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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My ancestors of the Weald

I work at the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in a Unit set up to help conserve a very special landscape.  Long before I started working there or even before I had heard of the High Weald or AONBs, the Wealden part of Sussex was a special place to me.

Grandparents at Punnetts Town
Grandparents at Punnetts Town

My grandparents lived in Punnetts Town and my childhood was punctuated with holidays there, exploring the woods, gills, fields and footpaths around the area between there and Dallington.  I always felt a strong affinity with the landscape and have always felt drawn there as if I was at home despite living some 10 miles away.

It was not until 2004 when I embarked upon my family history that I realised why, for 500 years and more my family have lived in that part of Sussex.  Burwash, Dallington, Warbleton, Wadhurst, Heathfield are all names embedded in my family tree and now I know why I feel so at home.

So what has this got to do with working at the High Weald AONB, well this is a special landscape, and as quoted on the homepage of the website ‘A medieval landscape of wooded, rolling hills studded with sandstone outcrops; small, irregular-shaped fields; scattered farmsteads; and ancient routeways.’  I feel an immense pride in the fact that this landscape was shaped by my ancestors along with many other local families who helped to farm the medieval landscape, fell the woods and create the sunken routeways.  I have been carrying on that tradition for 15 years by ‘doing my bit’ at the Unit.

Dudwell Valley, photographer Janina Holubecki for the High Weald AONB Unit
Dudwell Valley, photographer Janina Holubecki for the High Weald AONB Unit

The Weald is not a wild place like the Lake District or the Peaks, its beauty to me at least, is in the fact it has been managed over centuries by people making a living for themselves in a number of landscape based industries such as farming and the Iron industry, which was so prevalent in the Weald during the Tudor times.

Through this blog I will tell the human stories of some of those who lived and worked in this landscape and why this landscape is so important and why we should care today.

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