The Otterton Ansteys

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

The Otterton Ansteys of Devon are a sub-branch of the Bampton Ansteys, hence they form part of the South West Peninsula Anstey pedigree. The patriarch of the Otterton Ansteys is John Anstey, born in Dulverton in 1788 (baptised there in 1789 aged one) to parents John Anstey and Elizabeth Branscombe.

John Anstey (b 1788), a draper by profession, married first Harriet Storer in Clerkenwell, Middlesex in 1821 (where he was described as “of Lympstone”). They returned to Lympstone (where most of John Anstey’s ‘Bampton Anstey‘ family were living at the time) and had a son:

However Harriet Anstey died in Lympstone later in 1822. So John Anstey (still “of Lympstone“) remarried Eliza Bowden in 1823 in Woodbury, and then returned to Lympstone to have children:

  • Horatio Bowden Anstey (b 1824, died an infant);
  • Frederick Bowden Anstey (b 1825); and
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1827, died an infant).

However, Eliza Anstey died in 1828 (the parish register describing her as “second wife of John Anstey”), so John Anstey married for a third time, in Cheriton Bishop in 1830 to Mary Ann Taylor, at which time he was described as “of Mary Arches, Exeter, gentleman and widower” (incidentally we know these three marriage are the same ‘John Anstey‘ as all three signatures are identical).

John Anstey and Mary Ann Taylor had the following children:

  • Edwin Anstey (b 1832 Exeter St David, was living as a lodger in Sidmouth in the 1851 Census, a “joiner and builder” [note: this ‘Edwin Anstey’ did NOT marry Sarah Rich in 1869 in Chippenham and then move to Camberwell]);
  • Harold Anstey (b 1836);
  • Rosa Anstey (b 1840 Otterton, became a schoolmistress, unmarried in 1871 when she was living with her brother Henry Chisholm Anstey in Kingston on Thames, Surrey);
  • Henry Chisholm Anstey (b c1842 Otterton, married Fanny Carter in St Thomas, Devon in 1868 and moved to Kingston on Thames, Surrey by 1871 where he was a schoolmaster. They had children in Kingston on Thames, Arthur Anstey (b 1874); Maude Anstey (b 1875), Stuart Anstey (b 1879, an Anstey Hero); Edgar Anstey (b 1881, a twin, the other died); and Kate Anstey (b 1886). Henry Chisholm Anstey died in 1922 in Weybridge, Surrey);
  • Lucy Ann Anstey (b c1846 Otterton);
  • Clara Anstey (b c1849 Otterton);
  • George Thomas Anstey (b 1852 Otterton);

At the time of the 1841 Census, the family had moved to Otterton where John Anstey was described as a “linen draper” and his eldest son Charles John Anstey a “carpenters apprentice“. Most of the family were still living in the ‘Drapers shop private house‘ in Otterton in 1861. John Anstey was buried in Salem Chapel, East Budleigh in 1862; his widow Mary Ann Anstey had moved in with her son Henry Chisholm Anstey and daughter Rosa Anstey in Kingston on Thames, Surrey by the 1871 Census.

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