Tag Archives: buxted

Ancestral Profile: Henry Charles HEMSLEY (1854-1931)

25 Apr

Henry Charles HEMSLEY was my 2x great-grandfather and was the son of Henry and Charlotte HEMSLEY of the Gun Inn/Farm in Blackboys, Sussex. He was baptised on the 2nd April 1854 at St. Thomas à Becket Church in Framfield, Sussex. He appears to have been the eldest of eleven children born to Henry and Charlotte.

In both the 1861 and 1871 census Henry Charles is living with his parents and younger siblings at Gun Inn/Farm, in 1861 he is shown as a scholar and in 1871 he is recorded as farmer’s son, presumably this means he was working on the family farm.

Henry Charles HEMSLEY married Caroline RUSSELL (daughter of Thomas and Caroline RUSSELL) on the 10th November 1877 at St. Thomas à Becket Church. The marriage was after banns and both were recorded as being of full age. On the marriage register entry Henry Charles is recorded as farmer.

Together the couple had nine children, all were baptised at St. Thomas à Becket Church, Framfield.

  1. Charles William HEMSLEY (baptised 26th January 1879)
  2. Albert Ernest HEMSLEY (baptised 27th June 1880)
  3. Henry Herbert HEMSLEY (baptised 31st December 1882) [my great-grandfather]
  4. Minnie HEMSLEY (baptised 29th March 1885)
  5. Elizabeth Annie HEMSLEY (baptised 26th June 1887)
  6. Frank HEMSLEY (baptised 29th September 1889)
  7. Harry HEMSLEY (baptised 31st January 1892)
  8. Walter HEMSLEY (baptised 25th February 1894)
  9. Enorah Caroline HEMSLEY (baptised 26th April 1896)

The family lived in various locations within the parish of Framfield, some of which I haven’t pinned down yet. In the 1881 census they are living in Muddles Lane, by 1891 they are at Pound House, Framfield and by 1901 they are living in School Lane, Blackboys.

The baptism of Enorah Caroline in 1896 has the family living at Mountfield Farm. By the time of the 1911 census Henry Charles and Caroline are living in nearby Buxted, Sussex at Stone House Farm with their children Harry and Walter.

Across the census and baptism entries Henry Charles is described variously as a farmer, farm labourer and labourer. It seems unlikely that he ever owned any land but he may well have been a tenant farmer from time to time as well as working for other land owners.

Henry Charles’ wife Caroline died in 1912 whilst they were still living at Buxted. Henry Charles himself died on the 24th June 1931, aged 77 years. His entry in the National Probate Index (shown below) reveals that he was living in the nearby town of Uckfield, Sussex (at 50 Alexandra Road).

HEMSLEY Henry Charles of 50 Alexandra-road Uckfield Sussex died 24 June 1931 Probate Lewes 10 August to Charles William Hemsley bricklayer and George Ralph smallholder. Effects £825 19s. 5d.

The first of the executors was his son but I am not sure who George RALPH was, but Henry Charles’ daughter Elizabeth Annie had married a William RALPH in 1912, so he may have been related through this marriage.

Although I haven’t checked the details in the parish register or found a headstone yet I believe that Henry Charles was buried in Framfield churchyard where his wife was also buried.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.

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Ancestral Profile: Ellen VINALL (1857-1899)

3 Jan

Ellen VINALL was my 2x great-grandmother, the seventh of the eleven children of Ambrose and Sarah VINALL of Buxted, Sussex. I don’t have Ellen’s birth date, her birth was registered in Q4 1857 in Uckfield Registration District. Her baptism was on the 8th November 1857 at St. Margaret’s Church, Buxted.

In 1861 the three-year old Ellen is living with her parents and siblings (four sisters and two brothers) at Rocks House, Buxted. Her father was employed as a farm bailiff. Ten years later Ellen was still with her parents (and six siblings) but the family have moved to nearby Blackboys Common in Framfield, Sussex where her father was working as an agricultural labourer.

In 1879 Ellen married Thomas DRIVER, an agricultural labourer also from Framfield. I don’t have the exact date or place for the marriage, but it was almost certainly at the parish church in Framfield. The couple had six children in total:

  1. Kate DRIVER (baptised 28 March 1880 in Framfield, Sussex)
  2. Asher DRIVER (born 1882)
  3. Minnie DRIVER (baptised 26 May 1884 in Lewes, Sussex) [my great-grandmother]
  4. Ambrose DRIVER (born 1885)
  5. Herbert DRIVER (born 1888)
  6. Anna DRIVER (baptised 8 November 1891 in Lewes, Sussex)

Although Kate was baptised in the parish church at Framfield, her sisters Minnie and Anna were baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Lewes, Sussex. I have been unable to locate where Asher, Ambrose and Herbert were baptised.

Some time between 1885 and 1888 the family moved across the parish borders to Waldron, Sussex. In 1891 the couple and four children (Asher, Minnie, Ambrose and Herbert) were living at Hawkhurst Pit, Waldron, Sussex.

Ellen died in 1899 aged only 42, her death was registered in Q4 1899 (in Uckfield Registration District). I don’t know what the cause of death was or the exact date and I don’t know where she was buried, probably at the parish church in Waldron or the cemetery in Uckfield, Sussex.

Clearly there is much work that needs doing on the life and family of Ellen, starting with the parish registers for Waldron and Framfield. I also need to put Hawkhurst Pit on my list of places to visit, along with the parish church at Waldron.

Picture Postcard Parade: High Hurst Wood, Buxted

18 Feb

This is my latest bargain buy from eBay, a view of High Hurstwood in the parish of Buxted, Sussex. It hasn’t been used, and there is no publisher or photographer named.

High Hurstwood

This is the sort of view that I think of as typical of the Sussex countryside, gently rolling hills, well not really hills more slopes. It is criss-crossed with hedgerows, some hiding roads and tracks others just providing boundaries.

Of course if I take off my rose-tinted glasses, I can see that the Sussex landscape is much more varied, and many of the hedgerows have now gone.

I have spent sometime looking at a map trying to pick out some of the features on this card, but the only feature I can pick out is Holy Trinity Church. It is over on the left-hand side just below the skyline, fortunately it is quite a distinctive shape (see my post from High Hurstwood last year).

High Hurstwood Church close-up

If I can get hold of an older map I will probably be able to identify some of the other buildings, but based on the position of the church it appears that most of my ancestors homes are too far to the left to be in the picture.

Picture Postcard Parade: Pine Avenue, Buxted Park, Sussex

4 Nov

This is one of the postcards I picked up last Saturday at the WSFHS Open Day and Family History Fair at Woking, Surrey.

Pine Avenue, Buxted Park

There were three, no actually four reasons why I bought this card:

  1. I thought it was such a charming picture.
  2. When I went walking over at Buxted a few months ago I walked up the avenue and emerged through the gateway on to the road, conveniently next to a bus stop.
  3. My great-grandmother Minnie DRIVER (later HEMSLEY) is said to have worked at Buxted Park, at the far end of the avenue.
  4. The card was priced at £2.50, which I thought was a real bargain.

The card was sent on the 22nd July 1905, from Hadlow Down, Sussex to Miss H Player at North Cray Rectory, in Toats Cray (at least I think it is Toats Cray), Kent. The message reads:

Dear H?
This is a place not very far from us. I thought it would be nice for your album hope you are keeping well this hot weather with much love Annie

I seem to have started a collection of Buxted Park postcards now, what with the spotted deer and now the avenue, I really must try and find out if my great-grandmother did in fact work there before I get too carried away.

The entrance to Pine Avenue, Buxted Park hasn’t changed a great deal since this postcard was published.  Below is a photo I took of the entrance whilst I was waiting for the bus home. The house is partially hidden behind some trees now and the wall has been replaced (or covered) by a fence.

Buxted Park Avenue Entrance

Another family tree milestone passed

28 Oct

Yesterday I passed another milestone in my family history, with the addition of the 1000th individual Family Historian.

I know a 1000 individuals doesn’t really sound a lot, especially given all the work I put into my family history, but I like to think in terms of quality not quantity.

All these 1000 individuals are as a result of my own hard work, not downloaded from someone else’s online tree. All of them (I think) have source records attached in one form or other.

There are many ways I could have boosted my numbers, but to me there doesn’t seem much point, I am not trying to win any prizes, and I have the rest of my life to add people to my tree.

The 1000th individual was Ann VINALL (born in Buxted, Sussex around 1851), the grand-daughter of my 4x great grandfather John VINALL.

Normally I wouldn’t have included her in my tree at this stage, after all I am still trying to trace all not 4x great grandparents not all their descendants as well. It just so happened that in the 1861 census my 4x great grandfather is living with Ann, her parents William and Louisa VINALL and some of their other children.

I could have just entered John VINALL, and left the rest, but I don’t like leaving a family half finished, as there is a good chance I might never get around to entering them for years.

Festival of Postcards: Spotted Deer at Buxted Park, Sussex

18 Oct

The theme for the latest Festival of Postcards is Quadrupeds, I searched my postcards for animals, and to be honest most of my postcards are of rural nature, so there was no shortage of four-legged animals to choose from.

In the end I settled on these fine looking animals from Buxted Park in Buxted, East Sussex.

Spotted Deer close-up

I have not really been able to find out much about these deer beyond what was written on the back of the card. It looks like these may well be chital deer, but I am no expert on deer.

In case you can’t make out the handwriting the message reads:

My dear Arthur I thought you would like this card for your book there are no other in England like them they are never hunted I was quite close to them the other day as I often take a walk in the park They belong to Lord Portman and there are about four hundred they are very pretty hope you are quite well from your Aunt Lucy

The card must have been sent in an envelope or delivered by hand, so there is no postmark to help with dating it, and no clues as to who the publisher was either, but I would think it probably dates from the 1920s.

I was walking over at Buxted a couple of months ago, and I didn’t see any deer (only sheep). My great-grandmother Minnie HEMSLEY is said to have worked at Buxted Park, in the house which is now a very nice looking hotel.

In case you are wondering what they look like out in the open here is another postcard of the deer out in the park.

Spotted Deer, Buxted Park

Proving to myself it is worth getting organised

26 Aug

As if to prove my point from yesterday that organising my files is going to make my research more efficient, I discovered something last night that had me throwing up my hands in frustration.

I was reviewing a report of my 3x great grandparents Ambrose VINALL and Sarah FRENCH. I had some census images that I had printed, but I hadn’t got digital copies, so I saved them to my hard drive. Looking closer at the images and the report I realised that the addresses were in Buxted.

Less than a week ago I had been wandering around Buxted, looking for my DRIVER and HEMSLEY ancestors, and I could have added another five or six addresses to my hit list. At least a couple of these addresses were places I remember walking past (Stonehouse and Maypole Farm), I could have quite easily got a photo or two whilst I was there.

In 1841 Sarah FRENCH was living with her parents Joseph and Hannah FRENCH in Buxted, Sussex. The specific address was Five Ash Down, I say specific, but there were several households at the same address, so probably better described as a community rather than an address. Anyway, when I got off the bus last week at Five Ash Down (opposite the Pig and Butcher pub) I would have sworn that I had never heard of the place before. Yet several months ago I had located three ancestors living there, but they had been forgotten in the intervening months. There was not a lot to see in Five Ash Down but I would have taken a couple of photos looking up and down the street if I had known.

Now I have two more things to do, go back to Buxted and get some photos, and set up a list (or a custom report in Family Historian) that will list all the places in an area that I am visiting, so I don’t get caught out again.

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