The Kennford Ansteys

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

Overview of the Kennford Ansteys

The Kennford Ansteys of Devon include both the village of Kennford and the parishes of Kenton, Kenn and Powderham, all of which lie in close proximity to each other and a couple of miles south of Exeter. The three co-patriarchs of the Kennford Ansteys are Benjamin Anstis (b 1745) and his two nephews John Ansty (b 1767) and James Ansty (b 1775), all of whom are part of the CreditonAnstey evolved from Anstis‘ sub-branch

As such, the Kennford Ansteys are also an ‘Anstey evolved from Anstis‘ sub-branch, originally part of the ‘Anstis’ family, and thus do not connect to the wider Anstey pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anstey.

Thomas John Anstey (Tom) communicated with three members of this sub-branch in c1912 and through this correspondence he established that only one ‘Anstey’ member of this sub-branch was still residing in Kenn in 1912 (see below)

Benjamin Anstis (b 1745 Crediton)

Benjamin Anstis was born in 1745 in Crediton to father Edward Anstis. He married Thomasin [Tamsin] Lee in 1775 in Kenton (as ‘Ansty‘ – he was already a thatcher) and they had children:

  • John Anstey (b 1776 Kenton – see below);
  • Mary Ansty (b 1777 Kenton, married in 1798 in Kenn); and
  • Elizabeth Anstis (b 1784 Kenton, married in 1810 in Kenn);

Benjamin Anstis, like so many of this sub-branch, was a thatcher; he took on his nephew John Ansty (b 1767) as an apprentice in c1780 – see below. Benjamin Anstis left Crediton for Kenton in around 1760 (give or take a decade) and then moved from Kenton to Kenn probably in the mid-1790s. He was buried in Kenn in 1819 “aged 74“, as ‘Anstey‘.

Thomas John Anstey (Tom) drew the pedigree of this family into his Black Book in c1913 after communicating with various members of the sub-branch of John Anstey (b 1776 – see below).

John Ansty (b 1767 Crediton)

John Ansty was born in 1767 in Crediton to parents John Anstis and Sarah Body. The Kenton Poor Law Record has a great entry for John Ansty in 1796, being “Settlement Examination: John Anstey 1796 – now in Kenton, he was born in Crediton where his parents belonged, when he was 13 his parents brought him to Benjamin Ansty of Kenton, thatcher, who he served for 11 years as agreed, he then agreed for 2 years at £7 16s and then at 3s a week, then he went to Kenn and worked as a thatcher for 2 years and then came back to Kenton“.

John Ansty married Elizabeth Syms in 1790 in Powderham and they had children:

  • ?

James Ansty (b 1775 Crediton)

James Ansty was born in 1775 in Crediton to parents John Anstis and Sarah Body. He married Elizabeth Shenton (known as Betty) in 1798 in Kenton and they had children in Kenton:

  • Fanny Anstey (b 1798);
  • John Anstey (b 1801, was a thatcher master in Kenton and a “sexton“. He married Charlotte Bidgood in Kenton in 1823 and had children in Kenton Mary Anstey (b 1826); Elizabeth Anstey (b 1826); Charlotte Anstey (b c1827, married Mr Gulley [Galley]); Fanny Anstey (b 1828); John Anstey (b 1829, a thatcher in Kenton in 1851); Lucy Anstey (b 1832); Ellen Anstey (b 1833); Francis Anstey (b 1835, known as Frank); and William Anstey (b 1839, a carpenter in Kenton in 1861). John Anstey died in Kenton in 1865 “aged 64“);
  • James Anstey (b 1804 and baptised as ‘Anstice’, was a “sexton” in Kenton. He married two females from the Geary family, having sons (amongst others) John Geary Anstey (b 1829 Kenton, who in turn had a son John James Geary Anstey (b 1852 Exmouth)); and Henry Anstey (b 1839 Kenton, who in turn had a son Harry Anstey (b 1867, who communicated with Thomas John Anstey (Tom) in 1911, stating that “[his] father, grandfather and great grandfather were sextons of Kenton parish church“));
  • Elizabeth Anstice (b 1805);
  • Mary Anstice (b 1805);
  • William Anstey (b 1809, died 1845 in Kenton, aged 36?); and
  • Charlotte Anstey (b 1815);

James Anstey (father) was a thatcher. He was also sexton of Kenton parish church according to a 1911 letter from his great grandson Harry Anstey to Thomas John Anstey (Tom). James Anstey died in 1826 in Kenton.

John Anstey (b 1776 Kenton)

John Anstey (b 1776 Kenton to father Benjamin Anstis) married Elizabeth Page in 1801 in Kenn, having children baptised in Kenn:

  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1801 Kenn);
  • John Page Anstey (b 1803 Kenn – see below);
  • William Anstey (b 1810 Kenn – see below);
  • Robert Anstey (b 1812, died young?);
  • Ann Page Anstey (b 1814, married Edmund Hollett in Kenn in 1835); and
  • Louisa Anstey (b 1821)

For the baptisms of the last two of his children John Anstey was described as a “thatcher of Kennford” – he was also a long time parish clerk of Kennford. John Anstey died on 16 April 1828 in Kennford.

John Page Anstey (b 1803 Kenn)

John Page Anstey was born in 1803 in Kenn to parents John Anstey and Elizabeth Page. He married Ann Smith in 1824 in Kennford and they had children (baptised in Kenn):

  • Sarah Smith Anstey (b 1826, married George White in 1850 in Marylebone);
  • Charlotte Anstey (b 1828);
  • John Anstey (b 1828, a thatcher in Kenn in the 1851 Census. He married Susannah Price in 1856 in Harpford having (amongst others) a son Thomas Anstey (b 1866, who was living in Townsends, Kenn when he corresponded with Thomas John Anstey (Tom) in 1912, noting that “I am the only member of the family remaining here“. He had two daughters). John Anstey died in 1896, the ‘Exeter Flying Post‘ on 25 January 1896 reporting “DEATH: ANSTEY January 18 at Towsends Kenn, Mr John Anstey aged 67“);
  • Nicholas Anstey (b 1831 died 1833);
  • Mary Ann Anstey (b 1833)
  • Jane Anstey (b 1835);
  • Nicholas Anstey (b 1837);
  • Henry Anstey (b 1839, died in 1902, the ‘Exeter and Plymouth Gazette‘ reporting on 04 April 1902 “DEATHS: ANSTEY March 28th (Good Friday) at 4 Knight’s Hill West Norwood, Henry Anstey, youngest son of the late John Page Anstey of Kenn“);
  • Hannah Anstey (b 1841);
  • Thomzin Anstey (b 1843); and
  • Anthony Anstey (b 1846, died 1850)

In the 1851 Census, the family were living in Kenn, John Page Anstey was a thatcher. Ann Anstey (wife) died on 20 May 1856 in Kenn so in March 1858 John Page Anstey remarried to Harriet Vooght in Exeter St James. They had two further children baptised in Kenn:

  • Emma Anstey (b 1858);
  • Mary Anstey (b 1863);

John Page Anstey was a parish clerk in Kennford for a long period. He died in Kennford in 1874, buried in Kenn. The ‘Exeter Flying Post‘ on 18 February 1874 reported “DEATH: February 9 at Kenn, Mr JOHN PAGE ANSTEY, age 69“.

William Anstey (b 1810 Kenn)

William Anstey was born in 1810 in Kenn to parents John Anstey and Elizabeth Page. He married Mary Stokes in 1833 in Kenn and they had children baptised in Kenn:

  • John Stokes Anstey (b 1834 – patriarch of the Caradoc, Middlesex, Ontario Ansteys of Canada);
  • Sarah Anstey (b 1835);
  • William Lambert Anstey (b 1836, married Mary Ann Brenton in Kenn in 1858 having (amongst others) a son George William Townsend Anstey (b 1859 Wolborough, who corresponded with Thomas John Anstey (Tom) in 1912);
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1838, died an infant);
  • Fanny Anstey (b 1839);
  • Mary Anstey (b 1841)
  • George Anstey (b 1843, died in 1879, never married. The ‘Western Times‘ on 13 November 1879 reported “DEATHS: ANSTEY: Nov 8 at Kenford George, third son of Mr William Anstey, aged 36“);
  • Catherine Anstey (b 1845);
  • Ann Anstey (b 1848);
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1851, resided in Yorkshire and had family);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1855, married Frank Bowden in 1875 in Kenn)

William Anstey was a farmer and road contractor of Exeter for about 40 years. He was still living in Kennford in the 1881 Census with his wife Mary – he was a farmer of 10 acres.

Further Details on the Kennford Ansteys

We are actively on the lookout for Kennford Anstey experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Kennford 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

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Kennford 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 ‘Kennford’ 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 and we will correct it.

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