The Sandford Ansteys

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

Overview of the Sandford Ansteys

The Sandford Ansteys of Devon are a sub-branch of Broadclyst Ansteys, who themselves are a sub-branch of the Tiverton Ansteys, and thus form part of the South West Peninsula Anstey pedigree.

The patriarch of the Sandford Ansteys is John Anstey, whose family (headed by Thomas Anstey) moved there in c1815 or so (see below).

John Anstey (b 1804 Broadclyst)

John Anstey was born in 1804 in Broadclyst, Devon to parents Thomas Anstey (a yeoman) and Thomasin. He married Elizabeth Cade (b 1811) in Shobrooke in 1838, where he was described as a “yeoman of Sandford” and “of Priorton Barton” (‘Exeter Flying Post‘ 24 May 1838 reported “On Monday last, at Shobrooke, by tile Rev. Mr. De Boulay, Mr. John Anstey, yeoman, to Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Mr. Cade, of Shobrooke, yeoman“). They returned to Coombelancy Farm in Sandford (where the family had lived since at least c1815 – see below), having children:

  • John Anstey (b 1839, unmarried in 1881, living in Coombelancy Farm. He was still there in 1882 when according to the ‘Exeter and Plymouth Gazette‘, “Mr John Anstey of Coombe Lancey has grown this season some monster turnips, a good many being over 300lbs in weight“. John left the farm in 1886 – see below. He married Mary Thomas in 1887 – the ‘Western Times‘ on 11 April 1887 reporting “MARRIAGES. Anstey—Thomas.—April 9, at Bedford Church, Exeter, Mr. John Anstey, late of Sandford, to Mary Thomas, Silverton.”. By the 1891 Census John (retired farmer) and Mary (b 1839 Silverton) were living at North Street, Exeter. By 1901 they were living at 32, Manstone Road, Heavitree. John Anstey was buried 25 December 1905 at Exeter St James and in the 1911 Census Mary Anstey (widow) was boarding at 30 Bartholomew St W Exeter);
  • Catherine Thomazin Anstey (b 1840, known as ‘Kate’, married Joseph Norris in Sandford in 1863 – the ‘Western Times‘ 19 May 1863 reported “Marriage: May 16 at Sandford Mr J. Norris Franklin of Westborough to Kate, eldest daughter of Mr Anstey of Coombelancey“);
  • Lucy Ann Anstey (b 1845, died 1853 in Sandford);
  • William Anstey (b 1847, a “draper of East Teignmouth” married Sarah Jane Mead (b 1854 Plymouth) in March 1879 in East Teignmouth (reported in the ‘Cornish Telegraph‘). By the 1881 Census William was the ‘hotel keeper‘ of the Bristol Hotel in Southampton);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1848, living in Coombelancy Farm unmarried in 1871);
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1850);
  • Mary Anstey (b 1852, unmarried in 1881, living in Coombelancy Farm);

In 1840 John Anstey was on the Board of Guardians re the Poor Laws. The ‘Exeter and Plymouth Gazette‘ on 10 October 1840 reported “The eighth annual ploughing match at Sandford is fixed for Monday the 19th of October, when it will take place in two fields on Priorton Barton, in the occupation of Mr. John Anstey. The prize list, as usual, most encouraging; and the affair will create, for all classes there, one of the best of holidays.

John Anstey (b 1804) was Vice President of the Sandford Agricultural Association in 1845. In the 1851 Census he was described as a “Farmer of 240 acres employing 6 labourers” at Coombelancy Farm; a governess and numerous house servants also lived there, so the family was clearly well-to-do. The ‘Western Times‘ 06 February 1858 reported “CREDITON. PETTY SESSIONS.— Before J. W. Buller, Esq- Sir H. F. Davie, Bart., and J. Quicke, Esq.-George Beer W’m. Arundell, and Wm. Quick were summoned for poaching on the grounds of Sir H. F. Davie, on Sunday, January 17. A labourer in the employ of Mr. Anstey of Cumelancy while attending to his master’s sheep, near Sir H. F. Davie’s plantation, saw a number of men (eleven or twelve) enter the plantation. They had ferrets, dogs, and a net. He saw a rabbit run into a hole, and a ferret put in to drive it out. One rabbit was killed. He had some time since seen a hare in the plantation. Those in the plantation that he knew were George Beer, Wm. Arundell, and Wm. Quick. Two others were summoned, but they had given the wrong names. John Anstey, son of Mr. Anstey, of Cumelancy when he returned from church, was sent by his father up to the plantation to see what was going on, and he partly confirmed what the man had stated. The case was very clear and the bench fined each defendant €2 and expenses, or two months’ imprisonment. with hard labour. Mr. Willes.

John Anstey died in January 1869, the ‘Western Morning News‘ reporting on 21 January 1869 that “Mr John Anstey of Coombelancy Farm, Sandford whilst sitting in his chair reading a newspaper on Tuesday evening was suddenly seized with apoplexy and expired before any assistance could be rendered him. Mr Anstey was well known and much respected by some of the leading agriculturalists of Devon and Cornwall.

Elizabeth Anstey (widow) was still living at Coombelancy Farm in the 1881 Census. She died in 1897 “DEATHS. ANSTEY.—Dec. 19, at Salisbury, Elizabeth, widow of John Anstey, of Coombe Lancy, Sandford, aged 87” per the ‘Exeter and Plymouth Gazette‘.

John Anstey (b 1839) finally left Coombelancy Farm in 1886. According to the ‘Exeter and Plymouth Gazette‘ 13 August 1886 edition, “PLEASING PRESENTATION AT CREDITON: A very gratifying ceremony took place at the Ship Hotel, Crediton on Saturday evening where Mr John Anstey, who until recently resided at Coombe Lancey in Sandford, was presented with a handsome marble clock…[which] was presented to Mr John Anstey as a token of respect by his neighbours and friends on the occasion of his leaving Coombe Lancey Farm, Sandford, Devon on March 25 1886. Mr Anstey and his family have resided at Coombe Lancey for over seventy years and they are widely known in the county. Mr John Anstey has always taken great interest in the Devon County Agricultural Society and is a member of the Council…

Further Details on the Sandford Ansteys

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Sandford Ansteys, and continue to upload more all the time (see Project Updates), however it is spread over various segments of the website. One way to find said information is to enter ‘ Sandford’ 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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