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One of my paternal great-great-great-grandmothers was Abigail Neal (1807-88). She was born at Sutton, West Sussex, the seventh/eighth child of William Neal (1771-1853) and Abigail LEGGATT (1771-1851). She had a twin sister Ann, the register says they were 'tweens', I love this spelling!

Abigail Neal married Edmund HARWOOD (1803-83) at Sutton in 1830. They had eight children at Sutton.

William Neal (1771-1853) married Abigail Leggatt at Sutton in 1795. William was a farmer and acted as churchwarden for Sutton in 1799. They had 12 children at Bignor and Sutton but only five of the girls are known to have married. Two of their sons, John (1797-1870) and Henry (1805-60), remained as bachelors at Sutton. Their other two sons, William (1796-?) and Richard (1809-?) have not been found in Sussex. It's possible that Richard emigrated to Canada in 1832 under the Petworth Emigration Scheme. The marriages known for the girls other than Abigail are: Sarah married Charles ANDREW at Amberley in 1831 - no known children; Ann married William SUTER at Ford in 1833 - eight children; Mary married James DENCH at Sutton in 1844 - probably at least four children; Emma married David James SANDHAM at Arundel in 1849 - one son. The other three girls were Charlotte, Frances and Eliza. Charlotte and Frances died young, Eliza's fate is not known. So, 21 grandchildren are known for William and Abigail but none with the surname Neal. Their twin daughters, Abigail and Ann, both used Neal as a middle name for some of their sons but only one of the three boys named in this way, Richard Neal SUTER, had any children of his own.

William Neal (1771-1853) was born at Bignor, the third son of John Neal (1731?-74) and Sarah LANGLEY (1735-84). William's baptism entry in the parish register has no surname but as John and Sarah were one of only four couples having children baptised during that time there is no doubt about his parents. John married Sarah Langley at Bignor in 1766. John appears to have been a major landowner at Bignor, their large gravestones at Bignor indicate that they had money. John Neal is listed as being the churchwarden at Bignor in 1773, one year before he died at the early age of 43. John and Sarah only had three children, their other two sons, John and Richard, produced many descendants who moved to various parts of West Sussex, I keep encountering more of them as I search for people in my other Sussex lines. Sarah received some land in her father's will of 1769 as did some of her older siblings. They may also have had received some when they married. Unfortunately neither John nor Sarah seem to have left a will.
John Neal junior (1768-1834) was obviously his father's heir. He remained in Bignor, living at Manor Farm. John's first wife was Mary MANN (1766-99). They married in 1789 and had six children. Only two, both girls, survived infancy and only one, Mary, married. Mary (1793-?) married Frederick HARDHAM at Bignor in 1816, they had children at Chichester. John's second wife was Martha GADD (1780-1850), they married at Heyshott in 1801. They had ten children but only five married: George, Martha, Harriet, John and Rosa. George Neal (1804-65) does not seem to have inherited Manor Farm, despite being the eldest son. George married Mercy KERWOOD in 1827 at Portsmouth, Hants, they had one daughter at Cocking where George was a farmer. Martha (1807-46) married Henry LINFIELD at Storrington in 1844, they only had one son, John, before Martha died, I have a contact who is descended from John Linfield, this descendant has supplied some of the extra details now included here. Harriet (1814-?) married Thomas HOLT of Midhurst in 1845, no known children. John Neal (1816-89) married Jemima Elizabeth WHITE (1822-1910) at Walberton in 1847. They had three children but only Thomas John Neal (1850-1900) survived. Rosa (1825-?) married Edward GADD (nephew of Martha Gadd, above) in 1847, they had seven children at Chichester, their eldest daughter married Edward GARTON who was almost certainly related to the Gartons mentioned below.
Thomas John Neal (1850-1900), son of John and Jemima Elizabeth [WHITE], married Emma Tupper GARTON (1850-1946), they had 11 children at Bignor, living at West House. The sixth child, Edward Garton Neal (1882-1968) and his wife Ellen [HEDGECOCK] (1874-1941) are buried at Bignor, they did not have any children. Some of my information about these Neals comes from a descendant of Thomas and Emma's seventh child, Ada Sarah (1884-?) who married William HEDGECOCK, brother of Ellen, above. The eighth child, a boy, had the very unusual name of Nimshi (1886-?), I believe this name comes from his mother's Garton family who came from the Wisborough Green area. The Gartons had mostly moved to the London area by the time Emma was born at Brixton, Surrey. Two of Thomas John and Emma's children, Winifred and Nimshi, married Gartons who were probably relatives of their mother. As you can see there was a lot of intermarrying of families at the same social level, some are mentioned here but there were others in more distant branches.
Richard Neal (1769-?), second son of John and Sarah [Langley], married Jane MANN (1769-?) in 1792. They had two children at Bignor, then five at Kirdford before moving to Rudgwick where they had six more. Two of their sons, John and Richard, had families in the West Chiltington area. John Neal (1792-1870) married Ann BUTCHER (1797-1872) at West Chiltington in 1817. They had nine children at Rudgwick, West Chiltington, Pulborough and Wisborough Green before eventually moving to Storrington. John and Ann's children moved to more parts of Sussex, they have been found at Thakeham, Ferring, Hove and Brighton. I have a contact who is descended from their youngest child, Emma Neal, she went to Brighton and married John ROSER. John Roser was probably related to Rosetta Roser who appears on the DOWNER page. Richard Neal junior (1799-?) married Mary, they had at least eight children, mostly born at West Chiltington. One of their sons, John Neal (1826-?) moved to Kingston-by-Sea. Another, Richard Neal (1834-?) moved to Burpham via Clapham.

The origins of my ancestor John Neal (1731?-74) have not been discovered for certain. On his marriage licence he said that he had been at Bignor for 30 of his 34 years. No suitable baptism has been found but Neal(e)s abound in the area. Many of these were land-owning families and most of these lead back to Fittleworth or Duncton. It has been suggested that John may have been born at Portsmouth, Hants, the son of another John who married at Bignor in 1721 but I have no proof of either of these possible links.

Due to my search for possible ancestors for John Neal I have a lot of information about the Neal(e)s of this area of West Sussex. I also have a contact for the Neales of Coldwaltham, they were major landowners there who originated from Duncton. A lot of research has been done on this line by Valerie Wheeler and others.
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