Tag Archives: bolney

Metropolitan Police Constable Thomas Gasson: a timeline

27 Apr

I mentioned yesterday (and on several occasions before that) that my 3x great-grandfather Thomas Gasson spent a short time a constable in the Metropolitan Police.

What I haven’t done until now is put together a timeline for this particular period of his life, bring together the evidence that I have for his time in the Metropolitan Police.

His exact dates of service are not known, so every little bit of evidence helps build up a picture, and may hopefully lead to further records.

28th July 1858 (Slaugham, Sussex)

  • Alfred Gasson son of Thomas and Harriet Gasson is baptised in St Mary’s Church, Slaugham. This is the last record of the family that I have in Sussex before Thomas joins the Metropolitan Police. Thomas is recorded as a labourer.

Q3 1860 (Edmonton Registration District, Middlesex)

  • The birth of their son Edward Gasson was registered in Edmonton Registration District, Middlesex. This places the family in Middlesex, but without checking the actual birth certificate I can’t tell whether Thomas was serving with the Metropolitan Police at the time.

7th April 1861 (Winchmore Hill, Edmonton, Middlesex)

  • Thomas, Harriet and their four children are shown in the 1861 census in Winchmore Hill in the parish of Edmonton, Middlesex. Thomas is recorded as a “Metropolitan Police Constable”.

16th May 1861 (N Division, Middlesex)

  • The Metropolitan Police Orders for the 16th May 1861 record that P.C. 265, Gasson was dismissed for being drunk on duty. This doesn’t provide enough information to confirm that P.C. 265 was my Thomas Gasson. I am also not sure what made up the boundaries of N Division, but I don’t think this matches Winchmore Hill.

Q1 1863 (Cuckfield Registration District, Sussex)

  • The birth of their daughter Harriett Gasson was registered in Cuckfield Registration District, Sussex (later census returns give her place of birth as Bolney or Warninglid, Sussex). This places the family back in Sussex, although it is not conclusive that Thomas had lost his job and they had permanently moved back home.

The only real evidence of Thomas’ service is the 1861 census, but it looks like he probably joined between July 1858 and Q3 1860, and he left between April 1861 and Q1 1863, probably in May 1861. With a bit more work I might be able to narrow these date ranges down a bit, especially with the purchase of a couple of birth certificates and a couple of baptism records.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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I tried not to get sucked in, honestly I did

24 Apr

I was getting along quite nicely with updating my to-do list when I succumbed to temptation and decided that I ought to try to clear one of the items. It looked so simple:

Add step children of Edward and Jane (BURTENSHAW?) GASSON from 1881 census RG11/1063 folio: 74, page: 13

Of course I couldn’t just add census events for the two children, for starters I had to add them into my family tree in the first place. They were step-children so that meant Jane had probably been married before, so there was another husband to add as well. The fact that she had married Edward Gasson (my 3x great-uncle) was a clear indication that her first husband had probably died as well.

In short there was a whole lot more work involved in that single item than I had first envisaged.

It wasn’t particularly difficult work, after all everything was focused around the parish of Bolney, Sussex which I have some experience of and a useful set of parish register transcriptions. Although it was more work than I had intend it was quite an interesting little diversion, and to be honest I am pleased that I did it.

Jane Linfield had married David Burtenshaw in Bolney in 1873, they had three children Edith Jane (born 1874), William (born 1876) and Alice Louisa (born 1877), although only two of those were on the 1881 census.

William Burtenshaw was baptised on the 28th June 1876 and sadly was buried on the 1st July 1876. The age given in the parish register (according to the transcription) was just 38 hours. I think that is the first time I have ever seen anyone’s age recorded in hours.

That wasn’t the end of the sadness for Jane. The third child, Alice Louisa, was baptised on the 15th July 1877 and although she was recorded as the daughter of David and Jane Burtenshaw, the occuption given (presumably for Jane) was widow. David Burtenshaw had been buried at Bolney on the 4th July 1877.

It was such a sad story, albeit on the edge of my family tree, but well worth the time invested.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Postcard Album: Bolney, Sussex

13 Jan

Last week I showed you a postcard  of the Parish Church in Bolney, Sussex, well that same church features on the postcard below or at least the church tower does, poking up above the trees and houses.

This is another postcard by one of my favourite photographers F. Douglas Miller (if you look closely you can see his name embossed in the bottom-right corner). This postcard has not been used, but probably dates from around 1910.

Although my ancestors lived in Bolney and would have known this road (known as The Street) they didn’t actually live in any of the houses featured. No doubt they would have attended the church and probably also the pub (The Eight Bells) at the far end of the road on the right. They probably would have visited the post office as well (the building with the canopy or the one next door).

Although there is not a lot going on in the picture there is something particularly appealing about this card, I can’t quite put my finger on it. What I can say is that to me it captures perfectly a moment in time, what life was like most of the time in a rural Sussex village.

Postcard Album: Bolney Church, Sussex

6 Jan

I have shown you several postcards of Bolney church from my collection before, inside and out (and even the lych gate) but the postcard below is slightly different because it shows a side of the church which I don’t think I have seen on a postcard before.


This view is taken from the north-eastern end of the churchyard near the school and shows the less than interesting northern side of the church.

I am not sure who the photographer or publisher was, the caption is quite distinctive, and I have several similar ones in my collection. This postcard was posted from nearby Haywards Heath in June 1914.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Wandering: High Weald Landscape Trail – Bolney to Cuckfield

22 Oct

The High Weald Landscape Trail is a 90 mile route that runs from Horsham in West Sussex to Rye in East Sussex. The High Weald is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and according to the High Weald AONB website its key features are “its rolling hills, scattered farmsteads, small woodlands, irregular-shaped fields, open heaths and ancient routeways”.

It has been a long time since I walked a section of the HWLT, it was back at the end of April when my friend Chris and I started on the first section of this route, but finally we were back today to continue the walk.

Bolney is not the easiest of places to get to by public transport, for me it involved a bus ride, a train ride and another rather bumpy bus ride. Today’s walk got off to an inauspicious start at side of the old London to Brighton road, but we soon passed under the current London to Brighton road and into woodland, although we never really did get away from the noise of the traffic.

In a large proportion of today’s walk was in woodland and to be honest it wasn’t particularly inspiring. Perhaps if we had been a week earlier then there would have been more leaves on the trees it would have been more appealing, but as it was the walk soon became a little tedious. There path was varied, sometimes along the side of the wood, sometimes through the middle of a wood, sometimes along a road surrounded by woodland but there were few sections where we were actually out in the open.

Things did improve once we got nearer Cuckfield. The landscape did begin to open up a little bit and we were able to see the South Downs in the distance, admittedly it was only the outline of the South Downs, as it was still a bit hazy in the distance.

Without doubt the best part of walk was the village of Cuckfield itself. Of course I am biased because there are family connections with the parish, and it gives its name to the Civil Registration District in which so many of the births, marriages and deaths in my family tree occurred. I don’t think I have ever spent much time in Cuckfield (and we didn’t really spend that long today), but I have passed through on occasion and I now know that I will undoubtedly have to return in the future.

We found time to visit the church (which was open and had a display of “church treasures”) and the churchyard, then after a quick wander around the streets we popped into Cuckfield Museum. I knew Cuckfield had a museum but hadn’t realised what a treasure trove it was, along with the expected displays on aspects of local history they also have a small resource centre for family and local history. I resisted the urge to take a folder of the shelf and pull up a chair.

I need to get myself better organised for my next visit, well actually not my next visit because that will be to continue the walk but the time after that, so that I can spend some quality time immersed in some family history research.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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It is reassuring to know that I was right

20 May

Without wishing to sound too smug, it is reassuring to know that my theory was correct. The birth certificate for Andrew WELLER arrived in the post today confirming what I thought was the case, but I was just not quite confident enough to accept without seeing further evidence.

Andrew’s mother is listed as “Mary Weller formerly Newnham”, which is just the answer I was looking for. It is a shame that I had to pay £9.25 for the privilege of getting that one piece of information, it is not as if I really wanted or needed the rest of the information on the certificate, but I suppose now I have his birth certificate I really ought to find out what actually became of him (he is my 4x great-uncle after all).

More importantly this mean I can happily say that my 4x great-grandmother was Mary NEWNHAM and she married Thomas WELLER in Bolney, Sussex on the 31st December 1816. The census records that Mary was from West Grinstead, Sussex, so she is almost certainly the daughter of James and Sarah NEWNHAM of West Grinstead and she was baptised there on the 7th August 1796.

Now I can start work on the NEWNHAM family line with the resources I already have access to, so will hopefully be able to add a couple more generations without too much difficulty.

For anyone who might be interested in the full details from the certificate (and because I have finally worked out how to do tables) here they are:

No. 104
When and where born Thirteenth of August 1838 Twineham
Name, if any Andrew
Sex Boy
Name and surname of father Thomas Weller
Name, surname and maiden surname of mother Mary Weller formerly Newnham
Occupation of father Agricultural labourer
Signature, description and residence of informant Thomas Weller Father his X mark Twineham
When registered Sixteenth of August 1848
Signature of registrar Billy Ho[ward] Registrar
Name entered after registration [left blank]
Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Postcard Album: Lych Gate, Bolney, Sussex

1 May

I have previously featured two postcards of the lych gate at Bolney, Sussex (here and here) but I make no apologies for featuring another one.

Being photographic this one has much more detail, despite the postcard being slightly damaged. As I have written before about the lych gate I won’t go into details again, but I will repeat the fact that it is a fabulous piece of workmanship.

The card has no mention of a photographer or publisher, but fortunately it was used so there is a postmark. It was sent from Horsham, Sussex (where I started my walk yesterday) on the 6th April 1914 to a Mr C. Tourtel of St. Martins, Guernsey on the Channel Islands.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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