The Witheridge Ansteys

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

Witheridge Ansteys Overview

We need to be very careful with the Witheridge Ansteys of Devon because only some of them form part of the South West Peninsula Anstey pedigree, namely Abraham Anstey (b 1712 Tiverton) and his descendants. The Ansteys who lived in Witheridge during the 1800s are actually descendent from two brothers John Anstey (b 1784 East Worlington) and William Anstey (b1786 East Worlington), who are both of the Chulmleigh Ansteys (an ‘Anstey evolved from Anstice’ sub-branch), arriving in Witheridge from East/West Worlington in the early 1800s.

Abraham Anstey (b 1712 Tiverton)

The patriarch of those Witheridge Ansteys who are connected to the South West Peninsula Anstey pedigree is Abraham Anstey (b c1712 in Tiverton) who married Elizabeth Gill of Calverleigh in Tiverton in 1739. They had eleven children, all baptised in Tiverton, the family moving en-masse to Witheridge in the late 1760s or early 1770s (Elizabeth died in Witheridge in 1775 and Abraham died in 1789, after appearing in the ‘1781 Witheridge Land Tax list‘). Abraham Anstey and Elizabeth‘s children were:

  • Mary Anstey (b 1741);
  • Abraham Anstey (b 1743, died in either Cheriton Fitzpaine in 1820 or Calverleigh in 1824);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1745, married William Venn in Witheridge in 1777);
  • Hannah Anstey (b 1747);
  • Grace Anstey (b 1749, married Richard Dark in Witheridge in 1774);
  • Joan Anstey (b 1751);
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1753);
  • John Anstey (b 1755, married Hannah Anstey in Witheridge in 1789);
  • William Anstey (b 1757);
  • George Anstey (b 1760);
  • Hannah Anstey (b 1762).

Bizarrely, considering this family was so large, we have not been able to trace them past this point, though they surely moved away from Witheridge, given the lack of their subsequent footprint there (possibly to Cheriton Fitzpaine or Calverleigh?). Anybody who has information enlightening us in this regard please contact us at

John Anstey (b 1784 East Worlington)

John Anstey, a member of the Chulmleigh Ansteys (an Anstey evolved from Anstis sub-branch) was elder brother of William Anstey below. John Anstey was baptised in East Worlington in September 1784 as ‘John Anstice‘. He married Mary in 1813 in Chulmleigh (as ‘Anstice’) and had the following children in East Worlington:

  • Mary Ann Anstey (b 1814 as ‘Anstice’);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1816 as ‘Anstice’);
  • Ann Anstey (b 1819 as ‘Anstice’, buried in 1841 in Witheridge as ‘Anstey’);
  • John Anstey (b 1821 as ‘Anstice’, married Jane Thomas in Kensington in 1847, emigrated to Australia, forming part of the St Kilda, Victoria Anstey sub-branch – see below);
  • Mary Anstey (b 1825 as ‘Anstice’, married John Davey in Witheridge in 1847, father confirmed as “John Anstey carpenter“);
  • William Anstey (b 1828 as ‘Anstice’ – co-patriarch of the Wentworth, Ontario Ansteys)

In the 1841 Census, John Anstey, a “carpenter“, his wife Mary Anstey and their children Ann Anstey, John Anstey and William Anstey were living in Higher Adworthy in East Worlington near Witheridge. In the 1851 Census, John Anstey, still a carpenter (born in “East Worlington“), his wife Mary Anstey and son William Anstey (a carpenter) were still in Higher Adworthy.

John Anstey died in 1857 “age 73“, buried in Witheridge.

A ‘John Anstey‘ was a “carpenter” in both 1850 and 1878 Witheridge Directories. The 1850 entry was certainly this ‘John‘ (b 1784), we are not so sure about the 1878 entry.

William Anstey (b 1786 East Worlington)

William Anstey, a member of the Chulmleigh Ansteys (an Anstey evolved from Anstis sub-branch), was younger brother to John Anstey above, William Anstey was baptised in East Worlington in December 1786 as ‘William Anstice’. He married Mary Cole (b c1785) in 1809 in Witheridge as ‘William Anstey‘ and became a cordwainer. They had the following children baptised in Witheridge (all ‘Anstey’):

  • William Anstey (b 1810, he moved to Rackenford and then married Eliza Edworthy in Chawleigh in 1836. They had three children in Chawleigh, being Samuel Anstey (b 1837 – who married Caroline Martha Gamble in 1863 in St Saviour, Southwark and had a famous son Francis George (Frank) Anstey born in 1865. Samuel Anstey died before his son was born in 1865, he is buried at West Norwood Cemetery, London); Frederick Anstey (b 1846) and Abigail Anstey (b 1849). By the 1861 Census, the family had moved to Southwark in London, where William, Samuel and Frederick Anstey were all ‘bootmakers’. In 1860 William Anstey was a boot and shoemaker of 7 New Park Street, Southwark when his mother died – see below);
  • John Anstey (b 1812 married Ann Lowhamah Patmore Hodder (b 1811 Topsham) in February 1838 in Witheridge (witnessed by his brother Edward Anstey). John Anstey was living in Mitcham, Surrey in the 1841 Census with his wife Ann; he was a cordwainer. In the 1851 Census, John Anstey was a bootmaker living in Paddington, London with his wife and no children, but a niece Emma Dodds. John Anstey was of 126 Great Guildford Street, Southwark bootmaker in 1860 when his mother died – see below);
  • Samuel Anstey (b 1815, he was a boot and shoe maker in Witheridge according to both 1850 and 1878 Witheridge Directories);
  • Edmund Anstey (b 1816 died an infant);
  • Edward/Edmund Anstey (b 1817, married Harriet and had a daughter Mary Anstey (b 1848) – the family were living in Higher Adworthy, Witheridge in the 1851 Census where Edmund Anstey was described as a shoemaker – he was living next door to his parents. By the 1861 Census the family of three were living at 38, Brindley Street, Paddington – he was a bootmaker still…ditto 1860 when his mother died – see below);
  • Henry Charles Anstey (b 1826, patriarch of the Waukesha County, Wisconsin Ansteys)

In the 1841 Census, William Anstey (b 1786), now a shoemaker, was living in Witheridge with his wife Mary and son Edmund Anstey, also a shoemaker. In the 1851 Census, William Anstey was living in Higher Adworthy, Witheridge with his wife Mary, now a “farmer of 20 acres” and “born in West Worlington“.

William Anstey (b 1786) died in 1856 “aged 68“; buried in Witheridge on 5 July 1856. His widow Mary Anstey was also buried in Witheridge in 1860 “aged 75“. Her probate reads “Mary Anstey late of Witheridge, widow who died on or about 31 July 1860 at Witheridge aforesaid were granted at Exeter to William Anstey of 7 New Park Street, Southwark in the county of Surrey boot and shoemaker, John Anstey of 126 Great Guildford Street, Southwark bootmaker and Edmund Anstey of 38 Brindley Street Middlesex bootmaker, three of the children of the deceased…

John Anstey (b 1821 East Worlington)

John Anstey (b 1821 in East Worlington as ‘Anstice’) to parents John (b1784) and Mary per above, moved to Witheridge as a child and then married Jane Thomas (b 1821 Glastonbury, Somerset) in q4 1847 in Kensington, London. They moved to Chelsea and had children William Anstey (b 1848) and Jane Anstey (b 1850). In the 1851 Census they were living in Brewery Street Chelsea, where John Anstey was described as a “carpenter” born in “Witheridge, Devon” and “aged 29“. They had another son John Anstey (b 1852 in Chelsea) and then in 1853 the family emigrated to Australia, forming part of the St Kilda, Victoria Anstey sub-branch and becoming Australian Anstey pioneers (their story continues on the St Kilda, Victoria Anstey page).

Further Details on the Witheridge Ansteys

#1. Today there is a street called ‘Anstey’s Court’ in Witheridge. We are currently trying to establish why it was so named and whether it was in honour of an Anstey who lived there (and if so, which one and why). All we currently know is that “Anstey’s Court, on the old garage plot, took its name from former dwellings across the road” and that the previous ‘Anstey’s Court’ in Witheridge existed in 1894 and was demolished after the Second World War (photo of Anstey’s Court on the right hand side in the 1930s).

#2. In 1849, a ‘William Anstey‘ was an ‘Assessor of Land and Assessed Tax‘ in Witheridge. We are not sure to which ‘William Anstey‘ this refers.

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