George William Anstey (b 1893)

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

George William Anstey, a member of the Filleigh Ansteys, was born on 10 May 1893 in Filleigh, baptised 11 June 1893, to parents Bryan Dufty Anstey and Selina Stone; he was brother to fellow Anstey Hero Bryan Gerald Anstey. He grew up living at Filleigh Mills in Filleigh and at the time of the 1911 Census he was an unmarried bookseller and stationer boarding at 46 Gloster Road, Barnstaple.

We know next to nothing about George’s World War One story. All we have managed to discover thus far is that:

  • He was an Acting Corporal with the Royal Engineers (Service Numbers: 213723 and WR/553322);
  • In the 1918 Electoral Register he was an “absent voter on active military service” registered at Filleigh Mills – ditto 1919; and
  • For his services he was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

Anybody who can elaborate on the above somewhat skeletal war story, please contact us at

By 1921 George was back living at Filleigh Mills with his family then in q3 1921 in South Molton he married Lucy Ellen Squire (surely sister to his brother’s wife Alma Mary Squire) – the ‘North Devon Journal‘ on 14 July 1921 reported “South Molton: On Monday the wedding took place at the Parish Church of Miss Lucy Ellen Squire (“Babs”), youngest daughter Mr. and Mrs. A. Squire, Barnstaple Street, Southmolton, and Mr. George W. Anstey, eldest son of the late Mr. Brian and Mrs. Anstey, Filleigh Mills. Owing to the recent death the bridegroom’s father, the wedding was celebrated quietly…”

They had children John Squire Anstey (b 1922 South Molton – see below); Betty P. Anstey (b 1923 South Molton); Helen P. Anstey (b 1928 Totnes); and Vivienne I. A. Anstey (b 1933 Totnes).

In 1923 the family were living at Filleigh Mills – the ‘North Devon Journal‘ on 4 June 1925 reported “FILLEIGH. On Saturday last, Messrs. Cockram, Dobbs and Stagg, acting under instructions from Mr. G. W. Anstey, who is leaving, conducted a successful sale of farming stock, poultry appliances, at Filleigh Mills. A large number of people were in attendance…”

By 1926 they were running the Lansdown Hotel (or Royal Hotel), Market Street, Ilfracombe and by 1928 they were running the Royal Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes. They were still there in 1934 when Lucy Ellen died in Totnes – the ‘Western Times‘ on 28 September 1934 reported “South Molton Much regret was felt at Totnes on Saturday when it became known that Mrs. Lucy Ellen Anstey, the wife of Mr. George W. Anstey, of the Royal Seven Stars Hotel, had passed away suddenly the early age of 33 years. Mrs. Anstey had not enjoyed very good health for some time and returned to the hotel only last Wednesday after a week’s motor tour which it was hoped would prove beneficial…with her husband, whose family has been associated with Filleigh for very many years, she left South Molton about ten years ago when Mr Anstey took over the Royal Hotel at Ilfracombe. Three years later they removed to the Royal Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes…deep sympathy is felt with Mr Anstey and their four young children in their bereavement“. “George William Anstey of Totnes” was one of the executors of her estate.

A year later in 1935 George remarried Kitty Annie Stanning Ferris – we find no children of this second marriage. By the 1939 Register George, Kitty and his children were living at 94 Church Road, Bristol, where he was working in “wine and spirits” and his wife was a “wine manageress“.

The Lancaster Guardian on 21 December 1945 reported “ANSTEY – HOLDEN: The marriage was solemnised in the King s Own Chapel of the Priory and Parish Church. Lancaster, of L/Cpl. John Squire Anstey, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Anstey, of Hereford, and Miss Edna Elizabeth Holden, second daughter of Mrs. Holden and the late Mr. George (Pat) Holden, of 63 Prospect Street, Lancaster“.

George died on 9 November 1947 living at 2 Widemarsh Street, Hereford – administration was to his widow Kitty. The ‘North Devon Journal‘ on 13 November 1947 gave the following obituary “DEATH OF MR. G. W. ANSTEY, HEREFORD His many friends Barnstaple, and North Devon generally, will learn with regret of the sudden death at Hereford on Sunday morning of Mr. George William Anstey. Born at Filleigh Mill, Mr. Anstey was for some time an assistant at the bookshop of Mr A. E. Barnes, High Street Barnstaple, during which time he was prominently associated with the Scout movement. He was in the hotel business in Devon for some years and later managed a concern in Bristol. When he went to Hereford he quickly made his mark in the business and social life of the city and look a leading part in the local Freemasonry and Rotary activities. Mr Anstey also served on the committee of the Hereford Bowling Club. He is survived by a widow, three daughters and a son. The funeral takes place at Bristol today“.

Anybody who would like to add anything to this biography please contact us at

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