Walter: More House and Tibbles

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Walter was born in 1633 at More House in Wivelsfield, Sussex, England. Like his father and grandfather, he was a gentleman.

When he was about 32 years old he married Elizabeth Attree. She was 11 years younger than Walter, and her family owned a nearby estate called Theobalds (sometimes pronounced “Tibbles”).

Theobalds House copy

Theobalds House from Sussex Archaeological Collection, Vol. 35

Walter and Elizabeth had five daughters and two sons. We’re descended from the third child, Ann More.

Walter died in 1706, and Elizabeth outlived him by twenty years.

Walter’s father was Thomas More (1592-1664).

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Anne: Twice Married

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Anne was born in October 1670 in Wivelsfield. She came from a well-to-do family. She had two older sisters and four younger brothers and sisters.

When she was about 22 years old, she married a man called John Chatfield, who was twice her age. They got married in the same village church where Anne had been baptised, and where her family had been attending services for generations.

Anne and John had two boys and two girls. We’re descended from the third child, Jane.

When Anne was 44 her husband died. She lived as a widow for about four years, and then remarried. Her second husband was named John Plumer.

We don’t yet know the exact date of Anne’s death, but we know she was alive in 1723 because she inherited £50 from her rich aunt, Frances More. Frances also left jewelry, silver plates and bowls, and rings to various family members–plus the right to decide who could sit in her pew at the local church!

Anne’s father was Walter More (1633-1706).

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Jane: Dear Beloved Wife

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Jane’s father died when she was in her late teens or early 20s.

She was about 25 years old when she married Thomas Stanbridge (1695-1754). He was about 3 years older than she was, and he came from a good family in the nearby village of Cuckfield, about 5 miles from Jane’s home in Wivelsfied. Thomas and Jane had three children. We’re descended from their son Walter

Sadly, Jane’s husband got sick and died at the age of 59. In his will he left her some property and a comfortable income. He said “I give and bequeath unto my dear beloved wife Jane Stanbridge…[a] yearly sum of eight pounds of lawful money”, to be paid in quarterly instalments. £8 went a lot farther in those days than it does now!

After her husband died, Jane lived as a widow for 22 more years, surrounded by her many friends and relatives who lived nearby. She was in her 80s when she died in 1776.

Jane’s mother was Anne More (1670-c1720).

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Walter: Yeoman of Old House

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Walter was born in 1732 in the village of Cuckfield in Sussex, England. (Pronounce it Cookfield.) When he was about 22 years old, his father died and left him quite a lot of money and property.

Two years later, Walter married Mary Isted. Their wedding took place on the 21st of December in 1756.

Walter’s title was “Yeoman of Old House,” in West Hoathly, Sussex, England. Yeoman means he was a landowner who employed others to farm his land, and Old House was where the Stanbridge family had lived for several generations.

Walter and Mary had ten children, though he only lived to be 49 years old. He died in March of 1782 and left his position and property to his eldest son, Thomas Stanbridge (1757-1811), from whom I’m descended.

Walter’s wife outlived him by 30 years and died in May of 1812.

Walter’s mother was Jane Chatfield (c1692-1776).

Thomas: An Unwed Father

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On the 6th of February 1780, a young woman named Jane Weston had her baby baptised in the village church in West Hoathly, Sussex, England. At that time, she was a single mother, but about a month later, she married the baby’s father in the same church.

We’re descended from that baby, who was named after his father: Thomas Stanbridge (1780-1855).

In 1782, Thomas (the father) inherited some money and his own father’s position as a yeoman near West Hoathly. A few months later, he and Jane had another baby and called him Walter. Walter was named for his grandfather, who had recently passed away.

Thomas (the father) died at the age of 53 on the 16th August 1811 and was buried at All Saints Church in Lindfield, Sussex, leaving his wife comfortably well-off.

Thirty years later, she was still supporting herself (“of independent means”) while living with her son Walter and his wife and their seven children. She died five years later, at the age of 85.

Thomas’s father was Walter Stanbridge (1732-1782).

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Thomas: In the Workhouse

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Thomas was born in the village of West Hoathly, Sussex, England, about a month before his parents got married.

When he grew up, he married a young woman named Elizabeth Jeffery. This picture shows a very well-dressed young couple, but Thomas and Elizabeth were never this well-off. They had a hard life, especially after they moved from the countryside to the larger town of Lewes, Sussex.

They had three daughters and four sons. We descended from the second youngest child, John Stanbridge (1819-1891).

Thomas tried to support his large family by working as a labourer at various jobs. We know he worked in a brewery in 1838, and later on staff at the Union Workhouse in Eastbourne, Sussex. The workhouse was where homeless, disabled and unemployed people lived.

It seems that Thomas was employed there for about 14 years, until his death in 1855 at the age of 76.

Thomas’s father was Thomas Stanbridge (1757-1811).

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John: The Bonfire Boy

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When John was about 25 years old, he married Frances Leppard in Lewes, Sussex, England. Soon after the wedding, she got sick and died. John ran away to sea and served aboard a Navy ship called the Penelope. Just 4 months later, he was discharged due to illness. I told this story in a small book: John Stanbridge Goes to Sea.

John went home to Lewes, but he and his brother were trouble-makers, and they soon found themselves in prison. One Guy Fawkes night, along with several others, they started a riot. They set tar barrels on fire and rolled them down the High Street, causing trouble and scaring a lot of people.

This incident is still remembered in Lewes, where the “Bonfire Boys” still run riot every November 5th. I had fun telling this story in four small books about John Stanbridge and the Bonfire Boys.

When John got out of jail, he married Mary Ann Hillman. She was 13 years younger than he was. They had five boys and eight girls. We’re descended from a middle child, Charlotte, who was born on Nov. 5th 1858 (Bonfire night!)

John worked as a butcher in Lewes, where he seems to have spent his spare time fooling around, hanging out in pubs, and getting into fights. He died of bronchitis and stomach trouble in December 1891.

John’s father was Thomas Stanbridge (1780-c1855).

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Sussex Advertiser, 29 February 1848, page 6.