The Swanbourne Ansteys

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

Swanbourne Ansteys Overview

The Swanbourne Ansteys are the principal and root Anstey sub-branch of Buckinghamshire, beginning with a marriage between Richard Anstey and Joan Jesophe in Swanbourne on 15 February 1583 (see below). They are one of the biggest ‘Anstey’, Ansty’, ‘Anstee’ and ‘Anstie’ sub-branches in existence today.

It is interesting to note that almost all Swanbourne Anstey descendants alive today spell their name ‘Anstee’, however the original spelling of the surname of this sub-branch per the Swanbourne parish registers was ‘Anstey’, right from the 1583 marriage of Richard per above through to 1641 (which was the last appearance of ‘Anstey’ as a spelling in Swanbourne). The spelling ‘Anstee’ did not appear until 1665 in Swanbourne, after which it became the permanent spelling for this sub-branch.

As we have stated many times, ‘Anstey’, Ansty’, ‘Anstee’ and ‘Anstie’ are the same family!

Richard Anstey and Joan Jesophe

Richard Anstey and Joan Jesophe married in Swanbourne on 15 February 1583. They had at least five children together in Swanbourne, being:

  • Thomas Anstey (b 1584 – see below);
  • Dorothy Anstey (b 1587);
  • Katherine Anstey (b 1589);
  • John Anstey (b 1591 died an infant)
  • Joan Anstey (b 1591 died an infant);
  • Benjamin Anstey (b 1594 – see below)

Richard Anstey was buried in Swanbourne in April 1618; his wife Joan Anstey was buried in November 1636.

[Research Note: It is possible that Richard Anstey‘s parents were John Anstey and Agnes Rydgedale who married in Newport Pagnall on 2 November 1560 – however this is highly speculative at the moment]

Thomas Anstey (b 1584)

Thomas Anstey was baptised in 1584 in Swanbourne. He married Elizabeth Goodspeede in November 1614 in Swanbourne and they had children:

  • John Anstey (b 1615 – did he have children John Anstie b 1652; Thomas Anstie b 1656 and Edward Anstie b 1660 in Swanbourne, or did he die in 1647 in Swanbourne?);
  • Katherine Anstey (b 1618);
  • Joan Anstey (b 1622);
  • Mary Anstey (b 1626);
  • Edward Anstey (b 1630)

Elizabeth (Goodspeede) Anstey died in Swanbourne in 1651; Thomas Anstie died in 1660 in Swanbourne .

Benjamin Anstey (b 1594)

Benjamin Anstey was baptised in 1594 in Swanbourne. He married Alice Beckeley in March 1625 in Swanbourne and they had children:

  • Maria Anstye (unknown birth – made her will in 1666 in Swanbourne, which begins “I Maria Anstye of Swanbourne in the County of Bucks, spinster do make this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following (soul to almighty God, body to the earth). And for my worldly goods I dispose thereof in the manner following. I give and devise to each of my brother Edward Anstye’s children which he hath at the time of my last Will and Testament five pounds of lawful English money. I give and devise unto each of my brother Richard Anstye’s children five pounds of lawful English money. I give and devise unto my brother Benjamin Anstye’s daughter five pounds of lawful English money. I appoint my two brothers Edward Anstye and William Anstye to see me decently interred which I doubt not and make them executors“. She was buried in Swanbourne in September 1666 as “Mary Anstee“.);
  • Edward Anstey (b 1626, married Margaret Cawdell in 1655 in Swanbourne and had children Mary Anstie (b 1656); Benjamin Anstie (b1658 – patriarch of the Houghton Regis Anstees); Edward Ansty (b 1660); William Anstie (b 1663); Margaret Anstee (b 1665); Alice Anstee (b 1670); Elizabeth Anstee (b 1675) all born in Swanbourne);
  • Richard Anstey (b 1629 died an infant?);
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1632);
  • John Anstey (b 1634 died an infant?);
  • Benjamin Anstey (b 1635);
  • Richard Anstey (b 1636);
  • John Anstey (b 1638 died 1647 in Swanbourne?);
  • William Anstey (b 1641);

Benjamin Anstey died in August 1657 in Swanbourne.

Thomas Anstee (b c1790 Swanbourne)

Thomas Anstee was born in c1790 in Swanbourne, very likely to parents Thomas Anstee and Ann. He married Elizabeth Redding (b c1800) in 1821 in Swanbourne (witnesses were Thomas Anstee (father?) and Leah Anstee (sister, born 1797) – Thomas Anstee was a blacksmith at the time) and they had children in Swanbourne:

In the ‘Bucks Gazette‘ 26 May 1832 edition appears an advert: “Fine old Pasture Land Swanbourne near Winslow to be sold by auction….For a view of the premises apply to Mr. Doe, at Swanbourne, and for further particulars (if by letter, post-paid) to Mr. John and Thomas Anstee, blacksmiths, Swanbourne“.

In the 1841 Census the family were living in Swanbourne, Winslow where Thomas Anstee was a blacksmith. By the 1851 Census the family (without Thomas) were living at Church Street, Swanbourne. By the 1861 Census Thomas Anstee and his wife were living with their son James Anstee at Church Street – he was still a blacksmith and his wife was a lacemaker. Thomas Anstee died in 1867, buried in Swanbourne.

By the 1871 Census Elizabeth Anstee (widow) “aged 73 and a lacemaker” was living with her grandson Frederick Anstee (son of Arabella) at 13 Church Street Swanbourne. Next door to them were Sophia William and Jane Anstee her sister, both widows.

[Note: there was another ‘Thomas Anstee‘ born in 1787 in Mursley (to parents John Anstee and Elizabeth) who was an unmarried brazier living at Duck End Swanbourne in the 1851 Census. He likely died in 1857 in Swanbourne]

William Anstee (b c1817 Whaddon)

William Anstee was born in c1817 in Whaddon. He married Margaret Anne Anstee (b 1819, baptised in 1825 in Swanbourne to Jane Anstee, lacemaker) in 1836 in Swanbourne (Caroline Anstee was witness) and they had children in Swanbourne:

  • William Anstee (b 1837, married Emma Spratley in June 1857 in Swanbourne. In the 1861 Census they were living at the Butchers Shop, Mursley with no children just yet; they were still living in Mursley, Winslow in the 1871 Census. They had children in Mursley Charles Anstee (b 1862); Minnie Anstee (b 1867, a nurse maid in Hoggeston, Winslow in the 1881 Census and back living with the family at Winscot Farm, Soulbury Road, Soulbury in the 1891 Census); Harry Anstee (b 1870); and Hugh Anstee (b 1871 – died 1893 see presently). William Anstee died in 1871 in Mursley, buried there on 8 January 1872 – the ‘Bucks Advertiser & Aylesbury News’ on 6 January 1872 reporting “Death: On the 31st Dec at Mursley Mr William Anstee farmer and butcher aged 34“. His widow Emma remarried to William Sumerfield in Pancras, London in 1886 and the family was living at Winscot Farm, Soulbury Road, Soulbury by 1891. In 1893 tragedy occurred – the ‘Bucks Herald‘ on 22 April 1893 reported “Soulbury: Extraordinary Fatality – Yesterday, just before going to press, we received information of a fatal accident which it seems occurred under extraordinary circumstances on Thursday afternoon at about one o clock in this parish. A labourer named Hugh Anstee, twenty one years of age, was working as a chaff cutter, which was being propelled by a horse on Winscott Farm. He was wearing a silk handkerchief round his neck, tied in a sailors knot, with the ends hanging down. Suddenly the spindle of the machine caught them, drawing the unfortunate man downwards with great violence. The horse was stopped as soon as possible and the deceased, who was wound up tightly by the machinery, was released but life was extinct. Mr Harris, surgeon of Leighton Buzzard, happened to be in the areas and on being called upon to see the deceased found that his neck was broken” – probate was to his mother Emma Sumerfield);
  • Charles Anstee (b 1840);
  • Mary Ann Anstee (b 1841, baptised in 1860 in Swanbourne);
  • Ellen Anstee (b 1843);
  • Emma Anstee (b 1845, baptised in 1860 in Swanbourne);
  • Henry Anstee (b 1847);
  • Ann Anstee (b 1848, baptised in 1860 in Swanbourne);
  • George Anstee (b 1850);
  • Robert Anstee (b 1852, was visiting his brother William Anstee in Mursley in the 1871 Census. He married Elizabeth Spittles (b 1861 Oxford) in 1880 in Westminster and in the 1881 Census they were living at 3, Boyce Street, St James Westminster – Robert was a “coachman“, likely for the Royal Household. They had daughters Ida [Ada] Nellie Anstee (b 1894 Oxford); and May Anstee (b 1897 Oxford). In 1894 Robert Anstee was groom for William Franklin of Oxford (see ‘Bicester Herald‘ 16 March 1894 edition) and in 1898 he was a Hackney Carriage Driver living at 1 Park Passage, Holywell (see ‘Oxford Times‘ 8 October 1898 edition). Robert Anstee died in 1899 in Headington, Oxford “aged 41” (his age seemed to reduce at each census). By the 1901 Census Elizabeth Anstee (widow) was living in St Cross Road, Oxford Holywell with her daughters and a nephew Albert Elliot [Anstee?] (“b 1881 London, a groom” and Anstey Hero). By the 1911 Census they were living at Bliss Court Broad St Oxford, still with their nephew Albert Elliot [Anstee?] (“b 1885 London, a stableman“));
  • Louisa Anstee (b 1854);
  • Alfred Anstee (b 1856); and
  • Elizabeth Anstee (b 1859)

In the 1851 Census they were living at Church Street, Swanbourne, Winslow where William Anstee was a calf dealer and his wife was a lace dealer. In 1857 William [Warr] Anstee was a butcher. By the 1861 Census Margaret Anstee (wife) had died (in 1860) and William Anstee (widower) was a cordwainer/shoemaker, still living in Church Street with his family and his mother in law Jane Anstee (b 1795).

Swanbourne Anstey Sub-branches

There are numerous sub-branches of Ansteys in existence today which descend from the Swanbourne Ansteys. Thus far we have started uploading information on:

However, certain Anstey families remained in Swanbourne for generations, and there was still a thriving Anstey community in Swanbourne in the mid-1800s (and likely longer), nearly three centuries after they first arrived, making the Swanbourne Ansteys one of the longest resident Anstey sub-branches in a single parish.

Further Details on the Swanbourne Ansteys

#1. William Anstee (b 1737 in Swanbourne to Joseph Anstee and Ann – see #3 of Further Details on the Houghton Regis Anstees)

#2. Edward Anstee (b 1819 probably in Swanbourne – see the Majorca, Victoria Anstees)

#3. Thomas Anstee (b 1822 Swanbourne to parents Thomas Anstee and Elizabeth Redding who married in Swanbourne in 1821) married Elizabeth Rebecca Rogers in Clerkenwell, London in 1848. They lived in Clerkenwell where he was a “post office letter carrier” in 1861 and they had children in Clerkenwell:

  • Elizabeth R. Anstee (b 1850);
  • Thomas H. Anstee (b 1855);
  • James C. Anstee (b 1857);
  • William George Anstee (b 1859, married Sarah Webber (b 1849 Dulverton) in 1877 in Hammersmith and was a bricklayer living in Wandsworth in 1891 with a son William J. Anstee (b 1879 Heath & Reach, Bedfordshire));
  • Alfred C. Anstee (b 1861, an unmarried bricklayer living in Wandsworth in the 1891 Census)

#4. Edward Anstee (b 1755 Swanbourne) moved to Coventry in Warwickshire in c1800 (give or take a decade) and commenced a minor Anstey sub-branch there.

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Swanbourne 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 ‘Swanbourne’ in the search box at the bottom of this page and a list of relevant pages will appear.

We are actively on the lookout for Swanbourne Ansteys alive today who are willing to add their Anstey research to this project. Anybody so interested, please contact us at

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