Week 8 of #52ancestors is an easy one for me – Courting. Now I get chance to share with you some of the letters my granny wrote to my grandad during 1935/36/37 whilst courting.
My granny was born Edith Evelyn Mary Terry on 19 October 1911 in Lingfield, Surrey to Albert Terry and his wife, Emily. Albert Terry was a Post Office Clerk at Lingfield Post Office where he later became the Post Master. By 1911 when Edith arrived,Albert and Emily had been married for 3 years and already had a son, Harold aged 1.
Edith and Harold were later joined by Winifred and Maurice (known as John). All the children did stints for the Post Office, Edith and Winifred both worked as Telephonists at East Grinstead and Edith at Gibraltar Tower, Heathfield. Harold later ran Lingfield Post Office and the last time I visited the Family History Centre in Lingfield, a group of elderly genealogists shared their memories of him. When Edith was at Heathfield, she presumably visited the Brethren chapel at Three Cups which is where she would have met my grandad, Ronald Charles Pilbeam who lived with his family at Rushford Farm.
The letters that she wrote are very chatty, in the days before email, text and mobile phones. They talk about her work in the Post Office, list the wedding presents as they arrived, visits to relatives, and later just before the wedding, cooking for the wedding reception.
“We have a new girl in the Post Office
started Monday. she is the daughter
of the East Grinstead Official who
did all the business of getting me
to Heathfield so I ought to like her
didn’t I? She is learning the work
to get in the East Grinstead office.
Donald, our clerk, went to London
yesterday for the Civil Service exam
He thinks he did well.”
She talks of putting calls through by telephone, date stamping tickets and other Post Office chores.
The letter dated 2 days before they married on 7 August 1937 at the Lingfield Mission Room lists some of the 89 wedding presents received:
“A tablecloth from Mr and Mrs Mummery
A Duchess set from a cousin at Ealing
A set of Dessert spoons and serve from an aunt in Hove
A combined work and afternoon tea table from the Gates
A marmalade jar from Miss Peters
A pickle spoon and fork from Miss Lambert
An afternoon tablecloth from Mrs Oliver
A tea pot and stand from Mrs Dean
A paste stand from Mrs Thorpe
A butter dish from Mrs Rose
Two towels and three tea cloths from Madge Deaton”
Some of those items I need to go and google, I have no idea what a paste stand is.
She signed that letter “from your own little Duckie bird”.
An interesting insight into a person, who was elderly when I knew her and serves as a reminder that our elderly relatives were once young and had different lives to those that we know they live. I often wish that I had taken more note of some of the stories told to me by my grandparents of their families, the people now lost in the mists of time.
#52ancestors – Landed and I have chosen to write about George Pilbeam my x4 great grandfather who during 2 census years farmed parts of the High Weald AONB around my favourite village of Burwash. I have only just started to scratch the surface of the records I have found which tell the story of his life as a farmer. There are more to be found I am sure, but for now this is what I have so far.
He was born in 1784 at Burwash to Thomas and Hannah and he had 4 siblings. By the time of the 1841 census George was a farmer at Woodsell in Dallington. Both the C14 – 17 farmhouse and the C17 Barn next door are Grade II listed buildings. Looking at the record on the Genealogist website for the Tithe apportionment he farmed 35 acres of wood, pasture, arable, orchards and hops and rented the farm from Robert Watts Esq.
I searched the National Archives website and found the following entry on a record for documents pertaining to the Wellis family of Rye, Sussex:
fo. 1r. (i) 10 October 1399. Feoffment from Sir John Wellis, clerk, to Stephen Woodselle and Joan his wife of 30a. called Yongeland in Dallington, abutting on land called Mardore on the south, the land of Thomas Prynkyll on the east, the land called Tyy on the north and the highway from Dallington to Bucksteep on the west; which land was given to him by Sir William de Hoo, kt., and his wife Eleanor.
(ii) 12 May 1401. Feoffment from Sir John Wellis, clerk, to Thomas Petyjon' of Warbleton, of 2 tenements in Dallington, one called Wodsellys (30a.), the other Creplond (30a.), given to the donor by Sir William de Hoo, kt., and his wife Eleanor.
By the 1851 census George had moved to Battenhurst Farm between Ticehurst and Burwash. He had increased his land to 120 acres and employed 4 labourers.
The most interesting record I have found so far was made after his death in 1857. At the East Sussex Record Office I found an auction book that had belonged to A Burtenshaw & Sons, Auctioneers and Valuers, which had two auctions in September 1857 detailing animals, equipment, crops and household goods that went to auction after his death by order of his executors. Some of the goods were obviously bought by members of his own family and the amount of money raised was £377 6 11 1/2.
Below is a list of the animals sold and some other items, who bought it and the price it sold for:
There were also items such as 7.5 bushels of Medlins and a Cheese press.
I have a copy of his will that states:
Also I give to the said Richard Hook and Samuel Peters all my Term and Interest in any Messuages Buildings Farm and Lands which may be in my occupation at the time of my decease and all the Residue and Remainder of my ready Monies and Securities for Money Goods Chattels Cattle Live and dead Stock Debts and Personal estate whatsoever and wheresoever
and also the said sum of One Hundred and fifty pounds at the death of my said Wife upon trust that they my said Trustees shall if they consider it will be advantageous to my Trust property carry on the Business of my Farm and Lands I may occupy at my death for any time not exceeding two years from that period and to use my Farming Stock and effects and other my personal Estate for that purpose and to buy and sell stock and effects and to allow any part of my Family living on such Messuage and Premises a competent allowance and remuneration in return for work Labour and assistance performed and rendered by them in carrying on such Business as my said Trustees shall think proper and also to allow and pay all other wages Rents Tithes Taxes Duties Tradesmens Bills and other payments and expences incidental to carrying on such Business and fully to do all acts relating thereto as fully as I could have done if living
I will keep searching to see what other nuggets I can reveal about George. His descendents continued to farm around the area, my great grandfather George Charles, one of the last in our line at Three Cups, where my great great grandfather William had been a Chicken Crammer! But that is a whole different story!
This week’s #52ancestors subject is Maps and I have struggled to find something to write about. I could write about ancestors who traversed the world and went to Australia or I could talk about mapping the smaller travels of ancestors around the county of Sussex. But then I decided to look at three mapping issues that I was reminded of yesterday. I am currently reading ‘Our Village Ancestors, A Genealogist’s Guide to Understanding the English Rural Past’ by Helen Osborn (the co-founder of Pharos Tutors). I am really enjoying the book and was particularly struck again by what I read yesterday in Chapter 3, The Land and The Farmer and thought I would share my musings.
We tend to look at a parish level when searching for ancestors but we need to think more regionally. If we look at Sussex in particular which is where most of my ancestors lived, we have a number of regions – the Kent and Sussex Weald, the South Downs, the marshes and the Coast. These regions are not nicely delineated by parish or county boundaries. Our ancestors would not have conducted there lives within the one parish, they would have criss crossed the region, according to their job, for instance a shepherd would have stayed on the South Downs but crossing parishes.
I have a number of families on my tree who came from Wartling. Now for me, you say Wartling and I immediately think of that tiny village with the church and the pub. But if you look at the parish it is large and sprawling and almost has two parts to it. I learnt quickly if I couldn’t find an ancestor being baptised, married or buried in Wartling, check the parishes around all the way up to Warbleton and Ashburnham parishes. Thomas Simmons my great x4 grandfather farmed at Cowden Farm in the parish of Wartling and was buried there in 1871 along with members of his family, but in terms of daily life would have been much closer to Bodle Street Green.
Something I am just getting to grips with at the moment, in my genealogical research is the issue of Manors. I have many Ag Labs in my ancestry who would have worked on a farm owned by or tenanted by a farmer and maybe part of a larger estate. Sometimes the owner of that estate might have had farms or other estates in other parts of the county of even different counties and labourers would have been sent to work at those other farms. I am wondering if that might explain why Smith Rhoades my great x3 grandfather was born in Orby, Lincolnshire in 1833 and ended up by 1860 in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. He lived the rest of his life in Sussex and was buried at Aldrington, Sussex in 1919. I find the Victoria County Histories really useful for reading about manors.
Lastly something I found particularly difficult to get my head around when I started my genealogical journey was my ancestors who straddled the county borders, particularly the three counties, Sussex, Kent, and Surrey where they move between East Grinstead and Lingfield and Edenbridge with ease between the generations, making for interesting searching between three county record offices and a number of family history societies. Ancestry very early on added the Surrey BMDs to its website which were really useful in searching around Lingfield and my own county of Sussex with the Sussex Family History Group databases had good coverage of East Grinstead but Kent has proved more difficult and I have a list of ancestors that could not be found in the above two counties and need to be searched for when I get chance, over the border in Kent. A website I have used time and time again for the Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex and I found has transcribed BMDs for Edenbridge is The Weald
Please feel free to add your comments on my musings, anything you agree with or disagree with, I would love to hear them.
The first week in February already and this week’s #52Ancestors subject is Branching Out.
I decided to write about the family of Louis Michel (picture above) who was my x 5 great grandfather, one of few of my ancestors who was not born in Sussex. He was believed to have been born in France about 1780 but that is in dispute among researchers.
He married Elizabeth Watts, (picture above) marriage as yet not found about 1800, and they had at least 10 children:
Henry baptised 1803 in Shoreditch
Elizabeth baptised 1804 in Shoreditch (my ancestor)
Sarah born about 1805
John Louis born about 1810
William born about 1813
Caroline born about 1815
Frederick baptised 1818 in Newington, Surrey
Alfred born about 1819
Louis John baptised 1825 in Newington, Surrey
William baptised 1827 in Lambeth
I researched my ancestor Elizabeth who married twice, firstly to John Roberts, who died before 1830 and then she married Samuel Traies, my ancestor. She like her two sisters remained in the London area.
As I began to research Elizabeth’s siblings I discovered that this family really did branch out. Some of the stories I was told by contacts I am yet to follow up but I found that:
Henry went to India where he married Anne Heathcote about 1825 followed by Charlotte Jefferies in 1833 and had several children. He died in 1880 in India. I would like to find out why he was in India.
John Louis married Sarah Ann Burrage in 1831 in London before leaving for Australia, had several children there and he died in 1895.
Frederick and his wife Mary Cave Woodage who he married in 1838 in Shoreditch, emigrated to New Zealand and he died 1900 in Wellington, New Zealand. According to a family letter he had been Mayor in Hokitika.
Alfred married Sarah Coats in Clapham, Surrey in 1841 and they went to New Zealand via Africa and Australia. He died in 1866 in Hokitika, New Zealand.
Louis John went to Australia where he married Alicia Bell in 1844 in the St James Old Cathedral, Victoria. According to his biography, he emigrated in 1840 with an Uncle, and was best known as one of the first to discover gold in Ballarat. In fact he told the story in The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), Saturday 28 December 1895, on page 9. A letter from his mother in October 1853 mentions most of the siblings and children.
Louis’s sons were responsible for dynasties around the world.
Having relooked at the information I have collected about this family I realise I need to spend some more time filling in gaps and gleaning more information. For instance one of memoirs I have been sent mentions Louis having 14 children, presumably 4 died young. But this family certainly branched out around the world.
Louis John Michel born 1825