Tag Archives: gun inn

Satisfying my curiosity – ordering the wills of my ancestors

27 Aug

The recently released National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk has tempted me into ordering copies of four wills, three of which I wouldn’t have even thought about ordering for a long time, the other one I probably would have ordered in the near future.

I don’t think any of these four wills are actually going to solve any particular research problems, but they should hopefully satisfy my curiosity.

  • John FAIRS (my 3x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in November 1915. John FAIRS was an agricultural labourer and if the cross on his daughter’s wedding certificate is anything to go by he was not well educated. So why was his estate valued at over £982? Where had this wealth come from?
  • William TROWER (my 4x great-grandfather) of Henfield, Sussex who died in January 1875. William TROWER was a farmer, almost the last of several generations to farm and live at Harwoods Farm in Henfield. I will be interested to see if the TROWER family were still owners of the farm.
  • Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great-grandfather) of Blackboys, Sussex who died in January 1914. Henry HEMSLEY was the licensee and owner of the Gun Inn, and the attached farm. This is the will I would probably have ordered quite soon, in the process of trying to find out everything I can about the inn.
  • Henry WRIGHT (my 3x great-grandfather) of Alton, Hampshire who died in August 1895. Henry WRIGHT was originally known as Henry SHORNDEN and he moved from Kent to Hampshire for some reason, I don’t really expect find answers as to why he changed his named and moved to Kent, but I would like to find out as much as I can about his life.
    If nothing else these wills are going to give me plenty of work to do as I process this lot, but it is also going to force me to get my act together when it comes to recording all the details in my database, in fact it might be worth starting now and deciding how all the information should be recorded.

Whilst I am waiting for them to arrive I should probably also write a post on how to order copies of wills, and how easy it is if you live in the UK and have a cheque book, otherwise things start getting a little more difficult.

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.

Genealogy gold discovered in a newspaper

21 Apr

Sometimes it is worth taking a chance and searching for things which you don’t really expect to find. Such was the case last week at the Brighton History Centre, when I had an hour to spare in Brighton and wanted to check a local newspaper for details of the sale of the Gun Inn at Blackboys in Framfield, Sussex.

I had a date for the sale and wanted to find out who had been the auctioneers responsible, so I could see if there might be a sale catalogue for the Gun Inn languishing in an archive somewhere. I found the advert I was expecting (although not as much information as I had hoped) and a brief report the following day confirming that the sale took place.

The sale was as a result of the death of Henry HEMSLEY my 3x great grandfather who was the owner, occupier and licensee of the Gun Inn. I thought that as I had the microfilm loaded into the reader and I knew the date of Henry’s death from his headstone, that I might as well check to see if there was a mention of his death or burial.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting to find anything, perhaps a brief notice about his death or maybe something longer if his cause of death had been unusual. There didn’t really seem much chance of find anything more than a few sentences.

What I found was a report of his funeral that had so much detail in it that it will probably take me several weeks to actually process it all. I don’t think I have ever seen a newspaper report for one of my ancestors that goes into such detail, come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever found the report of a funeral for any of my ancestors.

I don’t think I have the space to bore you with all the details in this post, but if you are interested you can have a look at my transcription as a pdf. Over the next couple of days I will highlight some of the information that makes it so valuable to my research.

Stretching the branches of my tree wider

21 Sep

I couldn’t resist a bit of follow up work on one of the pieces of information I picked up at the West Sussex Record Office on Saturday.

It was the marriage entry for Henry HEMSLEY and Charlotte WREN (my 3x great grandparents) in Framfield, Sussex on the 25th February 1853. I was already quite confident about the details, but this confirmed the father’s names for both parties, Samuel HEMSLEY and Benjamin WREN.

It was Charlotte’s side that I decided to follow as I already had some details for Samuel HEMSLEY. I did the usual thing of tracing Benjamin and his wife Charlotte (and their children) back through the census. This threw up a couple of surprises.

According to the census Benjamin was born in Framfield around 1803, and according to the 1841 census he was an inn keeper. In 1851 he was just shown as a farmer. Now the interesting thing is that Benjamin’s son-in-law Henry HEMSLEY was later to become licensee of the Gun Inn at Blackboys, was this the same inn? Was it passed down from Benjamin to his daughter and/or son-in-law?

When I visit the East Sussex Record Office I need to see what licensing records exist from Framfield parish and also see whether Benjamin WREN left a will.

The second surprise was with Benjamin’s wife Charlotte. I am pretty certain that her maiden name was THATCHER, what I am not sure about is where she was born. Charlotte survived her husband by about 30 years so there are more census records, but each census year gives me a different place:

1841 – Same county, so she was born in Sussex

1851 – Cleavedon, Somerset

1861 – Bristol, Somerset

1871 – Framfield, Sussex

1881 – Somewhere in Somerset, which I can’t read

So Somerset wins three votes to two. It looks like one of the branches of my family tree now stretches out to Somerset, probably somewhere around the Bristol area. I will probably have to try out the new 1881 census images on findmypast.com to see if I can read that place name for 1881.

So I still have more work to do, especially with such conflicting data, but either way I have added another two 4x great grandparents to my tree, bringing the total to 42 out of 64.

A successful day at The National Archives

8 Aug
The National Archives, Kew

The National Archives, Kew

All in all I think was one of the best days I have ever had at The National Archives, it sure seems like it was a long day, but it was no longer than a normal day at work. I am sure I will sleep well tonight though.

The journey was pretty good, no delays on the trains. It was engineering work on the London Underground which made me change my mind and go to The National Archives today instead of the London Family History Centre.

I have already written about the successful morning I had, but the afternoon didn’t go quite so well. Despite my best efforts I could not find out any more about Wybrants KINGHORN.

I think the problem is that I don’t really know where to start looking. I thought this might be a problem, I don’t really know enough about the subject of criminal trials yet to get anywhere. I should have taken my time and read up a bit more before jumping in head first. Still at least I know where not to look now!

So I switched my attention to the HEMSLEY family and Gun Inn at Blackboys, Sussex. I have written about this place before, but haven’t really done much research into the place. One of the things I wanted to check whilst at Kew was the Valuation Office Field Books for Gun Inn.

These hold the details of a survey carried out as a result of The Finance (1909-1910) Act and provide some information on the property itself and it’s value. It doesn’t normal have much family information, really only the name of the owners and occupiers, however the entry for Gun Inn had the useful little note that it was sold at auction in July 1914 to T. HEMSLEY for £700. This coincides with the death of Henry HEMSLEY (my 3x great grandfather) and gives me some great clues as to where to look for more information (a local newspaper for details of the sale including the auctioneer, and then for records from that auctioneer if any survive), if I am lucky there may even be a sale catalogue in an archive somewhere.

After this I decided to take advantage of the free access to the 1911 census and look up Henry HEMSLEY. I hadn’t used the 1911 census at Kew before, but it was straightforward enough once I had found the link on their web page. At Kew you can search and view the pages free of charge and it only costs 20p to print an A3 page (I would rather have had a digital copy but I don’t think this is possible).

As I was getting ready to leave I was stopped by a member of staff, who asked if I was Mr Gasson. I thought I must have done something wrong or left something behind somewhere, but no, this was another Gasson, a distant cousin, who had seen my name on some of my document orders. We chatted briefly but I had to go and catch my train, but you can be sure we will be swapping notes before too long and establishing exactly what the family connection is.

Gun Farm/Inn, Blackboys, Sussex

2 Jun

I still haven’t finished boring you with all my photos from my visit to Framfield and Blackboys at the beginning of May. This little selection are of Gun Farm (or Gun Inn) at Blackboys, the home of my 3x great grandparents Henry and Charlotte HEMSLEY.

My first glimpse of Gun Farm, Blackboys

My first glimpse of Gun Farm, Blackboys

This was my first glimpse of Gun Farm, I hadn’t realised it was at the bottom of a hill. It does show what beautiful countryside surrounds it though.

Gun Farm, just around the corner

Gun Farm, just around the corner

Nearing Gun Farm, it was possible to see just how overgrown the main house was, although the building itself looks in good condition from the outside.

A close-up of the farmhouse itself

A close-up of the farmhouse itself

Although from this photo the building doesn’t look too bad (just overgrown), if you look further round it had been extended and altered to such an extent that it looks almost like a different building.

The roof of Gun Farm

The roof of Gun Farm

Taken from back up the hill, not much of Gun Farm is visible here, but really this shows once again the fantastic landscape within which it sits. Although it looks quite isolated it is not far from the main road, and there are other houses nearby, but they are well hidden by trees.

Looking down Gun Road

Looking down Gun Road

This is a view down Gun Road from the main road. I still need to find out where the name Gun Road and Gun Farm comes from. I wouldn’t like to say which one came first, or what the Gun was (or who it was?) but it shouldn’t be too difficult to find out.

Just in case you lose your way

Just in case you lose your way

And finally, just in case you have lost your bearings, here is the fingerpost at Blackboys which points the way back to Framfield and Uckfield.

Finding too many HEMSLEY distractions

15 Apr

My diversion up my HEMSLEY line was only meant to be a brief family tree gap filling exercise over Easter, but it is rapidly turning into a major project. Hopefully today I can draw a temporary line underneath it and return to my MITCHELL and KINGHORN research.

It is also getting dangerously close to wrecking my plans for a trip to the West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) this weekend. Not only do I need time to finalise my plans/goals for my visit to the WSRO, but the HEMSLEYs are pulling me in the opposite direction.

Naturally I want to go and visit Blackboys (the hamlet in Framfield parish) where the HEMSLEYs lived, but there is more urgency in this case because Gun Farm (formerly The Gun Inn and home of my 3x great grandparents) is up for sale as a development opportunity. Although I expect the economic situation will delay any development, I would still like to get out there and get some photos soon.

Hopefully somewhen in the next four or five weeks I can get out to Framfield and Blackboys, not only to visit Gun Farm but also Framfield church, where I am sure that there will be lots of gravestones to photograph and monumental inscriptions to transcribe.

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