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.1812 - 1912) in Croydon on 21 February 1830 and they had the following children, all baptisms in Bletchingley, Surrey:
|Harriot||ca. Nov 1830||bur. 2 Jan 1831|
|James||born 21 Sep 1831||bur. 25 Sep 1831|
|Eleanor||21 Oct 1832|
|Mary||8 Feb 1834|
|William||17 Jun 1838||died 1841|
|Charlotte Sarah||21 Jun 1840|
|Frederick||10 Apr 1842|
|Mahala Caroline||3 Mar 1844|
|William||8 Feb 1846||born 23 Dec 1845|
|Lewes||19 Mar 1848|
|Jane||21 Jul 1850|
|Charles||28 May 1854|
|Harry||29 Jun 1856|
|Emma||29 May 1858|
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 and 1901 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
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.
- 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:
Charlotte 1869 East Dean, Sussex Alice 1871 East Dean, Sussex
- Frederick married Susannah Brooker in Godstone on 4 November 1863. They had two children baptised:
Alice 12 Jun 1864 Godstone Frances Susan 11 Feb 1865 Godstone
- 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 Bletchingley Margaret Parsons 1862 Bletchingley James Parsons 1867 Bletchingley Thomas Parsons 1869 Redhill Frederick Parsons 1870 Redhill Mahala Caroline Parsons 1872 Redhill
- William married Mary Jane Elsey from Horley in 1867. Mary already had a son:
Charles Elsey 1864
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 1892
Alfred Victor 1897
- 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 Redhill Eliza Jane 13 Jan 1872 Godstone Albert Lewis 30 Nov 1879 Bletchingley Oliver Ernest 1884 Bletchingley Florence Marion 1886 Bletchingley
- 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 1872 Frederick 1875 Charles 1879 Fanny Edith 1881 Harold 1883 Arthur Winchester 1884 Walter Winchester 1886 Zephaniah Henry 1888
- 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 1877 Spalding, Lincs Leonard Harry 1882 Redhill
- 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.