The Chew Magna Ansteys

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

Overview of the Chew Magna Ansteys

The Chew Magna Ansteys of Somerset are a sub-branch of the Dyrham Anstees, headed by Cornelius Anstey (b 1829).

Cornelius Anstey (b 1829 Doynton)

Cornelius Anstey was born in 1829 in Doynton to parents John Anstey and Mary Stephens. Despite his Doynton birth, Cornelius Anstey is not a Doynton Anstey, but a Dyrham Anstee. He married Mary Gibbs in 1854 at Coalpit Heath, St Saviour near Bristol and they lived in first Iron Acton, then Almondsbury, before settling in Chew Magna in Somerset by 1866. Cornelius and Mary had children:

  • Clara Anstey (b 1855 Iron Acton, lived at Naish Farm in 1901. In the 1911 Census she was still single, visiting her brother Frank at Naish Farm);
  • Charles Anstey (b 1856 Iron Acton to mother ‘Gibbs’ – not to be confused with Charles Theophilus Anstey (b 1856 Bristol). Charles Anstey lived at Dumpers Farm, Chew Magna and he married Hester Gibbs (presumably related to his mother) in 1883 in Clutton. They had a son Charles William Gibbs Anstey (b 1886 Clutton, a New Zealand Anstey Pioneer and Anstey Hero). Hester died in 1900 in Clutton so in 1903 Charles remarried Mary Ellen (b 1844 Bristol) – in the 1911 Census the family were living at Dumpers, Chew Magna. Charles Anstey died in 1936, the ‘Somerset Guardian and Radstock Observer‘ reporting on 6 March 1936 that “FORMER BAPTIST DEACON: Funeral of Mr CHARLES ANSTEY: The death took place at his residence of Mr Charles Anstey, who for a number of years resided at Dumpers Farm Chew Magna. During that time Mr Anstey was a valuable worker for the Baptist Chapel, of which he was a Deacon..the funeral took place on Wednesday at the Baptist Chapel, Chew mourners included Mr Robert Anstey, Mr Cornelius Anstey, Mr William Anstey and Mr Frank Anstey (brothers)..“);
  • Robert Anstey (b 1858 Iron Acton – see below);
  • William Anstey (b 1861 Almondsbury. In the 1881 Census he was a shopman in a drapery in Chew Magna. In 1895 in Chepstow, Monmouthshire, William married his first cousin Ellen Anstey (b 1863 Wapley, daughter of Cornelius Anstey‘s elder brother George). They were living at 16 Forburg Road, Hackney, London in the 1901 Census, William was a “commercial traveller” -ditto the 1911 Census, where their nephew Gilbert Tomkins Anstey was also living with them. William still lived at 16 Forburg Road, Stoke Newington, London when he communicated with Anstey Researcher Thomas John Anstey (Tom) in 1912 and they were still there in 1918. William and Ellen had a single daughter Edith Amy Anstey (b 7 August 1900 Stoke Newington, living with the family in the 1911 Census. She was unmarried in the 1939 Register. She was an Anstey Hero, volunteering for the Red Cross from July 1918 to March 1919 as a “Parlour maid. Amburst Park. V.A.D [Voluntary Aid Detachment] Hospital [Stamford Hill London]. N16 Each alt week 43[illegible] hours“. Edith appeared never to marry and died in 1992 in Southampton). The family (including Edith) were living at 46 Alma Road, Southampton in the 1939 Register; William Anstey was still a commercial traveller);
  • Cornelius Anstey (b 1863 Almondsbury, lived at High Street Keynsham near Bristol. He married Isabella Mary Crew in 1890 in Dyrham, reported in the ‘Bristol Times and Mirror‘ on 12 April 1890 as “ANSTEY-CREW – April 7 at St Peters Dyrham, Cornelius Anstey of Keynsham, son of Cornelius Anstey of Northwick, Dundry, to Isabella Mary, daughter of Henry Crew“. They had a single daughter together, Mary Amy C. Anstey (b 1902 Keynsham, married Douglas E. H. Amesbury in Keynsham in 1926). In the 1911 Census the family were living at High Street Keynsham where Cornelius was a saddler and harness maker. Cornelius died in 1942, the ‘Western Daily Press‘ on 19 January 1942 reporting “KEYNSHAM MAN’S DEATH: The death has taken place at Keynsham of Mr Cornelius Anstey. Mr Anstey has carried on a business as a saddler for over fifty years at High Street, Keynsham, and he was well known to the farmers in the Keynsham district. He was very fond of horses and very keen on attending ploughing matches. On account of ill-health, he gave up business about twelve months ago. He leaves a widow and one daughter“);
  • Frank Anstey (b 1865 Chew Magna, he married Theresa Helena Besley (sister of a Helen Beatrice Besley who married a Timaru, New Zealand Anstey) in South Molten, Devon in 1901 (he was living at Naish Farm). In the 1911 Census Frank was living at Naish Farm, Wraxall with his wife – they do not appear to have had any children. Frank communicated with Anstey Researcher Thomas John Anstey (Tom) in 1911. He was still alive in early 1936 and died later that year. The ‘Western Daily Press‘ on 26 October 1936 reported “FUNERAL OF MR F. ANSTEY AT CONGRESBURY. The funeral of Mr Frank Anstey (70) of Broadmead took place at Congresbury on Saturday afternoon. The first part of the service was taken at the Methodist Chapel…The mourners were the widow, Robert, William and Cornelius (brothers), Mr and Mrs Harry Besley and Mr and Mrs Arthur Besley (brothers in law and sisters in law)…“;
  • George Anstey (b 1868 Chew Magna. He married Henrietta Florence Stokes in 1893 in Bristol and they had children Lionel John Anstey (b 1894 Bristol, an Anstey Hero); Norman George Anstey (b 1897 Keynsham, an Anstey Hero); Raymond Cyril Anstey (b 1901 Beeston, Notts, lived in Newcastle upon Tyne and died there in 1985); and Marjorie Anstey (b 1903 Beeston, Notts). In the 1911 Census the family were living at Sefton Drive, Nottingham where George was a commercial traveller. George communicated with Anstey Researcher Thomas John Anstey (Tom) in 1912, at which time he was a “commercial traveller of drapery” living at Sefton Drive, Mapperley Park, Nottingham. George later lived in Tavistock Avenue, Mapperley Park and he died in 1924 in Nottingham, aged 56);
  • Amy Mary Anstey (b 1871 Chew Magna, died in 1888 “after a long illness patiently borne“);

In the 1871-1891 Censuses the family were living at NorthWick Farm in Chew Magna; Cornelius Anstey was a farmer of just over a hundred acres. By the 1901 Census, they had moved to Naish Farm, Clapton in Gordano, Long Ashton, where Cornelius Anstey died in 1910.

Robert Anstey (b 1858 Iron Acton)

Robert Anstey was born in 1858 in Iron Acton (some Censuses say Almondsbury) to parents Cornelius Anstey and Mary Gibbs. He grew up on the family farm at Chew Magna, where he was a “shopman in drapery” in 1881. Robert married Elizabeth Mary Tomkins in Bedminster in 1884 and they moved to Barton Regis near Bristol, having children:

In 1891 Robert Anstey was a commercial traveller. By 1901 he was a “commercial traveller drapery“, living at Clevedon, Long Ashton, Somerset and in the 1911 Census the family were living at 23 Brynland Avenue Bishopston Bristol. In the 1939 Register Robert Anstey and his wife were still living at 23 Brynland Avenue, Bristol; Robert was a “retired commercial traveller drapery“. Robert Anstey died in 1952; his probate reads “ANSTEY Robert of 23 Brynland Avenue Bishopston Bristol died 29 May 1952 at the Hospital Thornbury Gloucester. Probate Bristol 22 October to Robert Harold Anstey civil servant and Gilbert Tomkins Anstey retired civil servant. Effects £1203“.

Further Details on the Chew Magna Ansteys

#1. An ‘Anstee’ family who had children baptised in Chew Magna in the 1860s headed by Henry Anstee is not of this sub-branch but of the Chewton Mendip Ansteys

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