The Dyrham Anstees

The Dyrham Anstees are the root and principal sub-branch of the South Gloucestershire Ansteys. The sub-branch began when a gentleman called Robert Anstye, baptised in Knowstone, Devon in 1624, fought on the side of Sir Ralph Hopton’s Royalist army in 1643 during the English Civil War at the Battle of Lansdown Hill near Dyrham in South Gloucestershire. After the battle, Robert decided to settle in Dyrham and marry Elizabeth, having two sons Robert (b 1646 in Dyrham) and George (b 1649 in Dyrham). Both of these sons were educated at William Jones’ school in Dyrham, a good indicator of the family’s reasonably elevated status.

Robert (b 1646 in Dyrham) and George (b 1649 in Dyrham) are thus the patriarchs of the two principal Dyrham Anstee sub-branches. We briefly deal with each in turn (note: both extracts below are taken from ANSTEY: The Stoke Gifford Branch – see below).

1. Robert (b 1646 in Dyrham) married Elizabeth in c1680. They had four sons, all born and baptised in Dyrham, namely:

  • George (baptised 14 August 1681);
  • Samuel (baptised 24 February 1683, likely buried in Bristol, St Stephen on 17 July 1759);
  • Robert Junior (baptised 21 May 1687); and
  • Brian (baptised 28 October 1689, died an infant).

Elizabeth died soon after giving birth to their fourth son; she was buried in St Peter’s Church graveyard on 23 January 1690. As was customary at the time, Robert remarried quickly, to Mary, however she too pre-deceased him. Mary was also buried in St Peter’s Church graveyard, the parish register entry stating that “Mary y wife of Robert Anstee Senr was buryed y 4th day of Feb AD 1713/4”. Robert Junior (b 1687) is the patriarch of many South Gloucestershire Anstey sub-branches, including the  Stoke Gifford Ansteys (to which chief researchers Gary and Tom belong).

2. George (b 1649 in Dyrham) married Jane in c1680. They had three sons in Dyrham, namely:

  • Robert (baptised 29 May 1682, died an infant);
  • John (baptised 23 October 1683); and
  • Robert (baptised 14 July 1686).

George was a well-to-do yeoman farmer, dying in 1700 in Dyrham, and fortunately for us he left a will, written on 17 April 1700 while he was on his death bed, five days before his burial in St Peter’s Church graveyard in Dyrham. The will is transcribed as follows:

In the name of God Amen, the 17th day of April in the year of our Lord God 1700, I George Anstee of Dirham in the County of Gloucestershire being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given to God therefore. Bearing in mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men to die, I do make and ordain this my last will and testament. That is to say principally and first of all I give and surrender my soul into the hands of God that gave it, and for my body I [?] it to the earth to be buried in a Christianlike and decent manner at the discretion of my executrix, but at the final destination I shall [?] the same again by the mighty power of God and as ? estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life. I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form. I give and devise to Jane my dearly beloved wife, all and singular my lands, messuages and tenements by her freely to be enjoyed together with all my household goods and movables whom I likewise constitute, make and ordain my only and sole executrix of this my last will and testament. Enjoining her also at the day of his marriage next ensuing, to pay to John my eldest son the sum of forty pounds of lawful English money, and likewise to pay at the aforesaid day of his marriage next ensuing the sum of forty pounds of lawful English money to Robert my youngest son. And I do hereby disavow, revoke and disannul each and every other former testament and wills and [?] and executors by me in any way before this time and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. In witness hereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written. The mark of George Anstee [presumably George marked rather than signed the will because he was so physically incapacitated – he was certainly literate].

Signed, sealed, published, pronounced and delivered by the said George Anstee as his last Will and Testament in the presence of his subscribers

Marks of…Robert Bind[?] Llary Gigg[?] George Godling[?]

Along with the will there was an inventory of George’s worldy goods, including farm implements, livestock, building contents and such like. At the top of the inventory it confirms his elevated local status, stating:

a perfect inventory of the goods and household stuff of George Anstee of the parish of Dirham in the county of Gloucester, yeoman.

The inventory list, including six hundred cheeses, was signed by his son John.

George’s widow Jane lived to a ripe old age and was finally buried in Dyrham on 6 August 1735. Of their two adult sons, John does not appear to have married, which is slightly bizarre considering that would have meant him being unable to claim the £40 left to him by his father. This meant that George’s son Robert was the sole Anstey male to continue this sub-branch to the next generation.

The sons of both Robert (b 1646 in Dyrham) and George (b 1649 in Dyrham) have spawned numerous other sub-branches. Those that we have commenced uploading include:

The entirety of the early Dyrham Anstee pedigree has now been mapped out by researchers Gary and Tom, and is documented in detail in

ANSTEY: The Stoke Gifford Branch

This is the fourth book co-authored by Gary and Tom, the first edition of which was privately printed in September 2019. Further research for the second edition is currently under way, for eventual publication and sale on Amazon, subject to there being enough demand to cover the costs of publication (anybody interested in being contacted when this second edition is available for purchase, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com).

It is intended that much of the contents of this book will be uploaded to this Anstey project website over time for all to enjoy.

We are always on the lookout for Dyrham Anstee experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge of the later Dyrham Anstee pedigree to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding Dyrham 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 research@theansteystory.com.

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the Dyrham 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 ‘Dyrham’ 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 research@theansteystory.com and we will correct it.

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