The Washfield Ansteys

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

Overview of the Washfield Ansteys

The Washfield Ansteys of Devon are one of the major and most ancient sub-branches of the South West Peninsula Ansteys, being a sub-branch of the Dulverton Ansteys. They have been thoroughly documented by G. M. Anstey (Gary) and T. J. Anstey (Tom), the overseers and chief researchers of this ‘Anstey Story‘, in their third co-authored book:

Anstey: The Devon and Somerset Branch

The first edition of this book was privately printed in July 2018. Further research for the second edition is currently under way, for eventual sale, 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

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. 

There are numerous sub-branches of Ansteys which descend from the Washfield Ansteys. Those where we have commenced uploading information include:

Isaac Anstey (b 1767 Washfield)

Isaac Anstey was born in 1767 in Washfield, baptised 8 August 1767, to parents John Anstey and Rebecca Brooks. In 1781 he was an “apprentice mercer” to Francis Brown of Dulverton, then at some point in the late 1780s he moved to Westminster to become a linen draper.

We have unsourced reports that Isaac Anstey may have married Elizabeth Jarman, but he surely married Martha Ralfe [Rolfe] on 6 October 1789 at Diocese of Winchester, Surrey, when he described himself as “Isaac Anstey, bachelor, of the parish of St James, Westminster in the County of Middlesex, Linen Draper” – he was clearly well educated and literate, signing his own name. Both were aged “twenty one years and upwards“. They made their oaths in St Mary Lambeth, and had children in Westminster:

  • Isaac Anstey Junior (b 11 November 1790, baptised 9 December 1790 St James, Westminster. He married Mary Croft (b c1796 Brightling) in 1818 in St Anne, Westminster and they had children Mary Ann Anstey (b 1820, “of 6 Cross Street Regent Street, spinster, deceased who died 30 November 1858 at Copthorn Bank, Worth, Sussex were granted to Isaac Anstey of Copthorn Bank, aforesaid Gentleman the father of the said deceased“);​​ Frederick Anstey (b 1826 – see below); Isaac Anstey (b 1828, baptised 1 June 1828 in Lambeth “late of 53 Wardour Street Soho in the County of Middlesex Hatter bachelor deceased who died 26 Feb 1865 at 3 Parade Harleyford Road Kennington to Frederick Anstey of 9 Upper Portland Place, Wandsworth Road in the said County of Surrey hat and cap maker the brother of the deceased“); and Alfred George Anstey (b 1831). It is likely this Isaac Anstey appeared as a juror at the Old Bailey in both February 1839 and March 1847. In the 1841 Census the family were living at Bridge Road, St Mary Lambeth where “Isaac Junior Anstey” was a “hatter“. Isaac Anstey died on 19 May 1860, “aged 69“, buried at Copthorne, Worth, Sussex. Probate was to his son Frederick Ansteyletters of administration of the personal estate and effects of Isaac Anstey late of Copthorne Bank Worth in the County of Sussex Gentleman deceased Frederick Anstey of 18 Clayton Street Kennington Green in the County of Surrey Hat and Cap Maker one of the children of the said deceased“. Isaac‘s widow Mary Anstey was a “fund holder” living with her son Frederick Anstey in the 1881 Census – ditto the 1891 Census); and
  • Mary Anstey (b 1793)

Isaac Anstey appears in the Westminster Rate Books in 1789 (at Portugal Street, St James, Picadilly); 1791 (at George Alley East, St James, Piccadilly); and 1792/93 (at Air Street East). The next appearance is not until 1817 (at Stutton Ground West St Margarets, Westminster), which is likely his son Isaac Anstey Junior. This, combined with the fact that we find only two children, the last of whom was born in 1793, suggests Isaac Anstey (father) may have died in 1793 or soon after, though we seek confirmation of that.

Frederick Anstey (b 1826 Lambeth)

Frederick Anstey was born in 1826 in Lambeth to parents Isaac Anstey Junior and Mary Croft. He married Mary Calderhead (b 1823) in 1845 in St John the Evangelist, Lambeth and they had children in Lambeth:

  • Frederick Alfred Anstey (b 1849 – patriarch of the Portland, Oregon Ansteys of America);
  • Isaac Anstey (b 1851, unmarried and living with his father and stepmother in 1871 at Wandsworth Road, Lambeth. He married Ellen Castle in 1875 in Wandsworth and they had children Alfred Anstey (b 1876, married Emma Eve in 1897 in Lambeth and was living with his sister Gertrude and his large family in 13 Lower Orchard St Lyham Road Clapham Park, Wandsworth in 1911); Isaac Anstey (b 1876); Ellen Anstey (b 1878); Elizabeth Anstey (b 1879, died young?); Frederick Anstey (b 1883); Henry Anstey (b 1884); Mabel Anstey (b 1886); Herbert [Bertie] Anstey (b 1888); Mary Ann Anstey (b 1890, died young?); Florrie Anstey (b 1893, died young?); Gertrude Anstey (b 1895 to mother ‘Castle’ – living with her brother Alfred Anstey in 1911); and Daisy Anstey (b 1899, died an infant). In the 1881 Census Isaac was a bricklayers labourer at 6, William Street, Clapham, Wandsworth. By 1891 he was a “Builders hand jobbing” living at Heath Road, Clapham, Wandsworth. By 1901 Isaac Anstey was a widower and stone mason boarding with the ‘Eve‘ family (probably related to Emma Eve above) at 8, Mandrell Road, Lambeth with his children Henry, Herbert and Gertrude. Isaac Anstey died in Camberwell in 1937 “aged 85“); and
  • Clara Anstey (b 1855, died young)

In the 1851 Census they were living at Gibralter Row, Saint George the Martyr where Frederick was a “hatter“. From 1854 to at least 1858 Frederick Anstey appears in the Westminster Rate Books at Spencers Terrace. In 1860 when his father Isaac Anstey Junior died Frederick was at “18 Clayton Street Kennington Green in the County of Surrey Hat and Cap Maker“. Mary Anstey (wife) must have died pre-1860 because on 29 December 1860 at Kennington “Frederick Anstey son of Isaac Anstey” married Emily Drury (b 1840). They had children together in Lambeth:

  • Emily Mary Anstey (b 1861);
  • Alfred Anstey (b 1864, an “Assistant to hunting & shorting cap maker” in 1891 at Wandsworth Road, Lambeth with his family);
  • William Henry Anstey (b 1866, died in Lambeth in 1874)
  • Clara Anstey (b 1868);
  • Arthur Frederick Anstey (b 1871); and
  • Florence Hester Anstey (b 1876)

By the 1861 Census Frederick was “a cap maker” living with his new wife Emily and his children at 9 Upper Portland Place, Lambeth. In 1865 when his brother Isaac died, Frederick Anstey was “of 9 Upper Portland Place, Wandsworth Road in the said County of Surrey hat and cap maker“.

By the 1871 Census the family were living at Wandsworth Road, Lambeth where Frederick was a “cap maker” – also living with them was his widowed mother Mary Anstey, a “fund holder“. Emily Anstey (wife) died in 1878 in Lambeth, “aged 38” so by the 1881 Census Frederick Anstey, a “hunting & shooting cap maker“, and his family were living at 144, Wandsworth Road, Lambeth – ditto 1891.

Frederick Anstey died in 1901 in Lambeth, “aged 75

Further Details on the Washfield Ansteys

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