Henry Tarrant – and why blogging works!

I thought Ari’s 5x great-grandfather, Henry Tarrant, was born in about 1793 in Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire.

Hurstbourne Tarrant

But that wasn’t quite right, as the story shows. As I start this blog post I don’t yet know who his parents were. There is a family story that perhaps his name wasn’t originally Tarrant, so there is a bit of a mystery that I’d like to solve.

The first record we have for him is his marriage, to Elizabeth Liddiard, on 5 Oct 1823.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1916, Ancestry.co.uk

The marriage took place at St Michael’s in Aldbourne, Wiltshire, where both Henry and Elizabeth were living. (Aldbourne was used in the early 1970s as the setting for a series of Doctor Who.)


This particular minister seemed to use the words “young man” instead of bachelor. You can see that one of the witnesses was Daniel Liddiard, possibly the bride’s father or brother, and Henry and Elizabeth left a cross instead of signing their name.

This could be a photo of Henry, found on the family tree of a descendant.

Tarrant, Henry - Photo

The couple’s first child, Anne, was born later in 1823, and the baptism record shows Henry’s occupation as labourer:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813–1916, Ancestry.co.uk

The next child, John, was baptised in 1826, and Henry was still a labourer. Sadly, John died at only three weeks old. Mary was born the following year, then Eliza, James, Thomas and Henry.

In the 1841 census Henry can be seen at Spray Farm, in Ham, Wiltshire, working as a farmer. The box for “born in the same county” is ticked.

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1841 census, Ancestry.co.uk

“The estate known variously as Ham Spray farm, Spray farm, or the Spray originated in a copyhold farm built up in the north-east of the parish in the early 19th century, and in 1847, when it comprised 482 a., enfranchised by Winchester chapter for its tenant William Woodman (d. 1862). Woodman was apparently succeeded there by H. D. Woodman (d. 1915). Charles Wright bought the property in 1869. Ten years later his Ham Spray estate was offered for sale and apparently repurchased by H. D. Woodman. In the earlier 20th century Ham Spray House, from which the estate was worked in the 19th century, and the farm were in separate ownership.” (https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol11/pp151-158)


By 1851 Henry is a farmer of 70 acres, at Upton, near Vernham Dean in Hampshire. Here he tells the enumerator that he was born at Minal, Wiltshire, and his age is fifty-five. This puts his year of birth as closer to 1796.

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1851 census, Ancestry.co.uk

By now they have had four more children, although one of the babies, Harriet, is actally a granddaughter, as shown on the next census.

If Henry was born in Minal, maybe we can now find his parents?

I can’t find any baptisms for Minal so I look it up on Genuki and discover that it’s actually Mildenhall, near Marlborough.

So now there is a baptism that fits, and it is unusual in the information if gives:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812, Ancestry.co.uk

It is dated Christmas Day 1797 but comes at the end of 1796, before the new list of 1797 baptisms, so I think it is a mistake.

St John the Baptist, Minal. The font dates from 1816.

It notes that they were removed from Stitchcombe Mill to Mear Farm. Stitchcombe is part of the same parish. The (new) mill is now holiday cottages.


I have now found out more about Henry’s parents, but that will have to wait!

The 1861 census shows Henry and his family in Hurstbourne Tarrant, but it is not clear exactly where they were. Henry is now sixty-three and an agricultural labourer.

The 1871 census is the one that misled me, by giving Henry’s birthplace as Hurstbourne Tarrant. He is now a widower at Upton, living with his daughter Jane, granddaughter Lizzie Cripps (daughter of Mary), and granddaugher Elizabeth Tarrant (4 months).

Henry died at Upton on 3 March 1881, before that year’s census. The death certificate shows that he was a farm bailiff.

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He also left a will.

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England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858–1995

The will tells us that he leaves his granddaughter, Harriet Barnes, £5. He asks for all his money, household goods and linen to be equally divided between his eight children.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Henry:

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John Goodfellow of Fovant, Wiltshire


John Goodfellow was Ari’s 8x great-grandfather. He lived in Fovant, Wiltshire, and must have been born in about 1673 (working back from the births of his children from 1695, so probable marriage in 1694). I have found a baptism at the church of St George in Fovant, on 24 July 1674, with father Richard.

Otherwise all we know about John is from the baptisms of his children: William, Mary, Anne, Lucy and Jane (all from the collection of Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812 on Ancestry.co.uk).

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Unfortunately, none of them gives their mother’s name.

John died in July 1743 and was buried at the church on Fovant on 24 July.

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Ari, this is how you are related to John:

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Sarah Foyle of Teffont Evias

Ari’s 5x great-grandmother Sarah Foyle was born in 1786 in Teffont Evias, Wiltshire, and baptised in Tisbury on 26 February. She was the first child of Jonas Foyle and Eve Snook.


On 13 April 1809, she married Joseph Beckett in Teffont Evias.


Joseph died in 1839, and the 1841 census shows Sarah as the head of the household, with daughter Elizabeth, son William, and a baby Eliza (not sure who she belonged to!).

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1841 census, Ancestry.co.uk

In 1851 she was living in the hamlet of Ridge, with daughter Elizabeth and two grandchildren, Eliza and John.

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1851 census, Ancestry.co.uk

I am not sure yet when Sarah died. There isn’t a death or burial that matches her age.

Ari, this is how you are related to Sarah:

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Walter Penny of Wiltshire, shepherd

One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was Walter Penny, the son of gamekeeper Henry Penny. Walter was born on 19 September 1860 at Fonthill Bishop, in Wiltshire.

Grazing ponies near Fonthill Bishop

He was christened on 21 October 1860.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1916

In 1871, the family were living at Woodbine Cottage, and Walter was attending school. By the next census in 1881, he was working as an agricultural labourer.

On 23 February 1884 he married Lydia Monica Beckett at All Saints Church, Fonthill Bishop. The couple had thirteen children. By 1901 Walter was working as a shepherd, and in 1907 he appeared in a newspaper account of prizewinners at the Gillingham Agricultural Society’s Annual Show, where “a drizzling rain fell during the morning, and though the weather cleared up for a time several very heavy showers fell in the afternoon, driving the spectators to the tents and the shelter of the trees”.

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Salisbury and Winchester Journal

In 1911 the family were at 9 Zeals Road, Zeals.

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1911 census
Walter Penny001.jpg
Photo of Walter, courtesy of Claire Hewlett

Walter died in 1925.


Ari, this is how you are related to Walter:

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William Payne Curtis of Warminster

One of Ari’s 5x great-grandfathers was William Payne Curtis, son of Thomas Curtis and Rachael Pain. He was born in Warminster, Wiltshire, in about 1802, and baptised on  September 19th at the church of St Denys.


On 14 March 1822 he married Elizabeth (Betsy) West, of the nearby village of Norton Bavant. The marriage was announced in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette:

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(This is the only record I have found where he has the middle name Payne.)

In the 1841 census they are living in South Alley, Warminster, and William is working as a butcher’s labourer.

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Six children had been born by this date but the first daughter, Eliza (who would have been 9), is missing from this census. It looks as though another Eliza was born later that year.

There is some untangling to do with this family. In addition to the fact that William’s parents seem to have had 19 children, there is another William (born in 1790), and the later census records do suggest that William and Betsy had a ten-year age difference. I don’t yet have a reliable death date for William. Also, I have a note that William was in the Union workhouse in 1838 but I now have no idea where that came from. (Very frustrating, but a good reminder that keeping a note of sources is worth doing!)


The workhouse had been built in 1837 and was designed in a hexagonal shape. See more details here. It closed in 1929, and now provides some very nice-looking accommodation!



Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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Joseph Beckett, stonemason

Joseph Beckett (son of John), was Ari’s 5x great-grandfather. He was born in 1773 in Chilmark, Wiltshire. His mother was Ann Sopp.


Here is the record of his baptism on 23 May 1773:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

Joseph married Sarah Foyle on 13 April 1809 in the nearby village of Teffont Evias.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1916
The Ley family, who were lords of the manor in Teffont Evias from 1545 to 1692, left their mark on the parish church with their splendid tombs and a selection of coloured glass window panels like this one.


Joseph and Sarah had five children between 1810 and 1823, and it is from their baptisms that we know he was a stonemason.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1916

We know from British History Online that “Portland stone outcropping in the valley marking the boundary between Chilmark and Teffont Evias has long been quarried. Some of the Chilmark stone which was used in the Middle Ages for many buildings in the county may have come from Teffont Evias.” (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol13/pp185-195).

“Teffont Evias manor in 1860 included a freestone quarry near the boundary with Chilmark and a quarry on Butts Hill west of the village street. T. T. Gething & Co., later the Chilmark Quarry Co. Ltd., occupied that near Chilmark, with others in Chilmark, from 1908 or earlier until 1937. The firm supplied stone c. 1909 for the restoration of paving in Westminster Abbey. The quarries, which extended underground for 18 a., in 1937 became part of R.A.F. Chilmark’s storage depot for bombs and high explosives. They were so used in 1984. In 1977 their surface area was part of 35 a. in Teffont Evias and Chilmark which were classified as of special geological and biological interest. The Butts Hill quarry remained within the Teffont estate and stone was taken from it occasionally during the Second World War. It closed in 1947.”

Joseph died at the age of 66, on 4 May 1839. The cause of death was consumption.

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I wonder if this was possibly a disease called “stone-masons’ phtisis”, caused by inhaling fine particles of grit. A book called Mortality from Respiratory Diseases in Dusty Trades by Frederick Ludwig Hoffman says that “The stonecutters’ trade is one which requires both skill and arduous physical labor. The men as a rule work in the open air, and in very warm or wet weather under shelter; but all are liable to inhale the dust and small particles from the material upon which they operate.”

A Bulletin of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics says that “The health of stone and marble cutters has, from earliest times, been notoriously bad.” It quotes a 1705 work by Ramazzini on diseases of tradesmen which says: “In hewing marble or stones out of the rock, in polishing and cutting them, [workers] oftentimes suck in, by inspiration, the sharp, rough, and cornered small splinters and particles that fly off; so that they are usually troubled with a cough, and some of them turn asthmatic and consumptive.”

Joseph’s burial took place on 10 May at the church at Chilmark.


Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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James Penny of Fonthill Bishop

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandfathers was James Penny. He was born in 1772 in Chilmark, Wiltshire, and baptised on 26 July of that year.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812

(It looks like Parry, but there is another entry further down the page that convinced me that it says Penny.) James’s parents were Robert and Ann.

The second record we have for James is his marriage, which took place on 19 March 1795 at the church in Fonthill Bishop. His bride was Judith Strong,

All Saints Church
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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1916

James and Judith had six children. Fortunately, they were still alive in 1841 for the first national census, so we can find out his occupation, which is ‘agricultural labourer’. James and Judith are both listed as 65. They are living in Fonthill Bishop with daughter Mary (40). Mary didn’t marry, and after her parents’ death she went to live with her brother Robert, a timber sawyer.

In 1851 James was a widower, living with daughter Mary and a grandson, Henry. They are listed as paupers.

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(This Henry is Ari’s 4x great-grandfather, the son of Mary Anne Ballard and John Penny.)

James died on 30 July 1856, aged 84. Occupation was given as agricultural labourer, and the cause of death was chronic bronchitis. Charlotte Penny was present at his death. This is likely to be his granddaughter, the younger sister of Henry. His burial took place in Fonthill Bishop on 2 August. We visited the churchyard and found some possible relations, but not James.


Ari, this is how you are related to James:

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Rachael Pain of Warminster

One of Ari’s 6x great-grandmothers was Rachael Pain. She was born in about 1758 in Warminster, Wiltshire, daughter of Thomas and Mary Pain. She was baptised on 3 May 1758.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812

On 11 Feb 1776, Rachael married Thomas Curtis.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754–1916

It looks as though they had nineteen children(!) between 1776 and 1817, and by the time of the eighteenth, (daughter Mercy), the baptism record tells us that Thomas is a tiler. The record for the nineteenth (Sarah), says that he is a plasterer, and the family live in Pound Street, Warminster.

Warminster Maltings – Pound Street – Original Entrance

Rachael died in 1838, a few months after her husband, and was buried at the church of St Denys.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813–1916

Ari, this is how you are related to Rachael:

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Mary Anne Ballard of Chicklade

Mary Anne was one of Ari’s 5x great-grandmothers, the mother of Henry Penny. She was born in 1804 in Chicklade, Wiltshire, the daughter of Benjamin Ballard and Elizabeth, and baptised on 12 August.


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The Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812 registers tell a very sad story for 1805, when Mary Anne was still a baby:

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On 25 Jan 1826, Mary Anne married an agricultural labourer called John Penny at the church in Fonthill Bishop.


Mary Anne and John had six children: Henry, Elizabeth (Betsy), Jane, Charlotte, Ellen and William. We can see them in the 1841 census:

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Mary Anne died two years later, at the age of 38, and John remarried in 1848. The cause of death was “constipation of the bowels” and the death was registered by her daughter Jane.

These llamas live in a field in Fonthill Bishop and wanted to be part of the story.


Ari, this is how you are related to Mary Anne:

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Andrew Mullens of Tisbury

Ari’s 5x great-grandfather Andrew Mullens or Mullins was born in 1797 in West Hatch, Tisbury, Wiltshire. It is thought that there was an eighth-century abbey in Tisbury, which is west of Salisbury. “Settlement in the west part of the parish in the Middle Ages was at West Hatch and East Hatch, and in several hamlets or farmsteads. West Hatch manor possibly included c. 15 small farmsteads in the early 12th century” (see http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/wilts/vol13/pp195-248). West Hatch is just north of Old Wardour Castle.


Andrew worked as an agricultural labourer. I haven’t found his parents yet. On 7 July 1820 he married Mary Hayward at the church in Tisbury, but the first record we have of him is in 1818, when he appeared at the Wiltshire Quarter Sessions in Tisbury and was convicted and sent to prison in Devizes. (His name is not given in the newspaper report of these Sessions, and I don’t know what his crime was.)

Andrew and Mary’s daughter Jane was born in 1827 in West Hatch. I haven’t been able to find the family in the 1841 census, but there is an Andrew Mullens living with Harriet and more children in 1851, so my theory at the moment is that Mary died and he remarried.

In 1848 Andrew was sentenced to three months at the County Sessions on 4 Jan, for “larceny by servant”, which means that he stole from his employer. He was not whipped though, unlike the next two people on the criminal register:

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Luckily, this time there is a newspaper record (Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette, 6 Jan 1848), so we can see his crime (they all make interesting reading!):

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So it looks as though he was working on a farm near Wardour Castle.

In the 1851 census Andrew is shown as a widower, still working as an agricultural labourer at the age of 64, and living in Chilmark with his daughter Jane and her family.

He died in 1867.

This is Hannah’s first visit to Old Wardour Castle in April 1989!


Ari, this is how you are related to Andrew:

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