Tag Archives: framfield

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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Picture Postcard Parade: The Schools, Framfield, Sussex

7 Mar

I bought this postcard over a month ago now and I am so pleased with it that I don’t know why I have shown you it until now. It still makes me smile every time I look at it.

This postcard was printed and published by The Mezzotint Co. of Brighton, Sussex. It was posted on the 5th October 1906 from Framfield itself, destined for a Mrs. Brooker in Battle, Sussex. Technically speaking because the card is printed the detail is not quite so sharp as on a photographic card, but it is still an excellent card in my opinion.

Several generations of my ancestors probably passed through that school, although I have yet to find the school admission registers to prove it. I wonder why the children are standing outside and why so few? Were they late for class or perhaps early? Who are the two older figures? I love the bicycle leaning against the hedge, almost taller than the girl standing next to it.

What was most surprising to me is that the building is still in use as a school. Despite a few changes to the buildings they are still recognisable, but fortunately there were no children standing in the road when the Google Street View car went past.

Dabbling with non-conformity

15 Feb

I have met this situation several times, a family has several children baptised at a traditional Anglican church but then for some reason they switch to a non-conformist church. Some times they will then return to the Anglican church for the baptism of later children.

The latest occurrence of this concerns my 2x great-grandparents Thomas and Ellen DRIVER. At East Sussex Record Office I confirmed that two of their six children were baptised as Wesleyan Methodists.

I had initially found these records on the SFHG Data Archive where it appeared that they had been baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at Lewes, Sussex. On checking the original baptism register last week I discovered that the baptisms weren’t necessarily in Lewes itself, but within the Lewes Circuit, something that wasn’t clear in the data archive entries.

As usual this information provides more question than answers. The big one of course is why? Why did they decide to switch to Methodism? It is difficult for me to imagine that this was an important decision for my 2x great-grandparents, the church means nothing to me other than a place where my ancestors once stood and where most of them were baptised, married and buried, but it doesn’t mean that my ancestors didn’t consider it important.

I need to find out where the nearest Methodist Chapel was and see if there might be any record that they were members of that chapel, a quick scan of a few county directories should hopefully help me answer that first bit and then it will probably be a question of visiting the archives again.

There is still the question of where their other children were baptised. There were six in all, and I only have baptism details for three of them:

  • Kate DRIVER (baptised 28 March 1880, Framfield, Sussex)
  • Asher DRIVER (born 1882, baptism unknown)
  • Minnie DRIVER (baptised 26 May 1884, Lewes Circuit)
  • Ambrose DRIVER (born 1885, baptism unknown)
  • Herbert DRIVER (born 1888, baptism unknown)
  • Anna DRIVER (baptised 8 November 1891, Lewes Circuit)

So I need to learn a bit more about Methodist records, the local Methodist “scene” at the end of the 19th Century and then search the all the parish registers for the local churches regardless of denomination.

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.

Ancestral Profile: Charlotte THATCHER (c1800-1882)

15 Nov

Charlotte THATCHER was my 4x great-grandmother and although I know quite a bit about her later years, details of her birth, baptism and parents still remain something of a mystery to me.

The first record I have of Charlotte is her marriage to Benjamin WREN on the 14th October 1828 in East Hoathly, Sussex. Benjamin was from nearby Framfield, Sussex so presumably East Hoathly was Charlotte’s home.

Because the marriage was before 1837 I wouldn’t expect to find her father’s name on the marriage register entry. Their marriage was by licence (granted on the same day), so there may be more details included on that which I need to check.

In the years following their marriage Benjamin and Charlotte appear to have had eight children in total, all baptised (and presumably born) in Framfield, Sussex.

  1. Benjamin WREN (baptised 31 May 1829)
  2. Charlotte WREN (baptised 21 August 1831) [my 3x great-grandmother]
  3. Charles WREN (baptised 7 December 1834)
  4. George WREN (baptised 23 October 1836)
  5. Alfred WREN (baptised 20 May 1838)
  6. Lewis WREN (baptised 19 July 1840)
  7. Mary Anne WREN (baptised 24 April 1842)
  8. Thomas Thatcher WREN (baptised 2 February 1845)

Benjamin died relatively young (not long after his fiftieth birthday) on the 21st December 1852. He had been a farmer and inn keeper, and whilst Charlotte appears to have carried on as a farmer, the inn keeping appears to have been dropped. Benjamin and Charlotte’s daughter (also called Charlotte) married Henry HEMSLEY in 1853, and the inn keeping part of the “business” may have passed down to Charlotte and Henry and may have been the origins of the Gun Inn at Blackboys, Sussex.

Charlotte carried on farming in Framfield with the assistance of various of her sons and grandsons. I need to do some further research to identify exactly where the farm was, what type of farming took place and whether they were just tenants or actually owned the land they worked on.

Charlotte died on the 19th November 1882 aged 83 years and was buried with her husband in Framfield churchyard on the 24th November 1882.

Going back to the beginning of Charlotte’s life, the best evidence I have is from the census, which indicates that she was born in Somerset, but it is not clear where in Somerset or exactly when. I wrote about this a while ago but haven’t really made any serious effort since to find her origins, but now would be a good time to review the available sources and see if anything helpful has appeared online in the intervening months.

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