John Lindfield of West Blatchington

JOHN LINDFIELD “junior” (1756-1826) and his sister SARAH (Bap. 1758) were probably born at West Blatchington; their baptisms are shown in the Parish Register for the Brighton (then Brighthelmstone) Parish Church which was also responsible for the small Blatchington community. They were the children of JOHN LINDFIELD (born c.1728) who married MARY KEMPTON (born c.1735) at St. Nicholas, Brighton, 10th October 1755, both of Blatchington. (I have a photocopy of the Parish Register entry). A map of the area prepared by Yeakell & Gardner (1783) shows how scattered the farming communities were at the time the Lindfield’s were there. So far as I know there was just the farm and associated buildings, the only one which now survives is the Mill. All this area is now well inside the modern development of Hove. I have not been able to trace the Kemptons, all that is known is given in the Marriage Register of St. Nicholas, Brighton, as mentioned above.

Sometime between 1758 and 1760 it seems the family moved over the hill to Patcham, then a small hamlet at the back of Brighton. This was another farming area, and also had smuggling associations. There is no indication what occupation the Lindfield’s followed at this time but I think they were possibly agricultural labourers of some kind.

The baptism of THOMAS there in 1762 was a bit of a puzzle to begin with. It seemed to belong to my family; however, the parents were given in the transcript as JOHN/ANN. I have since looked at the original document on microfilm at the East Sussex Record Office, and find that Mary was put in as an afterthought above the line, so the name really was Mary Ann. This fits nicely with the ANN (born 1760) at Patcham but I would expect there also to have been a daughter Mary somewhere, maybe born about the time of the move in c.1758/60. She was possibly the Mary Lindfield who married a man HARVEY in 1779 at St. Nicholas, Brighton.

Other children of JOHN/MARY baptised at Patcham, were WILLIAM (1764), JAMES (1766-68). ELIZABETH (1769), and another JAMES (1770). The parents were both buried at Patcham. JOHN, by then a widower and probably living with one of his children, died in Brighthelmstone aged 88 and was buried 21st October 1816. Mary his wife, was buried. aged 66, on 23rd January 1801.

There does not seem to have been much money in the family judging by the known addresses later. The generation that followed lived in Marshalls Road, a small row of cottages built on the outskirts of Brighton a short while before the vast expansion of that town. It will be seen that the LINDFIELD’s of my line were probably very ordinary working folk; sometimes small traders in the next generation.

JOHN LINDFIELD “junior” married first to ANN GLASEBROOK on the 12th November 1778 at Falmer. Following her death, he married Betty Hayler at St. Peter’s Church, Preston, on 16th February 1790. (By coincidence I was married to JOHN MILTON at the same church almost exactly 169 years later, on 14th February 1959). JOHN and BETTY LINDFIELD had six children baptised at Preston between 1790 and 1802 – SARAH, ELIZABETH, LYDIA, JOHN, NATT HAYLER and JAMES. ELIZABETH married THOMAS COLE, a widower of the 10th Regiment of Dragoons (the Prince of Wales’ own, stationed at Preston Barracks) on the 31st December 1816. ELIZABETH was my three times great grandmother.

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