This week’s #52Ancestors theme is Yearbook but being British we don’t really do Yearbooks. Thinking about a conversation I was having yesterday evening I decided I would write about some of the coincidences I have found in my family tree. Coincidentally they all have something to do with the Sussex Trug.
The first coincidence I found when I started researching my other half’s family tree. He was born and grew up in Hammer, near Haslemere on the Sussex/Surrey border where his family had lived for a couple of generations before him and I have not found any link with East Sussex at all. Except for one in 1861. His great x2 grandfather, Charles Marden, born in Wateringbury, Kent in 1827 and died in Camberwell, Middlesex in 1891 was a blacksmith. I could not find him around the Wateringbury area and couldn’t find him in Middlesex on the 1861 census, and he eventually turned up in Burwash, East Sussex for no apparent reason and wasn’t there for any other census return. The coincidence is that a number of the families on my tree came from Burwash including the Pilbeams, Eastwoods and Westons and would probably have gone to Charles to shoe their horses.
Talking of my other half he has been a Sussex Trugmaker now for nearly 30 years, since he moved to East Sussex when we first got together. That leads to my second coincidence, my grandmother told us that my grandfather, Alf Baldwin had made Sussex Trugs when he was employed at Green Brother’s in Hailsham. Recently I have been researching David Smith who informally adopted my grandmother with his wife Emily, (my grandmother’s aunt) and on the 1921 census he was taking part in a Government backed employment scheme at Green Brother’s making Sussex Trugs. I wonder if he met Alf there and introduced him to my grandmother.
I recently researched and wrote a history of the Truggery at Herstmonceux for Sarah Page, the owner. As part of that research, I looked at the family of Reuben Reed who turned what had been a Carpenters workshop into the Truggery in 1899. Reuben’s mother was Sarah Winchester who appeared very distantly related to my Winchesters, from the Warbleton area. A part of the family that I hadn’t until now researched but can now be added to the tree. The common ancestors being Thomas Winchester and Elizabeth Wenham who were married in Folkington in 1708. I also have Reed/Read in my family but at the moment I’m not going to go there!
I am beginning to think I have the Sussex Trug in my DNA. Have you found any coincidences like this in your own tree. Please share.
This week’s #52Ancestors theme is Textile and gives me chance to write about my only bit of the family from up north. The story started down south of course. In 1818 or thereabouts Phillis Funnell, my great x4 grandmother met a young soldier who was stationed at the barracks in Ringmer, John Thelwell. On 6 November 1818, my great x3 grandfather, John Funnell was born. For a number of years the only clue to John’s father that I had was a warrant for the arrest of his putative father, John Thelwell, late of Ringmer now a gunner driver in the Corps of Royal Horse Artillery stationed at Ringmer for the child to be born of Phyllis Funnell of Chiddingly – ref. P292/15/12 – date: 6 November 1818.
It wasn’t until I started searching the Royal Horse Artillery that I discovered who John Thelwell was. Probably born in 1793 in Gorton, Lancashire to John Thelwell and Martha Marsh, he had 11 siblings, 3 of whom died as small children. Despite a lot of searching this John seems the most likely but his second marriage certificate in 1855 names his father as Thomas strangely. John was married to two different Nancy’s, the first one died young in an asylum. He had 10 children, 5 of whom died under the age of 5. He died in 1870, a Chelsea Pensioner, having fought at Waterloo.
Looking through the census returns held for him, marriage records, burial of first wife and his children’s baptisms and burials they all have his occupation as Weaver or Dresser. Both occupations involved in the Cotton Industry. Specifically his burial record in 1870 was Cotton Warp Dresser. He was living in Brimmington, Stockport and further research should be carried out possibly find out who were the main cotton factories in Stockport.
According to a very useful website that has a list of old occupations Old Occupations - C2 (rmhh.co.uk) a Cotton Dresser was an Operator who assembled the yarns or threads prior to the weaving of cloth.
In the early days of power weaving, looms had to be periodically stopped every few minutes to adjust the cloth and dress the warp with a flour paste to strengthen the threads as they unrolled from the beam. In 1803 William Radcliffe invented the dressing machine operated by a dresser who prepared the yarns for weaving. This was found in a book I purchased ‘My ancestors worked in Textile Mills’ by Adele Emm and published by The Society of Genealogists 2019.
During the 1851 census two of John’s sons, aged 19 and 17 were also involved in the cotton industry as a Power Loom Weaver and a Silk Plush Weaver (part of the Top Hat industry). In 1861 the household has a Cotton Twister and a Cotton Winder. All the neighbours were involved in various parts of the industry in the three census returns I have for John, 1841 to 1861. In 1851, agricultural labourers formed the biggest occupation group in England and Wales, servants next and third was those working in textile industries. The industry was concentrated particularly around the north west and Manchester became known as Cottonopolis.
Currently that is as far as I have got with my research into John Thelwell’s cotton past. It’s all completely new to me, with most of my family hailing from Sussex I am much more used to Agricultural Labourers and the odd brickmaker. But I look forward to finding out more about Lancashire and its cotton industry as well as more about John’s heritage.
sThis week’s theme for #52Ancestors is Food and Drink. Well that’s a topic I could talk endlessly about I thought. But bringing it back to genealogy, I thought I would write about The Three Cups Inn near Punnetts Town, now sadly closed but I have frequented it in the past for family celebrations and meals out. The Steak and stilton pie in the days of Woody was to die for!
My connection however goes back further than the Jenga chips, one of the most disappointing meals I’ve ever had, 9 chips set out like jenga blocks. The chef was trying to go upmarket, didn’t last long, homecooked pub grub was what was wanted. My x3 Great Grandmother Elizabeth Harriot Message married John Funnell in 1840 and for the 1861 census are recorded as being at the Three Cups. John was a Farmer of 15 acres but presumably he ran the beerhouse too.
John Funnell was killed in 1863 by being run over by a cart wheel and Elizabeth married again to James White in 1868. By the time of the 1871 census James White has taken over the Three Cups as Beerhouse Keeper and Orpah one of Elizabeth’s daughters was described as waiter. By 1881 James is a Farmer of 30 acres and Beerhouse Keeper. Rhoda another of Elizabeth’s daughter’s was a barmaid.
The building which is currently closed and derelict, someone is hoping for permission to build houses no doubt, has recently been listed Grade II. Apparently built around the 17th Century and extended over the years. According to the history that has been compiled on the building at the time my ancestors were running it, it was owned by the Trill family. Incidentally having just looked at the Tithe map of 1838, it was owned by Mrs Trill and rented by R Message, which needs a bit more research but that is likely to be Richard Message who was the half brother of Elizabeth Harriot.
I clearly have some more research to do as there is also an intriguing entry on The Keep (East Sussex Record Office) catalogue dated 1717 of suspected parties for a murder being involved in smuggling activities at the Three Cups Inn.
In the meantime I look back at happy memories of eating at the pub and wish wholeheartedly it could be saved and opened as a pub again!
This week’s #52Ancestors theme is Social and for a minute there, I was going to go for 4 weddings and a funeral (a rather lovely film!) but decided to stick at the 4 weddings.
I chose the weddings of 4 siblings, my grandfather Ronald Pilbeam and 3 of his siblings, Phyllis, Gwen and Sidney.
The first to marry was Phyllis Naomi, the oldest child, born in 1907 to George and Nahomi Pilbeam of Rushford Farm, Three Cups, Punnetts Town. She married Percy Thomas Cottingham, second son of Mr C E Cottingham of Warren Farm, Halland on 22 July 1933 at The New Gospel Hall, Maynards Green. Mr W Payne from Lingfield officiated, who I need to research as I am thinking he could be related to my Grandmother, Edith Terry. Her mother was a Payne from Lingfield. The bride wore a dress of white satin and an embroidered net veil surmounted by a coronet of orange blossom. There were three bridesmaids, Joan Pilbeam, the bride’s sister and Ruth and Winnie Cottingham, sisters of the bridegroom. Edward Cottingham, brother of the groom was the best man. The report in the local newspaper has an extremely long list of people who gave presents.
The second pair to marry was Sidney George, the first son of George and Nahomi Pilbeam born in 1909 and he married Eva Edith Delves, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs William Delves of Lynton, Maynards Green on 21 August 1935, again at Maynards Green. The newspaper announced that Punnetts Town Teacher weds. Eva was a teacher and then headmistress at Punnetts Town for many years and is remembered by many past pupils. The bride wore a simple gown of white crepe de chine, embroidered net veil, wreath of orange blossom, white kid shoes and carried a shower bouquet of white carnations and ferns. She had two bridesmaids, her sister Vera Delves and Joan Pilbeam, groom’s sister. The best man was Ron Pilbeam, groom’s brother. The couple were to live at Beech Croft, Punnetts Town, newly built. Again there was a long list of presents including many family members.
Only a few weeks later, on 14 September 1935 the second daughter, Gwendoline born 1908 married Edward Charles Cottingham, brother of Percy Cottingham at Maynards Green Gospel Hall. The bride wore a dress of white satin, with embroidered veil and coronet of orange blossom and white satin shoes. Her bouquet was of bronze chrysanthemums. Bridesmaids were Joan Pilbeam, the bride’s sister and Ruth and Winnie Cottingham, groom’s sisters. The best man was Leslie Cottingham, groom’s brother. The couple were reported to be going to live at Ash Grove, Shortgate, Laughton and they received many useful presents, not listed this time.
The last wedding was that of my grandparents Ronald and Edith on 7 August 1937 at Lingfield Mission Room. The service was again conducted by William Payne. The bride wore a long white dress and veil trimmed with orange blossom. She carried a shower bouquet of pink and white carnations and her only jewellery was a string of pearls. She had two bridesmaids, her sister Winifred and Joan Pilbeam, groom’s sister. Sidney Pilbeam was the best man. They left the reception bound for their reception in Worthing.
The more I search the British newspapers that are currently available on Findmypast, the more I am learning about how my family lived their lives, the places they worshipped at, the people they knew and the families that intermingled through these connections. These articles are also a useful tool for giving you hints to family members not yet found and places they lived. But mostly I love the details from these reports of the wedding dresses and the flowers that were fashionable at the time.