I’ve been relooking at an old brickwall on my family tree this week. My x 4 great grandfather Jeremiah Hall was baptised in Edenbridge in Kent in 1789. He had a sister Jenny, baptised in 1781 and a brother, William baptised in 1787, both in Edenbridge. Their parents on the baptism records were Michael and ______ Hall. Very useful!
A marriage for a Michael Hall in the right time frame has not been found and neither has a baptism of a Michael Hall. The closest we have come to is a Miles Hall who married Jane Holiday in 1769 in Crowhurst in Surrey and went on to have 4 children, all baptised in Crowhurst; Sarah – 1769, Martha – 1770, William – 1773 buried in 1774 and Benjamin – 1775.
I have spent 10 years picking away at this problem, and chatting with other people who are also trying to solve this riddle.
We know that Jenny baptised in 1781 married a Richard Holmden in Edenbridge in 1802, a marriage which has led to a further clue.
A will has been found for a Mary Ware who died in 1807 in Crowhurst. She mentioned several family members. She had previously been married to Benjamin Hall who had a brother, Michael. She mentions three of Michael’s children; Benjamin, Sarah who married _____ Fowle of Westerham and Jane who married ______ Holmden of Edenbridge.
So far that is looking good, Jane and Jenny, same person? There is a marriage for a Sarah and a John Fowle in 1792 and Benjamin could be the one baptised in 1775.
Mary Ware also mentioned a Nicholas, another brother of her late husband Benjamin who also had a son Benjamin. (What a popular name that was!) So plenty of clues to help pick away at this. But sometimes the obvious and most needed answer is just plain elusive.
Could Miles and Michael in Crowhurst and Edenbridge be the same person or am I clutching at straws? There is a family being baptised to a Nicholas and Ann in Crowhurst in the 1720/30s including a Benjamin, a Miles and a Nicholas but Miles was baptised in 1722 meaning he would have been in his late 40s when Sarah was born, never mind Jeremiah in 1789!
I will keep at this one and hopefully one day I will find an answer.
I misquote Shakespeare.
I started looking at the Billinness family from Wartling yesterday. Lydia Billinness born 1816 in Wartling married Henry Martin in Wartling in 1839. Their son, James married Harriet Pilbeam, sister of my great great grandfather William Pilbeam. Further details can be found on my TribalPages tree at https://baldwintree.tribalpages.com/tribe/browse?userid=baldwintree&view=0&pid=525&ver=383. They farmed Ebenezer Farm in Punnetts Town and had one child, John Henry who died sadly at the age of 2 and half years old.
I started searching for Lydia’s family and discovered that her parent’s were Thomas and Deborah Harvey also of Wartling. This rang a bell and well it might. Lydia had a brother born three years before her, Benjamin who married Barbara Cornford. They had a daughter, Mary Ann who was born in 1837. Mary Ann was the second wife of my great x 3 grandfather Thomas Cruse. The funny thing is this links two sides of my tree, my maternal grandfather (Pilbeam) to my paternal grandfather’s mother (Cruse).
Fascinating I thought and just confirms what I know from my dna, 83.9% South East England, and make that Sussex.
Then as I carried the Billiness line further back I discovered that the aforesaid Thomas's mother was Lydia Badcock. Another family I know well. However, as yet I can't find a link between the Badcock family that Lydia came from and the family that my Badcocks came from who married into the Carey family who married into the Harmer family. Of course the Harmer family was the family of my paternal grandmother. So if I can link Thomas Badcoke at the top of my line, who married in Lewes and lived in Willingdon and Hooe, to the Badcocks from Wartling that is three grandparents all linked together. So what are the chances of finding a link with my fourth grandparent, although that line came from Surrey so perhaps not!
Wartling Church, Sussex
One of my favourite poems by a little known Sussex poet.
Sussex Dales and Deans
There’s an old world charm in Sussex, wherever we may go,
Which lends a strength and quietness as we journey to and fro ;
The winds which sweep its Downlands, which blow through dale and dean
Send far and wide our restlessness and leave the mind serene.
There are dales and deans in Sussex, and charming little towns, –
There are Hursts, and Folds, and Havens – all sheltered by the Downs ;
There are shingled spires, and hamlets, and many pleasant things,
Which bind the heart to Sussex, to which our being clings.
There are sheltered lanes and copses which cover many miles,
There are timbered cots and homesteads, all warm with slabs and tiles, –
There are walks on sand and seashore, beside the silver sea ;
These are thy charms, O Sussex, which bind our hearts to thee.
There are barns well filled with storage, and fields well tilled with care,
Great timber stacks for Winter’s fuel, and plenty everywhere ;
While lichened walls of tile and flint encircle deep content ;
To live – to die on Sussex ground, each purpose strong is bent.
Oh ! for the charms of Sussex, the land of Down and Weald ;
Oh ! for the freedom of the hills, its wealth of wood and field ;
Its laden breezes carry health, to all who seek its store –
O Sussex, land of charm and health, we love thee more and more.
Reproduced from ‘The Sussex Weald and Other Poems’ by
Reverend Albert J Treloar, B.D.
published by The City Press, 35 Sheep Street, Northampton in 1938