William & Sarah Winchester of Bletchingley

William Winchester, the eldest son of Thomas and Mary, was born on 6 April 1806 and baptised in Horne, Surrey, on 4 May. He was brought up in Bletchingley.

He married Sarah Parsons (ca.1813 - 1912) in Croydon on 21 February 1830 and they had the following children, all baptisms in Bletchingley, Surrey:


ca. Nov 1830

bur. 2 Jan 1831


born 21 Sep 1831

bur. 25 Sep 1831


21 Oct 1832



8 Feb 1834



17 Jun 1838

died 1841

Charlotte Sarah

21 Jun 1840



10 Apr 1842


Mahala Caroline

3 Mar 1844



8 Feb 1846

born 23 Dec 1845


19 Mar 1848



21 Jul 1850


male child

Q4 1952

 died Q4 1952


28 May 1854



29 Jun 1856



29 May 1858


Sarah Winchester aged about 99
Sarah Winchester ca.1911

The 1841, '51 & '61 census records show the family living in a cottage at White Hill, which is North of Bletchingley.  As William is shown as a farm labourer it is possible that he worked on Hextalls farm.

William died in 1865 and at the 1871 census Sarah was registered as a laundress living at Great Common on the West side of Bletchingley with her youngest daughter, Emma, and her son-in-law and daughter, George and Jane Potter.

By 1881 Sarah had moved into one of four Alms Houses which were situated between Berry Cottage and School House on Bletchingley High Street.  The 1891, 1901 and 1911 census records show that her youngest daughter, Emma, was also living there and looking after her.  Sarah is thought to have gone blind before she died in 1912 aged about 99.

The Surrey Mirror & County Post of Friday 23 February 1912 carried the following obituary:

Centenarian's Death - Mrs. Winchester, Blechingley

By the death of Mrs. Winchester, of the Almshouses, Blechingley, the parish has lost its oldest inhabitant. The deceased was born at Blindley Heath in July 1812, and was therefore in the hundredth year of her age. She came to reside in Blechingley on her marriage, more than 80 years ago, since which time she had lived continuously in the parish. The deceased was the mother of 15 children, viz., 8 boys and 7 girls. Five of them survive the mother and eleven of the total reached the adult stage. The service, which was conducted by the Rev. J. T. Poole, took place on Monday, and was attended by a number of relatives and friends.

Cutting supplied by Mrs Elizabeth Wickstead

Only seven sons are known from the records, but a male child’s birth and death were both registered in Godstone in Q4 1852 which would fit and could be their missing son. Although the obituary says Sarah was born in July 1812, the year may be wrong. The earliest reliable recorded age is that given in the 1851 census which says she was born in 1814. This would make her only 15 when she married William, which may explain why they married in Croydon rather than in Godstone or Bletchingley. Most of the later census records suggest she was born in 1813, although the 1911 census suggests 1812, the year used in her obituary, less than a year later.

Of their children:

  • Eleanor had an illegitimate son, Edwin Frederick Winchester, baptised in Bletchingley on 10 February 1849 but he died soon afterwards. In 1851 she was working as a servant in Bletchingley. In 1853 she married William Watson and they had 3 children; Emma in 1858, Mary in 1859 and William in 1860. William died in 1863 and she then married George Brown in 1866 shortly before their daughter, Eleanor, was born but he also died, aged 30, later that year. In 1868 she had another daughter, Alice, and in 1870 she married William Plumridge, a brickmaker. At the 1871 census they were living in Bletchingley High Street with four of Eleanor’s children, Mary, William, Ellen and Alice and two of William’s sons. In 1881 Eleanor was living in The Square, Bletchingley, with her children William, Eleanor and Alice. Although she described herself as a labourer’s wife there was no sign of her husband. Eleanor's death has not been found.

  • Mary married William Tuckwood from Kinoulton in Nottinghamshire in 1859 but they are not known to have had any children. In 1871 Mary was a general dealer living at 18 South Street, Reigate, and her 12-year-old sister Emma was staying with her. In 1881 William and Mary were greengrocers living at 19 Cromwell Road, Reigate. In 1891 they were living in Horley and in 1901 they were at Rose Cottage, Buckland, Reigate. Mary’s death, aged 75, was registered in Reigate at the beginning of 1910.

  • Charlotte was a servant in Brighton in 1861. She married Thomas Akehurst, a farm labourer from Patcham, Sussex, in 1867 and lived in East Dean, Sussex, with their two daughters:



    East Dean, Sussex



    East Dean, Sussex

    In 1871 and 1881 their address was given as Under Hill, in 1891 as Birling Farm and in 1901 and 1911 as the Gilbert Institute, all East Dean. Charlotte died on 23 June 1915 and was buried in East Dean. Her headstone in East Dean churchyard also records Thomas’ death on 12 January 1927.

  • Frederick married Susannah Brooker in Godstone on 4 November 1863. They had two children baptised:


    12 Jun 1864


    Frances Susan

    11 Feb 1865


    Frederick died at the age of 25 and was buried in Godstone on 18 March 1867. Susannah remarried in 1869 to John Bryant and in 1871 had Alice with her but not Frances. In 1881 Frances was staying with her uncle, Jesse Brooker, in Worth.

  • Mahala had a daughter, Mary Winchester, baptised in Bletchingley on 11 June 1860. On 28 July 1860 she married James Parsons, a 23-year-old stone digger from Bletchingley. In 1871 they were living at 2 Halls Cottages, Redhill, where James was a carman. Mahala appears to have had six children:

    Mary Winchester

    11 Jun 1860


    Margaret Parsons



    James Parsons









    Mahala Caroline



    Mahala died in 1879 and James remarried in 1880 to Emma Humphrey. At the 1881 census James was at 119 Cromwell Road with Thomas, Frederick, Caroline, his second wife, Emma, and four of her children. Mahala’s daughter Mary was a servant at Chesterton Terrace, Redhill, in 1881.

  • William married Mary Jane Elsey from Horley in 1867. Mary already had a son:

    Charles Elsey


    Charles, Mary’s illegitimate son was variously known as Charles Elsey and Charles Winchester. William and Jane had two children:

    William Abraham

    bap. 28 May 1876

    Redhill, St Matthew

    Leonard George


    In 1871 William was a carter living in Woodlands Road, Redhill, and in 1876 he was living in Linkfield Lane. In 1881 he was a publican in Horley Road, Redhill, and his son Charles was a gardener. In 1891 he lived in Grove Hill Road. Kelly's directories for 1874, 1887 and 1890 show William as a beer retailer at Earlswood Common, Redhill. Mary died in 1894 and William married Sarah Jane Scott in 1895. They seem to have had two sons:

    William Abraham


    died 1897

    Alfred Victor


    In 1901 William, Sarah, Leonard and Alfred were living at 111 Monson Road, Redhill. William, Sarah and Alfred were still at that address in 1911. William is believed to have died in 1923 and Sarah in 1939.

  • Lewes married Mary Ann Bryant (born 1847) in Godstone on 5 September 1868 and they had at least five children:

    Frances Mary

    11 Jul 1869


    Eliza Jane

    13 Jan 1872


    Albert Lewis

    30 Nov 1879


    Oliver Ernest



    Florence Marion



    In 1871 Lewes was living in Station Road, Godstone, and working as a railway porter but by 1881 he was a Fullers Earth pit labourer living at Stychens in Bletchingley. In 1891 he was still at Stychens but working as a farm labourer and in 1901 he was a hearth stone miner living on Walton Heath, to the north of Reigate. Lewis, Mary and Albert were still in Walton Heath in 1911. Lewis died in 1937, aged 89.

  • Jane married George Potter, a Fullers Earth pit labourer, in 1870 and at the 1871 census they were staying with Jane’s mother, Sarah, at Great Common, Bletchingley. In 1881 they were living at School House, High Street, Bletchingley, and in 1891 were still in High Street. Their children were:

    William George






    Fanny Edith




    Arthur Winchester 


    Walter Winchester


    Zephaniah Henry


    Jane died in 1892 and George re-married the following year and had further children.

  • Charles became a boot maker, married Harriet Heasman and lived in Redhill (see Charles & Harriet Winchester).

  • Harry became a bootmaker like his elder brother Charles and in 1871 he was in High Street, Redhill, apprenticed to Alfred Breach, Bootmaker. He married Lizzie Bone, from Bedfordshire, in 1875 and by 1881 they were living at 24 Cromwell Road, Redhill, where Harry was working as a bootmaker. They had two children:

    Lilian Gertrude


    Spalding, Lincs

    Leonard Harry



    The 1887 Kelly's directory shows Harry as a shoemaker at 19 and 24 Cromwell Road and in 1890 and 1899 just at 19 Cromwell Road as in the 1891 census. In 1901 and 1911 they were at 35 Woodlands Road, Redhill, which was also the address given in Kelly’s in 1909, although the 1913 Kelly’s has 45 Woodlands Road. Harry probably died in 1935.

  • Emma seems to have remained a spinster and lived with her mother. She appears to have died in 1930.

According to Kelly’s directory a Leonard Winchester lived at 28 Howard Road, Reigate, between at least 1948 and 1959 but it is not known if this was William’s son or Harry’s son.