Some Lin(d)field Miscellanies: (1)

This is the first of what I hope will become an occasional series. What I actually have in mind is to reproduce extracts from our archives which are of interest in their own right, but by their very nature, would not necessarily feature in a full length article.

Information from old newspapers will not usually be included since this is covered in my Newspaper Index (see ‘Longshot’ Vol. 5 No. 1 (August 1996) and Vol. 5 No. 2 (February 1997)); however, there will be exceptions, because many newspaper extracts contain interesting material requiring further comment. Apart from newpapers, the material for these "Lin(d)field Miscellanies" will come from a whole variety of sources: books and journals, registers, diaries, directories, original documents, letters, FONS (the Family Origin Name Survey) and so on. I intend to feature up to five separate items each time, and would be grateful for any contributions deemed worthy of inclusion. The main idea, therefore, is to provide a forum where miscellaneous and unconnected bits of family history can find a home.

1. Charles Ashover Linfield

Source: Register of St. John’s College, Hurstpierpoint HL Johnson (1914)

"2662. Linfeild, Charles Ashover January 1877. Left 1878."

Notes: in the Lin(d)field Birth Index, Charles Ashover Linfield (#1453) is shown as being born during the first quarter of 1863, son of Mark Linfield (#801). Place of Birth: Isle of Wight. Mark Linfield was born in Storrington, West Sussex, youngest son of William Linfield and Harriet Stanford, who were married in 1803.

Charles appears on the Stanford Smith tree: date of birth given as 21 January 1863, son of Mark Linfield (1825-1909) and Mabel Hall (1827-83) who were married in 1851. He appears to have emigrated to Canada since a note by his name states "of Medicine Hat, Canada. (1 daughter, Dorothy.)"

Some comments in one of Stanford Smith’s letters to his cousin Katie Linfield (incidentally, Charles was her uncle) reveal the origin of the ‘Ashover’ part of his name: apparently it derives from his mother’s side of the family. His grandmother’s maiden name was Mabel Spencer (1792-1872), and she was the daughter of James Spencer and Ann Ashover (1772-1820) who were married in 1789 – ie Ann Ashover was his mother’s maternal grandmother.

Funnily enough, I also happened to be at Hurstpierpoint College, although nearly a century after Charles. Having stumbled upon this register of old boys in Worthing Library, it was only natural to check it for any Lin(d)fields; but I was still quite surprised to find one. I wonder why Charles left after such a short time.

A possible answer is suggested in a new history of the college (Hurstpierpoint College 1849-1995 – The School by the Downs by Peter King (Phillimore, 1997)). The appointment of Canon William Awdry as the second headmaster in 1873 proved a poor choice as he was unable to tackle some of the signs of decline that needed to be corrected. He allowed discipline to lapse, came into conflict with the masters and failed to provide much needed reassurance about the health of the school after the last outbreak of fever in 1871. The result was a serious decline in numbers, but his response was to raise fees to effectively increase income from a declining number of boys. However, it was hardly justified, especially as prices fell after 1876 due to agricultural and industrial depression, and increasing competition from other schools only made the situation worse. In 1876 scarlet fever returned to the college for a fourth time, and a number of boys died as a result.

Not surprisingly, many parents decided to withdraw their sons and presumably Mark Linfield was one of them.

2. Perretts Farm, West Chiltington, West Sussex

Source: West Sussex History No. 50 October 1992

Article: The History of Perretts, by David Coward pp. 9-10

This article tackles the history of ‘Perretts’ in West Chiltington, the home of the author. What is particularly interesting is that the property was purchased by William Linfield, butcher of Storrington, in 1816. The farm remained in the ownership of the Linfield family till the early 1850s.

Perretts was sold by Samuel Andrew in 1788 to George O’Brien, Earl of Egremont, of Petworth House, for a sum of £1,950. The following extracts are quoted from the article:

"Among the Petworth House Archives is a schedule of the individual fields and acreages which made up "Perrotts Farm" and this shows a total of 114 acres. It is difficult, however, to reconcile the field names and acreages with those shown on an 1817 Estate map, and by the time the Tithe Apportionment Map was prepared in 1841 the total area had shrunk to some 35 acres, suggesting that a considerable part of what used to be Perretts Farm had by then been incorporated in the adjacent and jointly operated Hurston Street Farm . . ."

“I discovered by chance from our famed local historian, Joan Ham, that there were several references to Perretts in the records taken in a High Court action concerning the enclosure, at the end of the 18th century, of Hurston Common on which the West Sussex golf course is now situated . . ."

(Evidence of witnesses in Enclosure Proceedings, 1851, WSRO).

"The testimony of various witnesses in these proceedings includes the evidence of Richard Gilbert, a statement that ‘Heather and Hursee took Hurston Street Farm and Perretts, Oldfields and Mooches from September 1802 until 1813. Heather used to keep a flock of 200 to 300 (sheep)’ . . . Samuel Heather, the son, "took Hurston Place as well as Perretts and went down to Hurston Place to live and destroyed the rabbits and layed the warren down and kept a very large flock." The evidence of Henry and William Linfield shows that their father took Hurston Street Farm and Perretts from 1816 and continued with sheep. Their evidence continues with the fact that Hurston Street Farm was "better land for clover and that like for sheep than Perretts, which was mostly wet."

Some of it still is!"

“In 1831, according to the Land Tax assessments, William Linfield was in occupation of Perretts Farm, but it seems probable that by this time the house was used to accommodate two of his labourers.

Certainly by 1840 this was the case as the schedule attached to the Tithe Apportionment Map in June 1840 shows William Willard and William Messer (mercer?) as being the occupiers of two tenements and gardens covering 2 roods and 12 perches in area."

"The Tithe Apportionment Map covering the property shows Perretts as consisting of six buildings which agrees with those shown on the earlier Petworth Estate map of 1817 and presumably these comprised the house and five barns or store sheds."

"In the 1841 Census William Willard, labourer, is shown as residing in the property with his wife and three children. There is no mention of William Messer (Mercer?) but ten years later the 1851 Census shows William Mercer, agricultural labourer and his son together with a John West and his family. The same census shows Henry Linfield living at Hurston Street Farm consisting of 250 acres with 12 employees working it".

Note: this article refers to members of the Storrington branch of the Linfields. According to his two sons, William and Henry, William Linfield (1769-1835), eldest son of Peter Linfield, butcher of Storrington, purchased Hurston Street Farm and Perretts, West Chiltington, in 1816.

Stanford Smith has quite a lot to say about William and Henry in his correspondence of the 1950s. William (1803-48) was originally a maltster in the village and married Anne Nash in 1830. Henry (1805-54) was the second son, and he was a farmer; he was farming Hurston Street Farm sometime before 1841, possibly moving there soon after his father’s death in 1835. Another brother, Thomas (1812-84) took over the butcher’s business which his grandfather had established in the village in 1779. Unfortunately, both William and Henry died young – Henry in 1848 (aged 45), and William in 1854 (aged 49).William had given up the farms by 1851. According to Stanford: "The deaths of the most active members of the family within a few years of each other must have been a severe blow to the Storrington Linfields."

3. Henry Lindfield (1788-1882) of Brighton, veteran of Waterloo

In my recent article "Our Military Ancestors" in the last issue of Longshot (Vol 6 No 2 June 1998), I mentioned Henry Lindfield of 8, Sussex Street, Brighton. This pensioner of the Royal Staff Corps was a veteran of the Peninsular War, and we know from a document in the Public Record Office that he was court martialled in 1811 for leaving his post when on duty. According to the 1881 Census for Brighton, he was a "Waterloo Veteran" aged 92.

I recently had an opportunity to spend a morning at the Brighton Reference Library, so I decided to have a look at some local newspapers at around the time of Henry’s death on February 6 1882. I was fortunate to discover the following in the Brighton Gazette (Saturday February 11, 1882):

DEATH OF A VETERAN. – On Wednesday, an old soldier, who had seen an extraordinary amount of service, died at Brighton, named Lindfield, at the advanced age of 94. He served in the Royal Engineers throughout the Peninsular War, was present at the siege of Flushing, and at the battles of Busaco, Badajoz, Vittoria, San Sebastian, Orthes, and Toulouse. He was also at the Battle of Waterloo. He was born at Offham, near Lewes, in 1788, and it is believed he was the last of the surviving Engineers who served in the Peninsular War”

4. The 80th Anniversary of the Armistice 1918-1998

The recent 80th anniversary of the end of the First World War brings me to the last two items. This horrific conflict brought personal tragedy to almost every family in the land, and the Lin(d)fields were no exception. The following newspaper extract was passed on to me by Joan Ham, who found it while researching her new millenium book about Storrington. It reports the death of Percy Frank Linfield, born in 1885, son of John and Friend Linfield of Storrington, West Sussex. John Linfield, born in the village in 1842, was a son of Thomas and Sarah Linfield. Thomas (1812-1884), butcher in Church Street, was a grandson of Peter Linfield (1734-91) who began his family’s long association with the village when he moved there from West Chiltington in 1779.

West Sussex Gazette 1917:

"November 8. Private PF Lindfield, Royal Sussex Regiment, killed in an air raid on a camp in France on the night of 15 ult was the youngest son of the late Mr John Lindfield, well known and respected in our village and district. He was a member of the Storrington military band from its inception until he joined up. He had been in hospital with a poisoned foot after a period in the trenches, and only rejoined his company two days before he met his death which was instantaneous. The CO in a letter to his widow (a daughter of Mr … of East Grinstead formerly of Copthorne) says "your husband has only been a day or two under my charge, so personally I did not know him, but his comrades inform me that he was one of the best, that his cheerful presence under adverse circumstances went a long way towards making their lives easier and brighter than what they otherwise might have been". Deep sympathy is felt for Mrs Lindfield, who lives in East Dexter, in the sad blow after only a short married life."

Percy’s name appears on the war memorial situated at the parish church of St. Mary’s.

5. Henry Gordon Linfield (1889-1975)

Peggy Champ has related in an earlier article (‘Longshot’. Vol. 4 No. 1, June 1995) some of the wartime experiences of her father. Whilst going through some of her papers after she died, I found a copy of a letter in which her father recalls some of his memories for a proposed television series about the First World War. The 80th anniversary of the Armistice seems a good opportunity to reproduce it here:

37, Parkfield Road, West Tarring, Worthing, Sussex
14th October, 1963

B.B.C. T.V.,
Great War Series.

Dear Sirs,

During the period 1916-1918, I served in Palestine, as a Lewis Gunner. I still have a most vivid memory of arriving there, to find growing oranges and figs, after the trying time we had spent in the Sinai Desert.

I was allocated a one-eyed mule – largely because he was held to be so cross-grained that no-one else could get on with him at all. Rather to the general surprise, the mule and I hit it off, and became quite friendly. On the particular day I remember so well, we were advancing to take up a fresh position, and had to follow a narrow track leading down to a Wadi. I happened to be the leading Gunner, but at the top of the track, my old One-eye suddenly went stiff, dug his toes in, and refused to move. Nothing would budge him. The officer in charge told me to draw back and let the other gunners pass, saying "He will probably follow when he sees the others go down."

When five or six mules were well down the track, a hidden Turkish machine gun opened fire. All the leading gunners and mules were killed. If it hadn’t been for One-eye …

I was most anxious to bring him back with me after the war (I could have used him for nursery work), but, to my lasting regret, was refused permission to do so. I do not like to think what his life must have been after the British left.

Another thing that sticks in my memory is the fact that I was allocated to various Indian regiments . . . . and the unvarying courtesy and respect with which I was treated. They were quick, too. One moon-lit night, when we were waiting to attack, I looked along the line, and saw how the moonlight glinted on the bayonets.

Taking out my khaki handkerchief, I covered mine. Not a word was spoken, yet the man next to me followed suit . . . . and with a rippling movement, the silver line vanished, as each Indian copied his neighbour.

When we captured Jerusalem, and marched into the town, the band played "Sussex by the Sea." It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

Yours faithfully.

H.G. Linfield.

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