Reading ‘The Essential Guide to Genealogy’ (edited by Ellen Galford, published earlier this year by Marshall Publishing) reminds me that family history provides an interesting opening to the vast area of social history. With this new book as a guide, here are a few suggestions for extending research into other avenues for our Lin(d)field Group’.
(i). The manor of Linkfield
According to Stanford Smith, since we had no ancient connections with the villages of Lindfield and Lingfield, our manorial origin was Linkfield (now part of Redhill) in Surrey. In Nigel Dunne’s book ‘The Redhill Story’ (published in 1994) we find a brief introduction to its history (pp. 8-18). Linkfield was a sub-manor of Reigate and first recorded in 1315 when it was owned by Nicholas de Lynkefeld. The manor house stood on what used to be the corner of Station Road and Linkfield Lane, before the roundabout was built.
It would be useful to know more about Linkfield, as Linkfield Street remains one of the main roads in Redhill. Any member living in the Redhill, Reigate or Kingston areas might tackle this intriguing part of our Norman and Medieval family origins.
(ii). Our family connections with some well-known Sussex land-owning families
These include such families as the Wyndhams of Petworth House and later the Egremonts, the Stanfords of Preston Manor, the Shelleys of Field Place and Castle Goring, the Borrers of Henfield and Hurstpierpoint, Samson Copestake of Ewhurst Manor and Shermanbury Place, and so on.
These associations could be as Linfield tenant farmers or as employees on their estates or in their large houses. As Joan Ham has shown in her local research on Storrington and district, Linfield family references occur in many places; her recent work on the Canon Palmer Diaries has thrown up some interesting details about some of my 19th century ancestors! However, as Malcolm has often pointed out in his articles, the Linfields’ fortunes were moderate and typical of tenant and small farmers, craftsmen like blacksmiths, brickmakers and stonehealers, with various categories of manual worker. Luckily from time to time there was the emergence of an academic, a cleric or some other scholar!! This naturally leads to suggestion (iii).
(iii). Academic/professional Lin(d)fields
In past issues of ‘Longshot’, we have had articles on the following: Robert Linfield of Barnards Inn, Professor Frederick Bloomfield Linfield, Ralph Parkinson Linfield, and Gilbert Lindfield M.P. of Ipswich. But we still need more information on John Lyndefeld, Archdeacon of Chichester who had links with All Souls College, Oxford, John Linfield of Coolhurst and any other Linfields recorded as Oxbridge or other university graduates.
In the House of Commons Library, there are details on the various Lin(d)field M.P.s. Another source of information are the various Institutes of Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical and other types of Engineer for Lin(d)field references. In some cases, old school records would be useful too.
Finally, recent television programmes, such as the 1900 House, the 1940 House and ‘Surviving the Iron Age’, have introduced the latest approach at historical understanding. Using any data that we have in our family records, or in ‘Longshot’, someone might write a ‘day in the life’ of one of their ancestors. So here is my first attempt (!) with Peter Linfield of Storrington, in the Summer of 1781:
"Our step daughter Sarah was twenty earlier in the year so she is now a very valuable member of the family in assisting my wife Sarah with her children. Anne has just celebrated her 13th birthday and William his 12th. In May our youngest child Peter was born so he joins Lucy (10), Edward (7), Thomas (5) and James (3). Since we still have the farm at Palmers, West Chiltington, as well as our shop in Church Street and another house in the village, we are all kept very well occupied with our various duties. William is my butcher’s assistant in the shop whereas I have John Humphries as farm manager at Palmers. We are lucky to have a pleasant house to live in as well as the shop to run, so we have some comfort for all the family to enjoy. Also, we have arranged for our children to have some lessons in reading, writing and arithmetic; Anne and Lucy are doing very well and progressing. We eat well and the children take part in village and church activities."
(This could be elaborated with some imaginative description of late 18th century Storrington village life).
Palmer’s Farm House as it is today – Peter Linfield (1734-91), his mother Sarah (nee Dave) and his second wife Sarah Sayers moved there soon after their marriage in 1766.