The Bradninch Ansteys

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

Overview of the Bradninch Ansteys

The Bradninch Ansteys of Devon (including next door Silverton) are a sub-branch of the Tiverton Ansteys and thus part of the South West Peninsula Ansteys. The patriarch of the Bradninch Ansteys is Thomas Anstey (b 1787 Hockworthy).

Thomas Anstey (b 1787 Hockworthy)

Thomas Anstey, a member of the Tiverton Ansteys, was born in Hockworthy in 1787. He married Elizabeth Skinner (b 1796 Bradninch) on 10 April 1819 in Bradninch and they had the following children in Bradninch (or next door Silverton where they moved in c1825):

  • John Anstey (b 1820 – see below);
  • Mary Anstey (b 1821)
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1822 – see below);
  • Robert Anstey (b 1825 – see below);
  • William Anstey (b 1829 baptised 19 April 1829 in Bradninch. In the 1841 Census he was living at Coombe Farm with the ‘Martyn’ family and his brother Robert);
  • George Anstey? (b 1833 died an infant in Silverton);
  • Aaron Anstey (b 1837, in the 1851 Census he was a farm servant for the Murch family, living at Great Waterstave, Bradninch. He married Catherine Cangeney in 1860 in Camberwell and moved to Bermondsey in London having children Thomas Anstey (b 1861, unmarried in 1911 and living with his parents in 125 Abbey Street Bermondsey as an unemployed labourer); John Anstey (b 1863 – see below); and Elizabeth [Bessie] Anstey (b 1867, married Mr Lipseant and was a widow in 1911); and one other. In 1881 they were living at 44, Maltby Street, Bermondsey. In the 1911 Census Aaron Anstey was an old age pensioner living at 125 Abbey Street Bermondsey – he died in 1916 in Southwark)

Up to c1825 the family lived at Higher Casebury Farm in Bradninch; they then moved to (Lower) Clist Hays in next door Silverton. Throughout this time Thomas Anstey was a husbandman.

By the 1851 Census Thomas Anstey and his wife were living at Fore Street, Bradninch – Thomas was by now an agricultural labourer. By the 1861 Census Thomas Anstey was dead, because his “widowElizabeth Anstey was living with her son Robert Anstey in Topsham.

Elizabeth Anstey was a “widowed servant/cook in Exeter St David” in the 1871 Census and back living with her son Robert Anstey in Topsham in the 1881 Census.

John Anstey (b 1820 Bradninch)

John Anstey was born in 1820 in Bradninch to parents Thomas Anstey and Elizabeth Skinner. He married Ann Burgess (b 1820 North Molton) in St George Southwark in 1844 and they had children in Bermondsey:

  • John Burgess Anstey (b 1849, baptised 29 July 1849 St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey. He married Flora Allcorn [Allcom] in 1876 in Maidstone and they had children William John Anstey (b 1877 Marylebone, an unmarried ironmonger and co-partner living at 32 Stone St Maidstone in the 1911 Census); Flora Elizabeth Anstey (b 1879 Marylebone, unmarried and living with her family in the 1911 Census); Maud Mary Anstey (b 1885 Marylebone); and Elsie May Anstey (b 1893 Maidstone, living with her family in the 1911 Census). In the 1881 Census the family were living at 31, New Street, St Marylebone where John was a “collector commercial”. By 1891 they were living at Lower Stone Street, Maidstone where John was an ironmonger – they were still there in 1901. By the 1911 Census the family were living at 32 Stone St Maidstone – John was still an ironmonger. John Burgess Anstey died in 1915 – the ‘South Eastern Gazette‘ on 21 December 1915 wrote “Maidstone Tradesman’s Death Mr J. B. Anstey We regret to announce the death of Mr John Burgess Anstey, which occurred at his residence, Lower Stone Street, at 12 o clock midnight on Saturday. Mr Anstey entered into business in Maidstone some 25 years ago when he became associated as a partner with the firm of Messrs Allcorn and Co ironmongers of Lower Stone Street. On the death of Mrs Allcorn about five years ago the firm changed its title to that of Messrs Anstey and Son when Mr W. Anstey became a partner with his father. The deceased gentleman who was 60 years of age, leaves a widow, one son and three daughters to mourn their loss. The funeral takes place tomorrow (Wednesday) the first portion of the service taking place at All Saints Church at 1:45“); and
  • William Thomas Anstey (b 1853)

In the 1851 Census the family were living at New Street West, Bermondsey where John Anstey (born Tiverton 1819) was a “tanner“. By 1871 they were still there, John Anstey being a “warehouseman” (born 1819 Silverton). When his son John Burgess Anstey married in 1876, John Anstey was a “foreman in a leather factory“. By 1881 John and his wife Ann were living at 44, Larnaca Street, Bermondsey, where John was a “leather warehouseman“. By 1901 Ann Anstey (widow) was living with her son John Burgess Anstey at 30, Lower Stone Street, Maidstone.

Thomas Anstey (b 1822 Bradninch)

Thomas Anstey was born in 1822 in Bradninch to parents Thomas Anstey and Elizabeth Skinner. He married first Harriet Tremlett (b c1828 Bradninch to parents Richard and Susannah Tremlett) in Tiverton in 1846, however she died in 1859 in Silverton, so Thomas remarried Caroline Hart? (b 1822 Cullompton) in c1860. Thomas and Harriet had children:

  • John Anstey (b 1849 Bradninch);
  • William Anstey (b 1851 Bradninch);
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1854 Silverton – see below);
  • Sarah Anstey (b 1857 Silverton)

In the 1851 Census Thomas was an agricultural labourer living at Fore Street, Bradninch. He was living at 24, Hen Street, Bradninch in the 1861 Census with his new wife Caroline, his children, her ‘Hart’ children from a previous marriage and his father in law Richard Tremlett.

By the 1871 Census Thomas Anstey had moved to Adelaide Road, St Andrew, Plymouth – living there with his wife and youngest daughter Sarah Anstey. By the 1891 Census Thomas and Caroline were living at Garden Street, Plymouth – he was a cab driver.

Robert Anstey (b 1825 Silverton)

Robert Anstey was born in 1825 in Silverton to parents Thomas Anstey and Elizabeth Skinner. In the 1841 Census he was living at Coombe Farm with the ‘Martyn’ family and his brother William. He married Sarah Stone (b c1820 Cullompton) in 1846 in St Peter’s Tiverton and they moved to Topsham, having children:

In the 1851 Census Robert was a labourer in Topsham. By the 1861 Census he had become a grocer in White Street Topsham – he was living with his family and his mother Elizabeth Anstey (a widow). In the 1871 Census they were living at Quay Hill Topsham, Robert Anstey was a grocer and tea dealer – two doors down from him was living his son Eli Anstey. By the 1881 Census they were still living at Quay Hill, again with his mother Elizabeth Anstey (a widow).

Eli Anstey (b 1848 Bradninch)

Eli Anstey was born in 1848 in Bradninch to parents Robert Anstey and Sarah Stone (bizarrely he was entered as “Elizabeth Anstey” in the 1851 Census). He married Esther [Hester] Glanvill in Exeter in 1867, having children:

  • Albert G. Anstey (b 1869 Topsham);
  • Edith Ellen Anstey (b 1871 Exmouth, married George James Townley in Cardiff in 1891. Their son Albert G. Townley was living with the ‘Anstey’ family in Bristol in the 1901 Census and Bertha Townley was living with her ‘Anstey’ grandmother in 1911);
  • Henry James Anstey (b 1872 Topsham – an Anstey Hero);
  • Rhoda N. Anstey (b 1875 Bristol);
  • Florence Kate Anstey (b 1881 Exeter);
  • Esther [Hester] Anstey (b 1884 Exeter);
  • Bertha Anstey (b c1885 Exeter); and
  • Frederick Anstey (b 1 October 1888 Exeter/Topsham. He was living at 87 Queen Ann Road, Bristol in the 1911 Census, a labourer at a galvanise works. Then in 1916 Frederick married Beatrice M. Onion in Bristol and they had children in Bristol Frederick G. Anstey (b 1917, died an infant?); Beatrice M. Anstey (b 1918); Frederick G. Anstey (b 1921); Esther D. Anstey (b 1924); Rhoda E. Anstey (b 1928); and Florence G. Anstey (b 1932). In the 1939 Register the family were living at 76 St David’s Crescent, Bristol – Frederick was a steel works labourer. Frederick died in 1941 in Bristol. We believe that Frederick was an Anstey Hero during World War One, signing up for service with the Devonshire Regiment as a Private (Service Number 79764). Unfortunately all we know of his war story is that he was living at 39 Pennywell Road, Bristol at some point during his service, and that he was awarded the British War and Victory Medals. Anybody who can provide further information in this regard please contact us at

Eli Anstey appears in local newspapers frequently. For example in the ‘Exeter and Plymouth Gazette‘ on 04 December 1868 appears “CHARGE OF HOUSEBREAKING: Eli Anstey of Otterton, an apprentice to Mr William Wheaton was charged before Mr C. Stuart on Wednesday last with having stolen a box containing money and securities for £100 and upwards on the Monday week previous. The box was in Mr Wheaton’s bedroom from which the prisoner was seen carrying it under his arm. His boots were off. The evidence was very conclusive as to the act of the prisoner, but the intention was not so clearly shown to have been felonious, as it was urged by Mr Fryer for the defence that he was under the influence of drink at the time…

In trial the following January, the jury found Eli guilty and he was sentenced to six months hard labour.

Then in the ‘Exeter Flying Post‘ on 11 October 1882 “Eli Anstey, a carpenter living in Russell Street was summoned for assaulting Edward West on the 5th October. The defendant did not appear. The complainant alleged that Anstey accosted him in the street and struck him on the forehead, knocking him into the road“.

Then in the ‘Exeter Flying Post‘ on 04 November 1885 “Eli Anstey, a carpenter of Well Lane was summoned for assaulting Edward Tomkins on Tuesday 27th inst. Complainant stated that on the day in question he was told that the defendant’s child was hanging out of the window. He went up and caught the child by the legs and took it down. After the child was taken down the defendant came out of the door and followed him up to his house where he struck him, giving him a black eye and threatening to murder anyone that touched his window. If the child had let go its hold, it would have fallen ten or twelve feet and onto some railings. The defendant was going to beat the child, which made it attempt to jump out of the bedroom window…

In the ‘Western Times‘ on 09 August 1886 “Eli Anstey, joiner, Clarence Place, was charged with assaulting his wife Esther. On Tuesday the complainant alleged that the defendant threatened to kill her and struck her across the thigh with a pair of tongs. He had ill used her many times, on this occasion he was drunk…the police superintendent said the defendant [Eli] was the man who jumped into the water at the Quay and attempted to swim across the water but he sank before he could reach the opposite bank and had to be fished out. The Bench characterised the conduct of the defendant as disgraceful and sentenced him to three weeks hard labour

In the 1871 Census the family was living two doors from Eli‘s parents, at Chapel Place, Topsham – Eli was a wheelwright. By 1881 they were living at 29, Russell Street, Exeter St Sidwell – Eli was a carpenter. By the 1891 Census the family had moved to Great Western Street, St Philip & St Jacob Out, Barton Regis near Bristol. In the 1901 Census the family (without Eli) were living at 87, Queen Anne Road, Bristol and in the 1911 Census (again without Eli) they were still living at 87 Queen Ann Road, Bristol together with a grandchild Robert Boull (b 1875 Topsham).

Eli Anstey actually left his family in Bristol in c1899 and moved to Axbridge, calling himself “Jim Anstey“. We know this thanks to the ‘Wells Journal‘ 14 September 1917 edition where “James Anstey, 69, a labourer of Moor Lane, Axbridge” was charged with stealing coal. The report noted that a witness “had heard the Banns of marriage called [at the church] between Eli Anstey and Ann Offer, widow, both of this parish – they called him Jim but his right name was Eli“. Eli [Jim] pleaded guilty and said “he had been in Axbridge for eighteen years and had never been before the bench before“.

In the 1911 Census Eli, as ‘Eli Ansty’, was boarding at Pook Lane Axbridge working as a general labourer. Eli Anstey died in 1928 in Axbridge, Somerset.

Samuel Anstey (b 1852 Topsham)

Samuel Anstey, known as Sam, was born in 1852 in Topsham to parents Robert Anstey and Sarah Stone; he was baptised in Topsham in 1855, aged 2. He married Emma J. Murphy in Topsham in 1881, by which time he was a “master baker” and they had children in Topsham:

  • Lillian Rose Anstey (b 29 October 1882, baptised 18 January 1887 at Topsham, Wesleyan Methodist. We cannot locate her in the 1911 Census but she died in 1929 in Exeter having never married);
  • John Robert Anstey (b 29 March 1883, baptised 18 January 1888 at Topsham, Wesleyan Methodist – known also as Robert John Anstey, died in 1892);
  • Sarah Jane Anstey (b 1886, married Albert Fred Goldsworthy on 25 January 1908 at Topsham, St Nicholas Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. She was alive in 1919);
  • Evelyn Anstey (b 1888, an unmarried servant at Heles School Houses Exeter in the 1911 Census – still alive in 1919);
  • Edgar Hubert Anstey (b 1889 – an Anstey Hero);
  • Robert Warwick Anstey (b 1893 – an Anstey Hero);
  • Gertrude Anstey (b 1896, an unmarried servant living at Shapter Street Topsham in the 1911 Census – still alive in 1919);
  • Wallace Anstey (b 1897 – an Anstey Hero);
  • Ralph Stanley Anstey (b 1899 – an Anstey Hero);
  • Arthur Renard Anstey (b 1903, living with his family in the 1911 Census – still alive in 1919); and
  • John James Anstey (b 1904, known as Jack, living with his family in the 1911 Census – still alive in 1919)

The family were living at White Street, Topsham in the 1891 Census, Sam was a journeyman baker. They were still living in Topsham in the 1901 Census, Sam was still a journeyman baker. In the 1911 Census they were at Wesleyan Lodge Topsham – Sam was a general labourer and caretaker.

Emma Anstey (wife) died in 1919, buried in Topsham. The ‘Western Times‘ on 21 January 1919 reported “The funeral took place on Thursday, at the Topsham Cemetery, of Mrs. E.J. Anstey, wife of Mr. S. Anstey, of Fore-street, Topsham. The principal mourners were: Mr. S. Anstey (husband), Lilian, Sarah, Evelyn and Gertrude (daughters), Arthur and Jack (sons), Messrs. W. and A. Murphy (brothers), Mrs. W. Murphy, Mrs. A. Murphy, Mrs. J. Muphy, Mrs. Boul and Mrs. J. Wannell (sisters-in-law), Mr. J. Goldsworthy (son-in-law), Mr. J. Wannell (brother-in-law), Mr. A. Luxton (uncle), Mesdames Towell, Pearce and Beven (nieces), Mrs and Miss Garrish, Miss Pengelly, and Miss Stuart. Rev. R. Crozier conducted the service, and many floral tributes were received from relatives and friends. Edgar, Robert and Ralph (sons) were unable to attend, being on active service and leaves not granted.

Sam Anstey was still living at 19 Fore Street in Topsham in 1920 with some of his children – he died in Topsham in 1930.

Thomas Anstey (b 1854 Silverton)

Thomas Anstey was born in 1854 in Silverton to parents Thomas Anstey and Harriet Tremlett. He was a servant at Old Town Street White Hart Inn, St Andrew, Plymouth in the 1871 Census. He married Elizabeth Starling (b 1857 Plymouth) on 27 March 1878 in Plymouth Holy Trinity (father confirmed as Thomas) and they had children:

  • Elizabeth Mary Anstey (b 1879 Chelsea, married in Swindon in 1902);
  • Rosina Anstey (b 1880 Chelsea, died 1883);
  • Sarah Jane Anstey (b 1882 Chelsea, died 1883);
  • Rosina Jane Anstey (b 1884 Chelsea, married Alfred Thomas Aust in Eton in 1906. In the 1911 Census they were living at 12 Albany Road Reading with her brother Albert);
  • Beatrice Anstey (b 1886 Chelsea, died an infant);
  • Beatrice Louisa Anstey (b 1888 Chelsea, died 1889 Plymouth);
  • Thomas Henry Anstey (b 1889 Chelsea, died 1890);
  • Albert Anstey (b 1891 Chelsea, unmarried and living with his sister Rosina Jane Aust at 12 Albany Road Reading in the 1911 Census – he was a ‘fitter and turner’);
  • Florence Anstey (b 1893 Chippenham, an unmarried domestic nurse at 18 Mackenzie St Slough in the 1911 Census);
  • Lillian Anstey (b 1895 Chippenham, with her parents in the 1911 Census); and
  • Francis Henry Anstey (b 1898 Chippenham – an Anstey Hero)

In the 1891 Census the family were at Marne Street, Chelsea where Thomas Anstey was a railway engine driver. In the 1901 Census the family were living at 177, Beatrice Street, Swindon where Thomas Anstey was a railway engine driver with the Great Western Railway. By the 1911 Census the family were at 1 Florence Villas Montague Road Slough where Thomas Anstey was still a railway engine driver – they had a total of 11 children of which 5 had died by 1911. Thomas was deceased by 1928.

Henry Thomas Stone Anstey (b 1857 Topsham)

Henry Thomas Stone Anstey was born in 1857 in Topsham to parents Robert Anstey and Sarah Stone. He married Harriet Hannah Pearce in 1879 at Exeter St Thomas (at the time they were both living in Cowick Street) and they had children:

In the 1881 Census the family were living at Strand Hill, Topsham – Henry was a house carpenter. In the 1891 Census the family were living at Dinneford Street, Thorverton – Henry was a carpenter. Henry Thomas Stone Anstey died in 1897 in Thorverton. By the 1901 Census Harriet (widow) was a charwoman living back in Topsham – ditto the 1911 Census where she was a charwoman living alone at Fore Street Topsham.

John Anstey (b 1863 Bermondsey)

John Anstey was born in 1863 in Bermondsey to parents Aaron Anstey and Catherine Cangeney. He married Ada Sarah Pope on 10 April 1887 in Newington (father confirmed as Aaron) and they had children in Bermondsey:

In the 1901 Census the family were living at 20, Matson Street, Rotherhithe (together with Arthur Pope, brother in law) – John Anstey was a wine cellerman. By the 1911 Census the family were living at 5 Parkers Row Bermondsey where John Anstey was still a cellarman.

Further Details on the Bradninch Ansteys

#1. The first we see of Ansteys connected to Bradninch, situated around seven miles south of Tiverton, is actually in 1699 when John Ansteyof Washfield” (a Tiverton Anstey) married Joan Marshall of Bradninch in Tiverton. We need to wait almost a century until we then find Thomas Anstey (b c1770), who married Thomasin Norris in Broadclyst in 1799. Thomas Anstey was described as “of Bradninch” at that time, however he was actually a member of the Broadclyst sub-branch, where they settled. Thomas Anstey’s sister Ann Anstey, baptised in Broadclyst in 1767, married William Norris in Bradninch in December 1798.

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

%d bloggers like this: