The Parsons' were never prominent in Angmering, either as a family or as individuals so why single them out for special mention? The reason is that there were very many of them who contributed to village life as artisans. There is a necessity for such people just as much as there are leaders in a community, all making their own contribution.
Our first real knowledge of the Parsons family of Angmering comes from the Parish Registers which indicate that a Richard Parsons settled in the village round about 1770. The Registers do show that a few isolated Parsons had resided in the parish some 70 years beforehand but there is no evidence of a connection with the later ones.
Richard Parsons also creates a dilemma. A Richard Parsons starts having a family with a Catherine (unknown) in the 1770s while perhaps another Richard Parsons marries Margaret Olliver from Angmering and they start a family about the same time. Was there more than one Richard Parsons, perhaps a cousin, or was there just one Richard raising two families at the same time! As we cannot trace the origins of either Richard, we will probably never know the answer. From the burial records, we do know that Richard of the mainstream family (i.e. the one marrying Margaret Olliver) was born c1743 and, from the IGI, we find that a Richard Parsons was baptised in New Shoreham in that year, so it is a possibility that Richard originated from that area - not too far away. The family of Richard and Catherine survived for a generation but most or all of their grandchildren appear to have died without reaching their majority.
However, the complication does not end there. What appears to be a totally unrelated Parsons family settled in Angmering in the 1840s. This was the family of Thomas Parsons and his wife Sarah. Thomas was born in Cork, Ireland c1818 who married Sarah from Fittleworth. Their first child was born in 1842 in Lyminster and their second and subsequent children were born in Angmering, starting with Charles Thomas Parsons, baptised 1844.
Many of the Parsons families fought for their country during WW1 and one Arthur James Parsons (see photo right) made the ultimate sacrifice. He was a Private (No. G/5683) in the 8th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. 18th Division .He was killed in action on the 14th December 1915, aged 19. He was the son of James and Marion Parsons of 23, Chalks Cottages, Angmering. He was born in Angmering and enlisted in Worthing and was buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery. His name appears on the War Memorial on The Green.
The local broadsheet "Scribble" reports on a number of Parsons who served during WW!:
Aircraft Mechanic William A Parsons also wrote the following letter to "Scribble" from the Front on 19 September 1917:
Please excuse the liberty I take, but I thought I must drop you a line congratulating you on the very nice little my little son sent me called Scribble (Holiday Number). I had no idea there was such a book, so it came as a pleasant surprise. Being an Angmeringite and knowing the scenes and most of the people mentioned so well, I found it very interesting, so I have asked him to send his daddy Scribble while I am in France.
I might say being in pre-war days a joinre [sic] by trade, I helped to build the Sports Club and several of the houses at Angmering-on-Sea, the last being the house on the north side of Mrs. Platt Higgins'. I have made quite a nice picture gallery of the photos for my bunk. One of the tennis scenes reminds me of the drop scene you had painted for the Sports Club, and well I remember the first Concert there, for although it rained all the time during my journeys from and back to Angmering, I consider I was well repaid as it was simply "extra." I should like a similar one out here by way of a change.
These photos bring back many pleasant memories. Dear old Angmering Church with the old shop at which I was apprenticed at the bottom of the hill, and now used by Mr. Cheesman as a Greengrocer's stores, etc., not forgetting the photos of Angmering-on-Sea, East Preston and Rustington.
I have been here with the R.F.C. in France going on for 10 months, and am no chicken being close on 42. This particular part of France is very like many parts of Sussex as regards scenery. A week or two ago I went about 120 miles in a motor lorry, and I was surprised at the miles and miles of corn we passed, stretching on both sides of the road as far as the eye could see. What surprised we Sussex lads is that there are no hedges by the roadsides or in the fields as we will call them, though one can see no partings, barbed wire being used where necessary.
I only saw about three reaping machines all the way, and these brought back memories of Upper Barpham (Angmeringites would "compre" this). Apple and pear trees by the roadside (What ho! Angmering and East Preston lads!) I must say we have not much to moan about, but shall be glad to have just one more look at dear old A---. Well sir, I must now close as it is close on "lights out" - 9.45.
Wishing all old friends at Angmering-on-Sea, not forgetting Mrs. Hollis, yourself and family, the very best of health etc.
I am Sir, yours truly
No 42073 1st Class Air Mechanic Section 7, 2nd attd. A.R.S. R.F.C., B.E.F., France
P.S. - Most of the corn in France appears to be cut by the old-time scythe. Women form a goodly percentage of the labourers, working very hard until quite dark. Agricultural machinery appears to be - using the Army phrase - quite a "wash out."
"Scribble" also tells us something of the loyalty and conscientiousness of two of the Parsons who worked on local farms. James (Jim) Parsons worked on Avenals Farms for 31 years and Richard Parsons worked on Ham Manor Farm for 35 years. Dave Parsons was no slouch either, coming second in the over 50s 100 yards race at the village's 1919 Peace Celebrations when in his 60th year. Dave's son, Charlie, was a member of a small concert party that used to perform in the village.
Earlier, back in 1894, there is evidence that Harry Parsons was a popular member of the community when he secured a considerable number of votes at elections which established Angmering's first Parish Council and him becoming one of the village's first parish councillors. The number of votes he obtained closely approached that of the leading candidate, the Rector. We also know that a Thomas Parsons operated a building business in Angmering in the 1920s and 1930s.
Bearing in mind that the Parsons families were prolific in Angmering at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century, it is rather sad that there appears to be only one member left living in Angmering today with the Parsons name although there are a couple more who were Parsons before marriage.
The lovely family photo below shows Fanny Parsons (b.1887), her husband George A. Weller, and three of their four children. Fanny was the daughter of William Parsons (b.1854) and Frances Clevett. The photo was probably taken in 1910/11. George Weller died of his wounds in France in March 1917 during WW1 and is commemorated on the Angmering War Memorial. Fanny later remarried, her second husband being Thomas Barnett from East Preston.
Below is a list of Parsons' names recorded in Angmering's Parish Registers:
|3.12.1876||Mary Jane Frances||William||Fanny||Labourer|
|10.8.1887||Charles David||David George||Annie Harriet||Loader|
|3.11.1889||Harry||David George||Annie Harriet||Loader|
|6.7.1890||Augustus George||Thomas||Anna Elizabeth||Plumber|
All single unless stated to be widowed (w).
|25.12.1770||Richard Parsons||Margaret Olliver||.||.|
|3.10.1794||William Bainett||Jane Parsons||.||.|
|17.5.1804||William Winton||Esther Parsons||.||.|
|21.1.1806||John Webb||Jemima Parsons||.||.|
|3.6.1816||James Parsons||Mary Barnett||.||.|
|3.6.1816||Thomas Parsons||Sarah Hayler||.||.|
|14.12.1838||John White (50) (w)||Mary Parsons (40) (w)||.||Bricklayer|
|25.12.1856||James Gladman (24)||Ann Parsons (25)||BF: Thomas Parsons (dec'd lab)||Labourer|
|12.9.1859||James Etherington (26)||Mary Anne Parsons (22)||BF: James Parsons (Shoemaker)||Mariner|
|8.6.1864||George Smart (22)||Jane Parsons (21)||BF: George Parsons (Labourer)||Labourer|
|15.3.1866||George Parsons (29)||Maria Susan Cheeseman (19)||GF: stated - John Herbert (Lab)||Mariner|
|3.10.1869||Henry Edmunds (21)||Louisa Parsons (21)||BF: Thomas Parsons (Labourer)||Labourer|
|15.10.1870||Richard Parsons (23)||Eliza Broad (32) (w)||GF: Henry Parsons (Stockman)||Labourer|
|4.5.1872||Daniel Berry (23)||Louisa Eliza Parsons (19)||BF: William Parsons (Labourer)||Lab. (fr. Patching)|
|24.10.1874||Frederick Finch (22)||Fanny Parsons (22)||BF: Thomas Parsons (Labourer)||Labourer|
|29.12.1874||William Parsons (30)||Sarah Dean (36) (w)||GF: Henry Parsons (Labourer)||Shoemaker|
|15.7.1876||William Parsons (22)||Fanny Clevatt (19)||GF: Thomas Parsons (Lab)
BF: Charles Clevatt (Labourer)
|1.6.1878||James Parsons (24)||Mary Jane Finch (21)||GF: William Parsons (Lab)
BF: Albert Finch (Cowman)
|8.9.1878||Richard Parsons (22)||Charlotte Merriott (25)||GF: Thomas Parsons (Lab)
BF: Richard Merriott (Lab)
|19.4.1879||William Parsons (21)||Emily Booker (22)||GF: William Parsons (Cowman)
BF:John Booker (Labourer)
|11.6.1887||David George Parsons (26)||Annie Harriet Smart (19)||GF:Thomas Parsons (Labourer)
BF: William Smart (Lab - dec'd)
|5.9.1889||Thomas Parsons (24)||Anna Elizabeth Plumbridge (22)||GF: Edward Parsons (Sexton)
BF: James Plumbridge (Builder)
|14.9.1889||Henry Parsons (26)||Annie Booker (25)||GF: William Parsons (Cowman)
BF: John Booker (Labourer)
|22.9.1891||George Pilbeam (25)||Rose Eliza Parsons (26)||GF: William Pilbeam (Blacksmith)
BF: Henry Parsons (Cowman)
|29.11.1891||Alfred Walter Berry (22)||Mary Parsons (23)||GF: Richard Berry (Tradesman)
BF: Edward Parsons (Labourer)
|27.5.1893||James Parsons (26)||Marion Joyes (21)||GF: Thomas Parsons (Labourer)
BF: James Joyes (Labourer)
|17.11.1894||Harry Belchamber (39)||Mary Jane Parsons (w)(38)||GF: Thomas Belchamber (Carter)
BF: Albert Finch (Labourer)
|26.9.1819||Jane Parsons||4 days|
|26.7.1821||George Parsons||10 months|
|12.6.1827||Richard Parsons||21 months|
|30.11.1828||Louisa Parsons||9 months|
|7.2.1834||Caroline Parsons||5 months|
|3.2.1848||Mary Elizabeth Susannah Parsons||23|
|6.3.1856||Jane Parsons||1 week|
|10.10.1861||Frederick Dupuy Parsons||33 from Littlehampton|
|12.11.1861||Rev Henry George Joseph Parsons||40 from Littlehampton|
|3.1.1862||Harriett Parsons||2 yrs 10 months|
|10.7.1864||Mary Ann Parsons||16|
|23.6.1865||John Lawrence Parsons||31 from Littlehampton|
|5.4.1866||Mary Gibbs Parsons||65 from Littlehampton|
|11.5.1869||Mary Ann Parsons||73|
|24.3.1871||George Parsons||3 from St Olave, Surrey|
|7.9.1880||Henry Frank Parsons||6|
|19.11.1886||William Parsons||66 (From East Preston Poor House)|
|11.5.1894||Arthur Luke Parsons||13 months|
|15.7.1895||Ethel Mary Parsons||3 days|
|12.10.1895||Mary Jane Parsons||3|
|9.10.1901||Harold Roland Parsons||23|
|30.1.1903||Henry Parsons||82 (Died in Worthing)|
|28.6.1904||Alfred Henry Parsons||39|
|16.5.1909||Albert Victor Parsons||11|
|11.6.1912||Ellen Parsons||16 hours|
Neil A Rogers-Davis
Information Sources and Acknowledgements: