The Chatham Ansteys

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

Overview of the Chatham Ansteys

Our analysis of the Chatham Ansteys of Kent includes the neighbouring areas of Strood, Rochester, Medway and Frindsbury. Given that all of these places lie on the River Medway, a major entry route for ships and other vessels into Southern England, many of the ‘Anstey’, Ansty’, ‘Anstee’ and ‘Anstie’s here were seafarers and therefore not particularly connected into a seamless sub-branch per se. However, certain Anstey families did settle here.

We have unsourced reports that the Chatham Ansteys (particularly Charles Anstey who married Mary) were connected to the Twillingate Ansteys, however we are yet to find any evidence of this – indeed we find an abundance of evidence to the contrary. However, anybody who has such evidence please contact us at

The first we see of Ansteys in Chatham is John Anstey (m 1807 Frindsbury) and Charles Anstey (b 1793 Maidstone, m 1819 Frindsbury) – perhaps they were brothers, or perhaps they were completely unconnected to each other?

John Anstey (m 1807 Frindsbury)

John Anstey, (b c1783 in Kent) a fisherman by trade, married Ann Wallis (b 1779) in Frindsbury, Kent in 1807. They had children in Strood:

  • John Thomas Anstey (b 1809, he joined the Royal Navy on 11 April 1828 as an ‘Ordinary Seaman’. Whilst at location “St. Blas & at Sea to Valparaiso” aboard the ship ‘HMS Tribune‘ he was discharged on 18 June 1829 because he had been “invalided“, becoming eligible for a pension the same year. John Thomas Anstey was buried in Strood in 1838);
  • William Charles Anstey (b 1811, he married Elizabeth Allbury in 1839 in Rochester and he was a seaman in the Navy. William had joined the Royal Navy in 1828 and in 1831 he was an ‘Ordinary Seaman’ on the ship ‘Ranger’ in Bermuda. They were at Folkestone, Kent in the 1841 Census. William was still a seaman in 1845 – we currently find no children);
  • Charles Anstey (b 1814, married Elizabeth Caroline Illenden (Ellenden) (b 1818) of Gillingham in Medway in 1840 when he was a “bachelor and mariner of Gillingham, son of John Anstey fisherman“. He was a fisherman in Strood in the 1841 Census and a mariner in John Street, Medway in the 1851 Census. They had children in Strood Ann Anstey (b 1841); Lucy Rebecca Anstey (b 1843); Mary Susannah Anstey (b 1846); Louisa Anstey (b 1850); Charlotte Eliza Anstey (b 1853). Charles Anstey died in 1853 (aged 40) in Rochester, living at John Street, St Margaret’s, Rochester. In the 1861 Census Elizabeth Anstey (widow and needlewoman) was living with her family at John Street, Rochester (Medway). In the 1881 Census, Elizabeth Caroline Anstey (widow) and her daughter Lucy Rebecca Anstey were still living in Rochester);
  • Thomas Anstey (b 1817);
  • Henry Anstey (b 1819);
  • Mary Anstey (or Rowe – b 1819);

John‘s wife Ann died in Strood in 1834 and John remarried Susannah (Susan) Loft (b 1813, died 1847) in 1837 in Northfleet, Kent, having children:

  • Matilda Anstey (b 1837 Strood – John was still a fisherman);
  • Margaret Anstey (b 1839 Strood, mother’s maiden name confirmed as ‘Loft’)

In the 1841 Census, John Anstey, a fisherman (b 1785 in Kent), was living in High Street Strood with a ‘Mary Anstey‘ (b 1787 Kent – his sister??), and Susan Anstey (wife?) and children Matilda and Margaret.

John Anstey himself died in Strood in 1847, aged 66 (ie b c1781).

[Note: the only baptism of a ‘John Anstey‘ in Kent c1783 or so that we can find is in Dover in 1785 where “John Ansten” was baptised to William and Catherine Ansten.]

Charles Anstey (b 1793 Maidstone)

Charles Anstey was born in 1793 in Maidstone, Kent (his birth details confirmed in the 1861 Census) to parents John Anstey and Elizabeth. This is the only ‘Anstey’ birth we find in Maidstone at this time, and currently have no clue who John Anstey and Elizabeth are, or where they are from.

Charles Anstey joined the Royal Navy in 1811 (see below), then he married Mary Gavine in Frindsbury, Kent in 1819 (witnesses were Richard Gates and Elizabeth Fowell). They had children in Harwich, Chatham (and later Sheerness where they moved in c1834):

  • Charles William Anstey (b 1821 – see below);
  • Sarah Mary Anstey (b 1824 – Charles was indicated as a ‘gunman’ in this baptism, married Thomas Bartlett in Sheppey in 1846, her father Charles was indicated as a “Naval Officer“);
  • Martha Anstey (b 1826, married Samuel Winter in Medway in 1846);
  • William Anstey (b 1827, a shopboy in Minster, Sheppey in the 1841 Census and a shipwright in Minster, Sheppey in the 1851 Census living as “stepson” of Elizabeth Anstey (Charles Anstey‘s second wife – see below). William married Eleanor Knight in 1856 in Sheppey and they had children Eleanor Mary Anstey (b 1858 Sheerness); William Anstey (b 1859, died an infant); William John Anstey (b 1860 Sheerness – see below); Aquila Elizabeth Anstey (b 1862 Sheerness, married John Narbeth – she was living in Wandsworth in the 1901 Census looking after her brother John Charles Knight Anstey‘s two sons); Alice Anstey (b 1863 Sheerness), Sarah Anstey (b 1864 Sheerness); Elizabeth Anstey (b 1867 Portsmouth, single and living with her sister Aquila Narbeth in Wandsworth in the 1901 Census. Unmarried when she attended her brother William‘s funeral in 1936); John Charles Knight Anstey (b 1868 Portsmouth – see below); Amelia Anstey (b 1870 Govan, Lanarkshire, Scotland, unmarried when she attended her brother William‘s funeral in 1936); Edith Anstey (b 1872 Landport, Hampshire); and Charles T. Anstey (b 1874 Landport Hampshire). In the 1861 Census William Anstey was an Inspector of Shipwrights at 84 Chappel Street, Minster (same address as his father Charles – see below). William Anstey was sometimes described as “William Anstey, of HM Dockyard, Portsmouth“. His stepmother Elizabeth died in 1870 whilst living with William and his family – see below);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1830, died 1831);
  • James Anstey (b 1832 Chatham – see below);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1835 Sheerness, married William Gregory and moved to London)

Note : In all of the above baptisms Charles Anstey  was described as a ‘mariner’ or ‘seaman’.

Mary Anstey (b 1798), presumably Charles‘ wife, died in Minster in Sheppey in 1835 so Charles Anstey remarried Elizabeth Frith (b 1806 Gillingham) in 1839 – the ‘Patriot‘ on 24 October 1839 reporting “Oct 23 at Salem Chapel, Woolwich, Mr Charles Anstey R. N. of Sheerness to Elizabeth Frith of Charlton“.

Charles Anstey‘s second wife Elizabeth Anstey” aged 35 (a “mariner’s wife“) was living in Minster, Sheppey, Kent in the 1841 Census, looking after Sarah (b 1824), Martha (b 1826); and James (b 1832). In the 1851 Census in Minster, Sheppey Elizabeth Anstey (age 45, born in Gillingham, “wife of Charles Anstey 2nd Master R. N.“) was living with her “stepsonWilliam (b 1828 Chatham).

Charles Anstey had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy (see below). In 1840 he was “Acting Second Master of the Ocean [Ship] in charge of the Thames tender” (‘Globe‘ newspaper 31 October 1840). In December 1847, Charles Anstey was “Acting Second Master to the Ganges [ship?]“. In 1848, Charles Anstey was 2nd Master of HMS Wellington, which at the time was docked in Sheerness under Captain David Price. In 1852, according to the ‘Morning Chronicle‘ 1 November 1852 edition “Her Majesty’s cutter Thames, Mr Charles Anstey, Second Master commanding, was despatched yesterday“.

In January 1854, according to the ‘Sun (London)‘, Charles Anstey was reappointed to the ‘Monarch’ ship in Sheerness as Second Master (Acting). Later in 1854, Charles Anstey was Acting Master of the ‘Fearless’ paddlewheel steam vessel. In the 1861 Census, Charles Anstey (“Acting Second Master R. N. born Maidstone 1793“) and his second wife Elizabeth were living at 84 Chappel Street, Minster, Sheppey. Also living in the same house was Charles’ son William Anstey (b 1828) with his family.

We hear no more from Charles Anstey in the Royal Navy after this – his service ended on 31 March 1861 after just under fifty years of service (see below). He died in 1868 in Medway, where his age was given as 74 (ie b 1794). His widow died soon after – per the ‘Western Times‘ 17 May 1870 “DEATHS: Anstey May 3 at Gavan Scotland, the residence of her son in law, William Anstey, Elizabeth, relict of Charles Anstey Master R. N.

The ships on which Charles Anstey served are as follows:

  • Chatham Lighter No 1 – Rank: Mate – 26 October 1811 to 13 Dec 1824
  • Chatham Hulk – Rank: Mate – 14 Dec 1824 to 11 March 1825
  • Chatham Yacht – Rank: Mate – 12 March 1825 to 12 July 1833
  • Thames – Rank: Master – 13 July 1833 to 31 July 1836
  • Temaraire – Rank: Acting Master – 1 August 1836 to 30 June 1838
  • Ocean – Rank: Acting Master – 1 July 1838 to 10 Jan 1848
  • Ganges – Rank: Acting Master – 11 Jan 1848 to 29 Feb 1848
  • Wellington – Rank: Acting Master – 1 Mar 1848 to 2 Dec 1850
  • Monarch – Rank: Acting Master – 3 Dec 1850 to 7 Feb 1854
  • Wellington – Rank: Acting Master – 8 Feb 1854 to 1 May 1854
  • Formidable – Rank: Acting Master – 2 May 1854 to 28 Feb 1858
  • Royal George – Rank: Acting Master – 1 March 1858 to 30 June 1858
  • Formidable – Rank: Acting Master – 1 July 1858 to 2 July 1860
  • Monarch – Rank: Acting Master – 3 July 1860 to 30 Sep 1860
  • Southampton – Rank: Acting Master – 1 Oct 1860 – 31 March 1861

Charles William Anstey (b 1821 Chatham)

Charles William Anstey was born in c1821 (some sources say 1819, others 20 August 1822) in Harwich, Essex to parents Charles Anstey and Mary Gavine. He was baptised in Chatham on 4 February 1821. On 26 November 1836 he joined the Royal Navy as a “boy” and sailed on the ship HMS Carysfort. Then on 21 March 1839 he became an Ordinary Seaman (presumably on attaining the age of 18), still on the ship Carysfort.

Whilst serving as an Ordinary Seaman on the Carysfort, Charles was awarded the ‘Syria Clasp‘, no doubt for actions in the capture of Acre on 3 November 1840 during the Egyptian–Ottoman War (1839–1841). [Note: he was actually awarded the clasp in 1848 – we have another two clues “Anstey Carysfort 36 Charles 22.2.90 96,262“ and “Charles Anstey W 22 Feb 90” which we cannot currently decipher – perhaps he died in 1890?].

On 1 November 1841 Charles left the Navy (still serving on the ‘Carysfort’), having been “paid off” – his character had been deemed “indifferent“. By 1845 he was in the Merchant Navy (as “Charles William Anstey, Seaman Born Harwich 20 August 1822 5 years Service in the Royal Navy and 4 months service in the Foreign Service“).

In the 1861 Census Charles was a mariner living at 19 Moon Street, Plymouth with his wife Mary A. Anstey. She must have died soon after because on 25 November 1866 in Stepney “Charles Anstey, widower and mariner” married Susannah Hayne (widow and daughter of Henry Fish) – they were both living in Stepney at the time

[Note: we have a potential problem here because Charles‘ father in the marriage register was given as “William Anstey tide surveyor“??]

By 1871 Charles and his wife Susannah were living at 43 Alice Street, West Ham where Charles was described as a “mariner born in Harwich, Essex“. By 1881 they were at 17, Francis Street, West Ham – he was still a mariner.

We find no children from either marriage.

James Anstey (b 1832 Chatham)

James Anstey was born in 1832 in Chatham to parents Charles Anstey and Mary. He was living with his stepmother Elizabeth Anstey in Minster, Sheppey in the 1841 Census and he was a shopman (servant) in Minster in the 1851 Census. James Anstey married Esther Elizabeth Billings in Sheerness in 1852 and they had children in Sheerness:

  • Maria Elizabeth Anstey (b 1852);
  • William Charles Anstey (b 1854, a patient in the Kent County Lunatic Asylum in Chartham in 1881. Died in 1907 in Bridge, Kent);
  • Mary Anstey (b 1855, married James Ashcroft in 1879 in Edge Hill, Lancashire. She said her father James Anstey was a “gentleman” which was a slight exaggeration – however the marriage must be correct because she was living with her sons and her father back in Sheppey in the 1891 Census);
  • James Anstey (b 1857, a tinman’s whitesmith in Sheppey in the 1881 Census. He married Sarah Ellen Hounsell in Sheerness in 1883, by which time he was an ironmonger. They had children in Sheerness Alice Nellie Anstey (b 1885); Edward William James Anstey (b 1887, living in Aston Manor in 1922); Stanley Anstey (b 1889 – an Anstey Hero); Sidney Henry Anstey (b 1891 – an Anstey Hero). James Anstey (father) died in 1895 in Sheppey, and most of the family moved to Aston Manor in Warwickshire at some point post-1911);
  • Frederick Anstey (b 1860, a brazier and tinman in Sheppey in the 1881 Census. He married Rhoda Sellen in Sheerness in 1892, by which time he was a whitesmith. They had children in Sheerness Frederick George Sellen Anstey (b 1892 – an Anstey Hero); Dorothy Rhoda M. Anstey (b 1893, died 1899); Vincent Henry C. Anstey (b 1894, died 1899); Dorothy Rhoda Sellen Anstey (b 1901, known as Rhoda, married Charles K. Wilmer in 1938 in Sheerness and was living with her brother Frederick George Sellen Anstey in the 1939 Register in Sheerness). In 1916 the family were living at 29 Alma Street, Sheerness);
  • Robert Edward Anstey (b 1861, known as Edward, died 1880 in Sheerness);
  • Alice Anstey (b 1863, married Henry Vincent Peter in 1887 in Sheerness);
  • Henry Charles Anstey (b 1872 – an Anstey Hero)

In January 1858 “James Anstey of Sheerness Kent, jeweller, ironmonger and stationer” was declared bankrupt. By the 1861 Census the family were living in High Street Minster, James Anstey was a newsagent. Then in 1862 according to the ‘Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald‘ 11 October 1862 edition, “ATTEMPT TO BLOW UP A FAMILY IN BED: A stationer named James Anstey residing at Sheerness has been committed to trial for attempting to destroy his wife and family by gunpowder. The time chosen for the diabolical act was when the wife and family – the latter consisting of five young children – were in bed. Fortunately the explosion caused no personal injuries, though the house was considerably damaged. The prisoner and his wife had lived very unhappily together and he had frequently uttered threats against her“.

James Anstey was found not guilty of “feloniously damaging a house by the explosion of gunpowder” in Maidstone in November 1862 and went back to live with his family in Sheerness. According to the ‘Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser‘ 02 December 1862 edition “The Grand Jury threw out the bill against James Anstey, charged with having maliciously, by the explosion of a quantity of gunpowder, damaged a dwelling house with intent to murder his wife Elizabeth Anstey at Minster in Sheppey on 27 Sept

In the 1871 Census the family (minus James temporarily) were living at 81 Chappel Street (next door but two to where James parents lived in the 1861 Census (see above). Elizabeth Anstey (mother) was a charwoman. By the 1881 Census the family were in Alma Street, Minster – James Anstey was a brazier (a ‘fireman’ in 1883).

Esther Elizabeth Anstey (mother) died in Sheerness in 1890. James Anstey (widower) was a hammerman in a dockyard in Sheerness in the 1891 Census. James Anstey died in Sheppey in 1923, “aged 91“.

William John Anstey (b 1860 Sheerness)

William John Anstey was born in 1860 in Sheerness to parents William Anstey and Eleanor Knight (see above). He joined the Royal Navy in 1881, married Charlotte Dodge in 1890 in Fareham, having children:

  • Charlotte Eleanor Anstey (b 1891 Greenwich);
  • William Anstey (b 1892 Medway, died an infant?);
  • William Arnold Anstey (b 1893 Medway, died an infant);
  • Alice Lilian Anstey (b 1895 Medway, “an energetic worker in the Church and Sunday School until she left Hendon upon her marriage in 1915 to Mr H. Hind” – attended her fathers funeral in 1936);
  • Margaret Elizabeth Anstey (b 1896 Greenwich, unmarried when she attended her father’s funeral in 1936);
  • Sarah Agnes A. Anstey (b 1898 Greenwich, became a Missionary in India); and
  • Edith Katherine K. Anstey (b 1900 Greenwich, “became a Wesley Deaconess“, unmarried when she attended her father’s funeral in 1936)

He was a R. N. Engineer in Chatham Dockyard in 1895 – see ‘London Evening Standard‘ 11 November 1895 edition. He was appointed an Ordinary Member of the Third Class, or Companion, of the Civil Division of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 1 January, 1917. He was “Admiral W. J. Anstey C. B. (Kennock House Hendon)” when he attended his nephew Alexander Burgess Anstey‘s funeral in February 1918.

In 1926, having previously lived in Glasgow, Scotland, he was in Vermont, in transit to Canada on the ship ‘Letitia‘. He was Engineer Rear Admiral William J. Anstey – boss of aircraft inspection – in 1934 and he died in 1936.

The ‘Hendon & Finchley Times‘ 18 December 1936 edition gave the following obituary: “DEATH OF A LOCAL MAGISTRATE: Rear Admiral W. J. Anstey‘s Naval Career: Hendon Methodists Loss: We regret to announce the death of Engineer Rear Admiral William John Anstey R. N., C. B. who passed away on Sunday afternoon at his house ‘Highcliffe’, Station Road, Hendon. Rear Admiral Anstey had lived in Hendon since 1911, was a Justice of the Peace sitting at Hendon and Wealdstone Courts, and was a prominent figure in the Methodist Connexion. He was 76 years of age. The son of the late Mr William Anstey of H. M. Dockyard Portsmouth, he entered the Royal Navy as an assistant engineer on July 1 1881. Appointed to the R. N. College Greenwich he passed the special course there at the Royal School of Naval Architecture in 1881-4 and was afterwards appointed to HMS Audacious flagship in China. While there he was promoted to engineer. In 1889 he returned to the R. N. College, Greenwich and in 1892 he was appointed in charge of the drawing office at Chatham Dockyard. After his promotion to chief engineer he was made First Assistant to the Chief Engineer at Chatham Dockyard and later was selected for special service at the Admiralty. His promotion to staff engineer was dated March 21 1898 and two years later he was appointed Chief Engineer of Hong Kong Dockyard. In 1902 he became an Engineer Commander on the institution of military titles in his branch with seniority dated back to March 1898. In 1904 he resumed sea service as engineer commander in the battleship Venerable, flagship of the Rear Admiral of the Mediterranean Fleet. Some two years later his services were utilised in connection with experiments with oil fuel, which at that time was being tried in all classes of ships and was adopted exclusively for torpedo craft. In October 1909 he was appointed Engineer Manager at Devonport Dockyard and while there was promoted to Engineer Captain in January 1911. Three months later he was made Assistant Chief Engineer-in-Chief at the Admiralty, where he served during the greater part of the late war [World War One]. He was promoted to Engineer Rear Admiral from January 1913 and was made C. B. in the New Years Honours List in 1917. On retiring from his naval duties in the last named year he was appointed Officer in charge of administration, Aeronautical Inspection Dept until after the end of the war. Rear Admiral Anstey was appointed a Justice of the Peace for the Gore Division of Middlesex in 1918…[he] has been well supported by his family in his Methodist activities. His daughter Miss Sarah A. A. Anstey became a Missionary in India; his second daughter Miss Alice Anstey was an energetic worker in the Church and Sunday School until she left Hendon upon her marriage in 1915 to Mr H. Hind; and another daughter Miss Edith Anstey became a Wesley Deaconess. Rear Admiral Anstey was married in 1890 to Charlotte, daughter of Mr Albion Dodge of Fareham, Hants and had five daughters…

John Charles Knight Anstey (b 1868 Portsmouth)

John Charles Knight Anstey was born in 1868 in Portsmouth to parents William Anstey and Eleanor Knight (see above). He became a Missionary in India in c1892 and married Agnes Burgess in India in c1898. They had children:

His wife Agnes must have died very soon after because in 1902 John married Charlotte Isabel Theobald in Wandsworth. Confirming this, the two boys Alexander and Hugh were living in Wandsworth in the 1901 Census with their aunt Aquila Narbeth. We find no children of this second marriage.

In the ‘Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser‘ on 6 December 1902 appears “On Sunday sermons were preached in the Wesleyan Chapel on behalf of the Foreign Missions by the Rev. J. C. Knight Anstey, missionary from Hyderabad, India

In the ‘Kent Messenger & Gravesend Telegraph‘ 13 June 1914 edition appears “MISSIONARY FESTIVAL…the afternoon meeting for women was presided over by Mrs. J. Dalby Hobson, whose sister (the wife of an Indian Missionary, the Rev. J. C. Knight Anstey, at present home on furlough having spent 22 Years in India) gave an inspiring address to a most attentive audience…”.

During World War One, John Charles Knight Anstey served in the Indian Army, though we have few details apart from in September 1918 according to ‘The Gazette‘ 4 April 1919 edition, he was admitted to the India Army Reserve of Officers Infantry Branch “2nd Lieutenant and is granted the temporary rank of Captain“. Additionally, the ‘Banbury Advertiser‘ reported on 9 October 1919 “MISSIONARY ARMY CAPTAIN: Speaks at a Banbury Festival. A Largely attended meeting was held on Monday evening in connection with the Marlborough Road Wesleyan Foreign Missionary Festival. The Rev J. C. Knight Anstey who was for 27 years in the Hyderabad Mission addressed the gathering, his subject being ‘India present and future’. Mr Knight Anstey served in the Army during the war and was appointed Captain and retained by the Indian Government to present the British case to the native in his own language. His knowledge of native India is therefore somewhat extensive…

John Charles Knight Anstey was a Reverend living in Kingston, Surrey in 1926. Also in 1926 he went to Hong Kong with his wife Charlotte, where he stated that he was a missionary. In 1936 he and his wife attended the funeral of his brother William John Anstey in Hendon.

John Charles Knight Anstey was still a Reverend and clerk when he died aged 78 in 1947 living at 40 Penrith Road, New Maldern, Surrey – probate was to his widow Charlotte Isabel Anstey.

Further Details on the Chatham Ansteys

#1. Samuel Anstey married Elizabeth Rixion in Barming, Kent in 1806. Samuel likely died in 1815 in Chatham aged 38 (ie born in 1777), though the transcription is “Samuel Ansted“, hence this gentleman is probably not an ‘Anstey’ (there are quite a few ‘Anstead’ in the parish registers around this time).

#2. George Anstey (b 1800) died in 1827 aged 27 in Chatham, Kent.

#2. George James Anstey was baptised in Chatham in 1828 to parents George Anstey (a Private in the 61st Regiment of Foot) and Ann. George (b 1828) was a seaman in 1845.

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