Tag Archives: framfield

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.

A string of HEMSLEY probate entries

6 Sep

On the whole my ancestors weren’t very helpful when it came to leaving wills, perhaps it was the case that by the end of their lives they didn’t have anything left to leave, either way I don’t have many wills for my ancestors. There is however one exception, the HEMSLEY family.

Whilst searching the National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk I have discovered a string of four entries in the calendar for my direct HEMSLEY ancestors, from the Framfield area of Sussex. The first is for my great-grandfather Henry Herbert HEMSLEY, because he died suddenly and prematurely (aged only 38 years old), there was not a will so this refers to letters of administration.

HEMSLEY Henry Herbert of Stone House Cottage High Hurstwood Buxted Sussex died 1 July 1921 Administration Lewes 15 August to Minnie Hemsley widow. Effects £82 7s. 7d.

Next up is Henry Herbert’s father Henry Charles HEMSLEY (my 2x great-grandfather), who died almost ten years after his son.

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.

Then we come to Henry HEMSLEY, the father of Henry Charles and my 3x great-grandfather. I have already ordered a copy of his will in my search to find out more about Henry and his beerhouse the Gun Inn.

HEMSLEY Henry of the Gun Inn Blackboys Sussex died 10 January 1914 Probate Lewes 6 February to Joseph Hemsley farmer and George Hemsley gardener. Effects £106 12s. 4d.

Finally we come to Samuel HEMSLEY, Henry’s father and my 4x great-grandfather. I know very little about Samuel because my research has more or less stopped at his son and the Gun Inn, but no doubt I will go back further eventually.

HEMSLEY Samuel. 21 December. The Will of Samuel Hemsley late of Framfield in the County of Sussex Labourer deceased who died 9 March 1867 at Framfield aforesaid was proved at Lewes by the oath of Henry Hemsley of Framfield aforesaid Sawyer the Son the sole Executor. Effects under £20.

As usual there are some useful little snippets of information amongst these basic entries, especially the more recent ones which give addresses. I will need to go to East Sussex Record Office to see if I can follow the chain back any further.

At least I know I have some more wills that I can order after the current batch have arrived, and it will also be interesting to see how many of the siblings of my ancestors also left wills. As you can see most of them didn’t have much to leave, so I wonder why they felt the need to write wills?

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 36

5 Sep

Last week was quite a good week for genealogy. I have been finding plenty of things to keep me occupied. There has been very little structure or logic, just picking off records or individuals as the mood takes me. This is certainly not a very efficient way of work (sometimes meaning I am going over old ground again) but it seems to be working for me at the moment.

I must be careful not to fall into the trap of doing nothing whilst waiting for things to arrive. I have orders out for copies of wills and a marriage licence allegation, and the danger is that I will use the fact that I am waiting for them to arrive as an excuse not to do any work.

I have discovered a batch of Framfield marriages which I had transferred to my spreadsheet, but I have not added all the details to my database. Most of these are HEMSLEYs and I have several marriages where the HEMSLEY is not on my database. There were lots of HEMSLEYs in Framfield, Sussex and I would imagine that all of them are relations, it is just that they haven’t been connected yet. That is one job for this week, connect them all up, in particular the ancestors and descendants of Trayton HEMSLEY.

I need to get down to some scanning this week, mostly postcards, but a few other family history bits and pieces. I am going to have to think of a way of getting more postcards on this blog, also I am still thinking about creating a database of my postcards, partly for my own reference and partly to enable them to be shared easier. This is the problem with going to the Picture Postcard Show, it fills me with all sorts of ideas, which I don’t have the time to carry out.

I might also restart the research I was doing on one of the local postcard photographers. I also want to start compiling a guide for dating British postcards, mainly for my own reference because I have yet to find a comprehensive guide to the many features of postcards that allow the approximate date to be worked out.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 28

11 Jul

Family history took a bit of a back seat last week, I did do some work on the HEMSLEY family of Framfield, Sussex but my job hunt took priority. The end result was that I start full-time work again on Tuesday.

This changes things some what. I have become used to being pretty flexible about my research and to some extent my walking, being able to do pretty much what I wanted when nothing was happening with my job hunt.

I now need to re-think my family history plans. I won’t be able to get to the archives so frequently, and will have to balance visits to the archives with the desire to go walking. It is not a big deal really, it just means going back to how things were at the end of last year. It probably means that I will need to be a bit more organised and plan ahead more carefully for visits to the archives.

This week I am going to have a review of my research and the projects I have been working on, and see which ones I am going to be able to pursue from home and which are going to need to be put on hold for a while.

More HEMSLEY pub connections

8 Jul

Anyone who has spent any time looking into the lives of licensed victuallers will know that it is not unusual to find multiple connections with pubs within the family tree. The HEMSLEY family of Framfield, Sussex seem to have been no exception.

I was looking at Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great-grandfather) and his connection with the Gun Inn at Framfield, Sussex, and in the process have come across another family connection, or actually several other family connections with Framfield public houses.

It appears that Henry’s son John was also a licensee, firstly of Crown Inn at Blackboys and then of the Barley Mow at Mount Ephraim. Sadly it looks like neither of these pubs are actually functioning as pubs, but it does look like the buildings are still there.

The Uckfield Petty Sessional Division registers of licenses (held at the East Sussex Record Office) reveal that John HEMSLEY took over the license for The Crown on the 14th September 1876, and on the 21st October 1880 it was transferred to Alfred SEAMER, although there is no indication why.

In the 1881 census John is back at the Gun Inn, working as an agricultural labourer. On the 11th September 1890 he took over from Emma MARCHANT as licensee of the Barley Mow. According to the license registers the license was transferred to Henry HEMSLEY (probably his father Henry) on the 14th April 1898.

In this case the likely reason for the transfer is more obvious. John HEMSLEY died on the 3rd March 1898, aged 38 years. It is quite possible that Henry was acting as executor for his son, although John did also leave behind a widow (who later remarried).

On the 21st July 1898 the license was transferred from Henry to Reuben STEVENS. Reuben was Henry’s son in law, having married Henry’s daughter Edith in 1893. Reuben’s time at the Barley Mow was quite brief because the license was transferred to William HOAD on the 13th April 1899.

After Henry’s own death in 1914 the license for the Gun Inn was transferred to his son Joseph, although is seems to have taken a few years for the register to be updated to reflect this.

It all seems to be getting quite complex, and I feel that there really needs to be a better way of showing all these pub connections and the locations of the pubs themselves. On top of that there is also further work that could be done within local newspapers, trying to find reasons for the transfers of licenses.

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