Ancestors of Mandy Willard

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John BOX (1732-1810)

and Hannah HAMS (1737-1815)


St. Peters, Ardingly, c.1910 - from: Box and Hannah Hams were my 5x Great Grandparents.  (Click here to see their place in my pedigree chart.)  They married by banns on 26 February 1754 at the parish church of St. Peter's in Ardingly, Sussex.  They were both of Ardingly at the time of their marriage.  John was 3 months short of his 22 birthday and Hannah just 17 years and almost 2 months.  They were married for nearly 57 years and had 47 known Grandchildren, all of whom were born within John and Hannah’s lifetimes.

John Box was born on 5 May and baptised on 7 May 1732 in Ardingly.  He was the fourth son and fifth child of 5 78 George Box (1686-1757) and 5 78 Anne Comber (1697-1753).  He died aged 78 years and was buried on 16 December 1810 in Ardingly.

Hannah Hams was born on 3 January and baptised on 30 January 1736/7 in Ardingly.  She was the seventh daughter and eighth child of 5 141 William Hames (1697-1775) and 5 141 Dorothy (c1700-1774).  She died aged 79 years at Hapstead in Ardingly and was buried on 12 December 1815 in Ardingly.  Hannah became a mother months before her 18th birthday and a grandmother 6 months before her 40th birthday.


John Box and Hannah Hams had 7 known children:

  1. Mary Box was born on 15 September and baptised on 6 October 1754 in Ardingly.  She died aged 58 years and was buried on 2 August 1812 in Ardingly, as Mary Harman.

    Mary married James Harmer by banns on 18 April 1775 in Ardingly.  James was a single man and signed his name, whilst Mary was a spinster and made her X mark.  They were both of Ardingly.  The witnesses were William Harmer and William Tharpe.

    James Harmer was baptised 25 February 1753 in East Grinstead, Sussex and was the son of George Harmer and Elizabeth Dumsday (1714-1792).  James died aged 49 years and was buried on 19 December 1802 in Ardingly.

    James and Mary had 9 known children: 

    1. James Harmer was born on 16 June 1776 and baptised on 7 July 1776 in Ardingly.

    2. Mary Harmer was born on 2 February 1778 and baptised on 15 February 1778 in Ardingly.

    3. Sarah Harmer was born on 17 November 1779 and baptised on 5 December 1779 in Ardingly.  She was buried there on 5 October 1781.

    4. William Harmer was born 15 November 1781 and baptised on 25 December 1781 in Ardingly.

      As William Harman he married Elizabeth Weller on 13 October 1802 in Ardingly.

      Elizabeth was baptised on 19 January 1783 in West Hoathly, Sussex and was the daughter of Thomas Weller and Ann Anscomb.

    5. John Harmer was born and privately baptised on 20 September 1785 in Ardingly.  He was then received into the Church on 13 November 1785.  He was buried on 7 February 1808 in Ardingly and his name was recorded as John Harman in the burial register.

      As John Harman he married Mary Constable by banns on 27 July 1805 in Ardingly, at which time they were both of Ardingly.

      Mary Harman, widow aged 22 and upwards, married John Downer a bachelor aged 25 and upwards, by licence on 18 October 1811 in Ardingly.

    6. George Harmer was born on 3 May 1787 and baptised on 21 May 1787 in Ardingly.  He was buried there on 21 May 1807 aged 20 years.

    7. Ann Harmer was born on 12 March 1789 and baptised on 29 March 1789 in Ardingly.

    8. Richard Harmer was born on 11 June 1792 and baptised on 1 July 1792 in Ardingly.  He was buried there on 17 April 1803 aged 10 years.

    9. Thomas Harmer was born on 19 August 1795 and baptised on 21 August 1795 in Ardingly.  He was buried there on 18 February 1796 aged 24 weeks.

  2. John Box was born on 27 June and baptised on 10 July 1757 in Ardingly.  He married Mary Williams in 1779.  (They have their own page.)

  3. Hannah Box was born on 16 June and baptised on 29 June 1760 in Ardingly, and buried there on 11 March 1761, aged 8 months.

  4. Ann Box was born on 6 May and baptised on 29 May 1763 in Ardingly.  She died aged 68 years at Hapstead and was buried on 8 July 1831 in Ardingly, by the name of Ann Awcock.

    Ann married John Alcock by banns on 22 July 1784 in Ardingly.  John was a single man and Ann a spinster.  They were both of Ardingly and both signed their names.  The witnesses to their marriage were Richard Creasy and Thomas Barben, who both signed their names.

    John Alcock was born on 13 August and baptised on 29 August 1762 in Ardingly and was the son of William Alcocke (1734-1778) and Sarah Thornton (1737-1779).  John died aged 49 years and was buried on 3 November 1811 in Ardingly.  In the burial register he was described as “vulgo hawk”.  In 1793 the family were described as poor.

    John and Ann had 7 known children:  

    1. William Awcock was born on 16 December and baptised privately on 18 December 1784 in Ardingly.  He was received into the Church on 20 February 1785.  Did he, or his Uncle William, marry Mary Stiles on 19 August 1804 in Ardingly?

    2. John Awcock was born on 24 November 1786 and baptised on 7 January 1787 in Ardingly.

    3. Richard Awcock was born on 31 August and baptised on 29 September 1789 in Ardingly.

    4. Ann Awcock was born on 30 August and baptised on 22 September 1793 in Ardingly.  She probably died young.

    5. Thomas Awcock, a twin, was born on 5 September and baptised privately on 6 September 1798 in Ardingly.

    6. Sarah Awcock, a twin, was born on 5 September and baptised privately on 6 September 1798 in Ardingly.  The twins were received into the Church on 2 December 1798.

    7. Ann Awcock was born on 2 October and baptised privately on 4 October 1802.  She was received into the church on 26 December 1802.

  5. Sarah Box, my 4x Great Grandmother, was born on 6 October 1765 and baptised on 3 November 1765 in Ardingly.  She married 5 76 John Knowles (1766-1837) in 1788.  (They have their own page.)

  6. Elizabeth Box was born on 10 June and privately baptised on 11 July 1768 in Ardingly.  She married Richard Stedman in 1788.  (They have their own page.)

  7. Catherine Box was born on 9 July and baptised on 1 August 1773 in Ardingly.  She married William Botten in 1790.  (They have their own page.)


Many thanks to Helen Green for additions to this page.


George II was King of England when John and Hannah were born.  He reigned from 1727-1760.  He was succeeded by George III who reigned until 1820.

John and Hannah lived through the terms of office of the following Prime Ministers (taken from Wikipedia):

Robert Walpole 1721-1742  (John and Hannah born)

Earl of Wilmington 1742-1743

Henry Pelham 1743-1754  (John and Hannah married; John's mother died)

Duke of Newcastle 1754-1756  (Their daughter Mary born)

Duke of Devonshire 1756-1757  (John's father died; Their son John born)

Duke of Newcastle 1757-1762  (Their daughter Hannah born and died)

Earl of Bute 1762-1763

George Grenville 1763-1765  (Their daughter Ann born)

Marquess of Rockingham 1765-1766  (Their daughter Sarah born, my 4x Great Grandmother)

William Pitt the elder 1766-1768  (Their daughter Elizabeth born)

Duke of Grafton 1768-1770

Lord North 1770-1782  (Their daughter Catherine born; Hannah's parents died)

Marquess of Rockingham 1782-1783

Earl Shelburne 1782-1783

Duke of Portland 1783

William Pitt the younger 1783-1801

Henry Addington 1801-1804

William Pitt the younger 1803-1806

Lord Grenville 1806-1807

Duke of Portland 1807-1809

Spencer Perceval 1809-1812  (John died)

Lord Liverpool 1812-1827  (Hannah died)


John and Hannah were baptised, married and buried in Ardingly, as were all their children.  I wonder if they ever spent a night away from Ardingly, or how far from Ardingly they travelled?

The parishes surrounding Ardingly are (clockwise from the the north):  Worth, West Hoathly, Horsted Keynes (almost touches), Lindfield, Cuckfield and Balcombe.  Lewes was (and is) the country town and is about 15 miles away, which was a bit too far to walk there and back in a day.  I wonder if they were able to afford the stage coach fare or the cost of a horse ride to visit Lewes.  I wonder if they ever visited the seaside.  Brighton beach was a popular bathing beach from at least the 1750's.  I wonder if John and Hannah had a honeymoon - their first child arrived just under 7 months after they married, and they were only 21 and 17 when they married, so they probably didn't have any spare money to spend frivilously.

I don't know whereabouts in Ardingly they were born or lived, although when Hannah died in 1815 she was of Hapstead, which was a small hamlet about half a mile east of Ardingly parish church, but is now the main centre of the parish.  I don't know John's occupation, although I would guess he was a farm labourer.  He doesn't seem to have left a will, so I guess they lived from day to day and had no savings or property of their own to pass on.  John's father may have been a wheelwright, but I don't know if John followed his father's profession, or perhaps took up carpentry.

I wonder if they could afford to buy each other birthday and Christmas presents and whether they had family parties.  I wonder if Hannah made her own clothes and those of her children and husband, and whether they could afford to buy new clothes or whether they had to make do with hand-me-downs.  Did John wear a smock and might Hannah have made it/them.  I wonder how often they had new shoes and whether someone in Ardingly made them.  I wonder if John went out fishing or rabbitting, and whether he had a veg patch.  Did they collect berries and mushrooms.  I wonder what happened when they or their children were sick, could they afford a doctor or did they rely on home remedies.  Could either of them or their children read and write.  Did John frequent the local pub, and might he have taken part in any sports or games.  Did they have any hobbies, or were they too busy or tired just trying to keep body and soul together.  I assume they went to church every, or most, Sundays, but did they go in the morning or the afternoon (I've read that some parishes had 2 services on Sundays, so as to fit everyone in, morning for the gentry and afternoon for the labourers).  Did Hannah make a big Sunday lunch/dinner and did other family members come around.  I wonder what their diet consisted of and where they bought their groceries.  Did Hannah make her own butter and cheese, and bake her own bread, and brew beer.  Did they keep a pig and chickens, and did they have a pet cat or dog.  Did they sing or play any muscial instruments.  Did they dance.  Did they tell stories about days gone buy.  Might they have made toys for their children and did they take them out for family walks.  Did John decorate their home - I don't know what sort of decorating materials were around then, but I assume there was at least whitewash.  Did Hannah make the curtains and cushions.  Did she sit and sew in the evenings and did she teach her daughters to sew.  Perhaps they made embroidery samplers.  How did they keep their home warm in winter and what fuel did they use for cooking, I assume wood.  Did John go out collecting firewood or did they have to pay for some to be delivered.  What did they do with their waste, was there a night soil collector in Ardingly, or did they bury it.  Where did they get their fresh water from and who collected it.  How often did they take a bath.  Did they go swimming.  Did Hannah do the washing on a Monday.  Did she earn any pin money by clean, mending, washing, nursing.

So many questions that and names and dates just can not answer.


BOX          HAMES

This page was reviewed on 9 April 2012