The Dyrham Anstees

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

Overview of 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 Anstee, 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 Lansdowne Hill near Dyrham in South Gloucestershire. After the battle, Robert decided to settle in Dyrham and marry Elizabeth, having two sons Robert Anstee (b 1646 in Dyrham) and George Anstee (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 Anstee and George Anstee are thus the patriarchs of the two principal Dyrham Anstee sub-branches; their sons have between them spawned numerous other sub-branches. Those that we have commenced uploading include:

Note: the Dyrham Anstees and their offshoot sub-branches in existence today have become attached to both the ‘Anstey’ and ‘Anstee’ spellings. In fact, ‘Anstey’ is much more prevalent, however as the patriarchs spelt their surnames ‘Anstee’ we stick with the label ‘Dyrham Anstees’ rather than ‘Dyrham Ansteys’.

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, 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.

Robert Anstee (b 1646 Dyrham)

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

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

George Anstee (b 1649 Dyrham)

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

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

George Anstee 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 Anstee’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 Anstee’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 Anstee 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 Anstee was the sole Anstey male to continue this sub-branch to the next generation.

Robert Anstee (b 1793 Dyrham)

Robert Anstee was born in 1793 in Dyrham to parents George Anstee and Ann Davis. He married Elizabeth (Betty) Ricketts (daughter of Enoch Ricketts) in 1823 in Walcot, Bath and they had children in Dyrham:

  • William Anstey (b 1826 – see below)
  • George Anstey (b 1828, living in Dyrham with his stepfather Thomas Sparrow in 1851);
  • Winifred Anstey (b 1831, living in Dyrham with her stepfather Thomas Sparrow in 1851);
  • Robert Anstey (b 1833, living in Dyrham with his stepfather Thomas Sparrow in 1851);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1836, living in Dyrham with her stepfather Thomas Sparrow in 1851)

Robert Anstee was buried in Dyrham in 1836 “aged 43“, his widow Elizabeth remarried Thomas Sparrow in Dyrham in 1838 and they were living in Dyrham in the 1841 Census.

William Anstey (b 1826 Dyrham)

William Anstey was born in 1826 in Dyrham to father Robert Anstee (b 1793) who died when he was a child. William was living in Dyrham with his mother Elizabeth and stepfather Thomas Sparrow in 1851. Later that year he married Eliza Hook in Chipping Sodbury and they had children in Dyrham:

  • Robert Anstey (b 1853);
  • Ellen Anstey (b 1854);
  • John Anstey (b 1856 – see below);
  • Elizabeth A. Anstey (b 1859);
  • Jane Anstey (b 1861);
  • Winifred Anstey (b 1863);
  • Emily Anstey (b 1865, married Louis John Hopkins in Dyrham in 1890);
  • Sarah Anstey (b 1867);
  • Alfred Anstey (b 1869);
  • Charlotte Anstey (b 1871);
  • Henry Anstey (b 1874) and
  • Arthur Charles Anstey (b 1877, living with his parents in Dyrham Street in the 1901 Census, a gardener)

In the 1861 Census, William was an agricultural labourer at Lower Street Cottage, Dyrham; by 1871 he was a “cowman“; 1881 a “herdsman”, 1891 a “farm servant”; 1901 an “estate labourer“; and by 1911 he was living at Dyrham Street, a “Retired hand on gentleman’s estate”. William Anstey died in 1912 in Dyrham.

John Anstey (b 1856 Dyrham)

John Anstey was born in 1856 to father William Anstey. He married Emily Hooper in 1880 in Cheltenham and they moved to Sandhurst in Berkshire, and later Dodington, Gloucestershire, having children:

  • Frederick Arthur Anstey (b 1881 Sandhurst);
  • Walter John Anstey (b 10 June 1882 Sandhurst (some sources say 10 June 1881), emigrated to America in 1904 aboard the ship ‘Oceanic‘. He then popped into Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1911 where he married Dorothy Emaline Hess, returning to Oakfield, Genesee County, New York, America where he was naturalised in 1911. They had a single son Rowell Anstey (b 1912). In the Draft Registration for World War One in September 1918 they were living at Natural Bridge, Jefferson County, New York. They were still there in the 1930 Census, Walter was a Superintendent at a Mill. In 1940 they were at Wilna Jefferson County with a grandson ‘David Junker‘, so they probably had a daughter too.);
  • Thomas Edgar Anstey (b 1884 Sandhurst);
  • Edith Caroline Anstey (b 1887 Arely Kings, Worcestershire);
  • John William Anstey (b 1889 Dodington, Gloucestershire. In June 1907 he signed up with the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own) as a Private, however a few months later he emigrated to America on the ‘Lusitania‘ ship, and was naturalised in 1910 at which time he was a farmer living in Buffalo, New York. He married Alice Estelle Wyman in 1913 in Orleans County, New York and they had two children Otis William Anstey (b 1916) and Edith L. Anstey (b 1918 – in the ‘Daily News, The (Batavia, NY)‘ on April 7, 2006 “Miss Edith L. Anstey, 87, of Ridgewood died March 28, 2006, at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Williamsville. Born on June 23, 1918, in the town of Barre, she was the daughter of the late John W. and Alice (Wyman) Anstey. Mrs. Anstey attended Akron High School, graduating in 1936. At one time she was a self-employed dog breeder in Wilson, Niagara County, specializing in English pugs. She was also affiliated with the American Kennel Club. She will be remembered for her care and love of dogs. Survivors include a sister-in-law, Marjorie Anstey Sr.; a nephew, Bill (Jacqui) Anstey; a great-niece, Christine (James) Washak, and a great-nephew, Kenneth (Jeanne) Anstey, all of Medina; and several great-great-nieces and -nephews. She is predeceased by a brother, Otis W. Anstey Sr.“). In the Draft Registration for World War One in June 1917 John William Anstey was a farmer living in Knowlesville, Orleans County, New York with a wife and one child. John William Anstey died in 1959, buried in Millville Cemetery Millville, Orleans County, New York. His widow Alice was buried there too in 1968);
  • Alice Louisa Anstey (b 1892 Dodington); and
  • Charles E. Anstey (b 1894 Dodington).

In the 1891 Census John was a coachman in Dodington. By the 1901 Census the family were living at Gravel Hill Cottage, Rodborough, Stroud, John was a “stud groom domestic” and by the 1911 Census John was a “groom domestic” living at Bowme House, Bishopsbourne, Kent.

Further Details on the Dyrham Anstees

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.

%d bloggers like this: