Rev. Martin Anstey’s Old Oak Chest

Over a century ago on 29 April 1911, Rev. Martin Anstey (JU 14) of the Juryhayes Ansteys wrote to Tom (SG 30) stating:

Dear Mr Anstey, yours of yesterday to hand I have a good many ancient documents in our old oak chest and some years ago I spent a summer trying to sift them and learn what I could about the origin of our [Anstey] family. But I was only able to carry the matter to a certain point owing to the amount of time required for a thorough search.[1]

Rev. Martin Anstey’s “old oak chest” had been likely passed down through the generations from the medieval Ansteys until it came into his possession in Juryhayes in Tiverton, Devon by 1911. It is quite evident that generations of Ansteys had been adding useful and important documents to that chest over the centuries so it is undoubtedly a genuine ‘treasure chest’ of genealogical Anstey information. We believe there may be documents stretching back as far as the 1300s within that chest, which could greatly help us with our research for the fourth edition of ‘ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry

There is a problem however, in that we do not have the faintest idea as to the whereabouts of that “old oak chest” today, despite much effort expended in trying to trace it. We have had some luck in tracking down some of Rev. Martin Anstey’s pedigree charts which he drew up with Tom (SG 30) in the early 1900s; for example in 2018, his ‘Juryhays’ pedigree was residing with the grandson of Rev. Charles Oscar Moreton who was married to Amy Gladys Anstey (Rev. Martin Anstey’s daughter). However, this gentleman did not know the location of the “old oak chest“.

Therefore we make a specific appeal:

If anybody knows of the current location of, or possesses, Rev. Martin Anstey’s ‘old oak chest’ it would be greatly appreciated if they could please contact us at

Note added 10 Feb 2021: This appeal has been answered, see ‘Rev. Martin Anstey’s Old Oak Chest Update‘.


[1] This letter appears in full on pages 345-346 of ‘ANSTEY: The Devon and Somerset Branch’.

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