Albert John TERRY, Post Master, Lingfield Post Office

(1880 – 1958, Lingfield, Surrey)

Father – William Andrew Terry (1858 – 1931)
Mother – Mary Rusbridge (1854 – 1883)

Ethel Mary (born 1883)

Emily Payne (1883 – 1950)

Harold William (1909 – 1984)
Edith Evelyn Mary (1911 – 1991)
Winifred Vera (1914 –
Maurice Albert John (1919 – 1992)

Old map of Lingfield and Crowhurst
Old map of Lingfield and Crowhurst

Albert John Terry was born on 3 May 1880 in Crowhurst, a small hamlet just outside Lingfield in Surrey. His parents were William and Mary Terry. They had married on 21 October 1879 in Blindley Heath, Surrey.

In 1881 Albert was 11 months old when the 1881 census recorded the family as living at Old Park Farm Cottage, Bletchingly. William was an Ag lab and boarding with him and Mary were Mary’s younger brother, William, age 14 also an Ag lab and William Roffey age 17, who may have been one of Mary’s cousins.

In 1883, Ethel Mary was an addition to the family. She was born on 30 March 1883. By then the family were living at Anchor Field Cottages, Godstone, Surrey. Sadly Albert’s mother, Mary died on 4 April from Phlegmasia dolens thrombosis, which is known today as a deep vein thrombosis and was common in mothers who had given birth. Mary was 28 when she died.

On 2 April 1885 William married again, to Ethel Knight, in Lingfield and between 1886 and 1905 William and Ethel had 11 children.

By the time of the 1891 census the family were living in Crowhurst where William remained an Ag lab. Albert, aged 10 and Ethel aged 8 were joined by Edith and Sydney.

William and Edith had lost two small children, William Andrew born 1886 and Martha Mabel born 1890, the previous year, both died of whooping cough and acute bronchitis. Sydney just 8 months old died on 21 April 1891, again from acute bronchitis.

In 1901 the family were living at 2 Oak Cottages, Newchapel Road in Lingfield and Albert, aged 20 was a Post Office Clerk. William was now a Bricklayer’s Labourer. Additions to the family were Clara, aged 8, Alfred, aged 7, Kathleen, aged 4, Dorothy, aged 3, Leonard, aged 1 and Winifred, aged 9 months.

In 1907 Albert married Emily Payne on 24 August at the Lingfield Mission Hall, which appears to have been at Baldwin’s Hill, Felbridge Lane on the way to East Grinstead.

Lingfield Post Office
Lingfield Post Office

Albert and Emily had 4 children; Harold born in 1909, my grandmother Edith

born in 1911, Winifred (Winnie) born 1914 and Maurice (always known as John) born 1919. All 4 were born and raised in Lingfield and by the time the census was conducted in 1911 Albert had become the Post Office Clerk at Lingfield and the family had moved to the flat above the Post Office.

During WW1 Albert was called up in January 1917, when his occupation is noted at Post Office Clerk. He was recruited as a Canteen Steward. Their address was noted as Swiss Cottage, Lingfield. On his medical history he was found to have Flat Foot and something else which is not readable and was rejected from the Army. He was posted to Dieppe where he stayed for the remainder of the war. He forfeited 7 days pay on 13 July 1918 for leaving his kit bag hanging in the kitchen contrary to EFC Standing orders and apart from that his conduct was good. He was transferred back to England in January 1919.

By the time of the register compiled in 1939, just prior to WW2 he was the Sub Postmaster and the family were living upstairs at the Post Office. My mother remembers visits to her grandparents in the flat above the Post Office. By 1939, Harold was the Post Office Assistant working alongside his father and Winnie was a telephonist also working at the Post Office, a position my grandmother had also held until her marriage. In fact she met my grandfather in Three Cups when seconded in the early 30s to work at the Telephone Exchange in Heathfield. She visited the local Brethren Chapel where my grandfather attended.

letter dated 1935
part of a letter dated 6 March 1935

When my grandfather died in 1991 we found a pile of letters written to him by my grandmother during the middle 1930s during their courtship which relay life at the Post Office as well as lists of presents just before they married in 1937.

Albert died on 12 February 1958 and was buried in Lingfield graveyard. He died of Coronary Thrombosis, Chronic Myocardial, Senility, Arteriosclerosis and K Terry; daughter was present at the death. Actually I think this is probably Kathlene, his daughter in law. He died at the Post Office and I believe that his son, Harold had taken over the running of the Post Office. In fact locals from Lingfield remember both Mr Terry’s of the Post Office and have mentioned they were kind and polite gentlemen.

Sadly I don’t have any photographs of Albert Terry and would dearly love to see him!

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My Family History book part 2

Readers of this blog may remember that back last summer I bought a copy of ‘My Family History book’.

My Family History book
My Family History book

I have spent the last five months or so working my way through it and finding where the gaps are in my research for me to fill.

It has been a brilliant aid because as I fill in each person I spend some time looking at the gaps I have and quickly seeing if I can find details.  My plan is to spend more time when the whole book is filled, doing extensive gaps.  However it is amazing what a 5 minute quick search can bring up.

My great x 4 grandfather Corles Baldwin and his wife Esther are parents to Thomas born 1815 in Ireland who emigrated to Canada and William Henry born 1829 in St Giles in the Field, Middlesex, (my great x 3 grandfather).  There clearly must be other children between these two.  I decided to check the baptism records for St Giles in the Field which are now available as part of my Ancestry sub.

Eureka!  I found another 3 children!  William born and died 1823 at 2 months old, Sarah baptised in 1824 and Henry baptised in 1833 and died in 1834 at less than a year old.  So my William was not the youngest child and it also gives me another clue as to when Corles and Esther came to England, before 1823.

More research to do later this year!  A possible marriage for Sarah as I was unable to find a death for her as a child for starters.  Other families are proving as exciting as I work my way through the book.


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Joseph Oliver 1635, Brede to Heathfield

Joseph Oliver baptised 19 April 1635 in Brede, Sussex

St George's Brede
St George’s Brede

Wife – unknown Mary in Sussex
Jane (1661-1677, Heathfield)
William (born 1665, Heathfield)
Nicholas (born 1669, Heathfield)
John (born 1671, Heathfield)
Thomas (born 1676, Heathfield)

Finally getting back to my own family research after a few years concentrating on study and other people’s research.  I received an email from a contact wanting to see my family tree with regard to the Oliver family.  This fired me on a couple of weeks ago to pick up the family and carry on the research.

Now I had searched to find Joseph for some years but couldn’t find an appropriate baptism anywhere near Heathfield where he married and had children. But back in 2009 with some help from another contact also descended from the Oliver family we found an earlier family of Oliver’s in Sedlescombe and Brede near Battle in Sussex.

By checking the Sussex Family History Group baptism database I eventually found a baptism that looked promising.  Joseph baptised at Brede on 19 April 1635.  I found a number of siblings for him including a set of twins, Lydia and Rebecca.  There are twins everywhere in my family tree!  If I search the baptisms for a Joseph Oliver between 1620 and 1640, this baptism is the only one to appear.  All the children were baptised to William Oliver and by checking the Sussex Marriage Index a likely marriage was found.  William Oliver and Susan Weekes married on 10 June 1634 in Warbleton.  Both of this parish.  So could this be the connection?

So what do I believe links this William back to Brede?  Well firstly I could not find deaths for either William or Susan in Warbleton or anywhere close by.

But in Brede, William Oliver was buried 16 May 1653.  Susan his widow, was buried in Brede on 10 January 1669.

Secondly they baptised all their children as above, in Brede, none were baptised to a William and Susan in Warbleton.  And there was no other suitable Joseph to be the father to the next generation all baptised and living in Heathfield.

I am yet to search for Susan Weekes’ baptism but I wonder if she was born and baptised in Warbleton and that was where William met her.  Perhaps Joseph went to Warbleton to work or live with relatives?

Lastly there are a number of documents that I need a closer look at, that I found on The Keep (East Sussex Records Office) website that show a William Oliver witnessing various records in Heathfield, (next to Warbleton) but I cannot find a William Oliver from Heathfield or Warbleton.  So again I believe this to be the correct William.

Now of course I could be completely on the wrong track and will continue to explore all avenues but I think I have found the connection to Joseph.  Now I have just got to find his death!


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Jonathan Harmer – terracotta gravestones

Jonathan Harmer (1762 – 1849, Old Heathfield)

Harmers Cottage, Old Heathfield
Harmers Cottage, Old Heathfield

Wife – Mary Chapman (1759 – 1841)
Henrietta (born 1783, Heathfield, Sussex)
Joseph (1788, Heathfield – 1798, died in New York, America)
Juliana (born 1790, Heathfield, Sussex)
Edwin (1792 – 1793, Heathfield, Sussex)
Edwin (1794 – 1851, Heathfield, Sussex)
Columbianee (1797 – 1798, New York, America)
Columbianee (1798 -1799, New York, America)
Urania (born 1801, Heathfield, Sussex)
Sylvan (1803 – 1884, Heathfield, Sussex)

Jonathan’s father (Jonathan Harmer 1723 – 1800) was a Stonemason living at Portland Square, Heathfield, Sussex and on his death in 1800 he bequeathed to his two sons ‘all such Portland and other stone, together with my working tools and utensils belonging to the trade of stone mason, brick layer and land surveying books.’

Jonathan who had emigrated to America in 1796 returned to Heathfield and took over the family business running it until 1839 when it was taken over by his sons.

In the difficult times of the 19th century, those living locally and were poor could only afford a simple headstone and Jonathan, taking pity on these people came up with the idea of ornamental bas-relief terracotta memorial plaques from the local red clay from Heathfield Park, sometimes combined with paler imported clay. These plaques were then affixed to the gravestone and many have lasted for 200 years. To keep costs down he made his own clay moulds and could therefore turn out many identical panels rather than each being carved individually.

He devised a method where he cut the outline of the terracotta into the stone, then cut about 3/4 inch deeper into the stone creating a cavity. The terracotta plaque of the same or slightly thicker depth was made, then the plaque was glued into the cavity using a mortar.

example of a terracotta
example of a terracotta

There are different designs varying from baskets of fruit and flowers, cherubs, urns of flowers and angels. They were fashioned in the same way as the marble stones he carved. Customers could also choose their own designs and some individual designs still remain alongside the more usual ones in graveyards around the locality.

Churchyards where his work can still be seen: Hailsham, Cade Street, Mayfield, Framfield, Brightling, Burwash, Warbleton, Herstmonceux and Salehurst. Other Plaques can be seen at the Brighton Museum and the Anne of Cleeves House Museum in Lewes.

Sylvan's gravestone, Old Heathfield
Sylvan’s gravestone, Old Heathfield

Although it is reputed that Jonathan’s method died with him in 1849, his son, Sylvan has been said to have carried on the manufacturing of the terracottas after Jonathan’s death although in the 1851, 1871 and 1881 census records he is recorded as being a Land Surveyor. I have been unable so far to find any records of any of Jonathan’s grandsons taking over the business, however, Sylvan’s gravestone dated 1884 at Old Heathfield Churchyard is the latest terracotta I have found, therefore someone must have carried on the tradition for a little while at least.

© Kerry Baldwin 2015

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Phillis Funnell (1801 – 1879, Chiddingly to Tasmania)

Phillis Funnell was my 4 x great grandmother who with her husband, Richard Hickman emigrated to Tasmania

Phillis Funnell
Phillis Funnell

Father – John Funnell married 5 January 1790, Chiddingly, Sussex
Mother – Mary Willard
Thomas (1790 – 1870)
John (born 1792)
William (born 1794)
Henry (born 1795)
Walter (born 1797)
Fanny (born 1798)
Harriet (born 1804)
Mary Ann (born 1812)

John Funnell born 6 November 1818, Chiddingly, Sussex and baptised 28 March 1819, Chiddingly, Sussex. Parents – Phillis and John Thelwell (warrant for arrest of putative father of bastard dated 6 November 1818 – 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 – A2A online accessed 16/07/2007

Husband – Richard Hickman (1794 – 1876 married Phillis 29 December 1821 in Hellingly, Sussex)
Frances (1823 – 1908)
Henry (1825 – 1910)
Ellen (1827-1905)
Owen Henry (1830 – 1908)
Eliza (1832 – 1908)
Lois (1833 – 1907)
Harriet (1836 – 1892)
Richard (1839 – 1891)
(Please note: I have not fully checked out all the above people yet)

Census Information:
1841 census:
During the 1841 census Phillis aged 40 was living with Richard at North Street, Hellingly. He was an Agricultural Labourer. At home with them were Ellen aged 13, Owen aged 11, Eliza aged 9, Lois aged 7, Harriet aged 4 and Richard aged 2.

The following information is from an extract published by Robert Kellett:

Richard Hickman or Hickmore as he was probably known in England, was a wagoner in Sussex. As there were no railways supplying London in those days, a tremendous amount of goods, vegetables, horse and cow feed for threater number of animals then in the city, were moved into the London by wagons.

In a letter dated 26.11.1841 from Hailsham Union asks that two of Richard Hickmer’s children be admitted to the workhouse naming the children, the father’s earnings of 12/- a week and the decision that only one child be admitted. (It is clear from records that the winter of 1841/42 was very severe and that there was great hardship).

Letter from Hailsham Union 9 May 1842 agreed to assist Richard Hickman and the family to emigrate to Van Dieman’s Land and asking the Poor Law Commissioners to sanction the sum of £40 for expenses. They had to act quickly as the ship sailed on the 17th)

Letter from Poor Law Commission dated 12 May 1842 gives authority for the emigration proposed. The name is clearly spelled Hickman although there is a strange flourish on the ‘H’.

Letter from the Land and Emigration Commission to the Poor Law Commissioners, dated 20 May 1842 confirms the arrangements. In summary, the Land and Emigration Commission provide a free passage to the family (except the father), the Hailsham Union paid £40 for expenses and Richard Hickman paid his own passage money £15 14s 6d.

The family sailed to Van Dieman’s Land on the Appoline arriving in Hobart on 1 October 1842 after 5 months at sea. A copy of the list of immigrants received into the Belle Vue Quarter shows that Richard aged 45, Hop Planter and family left early to reside with a friend in town but to have their rations continued until 26th October.

It has not been established as to where the Hickman family first moved. They remained in close contact with the Geeves family who sailed on the Appoline, two of the daughters Lois and Eliza married two of the sons, Stepen and Osborne Geeves in 1851 and 1856.

The family ultimately settled on a property named ‘Normanville’ at Brushy Creek Road in Lenah Valley (then called Kangaroo Valley and sometimes Kangaroo Bottom). The census in 1851 has no record of Hickman as a householder. Records in the Lands and Titles Office for 1855 indicate as follows:

25/5/1855 Richard Hickman owner and occupier of farm and cottage.
6/7/1855 Conveyance of 200 acres in Kangaroo Valley from Sinclair Williamson to Richard Hickman Ref 4/1530
19/10/1855 Conveyance of 200 acres in Kangaroo Valley from Richard Hickman to his sons Owen and Richard.

In 1868 Richard became the owner of 150 acres of the property and 50 actres were given to Henry.

At Normanville the family established Orchards and then Jam manufacturing and they were among the first to export apples to England, some time after 1876 when the first trial shipment was sent from Huon Valley by William Bailey – 20 cases of french crabs.


By 1857 Richard jnr was courting Sarah, daughter of John and Cecily Rowland. Some of his letters to Sarah have been preserved and give the impression that he and his mother were living alone at Normanvile. At no time does Richard make mention of his father over the years 1857 – 1859.

Richard Hickman sen went to Geeveston where he took up some land opposite the Congregational Church and eventually planted a small apple orchard. He also made use of his knowledge of hedging and planted most of the hawthorn hedges in Geeveston. A small portion remain to this day (1998). He is remembered as being very active up to his death in 1876 as the result of a fall from a high old mulberry tree.

Phillis remained at Normanville with Richard jnr and Sarah and it seems that for some reason there was an estrangement between Phillis and Richard which caused them to separate permanently. When Phillis died on 6 April 1879 she was buried in the cemetary of the Congregational Church in New Town where her name appears on her son Richard’s family headstone.

© Kerry Baldwin

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My Canadian Baldwin cousins

In 2010 I put forward a part of my family tree for the Scavenger Hunt on Rootschat, a weekly quest for various members to concentrate their research into helping one of the other members.

For more information see the Scavenger Hunt.

I wanted to see if I could fit in two Baldwins I had found who emigrated into the family of Corlis and Hester Baldwin, my 4 x great grandfather who came from Ireland to London sometime before 1829.  I’ve still not been able to fit Henry at the beginning of the hunt into my family.  But bit by bit the information pointed to the fact that Thomas was the son of Corlis and Hester Baldwin.  Although seeing his birth or baptism record of course would once and for all prove it.

The evidence is thus far:  according to all the census records I have seen for Thomas he was born c 1817 in Ireland.  The marriage certificate for Thomas Baldwin and Margaret Morgan, 1839 in St Giles in the Field, Middlesex, gives Thomas’s father as Corlis Baldwin, shoemaker which my Corlis was.  Thomas was also a shoemaker.

There is also Thomas and Margaret’s first son who was born in 1840 and died 1844.  He was called Corlis and according to various sources in old Irish naming patterns, the first son was always named after the father’s father.  Certainly the second son, John was named after Margaret’s father, as per the marriage certificate.  The third son was named Thomas after his father, all right so far.  Does that then mean that Thomas (snr) had an eldest brother called James – the fourth son, and did Margaret have an eldest brother William. This is yet to be found out.

Also Thomas and Margaret were living in St Giles in the Field, the same parish as Corlis and Hester/Esther with their youngest son, William (my 3x great grandfather).  I need to check out where Little Denmark Street is in relation to Buckridge Street to see how close they were.

I continue to research this interesting family who ended up in Keppel, Canada, and have recently found 3 grandsons who all fought in WW1, one died and is commemorated on the Menin Gate.

If you have any information about this family please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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John Fuller – three wives and too many children!

John Fuller married Ellen Harmer my great x 3 grandmother.  Ellen was his third wife.  I recently spent some time researching their children and looking at census returns I found children I could not account for which caused me to research his history and a very interesting history that turned out to be!

Brightling Church
Brightling Church

John was baptised on 30 May 1813 at Brightling, to Rose and Priscilla Fuller.  His first marriage was to Keturah Russell on 25 December 1840.  (A good Sussex name).  They were found together on the 1841 census living in Brightling, she was known as Kitty.  They had two children, Phoebe Ann baptised 6 February 1842 and Catherine baptised 20 October 1844, both at Brightling.  Keturah died in 1844 and by the time of the 1851 census John was with his second wife, Jane.

Jane Wickham is said to have come from Wadhurst and before she married John on 25 February 1850 in Burwash, she had had four children, Mary Ann born 1842, George Humphrey born 1844, James born 1846 and Edward born in 1849, baptised in Ticehurst or the poorhouse in Flimwell.  John and Jane had four children of their own; John baptised 7 December 1851, Stephan baptised 6 February 1854, Naomi baptised 1 March 1857 and Thomas John baptised 4 September 1859, all at Brightling.  The three younger of these children appear on the 1861 census along with some of the older children, although a mystery is William aged 16 (born 1845).

Jane apparently died at the end of May 1863 and was buried in Brightling and John married Ellen, my ancestor on 16 February 1866 in Brightling.  Ellen already had three illegitimate children; Ann Harmer baptised 10 April 1861 in Ashburnham, (she had died in 1863) James Frederick Samuel Harmer (my great great grandfather) baptised 3 November 1861 in Ashburnham, Harriet Rosina Harmer baptised 2 August 1863 in Ashburnham.

John and Ellen had six children between them; Philadelphia baptised 21 October 1866, George Thomas baptised 5 July 1868, Robert baptised 4 September 1870, Mary Louisa baptised 3 December 1872 (she died in Feburary 1873), Charles William baptised 1 November 1874 and Rachel Ann baptised 1 July 1877, again all at Brightling.

I am currently searching for marriages, burials and other records for these children.   John died in 1886 and was buried at Brightling.  So between him and his three wives there were 19 children born to this family.  Just imagine some of the later Christmas day gatherings!


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Soldiers’ effects – Percy Harmer and Henry Baldwin

The recent addition of these records to Ancestry‘s many and varied databases proved interesting in my family research.  I looked for both Percy Harmer and Henry Baldwin and found their entries.

Soldiers'effects for Percy Harmer
Soldiers’effects record for Percy Harmer

Percy and Henry were both Great Great Uncles of mine, killed in WW1 and I have been slowly collecting available records about both soldiers to enable me to tell their stories.  Neither man married or had any descendants and so were forgotten as time passed.  But now with the information I have found once again these two young men who sacrificed their life for their country can be remembered.

With this aim in mind any records are useful.  The Soldiers’ effects do not really tell me much I didn’t already know except that it confirms who they were, where and when they died, their Service number and the regiment they served in.  The useful addition to this is the amount of their effects of course and who it was authorised to.  This information is very useful as a check that the soldier is who I thought he was, in the case of Percy to his father James and in the case of Henry Baldwin to his mother, Jane Elizabeth.  Both these facts tally with the information on my family tree.

I will now spend some time searching on surnames on my family tree to see if I can find any other family members who might have fought and died during WW1.

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George Pilbeam, Ticehurst farmer

(1784 – 1857, Burwash to Ticehurst)

Father – Thomas Pilbeam (1756 – 1822)
Mother – Hannah Eastwood (1757 – 1789)

Thomas (1781 – 1862)
Hannah (born 1782)
Sarah (born 1786)
James (1789 – 1850)

Anne Weston (1783 – 1840)
Phoebe Skinner (1795 – 1858)

Hannah (born 1808)
George (1810 – 1881)
James (1811 – 1870)
John (1814 – 1820)
William (1815 – 1896)
Ann (1818 – 1836)
Harriet (1820 – 1887)
Thomas (1823 – 1891)
Robert (1826 – 1860)

Sussex Cattle
Sussex cattle, photographer Janina Holubecki

George Pilbeam was born in 1784 to Thomas and Hannah and baptised in Burwash Church on 10 November 1784. His father was said to have been a shoemaker and his four siblings were also baptised in Burwash.

George married his first wife, Anne on 21 November 1807 at Burwash Church.  Anne had given birth to a daughter, Celia the previous year, father unknown but future census returns show that she lived with George, the 1851 has her as daughter.

George and Anne had 9 children, all born and baptised in Burwash Church over the next 19 years but by the time of the first census in 1841 two had already died.  Anne herself also died in 1840 leaving George a widower for a short while.  At the time of the 1841 census George, age 55 was  living at Woodsell, Dallington with Celia 30, Harriet 20, Thomas 15, Robert 15 and Ann 6 and by this time George was a farmer.

On 18 October 1843 George married a widower Phoebe Skinner in Peasmarsh, Sussex.  Phoebe was from Rye and had been married to a John Skinner since 1827. By the time of the 1851 census George, age 67 was living at Battenhurst Farm, near Ticehurst where he was described as a farmer of 120 acres employing 4 labourers.  Living with him were Phoebe 56, Celia Weston 44, Thomas 29, Robert 25, Ann, granddaughter 16 and Ann Simmons, granddaughter 8.


Battenhurst Farm
Battenhurst Farm, near Ticehurst

George died on 6 January 1857 at Battenhurst, Ticehurst from 36 hours Apoplexy, he was 74 years old. His informant was Thomas Pilbeam who was present at his death, presumably his son.  He was buried along with Anne and 3 of their children, John, Ann and Robert in Burwash Churchyard.

After his death an auction was held of farm equipment on 26 September 1857 and furniture and household goods on 28 September 1857 by order of the executors. (see table below) Some of the goods were obviously bought by his own family and the amount of money raised was £377 6 11 1/2.

Sold Bought by Price
Pick and Half mattock Weston 2s
Cross mattock and Graft Weston 2s
Spade and shovel Barden 1s
Seed Lift Barnett 3s 6d
Hop Sieves Barnett 1s
2 Turnip Pullers Barrow 1s
Potato Brake Barrow 16s
Winnowers Jarvis 2s 6d
Vemin Hutch Pilbeam 1s
Set of 2 horse harrows Rivett 6s 6d
Round Plough Jenner £1 1s
Drag Harrow G Pilbeam 6s
Strike Plough Standen 3s
6 In Wheel Waggon with double G Pilbeam £9 19s 6d
Saddle and bridle Onley 1s 6d
2 Pails and yoke Simes 4s 6d
9 Ox Bows Mepham 2s
1 Cart Whip Simes 5s
Sussex Cow (Lovely) 8 yr Barden £15
Sussex Barren (Chequer) 6 yr none £14 15s
Sussex Cow (Polly) 5 yr none £13 10s
Alderney Cow 3 yr none £12 5s
Barren Heifer 3 yr Barnett £13
Yearling Steer Barden £6 6s
Black Mare (Darling) G Pilbeam £11 10s
Black Mare (Star) G Pilbeam £11 11s
Brown Cob Barden £12
4 Hens Pilbeam 6s 6d
Rooster Vidler 1 s 6d
Medlins 7.5 Bushels G Pilbeam 15s
Cheese Press W Pilbeam 1s 6d
6 Black Irons W Pilbeam 4s
Sally Iron and Shoe Brushes Pilbeam 2s
2 Water Pails Dann 2s 9d
Copper Kitchen Boiler none 3s 6d
Washing Trough Eastwood 7s 6d
Beer Barrels W Pilbeam 2s
Pottage Pot Balcomb 2s 6d
4 Milk Pans Pilbeam 2s
Tea Caddy Dann 1s 6d
Looking glass Simmons 1s 3d
Window Curtains and valence Simmons 4s 6d
Pair Bellows Simmons 3s 6d
Fire Irons Pilbeam 2s 9d
Pair Fire Dogs G Pilbeam 3s
3 Meat Dishes King 1s 3d
Corner Cupboard Thomas Pilbeam 10s
Bureau James Pilbeam 1s 4d
Chaff Mattress Balcombe 1s 6d

(c) Kerry Baldwin

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John Thorp – Ironmaster in the Weald

My MSc dissertation completed earlier this year looked at the subject of Ironmasters in the Weald and discussed their origins and their wealth.  One of the six families chosen as part of the study was the Thorp family, who happen to appear in my own ancestry and the reason I became interested in the subject in the first place. To see where they fit into the family tree please visit my tribal pages family tree.

John Thorp lived during the Tudor times.  His origin and date of birth are as yet unknown.  He died in 1607 and was buried 25 March 1607 at Lingfield in Surrey.  He married a daughter and heiress of _______ Bowett and they had 8 children.

Through the course of my study I found a whole host of different records that helped to build a picture of John and his business even though he lived some 500 years ago and by reading a number of documents such as wills, leases and mortgages I discovered the extent of the property he had leased, from the Gage family, rich landowners in Sussex and the property he was eventually able to buy.  The map below shows the three ironworking sites that were associated with John Thorp and his sons in the Crawley area.

Map of John Thorp's ironworking sites
Map of John Thorp’s ironworking sites

I spent a number of days transcribing a variety of old documents at The Keep (the East Sussex Record Office) which proved very fruitful and interesting.  I discovered that unlike the other ironworking families I studied, the Thorp family leased their furnaces and forges from the landowners along with the woods to supply the fuel for the furnaces.   John was described as a yeoman and did not own any land or property of his own but by the time his will was proved in 1609 he left property and leases to his sons.    The will  clearly states how he left his lease of Hedgecourt (his home) and that would have included leases of his ironworks which went with the estate of Hedgecourt to his third son Thomas, overlooking his eldest son, John. (A story for another day perhaps!)

A later lease for 31 years dated 2 February 1629 between Sir John Gage of Firle and Richard Thorpe of Hedgecourt  (a grandson) included ‘and all the iron forge or iron workes called or knowne as Woodcock Hammer or Woodcock works And all buildings upon any pte.’

Cudworth Manor
Cudworth Manor, one of John Thorp’s properties

I discovered documents that described agreements of sale and sale of timber giving exact instructions of which trees were to be cut down and how.  I even discovered a draft bill that described how John and his son Thomas had been ‘enjoying’ since the death of John Gage the cutting down, stibbing and rooting up of most part of the woods to the value of £3000 they did not have permission to cut.

For more information about the Iron Industry of the Weald visit the Wealden Iron Research Group website which has a wealth of information about the archaeology carried out on the industry and the people and places involved.

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