Thomas & Mary Hunnisett of Westham

Thomas Hunnisett, the eldest child of William and Winifred, was born in Westham and baptised on 4 August 1822.

Mary Funnell, daughter of John and Sarah, was baptised in Chiddingly on 16 October 1831 and at the time of her marriage had been working in Westham as a servant.

Thomas and Mary were married in Westham on 21 April 1848. Mary Hunnisett, probably Thomas's sister, witnessed the marriage. They had four children baptised in Westham:


5 Nov 1848


7 Apr 1850


4 Apr 1852

born 6 March


4 Jun 1854

Thomas was an agricultural labourer and was living in Handcomb in 1851 and 1861 and Blackness in 1871, '81 and '91, Mary having died on 21 January 1864 of Tuberculosis. In 1881 he was living with his daughter Ann and her husband William Holter and family, but by 1891 Ann had died too. Thomas lived to be 69 and died on 12 February 1892.

Thomas owned a pocket watch, still in the family at the time of writing, which has been dated 1843. It seems unlikely that Thomas owned it from new although receipts within the case show that he certainly owned it from 1866 onwards. The receipts are all from 'Collbran - Watch & Clockmaker, Silversmith, Working Jeweller, Engraver & Optician' of Hailsham. The first is for 5/- (25p) and most of the rest are for 1/6 (7½p), which was, presumably, for cleaning. From about 1881 the receipts are made out to W Hunnisett, so either Thomas had passed the watch on (perhaps as a wedding present), or William was taking it to Hailsham for his father. Either way, the watch eventually passed to William.

Pocket watch
Pocket watch owned by Thomas
Watch receipts
Sample of receipts found inside

Of Thomas and Mary's children:

  • Esther was a laundry maid staying with her uncle, George Funnell, in Ringmer in 1871. She married Henry Pope in Ringmer on 14 July 1878 and in 1881 they were living at 32 High Street, Milton, Kent with their two children William and Albert. Henry was then a labourer in a chemical works. In 1891 they were still in Milton and also had a daughter, Florence. Esther died in 1898. In 1901 Florence was in Eastbourne staying with her uncle, William Hunnisett and Albert was a bargeman in Woolwich. In 1911 Florence was a housemaid in Hampstead.
  • Ann married William Holter (a platelayer, born 1847, son of William & Hannah) in Westham on 28 June 1873 and had five children; Mary Ann (1875-84), Ada Harriet (1876), Ellen (1878), Alice (1881) and William T (1883). Ann died in the first quarter of 1886.
  • William married Sarah Ann Elphick in 1878 and lived in Westham and Eastbourne with their six children (see page for William and Sarah).
  • George, a building labourer, married Alice Upton in Eastbourne in 1877 where they lived with their two sons, George and William. In 1881 their address was 3 Mark Terrace and in 1891 and 1901 and 1911 it was 223 Seaside. Alice died in an asylum in 1916 after which George remarried to Alice Laurence, née Brown. George died at 123 Church Street on 31 August 1936.

    • George was working as a grocer's van man in 1901. He married Gertrude Hatch and they had 5 children, only three of whom, Florence, George and Leonard, survived.
    • William married Dorothy Utton and they lived in Polegate with their children; William, Frank, Alice, and Peggy.