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DOWNER is not an ancestral surname for me but there are two links to the Downers in my maternal tree. An 18th century cousin on my mother's paternal side married a Downer at Warminghurst in 1806. Ann WELLS (1786-1833), probably cousin of my great-great-great-grandfather, James WELLS (1786-1862), married William Downer (1774-1839). George Downer (1879-1974), a great-grandson of William and Ann, married Annie Lyle DENNETT (1866-1960) at Steyning in 1900. Annie Lyle Dennett was my mother's maternal great-aunt. George and Annie's children were thus related to my maternal grandmother Julia Ethel VALDER and my maternal grandfather Edward George OLLIVER.

George and Annie Downer had four children, the second was Violet Lyle Downer (1903-97). Violet was extremely helpful to me with our shared maternal ancestors the DENNETTs, KENNARDs and COMBERs so I researched her paternal ancestors, the Downers, for her interest. To our great surprise we found the link mentioned in the previous paragraph. Violet was a feisty little thing and I miss her. Violet reached the age of 94, beating both her parents by one year.

Annie Lyle Downer (née Dennett) and her daughter Violet.Violet Downer with her parents George Downer and Annie Lyle (née Dennett). The baby is me!

I am in contact with two people researching the DOWNERs of Sussex and they have contributed some of the information below. Bobbie Duffy Dykes of Texas, USA is descended from Daniel Downer, one of the children of William and Ann mentioned above. Patricia Bullen (née Downer) is descended from an uncle of the George above.
The earliest DOWNER in Sussex that I have information about is George Downer who married Mary CLARKSON. I have not researched this myself and my knowledge is rather sketchy. George and Mary's son George Downer married Elizabeth AVERY in 1664. George and Elizabeth's son George Downer married Mary. Information about the next three generations mostly comes from the IGI and my correspondents.

George and Mary Downer had at least three children. Their son John Downer was baptised at Thakeham in 1709. John married Mary MATTHEWS in 1734. They had at least five children at Thakeham. The middle one was another John (1743-1814).

This John Downer (1743-1814) married Lucy SAYERS (?-1815) at Thakeham in 1769. They had at least five children, two sons: William (1774-1839) and David (1785-aft.1851) are known to have married and had families. David Downer married Sarah (1783-1835) and had at least four children at Thakeham. David was a widower in 1851 and living at Hardham.

Thakeham church, drawn by my aunt, Anne Cheesman.
William Downer (1774-1839) married Ann WELLS at Warminghurst in 1806. William and Ann had at least five children at Sullington, Findon and Warminghurst before settling at Thakeham where they had another six. At least ten of these children survived and nine are known to have married and had families. Unravelling these threads is quite difficult but luckily I have often come across these Downer families whilst researching my other lines in Sussex. These serendipitous finds have greatly increased the knowledge about the descendants of William and Ann. William and Ann's married sons were: John, James, William, Henry, Moses, Aaron, Daniel and Stephen.

John Downer (1808-?) married Jane and moved to Bury, West Sussex. They had nine children there, two of their sons, James and John are known to have had families. James (1838-?) married Jane, they had three children at Worthing by 1881. John junior (1848-?) married Ann, they had three children at Bury by 1891.

James Downer (1810-80) married Mary RICHARDSON (1814-47) at Thakeham in 1837. They had four children in the Shipley/West Grinstead area before moving to Washington. Mary appears to have died after having their fifth child who died the next year. James then married Sarah COOPER and they had three children, two of whom married GOLDS siblings. The two sons of James and Mary, James and Thomas, both married women from Lancing. James junior (1839-?) married Angelina BOLT in 1867. They had four children at Findon then four more at Sompting. Thomas (1841-87?) married Susan, they had two children at Lancing then six more at Portslade. Thomas then appears to have died and Susan returned to Lancing where she married William BOLT by 1891.

William Downer junior (1812-?) is believed to have married Mary Ann WOOD at Brighton in 1831. I have no more information about them, they do not seem to have had any children baptised at Brighton and they were not there in 1851.

Henry Downer's line is the one I know most about. I'll deal with the other sons first.

Moses Downer (1817-?) married Mary J LONGFORD at Twineham in 1839. I don't have full information about his descendants but his son Moses (1845-?) is believed to have had an illegitimate son at Hastings in 1863. Moses junior later married Caroline KNIGHT at Hastings in 1875, they had three children by 1881. The 1881 census also shows Moses senior with a second wife and a total of five children.

Aaron Downer (1819-73) married Rosetta ROSER at Brighton in 1841. They had at least five children there and their son Aaron Richard (1851-?) had two children with Emma Mary at Brighton by 1881. Rosetta Roser was probably related to John Roser who married Emma NEAL (1837-?) who appears in my paternal tree.

Daniel Downer (1823-77) emigrated to the USA by 1839 and married Anne HUFFE there in 1846. A contact, Bobbie Duffy Dykes of Texas, is their great-great-granddaughter.

Stephen Downer (1825-1904) married Mary WADEY at Hangleton in 1854. They had two children at Portslade. Their daughter Ann died at the age of 14 and their son William emigrated to the USA, possibly to join his uncle in Texas.

Now for the descendants of William and Ann Downer's son Henry (1814-74). Henry Downer married Lucy ANSELL at Thakeham in 1841. They had nine children there, all five of their sons are known to have married and had families. These sons were: Stephen, Harry, John, George and Job.

Stephen Downer (1842-95) moved to Lambeth, Surrey (now part of London), he married Margaret and had six children there by 1881.

Harry Downer (1843-96?) married Martha Eliza LELLIOT (1845-1925) at Edburton in 1865. They had nine children at Poynings. Their eldest daughter, Louisa, married a Walter John Downer at Poynings in 1894. Walter said he was the son of Reuben Downer, both were said to be shoemakers. Neither Walter nor Reuben are known to me or my contacts. Harry and Martha's seventh child George Downer (1879-1974) married my great-great-aunt Annie Lyle DENNETT (1866-1960), at Steyning Register Office in 1900. They had four children, the youngest is still alive. Annie was thirteen years older than George but that didn't prevent them from reaching their Golden Wedding anniversary. They both reached the extremely good age of 93. Their second child was Violet Lyle Downer, she beat her parents and reached 94 before succumbing to pneumonia after a fall.

John Downer (1845-1906) married Jane PARKER (1851-1918) at West Chiltington in 1873. They had four children there by 1881. Jane Parker was born at Pulborough and was the cousin of another Jane Parker born there in the same year. This other Jane Parker appears in my paternal tree, she was a descendant of John TUESLEY and Sarah CHEESMAN (1766-aft.1851).

George Downer (1847-1911) married Mary Ann PUTTICK (1849-73) at Thakeham in 1868. They had two children there but Mary Ann died after having the second. George remarried Sarah by 1876 and they had two daughters at Thakeham. George was buried at West Chiltington in 1911, he may have been staying with his sister-in-law Jane (widow of John, above).

Job Downer (1857-?) moved to Lambeth, Surrey, probably with his older brother Stephen and younger sister Lucy. Job married Sarah MAJOR at Lambeth in 1878. They are known to have had at least three children there, the third, Charles William, was the grandfather of Patricia Joyce BULLEN (née Downer). Their son Charles Downer (1882-1917) married Martha Elizabeth PRICE in 1904. They had three children but Charles died in France while serving in WW1.

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