Tag Archives: partridge green

The Opportunistic Wanderer

28 May

For the second time in two days I have seized the opportunity and gone for a walk. Yesterday morning I took advantage of the fact that my wife had to work and got a lift to work with her and walked home, about four and a half miles.

This evening as I made my way home on the bus I could see the South Downs as clear as they had been for weeks, and instantly I knew I had to go and get a closer look.

So when I got home I swapped my work shoes for walking boots and headed out the door. I didn’t have time this evening to go far, so no need for a map or rucksack, only a mobile phone and digital camera.

My destination was Betley Bridge, which once took the railway over the River Adur between Partridge Green and Henfield, West Sussex. From just north of the bridge the southern horizon is dominated by the South Downs, from east to west.

I mentally named the hills one by one as I scanned the skyline from left to right and straining to see them disappearing to the west. I recalled the many hours spent walking along the ridge in the last two years and looked forward to the chance to walk them once again this year.

It felt so good, such freedom. I could quite easily have carried on walking, within a couple of hours I could have been up on the hills, but it would have been getting dark by then and I have to get up early tomorrow so I retraced my steps home.

It was probably only about three miles in all, so no great physical challenge, but standing in the warmth of the evening sunshine and admiring the Downs did a great deal for my sense of wellbeing.

WW2 gun emplacement north of Betley Bridge near Henfield, West Sussex

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Ancestral Profile: Eliza WORSFOLD (1806-1867)

27 Dec

Eliza WORSFOLD was my 4x great-grandmother and the wife of John FAIRS, whom I wrote about last week. She was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth WORSFOLD and appears to have been the eldest of four children.

Eliza was baptised in the parish church of West Grinstead, Sussex on the 13th April 1806. Nothing more is known of Eliza until she marries John FAIRS at West Grinstead on the 11th October 1826. As I mentioned last week, the couple had ten children (all baptised at West Grinstead):

  1. Mary FAIRS (baptised 17th December 1826)
  2. Harriet FAIRS (baptised 26th January 1829)
  3. Elizabeth FAIRS (baptised 27th February 1831)
  4. Eliza FAIRS (baptised 10th November 1833)
  5. Henry FAIRS (baptised 10th January 1836)
  6. James FAIRS (baptised 8th October 1837)
  7. John FAIRS (baptised 8th December 1839) [my 3x great-grandfather]
  8. Ann FAIRS (baptised 13th February 1842)
  9. Jesse FAIRS (baptised 24th September 1843)
  10. Fanny FAIRS (baptised 16th August 1846)

In 1841 John and Eliza were living at Goreland Farm, West Grinstead with their five children (Elizabeth, Eliza, Henry, James and John), with John working as an agricultural labourer.

Eliza’s husband John died in 1846, so by the time of the 1851 census we find Eliza living as a widow with her four youngest children (John, Ann, Jesse and Fanny). Although the address isn’t included on the census page, they were probably living at a house named Whitefoots in West Grinstead. Eliza’s occupation is given as charwoman.

In 1861 Eliza is living in the village of Partridge Green, still within the parish of West Grinstead, but unfortunately the exact address is not given. Her occupation is given as housekeeper and she is living with her nephew John WORSFOLD (an apprentice wheelwright) and a seemingly unrelated lodger William BAKER (a blacksmith).

According to her headstone (which may not be accurate) Eliza died on the 3rd December 1867 and she was buried next to her husband at West Grinstead on the 9th December 1867, she was aged 61 years.

There appears to be little more that I can add to the life of Eliza WORSFOLD but it may be possible to find out exactly where Eliza was living after her husband’s death (through parish rate books) and she may have received some form of poor relief after her husband died and she had to raise several small children on her own.

Festival of Postcards: Locomotion – Partridge Green Station

19 Aug

The theme for the latest edition of the Festival of Postcards (hosted by Evelyn at A Canadian Family) is “Locomotion”. I don’t think there are any postcards in my collection that sum this up better than the one below of Partridge Green railway station in Sussex.

Partridge Green Station

There is no name of a photographer or publisher on this card, it was posted from Partridge Green on the 27th November 1907 and sent to a Miss B. Longhurst of Ashington, Sussex. Historic postcards of railway stations are eagerly collected and command high prices. I was lucky enough to get this one several years ago.

Partridge Green station was on the Horsham to Shoreham branch (or the Steyning Line as it was also known) of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. It was opened in 1861 and closed in 1966, and the route of the line now forms part of the bridleway linking the North Downs Way and the South Downs Way, known as the Downs Link and is one of my favourite places to walk.

I will give you a quick tour of the station before the train arrives. We are standing at the southern end of the northbound (or up) platform for trains to Horsham, with a small wooden shelter. To the right of that is via the footbridge linking the two platform. Behind the footbridge the road bridge can just be made out, this is the only part of the station that still remains, and even then it has been filled in and only one side remains visible.

On the other platform are passengers waiting for the down train (towards Brighton). Left to right from the footbridge we have the signal box, ticket office and waiting rooms, and the tall building is the station master’s house. To the right of those is the start of the goods yard and goods shed.

Anyway I must dash, I see the train is just coming in and I need to get across to the other platform or I will have to wait another hour. It looks like it’s going to be a busy train, I wonder where they are all going?

Jane TROWER’s death certificate

15 Feb

The second of the three GRO certificates that I ordered was the death certificate of Jane TROWER, my 3x great-aunt. I was hoping this certificate would give me a clue as to what Jane was up to between the 1881 census and her death in 1922.

I had mixed results with this one, nothing really conclusive about her past life, but some quite interesting information nevertheless.

Jane died on the 16th December 1922, aged 60 years, at Hill View, Partridge Green in the parish of West Grinstead, Sussex. The cause of death was “cardiac failure resulting from fibro cystic growth in neck”.

It is nice to have a specific address on a certificate, especially one with which I am already familiar. Hill View was where Jane’s sister Sarah TROWER had a lodging house.

Sarah TROWER appears in several county directories between 1909 and 1922 as running (possibly owning) apartments. She is living there in the 1911 census, on her own (business was obviously not going very well).

Interestingly Sarah’s departure from Hill View, or at least when she stopped advertising, coincides with the death of Jane. This makes me wonder if they were in business together.

So Jane wasn’t living with Sarah in 1911 and I still don’t know where she was in 1891 or 1901 either. The only other clue is in her name.

Her death is registered under the name Jane Kate TROWER, this is the only record I have with Jane featuring a middle name. Perhaps Jane is “hiding” under the name Kate in the census.

There is a possible match in the 1891 census, the age is not quite right but the place of birth is probably a mangled spelling of Henfield, Sussex. The death certificate gives Jane’s occupation as “spinster formerly Housekeeper (Domestic)” which is not really going to help in her location and identification.

So really this certificate hasn’t progressed my research a great deal, but it did contain some interesting information.

All I can do now is carry on searching the census and try and verify whether Kate TROWER in the 1891 census is actually Jane. I will also check the probate indexes to see if Jane left a will, that might take me back a few years before her death if one exists.

A Festival of Postcards – Main Street (Sussex style)

20 Jun

This month’s theme for the Festival of Postcards is Main Street, but over in England we don’t have Main Streets. The closest match I think would be the phrase High Street, especially in rural Sussex where most of my ancestors came from.

The example I have chosen from my collection is from the village of Partridge Green, Sussex. The card is postmarked December 23rd 1905, and to be honest it has not changed a great deal. A lot of the grass has given way to tarmac and concrete, and a few buildings have been added to the view (and a few taken away). The most striking difference is the road, no wide grass verges now just pavements and plenty of cars.

High Street, Partridge Green (front)

High Street, Partridge Green (back)

(Actual size: 138mm x 89mm)

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