Some Village Families in 1881 from further afield

Before the 1830s and 1840s, people movement had been difficult but, of course, not rare. Within fifty years, however, a completely different scenario existed with significant movement of workers and their families around the country. Angmering mirrored that scene.

With the repeal of the Acts of Settlement, the establishment of the Poor Law Amendment Act, the increasing mechanisation of farming, the coming of the railways, and improved roads and other communications, the 1830s and 1840s had a profound impact on life in rural England. By the 1880s, the rural economy was giving way to greater industrial development and here, on the South Coast, the seaside resorts were really beginning to flourish. Health greatly improved during the second half of the 19th Century, the population therefore rapidly rising and creating a demand for more house building. More shops arose to cater for the needs of the expanding populace and market gardening was rapidly growing to meet the needs of the increasingly popular seaside resorts and the London market, so accessible now by train.

From the 1881 Census, we learn much about the people who came to work and settle in Angmering at that time reflecting the above changes. From the Census we also learn a great deal about social aspects of the local community, particularly the ruling and landed classes who were still dominant. Let us take a look at some of the residents within the Parish of Angmering.

Perhaps we should start with the principal resident, Lt. Col. Sir Henry Aubrey Fletcher, Bart., MP, JP. Born in Walton-on-Thames, he and Lady Agnes Fletcher (b. Chelsea) employed some ten house servants at Ham Manor, not a single one of them originating from Angmering or anywhere near. This may well have been a deliberate policy to minimise his business being spread around the village. Frederic Webber, Sir Henry's bailiff, living with his wife and family at Ham Farm Dairy originated from Cruwys Mordchard, Devon; his children were born at Walton-on-Thames and Funtington (Sussex), so it's interesting to see how he might have moved about to further his career. One of Sir Henry's gardeners, Henry Stephens, hailed from Doncaster, Yorkshire. Up at the other manor at Ecclesden, while owner and farmer, John Heasman was a local man, his gardener Benjamin Jones was born in Bangor, Wales.

Mari Mousley was a lady of independent means living at Lime Tree Cottage with her niece. They originated from Derby and Sudbrook (Lancs) respectively and employed a mother and son as servants, the mother being born in France and the son in Mexico. The Cottage seems to have been shared with James West from Purbrook (Hants), his wife and their six children. He existed on his ownership of property and stock market investments. At the Malt House, annuitant William Kerl (75) came from the City of London while the Rector, James Orme, was born in Merton (Surrey). The Rector also employed three servants which illustrates the standing of the clergy at this time. Samual Walker, the Curate of Ferring, Kingston and East Preston lived at "Round Stone". He and his family are particularly interesting inasmuch that he was born in Manchester, his wife in Ireland, two of his sons on the Isle on Man, and a daughter in Cambridge. One of his sons was an undergraduate at Oxford University.

Starting to descend the social scale, we find Sextus Clarke the farmer at Church Farm originating from Edgebaston while the young schoolmistress at St Wilfred's, Elizabeth Berryman, and her assistant schoolmistress sister, Anne, came from Westminster. Also living at St. Wilfred's RC Schoolhouse was an artist, George Smith, from Dagenham and his wife Marion from Withycombe (Devon). Publicans Thomas "Old Wilkie" Wilkinson (The Lamb), James Diaper (The Spotted Cow), Frank Artlett (The Fox), and Henry Harris (The Woodmans Arms) hailed from North Chapel, Stowupland (Suffolk), Stanmer, and Littlehampton respectively. Only William Cheeseman at The Red Lion Inn was an Angmering man.

One might have expected the traders in the village to be of local origin; however, this is far from the case and a high proportion came from further afield. Here are some of them, their occupations, and their birth places: James Terry, butcher (Guildford); Henry Phillips, saddler (Colbourne, Isle of Wight); Edmund Graysmark, shoemaker (Duncton); George Boore, carpenter & joiner (Brighton); William Battock, saddler (Storrington); Richard Winchester, grocer & draper (Rottingdean); Henry Freeland, chemist, druggist & stationer, (Deptford); Zebedee Peskett, smith (Billingshurst), Arthur Elliott, draper, grocer & postmaster (Brighton); George Bantock (17), postal clerk (Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk). Frederick Luck, the miller, was an Angmering man but his wife Anne interestingly was born in Piccadilly.

Lastly, but by no means least, we find William Fuller from Dorking living with his wife from Kibworth (Leics) residing at the house now known as Eachways opposite the Lamb Inn. Fuller is described as a "County Policeman". This description may appear slightly strange to us now but West Sussex was one of the last counties to establish a police force due to opposition from the landowners who maintained that it would undermine their position. The Police Act of 1856 impelled West Sussex to raise a force which it grudging did although it initially only appointed 16 officers for the whole of the county. Over the next 25 years the force grew, with Angmering having its own constable although still styled "County Policeman", a term with which we would be unfamiliar today.

Andrew Woodford

Last updated 1 June 2002

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