Ancestors of Mandy Willard

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Zephaniah GREENFIELD (c1720-1800)

and Ann GREENFIELD (c1720-?)


Zephaniah Greenfield and Ann Greenfield married by banns on 11 May 1743 in Billingshurst, Sussex.  He was then of Billingshurst and she of West Chiltington.  (They were not my direct ancestors.)

Zephaniah Greenfield's date and place of birth/baptism are unknown, to me.  He was most probably buried on 2 November 1800 in Horsham.  The burial register noted that he was Zephaniah Greenfield, senior, and that he was a poor man.

Ann Greenfield's date and place of birth/baptism are unknown, to me.  She may have been buried on 11 June 1808 in Horsham.  The burial register noted that Ann Greenfield was a poor woman.


Zephaniah Greenfield and Ann Greenfield had 8 known children: 

  1. John Greenfield was born on 17 April 1744 and baptised on 2? April 1744 in Billingshurst.

    John may have married Sarah Stenning by banns on 27 February 1772 in Slinfold, Sussex.  They were both then of Slinfold.

    Sarah may have been baptised on 6 September 1747 in Slinfold, and have been the daughter of John Stenning and Mary (possibly Mary Greenfield who had married John Styening on 19 October 1731 in Slaugham.  Mary was of Beeding and John of Ockley.)

    John and Sarah had the following children:

    1. Zephaniah Greenfield was baptised on 9 June 1772 in Slinfold.  Might he have married Elizabeth Fairs on 11 June 1795 in West Grinstead, Sussex?  Zephaniah was a bachelor of Sullington and Elizabeth was a spinster of West Grinstead.  Or did he marry Elizabeth Lindfield by banns on 10 August 1800 in Horsham?  Zephaniah was a bachelor and Elizabeth was a widow.  The witnesses to their marriage were Thomas Greenfield, Hannah Botting and Richard Collins.

    2. John Greenfield was baptised on 11 December 1774 in Slinfold.

    3. James Greenfield was baptised on 2 March 1777 in Slinfold.

    4. Elizabeth Greenfield was baptised on 20 June 1779 in Slinfold.

    5. Sarah Greenfield was baptised on 31 July 1784 in Horsham.

    6. Daniel Greenfield was baptised on 23 April 1785 in Horsham.  He may have died aged 71 years and have been buried on 2 September 1857 in Horsham, therefore, born about 1786.

    7. William Greenfield was baptised on 14 June 1789 in Horsham.

    8. Edward Greenfield was baptised on 12 June 1791 in Horsham.  He may have died aged 75 years and have been buried on 3 January 1865 in Horsham.

  2. Ann Greenfield was born on 4 January 1745/6 and baptised on 19 January 1745/6 in Billingshurst.

  3. Ann Greenfield was baptised on 14 November 1749 in Billingshurst.  I have taken this date from a transcript which notes her mother's name as Elizabeth.

  4. Mary Greenfield was baptised on 17 April 1751 in Billingshurst.  I have taken this date from a transcript which notes her mother's name as Elizabeth.

  5. Zephaniah Greenfield was baptised on 24 November 1752 in Slinfold.  He married Susanna Stenning in 1774.  (They have their own page.)

  6. Sarah Greenfield was baptised on 9 June 1754 in Slinfold.

  7. William Greenville was baptised on 12 November 1757 in Slinfold.

  8. Daniel Greenville was baptised on 20 May 1760 in Slinfold.

    Daniel may have married Mary Steer by banns on 3 June 1782 in Itchingfield.  He was then from Slinfold and she was of Itchingfield.



I have copied the following from, just in case it disappears from the web:


Houses of Correction - The Hard Case of Zephania Greenfield

Besides the County Gaol Horsham, in common with several other towns in Sussex, had its House of Correction or Bridewell. Bridewells, as they were called, were first established by Act of Parliament in 1576.

These smaller prisons were not for the detention of felons nor debtors, but places for the correction of petty offenders, rogues, vagabonds, vagrants and idle persons. They were rather forerunners of the Poor Law Institutions as they were before 1834, which they more nearly resembled. Unlike the common gaols, too. in administration, they were not incident to the office of Sheriff, nor run for profit by the gaoler, but were directly under the responsibility and control of the Justices of the Peace at Quarter Sessions.

Lord Coke makes a very sharp distinction between the gaol and the bridewell. " Few or none," he says, " are committed to the common gaol but they come cut worse than they went in, and few were committed to the house of correction but they come out better." This opinion, however, was not endorsed by several subsequent writers on the subject. In 1625 at the West Sussex Quarter Sessions " It is ordered that a House of Correction for the rape of Arundel shall be erected at Petworth," and there are many subsequent orders in connection with the several houses.

The first reference we have found to the Horsham Bridewell is in 1617 when, at the Quarter Sessions of that year, " it is ordered that 8 by the year shall be paid quarterly by the treasurer for charitable uses for use of Bramber Rape unto the master of the House of Correction at Horsham for and towards his better mayntenance." In 1645 William Wadey, keeper of His Majesty's gaol at Horsham, is also named as the master of the House of Correction there, and at other times the county gaoler was also master of the Horsham House of Correction, but between whiles the offices were separated. There is not much information as to this less important institution for the punishment and cure of the lighter kinds of delinquency.

In addition to the felons who were committed direct to gaol on suspicion, or by the oath of an accuser, there was always a considerable, though fluctuating, number of vagrants and tramps in Sussex; individuals and families moving from place to place. These when destitute or troublesome were attended to by the constables, head-boroughs, or tytheing men and summarily dealt with by the local justices who granted small sums in relief; committed them to the house of correction or ejected them from the parish.

"Locals," of course, could remain, but "furriners" were "passed" on as quickly as possible through the nearest parish in the adjoining county to their native town or village or legal place of settlement wherever it might be, even as far north as Durham. There was no reason or desire to detain them either to cure their offences or improve their character by " correction " at the expense of the parish to which they were strangers.

In none of the many small charges for the repair and maintenance of the Horsham house of correction is there any indication of a large establishment.

In the following account can be seen a specimen of the charges, and of the local orthography of the period: " Aug. 14th. 1712. An a Count of what work was don A Bout the Hous of Coration at Horsham.

400 and a half of slabs                                   15 9

5 Jost                                                              5 0

6 Post                                                             8 0

For a boorde                                                      6

For nine days work for my man at 20 pence   15 0


In all                                                             2 4 3

Reced. of Edward Curtis the sum of two ponds foar shilons in full this bill by me The W mark of Will Briggs."

Gradually as the Poor Law developed, and from the early eighteenth century when, by an Act of Parliament in 1722. Horsham and other towns and also the smaller parishes began to build their own workhouses, the nature of the bridewells hardened and became in character similar to the gaol. They became in fact prisons of ease to the common gaol. In 1720 justices were authorised by Act of Parliament to commit vagrants and other minor offenders to either prison, and eventually prisoners from the houses of correction at Horsham, Petworth and Lewes were dealt with at Quarter Sessions and ordered to be punished or transported without having been in the common gaol.

At the Sussex Assizes held in 1741 at Lewes the inhabitants of Horsham were presented for that "on the fifth of August, 1740, and at all other times they ought to find, keep, and maintain a house of correction within the town of Horsham convenient, sufficient, and large enough to hold, keep, and contain all prisoners who should thereto be committed. Nevertheless the said inhabitants, their duty wholly neglecting. did not and do not keep and maintain a house of correction sufficient and large enough to keep and contain all persons who might thereto be committed, by means whereof of divers cheats and imposters, vagrants, sturdy beggars and ether offenders unlawfully and injuriously escape and go at large unpunished to the great damage," etc.

Similar presentments in regard to Arundel, Petworth. Lewes, and Battle were made at the same time. The grand jury " find that the [above-named] several Houses of Correction are not convenient nor sufficient and ought to be enlarged." We have not found that the Horsham house correction was enlarged in accordance with the finding of the grand jury of 1741, but there is evidence that when on occasion the vagrants were too numerous for its amount of accommodation they were sent to the county gaol and charged for at the flat rate of 6d. per head per day.

Thus on 10th February, 1751, Charles Cooper, the gaoler, was paid 15 shillings " for the subsistence of 30 vagrants (a very abnormal number), and William Ede, the master of the house of correction, was paid 5 shillings at the same flat rate for whipping ten of them Later, there are records of the detention and punishments of prisoners in the bridewells. At the Quarter Sessions at Petworth in January, 1776, was presented " A Bill for bread and other expense', at the House of Correction at Horsham by me Harry Weller " (keeper)

Richard Huntley 8 days bread at 2d 1 4

Henry Ball 21 days (ditto) 3 6

For whipping Henry Ball 2 0

Anthony James and John Downey 2 days pay each 2 0

Four weeks straw for the prisoners 2 0

Paid 2 men for conveying the prisoners to Sessions 4 0

Paid for three new locks 3 0

For 2 pairs of handbolts 5 0

The bridewell at Horsham in 1773 is described by John Howard as follows:- "Only one room about 10.5 feet by 6.5 feet, 6.5 feet high. In it the prisoners are always locked up. Allowance, 3d. worth of bread a day. No employment. Keeper a widow whose husband died of gaol fever. Salary 10. Fees 3 / 4. No table."

In none of the surveys of the town of 1611, 1650 or 1713 is the house of correction mentioned but in 1770 it is described as " A messuage or tenement in the occupation of John Weller, weaver, and used for the house of correction, being formerly part of a messuage called Barnhouse," a burgage tenement owned by Lord lrwin: and in 1790 it is referred to as "a messuage, heretofore used as a House of Correction, parcel of a messuage called Barnhouse." It is shown on a plan near the bottom of London road, on the south side. From 1617, and probably from before that. the house of correction or bridewell ran together with the county gaol until both were merged in the new prison erected 1775-79. Except for the entries in the parish church registers we have found no reference to debtor prisoners in the two earlier Horsharn gaols.

Debtors were not classed as criminals and their names, therefore, do not appear on assize or gaol delivery rolls. They were submitted to no code of punishments, only to incarceration, but poor debtors could be more readily imprisoned, and their sufferings were quite as keen as - some times keener than, and on an average much more prolonged than - those of their more culpable companions in gaol. A creditor, in many cases, was able to deprive a debtor of his liberty upon a simple swearing of the debt. "

If the insolvency and honesty of the debtor were acknowledged his friends were looked to by the creditor as a source of payment, and the feelings of the friend were often tortured to administer to the interests of the creditor." " In all cases of civil, insolvency without a pardon from his creditor he" [the debtor] " is imprisoned for life. This punishment may be inflicted by a private, an interested, or an irritated individual who could pardon without discretion, or punish without mercy and without measure; a gross and cruel fault in law."

Perhaps the most interesting case of an insolvent debtor at Horsham is that of Zephaniah Greenfield who, in 1782, vicariously suffered for the whole parish. The origin of his arrest and imprisonment dates from 1727, when at a meeting of the vestry, the Horsham parish authorities, in common with those of many other places, decided to establish a workhouse for farming the poor of the parish. Henry Ingram, John Wicker and Charles Eversfield, Esquires, were then authorised to " contract with skilled work men for the building of the same."

For this purpose it was decided to borrow 300 at 4.5% interest per annum of the Rev. Mr Pitt, vicar of Horsham, on the authority of the churchwardens and overseers of the parish who " on the parish account jointly and severally entered into a bond for the repayment of the principal money and interest thereon." The cost of maintaining the poor of the parish in 1725 was 705. and in the first year of the new workhouse about 400 was saved to the ratepayers by farming the poor in the new way. and subsequently there was by the same method an annual saving of about 200.

The interest on the 300 was duly paid from the Poor Rate until 1748 when Mr Pitt having died and Mrs Pitt having applied for the repayment of the principal and interest now owing to her, a vestry meeting was held on the 7th January, 1749, at which it was ordered that the money should be borrowed by the churchwardens and overseers in order to pay Mrs Pitt. " and the said church- wardens and overseers and their heirs are hereby indemnified from any charge or expense thst may attend, or be the consequence of. borrowing the said money." It was further decided to borrow the money of the Rev. Mr Osgood, curate of Horsham.

For its repayment and the interest thereon the churchwardens and overseers, Edward Curtis, Francis Turner, Daniel Greenfield, and Edmund Moore. John Green. Joseph Mills and Richard Boorer jointly and severally gave their bond to Mr Osgood. In 1756, 50 of the original debt was paid off, and interest on the balance of 250 continued to be paid until 1761: but although the ratepayers had saved 200 per annum by the new scheme no further payment of principal was made, and in 1761 payment of interest ceased. In 1767 there was an accumulation of unpaid simple interest to the amount of 67 10s. due to Mr Osgood.

He, however, appears to have been a very accommodating gentleman who did not trouble himself much about principal or interest. In that year he accepted a fresh bond for 50 from the parish officers. Drew Michell. Guildford Vinall, Robert Grace. William Pitt. J. Mitchell, Richard Hurst, Charles Pilfold, Abraham Seaton, Thomas King, Richard Uwins and Thomas Redford, and allowed the balance of this new debt 17 10s. to go back on the original bond. With this new re-arrangement the case proceeded on its career, the ratepayers still enjoying their relief of 200 per annum and Mr Osgood receiving no further interest to the time of his death in 1773.

By his will Mr Osgood left Miss Elizabeth Reynell (daughter of a former vicar of Horsham?) his executrix, and several legatees to share the principal sum of 317 10s. and interest thereon owing at the time of his death by the parish officers of Horsham - if they could get it.

Miss Reynell at once applied, and made further repeated applications to the Horsham parish authorities to levy a rate upon the inhabitants of the parish for raising the money to pay off the debt in accordance with the original intentions of 1727 and 1749. This the vestry were quite willing to do, and the great majority of the ratepayers of the parish were willing to submit to it, but the largest ratepayer of all.

Sir Charles Eversfield, of Denne, and a few others, some who had recently come to live at Horsham, strongly opposed, and refused to pay their share of any such rate if made, saying that the original raising of the money on bond was illegal, that the bond sigiiatories, or their executors, alone were responsible. and that the proposed rate would therefore be illegal. In their difficulties the parish authorities, advised that there was no present legal way of relief, consulted the two Members of Parliament for the borough, and sought an interview with Sir Charles Eversfield with the idea of promoting a short private bill through Parliament to settle the affair; but Sir Charles laughed them to scorn.

"Sir Charles Eversfield desires his compliment; to Messrs Guildford Vinall and Drew Michell, is sorry they should be involved in Difficulties of any Kind, but as to what they are pleased to mention respecting the Parish Debt an Act of Parliament as it appears to him in so absurd a light that to say the truth they have in their Turn layed him likewise under Difficulties, viz., to Refrain from laughing out. As Owner of Property in the Parish he really thinks himself justifyed in taking every Step in his Power to Put an effectual Stop to that Illegal and Destructive Mode of Borrowing Money on Bond (Contrary to an express Act of Parliament) for the Support and Maintenance of the Poor; this being his Determined and Unalterable resolution he takes this Opportunity to acquaint Messrs Vinall and Michell therewith, to Prevent their taking not only a Disagreeable but a Fruitless journey to Denn. 20th Feb., 1774."

Thus the unsatisfactory and perplexing state of affairs, a complete deadlock, stood until 1779. the debt on the larger bond of 1749 having increased to 397 17s. 6d., and that on the smaller bond of 1767 to 75 0s. 1d., when Miss Reynell, spurred by the legatees, took proceedings for the recovery of the moneys, not against the parish authorities but against the individuals or their representatives who had signed the bonds. Those liable on the smaller bond for 75 0s. Id. at once paid it off. still hoping and expecting to be repaid by the parish authorities. But of all those and their executors who had made themselves liable under the larger bond for the capital amount there remained only one worth legal powder and shot: viz.

Zephaniah Greenfield, brother, and executor of the will of Daniel Greenfield. Of the others who had signed the bond, some had left the parish, others had died intestate and insolvent With Zephaniah Greenfield was coupled Richard Boorer. an old man now in poor circumstances, the only remaining original signatory of the bond.

Zephaniah Greenfield was at one time a master maltster of West Dean. He came to Horsham and acquired considerable property in the Carfax. In the boots of his dead brother he had now to stand up in the law courts alone and defend himself as an individual and his property against a claim which justly could only lie against the whole parish of Horsham. A bill in Chancery stating the case was presented in 1780 to Lord Chancellor Thurlow praying " that a rate or rates might be made by the proper officers of the parish of Horsham for raising money to discharge the principal and interest due on the two bonds and the costs thereof," etc.

The Chancellor expressed his sympathy with Greenfield and the others, whose case, he said, was indeed a very hard one. He could not. however, grant the petition but ordered that a public vestry meeting should be called and recommended the parties to settle the matter fairly among themselves.

The vestry meeting was held on the 18th February. 1781, when Mr Robert Hurst, one of the counsel engaged in the Chancery proceedings, explained Lord Thunow's recommendation and proposed " that a committee of inhabitants should be appointed for the purpose of considering and laying before a future vestry the best plan for the purpose of raising a sum of money from the inhabitants of Horsham to discharge the debts owing from the parish." The proposition was carried and a committee of six appointed, but such was the opposition of one Winton, a large ratepayer, and the intimidation by Sir Charles Eversfield, who refused to pay a farthing unless compelled by a decree in Chancery, that some of the appoimed committee were frightened, and declined to act; and no further meeting was ever held on the business.

Bills and answers in Chancery, proceedings and counter proceedings in other courts, in which Zephaniah Greenfield was alternately plaintiff and defendant, followed one another in a man ner which vastly must have puzzled and alarmed this innocent and simple litigant as he saw the whole of his little fortune disappear between the legal arguments of learned counsel in the courts of justice.

With no more money to spend in defending himself in the law courts, the case there ended by Miss Reynell obtaining judgment and execution against him. If Zephaniah Greenfield never owed the money before, as he pleaded, he certainly did now, and, overwhelmed and financially exhausted by the original debt with accumulated interest of 408 17s. 6d. and legal expenses of over 200. he was " reduced to the want of the common necessaries of life'" and " was obliged to live out of sight for a time." But not for long.

The strong arm of the law reached him in his retreat and put its last touch upon his distress. He was arrested at the suit of Elizabeth Reynell for the whole debt. and without a penny to his credit was " clapt into Horsham gaol. " a miserable insolvent debtor liable to imprisonment for the rest of his life. Elizabeth Reynell never recovered her claim. Mr Osgood's legatees never received their dues. The learned legal advisers never got their costs: but Sir Charles Eversfield got his way. and the parish of Horsham got its new workhouse for 50 instead of paying 300; and its Poor Rate reduced by 200 per annum.

Eventually Miss Reynell saw the truth of the old adage,     " You cannot get a shirt from a naked man."

As becoming the daughter of a Christian minister, she forgave the debt, and Zephaniah Greenfield recovered a penurious liberty. His individual and complete ruin contributed the grand finale to this fifty-six years' tale. As he walked out of theb gaol he probably " enjoyed " some ironic reflections on the tender mercies of Elizabeth Reynell; on the justice and generosity of Sir Charles Eversfield; and on the glorious majesty of the law of England.  



This page was reviewed on 10 April 2012