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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Nahomi Vincent, Cuckfield to Hellingly

Nahomi Vincent (28 April 1850 – 14 February 1923, Cuckfield to Hellingly)

Nahomi Vincent
Nahomi Vincent after Gaius death

Father – William Vincent (1810 – 1885) Agricultural Labourer
Mother – Louisa Johnson (1814 – 1882)
Louisa (baptised 16 August 1835 in Cuckfield)
William (1839 – 1910 in Cuckfield)
Edward and Edmund (twins born 1842 in Cuckfield)
Martha (born 1843 in Cuckfield)
Nathan (born 1845 in Cuckfield)
James (born 1848 in Cuckfield)
Sarah (born 1854 in Cuckfield)
Esther (born 1855 in Cuckfield)

Husband – Gaius Diana Winchester (1852 – 1897)
Catherine Edith (born 1875 in Dallington)
Mildred Adeline (born 1876 in Dallington)
Mercy Louisa (1878 – 1968)
Gaius Edward (born 1880 in Dallington)
William (born 1881 in Dallington)
Naomi Elizabeth (1882 – 1956)
Alma Gertrude (born 1885 in Dallington)
Arthur (born 1888 in Dallington)
Henry (born 1890 in Dallington)
Mabel (born 1892 in Dallington)
Percival (1896 – 1965)
(Please note: I have not fully checked out all the above people yet hence many death dates are missing)

Census Information:
1851 census:
During the 1851 census Nahomi, aged 11 months was living with her parents at Millfield, Cuckfield. Also at home were her siblings, William aged 12, a scholar, Edward and Edmund aged 9, Martha aged 8, Nathan aged 4 and James aged 3. William was described as an Agricultural Labourer.

1861 census:
During the 1861 census Nahomi was living at home with her parents, again at Millfield Cottage, Cuckfield. She was 11 years old and her father William was a Thatcher. Also at home were her siblings, William aged 22, an Agricultural Labourer Martha aged 18, Nathan aged 15, James aged 13, Sarah aged 7 and Esther aged 6.

1871 census:
By 1871 Nahomi had left home, she was 21 years of age and was working as a Laundress. She was living with her brother, Nathan, his wife, Catherine aged 24 and their son William John aged 1. Nathan was a Police Constable for East Sussex Police Force and they lived at Rushlake Green. It was here that Nahomi met Gaius Winchester who she married in 1875 back at her parent’s home in Staplefield.

1881 census:
By 1881 Nahomi and Gaius were living at Dadds Farm, Earls Down near Dallington in East Sussex. Gaius was a Carrier. Nahomi was 31. Living with them were the following children – Catherine aged 5, Mildred aged 4, Mercy aged 2 and Gaius Edward aged 1.

1891 census:
By the time of the 1891 census Nahomi was 41, the family had moved down the road to Ades Farm where Gaius was a Farmer and Carrier. Children living at home were Mercy aged 12, Gaius aged 11, William aged 9, Naomi aged 8, Alma aged 6, Arthur aged 3 and Henry aged 1. Sadly on the 9 January 1897 Gaius died at the age of 44 years from Influenza, Pneumonia Exhaustion.

1901 census:
Now a widow at the age of 51, Nahomi remained at Ades Farm, Dallington where she was described as a Farmer. Living with her were Arthur aged 13, Henry aged 11, Mabel aged 8 and Percival aged 4.
Gaius & Naomi Winchester c 1875

Gaius and Nahomi Winchester c 1875
Gaius and Nahomi c 1875

Gaius & Nahomi Winchester marriage:
The marriage of Nahomi Vincent and Gaius Diana Winchester took place on 2 January 1875 at St Marks, Staplefield, Sussex. Staplefield was the residence of Nahomi at the time of her marriage so presumably she had taken her parent’s home to be married from. Gaius was described as a bachelor of full age and a carrier. Nahomi was a spinster of full age and a Laundress. Gaius’s father James Wincester was a farmer and Nahomi’s father, William was a labourer. The ceremony was conducted by W Smith, Official Minister and witnessed by William Vincent (either Nahomi’s father or brother) and Katie Winchester (Gaius’s sister).

Nahomi died on 14 February 1923 at 4 Oak Cottages, Lower Dicker, Hellingly, Sussex. She was 73 years and died from Myocardial Degeneration and her death was informed by Henry Winchester of the same address. I therefore presume that at the time of her death she was living with Henry, but I will have to wait for the release of the 1921 census to find that out!

I recently came across a book called ‘A Detective in Sussex’ written by Donald Maxwell (Published by The Bodly Head in 1932) that described a story about how Gaius Diana got his name. I am sure this story is somewhat embellished but I like to think there is a grain of truth in it:

“The curious use of the name Diana as a man’s Christian name happened in this wise. Old Mr Winchester, the father of this worthy, was in a state of great anxiety and restlessness for within a few hours, so said the good doctor, his wife would present him with a son or daughter. He was obsessed with the idea that he must think instantly of a name, but the difficulty was the uncertainty of the sex. He might be wasting his time choosing girl’s names if it should be a boy and likewise a great waste of energy choosing boy’s names if it should be a girl.

He firmly believed that the Bible was verbally inspired and was meant to be a guide for every eventuality. He would consult it in his dilemma and both name and sex could be determined at once. With trembling hands he carried the great volume to the table and in the solemn and fitful illumination of a candle opened the Book at random. The leaves fell apart and turned over slowly until they stopped towards the latter end of the tome. With impartial deliberateness he put his finger down upon a verse and it fell upon these words in the Acts of the Apostles. “Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion; and having caught Gaius and ….” This short passage was enough; one name for a girl and one for a boy.

A boy was born and he was baptised Gaius Diana. A mild remonstrance on the part of one or two friends did nothing more than bring forth the assertion that the Bible could not be wrong. Mr Winchester scorned any tinkering with Holy Writ or he could have compromised on Ephesians. Ephesians Winchester would have sounded very well for a boy and for a girl it could have been shortened into Effie.”

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