Jane HAYBITTLE was one of my 3x great-grandmothers. As is fairly typical of many of my female ancestors most of what is known about her relates to her role as a wife and mother, rather than as an individual in her own right.
Jane was born in 1827 in Ashurst, Sussex and was the daughter of John and Harriet HAYBITTLE, she was the third of nine children (six daughters and three sons). She was baptised at St. James’ Church, Ashurst on the 16th December 1827.
In the 1841 census the thirteen year old Jane is living with her parents and four siblings in Ashurst at Little Wood Ease. Her father is recorded as an agricultural labourer.
On the 3rd November 1847 Jane married Henry TROWER in St. Peter’s Church in the neighbouring parish of Henfield, Sussex. The TROWER family had been resident in Henfield for about 200 years by this time.
It seems quite likely that they began their married life living at the TROWER family home of Harwoods, on the western edge of the parish of Henfield, very close to the boundary with Ashurst. In 1851 the couple are living with Henry’s parents, William and Mary TROWER and his older brother William Luther.
By 1851 Henry and Jane had three children and they would go on to have another ten children together. Their first child, Abraham, was born on the 29th February 1848, a little under four months after the couple were married.
- Abraham TROWER (baptised 9th April 1848)
- Anne TROWER (baptised 15th May 1849)
- Isaac TROWER (baptised 11th May 1851)
- Mercy TROWER (born Q3 1852)
- Faith TROWER (born Q1 1854)
- Luther TROWER (born Q1 1856)
- Mary TROWER (born Q1 1858)
- Sarah TROWER (born Q2 1859)
- Jane Kate TROWER (born Q3 1862)
- Ruth TROWER (born Q4 1864)
- Ebenezer TROWER (born Q1 1866) [my 2x great-grandfather]
- Martha TROWER (born Q4 1867)
- Eliza TROWER (born Q3 1870)
It appears that all the children were born in Henfield, but I have only found baptism records for the first three. During this time the family were still living at Harwoods Farm. After the death of Henry’s mother (in 1855) and father (in 1875), Henry and Jane took over farming at Harwoods Farm. Jane’s own father died in 1874 and her mother in 1879, both were buried in Ashurst churchyard.
The family remained at Harwoods Farm for many more years, they are living there in 1861, 1871 and 1881. At some time between 1881 and 1891 Henry and Jane moved to Rusper, Sussex. In the 1891 census they are living at New Barn Farm and Henry is listed as a farmer, their eldest son Abraham and his family are living at Harwoods Farm. Abraham and his family appear to have moved back to Henfield (from the Brighton area) between 1885 and 1887, and this may have coincided with Henry and Jane’s move to Rusper.
Henry and Jane were back in Henfield by the time of the 1901 census, they are not at Harwoods Farm but living nearer to the centre of the village at Rose Cottage in Church Street. By this time Henry appears to have retired because his shown as living on his own means, he was aged 77 and Jane was 73 years old.