Ancestors of Mandy Willard

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Thomas BOURNE (1716-1789)

and Sarah FRENCH (1722-1762)


Thomas Bourne and Sarah French were my 6x Great Grandparents.  (Click here to see their place in my pedigree chart.)  They married on 4 February 1743/4 at the parish church of St. Thomas Becket in Brightling, Sussex. 5 153   This date is from the Bishops Transcripts as the Brightling marriage register for 1739-1747 is missing.  His name was recorded as John Bourne, but I believe this was a mistake.

Thomas Bourne may have been baptised on 18 November 1716 in Salehurst, Sussex as Thomas Bourn and have been the son of John Bourne (1680-?) and Mary.  He was buried on 22 November 1789 in Brightling.  He left a will dated 30 September 1788 which was proved on 20 December 1789 in which he was described as a yeoman of Brightling.  (Click here to read my transcript of his will.)  There was another Thomas Bourne born in 1714 and I am not certain which Thomas married whom.Brightling church - photo taken by me on 31 July 2007

Thomas had settled in Brightling by at least the time he married there in 1744 and remained there until his death.   He was left a widower in July 1762 when his youngest child was just 1 year old and when he was possibly aged about 45/46 years.  He does not seem to have remarried and in his will he requests that he be buried near his deceased wife.  Might his eldest daughter have taken over the caring for the younger children and the running of the household?  At the time of his wife's death, 7 children were possibly living at home, with one dying only a few months after her mother.  The eldest daughter married in 1764 and the eldest son married in 1768 followed by the marriages of other children in 1770, 1773, 1788 and one possibly by 1776. 

Like many of Thomas's neighbours he grew hops.  Whether this was his only crop I don't know, nor am I aware how he may have gone about selling his crop - perhaps at an annual market or might a buyer have gone direct to the farm?  From at least 1773 until 1779 he lived at Stonehouse in Brightling and farmed Home Farm/Land and Piddlehurst.  Stonehouse is just a short distance from the Brightling Needle/Obelisk built by John "Mad Jack" Fuller (1757-1834), although this was not built until after 1815.  Sometime between 18 March 1779 and 9 September 1779 Piddlehurst passed to Edward Buss.  Then sometime between 9 September 1779 and 10 March 1780 both Home Farm/Land and Stonehouse passed to William Grigson.  A William Grigson was a witness to the 1801 will of Thomas Bourne, junior.

Also like his neighbours he paid a regular tithe and a tax to provide relief for the poor of the parish.  Details of tithe payments in Brightling for 1752-1769 and poor relief tax for 1773-1807 can be found at the East Sussex Record Office.  Also from time to time he took on boy labourers from the workhouse for which he made payments to the overseers of the parish.

Sarah French may have been baptised on 25 February 1721/2 in Warbleton, Sussex and may have been the daughter of John French (1693-1771) and Ann Brand (1700-1774).  She was buried on 16 July 1762 in Brightling by the name of Sarah Bourne, but against the baptisms of her 4 youngest children her name was recorded as Susanna(h).  As her eldest daughter was named Sarah and she didn't name any of her other 3 daughters Susanna, might Susanna have been a mistake in the baptism register?  Nor were any of her known granddaughters named Susanna.  She died a year after the birth of her youngest known child.  Might she have died as a result of a complicated final pregnancy or of an illness?


Thomas Bourne and Sarah French had 9 known children:

  1. Sarah Bourne was baptised on 10 March 1744/5 in Brightling.  Her mother's name was not recorded in the baptism register.  She died aged 27 years on 25 October 1771 and was buried on 30 October 1771 in Mountfield, Sussex.

    Sarah married Thomas Hilder by licence on 18 December 1764 in Brightling.  He was then of Mountfield.

    Thomas was baptised on 26 June 1741 in Salehurst, Sussex and was the son of Thomas Hilder (1708-1773) and Mary Stace (c1711-?).  He died aged 81 years on 15 March 1822 and was buried on 23 March 1822 at All Saints in Mountfield.  Thomas left a will dated 3 August 1814, to which he added 2 codicils dated 30 December 1815 and 11 March 1822.  As a widower he married for a second time to Martha Glover on 1 November 1774 in Mountfield, and they had 8 known children.

    Thomas and Sarah had 2 known children:

    1. John Hilder was baptised on 1 December 1767 in Playden, Sussex and buried there on 8 December 1767.

    2. Sarah Hilder was baptised on 21 September 1769 in Playden.  She died aged 59 years in Robertsbridge, Sussex and was buried on 12 November 1828 at All Saints in Mountfield.  Her father left her a legacy of 3,000 over and above what she already owed him.

      Sarah married William Hickes by licence on 20 December 1787 in Mountfield.  He was then of Laughton.

      William and Sarah had 7 known children:

      1. Sarah Hickes

      2. Margaret Hickes

      3. Jane Hickes

      4. William Hickes

      5. Thomas Hickes

      6. Francis Hickes

      7. John Hickes

    (For more details about this family please visit Historyscape.)

  2. Thomas Bourne, my 5x Great Grandfather, was baptised on 26 December 1746 in Brightling.  He married Ann Gibson in 1768.  (They have their own page.) 

  3. Henry Bourne was baptised on 19 June 1748 in Brightling.  Only his father's name was recorded in the baptism register.  He was buried on 16 June 1825 in Hellingly.  He was a yeoman farmer.  He was named as the sole executor of his father's 1788 will, for which he was to receive five pounds.  In 1788 Henry was of Boship in Hellingly (a place still found on a present day map of the area).

    Henry married Sarah Willard by banns on 12 February 1773 in Hellingly.  Henry was a bachelor and Sarah a spinster.  They were both of Hellingly and both signed their names.  The witnesses to the marriage were John Savage and Henry Blunden.  The banns were published in Hellingly on 24 and 31 January and 7 February 1773.  There were no known children from this marriage.

    Sarah died after her husband.  I have checked the East Sussex baptism index for her baptism and can not find a suitable entry for her.

    Henry left a will dated 9 April 1825 which was proved on 1 August 1825.  He was then described as a yeoman of Borehsip in Hellingly.  The witnesses to his will were Edward Chapman, John Sinnock and Samuel Sinnock and he left 6,000.  (In 1788 his father left 1,000 and in 1801 his elder brother left 2,000.)  He nominated 2 nephews as joint executors of his will, namely John Weston who was the main beneficiary and Henry Bourne son of his late brother Thomas.  Under terms of his will his wife Sarah was well provided for and he also left legacies to many nieces and nephews.  He also mentioned Sarah Baker wife of Michael Baker a labourer of Hellingly, but he didn't say if she was related in anyway.

  4. Mary Bourne was baptised on 29 April 1750 in Brightling.  Only her father's name was recorded in the baptism register.  She died aged 37 years "in childbed" and was buried on 1 June 1787 in Salehurst, Sussex.  As she predeceased her father she was not mentioned in his 1788 will, but nor did her father mention or leave any legacies to her children.  It would seem likely that after her death some of her children went to live with brother Henry and his wife Sarah, who had no children of their own.

    Mary married Thomas Weston by banns on 22 February 1770 in Brightling.  Thomas was then of Salehurst and Mary of Brightling.  They were both able to sign their names.  The witnesses to the marriage were Henry Bourne and Edward French who both signed their names.  The banns were published in Brightling on 4, 11 and 18 February 1770.

    Thomas was baptised on 16 November 1743 in Salehurst, Sussex and was the son of John Weston and Elizabeth.  He was buried on 19 June 1820 in Robertsbridge. 

    Before her marriage Mary had an illegitimate daughter

    1. Mary Bourne was baptised on 7 January 1770 in Brightling.  Given that her mother married Thomas Weston a month later, might he have been her father? 

    Thomas and Mary had 10 known children:

    1. Thomas Weston was baptised on 4 March 1771 in Salehurst.  He may have died before 1825 as he was not mentioned in his Uncle Henry's will.

    2. Sarah Weston was baptised on 27 October 1772 in Salehurst.  She was mentioned in her Uncle Henry's will as Sarah Weston.  She died in April 1844 in Salehurst.  She married Benjamin Davis on 13 September 1791 in Salehurst.  He was born about 1769 and died in December 1819 in Salehurst.

    3. Elizabeth Weston was baptised on 30 March 1774 in Salehurst.  She was not mentioned in her Uncle Henry's will.  She married Joseph Monk on 19 March 1800 in Salehurst.

    4. William Weston was baptised on 21 February 1776 in Salehurst.  He was buried on 22 February 1841 in Sedlescombe, Sussex.  He was mentioned in his Uncle Henry's will.

    5. Ann Weston was baptised on 21 August 1777 in Salehurst.  She married William Austen on 27 May 1798 in Salehurst.  She was mentioned in her Uncle Henry's will as Ann Weston.

    6. Harriet Weston was baptised on 6 October 1779 in Salehurst.  She died at Boship (her Uncle Henry Bourne's home) and was buried on 18 November 1791 in Hellingly.

    7. Charlotte Weston was baptised on 24 February 1781 in Salehurst.  She died in 1782.

    8. Catherine Weston was baptised on 2 December 1782 in Salehurst.  She may also have been known as Kitty Weston who was mentioned in her Uncle Henry's will.  She may have married James Endall on 27 January 1812 in Salehurst.

    9. John Weston was born 20 February and baptised on 17 March 1785 in Salehurst.  He was a joint executor of his Uncle Henry's 1825 will and was also the main beneficiary, inheriting the Boreship (today Boship) property.

    10. Henry Weston was baptised on 1 June 1787 in Salehurst.  He was not mentioned in his Uncle Henry's will and it is possible that he died at birth, or soon after, along with his mother.

  5. Ann Bourne was baptised on 2 May 1752 in Brightling.  Only her father's name was recorded in the baptism register.  She was buried on 12 October 1762 in Brightling.

  6. John Bourne was baptised on 27 December 1754 in Brightling.  He was named in his father's will and received an equal share along with his brother William.  He died before 1825.  He may have married Henrietta sometime before or about 1776.  (As at 8 June 2003 no possible marriage has been found for them on the IGI.)  John and Henrietta were the parents of John and Mary Ann, and John was the father of Henry and Sarah.

    1. Sarah Bourne was mentioned in her Uncle Henry Bourne's 1825 will as the daughter of his brother John.  She may have been baptised on 5 October 1773 in Brightling and have been the illegitmate daughter of Hannah Tyrrel, although her father's name was not recorded in the baptism register.  She may have been the Sarah Bourne mentioned in Thomas Bourne's 1788 will, when she was a servant in the household of his son Henry Bourne, and by whose will she received a 5 legacy.

      Sarah married Michael Baker by banns on 20 January 1794 in Hellingly.  He was then a bachelor and they were both of Hellingly.  The witnesses to the marriage were Richard Smith and Henry Blunden.

      Michael and Sarah had 3 known children:

      1. James Baker was baptised on 23 May 1807 in Hellingly.  Might he have been born about 1801 in Hellingly and have married Maria Wenham on 16 June 1823 in Hellingly?

      2. David Baker was baptised on 23 May 1807 in Hellingly.

      3. Mary Ann Baker was baptised on 4 November 1813 in Hellingly.

    2. Henry Bourne was mentioned in his Uncle Henry Bourne's 1825 will as the son of his brother John.  He may have married Sarah Alfrey on 26 September 1810 in Brighton, Sussex.  They had 5 known children, including a daughter named Henrietta.  However, Henry married to Sarah may have been born in Balcombe, Sussex in about 1789, so may have been part of another Bourne family.

    3. John Bourne was baptised on 25 May 1776 in Ticehurst, Sussex.  He either died before 1825 or was not part of this family.

    4. Mary Ann Bourne was baptised on 21 April 1778 in Ticehurst.  She either died before 1825 or was not part of this family.

    On 12 January 1779 a Bastardy Bond was issued by the Overseers of Ewhurst, Sussex, to John Bourne a labourer of Brightling, requiring him to pay 1s 6d weekly for the maintence of a child born to Ann Baker.

  7. James Bourne was baptised privately on 29 March 1758 in Brightling and buried there as an infant on 18 April 1758.

  8. Elizabeth Bourne was baptised on 9 May 1759 in Brightling and buried there on 13 July 1761.

  9. William Bourne was privately baptised on 24 July 1761 in Brightling and brought to the Church on 17 August 1761.  He married Grace Fears in 1788.  (They have their own page.)




Tax made for the relief of the Poor of the Parish of Brightling at the rate of 2 shillings and six pence in the pound

17 March 1773, Parish Dweller Thomas Bourn for Gunters, assessed 12, tax 1 10s; for Stonehouse, assessed 20, tax 2 10s; for Piddlehurst assessed 15, tax 1 17s 6d; for Woods assessed 2, tax 5s.  On 12 April 1773, Thomas paid 3s 10d to the parish overseers for workhouse labour.  Also at about that time he paid 2s 3d for 9 boys from the workhouse.

28 January 1774, same assessments and tax as 17 March 1773.

23 October 1774, rate raised to 3 shillings in the pound.  Thomas was assessed at 12, 20 and 15, total 47, tax 7 1s, and for his share of the woods, assessed at 2, tax 6s.

2 November 1775, tax back to 2 shillings and 6 pence in the pound.  Thomas assessed at a total of 47 and 5 17s 6d in tax on the 3 properties, and 5s tax on the woods.

28 March 1776, rate 3 shillings and 6 pence in the pound.  Thomas paid 8 4s 6d plus 7s for the woods.

11 December 1776, same assessments and tax as 28 March 1776.

12 September 1777, rate 2 shillings and 6 pence in the pound.  Thomas assessed at 47 and paid 5 17s 6d in tax plus 5s for the woods.  Gunters would then appear to have been called Home Farm.

March 1778, rate 2 shillings in the pound.  Thomas paid 4 14s plus 4s in tax.

20 November 1778, rate 2 shillings and 6 pence in the pound.  Thomas paid the same as in September 1777.

18 March 1779, rate 18 pence in the pound.  Thomas paid 3 10s 6d plus 3s.  15 April 1779 Thomas paid 4 13s 6d for boys work.

9 September 1779, rate 3 shillings in the pound.  Thomas assessed at 12 for Home Lands and 20 for Stonehouse, and paid 4 16s in tax plus 6s for the woods.  Piddlehurst was then occupied by Edward Buss.

10 March 1780, rate 2 shillings in the pound.  Home Lands and Stonehouse occupied by William Grigson.


Properties in Brightling


Three tenements of Glottenham Manor called Shermans [M93/4], Swiswell [M93/5] and Le Bergeland [M93/6]

From 1749-1839+ Hunters was owned by the Brightling Estate.  John Gunter was the tenant from <1722-1735+, followed by Thomas Bourne <1745-1775+, then William Grigson, junior <1785-1815+.

In 1749 the property was described as a house, barn and building plus 104a. 1r. 21p.

From 1745-1839 the property was assessed at 12 10s for land tax.


Swallowfield Farm

Freehold tenement of Glottenham Manor call Fycklehurst als Ficklehurst qr. 7/4d [M93/7]

1702-1735 called Fittlehurst and assessed at 10.  1745-1839 called Pidlehurst and assessed at 12.  From 1625-1828 the property was consistently call a tenement with 32 acres and during this time it was owned by the Socknersh Estate.

Thomas Bourne was a tenant from <1755-1775+.  The previous tenant was Edward Laurence from <1735-1751+ and the following was John Holloway, owner occupier of Socknersh from <1785-1839+.



Copyhold of Robertsbridge Manor called Upperworth als Martyn de Werde als Little Worge quitrent 12/6d.  Also a tenement called Tyelands in Burwash, Manor unknown.

Called Stonehouse from 1745, although in 1752 it was called Littleworth.  It was assessed for tax at 20.  The property was owned by the Brightling Estate from 1752-1839+.  Thomas Bourne was the tenant from <1755- 1775+, followed by William Grigson, junior from <1785-1815+.

Thomas Hepden bought the property sometime before 1527.  From <1536-1567+, John Hepden was the owner and from <1663-1666+ the property was owned by John Hepden, gent.  Between 1622 and 1633, Goddard Hepden was the tenant.  He was buried on 28 February 1633 and the tenancy passed to Herbert Hepden and he was buried on 12 September 1636.  Thankful Hepden was the next tenant.  Goddard Hepden was my 11x Great Grandfather.  In a survey of the manor of Robertsbridge of 1567 the property was described as being a messuage, kitchen, gatehouse and 40a 2r. land + 27a. wood.  Total acreage 67a. 2r.  A map from 1734 shows the property as a house and 4 buildings + 74a. 2r. 22p.

According to a memo of 1752 "the dwelling house being ruinous is to be pulled down and rebuilt by licence of the lord".  A map of c.1725 shows the original house to have been near the northern end of the farm.  The new house was constructed on the same side of the road but towards the southern end of the farm.  The house as rebuilt was relatively long low stone structure with hipped terminals and a central chimney.  It was pulled down by British Gypsum in the late 1980's.  It had not been surveyed or photographed.  John Fuller purchased the property for the Brightling Estate in 1752.


Little Worge

Assart hold of the manor of Burwash called Bodles (quitrent 10d) + Innings (quitrent 2/4d) [M36/76 + 78].  Also a tenement of Robertsbridge Manor called Frymans Wish quitrent 6d.

The Brightling Estate owned the property from 1750-1840+.  Henry Bourne was the tenant in 1805 and by 1815 the tenancy had passed to John Bourne.

Thomas Glydd held the property from 1620-1628 by right of his wife Mary, sister and heir of John Glazier.  Thomas and Mary surrended the property to their son, Richard Glydd in 1628, when he was described as a citizen and tallow chandler of London, and parson Lord's tithe book 1663 as goldsmith of London.  On Richard's death the property passed to his grandson John Glydd, gent (son of Richard Glydd, junior).  John was underage when he inherited the property in 1667 and custody was granted to his mother, Anne Glydd, widow.  John heirs remaind the property owners until 1732.


Great Worge

Demesne of the Manor of Worge, forming part of Robertsbridge Abby Estate until 1617.

Thomas Bourne was the tenant from 1785-1805+ followed by Henry Bourne in 1815.  Owned by the Brightling Estate from 1750-1840+.

Richard Glydd, III, gent, son of Richard Glydd II (the tenant until his death in 1618), bought the property in 1617 for 1,600.  He was then described as a citizen and tallow-chandler of London.


The following has been copied from the A2A web site:

Deeds and Documents relating to lands formerly belonging to the family of Fuller of Brightling

Pearchfield House, Pearchfield Lands and Fleminges in Burwash - ref. SAS-RF/9

Staces and Down Land Farm in Dallington

FILE - Lease - ref.  SAS-RF/9/61  - date: 1 May 1829
By Thomas, Earl of Chichester, to William Baker of Ticehurst, gent., sole executor named in the Will if Thomas Freeman late of Brightling, yeoman, decd. of a messuage or tenement with yard, gardens and 2 pieces of land belonging containing 4a.2r.10p. in Brightling late in the tenure of the said Thomas Freeman, bounding to the Turnpike Road from Hoods Corner to Brightling, E., to lands of John Fuller, esq., S. and N., to lands of the said J.F. and premises belonging to Henry Bourne, W. Term, 21 years; rent 3. Signature, Chichester, and seal

Manor of Fosters and Park Farm in Burwash - ref. SAS-RF/10

A Farm house and lands at Carretts Green in Dallington

FILE - Agreement - ref.  SAS-RF/10/127  - date: 27 Feb 1823
Between Henry Bourne of Dallington, yeoman (1), Edward Buss of Brightling, labourer, and Elizabeth his wife (2), and Thomas Waters of Herstmonceux, appraiser, and Ann his wife (3) as to the sale of lands at or near Carretts Green in Dallington containing 40 acres devised by the Will of William Dunk formerly of Dallington, and as to the division of the proceeds

FILE - Agreement
- ref.  SAS-RF/10/131  - date: 28 Mar 1828
Between Henry Bourne of Ewhurst, farmer (1), John Fuller of Rosehill, esq., by Thomas Barton of Battle, gent. his agent or attorney (2) and John Sawyer of Dallington, shopkeeper, and Edward Buss of Burwash and Elizabeth his wife (3), for the sale at a price to be agreed by Thomas Paine Hilder of Ewhurst yeoman (nominated by Henry Bourne) and Robert Willshire of Hurst Green, yeoman, (nominated by John Fuller) or their umpire, to be a fair price including timber, seeds, season's mendments &c

FILE - Survey and Valuation
- ref.  SAS-RF/10/132  - date: 19 May 1828
Of copyhold land and buildings, likewise timber and saplings at Carretts Green in Dallington from Henry Bourne and others to John Fuller, esq. 660

FILE - Deed of covenants
- ref.  SAS-RF/10/134  - date: 16 Jun 1828
By Henry Bourne and others with John Fuller, esq., on sale of copyhold property in Dallington

A cottage and piece of waste ground in Brightling

FILE - Assignment - ref.  SAS-RF/10/137  - date: 31 Mar 1810
By John Bourne of Brightling, yeoman, to Henry Bourne of Brightling, yeoman, with Thomas Freeman of the same place, yeoman, as a party of the 3rd part - for 70 - of a cottage and piece of waste ground belonging, being part of the ground and premises comprised in a Lease from Thomas, Lord Pelham, of 22 Mar., 1797. of 2 cottages and 4 acres of waste ground on Brightling Down, near the windmill there. Signatures, Jno. Bourne, Thos. Freeman, and seals. Witnesses:- Willm. Thorpe, Steph. Tutt
With Receipt endorsed, 8 Nov., 1824, for 120 paid by John Fuller, esq. for the purchase money of the within mentioned cottage and premises. Signed Henry Bourne

Chalvington - ref. SAS-RF/12

A House and premises at Darvill Hill in Brightling

FILE - Schedule of Title deeds and writings relating to certain leasehold hereditaments at Brightling - ref.  SAS-RF/12/143  - date: Mar 1830
The deeds include an Assignment of 7 May, 1828 by Harry Hoad, farmer and Henry Bourne, farmer, executors of Edwd. Hilder decd

Two Cottages and premises in Burwash

FILE - Assignment - ref.  SAS-RF/12/153  - date: 29 Sep 1834
By Harry Hoad late of Brightling, but then of Northiam, farmer, and Henry Bourne late of Dallington but then of Kingsworth, Kent, farmer, (Executors of the Will of Edw. Hilder) decd. to Joseph Hyland of Etchingham, farmer - for 101 - of the above Lease of 1 Jan., 1823 (No. SAS-RF/12/150) of two cottages called Phebes & Bonnicks and ground in Burwash. Signatures and seals

Fuller Estate Deeds and Papers - ref. SAS-RF/14

FILE - Copy of the Will of this date of William Dunk of Dallington, gent - ref.  SAS-RF/14/24  - date: 25 Jul 1809
Devise to Henry Bourne of Brightling, yeoman, of a messuage farm and lands at Carretts Green in Dallington, containing 40 acres charged with the payment of 200 apiece to Elizabeth the wife of James Vigor of Alfriston, butcher, and Ann the wife of Thos. Waters of Dallington, yeoman

FILE - Copy of Agreement - ref.  SAS-RF/14/25  - date: 27 Feb 1823
Between Henry Bourne of Dallington, yeoman, (1) Edward Buss of Brightling, labourer & Elizabeth his wife (2) and Thomas Waters of Herstmonceux, appraiser, and Ann his wife (3) Whereby, after reciting the devise to the said Henry Bourne in the Will of William Dunk, and that by reason of the inadequency of the value of the estate to meet expenses of the Admission and the payments charged thereon the said Henry Bourne had not accepted the said devise It was agreed that all the parties would concur in the sale of the property and the proceeds should be divided in equal third parts between them

FILE - Draft of Deed of Conveyance - ref.  SAS-RF/14/97  - date: Jul 1835
The 3 last pieces, Potters, Wrattens and Pond Croft comprising Carrick Hill farm, to which John Fuller was admitted on surrender of Henry Bourne, 19 June, 1828, rent 12d



Manor of Alciston

FILE - Conditional surrender - ref.  SAS/G20/382  - date: 3 Mar 1803
William Bourne to the use of Henry Bourne of Hellingly, yeoman, of a messuage and 7a at the Dicker late Staffells, being two tenements

Many thanks to Ruth Selman for the details about the family of Thomas Hilder and Sarah Bourne.

Please visit Ruth's web site, Historyscape, for more information.