John and Elizabeth Lindfield of Keymer in East Sussex

I was lucky enough to be able to work for six months in London last year, and follow up my Sussex ancestry. My aim was to track down the origins of my great grandfather, Jesse Lindfield, who (I believe) was the only one of his family to come to Australia. He sailed to New South Wales in about 1860, and any contact with the family in England had been long lost. I was partly successful in searching out local church records, but the trail came to a dead-end with the descendants of all of his siblings, no doubt mainly because more people were beginning to move greater distances away from their home towns in that period. Unfortunately I did not come across any close living relatives of the line I am about to describe. If any one has any further information I would be very glad to hear from them.

My known ancestors begin with John Lindfield and Mary Kempton of Blatchington, whose family is described by Mrs F. Rosemary Milton in Vol 1 No 1 of LONGSHOT. One of their children, Thomas Lindfield (baptised in Patcham in 1762), married Sarah Scrase (born about 1768) at Keymer Church in 1785. They had about 10 children most of whom were baptised at Keymer; Fanny (1785), Thomas (1786), William (1788), James (1790), Sarah (1792), Mary (1794), John (1797), Henry (1801), Peter (1803) and Jesse (1806). Sarah was buried in 1830 at Keymer and Thomas in 1841 also at Keymer.

Their seventh child, John Lindfield, was baptised at Keymer on 24th December 1794. He married Elizabeth Likeman (sometimes Lightman) on 21st October 1818 at Keymer Church. Elizabeth Likeman was born on 8 March 1800 at Clayton or Keymer, the daughter of George Likeman and Mary Saunders, and is said to have been baptised at Great Ote Hall, Wive1sfie1d.

They had eight children together; Sarah Ann (1819), James (1821), Thomas (1823), Peter (about 1827), Eliza (about 1828), George (about 1830), Jesse (1832) and Abraham (1834), again mostly baptised at Keymer. At first the family lived at “Keymer”, but by 1832 they were at the “Parish House on St. Johns Common” (near the playground in St. John’s Park at Burgess Hill today). John Lindfield worked as a labourer, and died aged 38 years, the reason for which I don’t know.

In 1836, Elizabeth Lindfield was (re?-) baptised at Patcham Church of England along with her brothers and sister. She had two more children, Elizabeth in 1837 and John in 1840, with Steven Packham (born about 1784), a labourer of St. John’s Common. By the Census of 1841, however, they were not apparently living together – she was at “Parish Cottages, Keymer” with the six youngest children and he at “Blacksmiths Arms“, Lye Lane, St. John’s Common. At the age of 47 years, in 1847, she married Richard Simmons (born about 1795 at Hurstpierpoint, an agricultural labourer and a widower) at Clayton Church. In 1851, they were living at St. Johns Common, Clayton with Abraham, Elizabeth and John; and in 1861, at Avery’s Cottages, Clayton with son John (here called “Stephen”) and his future wife Eliza Bennett. Richard Simmons died before 1871. In 1871, Elizabeth, aged 71, was living with her son John and his family at Freshfield Crossways Cottages, Horsted Keynes. She died in 1872 at Burgess Hill, with a “Tabitha Stevens present at death“.

With regard to the children of John and Elizabeth Lindfield, Sarah Ann married James Stevens, of Keymer, at Keymer Church in 1836. I do not know what became of this family, though the Tabitha Stevens mentioned above is likely to have been related.

James was a labourer and died at Keymer in 1841 of Typhus Fever, which was apparently epidemic at that time.

Peter was also a labourer. He married Mary Ann Waller (born in Keymer about 1833 ) in 1853 at Keymer, and they had children; Elizabeth (1854), George (1856), John (1858) and William (1860) and l lived at St John’s Common up to 1861. I don’t know what became of them.

Elizabeth married James Steel (born 1826, Corfu, ag. labourer) in 1844 at The Licensed Schoolbarn at Hurstpierpoint. In 1851, they were living at no.2 Ribbotts, Hurstpierpoint but no children were mentioned. She died in 1851 of Typhus Fever. James Steel married Maria Chatfield in 1852 and had several chi1dren with her.

George was a Potter’s Labourer, and was living with his brother Peter at St. John’s Common in 1851. I don’t know what became of him.

Abraham was a bricklayers labourer, living with his mother and stepfather, Richard Simmons, in 1851 at St. John’s Common. I also don’t know what became of him.

Elizabeth left home after 1851, and in 1861 was living in Brighton as a servant, unmarried, with her uncle John Likeman and his family. Later that year she married Thomas Likeman who was her first cousin. They had a son Thomas John born in 1862.

John married Eliza Bennett (born about 1841, at Fletching, general house servant) in 1861 at Clayton Parish Church. They had three children; Mary (1862), Lucy (1867) and Elizabeth (1870). In 1871 they were living at Freshfield Crossways Cottages, Horstead Keynes.

Jesse Lindfield, my great grandfather, was baptised at Keymer on 15 July 1835. He went to sea in a “man-of-war”, on which he was employed as a sailmaker. He arrived in Sydney, New South Wales (NSW) in the 1850’s or early 1860’s, and worked as a labourer. He married Johanna Hannan (born about 1834, county Cork, Ireland) in 1864 in Sydney. They eventually moved to newly-opened lands in the central-west of NSW, and worked a farm called “Rose Farm” of 200 acres growing hay, oats and potatoes. They had six children; John Patrick (born 1864, died 1865), John Patrick ( 1866), Julia Margaret ( 1868), James George ( 1870), Cornelius Joseph ( 1872) and my grandfather, Daniel William (1875). Jesse died in 1887, and his wife and children continued to work on the farm.

Thanks to everyone who helped me so generously before and during my stay in England, including Mary Offer, Rosemary Milton, Mary Ellmore, Roy Lewry and Reg Philpott.

One thought on “John and Elizabeth Lindfield of Keymer in East Sussex”

  1. Hi. I’m trying to find a connection.
    My great grandfather was James Stephens.
    He was son of Sarah Ann Lindfield and James Stephens, Gardener
    Our James STEPHENS (the son) was 29 when he came to Australia on the Pericles in 1883 with his wife and several children. James married at age 23 to Jane Victoria VINE.
    They settled near Scone, where Jane’s brother and uncle had settled.
    Little is known except he was from Sussex, born or baptised at Chailey.
    Id be interested to know what you know. I am a blank slate.

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