Tag Archives: bolney

Picture Postcard Parade: Lych Gate, Bolney, Sussex

13 Oct

At the beginning of September I showed you a postcard of the lych gate at Bolney, Sussex. One of my purchases last weekend was a view of the south side of the lych gate. This view shows the flight of steps leading up to the lych gate.

Lychgate, Bolney, Sussex

Lychgate, Bolney, Sussex

This card was sent from Bolney by Clara to her mother, Mrs W. Hunt of Rougham, Suffolk wishing her a happy birthday on the 30th November 1906. The card was published by Harry Tullett of nearby Haywards Heath as part of the Dolphin Series.

A postcard of Bolney church itself can be seen here.

Two birth certificates arrive

12 Oct

The two birth certificates that I ordered last week arrived today and they were both as I expected. Whilst it is re-assuring that I was able to identify the correct spouses for two of my 4x great grandfathers, it does mean that in effect I didn’t actually need to order them.

The first one was the birth certificate of William GEERING my 3x great grandfather, this confirmed that his mother was Eliza RICHARDSON. He was born on the 21st August 1843 and the only other useful piece of information on the certificate was that he was born in the parish of St John under the Castle, Lewes, Sussex.

The second certificate was the birth of Alfred George MITCHELL in Bolney, Sussex on the 23rd February 1841. This confirmed that his and his sister (my 3x great grandmother) Harriet’s mother was Mary SMITH. There wasn’t really anything else of use on that certificate.

Although I had to buy these two certificates to confirm the identity these two of my 4x great grandmothers, it does feel a bit of waste, as I already knew pretty much all that was on them. Still, I have been able to follow up on Eliza RICHARDSON and identify her baptism and her parent’s marriage as well, so that makes me feel a little bit better about it.

Tombstone Tuesday: Thomas and Mary LEWRY

15 Sep

It occurred to me this morning as I mentally went over the previous night’s research that I probably had a photo of the gravestone for Thomas and Mary LEWRY, my 4x great grandparents.

On my Bank Holiday walk to Bolney, Sussex I had photographed as many LEWRY gravestones as I could find, along with the WALDERs and GASSONs. Sure enough there was a picture of the double headstone of Thomas and Mary in my collection.

Headstone of Thomas and Mary LEWRY, Bolney, Sussex

Headstone of Thomas and Mary LEWRY, Bolney, Sussex

The inscription on the left reads:

IN
MEMORY OF
THOMAS LEWRY
WHO DEPARTED
THIS LIFE OCT 24TH
1855.
AGED 68 YEARS.

and on the right:

IN
MEMORY OF
MARY WIFE OF THOMAS LEWRY
WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE
MAY 31ST 1870.
AGED 80 YEARS.

Investigating Elizabeth LEWRY

15 Sep

Last night I spent some time working on Elizabeth LEWRY my 3x great grandmother. My goal was to fill in some details on her life (from the census) and find out who her parents were.

I already knew that she married Edward WALDER in Bolney, Sussex on the 19th December 1846, and together they had my 2x great grandmother Mary Ann WALDER and at least one other child. From the marriage entry I also know her father’s name was Thomas.

Everything went surprisingly smoothly, most of the census returns were easy to locate (except the 1841 I think it was, in which they were recorded as LOWRY on Ancestry.co.uk). I still need to find out more details on the birth and baptism of their children but that wasn’t on the agenda for last night. I was going backwards, not forwards in time.

Elizabeth was the daughter of Thomas LEWRY and Mary MANSBRIDGE who married in Bolney on the 8th August 1809, she was baptised in Bolney on the 10th April 1825, one of possibly seven or eight children. Thomas’ occupation is variously described over the year as either a labourer, higgler, huckster or poulterer. Thomas died in 1855 aged 68 and Mary in 1870 aged 80, both of them were buried at Bolney.

So that means I have added another set of 4x great grandparents to my family tree, and whilst I still need to do more work on this line I achieved what I set out to do and could go to bed happy (if somewhat later than I had planned).

Confusion in the Bolney parish registers

4 Sep

When I was looking at the Victoria County History of Sussex the other day for information on the lych gate at Bolney I noticed that the next paragraph concerned the church bells, and that five of the eight bells had been given by Michael HARMES.

I have an Ann HARMES in my family tree, who married Samuel WALDER in Bolney in 1815. I thought there was a good chance that Michael and Ann HARMES were related and it would be nice to be able to say that one of my ancestors had provided some of the bells in Bolney church. So I thought tonight I would have a quick look to see if I could find the connection.

I didn’t even get as far as finding Ann’s parents because I got tangled up in verifying that my Samuel WALDER did marry Ann HARMES and had my 3x great grandfather Edward WALDER. This is where things started to get very confusing.

The 1881 census gives Samuel as Edward’s father, no sign of his mother by then, and that is the only census they appear together. In earlier census returns Samuel is with his wife Maria, so presumably Ann had died and Samuel married again.

The problem comes with Edward’s baptism, there is an entry in the transcript’s of the Bolney parish registers for an Edward WALDER, but his parents are James and Ann WALDER. There is no marriage in the Sussex Family History Group Sussex Marriage Index for James WALDER and Ann in Bolney, or nearby, that would fit.

So were James and Samuel the same person? James and Ann WALDER had four children baptised and Samuel and Ann WALDER had three children baptised, all around the same time, there is one pair of baptisms that are quite close together (8 months apart) but that of course doesn’t mean they were different couples.

What seemed like a fun bit of research to prove my ancestor had given some bells to the church has turned into a bit of a nightmare, and one which I am going to have to spend a lot more time on to get to the bottom of. I am beginning to wish I had never started now, still I would have to sort it out eventually, like it or not. There are several other WALDER researchers about so it might be time to get in contact and see what they have found out.

The lych gate at Bolney, Sussex

2 Sep

As I mentioned the splendid lych gate at Bolney, Sussex in my post about my Bank Holiday walk I thought it only right that I should show you a picture of it. None of my photos were really any good (it is quite enclosed so most of it was in shadow all the time I was there), so here is a picture of it from my postcard collection.

The lych gate at Bolney, Sussex

The lych gate at Bolney, Sussex

To be honest it doesn’t really do it justice, this view is taken from inside the churchyard looking south, out through the lych gate. The central stone “plinth” is the lich stone, where the coffin could be rested. The other side of the lych gate is a short flight of stone steps, so I am sure the lich stone was well used. Also at the top of the steps is a wide seating area with stone benches. I will have to try and find a postcard of the view from the south.

According to the Victoria County History of Sussex at British History Online the lych gate was built in 1905 and it is made of oak on “dwarf walls of Sussex marble”. The circular area just in front of the lych gate is a mill stone set into the path.

I have previously featured a postcard of the church itself in an earlier post.

A Bank Holiday walk to Bolney

31 Aug

What a way to spend Bank Holiday Monday, contrary to expectations the sun was out (in fact it was a lovely afternoon) and I was out walking making the most of it.

The destination for today’s walk was Bolney, Sussex, home to many GASSON and WALDER ancestors and relations. In particular I wanted to visit the church at Bolney and try and find some gravestones.

The South Downs, from near Twineham

The South Downs, from near Twineham

The walk started in a small place called Wineham (thanks to my wife for dropping me off). From here I followed the wonderfully named Bob Lane to Twineham, which is slightly bigger than Wineham and has it’s own delightful little church.

St Peters Church Twineham, Sussex

St Peters Church Twineham, Sussex

There should be a couple of my WELLER ancestors buried here, although I haven’t confirmed that in the burial register. If they are they either never had a headstone or it has long since vanished, because I couldn’t find one.

From Twineham I followed Bolney Chapel Road up to the main A272 and then a short way along the A272 into Bolney itself. I like following these small country roads because I don’t have to worry too much with a map, I can just get on with enjoying the scenery and not have to worry about which footpath I have to take.

St Mary Magdalene is a beautiful church, set on the top of a small hill. About a dozen stone steps lead up to a fabulous lych gate, quite possibly the largest I have ever seen. From the lych gate a path leads up the hill to the church.

Bolney Church from the lych gate

Bolney Church from the lych gate

The church itself was closed, but there was plenty to see outside, but one day I ought to actually try and get inside. There is a huge variety of gravestones in the churchyard, so many different ages and types. Of course the older ones are not so easy to read, in fact many are now just slabs of stone with no sign of an inscription.

A pair of gravestones in Bolney Churchyard

A pair of gravestones in Bolney Churchyard

Unfortunately I didn’t have the churchyard to myself, there appeared to be some sort of treasure hunt going on as small groups of people with clipboards made their way through the churchyard searching for a particular gravestone before moving on.

My own hunt was quite successful, several modern GASSON gravestones and some older WALDER and LEWRY ones, although how much of the older ones I am going to be able to make out is another question. I need to have a look and see if there are any monumental inscriptions available that I can use to fill in some gaps. Hopefully someone went around a hundred years ago and recorded all the older ones for me before the inscriptions disappeared.

From the church I head further into the village, past the war memorial and then headed west. This long and winding road (and quite hilly) took me through some nice woodland, with a beautiful scent of pine in the air and past an ancestral home Chatesgrove. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the present owners of Chatesgrove are that keen on letting anyone see their house. Lots of thick hedges and tall fences, meant all I could see were a few glimpses of a timber framed building.

The road eventually took me back to Wineham, where I was due to get picked up again. All in all a nice afternoon spent walking (about 11 miles), lots of photos on my camera, although I don’t think any of the gravestones are direct ancestors. It is surprising how quick the temperature dropped and the light began to disappear, there is no escaping it, autumn is on the way.

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