Ancestors of Mandy Willard

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John ALFREY (1727-1814)

and Mary (c1724-1813)


John Alfrey and Mary were my 7x Great Grandparents.  (Click here to see their place in my pedigree chart.)  They married sometime before or about 1753 and maybe in or around Henfield, Sussex.  No possible marriage has been recorded in the Sussex Family History Group's marriage index, or the Sussex IGI, nor has a likely marriage been found in the Surrey marriage index.  However, there is a gap in the Henfield marriage register from November 1752 until 23 June 1756 - I am not sure if the Bishop's Transcripts survive for this period.

John Alfrey was baptised on 17 October 1727 in Steyning, Sussex.  He was the eldest son and child of 5 174 John Alfrey (1691-?) and 5 174 Elizabeth Davis.  His father was a blacksmith, but I don't know if he followed father in this trade.  John died aged 86 years and was buried on 28 January 1814 in Henfield, Sussex.  On 21 October 1762 in Henfield, John was a witness to the marriage of Thomas Morley and Sarah Bound.

Mary was born about 1724.  She died aged 89 years and was buried on 10 December 1813 in Henfield.


John Alfrey and Mary had 4 known children:

  1. 5 89 Philip Alfrey, my 6x Great Grandfather, was born on 17 March and baptised on 29 March 1754 in Henfield.  He married 5 89 Mary Botting in 1776.  (They have there own page.)

  2. Mary Alfrey was baptised on 5 December 1756 in Steyning.  She was buried on 25 May 1826 May in Ditchling, Sussex.

    Mary married George Toft by banns on 24 January 1780 in Ditchling.  George was a single man and Mary a spinster, and they were both of Ditchling.  They both signed their names.  The witnesses were Ann Allfrey and Thomas Geer who both signed their names.  They were married by the Curate, Edward Peyton.  The banns were called in Ditchling Parish Church on 9, 16 and 23 January 1780.

George and Mary's signatures from their marriage entry.

Signatures of the witnesses to George and Mary's marriage.

Mary's signature at her sister Ann's marriage on 24 April 1780.

George and Mary had 9 known children:

  1. Mary Toft was baptised on 30 February 1781 in Ditchling.

  2. George Tofts was baptised on 24 May 1783 in Ditchling.  He was a bricklayer.  On 5 December 1811 he married Mary Burry by banns in Ditchling.  Mary died aged 30 years and was buried on 31 January 1822 in Ditchling.  George and Mary had 4 known children:

    1. Elizabeth Toft was baptised on 28 June 1812 in Ditchling.

    2. Mary Toft was baptised on 24 July 1814 in Ditchling, at which time her father was a bricklayer of Ditchling.  She died aged 16 years and was buried on 24 May 1830 in Ditchling.

    3. Barbara Toft was baptised on 7 July 1816 in Ditchling, at which time her father was a bricklayer of Ditchling.  She died aged 88 years on 13 October 1904 and was buried at St. Margaret's in Ditchling.

      At the time of the 1841 census she was a female servant, 25 years of age, living with her brother James and Grandfather George in West End, Ditchling.  When the 1851 census was recorded she was a pauper miller's widow, aged 34 living in East Street, Ditchling, with her 2 children.  In the 1861 census Barbara, aged 44, was listed as a needlewoman living in East Street Ditchling with her daughter.  By the time of the 1871 census Barbara, age 54 a dressmaker, was living on her own in East Street Ditchling.  At the time of the 1881 census she was a 63 year old widow living alone in East Street, Ditchling.  She was then said to be a former dressmaker.  In the 1891 census Barbara, age 74 retired dressmaker, was listed as a patient in a Hospital at 102 &103 Lewes Road Brighton the Matron, Maria Clarke aged 27, was also born in Ditchling.  By the 1901 census Barbara, aged 84, listed as living on her own means, was living in East Street Ditchling with her daughter Emma, age 52 also living on her own means.

      Barbara married William Greenfield on 13 September 1841 in Brighton, Sussex.  William and Barbara had 2 known children:

      1. Oliver Greenfield was born in 1846 in Seaford, Sussex.  He was a 5 year old in 1851.

      2. Emma Greenfield was born in 1849 in Hamsey, Sussex.  She was 2 years old when the 1851 census was recorded.  In 1861 she was a 12 year old Scholar.

    4. James Toft was baptised on 7 June 1818 in Ditchling, at which time his father was a bricklayer of Ditchling.  He died aged 87 years on 29 August 1905 and was buried along with his sister Barbara at St. Margaret's in Ditchling.  At the time of the 1841 census he was a bricklayer, 23 years of age and was  living in West End  Ditchling with his sister Barbara, aged 25 and their Grandfather George Toft, aged 85, who was still listed as a bricklayer.  James married Jane Sinnock on 13 February 1843 in Brighton, Sussex.  James and Jane had the following children:

      1. George Toft was born in 1844 in Ditchling.

      2. Charles Toft was born in 1845 in Ditchling.

      3. Ellen Mary Toft was born in 1848 in Ditchling.

      4. Elizabeth Toft was born in 1851 in Ditchling.

      5. James Toft was born in 1856 in Ditchling.

      6. Edwin Toft was born in 1857 in Ditchling.

      At the time of the 1851 census James, age 33, and Jane, age 34, were living in East Street Ditchling with their children  George, Charles, Ellen Mary and Elizabeth.  James was listed as a bricklayer master employing one.  By the time of the 1871 census James, age 53, was a widower  and still  a bricklayer master living in East Street Ditchling with  his daughter Ellen Mary, aged 23, housekeeper, and sons James, age 15, bricklayer, and Edwin, age 13, a butcher's boy.  When the 1881 census was recorded James was a 63 year old widower boarding at the Bull Hotel, North Street, Ditchling, along with his 25 year old unmarried son James.  Both James senior and junior were bricklayers in 1881.  In the 1891 census James senior, age 73 bricklayer, was living in lodgings  in East Street with Elizabeth Muddle, a widow age 79 Head of family, and her son William Waller, age 48 an agricultural labourer.  By the 1901 census James senior, age 83 bricklayer retired, was still lodging with  Elizabeth Muddle and her son William Waller but they had moved to East End Lane Ditchling.

  3. Ann Tofte was baptised on 20 January 1786 in Ditchling.

  4. Sarah Tofte was baptised on 26 December 1788 in Ditchling.

  5. James Tofts was baptised on 15 May 1791 in Ditchling.

  6. Hannah Toft was baptised privately on 2 December 1793 in Ditchling.  She had and illegitimate son:

    1. William Hubbard Toft was baptised on 6 October 1811 in Ditchling and buried there on 16 October 1811.

    Hannah married William Hubbard by banns on 11 November 1811 in Newhaven, Sussex.  They were both then of Newhaven.

  7. Elizabeth Toft was baptised on 30 April 1797 in Ditchling.  She was a twin.

  8. Harriet Toft was baptised on 30 April 1797 in Ditchling and buried there on 27 June 1797.  She was a twin.

  9. Jane Toft was baptised on 2 November 1800 in Ditchling.

  1. Ann Alfrey was born on 31 May and baptised on 15 June 1759 in Henfield.  She married my 4x Great Grandfather Richard Norris (1755-1826), as his first wife.  (They have their own page.  I descend from Richard and his second wife.)

  2. Christian Alfrey was baptised on 18 November 1763 in Henfield.

    Christian married Richard Vasey by banns on 11 June 1789 in Henfield.  He was then a bachelor and sojourner and she a spinster.  The witnesses to the marriage were Mary Yeetes and William Vinall.


The following Mary's were born in Henfield:

  1. Mary Penfold was born on 21 August 1724 and baptised on 30 August 1724.  She was the daughter of Thomas Penfold and Sarah.

  2. Mary Renvil was born on 2 October 1724 and baptised on 4 October 1724.  She was the daughter of William Renvil and Timothea Smith.  She may have married Alan Reeves on 16 September 1744 in Henfield.  He was then of Cuckfield.

  3. Mary Backet was born on 3 January 1724/5 and baptised on 22 January 1724/5.  She was the daughter of John Backet and Mary Rickles.

  4. Mary Butcher was born on 18 May 1725 and baptised on 23 May 1725.  She was the daughter of Edward Butcher and Jane Mitchel.  She married Richard Boundy on 1 June 1749 in Woodmancote.

  5. Mary Greenfield was born on 20 October 1725 and baptised on 24 October 1725.  She was admitted to the church on 5 November.  She was the daughter of Robert Greenfield and Mary Mitchel.

  6. Mary Miles was born on 30 September 1725 and baptised on 21 October 1725.  She was the daughter of William Miles and Mary Whitting.

  7. Mary Web was born on 25 February 1725/6 and baptised on 16 March 1725/6.  She was the daughter of John Web and Elizabeth.

  8. Mary Langridge was born on 17 January 1726/7 and baptised on 18 January 1726/7.  She was admitted to the church on 6 February 1726/7.  She was the daughter of Thomas Langridge and Jane Bud.


QUESTION:  Have you transcribed any wills from the Henfield area, after about 1753?  I am wondering if Mary's father or mother left a will and mentioned her as the wife of John Alfrey.  Or perhaps there is, or are some wills that might mention John and Mary as someone's sibling or cousin.  Or as a witness might help.

Also, can anyone claim any of the above Marys baptised in Henfield?  I know that just because Mary had 3 of her 4 children baptised in Henfield, that doesn't necessarily mean she was baptised there herself.  One of her children was baptised in Steyning, although that was her husband's place of birth.  And of course she could have been from anywhere.  Could the fact she named her first child Philip be a clue as to whom her father might have been?  I know I'm clutching at straws, but sometimes it's the only way forward.

Click here to email me about this topic.

At some point I need to take a trip over to the WSRO and check to see if the BT's for Henfield survive.

I have checked A2A for John Alfrey, Allfrey, Alfy and Allfry, but nothing came up about a John in Henfield or Steyning, circa 1750-1815.


Many thanks to Gaynor Kendall for additions to this page.


This page was reviewed on 7 April 2012