Tag Archives: blackboys

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.

Unexpected results planning a trip to Framfield

9 May

Two unexpected things cropped up whilst I was planning today’s trip to Framfield and Blackboys.

Firstly, I was going to get the train to Uckfield (and walk or get the bus) but when I checked the train times online I found there was engineering work this weekend and I would have to catch a replacement bus.

Normally this would be the end of it and I would find somewhere else to go, but because of the route and starting point of the replacement buses it was actually quicker taking the replacement bus (by 44 minutes).

This must be the only time that a rail replacement bus service has actually been quicker than the normal rail service!

The second unexpected thing happened when I googled ‘framfield monumental inscriptions’, and this blog came top of the list! I was surprised to say the least, but I guess I shouldn’t have been, it is probably not a very common search term and I am probably the only one writing about them.

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