Week 36 already of #52Ancestors and the theme this week is Exploration. I thought I would look at exploring a parish by visiting my ancestors who lived there. I decided to look at Warbleton parish which is large rural parish in East Sussex and includes a number of villages such as Warbleton, Punnetts Town, Rushlake Green and Bodle Street Green and hamlets like Three Cups Corner and Turners Green.
I can explore my genealogy in this parish, firstly by looking at census returns and for instance if I take 1871 I find that my great x 3 grandmother Elizabeth Harriet Message was married to her second husband James White and they were running The Three Cups Inn where her children were also living with them.
Little Rigford Farm as it was known then was where Sarah Pilbeam was living, she was a widow and her son William, my great x2 grandfather helped her run the farm along with his sister, Harriet and her husband James Martin, who later farmed at Ebenezer Farm in Punnetts Town.
Down the road towards Battle at Earls Down, Dadds Farm, which now appears to be Ades Farm was where James Winchester farmed with his sons Gaius and Ernest. Gaius was my great x2 grandfather. Gaius is recorded there in later census returns.
Jesse Oliver (younger brother of Hannah Oliver, my great x4 grandmother) and his second wife Eliza were at Bunces at Rushlake Green. He was a market gardener and his son John was a poulterer. In the village of Rushlake Green itself my great x2 grandmother, Naomi Vincent was living with her brother, Nathan who was the Police Constable.
All these families are on my Pilbeam family tree and as the families mixed and interacted the marriages occurred, such as that of Gaius Winchester and Naomi Vincent. I like to wonder about whether Gaius needed the services of the village policeman and met his sister while visiting the Police House, or more to the point did they all worship at the same chapel, I know that it is likely that William Pilbeam worshipped at the ‘White Chapel’ near Cade Street but did the Winchesters too?
I can follow the families progress by checking where they were every 10 years on the census returns. For instance William Pilbeam; in 1861 he was living with his parents James and Sarah at Tye House Cottages in Herstmonceux where James was a Bailiff and William and his siblings were Ag Labs. By 1871 Sarah was widowed and owned the farm at Little Rigford with William. William and then his sons and grandsons farmed at Little Rigford, later Rushford Farm until it was sold in 2006 to a saddlery business. This puts the Pilbeam family in the area for over 100 years and I can also trace where George, son of William went to when he retired in the 1930s. He moved into a bungalow, Beechcroft in Punnetts Town and his sons Sydney and Ron took over the running of the farm, Ron living in next door bungalow, Avondale where my mum lived when she was born during the war. Ron, my grandad eventually moved to Beechcroft after George died and my brother lives there now nearly 100 years later.
Of course other documents can add to this picture we can build of our ancestors and their presence in a place; obvious ones such as births, marriages and deaths and then others such as deeds and mortgage documents, newspaper articles which show them living in a place, marrying from a place, old photos if you are lucky enough to have them and any documents with reference to the properties they lived in.
I also have a number of families that I know were in Warbleton parish earlier than census returns give information for. I can tell this by baptisms and burials that were carried out at Warbleton parish church. Unfortunately though it is not so easy to tell whereabouts these people lived within the parish. Old documents where available might tell me, but most of mine were Ag labs and there is very little documentation for them. Tithe maps give an excellent picture of the early 1840s showing who owned or who resided in properties and documents relating to properties and showing tenancy are very useful as are wills where they are available. Happy Research!