The Avery Connection

At our AGM it was suggested we might find it interesting if we wrote about some of the families who inter-married into the Lindfield family. Being something of a mongrel myself, I welcomed the suggestion as I do think these contemporary families add colour and interest to our Lin(d)field line. They also tell us much of what life was like in those far off days.

My Grandmother, MARTHA LINDFIELD 1826-1874, as I have explained in Longshot Vol.1 No.2, married into the Avery family. The Averys were farmers and farm labourers in and around Cuckfield and Cowfold and the Hurst area as far back as I can go with any certainty. There is a list of vicars hanging in the Church at Rusper which includes one JOHN AVERY. Reference to him appears in Bishop Rede’s Register (SRS Vol 8 page 4). It appears that he came from the Diocese of Rochester. But the name Avery/Averay appears earlier in the Tax Accounts (SRS Vol 10) for the years 1296, 1327 and 1332. In 1296 for the Hundred of Buttingehille, which is the Hurstpierpoint area, gives Jurati JOHANNE AVERAY who paid 2s. O1/2. in tax, while for the villages of Clayton, Keymer and Hurst, Willo Averay paid 1s. 6d. in 1332.

THOMAS AVERIE who is the first ancestor I can really claim, lived in an old house at Twineham known as “Hodes” or “New House”. He died in 1626 and was buried at Hurst on June 10th. He was mentioned as Constable of the Hundred of Buttinghill – the Southern Part, in 1618.

The History of Hurst written by “A Native”, and published in 1837, tells us of an old house built of lathe and plaster and having large gable ends, having stood on the borders of Hurst and Twineham. The narrator says it was pulled down “about 150 years ago”. Was this the ancient home of the Averys, I wonder? This generation married into the Roberts family and in the Will of EDMUND ROBERTS 1608 mention is made of his son-in-law THOMAS AVERY, though in Comber’s Genealogy Thomas Averie’s wife is termed as a daughter of Thomas Roberts. Also mention is made of Ann Edwards and Faintnot Avery, his daughters perhaps? This Thomas Avery was Constable of the Southern part of the Hundred of Buttinghill in 1618. Thomas married the second time on November 24th 1601, DOROTHY LASHMAR, his first wife having been buried earlier the same year. In 1602 and 1604 two sons are baptized at Cuckfield – Thomas and Nathaniel, though the mother’s name is not given. From these two sons stem some interesting people!

Both these sons married twice, and in each case the second wife was a daughter of WILLIAM MARCHANT of Edburton. Thomas was married to JOAN MARCHANT at Edburton in 1642, and it may have been their son Thomas who was imprisoned at Lewes as a Quaker for six months in 1664? Though he survived the ordeal and was buried in Hurst in 1683. From their second son William comes the branch who farmed at Hamsey for many years.

But it was from Nathaniel 1604 – 1679 that we get the connection with the Lindfields. Nathaniel married at Edburton on 16th January 1643/4 to SUSAN MARCHANT. His first wife had died in childbirth the previous year. Nathaniel farmed Knowles Tooth and Burrylands in Hurst. By Susan he had at least 9 children! In 1645 their daughter Susan was baptized at Bolney. It was this Susan who married a certain JOHN LINDFIELD, though I have not been able to find the date or place of marriage. Reference is made to him in the Will of Susan’s father and also in the will of her brother, Nathaniel, 1n 1709 and Letters of Administration were granted to Susanna, his Relict, on 28th January 1681/2. By him she had one son – JOHN LINDFIELD – who I believe to have been the John Lindfield of Deans House, Hurst. He is mentioned in the Will of his Uncle NATHANIEL AVERY when he received a piece of ground named “Great Danwards”. He mentions this ground in his own Will which he made in 1740.

In Sussex Archaeological Collections, we find the Marchant Diaries recorded (SAC Vol. 25). Interesting reading! CAREY HAMPTON BORRER has made at the end some extensive notes. He makes comment on the roomy old house at Deanes which he says has now been taken down. The Diary and the Notes give an insight into the lives of our Ancestors.

But to return to Susan who made the important link between the two families – after the early death of her husband, John Lindfield, Susan went on to marry another! But that is another story.

Part 2

Reading a Will made some 300 years ago, is rather like having a letter from a friend one has not seen for a very long time. How interesting are the items mentioned and those who were to receive them!

ANN BEARD, the daughter of JOHN BEARD of Woodmancote, was baptised there in 1613. She was married at Woodmancote on the 30th September 1641 to a certain JOHN LINDFIELD. And now, at the age of 62 – and from the Land Tax Records we know her to be a widow – she is making her Will. She may be already ill and in need of nursing, for the Will is witnessed by two women, one is ELIZABETH DOVE and the other is SUSAN AVERY, the eldest daughter of Nathaniel and Susan Avery of Knowl’s Tooth, a very old farm house still standing in Langton Lane, Hurstpierpoint.

From the Will it appears that Ann’s family consisted of three daughters and a son; the eldest daughter Ann, married to WILLIAM STONE of The Nunnery at Rusper, (pictured below), Mary, who may later have married JOHN TILLEY, a daughter Sarah, and a son, JOHN. This son was not the eldest child, and would have been contemporary in age with Susan Avery. It seems likely that he was the John Lindfield whom Sarah Avery married – perhaps after the death of his mother?

The Nunnery at Rusper

Ann, who married William Stone, had a daughter Elizabeth, who became Mrs. Thomas Marchant of Little Park Farm, Hurstpierpoint. THOMAS MARCHANT wrote an amusing and informative Diary, which throws much light on the goings and comings of these local families and the name Lindfield is frequently mentioned.

But, to return to Susan Avery now the wife of JOHN LINDFIELD. After the birth of their son John Lindfield in 1676, Susan became a widow and Letters of Administration were granted to her on January 28th 1681/82. In 1680, on 27th August, is recorded the burial of one John Lindfield at Hurstpierpoint. In 1684, on August 27th Susan married at All Saint’s, Lewes, SAMUEL SAVAGE of Biggs, Cuckfield.

Susan’s mother, Susan Avery, refers in her Will dated 1689, to “the five children of Samuel Savage”. Whether they are all Susan’s or whether Samuel had been married before, I do not know. Susan Savage, in her own Will in 1718, refers only to one – Sarah, who was baptised at Hurstpierpoint on 24th September 1686 and who married on February 10th 1711 to John Stapley of Hickstead Place – thereby linking in again yet another notable family. John Stapley also kept a Diary and in it he mentions many points of interest which happened among our Ancestors in this locality. This is also to be found in the Sussex Archaeological Collections

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3 thoughts on “The Avery Connection”

  1. Hi enjoyed your writings. I come from Thomas Avery and Susannah Cooper. Their daughter Susannah is my 3. X paternal great grandmother . I was born and grew up in London.

    Would be glad to hear

    Brenda Howlett

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