All posts by Malcolm Linfield

Peter Linfield of Storrington 1734-1791

Among the many thousands of names we have now collected in the family archives, there are a number of individuals who stand out from the rest. One of these is undoubtedly Peter Linfield of Storrington. Born in 1734 in the parish of Nuthurst, Peter was the youngest son of William and Sarah Linfield, who were married at Itchingfield in 1724. His grandfather, Peter Linfield of Snow’s Farm in Nuthurst, was a successful yeoman farmer who died in 1715, leaving his estate to his eldest son, also Peter (1677-1756) who appears to have sold his inheritance some time before 1744. William Linfield, one of his five younger brothers, had to make do with the 40 shillings he received in his father’s will; nevertheless, it would appear he owned and farmed his own land because, with his brother Peter, he was qualified to vote in the General Election of 1734. Both of them travelled to Chichester to cast their vote, the qualification being the ownership of freehold lands or tenements whose annual net value was 40 shillings or more. Continue reading

The Bramber Castle Legend

There cannot be too many among our readers who haven’t heard something of the legend of William Lindfield, who was entombed at Bramber Castle. It’s a chilling story, not unworthy of a place in the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe. I first came across it in the local guide, published by the village museum. (Ref. The History and Legend of Bramber Castle. Herbert E. Erredge; Bramber Museum) Despite his obvious embellishments, Erredge has produced an entertaining account of a particularly gruesome episode, and what follows is a summary of his narrative. Continue reading

Parish of Nuthurst

Henry Linfield of Nuthurst

Wills, Administrations and Inventories

Wills, administrations and inventories are valuable documents to family historians: they provide us with a glimpse of our ancestors not available in other records, of a nature which helps to bring them to life as people in their society and time. Wills not only help to clarify family relationships, but they usually give us information about occupation and property ownership. Of course, not everybody made a will, so they are a special bonus when found. Continue reading

Family History from Old Newspapers – Part 2

In the first part of this article, I introduced Frederick Linfield, who was Mayor of Worthing from 1906 to 1908. Another story I came across in an issue of 1903 could very easily have ruined Frederick’s political career. The events described must, at the very least, have worried him considerably. They concern the antics of a certain Emily Frances Linfield, a middle aged spinster who had lived most of her life in Brighton, where she had helped her mother run a lodging house. Unfortunately, Emily Frances became a habitual drunkard, always pestering her aged mother for money. In desperation to get away from her, her mother came to Worthing in October 1902, where she took up lodgings in Warwick Road. Mary Emma Linfield was 90 years old on February 2nd 1903. Somehow or other, Emily eventually managed to track her down and continued to extract money from her to finance her squalid drinking binges. Continue reading

Family History from Old Newspapers – Part 1

Old newspapers are a fascinating source of information to family historians. All the large public libraries have collections of local newspapers, and among the more obvious things to look for are obituaries. Since my great great grandfather, William Linfield, had been a public official in Victorian Worthing, I expected to find an obituary notice in one of the local papers when he died in 1892. I was duly rewarded in the July 20th issue of the Worthing Gazette; though brief, it told me he had a “genial temperament and obliging disposition” (true Linfield characteristics, I like to think!) However, when time permits, the best finds are usually made by chance. Continue reading