|One of my maternal great-great-great-great-grandmothers was Ann Banks (c1775-1827). She was probably born at Keymer, West Sussex, the fifth child of James Banks (c1737-1821) and Ann GILLAM (1745-1823). Ann wasn't baptised until 1780 at Lindfield where her earlier siblings had also been baptised. The register usually states that the family were of Keymer. The family seems to have developed the habit of having children baptised late and they were often done in batches.|
|Ann Banks (c1775-1827) married Thomas COMBER (1776-1848) at Lindfield, West Sussex in 1796. Their marriage is 'invisible' in most indexes as the entry wasn't filled out correctly. The bride and groom's names were omitted but they both signed the register, along with four witnesses who included Ann's sister Sarah. Thomas and Ann Comber had at least eight children at Cuckfield, Lindfield and Wivelsfield. Thomas COMBER was a farmer, his last known farm was Hurst House, Wivelsfield. When Ann died she was taken back to her home village of Keymer to be buried. The register gives the name of her husband and their Wivelsfield address so there is no doubt. Thomas was still living there when the 1841 census was taken.|
|James Banks (c1737-1821) and Ann GILLAM (1745-1823) married at Albourne, West Sussex in 1768. This marriage is in the period of the register which was not filmed by LDS, West Sussex Record Office say they will get it refilmed themselves so that researchers do not have to access the original register. James and Ann had at least eleven children, probably all at Keymer although some of the early ones were baptised at Lindfield. They were Ann (b&d1769), Elizabeth (c1770-2), Sarah (1773-1842), Ann (c1775-1827), Joseph (1778-?), John (b&d1780), Jasper (1782-1812), John (1783-?), Charles (1787-1849), Elizabeth (1789-aft.1851) and Philadelphia (1793-1866). They probably also had the James Banks who was buried at Keymer in 1812, aged 41, no baptism has been found for him. Ann (c1775-1827) and John (b&d1780) were both baptised on the same day in 1780 at Lindfield, they were not noted as twins and Ann was almost certainly not a baby. Jasper, John (1783-?), Charles, Elizabeth and Philly were all baptised on the same day in 1793 at Keymer and their birth dates were mentioned.|
James was the blacksmith at Keymer and left a will when he died in 1821 (made 1819, proved 1822). In his will he mentioned pieces of land he owned at Keymer and Nuthurst. Very helpfully he named his seven surviving children: Charles, Joseph, John, Ann - wife of Thomas COMBER of Wivelsfield, Elizabeth - wife of George LIDBRIGHT, Sarah - wife of Allen ANSCOMB and Philadelphia - wife of Hezakiah CHATFIELD. He also mentioned friends/colleagues Richard KING of Nuthurst, John BROAD of Twineham and Jonas BREACH of Keymer.
As James named his married daughters in his will I was able to locate most of them, plus his son Charles, in various censuses and other records. As with Ann (c1775-1827) Jasper, Charles (plus his wife Jane) and Philadelphia were taken back to Keymer to be buried. Sarah (1773-1842) married Allen ANSCOMB at Cuckfield in 1798 where they had two children, it's possible they had more elsewhere, Sarah was buried at Cuckfield. Jasper may have married Jane JUPP at Fletching in 1811 but died the next year. It's not known what happened to Joseph and John.
Charles (1787-1849) married Jane (c1786-1865) and had at least four children at Wivelsfield: Zilpah (1814-?), Charles junior (1817-?), Miriam (1819-?) and George (1826-?). George married Elizabeth but does not seem to have had any children, he was working as a Nurseryman at Keymer in 1881. It's not known what happened to the girls. Charles junior (1817-aft.1881) married twice, firstly in 1839 to Martha HOOLYER (c1817-1840) with whom he had one daughter, Miriam, before Martha died of consumption. One of the witnesses was Fanny Mary KENNARD, she was the sister of the husband of one of Thomas COMBER's daughters, Zilpah, (yes, it's complicated!). Charles junior's second marriage in 1841 at Lewes was to Harriet JUPP, they had 11 children: Louisa, John, Ann, Mary Jane, Elizabeth, Zilpah, Charles (b&d1854), William Charles, Maria, George and Alfred at Horsted Keynes, Keymer, Salehurst, Burwash and Etchingham. The register entry for Charles at his second marriage shows him as a bachelor but there is no doubt he was actually a widower, his daughter from his first marriage was with her grandmother in the 1851 census. Charles had originally worked as a bricklayer but was a policeman while at Burwash and Etchingham. By 1863 at his youngest son Alfred's baptism he had presumably retired from the police and was working as a bricklayer again, in 1881 he was back at Keymer, Alfred was also there as a bricklayer. Louisa (1841-?) married William PILBEAM in 1864 and had at least seven children at Burwash. John (1843-?) was working as a Naval Prison Warder at Portsea, Hampshire in 1881, he and his wife Anne had at least four children.
James and Ann's daughter Elizabeth married George LEBRIGHT at Brighton in 1811. They were still there in 1851 but are listed as Jacob and Elizabeth SEBRIGHT and do not seem to have had any children. The census reference may be the classic misreading/miswriting of "S" and "L". George/Jacob was born in Germany.
James and Ann's daughter Philadelphia married Hezakiah CHATFIELD at Keymer in 1812. They were a little difficult to track but I found baptisms for four children of Hezakiah and Philadelphia Chatfield at Wivelsfield and Keymer: John Banks Chatfield (1813-?), Sarah (b&d 1815), Samuel Gillham Chatfield (1817-?) and Leonard William Chatfield (1825-?). There may well be others in between Samuel and Leonard, for example there is a Jane CHALFIELD, 28, living with her aunt Elizabeth SEBRIGHT at Brighton in 1851. John Banks Chatfield became a farmer at Wivelsfield and had four children with his wife Harriet MAYNARD, he never used his middle name. Samuel became a shoemaker at Brighton and had at least three children with Matilda. Leonard William reversed his name for censuses and was with his brother John in 1841. He is found as W L Chatfield (born Wilsfield, Sussex) as a railway labourer near Salisbury, Wiltshire in 1881, married to Ruth, they had at least three children and seem to have moved there via Yeovil in Somerset. Leonard married Ruth CHATFIELD at Brighton in 1858 and had several children there. It's not known whether Leonard and Ruth were related but Ruth's mother was born Ruth MAYNARD and was the mother of Harriet, wife of Leonard's brother John.
Philadelphia Chatfield was buried at Keymer in 1866 but I couldn't locate her in the 1851 census. I eventually looked at all the Chatfields listing in the Brighton 1851 census index and discovered Sarah Ann and Elizabeth Chatfield living with their widowed mother Philadelphia HAYWARD. Sarah Ann was born at Cuckfield in 1829 and Elizabeth at Wivelsfield in 1833. Philadelphia turned out to have married Joseph HOARD at Wivelsfield in 1839, Joseph's surname may really have been HOWARD. So Philadelphia was buried at Keymer with the surname she left the village as, her second married name was ignored. This paragraph illustrates many reasons why people can't be found in records - be creative with spelling and aliases!
|James Banks (c1737-1821) was not baptised at Keymer. Using the placename clues in his will I searched the Twineham and Nuthurst baptism registers but didn't find him - or did I??? James was possibly the son of John BANKS and Anne BRISTOW who married at Nuthurst in 1734. John and Anne probably had two children baptised at Nuthurst, the first was Edward in 1735. In 1737 there is an entry for Jno (John) son of Jno and Mary Banks. On the same day there was a baptism for Jno, son of Jno and Mary Bates. There were a John and Mary Bates having children at Nuthurst before and after 1737. The vicar/clerk may have copied the names from the Bates entry into the one for the Banks child therefore giving the child the wrong name and wrong mother. These types of error have occurred elsewhere so the true entry could well have been for James, son of John and Ann Banks. There are no further baptisms, marriages or burials at Nuthurst for any of this Banks family. There is also nothing for them at Keymer.|
If I have the right parents for my James then there are hints of a probable line back. There was a John BANKS baptised in 1712 at Nuthurst, son of John and Elizabeth. A John BANKS married Elizabeth TERRY in 1701 at Shipley which fits with the baptism of Thomas BANKS at Nuthurst in 1702. There is also a baptism for Elizabeth in 1717 but the large gaps cannot be explained. John BANKS senior may be the one baptised at Nuthurst in 1673, son of Edward and Mary. Edward may have come from Shipley but again the baptism record is patchy and nothing described here constitutes proof.