The Houghton Regis Anstees

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

Many thanks to Marsha Stringer and her research mentors, whose husband’s family are direct descendants of this sub-branch, and Amy Teel, for their help in constructing this pedigree.

Houghton Regis Anstees Overview

The Houghton Regis Anstees of Bedfordshire are a sub-branch of the Swanbourne Ansteys of Buckinghamshire.

Benjamin Anstee (b 1658 Swanbourne)

The patriarch of the Houghton Regis Anstees is Benjamin Anstee, baptised in Swanbourne on 13 March 1658 to father Edward Anstee (partially confirmed by his naming his eldest son ‘Edward‘ per below). Benjamin Anstee moved to Newton Longville (about five miles from Swanbourne) and married twice, first to Jane in c1680 and then after her death in 1685 in Newton Longville he remarried to Mary. Benjamin died in Newton Longville in 1729 and Mary died a “poor widow” in 1751. In 1702 Benjamin Ansteeof Newton Longville” was brought up before the Buckinghamshire Quarter Sessions “for building a house in Petty Doul Way without four acres of land and without the consent of the Lord of the Mannor; built in October, 1696, and taking in what ground he pleaseth.

Benjamin Anstee‘s children (all baptised in Newton Longville) are as follows:

  • Margaret Anstee (b 1682 with Jane, probably married in Houghton Regis in 1728);
  • Edward Anstee (b 1684 with Jane, who moved to Houghton Regis – see below);
  • Benjamin Anstee (b 1690 with Mary, possibly died in Prittlewell in Essex in 1725. Note: there is a ‘Benedict Anstee of Newton Longville‘ mentioned as a labourer in the 1705 Quarter Sessions, perhaps this is the same person);
  • John Anstee (b 1692 with Mary, moved to Prittlewell in Essex and married Sarah – see the Prittlewell page for more);
  • Joseph Anstee (b 1695 with Mary, moved to Prittlewell in Essex and then later back to Houghton Regis where he died “aged 80” in 1774 – see below);
  • Richard Anstee (b 1698 with Mary);
  • Mathew Anstee (b 1701 with Mary died an infant);
  • Jane Anstee (b 1704 with Mary);
  • Mathew Anstee (b 1707 with Mary);
  • Elizabeth Anstee (birth unknown but died in 1729 in Houghton Regis as “daughter of Benjamin and Mary“).

Edward Anstee (b 1684 Newton Longville)

Edward Anstee (b 1684 in Newton Longville per above) moved to Houghton Regis and married Emmora Thompson in 1715 (this marriage was transcribed as “Ansted” but it is certainly “Anstee“). Emmora was buried in 1755 and Edward buried in 1763 – both in Houghton Regis. Edward and Emmora had children:

  • Mary Anstee (b 1716);
  • Benjamin Anstee (b 1717 – married Mary Lines of Flamstead in 1754 in Houghton Regis. They had a daughter “Mary ANSTEE, Daughter of Benjamin ANSTEE of the Parish of Houghton Regis in the County of Bedford, Farmer, and of Mary his Wife, was born November the 10th 1757, and was married in the parish church of Houghton Regis, abovementioned, on the 18th Day of December, 1788, to Thomas Wren of the parish of Kings Walden, in the County of Hertford, Wheelwright Registered the 21st Day of March 1807 by me John Geardo Protestant Dissenting Minister” information courtesy of Marsha Stringer obtained from ‘Eng&Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers RG4/667, Hertfordshire; Baptist: Hitchin, Tilehouse Street‘. Benjamin also had a daughter Hannah Anstee (who maybe married William Webb in Toddington in 1800), and a daughter who married Mr Eames (possibly Elizabeth Anstee who married David Eames in 1790) and had a daughter Sarah Eames – per Benjamin‘s 1798 will. Note: We need to find a baptism for Sarah Eames between 1790 and 1798 to confirm if this connection is correct);
  • Ann Anstee (b 1720 died an infant);
  • Ann Anstee (b 1721);
  • Jane Anstee (b 1724);
  • Alice Anstee (b 1729);
  • Elizabeth Anstee?? (married in Houghton Regis in 1757)

Joseph Anstee (b 1695 Newton Longville)

Joseph Anstee (b 1695 in Newton Longville per above) moved to Prittlewell in Essex (together with his brother John) and married Elizabeth in c1725. They had (amongst others) a child Joseph (Junior), baptised in Prittlewell in 1729 (see the Prittlewell page for more on this family).

Joseph (Junior) Anstee (b 1729 Prittlewell)

Joseph (Junior) Anstee moved first to Leigh-on-Sea, Essex (near Prittlewell) and then later back to Houghton Regis. He married first Mary in c1753 (surely in Essex) and then after her death in 1771 (Mary was buried in Houghton Regis as “wife of Joseph Anstee farmer“, her memorial inscription reads “In memory of Mary, wife of Joseph Anstee who died December 15th 1772 (sic) aged . . .“), Joseph (Junior) married Sarah Billington in 1772 in Houghton Regis (Sarah died in 1803 in Houghton Regis, her memorial inscription reads “In memory of Sarah Anstee who departed this life . . . June 1803 aged [57] years“).

Joseph (Junior)‘s children were:

  • Joseph Anstee (b 1754 with Mary in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, married Frances (Fanny) Gurney in 1776 in Chalgrave, Bedfordshire. They lived in Houghton Regis for a while and then moved to Flamstead, Hertforshire – see the Flamstead page for more on this family);
  • William Anstee (b 1756 with Mary in Leigh, Essex, married Mary Sandon in 1778; he was a “linen draper of Ampthill“, she was of Dunstable. They moved to Luton and had children Mary Anstee (b 1779, married Thomas Healey in St Albans in 1828, was living with her mother and husband in the 1841 Census) Elizabeth Anstee (1785-1788), Sophia Anstee (1786-1793), Charlotte Anstee (1788-1789), and Elizabeth Anstee (b c1796 married Thomas Henly in 1816 and moved to Prittlewell). In 1783 “William Anstee of Luton, draper” was “owner of the Buck and Bell Inn in Fenny Stratford”. In 1785, “William Anstee, Draper” was on the Jury List for Luton. In the late 1780s and early 1790s William Anstee provided the bond for the marriages of at least two of his sisters. [There was also a ‘William Anstee’ of Luton “gentleman” listed as providing two marriage bonds around this time; one of the bonds was for Stanbridge Ginger, who was the younger brother of Edward Ginger, husband of 1756 William’s younger sister Elizabeth Anstee (b 1770). Therefore, ‘William Anstee, gent of Luton ’ is almost certainly the same person as ‘William Anstee the draper of Luton’. The inn ownership in 1783 suggests William was getting wealthier, which may have prompted him to call himself “gentleman”]. By 1799 William had moved from Luton to Dunstable, still a draper. He died in Dunstable in 1803, by this time a “straw hat factor [manufacturer]” who “stood indebted at the time of his decease” according to newspaper reports. One of his administrators was his brother John Anstee. [Note: see Further Details #3 below for certainly a different ‘William Anstee’ who married in Houghton Regis in 1766]. See Further Details #5 below for more on William Anstee‘s family);
  • Mary Anstee (b 1758 with Mary in Leigh, Essex died an infant in Leigh, Essex);
  • Mathew Anstee (b May 1759 with Mary in Leigh, Essex with Mary, died July 1759 in Houghton Regis an infant);
  • Mathew Anstee (b 1761 with Mary in Houghton Regis, married Mary Elliot in Houghton Regis in 1783 and moved to Dagnall, Edlesborough, becoming patriarch of the Edlesborough Anstees);
  • Mary Anstee (b 1762 with Mary in Houghton Regis, died an infant);
  • Mary Anstee (b 1765 with Mary in Houghton Regis, died an infant, the burial entry is mistranscribed as “Elizabeth Anstee“);
  • Mary Anstee (b 1766 with Mary in Houghton Regis, married first Rev. Rob Fawkner in 1787 in Tilsworth (at which time she was residing in Edlesborough, her brother William Anstee of Luton provided the bond), and then in 1802 Mary (by now a widow) married Edward French, a carpenter of Houghton Regis);
  • John Anstee (b 1766 with Mary in Houghton Regis – was “of Houghton Regis” in 1803 when administrator to his brother William Anstee; he also dealt with the 1804 sale of his father’s 84 acre farm in Houghton Regis – see below. John was on the Jury List for Houghton Regis in 1810 and 1820. John Anstee married Mary Eames in 1792 in Clerkenwell, London and they had a large family including a son “John Anstee Junior“, born in Houghton Regis in February 1798, who became the patriarch of the Toddington Anstees – see Further Details #4 below for more on John Anstee and Mary‘s family);
  • Elizabeth Anstee (b 1770 with Mary in Houghton Regis, married Edward Ginger in 1789 in Houghton Regis, Joseph Anstee provided the bond);
  • Sarah Anstee (b 1771 with Mary in Houghton Regis, married John Burghin [Burgoine], a 34 year old widower from Flamstead, in 1790 when she was described as “of Luton“. The bond for this marriage was put up by her brother William Anstee of Luton);
  • Ann Anstee (b 1774 with Sarah in Houghton Regis, married John Eames in 1790 in Houghton Regis. They moved to Toddington and had a daughter Sarah Eames born in 1796);
  • Rebecca Anstee (b 1775 with Sarah in Houghton Regis “married Joseph Freeman in 1794 in Houghton Regis; their son 1805 Joseph + Emma Johnson; their son, 1836 Joseph George Freeman emigrated to the USA from Houghton Regis and settled in Trenton, Missouri. One of their daughters, 1872 Ida May, married Ephriam Stringer. One of their sons (GUncle of Marsha’s husband) visited Houghton Regis in March 1919, on his way home from WWI. During that visit he visited the cemetery and noted the burials of Joseph Freeman and Rebecca (Anstee) Freeman (stones no longer standing): Joseph Freeman Died Dec. 21, 1846, Aged 76 Years [b. abt 1770] Wife Rebecca Died April 27, 1837” information courtesy of Marsha Stringer);
  • Richard Anstee (b 1779 with Sarah in Houghton Regis, married Elizabeth Birchmore in 1803 in Whipsnade, Bedfordshire. They moved to Kensworth, Hertfordshire and had children Richard Anstee (b 1809 – see presently); Sarah Anstee (b 1811); Ann Anstee (b 1814); Joseph Anstee (b 1817, a bricklayer); William Anstee (b 1819, an agricultural labourer); and Benjamin Anstee (b 1822, an agricultural labourer). In the 1841 Census they were living in Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire, where Richard Anstee died in 1843 due to “decay of nature.” Richard Anstee (b 1809) married Mary Ann Anstee (b c1816 Dagnall – see the Edlesborough Anstees) in 1834 in St Pancras, Middlesex. In the 1851 Census, Richard Anstee was a master bricklayer and shopkeeper living in South Mimms, Barnet, Middlesex with children George Anstee (b 1836), Morgeana Anstee (b 1838), Henry Anstee (b 1842), Josiah Anstee (b 1844), Emily Anstee (b 1846) and Charlotte Lydia Anstee (b 1848));
  • Hannah Anstee (b 1782 with Sarah in Houghton Regis, married David Fletcher in 1802 in Houghton Regis);
  • Benjamin Anstee (b 1783 with Sarah in Houghton Regis, married Rebecca Scott in 1808 in Houghton Regis);

When Joseph Anstee (Junior) moved from Leigh, Essex to Houghton Regis in 1759, his father Joseph Anstee (Senior) came back with him. Joseph (Senior) was buried in Houghton Regis in 1774 “aged 80“, confirming his c1694 birth in Newton Longville (“Joseph Anstey Senior” also acted as witness to his son “Joseph Anstee Junior“s 1772 wedding to Sarah Billington per above). Joseph Junior died in 1803 in Houghton Regis, his memorial inscription reads “In memory of Joseph Anstee who departed this life on the [2..] of November 1803 aged … years“.

A year later in 1804 Joseph Junior‘s farm in Houghton Regis was auctioned. The newspaper adverts stated “At the White Hart Inn in Dunstable on Wednesday 25 April [1804 will be sold by auction] a very eligible and desirable estate situated in the parish of Houghton Regis in the County of Bedford, consisting of a farmhouse, farmyards, malting, barns, stables and other convenient outbuildings…70 acres of arable land, 14 acres of pasture..lately in the occupation of Mr Joseph Anstee

As to why we can be sure that Joseph Anstee of Prittlewell and Leigh, Essex and Joseph Anstee of Houghton Regis are the same person, we have firstly the baptism and burial of Mathew (baptised in Leigh, Essex in May 1759, died July 1759 in Houghton Regis an infant). Secondly, we have the 1803 will of Joseph Anstee (Junior), in which is detailed all of his children. The abstract states:

1804 Will Abstract; #39, Feb 17, sub £2000, 83 Joseph ANSTEE of Houghton Regis near Dunstable, yeoman. Executors Joseph ANSTEE, John EAMES, Joseph FREEMAN . . . of the same place Legatees Richard ANSTEE, son, £500; Benjamin ANSTEE, son, £500; Hannah wife of David FLETCHER of Northampton, Baker, dau, £350; to every surviving grandchild, £20, to the three Executors, £20. Joseph, William, Matthew, John, Richard & Benjamin ANSTEE, sons. Hannah FLETCHER, Elizabeth GINGER, Sarah BURGIN, Ann EAMES, and Rebecca FREEMAN, daughters . . . .to have the residue

Also in the 1803 will, Joseph Anstee Juniordevises a cottage at Houghton Regis, to daughter Mary (wife of Edward French of Houghton Regis, carpenter), for life; and then to grandchildren, Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah and Ruth Faulkner (children of said Mary by former husband, Robert Faulkner). To son-in-law Joseph Freeman of Houghton Regis, 1 rood arable in a Field in Houghton Regis now called Miller’s Piece, near the windmill. And to sons Matthew and John Anstee, and sons-in-law, John Eames and Joseph Freeman, the rest of his real and personal estate, in trust for sale and payment of legacies to sons Richard and Benjamin Anstee, daughter Hannah (wife of David Fletcher of Northampton, baker), and to his grandchildren. Residue to be divided amongst children aforenamed, and to children, Joseph and William Anstee, Elizabeth (wife of Edward Ginger), Sarah (wife of John Burgin), Ann (wife of John Eames), and Rebecca (wife of Joseph Freeman). executors: the said trustees.

Note: To further solidify this thread and conclusion, we could do with finding the c1725 marriage entry of Joseph Anstee (Senior) and Elizabeth who lived in Prittlewell, Essex, or the c1753 marriage entry of Joseph Anstee (Junior) and Mary who lived in Leigh, Essex and Houghton Regis.

Further Details on Houghton Regis Anstees

#1. Bedford Marriage Licenses 1747-1790 and Bedford Marriage Licenses 1791-1812 involving Houghton Regis Anstees, by Marsha Stringer.

#2. Bedford Archive References involving Houghton Regis Anstees, by Marsha Stringer.

#3. The 1766 Marriage between William Anstee and Rebecca Parkins in Houghton Regis: “William Anstee of Christ Church London” (certainly “son of Joseph Anstee of Swanbourne” per a 1798 document, therefore probably b 1737 in Swanbourne to Joseph Anstee and Ann) married Rebecca Parkins in Houghton Regis in 1766. In 1796 William Anstee was a warehouseman living in Newgate Street, London, his son John Parkins Anstee was born in 1784 in London per the 1851 Census (he was mentioned in a 1796 Indenture as an adult so c1784 birth sounds incorrect). In 1798, William Anstee was given “Freedom of the City of London” as an Innkeeper. In 1817, William Anstee wrote his will, beginning “William Anstee, formerly warehouseman…of Newgate Street in the City of London Distillers, but now of Chipping Barnet in the County of Herts, gentleman“. The will had a codicil mentioning his wife “Ann Anstee” (who he married as Ann Watkins in Chipping Barnet in 1816) as well as his son John Parkins Anstee and his grandchildren. William Anstee died c1820, the will was proved in December 1821.

John Parkins Anstee married Jane Juliet White in 1809 (she died in 1829 in Stepney, London), having children Mary Juliana Anstee (b 1811 Christchurch, Newgate, London), Ann Harriet Anstee (b c1813 London, never married); William John Anstee (b 1817 Shoreditch, London); Lawrence Robert Biscoe Anstee (b 1821 Shoreditch, London); and John Harry Robert Anstee (b 1824 Stepney, London). John Parkins Anstee remarried Elizabeth Loker in St Katherine Coleman, London in 1834, they were living in Bishop’s Stortford with their son William John Anstee in the 1851 Census. John Parkins Anstee died in 1860 in Bishops Stortford.

#4. The Family of John Anstee (b 1766): John married Mary Eames (b 1776) in 1792 in St John, Clerkenwell, Islington, London (the register stating “John ANSTEE of the Parish of Houghton Regis in the Cunty of Bedford, Batchelor + Mary EAMES of this parish, spinster“) and they had the following children baptised as “Particular Baptist: Dunstable and Houghton Regis“:

  • Mary Anstee (b 1793);
  • Ann Anstee (b 1795, “died in 1836 in America” according to the non-conformist register);
  • John Anstee (Junior) (b 1798 – patriarch of the Toddington Anstees)
  • Elizabeth Anstee (b 1800, married William Foll in Toddington in 1829);
  • Joseph Anstee (b 1804 Houghton Regis, married Hannah Bloys (daughter of Benjamin Bloys, Dunstable, Corndealer) in 1830 in Dunstable. Joseph Anstee was a “Bailiff/Steward” and “Registrar of Births and Deaths“. Joseph Anstee and Hannah Bloys had children Joseph Russel Anstee (b 1831 Dunstable); Elizabeth Anstee (b 1833 Dunstable); Ann Anstee (b 1834 Dunstable); Sarah Ann Anstee (b 1837 Dunstable); John Bloys Anstee (b 1840 Beechwood Farm. Flamstead); William Alexander Anstee (b 1843 Flamstead); and Emily Elizabeth (b 1846, Luton). By the 1851 Census Hannah Bloys had (presumably) died because Joseph Anstee had remarried Martha (b 1809 Luton – it is possibly the marriage was in early 1851 to Martha James in Narbeth, Pembrokeshire). Martha died in 1858 in Luton, so in 1860 in Luton, Joseph Anstee (now a surveyor) married again, this time to Maria Harcum (b 1829 in Biggleswade). They had a further three children Edward J. Anstee (b 1861 Luton); Frances M. Anstee (b 1865 Pembrokeshire) and John Anstee (b 1867 Houghton Regis). Joseph Anstee died in 1889 in Luton);
  • Lois Anstee (b 1806, married Edward Fryer in 1828 in Houghton Regis – had a daughter Mary Anstee Fryer (b 1833 Chalton));
  • William Anstee (b 1808);
  • Alfred Anstee (b 1812, married Mary Ann (Hunter or Daniel) in 1840 in Luton. He was a grocer master living in Luton in the 1851 Census. He remarried Ann Billington in 1862 in Luton and was living in Dudley Street, Luton with his large family in the 1871 Census (Alfred was a clerk in a brewery). Alfred had (amongst others) a son Alfred Anstee (b 1843 Luton) who in 1869, according to the Bedfordshire Mercury newspaper 8 May 1869 edition “SERIOUS CHARGE: Alfred Anstee the younger pleaded guilty to stealing four coats, a pair of trousers, six boots and a pair of leggings…Owing to the recommendation of the prosecutor and the prisoners ill health, he was only sentenced to two months imprisonment without hard labour“. Alfred Anstee (senior) died in 1878 in Luton);
  • Susan Anstee (b 1814 married William Medcraft in Toddington in 1845)

John Anstee died in January 1839 in Houghton Regis. In the 1841 Census Mary Anstee (b 1776) together with her daughter Susan Anstee and grandson William Anstee (son of John Anstee (Junior)) were living in Chalton near Toddington. Mary Anstee died in October 1844. A tomb inscription in the churchyard at Houghton Regis (now gone) once read: “Also in memory of John Anstee who died January 12th 1839 aged 73 years And of Mary his wife who died October [11] 1844, aged 72 years

#5. Further Information on William Anstee (b 1756), by Amy Teel

#6. Anstee BMD in Houghton Regis by Marsha Stringer.

#7. Anstee BMD in Newton Longville by Marsha Stringer

#8. Anstee Non-Conformist BMD Houghton Regis/Hitchen by Marsha Stringer

We are always on the lookout for Houghton Regis Anstee experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Houghton Regis Anstees 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 Houghton Regis Anstees, 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 ‘Houghton Regis’ 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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