follow up research took longer than expected, the problem was that at this stage I didn’t want to get too drawn into the family, but it was very difficult to get to a point where I could stop without leaving things unfinished.

The particular problem was the fact that Charlotte WREN, my 4x great grandmother was living with her son Charles and his wife (and their family) on the 1881 census and with two of her grandchildren on the 1871 census. I couldn’t just record Charlotte and leave the rest of the family off.

So I added Charles and his wife Mary, but I couldn’t stop there I had to find her maiden name, interestingly it was GASTON one of the variants of my own surname, and details of their marriage from the GRO Marriage Index.

Then came the children, seven or eight of them altogether, with some very strange spellings of their christian names on a couple of them. I had to check the GRO Birth Indexes to see what the names were meant to be.

So what should have been a quick little exercise has taken me three or four times longer than I had planned, but I just couldn’t leave the job half done. Hopefully tonight I will be able to get on with some more filing and organising.

Stretching the branches of my tree wider

21 Sep

I couldn’t resist a bit of follow up work on one of the pieces of information I picked up at the West Sussex Record Office on Saturday.

It was the marriage entry for Henry HEMSLEY and Charlotte WREN (my 3x great grandparents) in Framfield, Sussex on the 25th February 1853. I was already quite confident about the details, but this confirmed the father’s names for both parties, Samuel HEMSLEY and Benjamin WREN.

It was Charlotte’s side that I decided to follow as I already had some details for Samuel HEMSLEY. I did the usual thing of tracing Benjamin and his wife Charlotte (and their children) back through the census. This threw up a couple of surprises.

According to the census Benjamin was born in Framfield around 1803, and according to the 1841 census he was an inn keeper. In 1851 he was just shown as a farmer. Now the interesting thing is that Benjamin’s son-in-law Henry HEMSLEY was later to become licensee of the Gun Inn at Blackboys, was this the same inn? Was it passed down from Benjamin to his daughter and/or son-in-law?

When I visit the East Sussex Record Office I need to see what licensing records exist from Framfield parish and also see whether Benjamin WREN left a will.

The second surprise was with Benjamin’s wife Charlotte. I am pretty certain that her maiden name was THATCHER, what I am not sure about is where she was born. Charlotte survived her husband by about 30 years so there are more census records, but each census year gives me a different place:

1841 – Same county, so she was born in Sussex

1851 – Cleavedon, Somerset

1861 – Bristol, Somerset

1871 – Framfield, Sussex

1881 – Somewhere in Somerset, which I can’t read

So Somerset wins three votes to two. It looks like one of the branches of my family tree now stretches out to Somerset, probably somewhere around the Bristol area. I will probably have to try out the new 1881 census images on findmypast.com to see if I can read that place name for 1881.

So I still have more work to do, especially with such conflicting data, but either way I have added another two 4x great grandparents to my tree, bringing the total to 42 out of 64.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 119 other followers

%d bloggers like this: