Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Keep is open!

The Keep opened today, the partnership between East Sussex Record Office, the Brighton History Centre and the Mass Observation Project is finally up and running.
I was there today with the Sussex Family History Group and everything seemed to run smoothly and without too much chaos (at least on the surface!).

The image above is from the reference room - a huge difference from the old record office - and that is just one of the rooms, there is a second one through the glass doors at the far end.
Tomorrow I am back there but this time as a researcher.  Look for my review tomorrow.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Getting ready for the Queen's visit

Over the past month the Sussex Family History Group library have been busy moving from their home at St Michaels church hall in Lewes where they have been based for the last 21 years to their new home at the Keep.  Last Saturday, a lot of work saw the room finally look a big more presentable (thank goodness for cupboards!) and a bit closer to being ready for the visit from the Queen as she comes to open the Keep later this week. The building itself is looking very smart with the addition of its name on the front.  

The Keep opens to the public on the 19th November.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Nonconformity in Sussex: The Society of Dependants

The Society of Dependants
also known as the Cokelers

This was a Protestant dissenting sect set up by John Sirgood in Loxwood, West Sussex in the mid 19th century.  John Sirgood, born in Averring, Gloucestershire in about 1821, moved to London where he became a fundamentalist preacher initially with another sect - the Peculiar People - in Southwark.  He was against the Anglican church and disliked the inequalities within society, views which made him very unpopular with landowners and the clergy. 

Sirgood began preaching at Loxwood, Sussex which had the benefit of being an area outside the control of the large estates. Local landowners could not have him removed, although attempts were made to limit his impact but the end of the Conventicle Act gave Sirgood the freedom he needed.  Meetings were held initially in barns and outbuildings in and around Loxwood but Sirgood soon built up a substantial following amongst the farm workers of the area.

Eventually the Society of Dependants was formed, the name was chosen because the members considered themselves dependent on God for everything.

They believed in free will to achieve salvation and they preferred celibacy, although marriage was not forbidden, but it was believed that a relationship with a husband or wife was a barrier to their own relationship with God

Members were pacifists and became conscientious objectors during both world wars. Some sources say they also disapproved of any form of pleasure, they were teetotal, didn't take part in dancing, didn't listen to any music that was not religious and even banned flowers or ornaments in their homes although other sources suggest they were not so extreme.

Probably as a result of the poverty among their members, persecution (many members lost their jobs, whilst others became unpopular amongst neighbours & friends) and their preference for regular joint worship, the Society of Dependants set up shops which were run by members who also lived on site.  They flourished in places such as Loxwood, Warnham, Northchapel, Lords Hill (in Surrey) and South Norwood (near Croydon), soon they also set up and ran farms on a communal basis, the produce of which was sold through the shops.

The Society had about 2,000 members when John Sirgood died in 1885 and there were seven chapels but the numbers soon fell off and by the early 20th century had halved and by the 1980s only about 30 members remained.  The last surviving chapel in Northchapel is now a private house and so far as I can tell the Society of Dependants is no longer operating.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Where's my father?

In the Victorian era it became popular for groups to take annual outings to the seaside.  On the 12th July 1906 it was the turn of the tradesman of Orpington and St Marys Cray to take an outing to Brighton. For the first time they decided not to travel by train but to hire a double decker bus with an open top.  It was to prove to be a fatal decision.
The journey began well but it was soon clear there were mechanical problems, the driver had to stop on several occasions to wield his spanner. Locals in Horley, Surrey reported seeing the omnibus make its way through the town noticeably  top heavy (with many of the passengers taking advantage of the open top, many of them standing). 

As the bus approached Handcross Hill they were travelling about 12 miles an hour (the national speed limit was 14 miles an hour) but they picked up speed as they began down the hill getting up to an estimated 30 or 40 miles.  The bus wasn't designed to cope with the speed and by the time the driver tried to use the brakes it was too late, they failed with a loud bang leaving a variety of mechanical parts lying in the road behind them.  The badly shaken driver tried the handbrake without effect so he threw the gears into reverse, the only option left to him.  There was a further bang as many of the remaining mechanical parts fell out and the driver lost all all control of the bus.  The driver, Henry Blake, tried to keep the bus on the road but it hit a large oak tree, a branch of which tore off the top half of the bus, the rest of the bus continued until it came to rest hanging off the side of the hill.

Red Lion, Handcross
The Red Lion in Handcross multi-functioned over the next few days; it became a temporary hospital for the injured, it became a morgue for the dead and it provided a room for the inquest which began just two days later.  The tenth and final victim dying in a room next door just as the inquest began.

The inquest eventually decided on a verdict of accidental death "caused by the breakage of the machinery brought on by the efforts of the driver the check the speed of the  omnibus when he found that it was going to fast".  There was some concern that the driver had had two beers during the journey and that the bus company were in the habit of encouraging speed down the hills to give momentum on the other side but it was decided no one was criminally responsible however they recommended that this type of omnibus was not suitable for country roads.

The ten men who died were Thomas Francis, a 49 year old master baker, who died of a fractured skull.  He was an Orpington man born and bred who left a wife Sarah Jemima (nee Brice) and seven children aged between 29 years and 8 years.  Sarah continued the bakery shop with the help of her older children.

Arthur Savage was another baker, from the neighbouring village of St Mary Cray.  He was 42 years old when he was killed by shock and a broken back leaving behind his pregnant wife Bessie (nee Ashley) who was expecting their ninth child.

9 of the 10 victims
(the 10th is on the previous page)
Edward Packham, a basket maker, died from shock and a fractured skull aged 39 years leaving his wife Lavinia (nee Trist) to bring up their two young daughters Lilian and Ivy.  His wife supported her family by working as a library caretaker, a job which came with accommodation   Lavinia remarried in 1915 and died in 1967 at the age of 96 years.

The Epsom family of St Mary Cray had not had an easy time even before the accident; Solomon Epsom, a grocer, and his wife Catherine (nee Regan)  had married in 1878 and had four children but their youngest daughter died in 1894 aged 9, their son in 1900 aged 16, Catherine died in 1902 and then their two surviving children lost their remaining parent when Solomon died as a result of a broken back.

Herbert Baker was a clothier in St Mary Cray where he lived with his wife Alice Maud (nee Tier) and their young family, their youngest child was born just weeks before Herbert was killed.  The impact tore his leg off and it landed in the oak tree where it alarmed rescuers.  He survived the initial impact but he died shortly afterwards at the Red Lion. 

32 year old John French who ran the Anglesea Arms in Orpington, left a wife Ellen (nee Driscoll) and a young son Jack.  Ellen remarried in 1911 - to John's younger brother William, landlord of the Castle Hotel in Tonbridge.

Alice, wife of William Vann, was pregnant at the time of the accident and it was feared that the shock and anxiety would cause her to lose the baby but Laurence was born a few months after his father died.  William had been a draper and ran a busy business in St Mary Cray which his wife continued after his death.

The youngest to die was Henry Burch who was just 26 years old.  He died instantly when he was thrown from the top level into the tree where his body was caught in the branches and was left hanging.  His body had to be identified by his father.

Ironically one of the dead was the undertaker, Henry Hutchings who was 42 years old and travelling with his 13 year old son William.  The first to the scene of the accident found William wandering around calling for his father.  Both of them had been travelling on the top of the bus but William had jumped out prior to the crash and was almost unhurt but later recounted how his father had remained sitting upright in his seat as the bus hurtled towards the oak tree.  Following his death his wife Bertha (nee Meade) worked as an elementary school teacher in St Mary Cray.  She never remarried.

William Bailey was the last to die.  The 54 year old school master survived the crash and was taken to the Red Lion with a compound fracture of his right leg and fractured ribs which had punctured his lungs.  He was kept alive with oxygen but died two days later just after the inquest into the accident began.

It was also reported in a few newspapers that the conductor Frank Ewans had also died in the accident.  He had been badly injured leading to his transfer to Brighton hospital for trepanning to relieve the swelling of his brain.  He did however survive and continued to work as a bus conductor until he died in 1931 aged 66 years.

For contemporary photos see the Gravelroots website.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Soldier's wills online

With the anniversary of the start of the First World War next year there is a lot of work going on to make records from that period more accessible.

"Find a soldier's will" is a new service from the government which aims to make it possible to search for and download a soldier's will on-line.  Coverage is for serving soldiers who died between 1850 and 1986 and who left a will at the time of their death. 
It seems possible (hopefully) that the service will expand in the future to include all wills.

To search you need the soldiers surname and the year he died - if you don't know when he died you can search each year (and there is a handy link to search the previous or following year so you don't have to keep entering the year).  If you have more information you can search using the service number and forename to narrow down your search.

Each will costs £6 to download and it takes time - up to 10 days before it will be available.  I suspect, as it is early days, the wills are being uploaded as they are requested and not in advance.  Hopefully in the future they will be available immediately.

As the website says this is the beta version so it will no doubt change but hopefully not much as it is a nice clear, uncluttered site, easy to use and to understand.

Although I know of several members of the family who died in both World Wars there are no entries for them. It is not clear if this is this because they didn't leave wills or because they have yet to be added to the index?

All told this is a great addition to First World War information online.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Unfortunate surnames

eHow published a list of the most unfortunate surnames which set me to thinking who were the most unfortunately named people in Sussex.
A Mary Horney was baptised in 1662 in Broadwater, the daughter of William and Elizabeth Horney whilst Icklesham was the burial place for an Abraham Cundick in 1759.
There are a fair number of Pricketts in Sussex including Effie Beech Prickett, daughter of Theophilus Prickett, who was baptised in 1888 in Wartling.  She was probably quite glad to marry Robert Widdicombe in 1912.
I wonder if Mary Ann Spearshott ever regretted her marriage in 1840 to William Titt. The family later emigrated to America where their grandson Charles took the step of changing his surname to Tea.
The parish of Findon must have been relieved when a slut was saved by a priest when in 1623  Frances Slutt married Richard Preist.

Of eHow's list of less than fortunate surnames I can find some examples in Sussex; there was Benjamin Bottom whose son John was baptised in Frant in 1848, then there was Dick Balls born in 1815 in Hastings whilst the excellently named Kingsley Bryce Speakerman Smellie was baptised in Eastbourne in 1898.  

I have not been able to find any Cockermouth's in Sussex but there was an Ann Cock baptised in Chichester in 1742 and an Elizabeth Cocklet baptised in Kirdford in 1592.  David and Jane Boggs daughter Mary was baptised in 1825 in Midhurst and there are quite a few members of the Willy family from Stephen Willy baptised in 1613 in Hooe to Joseph Willy baptised in Eastbourne in 1892.

There were the Sick sisters from Middlesex who attended school in Hove in 1871 and there was Robert Nipple and his wife who were in Brighton workhouse when their son Henry was baptised in 1855.  

Finally my favourite name so far that of Gamaliel Glasscock who was buried in Willingdon in 1629.  Not only does he have one of eHow's unfortunate surnames but he was given the forename of a 1st century expert in Jewish Law!

What is your favourite unfortunate surname?

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Who do you think you are?

WDYTYA? this week featured Nigel Havers and his Hamblion ancestors in Colchester, Essex.  No Sussex connection but I was intrigued to know what happened to Jeremiah Hamblion. 

For those who didn't watch the programme Jeremiah was the younger brother of Henry Hamblion, Nigel Havers 3 x great grandfather and from the sounds of it not the most pleasant person. Henry and Jeremiah were running a hackney cab business which was proving very successful and they were able to expand, purchasing some rather smart carriages for their customers.  But WDYTYA found two stories about Jeremiah in local papers; in one he had objected to his own cab being overtaken and whooped at the overtaking horse as it went by, causing it to bolt, whilst in the second he deliberately drove his carriage too close to a market stall injuring the pregnant woman manning it.  Possibly because of Jeremiah's behaviour, Henry and Jeremiah ended their business partnership in 1850.  Having gone it alone Henry moved into the inn keeping business but due to various misfortunes he later became bankrupt and died aged 56 in 1871.  His younger brother was not mentioned again on the programme.

I found that Jeremiah also went into the inn keeping business, running the Bull Inn and from 1856 the Angel Hotel in the Colchester High Street where he described himself as an importer of wines and spirits.  

He had further run-ins with the law including one in 1854 when he brought an action against a policeman whom he claimed had been drunk and falsely accused him of committing a nuisance in the street. The case was dismissed as it was felt that Jeremiah was getting revenge on the policeman who'd given evidence against him in a previous case.  To be fair to Jeremiah many of his appearances in court were the result of him chasing those who owned him money such as a case in 1857 when he took a Lieutenant Bridges to court for failure to pay £1.15s for the hire of a horse.

Although Henry and Jeremiah had ended their business partnership it seems likely they remained on good terms with each other.   They were in the same industry and in 1854 Henry and his wife Elizabeth named their new son after his uncle Jeremiah. Jeremiah and his wife Mary do not appear to have had any children.

Many of Jeremiah's problems may have been the result of alcoholism because on the 19th May 1859 Jeremiah died of delirium tremens; he had become dependent on alcohol and his body could not cope with a sudden withdrawal. He was only 42 years old,

According to the probate index Jeremiah left an estate valued at under £1,000.  This was a good inheritance for his wife; the website Measuring Worth shows that it was worth up to £82,000 (based on the increase in inflation) or nearly £2,000,000 based on the differing  economic power of the £1,000.  However Mary does not appear to have been left very well off.  In 1861 she was running a tobacconist business in Colchester but by 1871 she was a servant, working as a domestic cook at a farm in Tendring.  She died in 1892 aged about 80 years.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Improved coverage of Sussex on FamilySearch

FamilySearch have improved their coverage of Sussex parish registers with the addition of over 400,000 baptism, marriage and burial records taken from parish registers.  These are index entries only with no access to the original image.

A list of the parishes covered can be found here and it looks as if more will be added at some time in the future (but no indication when).

I did a quick comparison with the Sussex Family History Group (SFHG) database with a search for my own surname and, although results cannot be directly compared because of the differences and idiosyncrasies between the databases, I found only 78 results on the FamilySearch database (48 if limited to exact spelling) but got results in 121 categories on the SFHG database which includes 125 events in Horsham alone (94 if limited to exact spelling).  If you are a member of the SFHG you will get much better results from their database but you may find the FamilySearch database a much friendlier interface.

I searched the FamilySearch Sussex database for several known events (within the parishes and time periods listed as covered) without finding them - expanding the search to All Collections found the baptisms as part of other databases but there was no sign of the burial records.  It suggests that the Sussex database on FamilySearch does not have complete coverage of events within the parishes & periods they claim.  Hopefully this will improve soon.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Bastards of Uckfield

Bastardy was a problem for every parish, partly from a moral viewpoint but largely for financial reasons.  Mothers without a husband to support them and their child were likely to rely on the parish for assistance so if the parish could they would pass unmarried pregnant single women on to another parish or encourage the father of their child to marry them.  There were various established procedures for handling the problem of illegitimacy.

A study of baptisms in Uckfield between 1700 and 1850 finds nearly 3,000 baptisms of which only 201 were for illegitimate children - just 7%. Of those 201 the priest has recorded the fathers name in 54 cases and a further 13 children are given a middle name which is probably their fathers name so for these children it might be possible to identify their fathers.

The number of illegitimate births is not evenly spread over the 150 years, there was just one illegitimate child baptised in the first decade of the 18th century and none in the second but this figure rose over the years with nearly 40% of the illegitimate births occurring between 1840 and 1850.  This doesn't mean that illegitimacy was on the increase, as the graph below shows the birth rate was also increasing sharply.

Where paperwork has survived there can be more information about the parents and the illegitimate child.  In the case of Mary Smith two examination documents survive, one taken when she was pregnant and the other after the birth of her child.  From these and other sources it is possible to determine what happened to Mary and her daughter baptised in 1767.

At the age of 17 years Mary Smith was meeting the appropriately named John Brown for assignations in Shermanreed Wood near Uckfield;  not surprisingly she soon found herself pregnant and deserted.  Nothing is mentioned of what happened to John Brown but by the 9th February 1767 (the date of the second examination) he was a huckster 'late of the parish of Uckfield'.

It is possible that his name wasn't John Brown as when his daughter was baptised on the 25th January 1767 at Holy Cross in Uckfield she was named Mary Barham Smith.

Mary Smith (senior) had been baptised on the 21st May 1749 in Uckfield, the fourth child born to Richard Smith and Sarah (nee Marten).  She went on to marry John Weaver in 1769 when Mary was a few years old and they had two children, Lucy baptised in 1769 (five months after their marriage) and John baptised in 1770, both in nearby Isfield.  Mary died in 1789 and her husband John in 1821, both are buried in Isfield.

Mary's daughter Mary Barham went on to have an illegitimate child herself, William Barham Smith, who was baptised in Uckfield on the 28th October 1787 before she married John Funnel just over a year later, on the 1st December 1788.  It appears that John and Mary had a large family baptised in the parishes of Maresfield and Fletching.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Keep

Just a few weeks ago the East Sussex record office closed the doors of its home at the Maltings in Lewes and we have to wait until at least November for the new archive to open at the Keep near Falmer.  I was lucky enough to have a look around the new archive today and below are a few photos of what is to come.

There is car parking for about 40 cars (visitors will have to pay to park), there are good links to the bus services (bus stops to the far left of the photo) and Falmer station (there is a footpath from the archive to Falmer station)

The front entrance is very functional but I believe there is some more work to be done here.  The large white space (which is largely hidden behind the sapling) is designed as a large projection screen although this will only be in use on special occasions.

The reception desk.  Where you will be able to apply for your new East Sussex record office users card (no Carn tickets here!).  The first searchroom can be accessed without a users card but you will need one to get access to original documents.

Lockers and somewhere to hang your coats.  There are also toilets here - and for anyone who has used the new Kent History and Library Centre you'll be pleased to hear there is a ladies and a gents!

A communal area where you can eat your sandwiches and buy hot drinks from vending machines (not yet in place).  To the left of this space are the meeting rooms where events and displays will happen whilst to the right are the search rooms.

The first search room, accessible to everyone with open access books, computers for digitised materials (which includes much of the parish registers).
To the right of this room is the new library of the Sussex Family History Group.  When it is staffed we will be offering help and advice to researchers.

The secure searchroom.  To get here you'll need the East Sussex record office card and you'll be able to view original documents, photographs, maps and so on  - and there is so much space!

A section the users will not get to see - part of the 6 miles of shelving storing all that material in an ideal temperature controlled environment.

I am given to understand that the opening date is still planned for early November.  I can't wait!

Friday, 31 May 2013

End of an era

Today saw the doors close on the East Sussex Record Office at the Maltings in Lewes.

The record office has been based there for over twenty years but it has long since outgrown its facilities.  

The research room was in the attic, a cold and draughty room with poor access for anyone with mobility problems.  There was not enough space to store all the material so in addition to the Maltings there are several other storage units; to get material stored off site often meant a wait of several weeks.

It did tend to lead to a friendly atmosphere as cramped facilities meant anyone enjoying a eureka moment or suffering the reverse could not help but share it with their neighbours.

Although some of the microfilm readers will survive the move to the Keep there is less need for them now that many parish registers are available in digital format.

But it wasn't all bad at the Maltings.  Step outside the door and you were in the shadow of Lewes Castle, a short walk away from the high street with its wide range of shops and surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

I won't miss the cold of the Maltings, the lack of space or delays waiting for off site material but I'll miss visiting Lewes and I do wonder what sort of atmosphere the much larger Keep will generate?

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

In need of a pick me up?

If you are suffering from the various bugs that are plaguing us at the end of this long cold winter you might be interested in this seventeenth century recipe for a caudle taken from Dick Richardson's book The Sussex Recipe Book.

A caudle is a thick, sweet and alcoholic drink which was believed to be beneficial and to have medicinal properties.

Put three quarts of water on the fire; mix smooth in cold water some oatmeal to thicken it; when boiling, pour the latter in, and twenty powdered Jamaica peppers; boil to a good middling thickness; then add sugar, half a pint of well fermented table beer and a glass of gin.  Boil all together.

Goodness knows what it would taste like!  I think I'll stick to aspirin!!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sussex Family History Group Annual Conference 2013

Today was the 40th annual conference of the Sussex Family History Group, held in Haywards Heath.

There were three good speakers despite having to make a last minute to the lineup when Ian Gledhill had to withdraw.

We heard from:
Geoff Swinfield on DNA and how it can be used by family historians.  Possibly an overdone topic but Swinfield explained it clearly and humorously with a good dose of family history. 
Peter Lovett talked about the influence of invasions on the English language.  An informative talk showing the worldwide historical influence on our language.
Finally there was James Gardner who talked about the history of Brighton workhouses, the topic of his book published last year.  He did a good job of bringing the horrors of the workhouse system to life.

The usual stalls were there and the East Sussex Record Office had many photos showing the progress of The Keep including the room which will be the new home of the Sussex Family History Group and its library (this year hopefully!).

To celebrate the 40th anniversary there are a number of family history writing competitions.  The children's under 13 competition has now closed but the other categories are under 25 years, for those with a mainly Sussex family history and for those with a family history outside of Sussex.  First price for each category is £100.  The standard in the children's competition was excellent and shows there is a lot of budding family historians out there.  For more details see the SFHGwebsite.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Warren Farm School, Brighton

In 1858 the Brighton Guardians were beginning the process of building a new workhouse with an industrial school located about two miles away at Warren Farm in Rottingdean.  The aim of the school was to give pauper children a basic education and a grounding in industry so that they could go out and earn a living (reducing the likelihood they would be a burden on the system in the future).  The school opened in 1862, boys were taught trades such as gardening, tailoring and shoemaking whilst girls were taught domestic service.  There was a school band and many boys were taught to play an instrument, often leading to a career in an army band.

The school produced a variety of records including a log book which lists the children as they were placed in employment.  The log book is now at the East Sussex Record Office (reference R/S/37/1) and covers the period 1891 to 1935 which means along with the two further volumes there are records up to 1951 but as they are affected by the 100 year rule it is only possible to see the entries for 1891 to  November 1912 (as at December 2012).

I have transcribed the 778 entries currently outside the 100 year rule and they can now be found on my website.  They include the records of children such as Frederick Marsden who was found work with Dash Brothers, shoemakers in Portsmouth having "failed for Army Band owing to defective sight of the left eye", Emily Coglan who went to work for Mrs Markham in 1906 as a kitchen maid "she was slightly deaf" and Edith Shepherd who went to work in the laundry in Kemp Town "a willing girl but dull and heavy".

Friday, 22 March 2013

Not a candidate for father of the year!

Anthony Lane, of Warbleton married Ann Coby, of Hailsham (the widow of Henry Coby) in Arlington in 1690; they had four children, Barbara, Judith, Elizabeth and Ann.  Barbara and Ann died in infancy and it looks likely that their mother Ann also died as Anthony remarried in around 1699 (the marriage licence survives but not the record of their marriage) to Mary Allen.  

By this time Anthony and his family were living in West Sussex, he was in Lindfield where he worked as a physician and Mary came from nearby Midhurst; their family soon grew with the addition of Allen and Edward.  

They then moved from Lindfield to Dorking in Surrey with the agreement of Lindfield parish which remained their parish of settlement but  soon after they moved on again, however when they moved on again in 1701, Anthony left his daughters Judith and Elizabeth behind.  The parish overseers of Dorking were not prepared to take care of these two abandoned children so they were returned to the parish of Lindfield.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Great Escape of 1651

Most of us do not expect to find ourselves unexpectedly playing a role of national importance but that is the situation that Nicholas Tettersell found himself in.

Tettersell lived in the small fishing village of Brigthelmstone in Sussex and was the captain of the coal brig 'Surprise'. In 1651 he was asked to help two men who were escaping the country after a duel, after agreeing a fee Tettersell arranged to take the two men to Fecamp in France. However when the men arrived Tettersell recognised one of them as Charles II, recently defeated at the battle of Worcester and with a price on his head much higher than the fee he had agreed. But Tettersell didn't hand the king to the authorities, although he did negotiate a higher price for the trip before he took the king to France safely.

After the Civil War and Commonwealth period Charles returned to England to be welcomed as king. Feeling he had played a significant role in the kings survival Tettersell took his ship which he renamed the 'Royal Escape' and sailed down the Thames to remind Charles that he had had a part in making sure Charles had lived long enough to be restored to the throne. Charles acknowledged his role, he made the Royal Escape part of the Navy as well as giving Tettersell a £100 a year pension and all the kudos he thought he was worth.

Tettersell returned to Brighton where he is also remembered for his role as High Constable (he enjoyed persecuting non conformists especially the Quakers) and for his purchase of the Old Ship Hotel which boasts it "was closely linked with the escape of Charles II in 1651".

Tettersell died in 1674 and is buried in a tomb in the graveyard at St Nicholas in Brighton along with his wife Susanna (nee Cooke, married 1638), his son and his grandson - both also named Nicholas Tettersell.

The Tettersell tomb at St Nicholas, Brighton (to the left of the red door)
His role in saving the monarchy has not been forgotten;  Brighton and Hove buses have had a bus named Nicholas Tettersell since 1999 and there is an annual yacht race between Brighton and Fecamp known as the Royal Escape.  And just in case anyone forgets what Nicholas Tettersell did...all they need to do is read the inscription on his tomb:
When Charles ye Greate was nothing but a breath
This valiant soule stept betweene him & death.
Usurpers threats nor tyrant rebells frowne
Could not afright his duty to the Crowne;
Which glorious act of his Church state,
Eight princes in one day did Gratulate
Professing all to him in debt to bee
As all the world are to his memory
Since Earth Could not Reward his worth have given,
Hee now receives it from the King of heaven

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Bramber then and now

This postcard of Bramber shows how little the centre of the village has changed in the last hundred years.  The remains of the castle can be seen in the background.

The village, which was named for the broom which once must have covered this area, was the centre of the rape of Bramber which William the Conqueror gave to William de Braose after the Norman Conquest.  The Braose family built the church of St Nicholas as well as the castle which is on the site of an earlier Saxon stronghold.  The castle was badly damaged in the 17th century during the civil war and little remains of it today.

The parish is closely connected with the nearby settlement of Botolphs and has been since the 16th century.

Parish registers date from 1601, the bishops transcripts from 1591.  They can be seen at the West Sussex Record Office.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Too many children!

Jan 19th [1800] Emma Moon [buried].  Died in Child Bed.  This Woman had four Children in the space of a Year and two Weeks

This burial is recorded in the Frant registers and that Emma had four children in such a short space of time is confirmed in the baptism register.

May 19 [1799] John Son of John & Emma Moon.  twin
May 19 [1799] Joseph Son of John & Emma Moon. twin
March 2 [1800] Emma and Mary Daughters of John and Emma Moon.  Twins

There is only 9 months and 11 days between the two baptisms; it is likely that Emma and Mary were born on the 19th January 1800 meaning that John and Joseph were born early in January 1799.  John Moon had married Emma Adams in Wadhurst on the 21st October 1798, which is about two months before they were born.  Emma must have been pregnant most of her short marriage.

Sadly mum Emma's death was followed by that of daughter Emma who was buried on the 7th May 1800 and Mary who was buried on the 6th May 1801.  Both John and Joseph appear to have survived childhood.