The Curry Rivel Ansteys

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

Many thanks to Vicki Hails for her contributions to this pedigree.

Overview of the Curry Rivel Ansteys

The Curry Rivel Ansteys of Somerset are headed by John Anstey (b 1787). They are a sub-branch of the Dulverton Ansteys of Somerset (part of the Dulverton sub-branch ‘C’ pedigree) and hence connect to the South West Peninsula Anstey pedigree.

John Anstey (b 1787 West Anstey)

John Anstey, patriarch of the Curry Rivel Ansteys, was born in 1787 in West Anstey, Devon, the only child of parents James Anstey and Honour Lock (James was born 1756 in West Anstey and he married Honour in 1786 in the same parish). John Anstey married Barbara Palmerof Molland” in 1809 in Exeter, St David and they had children:

  • James Anstey (b 1810 Molland – see below);
  • Jane Honour Anstey (b 1812 Molland, died in 1814);
  • William Anstey (b 1815 Spaxton – see below);
  • Jane Anstey (b 1817 Somerton, married Peter Drummond on 9 May 1847 at Camberwell, London, they had 5 children and settled in Glasgow, Scotland. Jane died 3 April 1872 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire);
  • Caroline Anstey (b 1820 Shepton Beauchamp, working in Dulverton in the 1841 Census. She married Benjamin Garrett in 1845 in Paddington, London. They had 8 known children before he died in the Crimean War. She married another soldier, Thomas Trotter in 1856 and they had a further 2 children and settled in Perth, Scotland. Caroline died 14 July 1883 in Perth, Perthshire.);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1825 Curry Rivel, was witness to her sister Caroline Anstey‘s wedding. She married James George Heywood on 12 April 1846 at St James, Bermondsey. They had 7 children and she died in 1891 in Southwark, London); and
  • Mary Ann Anstey (b 1830 Curry Rivel, married Isaac Thomas James on 8 February 1852 at St. James, Paddington. They only had one child, before she died the same year in Chelsea)

John Anstey and Barbara were “innkeepers at Hambridge” in 1830 (John was also a porter, exciseman and a gas fitter at some point). By the 1841 Census, the family had moved to Russell Street, Rotherhithe, London where John was a “labourer“. Barbara Anstey died on 6 Mar 1842 at Guy’s Hospital of a hernia, aged 52 years, a married woman (the informant, Allis Gill, was present at her death) and so John Anstey (who resided in Kirknewton, Midlothian – transcribed as ‘Castle Newton’ – in 1856) emigrated to Australia in 1860 aboard the ‘Hannah More‘ ship, together with Thomas Maunder and his family (see the ‘Empire (Sydney)‘ newspaper 10 May 1860 edition where the names of all passengers are listed).

Presumably John Anstey‘s intention was to live with his son James Anstey who had already emigrated to Australia a short time earlier, but unfortunately John died suddenly when he fell from a tree at Goonoo Goonoo Creek near Tamworth in New South Wales, Australia. He was buried in Tamworth in August 1860.

Note: John Anstey‘s death certificate confirms the following: The informant was his son, James. His parents were confirmed as James Anstey and Honour Lock. His wife’s maiden surname was confirmed as Palmer

James Anstey (b 1810 Molland)

James Anstey (b 1810 Molland) was the eldest son of John Anstey and Barbara Palmer. He married Sarah Maunder in 1831 in Molland and they had children:

  • Jane Anstey (b 1831, died 1834 Curry Rivel);
  • Barbara Palmer Anstey (b 1834 Curry Rivel, died before 1856?);
  • Elizabeth Anstey (b 1837 Paddington, London – died an infant)

James Anstey‘s occupation in 1834 was a “shepherd“. The ‘North Devon Journal‘ 05 March 1835 edition reported “Information was laid before the Commissioners against William Anstey for sporting without a game certificate. Thomas Andrews in evidence in support of the information deposed that he saw William Anstey in company with his brother James Anstey, on the 6th December last with a dog and guns, trying the cover on Molland manor – witness did not see them take any game, he heard them fire, but he did not know what they shot at. The defendant, who did not appear, was convicted in the mitigated penalty of 10l, including costs

By the 1837 baptism of his daughter he was a “policeman“. By the 1851 Census they had moved to Kirknewton, Midlothian, Scotland where James was a “County Police Constable” (his wife Sarah was a “dressmaker“). In 1856, James Anstey and his wife Sarah migrated to Australia on the “Lloyds” ship with their nephew George Maunder, who they apparently raised as their own son after his mother had died in 1854. James Anstey gave his occupation as “shepherd“. After spending a short time on the goldfields at Nundle, James Anstey and George Maunder secured employment as shepherds with the Peel River Company at Goonoo Goonoo near Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia (by 1858).

James Anstey and Sarah settled at Currabubula, and indeed there is an Anstey’s Creek still there today, named after James. In 1869, James Anstey died as a result of a fall from his horse, (his parents were confirmed as John and Barbara on his death certificate, though the ‘Death Index‘ incorrectly says his parents were John and Rebecca). ‘The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser‘ 29 June 1869 edition reported “DEATH BY A FALL FROM A HORSE.-Last week, Mr. James Anstey, of Currabubula, died from the effects of injuries received by a fall from a horse. It appears that he had been riding in the bush, and was thrown with violence to the ground, breaking his leg. No medical assistance was procured until several days after, when mortification set in. Dr. Dowe, of Tamworth, was then sent for, but the unfortunate man had expired ere the doctor arrived.

In his will, written on the day he died, James Anstey left his property to his wife Sarah Anstey for life, and then to George Maunder. After being widowed, Sarah Anstey bought portions 63 and 64 (of 80 acres) at Currabubula; she died in November 1889 of acute gastritis (her death certificate confirmed that she had been in Australia 33 years and that she had three children, all daughters, who were deceased).

A family anecdote passed down by a descendant of the Maunder family who “remembered attending Sarah Anstey‘s burial at Currabubula in 1889. The Ansteys were well remembered in our family. A favourite family story tells of how, when the Ansteys and George were at Nundle, a bushranger, later identified as Thunderbolt, arrived at their house demanding money. Uncle [James] Anstey had gold, but fortunately he had hidden it in the saddlebags of his horse, and Thunderbolt didn’t find it. All he managed to take were ‘ties and handkerchiefs’ apparently.

This event was reported in ‘The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser‘ 6 February 1866 edition where it stated “Mr. J. M Davis’ public house at Currabubula was stuck up by tho same two men who robbed the place on the 9th December last… Later in the day it was ascertained that the same fellows, after leaving Davis’s, stuck up an out station on Mr. Christian’s run, occupied by a man named Anstey, but got nothing worth mentioning“.

William Anstey (b 1815 Spaxton)

William Anstey (b 1815 Spaxton) was the second son of John Anstey and Barbara Palmer. He married Jane Venn in 1838 in Marylebone, Middlesex and they moved to Sawbridgeworth and then Camberwell, London, having children:

  • Walter Palmer Anstey (b 1839 Sawbridgeworth, married Frances Fanny Howard in 1862 in Lambeth and they had children William James Anstey (b 1863 Rotherhithe, a metal sorter in the 1911 Census living at 60 Ethelred Street, Lambeth with his wife Eliza Jane Kingdon (who he married in 1887 in Southwark) and their daughters Florence Maria Anstey (b 1891 Kennington); Frances Marguerite Anstey (b 1894); Elizabeth Nelly Anstey (b 1899); and Ivy Doris Anstey (b 1906)); Maria Anstey (b 1866 Rotherhithe); Caroline Anstey (b 1868 Rotherhithe, had an illegitimate son George Anstey (b 1886 Rotherhithe – an Anstey Hero) and then married John Owen in 1895 in Southwark and moved to Marsh Street, Newbury, Berkshire); and Nellie Anstey (b 1879 Rotherhithe). In the 1881 & 1891 Censuses Walter Palmer Anstey was a labourer living in Osprey Street, Rotherhithe with his family. He died in 1899 in St Olave, Southwark);
  • Albert (Alfred) John Anstey (b 1841 Sawbridgeworth, living with his mother in 1871 in Rotherhithe, he died in 1877 in Southwark, probably without marrying);
  • Jane Honour Anstey (b 1844 Bayford, Herts, she was living in Poplar in the 1861 Census with an illegitimate son William Cobbler Anstey (b 1860 Rotherhithe). She married Thomas Chapman in Rotherhithe in 1863);
  • Ann Barbara Anstey (b 1851 Peckham, married George Lusher in Rotherhithe in 1871); and
  • Charles Anstey (b 1860 Rotherhithe, a “costermonger” in the 1881 Census living with his mother in Rotherhithe. In the 1901 Census he was still in Rotherhithe and single.)

In March 1835 William Anstey and his brother James were convicted and fined for “sporting without a game certificate” – see above. The ‘North Devon Journal‘ 20 August 1835 added “A warrant was issued for the apprehension of William Anstey of the parish of Bishops Nympton who some months ago was find 10l plus 11l expenses for using a dog and gun in quest of game without the requisite certificate. Anstey had absconded, and as the time for payment of the fine has expired, he was sentenced, in default of payment, to be committed to the treadmill for three months

In 1839 William Anstey was a policeman, presumably in Sawbridgeworth. In the 1841 Census Jane Anstey together with her two young sons was living in Sawbridgeworth, whilst William Anstey was living with his parents in Rotherhithe, now a “labourer” (however he was a “policeman” in the 1841 baptism of his son Albert in Sawbridgeworth – perhaps he was moonlighting?). By the 1851 Census the whole family had moved to Luttly Cottage, Charles Street, Camberwell where William Anstey was a shopkeeper. William Anstey likely died in 1857 in Rotherhithe…which means that Charles Anstey (b 1860 Rotherhithe)’s father was not William – though we seek confirmation of this.

In the 1871 Census, Jane Anstey was a widow, living with some of her family in Rotherhithe – ditto the 1881 Census (including her son Charles Anstey (b 1860)). Jane Anstey died in 1900 in Southwark.

Further Details on the Curry Rivel Ansteys

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