Tag Archives: sussex

When the Trowers moved to Sayers Common

2 Jun

When I wrote about the importance of Betley I mentioned that my 2x great-grandparents moved from Henfield, Sussex to Sayers Common, Sussex.

I have long known the reason behind this move, it was because Ebenezer was going to work as a gardener for Rev. William Buchanan Dunlop the new vicar at Sayers Common parish church, but the exact date was a puzzle.

From the baptism records of their children it was possible to narrow down the date range to around 1892, but it never really felt that important to have an exact date.

An entry in the diary of Percy Ebenezer Trower (one of their sons) provides an exact date for when the family moved and also a date for when Ebenezer retired from work.

Wednesday Dec 31 / 30

The end of 1930! Father came home to-day at dinner-time. 39 years ago next March 7th that he came to Sayers Common to work for Mr Dunlop, just installed as Vicar here. 39 years, probably half his life he has spent with Mrs Dunlop. He came from Henfield with two children, Ethel & Henry one year old. Since then four more were born. I being the fifth, and two have died, one in the R[oyal] Sussex C[ounty] Hospital and the other killed in France. What changes he has seen in those 39 years. He must feel the severance of this long time as gardener for Mrs Dunlop but the long journey to Hassocks was too much for him.

The “next March 7th” would be in 1931 and 39 years ago would be 1892. So Ebenezer and Annie Trower and their two children moved to Sayers Common on the 7th March 1892.

It is nice to have an exact date for when an ancestor moved, because so rarely is there any record of their actual movement unless, it is a major move such as emigration, usually the only sign that they had moved is the change from one record (like the census) to the next.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Spare a thought for Sussex Day

1 Jun

As Britain gears itself up for the long Diamond Jubilee weekend please spare a thought for Sussex Day.

Saturday 16th June 2012 is Sussex Day, a day to celebrate everything that is great about Sussex. You can find out more about Sussex Day on the West Sussex County Council website.

Hopefully because Sussex Day falls on a weekend this year there will be more events celebrating Sussex than previous years, although I have found a few events on the 16th June this year. It has quite clearly not made it as a major feature of the calendar yet. Don’t expect it to be celebrated by a Google Doodle any time soon.

This week has seen a steady increase in the amount of bunting and number of Union Flags that have taken hold on all manner of public and private buildings. It is great to see the country getting in the spirit of the occasion, if only some of that spirit could be bottled and kept safely for the 16th.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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The importance of Betley

29 May

One thing I didn’t mention yesterday when I wrote about my short walk to Betley Bridge was that the area has an important role in my family history.

Just south of the River Adur are two properties, to the west of the old railway line is Great Betley and to the east is Little Betley. The river itself marks the parish boundary between Henfield and West Grinstead in West Sussex so both these properties are just inside the parish of Henfield.

The family connection begins in the 1861 census, when my 3x great-grandfather John Fairs is to be found at Betley (presumably Great Betley) employed as a cowman. Prior to this he had been living “across the river” in West Grinstead, but I can’t pin down when he did start work at Betley.

The railway from Horsham to Shoreham was opened in 1861 and cut through the farmland on which John must have worked. A far more important event however was John’s marriage in 1862 to Mary Ann Weller.

By 1871 the couple had five daughters and were living at Little Betley, probably sharing the small cottage with Henry and Emma Nye and their three young children.

A decade later in 1881 the couple were still at Little Betley, with two of their daughters and sharing the cottage with William and Elizabeth Pierce and their daughter. Just across the fields however at Betley is the 15 year old Ebenezer Trower, my 2x great-grandfather, working as an agricultural labourer.

Although John’s daughter Annie wasn’t living with them in 1881, she obviously wasn’t away that long because in 1889 the she and Ebenezer were married in Henfield Church.

In 1891 the widowed John is still at Little Betley working as an agricultural labourer, and sharing the house with Annie and Ebenezer (also an agricultural labourer) and their two children. One of these was the newly born Henry John Trower my great-grandfather.

By 1901 the families had split up, Ebenezer and Annie with their children to Sayers Common and John had moved closer to the village of Henfield itself.

It is easy for me to forget just how lucky I am to live so close to the house were my great-grandfather (Henry John Trower) and my 2x great-grandmother (Annie Fairs) were probably born and where my 3x great-grandfather (John Fairs) lived for at least 20 years and not forgetting of course my 2x great-grandfather (Ebenezer Trower) and 3x great-grandmother (Mary Ann Weller). And they are just my direct ancestors.

I probably ought to devote some more time to studying this house and the farm on which they lived and worked, it only seems right that I knew more about this particular area, especially considering it is practically on my door step.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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My Family History Week: Sunday 27th May 2012

27 May

Family history activity has been a bit haphazard this week. Nothing really very focused, just poking about my family tree adding bits and pieces here and there.

National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk

I spent a while conducting some searches on the newly updated National Probate Calendar on Ancestry.co.uk but I soon realised that I probably ought to be a bit more methodical about it.

There are potentially hundreds of records in this collection that I ought to be looking for, but unless I actually make a point of being more methodical I am probably going to miss plenty of people along the way.

I am going to have to give some consideration to what is going to be the best way to achieve this.

Early Trowers in my family tree

I also spent a while looking at the information I have for some of the earliest (17th and 18th Century) Trowers in my family tree. I am conscious that I have lots of different bits of information floating about, mainly from wills.

I felt it was probably about time that I actually translated some of this “floating” information into some hard facts in my family tree or at least decide what further work is needed to be able to include this information.

Adding a pair of 7x great-grandparents

One off-shoot of this work on the early Trowers was that I was able to add another pair of 7x great-grandparents, Robert and Mary Greenfield of Henfield, Sussex whose daughter Ann married Henry Trower in 1747. This brings the total number of 7x great-grandparents in my family tree to eight individuals or four pairs.

Challenging times: Sorting out Patrick Vaughan’s information

As I suspected I never got around to doing anything about sorting out the information I have about Patrick Vaughan. I don’t want to let this slip but it has been several weeks since I said I was going to do this.

We have a long bank holiday weekend coming up soon and I am hoping that this will give me the opportunity to get back on track. Hopefully after this I can get on with setting myself with some new weekly challenges.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Postcard Album: The Sussex Riviera

26 May

It is not often that I have an excuse to show pictures of scantily clad women on this blog, but given the beautiful sunny weather we are having I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to show off this postcard from my collection.

This is obviously more modern than most of the postcards in my collection, it was posted on the 9th June 1975 from Bognor Regis, Sussex. The card was published by D. Constance Limited of Littlehampton, Sussex. The 1970s were a lean time for postcards of anything other than tourist attractions, although the same could be said for pretty much any decade since the Second World War.

Honestly it wasn’t the bikini-clad beauties that attracted me to this postcard, but the name emblazoned across the middle of the card, The Sussex Riviera. I think this was the first time I came across the name and as far as I can see it has never been in widespread usage.

Although the map on the top-half of the card depicts pretty much all the Sussex coastline I would imagine the photos are from somewhere in the Worthing, Littlehampton or Bognor Regis area.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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