Tag Archives: blackboys

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.

A successful day at The National Archives

8 Aug
The National Archives, Kew

The National Archives, Kew

All in all I think was one of the best days I have ever had at The National Archives, it sure seems like it was a long day, but it was no longer than a normal day at work. I am sure I will sleep well tonight though.

The journey was pretty good, no delays on the trains. It was engineering work on the London Underground which made me change my mind and go to The National Archives today instead of the London Family History Centre.

I have already written about the successful morning I had, but the afternoon didn’t go quite so well. Despite my best efforts I could not find out any more about Wybrants KINGHORN.

I think the problem is that I don’t really know where to start looking. I thought this might be a problem, I don’t really know enough about the subject of criminal trials yet to get anywhere. I should have taken my time and read up a bit more before jumping in head first. Still at least I know where not to look now!

So I switched my attention to the HEMSLEY family and Gun Inn at Blackboys, Sussex. I have written about this place before, but haven’t really done much research into the place. One of the things I wanted to check whilst at Kew was the Valuation Office Field Books for Gun Inn.

These hold the details of a survey carried out as a result of The Finance (1909-1910) Act and provide some information on the property itself and it’s value. It doesn’t normal have much family information, really only the name of the owners and occupiers, however the entry for Gun Inn had the useful little note that it was sold at auction in July 1914 to T. HEMSLEY for £700. This coincides with the death of Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great grandfather) and gives me some great clues as to where to look for more information (a local newspaper for details of the sale including the auctioneer, and then for records from that auctioneer if any survive), if I am lucky there may even be a sale catalogue in an archive somewhere.

After this I decided to take advantage of the free access to the 1911 census and look up Henry HEMSLEY. I hadn’t used the 1911 census at Kew before, but it was straightforward enough once I had found the link on their web page. At Kew you can search and view the pages free of charge and it only costs 20p to print an A3 page (I would rather have had a digital copy but I don’t think this is possible).

As I was getting ready to leave I was stopped by a member of staff, who asked if I was Mr Gasson. I thought I must have done something wrong or left something behind somewhere, but no, this was another Gasson, a distant cousin, who had seen my name on some of my document orders. We chatted briefly but I had to go and catch my train, but you can be sure we will be swapping notes before too long and establishing exactly what the family connection is.

The Hemsleys cricket team

4 Jun

I discovered a wonderful mention of my HEMSLEY ancestors yesterday in a book in the Oxfam Bookshop in Horsham, Sussex. I usually pop in once a week to see what they have to interest me, I have picked up some great books and maps from there in the past.

I didn’t actually buy this book yesterday, I couldn’t really justify spending the £24.99 they wanted for it, for one small mention of my ancestors. Instead I went to Horsham Library today and took a copy of the relevant part for my records.

The book is entitled The Memoirs of Gaius Carley – A Sussex Blacksmith and for a while the author was working in both Blackboys and Framfield in Sussex. There are only a couple of pages on each of these places, but in the Blackboys section he says

The village had a good cricket team and a family named Hemsleys could muster a team of their own and name.

Instantly I started to wonder if there are any records of the Blackboys cricket team and whether any of the HEMSLEY family did play, an interesting little avenue to follow one day.

Then I started thinking about how I would actually record this on my family tree? I can’t really attach the information to any particular generation or individual, in fact I can’t think of anywhere I could record it in my software. If you have any suggestions let me know?

Gun Farm/Inn, Blackboys, Sussex

2 Jun

I still haven’t finished boring you with all my photos from my visit to Framfield and Blackboys at the beginning of May. This little selection are of Gun Farm (or Gun Inn) at Blackboys, the home of my 3x great grandparents Henry and Charlotte HEMSLEY.

My first glimpse of Gun Farm, Blackboys

My first glimpse of Gun Farm, Blackboys

This was my first glimpse of Gun Farm, I hadn’t realised it was at the bottom of a hill. It does show what beautiful countryside surrounds it though.

Gun Farm, just around the corner

Gun Farm, just around the corner

Nearing Gun Farm, it was possible to see just how overgrown the main house was, although the building itself looks in good condition from the outside.

A close-up of the farmhouse itself

A close-up of the farmhouse itself

Although from this photo the building doesn’t look too bad (just overgrown), if you look further round it had been extended and altered to such an extent that it looks almost like a different building.

The roof of Gun Farm

The roof of Gun Farm

Taken from back up the hill, not much of Gun Farm is visible here, but really this shows once again the fantastic landscape within which it sits. Although it looks quite isolated it is not far from the main road, and there are other houses nearby, but they are well hidden by trees.

Looking down Gun Road

Looking down Gun Road

This is a view down Gun Road from the main road. I still need to find out where the name Gun Road and Gun Farm comes from. I wouldn’t like to say which one came first, or what the Gun was (or who it was?) but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find out.

Just in case you lose your way

Just in case you lose your way

And finally, just in case you have lost your bearings, here is the fingerpost at Blackboys which points the way back to Framfield and Uckfield.

Framfield or bust!

9 May

At the very last minute this morning (literally as the bus was coming down the road), I changed my plans for getting to Framfield and Blackboys. Instead of getting the train and replacement bus I realised that I could actually catch a normal bus from Brighton to Uckfield, which would not only be a bit quicker, but also cheaper and there would be more frequent buses.

On top of all that I got a much better view of the Sussex countryside from the top of a double decker bus, plus a trip around Lewes (another ancestral home) and a ride through parts of Brighton I don’t normally get to see. What more could you ask for?

From Uckfield I took another bus to Blackboys, and after getting a few photos and exploring the area I walked from Blackboys to Framfield (only about two miles). I took rather too long in the churchyard at Framfield, so instead of walking back into Uckfield as I had originally planned I took the bus back instead.

Framfield has a lovely church, surprisingly large, and a large churchyard packed with gravestones. I found the gravestones of a few known ancestors, but I also found lots of possible relations as well. They are going to take some sorting out, but I am not in a rush to do that. Now I really need to have a look at the burial register and see who else I missed.

It was great to be able to get a feel for both Framfield and Blackboys, I had never visited before, but now I know where they are and how easy it is to get to them I am sure to be visiting again. Although most of my exploring today was never far from the main roads, there is some lovely countryside surrounding the villages so I would be nice to explore that further. At the moment I know very little about exactly where my ancestors were living, but I am sure in time I will have some houses to go and photograph.

Over the next couple of days I will put up some of the photos so you can see where I went, and what a lovely church Framfield has.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 118 other followers

%d bloggers like this: