Ancestors of Mandy Willard

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Thomas BOURNE (1746-1801)

and Ann GIBSON (1747-1801)


St. Peter, Ashburnham - photo taken by me on 2 May 2005Thomas Bourne and Ann Gibson were my 5x Great Grandparents.  (Click here to see their place in my pedigree chart.)  They married on Thursday 21 April 1768 at St. Peter in Ashburnham, Sussex.  Thomas was of Brightling, Sussex and signed his name, whilst Ann was of Ashburnham and made her X mark.  The witnesses to the marriage were James Hil??? (possibly James Hilder) and Mary Slater.  The banns were published in Ashburnham and Brightling on 3, 10 and 17 April 1768 and the word 'married' was written in the margin of the Brightling register.  The banns registerd Brightling Church Font - photo taken by me on 31 July 2007described him as Thomas Bourne, junior of Brightling.  At the time of their marriage Ann was likely to have been at least 2 months pregnant.  (Charles Coldcall, M.A. was the Vicar of Ashburnham from 1750-1794.)

Thomas Bourne was baptised on Monday 26 December 1746 at St. Thomas Becket in Brightling, Sussex.  He was the eldest son and second child of Thomas Bourne (1716-1789) and Sarah French (1722-1762).  Thomas was a farmer, probably of cattle.  He was buried on Tuesday 18 August 1801 in Brightling.  He left a will dated 4 August 1801, which was proved on 5 November 1801.  The document mentions wife Ann, sons Thomas, John and Henry and daughter Sarah, wife of George Rollo.  His estate was valued at not more that 2,000.  (Click here to read my transcript of his will.)  In 1785 he became the tenant of Weard Farm, also known as Great Worge in Brightling, and in that year the property was assessed for land tax at 50 and Thomas paid 5 tax.

Ann Gibson was baptised on Sunday 10 September 1747 at St. Oswald in Hooe, Sussex.  She was the fourth daughter and fifth child of Thomas Gibson (1710-?) and most probably Ann Wenham (1716-?).  Ann was buried on Sunday 6 September 1801 in Brightling.


Thomas Bourne and Ann Gibson had 5 known children:

  1. Mary Bourne was baptised on 13 November 1768 at St. Peter and St. Paul in Hellingly and buried there on 6 October 1769.

  2. Thomas Bourne was baptised on 15 October 1769 in Hellingly.  He married Sarah Noakes in 1800.  (They have their own page.)

  3. John Bourne, my 4x Great Grandfather, was baptised on 17 October 1770 in Hellingly.  He married 5 79 Mary Godfrey Whiteman in 1796.  (They have their own page.)

  4. Henry Bourne was baptised on 19 October 1771 in Hellingly.  He married Sarah Dunk in 1798.  (They have their own page.)

  5. Sarah Bourne was baptised on 3 February 1776 in Hellingly.  Her death was registered in the third quarter of 1852 in the Chichester registration district, by the name of Sarah Murray.  She was probably the Sarah Bourne who witnessed the 1796 marriage of her brother John Bourne.

    Sarah first married the Reverend George Rollo by licence on 22 May 1798 in Brightling.  They were both of Brightling.  The witnesses to their marriage were Elizabeth Jarden and Stephen Wilmshurst, and they all signed their names.

    George, or his son, was buried on 29 December 1803 in Oving, Sussex.  (Data from the National Burial Index.)

    As a widow, Sarah Rollo married John Murray by licence on 12 October 1809 in Midhurst, Sussex.  The witnesses to their marriage were Francis Guy and Millicent Grove.  Their marriage licence was issued by the Archdeaconry of Chichester, which recorded that Sarah was a widow aged over 21 and had been of Midhurst for several months.  John, esquire, was a widower of the parish of St. Peter the Less, Chichester, several years.  The sponsors to the licence were John himself and Thomas Randall a grocer of Chichester.

    John's first wife was buried on 30 March 1807 in the parish of St. Peter the Great, Chichester.  He may have died aged 75 years and have been buried on 19 January 1833, also at St. Peter the Great.  The burial register records that he was from Little London.

    When the 1841 and 1851 census were recorded, Sarah was living in Washington Street, in the parish of St. Paul's, Chichester, along with her 2 daughters.  In 1841 her occupation was described as independent and in 1851 as a fundholder.

    George and Sarah had 3 known children:

    1. George Rollo was baptised on 7 July 1800 in Dallington, Sussex.

    2. Sarah Rollo was baptised on 8 January 1802 at the parish church of St. Andrew in Oving, Sussex.  She died aged 83 years and her death was registered in the first quarter of 1885 in the Chichester registration district, as Sarah Ann Rollo.  Sarah never married.  She was an unmarried 49 year old in 1851.  In 1861 Sarah and her sister Jane were living in Washington Street, Chichester and they were both said to be fundholders.  In 1871 the sisters were still together at 4 Washington Street, Chichester.  Sarah was living alone at 4 Washington Street at the time of the 1881 census.

    3. Jane Rollo was baptised on 27 November 1803 in Oving, Sussex.  She died aged 75 years and her death was registered in the fourth quarter of 1878 in the Chichester registration district.  She was an unmarried 47 year old in 1851.

    John and Sarah had 1 known daughter:

    1. Mary Ann Murray Rollo was baptised on 5 June 1808 at St. Peter the Great in Chichester.  Only her widowed mother's name was recorded in the baptism register.

      As Mary Ann Rollo alias Murray she married William Heather Hussey by licence on 1 May 1827 in the parish of St. Andrews, Chichester.   They were both then of that parish.  The witnesses to their marriage were Sarah Anna Rollo, Jane Rollo and John Murray.  Their marriage licence was issued on 30 April 1827 by the Deanery of Chichester and recorded that he was a bachelor.

      William was born about 1804 in Chichester.

      When the 1841 census was recorded the couple together with their son and 2 servants were living in Marine Square, Brighton.  In 1851 they were at 8 Marine Square, Brighton and William was then described as a landed proprietor.

      William and Mary Ann had 2 known sons:

      1. William Henry Hussey was baptised on 11 February 1828 in the parish of St. Andrew's, Chichester.  The baptism register recorded that his father was a gent from Little London.

      2. Charles John Hussey was born about 1833 in East Dean, Sussex.  In 1841 he was 8 years old.  He was an 18 year old scholar in 1851.




How might Thomas and Ann have met?

Ashburnham Church to Brightling Church is just under 7km, or just over 4 miles, as the crow flies.  Hooe Church to Ashburnham Church is about 5 km, or just over 3 miles, again as the crow flies.  Ashburnham and Brightling parishes adjoin one another to the north.  Ashburnham is separated from Hooe in the south, by parts of Ninfield and Wartling.

Ann Gibson was born in Hooe in 1747 and her parents were still there in 1750.  Ann's sister married in Ashburnham in 1767.  Might the whole family have moved to Ashburnham sometime between 1750 and 1767, or might the sisters have been in service at Ashburnham Place?

John (1724-1812), 2nd Earl of Ashburnham, who was also the 4th Baron of Ashburnham, inherited the Ashburnham estate on the death of his father in 1737.  Unlike previous generations he was very active at Ashburnham and under took much new building work on the estate.  Between 1767 and 1777 Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was engaged to carry out landscaping of the estate.  This, I would think, created a demand for Labourers, many of whom would have travelled from neighbouring parishes.  Also at this time I would think there was more activity in the house and thus a demand for more servants.

Ashburnham, like many Sussex parishes, had brickworks, and in the 1760's the industry was thriving in the parish.

After Thomas and Ann's marriage in Ashburnham in April 1768, they seemed to have settled in Hellingly by November 1768.  But Thomas was baptised in Brightling, so why Hellingly? 

The Fuller family owned much land in Brightling and Hellingly.  Could it be Thomas Bourne took over the tenancy of Fuller owned land in Hellingly?



The following were mentioned above:


James Hilder

A James Hilder married Elizabeth Paine on 30 October 1769 in Brightling.


William Grigson

A William Gregson married Ann Pattenden by licence on 30 December 1778 in Brightling.  William was probably the son of William Grigson and Sarah Piper who married by licence on 22 June 1747 in Brightling.  William Grigson was appointed a joint executor of Thomas Bourne's 1801 will.


Stephen Wilmshurst

Stephen Wilmshurst married Elizabeth Roberts by licence on 3 June 1799 in Warbleton, Sussex, at which time they were both of Warbleton.  Stephen was baptised on 1 January 1775 in Warbleton and was the son of Stephen Wilmshurst and Henrietta Wood, who had married by banns on 30 December 1766 in Warbleton.



1841 census - (HO107/1119/12, folio 25, page 8)

Sarah Murray, 60, Ind, born in Sussex

Sarah Rollo, 35, born in Sussex

Jane Rollo, 30, born in Sussex


1841 census - Marine Square, Kemp Town, Brighton, Sussex (HO107/1123/6, folio 33, page 32)

William Hussey, 35, Ind, born in Sussex

Mary Hussey, 30, born in Sussex

Charles Hussey, 8, born in Sussex

Fanny Varnon, 55, F.S., born in Sussex

Rhoda Ellis, 20, F.S., born in Sussex


1851 census - Washington Street, St. Paul's, Chichester, Sussex (HO107/1653, folio 241, page 26)

Sarah Murray, Head, Wid, 75, Fundholder, born Sussex, Hellingly

Sarah Rollo, Dau, U, 49, Annuitant, born Sussex, Oving

Jane Rollo, Dau, U, 47, Annuitan, born Sussex, Oving


1851 census - 8 Marine Square, Brighton, Sussex (HO107/1644, folio 305, page 32)

Wm Heather Hussey, Head, Mar, 47, Landed Proprietor, born Sussex, Chichester

Mary Ann Hussey, Wife, Mar, 42, Fundholder, born Sussex, Chichester

Chas John Hussy, Son, Un, 18, Scholar, born Sussex, Eastdean

Fanny Varnham, Servant, Widow, 62, House Servant, born Sussex, Berwick

Caroline Brackhouse, Servant, Un, 19, House Servant, born Sussex, Halnaker


1861 census - Washington Street, Chichester, Sussex (RG9/623, folio 82, page 5)

Sarah Ann Rollo, Head, Unm, 59, Fundholder, born Sussex, Oving

Jane Rollo, Sister, Unm, 57, Fundholder, born Sussex, Oving


1871 census - 4 Washington Street, Chichester, Sussex (RG10/1117, folio 74, page 1)

Sarah A Rollo, Head, Unm, 67, Annuitant, born Sussex, Oving

Jane Rollo, Sister, Unm, 65, Annuitant, born Sussex, Oving


1881 census - 4 Washington Street, Chichester, Sussex (RG11/1128, folio 71, page 1)

Sarah Ann Rollo, Head, Unm, 78, born Sussex, Oving