John Anstee (IV 8)

See ‘Anstey: A Complete History From the Norman Invasion to World War One‘ for much more on the Ivinghoe Anstees. In addition to biographies of various Anstey individuals who make up this sub-branch, the book contains a plethora of Anstey research and statistics, including an analysis of how the Ivinghoe Anstees fit into the pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anesti, the 12th century originator of the ‘Anstey’ surname.

IV 8. John Anstee: He was born in 1853 in Kempston to father John Anstee (IV 4). He was living with his uncle William Anstee (IV 3) in the 1861 Census. He married Jane Morris Munday on 27 November 1874 in Cranfield (father confirmed as ‘John Anstee’) and they had children in Cranfield: 

  • Winifred Ellen Anstee (b 1878); 
  • Harry John Anstee (IV 16 – b 1881); 
  • Edith Jane Anstee (b 1885, living with her parents in the 1911 Census); and​ 
  • Amy Sarah Anstee (b 1892, a bridesmaid at her brothers wedding in 1910 – living with her parents in the 1911 Census).

In 1898 he was the foreman of a Grand Jury. Also in 1898 his wind and steam mill in Cranfield burnt to the ground – the ‘Bedfordshire Mercury‘ 03 November 1899 reporting “DESTRUCTIVE FIRE.-On Thursday night, the 26th ult., at about half-past ten, it was discovered that Mr. John Anstee’s well-know wind and stear mill, known as ” Perry Hill Mill.” was on fire. By the time an alarm was raised and assistance procured. it was found that the fire had obtained such a hold that local efforts would be of no avail. As each floor became ignited the heavy machinery came crashing down with a loud noise, and when the lower doors were burnt through the up-draught was so great that in a short time the interior of the mill was like an immense furnace, from 50 to 60 feet high, the flames shooting out from the top to a great height, and a continuous shower of sparks and burning wood trailed away across the fields for a considerable distance. Being in such an elevated position, it could be plainly seen for many miles round, and the effect on a dark night was particularly grand. The Newport Pagnell Fire Brigade was sent for at the outbreak and arrived at the mill at about one o’clock, but the only feasible thing they could do was to play on the adjoining engine-house, which fortunately was saved. Afterwards a large quantity of water was pumped on the interior of the mill, the ground floor of which was filled with red-hot ironwork, mill- stones and otber debris. By about half-past four the brigade left, all danger then being over. The origin of the fire is at present a mystery, as the mill bas not been worked for mearly a year, but was being put in a state of repair with the intention of restarting soon. The work- men who were carrying out the repairs left work and locked up at about five o’clock in the afternoon of Thursday, everything then being safe. We understand that Mr Anstee is only partially covered by insurance, but in any case the loss to him will be extremely heavy, the damage done being estimated at about £800. We are desired by Mr Anstee to tender his sincere thanks to those friends and neighbours who so willing gave assistance.”

By the 1911 Census he was still a miller, living at The Mill Broad Green Cranfield with his family. At some point he begun the milling business ‘John Anstee & Son‘ in Cranfield in partnership with his son Harry John Anstee (IV 16).

During World War One, the ‘Bedfordshire Times and Independent‘ 20 September 1918 reported “Mr John Anstee, miller, Cranfield, applied for renewal of exemption for [his employee] William Hall, aged 44…Mr Anstee stated that he previously had a nephew working at the mill who had left him about a month ago to work on a farm for his father, he having been graded III. Mr Anstee was asked ‘but you applied for him as indispensable. Is the mill still going on?’ Mr Anstee replied ‘Yes but we are having to cut down, the mill is under government control – exemption was granted

He died on 10 November 1926 – the ‘Bedfordshire Times and Independent’ 11 March 1927 reported “JOHN ANSTEE AND SON. —— NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Partnership subsisting between John Anstee late of Cranfield in the County of Bedford Miller and Farmer and Harry John Anstee of the same place Miller and Farmer carrying on business as Millers and Farmers at Canfield aforesaid under the style or firm of John Anstee & Son was dissolved by reason of the death of the said John Anstee on the 10th day of November 1926 and that the said Harry John Anstee [IV 16] will in future alone carry on the said business under the old style or firm. Dated this 7th day of March 1927. HARRY JOHN ANSTEE. WINIFRED ELLEN LAMBERT, Administrators of the said John Anstee Deceased

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