and Ann GREENFIELD
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
Greenfield and Ann Greenfield had 8 known children:
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:
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.
John Greenfield was baptised on 11 December 1774 in
James Greenfield was baptised on 2 March 1777 in
Elizabeth Greenfield was baptised on 20 June 1779
Sarah Greenfield was baptised on 31 July 1784 in
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.
William Greenfield was baptised on 14 June 1789 in
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.
Ann Greenfield was born on 4 January 1745/6 and
baptised on 19 January 1745/6 in Billingshurst.
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.
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.
Zephaniah Greenfield was baptised on 24 November 1752 in
Slinfold. He married
in 1774. (They have their own page.)
Sarah Greenfield was baptised on 9 June 1754 in
William Greenville was baptised on 12 November 1757 in
Daniel Greenville was baptised on 20 May 1760 in
Daniel may have married Mary Steer by banns on 3 June
1782 in Itchingfield. He was then from Slinfold and she was of
I have copied the
http://www.yeoldesussexpages.com/history/gaols/horgaol4.htm, just in
case it disappears from the web:
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.
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.
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
For a boorde
For nine days work
for my man at 20 pence 15 0
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
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 "
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
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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reynell saw the truth of the old adage, " You cannot get a shirt from a
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
This page was reviewed on 10 April 2012