The Chewton Mendip Ansteys

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

Overview of the Chewton Mendip Ansteys

The Chewton Mendip Ansteys of Somerset are an ‘Anstey evolved from Anstis‘ sub-branch, almost certainly linked to the Wells, St Cuthbert ‘Anstis‘ family of Somerset. Hence they are originally part of the ‘Anstis‘ pedigree, and thus do not connect to the wider Anstey pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anstey. The Chewton Mendip Ansteys were very closely linked to the Camerton Ansteys and the Timsbury Ansteys, both also ‘Anstey evolved from Anstis‘ sub-branches.

There are two Chewton Mendip patriarchs, being Robert Anstis and Joseph Anstis who we believe were brothers, or uncle and nephew, likely both coming from Wells, St Cuthbert.

After 1782, we find no further baptisms in Chewton Mendip, suggesting all of this sub-branch had left Chewton Mendip around this time.

Robert Anstis (m 1734 Camerton)

In 1734 Robert Anstisof Chewton Mendip” married Elizabeth Pearceof Midsomer Norton” in Camerton. They returned to live in Chewton Mendip and had many ‘Anstis‘ daughters who do not concern us. Their ‘Anstey’ relevant children were:

  • Hester Anstis (b 1739, married William Bendle in Chewton Mendip in 1766 as ‘Anstee‘);
  • Susanna Anstis (b 1744, married James Curtis in Chewton Mendip in 1762 as ‘Anstee‘);
  • Robert Anstis (b 1749 – known as ‘Robert Junior‘ see below);
  • John Anstes (b 1752);
  • Samuel Anstee (b 1758)

Robert Anstis (father) appears as a parish overseer in the Chewton Mendip vestry books as ‘Robert Anstee‘. He was described as “Robert Anstee, yeoman of Chewton [Mendip]” in 1744 when he acted as bondsman for “Elizabeth Anstee of Timsbury” (probably his younger sister – see Timsbury Further Details #2). Robert Anstis died in 1787 in Chewton Mendip (as ‘Anstee‘); his widow Elizabeth was buried in Chewton Mendip in 1791 (again as ‘Anstee‘).

His son Robert Anstis (b 1749) married Hannah (Joanna?) Hart in Chewton Mendip in 1776 (as ‘Anstee‘) and had children in Chewton Mendip:

  • William Anstee (b 1776);
  • Sarah Anstee (b 1781);
  • Robert Anstee (b 1782)

According to the ‘Chewton Mendis History‘ website, the three generations of ‘Robert Anstis/Anstee‘ (m 1734, b 1749 and b 1782) “were significant in Chewton Mendip in the 18th century. A number of variations of the name are recorded. Anstie, Ansty, Anstes, Anstice, Anstee and Anstis are all variations that appear in the records.” The elder ‘Robert Anstis’ (m 1734) invariably signed his name in accounts and Poor Law records as ‘Robert Anstee’ despite giving many of his children the ‘Anstis’ surname at the same time.

[Note: this is an excellent example of how certain ‘Anstis’ families considered the surnames ‘Anstis’ and ‘Anstey’ to be somewhat interchangeable. The ‘Anstey’ families on the other hand most certainly did not consider them interchangeable.]

The three generations of ‘Robert Anstis/Anstee‘ were all Overseers of the Poor in Chewton Mendip and “they owned a field between Chew Hill and Coles Lane (east). A number of records show that the Anstees were tenants of the Kingsmills. It is possible that the Anstees had links to the Loxton-Parson family. The poor law records show that Robert Anstee was a ‘waywarden’ in the middle of the 18th century. Waywardens had the unpopular responsibility for getting the parish to maintain the roads in the parish. Robert Anstee  (yeoman) was the tenant of a cottage and garden in Chewton Town in 1768…Robert Anstee the younger was identified as the tenant of Scutts Hill in 1774. His name is spelt as ‘Austice‘ and he is described as a yeoman. One record held by the Hampshire Archive (ref 19M61/4108) dated 1790 links Robert Anstee to the Unicorn Inn.

Robert Anstee Junior in 1790 was tenant of “arable land formerly divided into several pieces at West End in the parish of Chewton Mendip heretofore called James’s

Joseph Anstis (m 1751 Chewton Mendip)

In 1751 Joseph Anstis of Chewton Mendip” (probably born in Wells, St Cuthbert in 1733 to father William Anstis) married Mary Roper?of Chewton Mendip” in Chewton Mendip (as ‘Ansty‘) and they had children in Chewton Mendip:

Joseph Anstis (father) and his son Joseph Anstee (b 1757) both died in Camerton in 1785 and 1768 respectively (as ‘Ansty‘).

George Anstee (b 1760 Chewton Mendip)

George Anstee, born in 1760 in Chewton Mendip to parents Joseph Anstis and Mary, married Martha Weston on 15 January 1787 at St. Philip and St. Jacob, Bristol. [Note this marriage is transcribed as “George Ansta” but as “Ansta” does not exist as a surname we are confident it should be “Ansty“, though we could do with confirming this by viewing the original parish register. Note also that there was another “George Anstey/Martha” marriage in 1791 in nearby Paulton, but this is NOT this ‘George’].

George Anstee and Martha Weston moved to Timsbury and had children:

  • Sarah Anstey (b 1788, never married, was visiting her brother William Anstee in Camerton in the 1851 Census);
  • George Ansty (b 1790, married Mary Tucker in Timsbury in 1812, he was a carpenter and his sister Sarah was a witness, as well as George Millard. He had a family in Timsbury and he died in Timsbury in 1850 “aged 60“);
  • Priscilla Ansty (b 1792, married Charles White in Timsbury in 1809 – her sister Sarah was witness, as well as George Millard);
  • Joseph Anstey (b 1794);
  • John Anstey (b 1796);
  • Ann Anstey (b 1799);
  • William Anstey (b 1805 – see below);

George Anstee (b 1760) was witness to his brother John Anstee‘s marriage in 1795 in Farmborough.

William Anstey (b 1805 Timsbury)

William Anstey (b 1805 Timsbury) to parents George Anstee and Martha Weston married Elizabeth Green (b c1800) in 1827 in Camerton. He was a master carpenter by trade (and later a collier and blacksmith), and they lived in Timsbury until c1836, thence moving to Camerton. William Anstey and Elizabeth had children:

  • Sarah Ann Anstey (b 1828 Timsbury);
  • Eliza Martha Anstey (b 1830 Timsbury);
  • Herbert William Anstey (b 1831 Timsbury, an unmarried carpenter living in Camerton in 1861, died in Timsbury in 1871);
  • Joseph Anstee (b 1836 Camerton, baptised in Timsbury a carpenter living in Camerton in the 1861 Census. He married Sarah Ann Hill (known as ‘Annie‘) in Bath in 1863 and they had children Emily Anstee (b 1864 Bath, a barmaid in Islington in the 1881 Census); George Anstee (b 1867 Bath, a printer in Islington in the 1881 Census); Joseph George Anstee (b 1867 Bath, baptised in Dunkerton in 1871 “aged 3, living at 40 Gay Street, Bath“, a scholar living in Islington in the 1881 Census, married Mary Ann Smart in Holburn, London in 1898, they were still living in Islington in 1911); Minnie Anstee (b 1875 Bath); Kathleen Anstee (b 1878 Holburn); and Harold Marratt Anstee (b 1882 Pentonville, London, sometimes known as ‘Henry’, an Anstey Hero). Bizarrely, Joseph Anstee (b 1836) died in 1871 in Bath, even though he was named as father on some of the later births (eg Kathleen Anstee and Harold Marratt Anstee had the father named on the birth certificate as “Joseph Anstee carpenter“). Certainly in the 1881 Census, Sarah Ann Anstee was living in Islington (as ‘Annie‘) with her elder children, a “widow, dressmaker, age 35 born in France“. In the 1891 Census she was living in Clerkenwell with her youngest son Harold Marratt Anstee, a “widow, dressmaker age 46 born in France“);
  • William Henry Anstee (b 1838 Camerton, baptised in Timsbury. He likely married Elizabeth Ann Meakin (b 1835) in Clerkenwell, London in 1861, having children William Anstee (b 1860 London – note: not William George Anstee born Clerkenwell 1859, who was a Swanbourne Anstee, see Further Details #3); Elizabeth Anstee (b 1861 Priston); and perhaps others. They had returned to Dunkerton in Somerset by the 1861 Census where William Anstee was a blacksmith. In January 1863 according to the ‘Wells Journal‘ “William Anstee of Dunkerton and George Anstee of Farmborough [his second cousin] were summoned for trespassing upon land of Thomas Stallard at Farmborough. Dismissed with a caution“. In 1866 at the Petty Sessions in Keynsham “William Anstee Junior of Camerton was summoned for using threatening language towards Aver Baverstock at Priston, but as defendant did not appear a special warrant was issued for his apprehension” per ‘Bristol Times and Mirror‘ 27 January 1866);
  • John George Anstee (b 1842 Camerton, baptised in Timsbury).

In the 1851 Census the family were living in Tunley House, Camerton, William Anstey was a “master carpenter employing 8 men“. They were still there in 1861, William Anstey was a “carpenter and blacksmith“.

William Anstey (b 1805) was buried in Timsbury in 1888, “aged 83“. He was resident of Priston at the time of his death (where he was also resident in 1881, a “widower and carpenter“).

Further Details on the Chewton Mendip Ansteys

We are always on the lookout for Chewton Mendip Anstey experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Chewton Mendip Ansteys who fought in World War One, preferably with personal souvenirs such as letters sent by the soldiers or military photos etc. Anybody who has such expertise and inclination, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Chewton Mendip Ansteys, and continue to upload more all the time (see Project Updates), however it is spread over various segments of the website.

The best way to find said information is to enter ‘Chewton Mendip’ in the search box at the bottom of this page and a list of relevant pages will appear.

Anybody who finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com and we will correct it.

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