Elizabeth Leury was my Great x4 Great Aunt, she was born in 1790 in Slaugham, Sussex just two years after Jane who was my Great x 4 Grandmother. She had two brothers, John the eldest and James and 4 other sisters; Sarah, Phebe who died at eighteen months, Lydia and another Phoebe. Their parents were John and Sarah Leury. It is Elizabeth’s husband William Juniper who is the subject of this week’s blog. I am following the subject of this week’s #52Ancestors – Should have a been a Movie very loosely, it’s more a serial drama or a soap, think my favourite soap, Emmerdale and the saga of farming families.
Elizabeth and William were married on 8 December 1808 at the Parish Church in Cuckfield, Sussex. According to the census records I found they had at least 5 children; William, Owen, Ellen, Edward and Susan. I have not researched their baptisms as yet so this is not confirmed. By the time of 1841 census, the first we can get copies of, William was 52 and Elizabeth was 50. He was reported as a farmer at North Hall which is between Staplefield and Cuckfield. For ancestors born before civil registration began in 1837 it is very hard to find much information about them and you have to think creatively so I did and I thought maps.
My first port of call was the Tithe maps that are available on The Genealogist For a history and explanation of Tithe maps visit History | Tithe Maps
I discovered that William Juniper was farming quite a substantial farm at North Hall, he rented fields, meads (meadows), woods, buildings, yards and gardens from Thomas Ellman who was said to be a cousin of John Ellman who first bred the Southdown sheep and is reported to have experimented with the breeding of Sussex Red Cattle. The 1851 census tells us that William was farming 100 acres. In 1861 it was 130 acres. The tithe maps not only show the farm and the fields around it that were part of the farm, it also allows us to see who the neighbours were.
Looking at both the Tithe maps and the census records there were Abram Juniper near to North Hall, John Juniper next door at North Hall, I have not researched these two yet but they are likely to be sons of William and the two executors of his will in 1875 are John and Abraham, sons. James Johnson rented a cottage and garden next door, he married Jane Leury, Elizabeth’s sister and was my Great x 4 Grandfather. James was an Ag Lab and maybe worked on the farm for William. There was Amos Juniper on the 1841 census closeby also a son of William, and Stephen Leury. There are a number of younger Junipers, Johnsons and Leurys dotted around, who could be grandchildren, nieces and nephews and other relatives.
And just to add to the sense of the story being a soap opera, whilst trawling through the Cuckfield baptisms register I discovered the following:
17 January 1808, Mary baseborn daughter of Jenny Leury, reputed by William Juniper
Jenny is I guess, Jane the older sister of Elizabeth who eventually married William. A true soap opera story, Elizabeth married her older sister’s ex!
From just one record I am able to start to build a picture of the life of William Juniper and his family. I will add to this story by searching for a copy of his will, looking for deeds and other records at The National Archives and checking local newspapers. Despite no civil registration and census records in the early 19th century and before there are records that can be searched for about ancestors.