Tag Archives: west grinstead

A Visit to Goreland Farm

4 Jan

I took the opportunity of a dry (but overcast) New Year’s Day to pay a quick visit to Goreland Farm, West Grinstead, Sussex.

As I mentioned in my Ancestral Profile posts on my 4x great-grandparents John FAIRS and Eliza WORSFOLD nothing remains of their home at Goreland Farm. Actually that is not quite true, as you can see from the photo below there are still traces of the buildings in the form of pieces of brick and other building debris, darkened soil and a depression in the level of the field.

There is a footpath that passes over the site of Goreland Farm, but the conditions underfoot were so wet and muddy that it wasn’t long before I turned around and headed back the way I came.

Fortunately there is a country lane which runs close by the site of Goreland Farm, which provides a drier path to the nearest village  a couple of miles away.

Looking on old-maps.co.uk (search co-ordinates: 517095, 118205) it looks like Goreland Farm was demolished/fell down in the 1950s, long after my FAIRS family had moved on. It would be nice to find out more about Goreland Farm and perhaps find a photograph/postcard of it, even though my ancestors were only there for a short time.

Picture Postcard Parade: Interior of West Grinstead Church (Part Two)

29 Dec

This is second of two postcards of the interior of St. George’s Church in the parish of West Grinstead, Sussex. This photo was obviously taken at the same time as the one I wrote about yesterday, and published by the same people.

You could be forgiven for thinking that the church was starting to get overgrown, but presumably there was some sort of special occasion for which floral displays had been created, even if they do look a bit like ivy taking over the church. You can find out more about the church at the Parish of West Grinstead website.

Picture Postcard Parade: Interior of West Grinstead Church (Part One)

28 Dec

If you have read my last two Ancestral Profile posts (if not, why not?) about John FAIRS and Eliza WORSFOLD you will remember that the church at West Grinstead, Sussex was an important part of their lives. Both John and Eliza were baptised at the church, they were married there and both were buried in the churchyard.

This is the first of two postcards I have of the interior of West Grinstead Church. It was either published by Archibald and Frederick Baker or their partner Cecil Travers, it is not clear which one it was, or whether it was a joint effort. The date is probably between 1905 and 1910, or at least the original photo was probably from that date, as it was probably reprinted at least once.

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.

Carved in stone, but that doesn’t make it correct

24 Dec

On Monday I wrote about John FAIRS, my 4x great-grandfather. I mentioned that his headstone records that he died on the 11th March 1846 and that the parish register recorded that he was buried on the same day.

I was rather suspicious of this, it seemed plausible that he died and was buried on the same day but it seemed unlikely and incredibly efficient of all the people involved, including the people who had to dig the grave.

A much more likely explanation was that one of the records was wrong, either the wrong date had been carved on the headstone or the officiating minister had recorded the wrong date in the burial register.

Given that John died aged only 41 years I felt that there could be an interesting story behind his death, so I decided it would be worth ordering a copy of his death certificate. I was astonished to receive the certificate in the post today, having only ordered it on Monday evening (excellent service from the GRO and the Royal Mail).

The certificate revealed the truth, John FAIRS died on the 7th March 1846 not the 11th March, so the inscription on his headstone is wrong.

Disappointingly the cause of death was not very exciting, the cause given is “Acute Gastritis 48 hours” according to Wikipedia Gastritis is “an inflammation of the lining of the stomach”. Not particularly exciting or unusual, Wikipedia does also say that “the main acute causes are excessive alcohol consumption”, so maybe it was alcohol that caused his premature death?

Regardless of the cause of his death, this story does prove one thing, even if it is carved in stone it is not necessarily true.

Ancestral Profile: John FAIRS (1804-1846)

20 Dec

I have a couple of direct ancestors named John FAIRS, the subject of this post was my 4x great-grandfather. His life was quite short, but he and his wife had lots of children including the other John FAIRS my 3x great-grandfather.

John FAIRS was probably born in West Grinstead, Sussex in 1804. He was baptised at the parish church at West Grinstead on the 9th December 1804. He was one of the six children (five boys and one girl) of Thomas and Elizabeth FAIRS.

John married Eliza WORSFOLD (also of West Grinstead) at the parish church at West Grinstead on the 11th November 1826. Together 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)

At each baptism John’s occupation was given as labourer and in the 1841 census he was described as an agricultural labourer. John and Eliza were living at Goreland Farm, West Grinstead with their five children, sadly Goreland Farm no longer exists, but I do know where it was and have walked past the site many times.

According to his headstone (a double headstone shared with his with and two of their children) John died on the 11th March 1846 aged 41. Interestingly the parish register records that he was also buried on the 11th March. This doesn’t seem quite right, maybe one of the records is wrong, or perhaps there was some reason why he needed to be buried quickly. I really ought to get a copy of his death certificate and see what was going on.

The other interesting thing to note is that their youngest child, Fanny, was baptised on the 16th August 1846, five months after John’s death. Again this record needs checking but of course it is perfectly possible that Fanny was born after John’s death.

Walking back to happiness

16 Apr

Last year I used try and walk home from work on a Friday evening, it was a wonderful way to start the weekend. Today it was the other way around, I was making my way into Horsham to pick up some shopping. I also had a couple of other things to do on the way.

This week I have been sorting through GASSON files and came across a monumental inscription which I had transcribed back in March 2003. I discovered that I didn’t have a photo of it, and I am not even sure that I had a digital camera seven years ago.

Not only that, my transcription was different from that provided by the Sussex Family History Group. I felt I should visit Nuthurst, Sussex and get a photo of the headstone and check the inscription. Whilst I was in Nuthurst I also wanted to take a look at New House Farm, where my ancestors were living in the 1841 census.

I had a nice walk, the weather wasn’t brilliant to start with, lots of cloud with the occasional break that let the sunshine through (at least there wasn’t any volcanic ash!). The route was a bit further than my walk home used to be, about 10 miles in all, and I didn’t quite make it all the way to Horsham (I caught the bus for the last little bit).

It was good to get out and forget about job hunting for a few hours, enjoy a bit of sunshine and do a bit of genealogy as well. Just the sort of thing a wandering genealogist should be doing. Plus I got plenty of photos and things to write about along the way, like the one below of the primroses along the side of the disused railway line south of West Grinstead.

Primroses on the Downs Link

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