Tag Archives: sussex

William Trower and the fly in the ointment

24 May

My 4x great-grandfather William Trower of Henfield, Sussex is one of the weak points in my Trower ancestry.

At first glance everything seems right with the world, William was born about 1790, his death was registered in 1875 when his age was given as 85. Likewise with his burial at Henfield on the 8th January 1875 his age was given as 85.

Tracking back through the census we find him aged 81 in 1871, 70 in 1861, 59 in 1851 and 50 in 1841. In short everything seems to add up right and points to William being the son of Henry and Ann Trower.

A baptism exists in the Henfield parish registers for William the son of Henry and Ann Trower on the 13th March 1791. Don’t you just love it when everything works out neatly?

Unfortunately the fly in the ointment is a burial at Henfield on the 23rd January 1794 for William the son of Henry and Ann Trower, which of course I can’t explain.

Was this William my 4x great-grandfather? or rather was did the William who I thought was my 4x great-grandfather die at the age of three? Should I be looking for another William?

I can’t satisfactorily explain this burial record, it looks like my William Trower could not be the son of Henry and Ann Trower, but there are no other William Trowers who would fit the bill for my William Trower.

My saviour is in the form of a family bible (technically a prayer book), which has been passed down through the Trower family, or rather has survived through the generations without being thrown out. This bible clearly links Henry and Ann Trower with William’s descendants.

So where does this leave the William who was buried in 1794? I can only assume that Henry and Ann Trower had another son after my William but he died suddenly, perhaps before he had even been given a name or baptised. Stuck for a name for the burial register they used the name William. Either that or the vicar simply made a mistake.

Perhaps one day I will find further evidence (there is no sign of a will for William’s father) to be able to prove the relationship one way or another. For now I can only acknowledge the presence in my database of this fly in the ointment.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Tombstone Tuesday: Mary Trower (1793-1855)

22 May

It has been a long time since I wrote a Tombstone Tuesday blog post, but yesterday’s newspaper article prompted me to think some more about William Trower and his wife Mary who were the victims of the crime.

Headstone of Mary Trower (1793-1855) Henfield, Sussex, England

This is the headstone for my 4x great-grandmother Mary, the wife of William Trower. The church in the background is St. Peter’s Church in Henfield, Sussex. Mary was buried on the 8th November 1855, her husband died nearly twenty years later and presumably he is buried in the same grave, although his death is not mentioned on the headstone.

The inscription is not particularly clear on the photo or on the actual stone, the lower part of the stone has a quotation which I don’t have a record of, but the top half reads:

SACRED
TO THE MEMORY OF
MARY WIFE OF
WILLIAM TROWER
WHO DIED NOV 3RD 1855
AGED 63 YEARS

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Making the News: Burglary of the residence of Mr William Trower

21 May

This is one of the most surprising articles I found in my recent trawl of the British Newspaper Archive. It comes from the 10th September 1850 edition Sussex Advertiser and concerns my 4x great-grandfather William Trower and the residence in question was almost certainly Harwoods Farm in Henfield, Sussex.

HENFIELD.

BURGLARY.-On the morning of Sunday, the 1st inst., the residence of Mr William Trower, near New Inn, was broken into by four men, disguised in masks and with muffled shoes. The most violent threats and imprecations were used by the villians against Mr Trower and his wife, whom they awoke for the purpose of demanding where their money was. They remained in the house nearly two hours, and after ransacking it in every part, regaled themselves with some home-made wine they found on the premises. On leaving they took many articles of clothing and provisions, and it is hoped that the property, most of which can be identified, may lead to the detection of the ruffians.

I detect a hint of sensationalism in this story and a touch of humour with the ruffians regaling themselves with some home-made wine, although of course there is a serious crime underlying the story, which I have not been able to follow-up on yet. I would love to find out if anyone was ever brought to justice for the crime.

What is particularly surprising to me is that my 4x great-grandparents had anything worth considering stealing. I have always envisaged them being a fairly poor family, albeit a family that had their own farm, but maybe I need to look again at that picture I have of them.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Wandering: High Weald Landscape Trail – Cuckfield to Haywards Heath

1 May

Conditions were less than favourable when my friend Chris and I decided to walk the next section of the High Weald Landscape Trail. Our previous walk many months ago had left us in Cuckfield, West Sussex and despite the promise of more rain, on top of a week of heavy rain, we hoped that we could make it from Cuckfield to Ardingly.

Our delay in continuing this walk was in part due to the complexities of getting back to Cuckfield by bus. That all changed in mid-April when Metrobus changed the times of their bus from Horsham to Haywards Heath, meaning I was able to jump from my bus at the wonderfully named Pronger’s Corner and onto the Haywards Heath bus, without having to wait a couple of hours.

It was fairly obvious from the outset that we were in for a wet walk. The walk north from Cuckfield was nice enough and would have provided some wonderful views had they not been obscured by misty rain. The conditions underfoot were also less than ideal.

I was surprised how undulating the ground was, hills and valleys were the order of the day, we didn’t rise to any great heights but enough for there to be some potentially decent views across the Weald. Some of the slopes, however gentle, were made a little tricky due to the wet conditions and in a couple of places the paths were almost impassable due to the expanse of mud and water.

Heading north from Cuckfield we clipped the edge of Whiteman’s Green before turning east, passing through Brook Street and continuing on to Borde Hill just north of Haywards Heath. We had half hoped that we would be able to catch a bus into Haywards Heath from Borde Hill, however there was no sign of a bus stop so we had to make our way on foot following the road south into town.

Without really thinking about it we had decided to call it a day, the light rain and squelching conditions underfoot taking its toll on us. It was such a disappointment, I sense that in better conditions it would have been one of the best sections of the whole trail. I may have to return again in the summer when the sun is shining.

Looking west from Borde Hill, West Sussex (28th April 2012)

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Metropolitan Police Constable Thomas Gasson: a timeline

27 Apr

I mentioned yesterday (and on several occasions before that) that my 3x great-grandfather Thomas Gasson spent a short time a constable in the Metropolitan Police.

What I haven’t done until now is put together a timeline for this particular period of his life, bring together the evidence that I have for his time in the Metropolitan Police.

His exact dates of service are not known, so every little bit of evidence helps build up a picture, and may hopefully lead to further records.

28th July 1858 (Slaugham, Sussex)

  • Alfred Gasson son of Thomas and Harriet Gasson is baptised in St Mary’s Church, Slaugham. This is the last record of the family that I have in Sussex before Thomas joins the Metropolitan Police. Thomas is recorded as a labourer.

Q3 1860 (Edmonton Registration District, Middlesex)

  • The birth of their son Edward Gasson was registered in Edmonton Registration District, Middlesex. This places the family in Middlesex, but without checking the actual birth certificate I can’t tell whether Thomas was serving with the Metropolitan Police at the time.

7th April 1861 (Winchmore Hill, Edmonton, Middlesex)

  • Thomas, Harriet and their four children are shown in the 1861 census in Winchmore Hill in the parish of Edmonton, Middlesex. Thomas is recorded as a “Metropolitan Police Constable”.

16th May 1861 (N Division, Middlesex)

  • The Metropolitan Police Orders for the 16th May 1861 record that P.C. 265, Gasson was dismissed for being drunk on duty. This doesn’t provide enough information to confirm that P.C. 265 was my Thomas Gasson. I am also not sure what made up the boundaries of N Division, but I don’t think this matches Winchmore Hill.

Q1 1863 (Cuckfield Registration District, Sussex)

  • The birth of their daughter Harriett Gasson was registered in Cuckfield Registration District, Sussex (later census returns give her place of birth as Bolney or Warninglid, Sussex). This places the family back in Sussex, although it is not conclusive that Thomas had lost his job and they had permanently moved back home.

The only real evidence of Thomas’ service is the 1861 census, but it looks like he probably joined between July 1858 and Q3 1860, and he left between April 1861 and Q1 1863, probably in May 1861. With a bit more work I might be able to narrow these date ranges down a bit, especially with the purchase of a couple of birth certificates and a couple of baptism records.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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