THE TANNERS OF SUSSEX.
Direct male inheritance c.1490 – 1880.
1. Thomas [born c 1490 – 1557].
[died 1597]. Thomas =
3. Anthony [1568-1653] married Elizabeth.
[1674-1752] married Hannah Browne [1687-1737/8].
[1716-1796] married Mary Fuller [1715-1800].
Tuppen [1825-1880] married Mary Ann Scotney Ellis [1843-1927].
Tanner, founder in 1877, of the family business R. T. Tanner & Company
Limited [website address: rttanner.co.uk] compiled a family tree in 1848
showing various generations of the Tanner, Neve and Field families, but showing
no dates for births, marriages or deaths.
became free of the Spectaclemakers’ Company and the City of London
by Redemption on the 28 June 1861, his father Anthony, was shown as deceased of
Wivelsfield, Sussex. Fortunately our branch of
the family had remained in the same area and it was with little difficulty that
I was able to trace them using manorial records and parish registers back to
1672 when they first appeared in Ditchling the next village.
research found that there was an Anthony in all but three generations. The name
Anthony Tanner is an unusual combination, it appears in the Tanner family of
Court in Cornwall and also in a family of Tyler’s in London,
but there appear very few mentions elsewhere in the country before 1640. There
were also many Tanner family groups living in West Sussex
and the earliest mention of the name in a parish record is in 1556 at Patcham.
The first Anthony to appear is the baptism of the son of Thomas at Lyminster on
the 6 June 1568. Before the late 1500s
there were very few parish records and prior to that the usual sources are
ancient deeds, wills, manorial and legal records. Manorial and legal records are mainly
concerned with land purchase or rental from the Lord of the Manor, and much
information can be gained from these transactions.
several mentions of the name Tanner in early Sussex deeds. A Robert le Tanner
was assessed at 11s.11d in a Subsidy Roll of 1327. A Richard Tannere of
Lyndefield appears in a deed dated 12 December 1472. An Edward Tanner was
living in Nutbourne in 1524 and one of the same name appears as a Freeholder
there on the 7 November 1541.
assessments commenced in 1780 and these list owners and occupiers of properties
and the tax levied on their land. These
records gave much information regarding the Tanners and shows their land
holdings in considerable detail, and then by using Tithe Maps, which commenced
around 1835, it is possible to trace the exact locations of their properties.
Each manor had
customs for land inheritance; sometimes the eldest son, sometimes the youngest
son and sometimes the widow inherited and held the land until she died.
However, this course did not always run true as was the case for the Tanner
family in 1598 when the Manorial
Court could not decide on the custom! The run of Court Books for the Manors of the
Lord Abergavenny, found at the East Sussex Record Office at Lewes, survive from
1597. They cover the manors of
Cuckfield, Ditchling, Keymer, Northease, Rodmell, Rottingdean, Patcham,
Houndsen, Rotherfield, Chiltington, Nutbourne and Lewis Borough. From 1597-1622 the Manor Steward for
Ditchling was a man called John Rowe, his records have been published by the
Sussex Record Society, and lists several even earlier references to the
transactions of the manorial lands held by various members of the Tanner
In his Will dated 28 November 1557 Thomas
Tanner of Pulborough in the County of Sussex gave his son Anthony £5, his son
Robert £5 and his best gelding, his son John £3, his son Thomas 40s, and his
son Edward the farm lands in the parish of West Chiltington and his leasehold
land in the parish of Wigginholt and the rest of all his goods. To his
daughters Joan Mynton, Agnes Tilte and Edith he gave four bushels of wheat and
four bushels of barley. It is probably Thomas' son Anthony Tanner who at the
Manorial Court held on the 22 October 1548 was given a grant for life in the
sum of 2s 6d on a farling of land and appurtances in Nutbourne called
Noteringbury containing 19 acres with half bushes and briars. He died intestate
in 1597 and administration was granted to his wife Joane. At the Court Baron
held after his death on 1 March 1598 the land Noteringbury passed to one Thomas
Grinfild after 3s.2d was paid in lieu of the herriott of a cow, and at the same
Court it also states that one Thomas Sayers held the same land in right of his
wife Sybill for their daughter Judith Pratt or the longest liver. His son
Thomas jnr. had issue William and Anthony.
Anthony married Elizabeth Michelbourne and it was his son Anthony born
c.1630 who inherited the land in 1652
It was at The Court Baron in 1598 that the
confusion arose regarding the inheritance of land as Anthony Tanner also "held of the Lord of the Manor himself and
his heirs a ferling of land called Styleplace and a ferlingate of land called
Fandlands in Nutbourne after the death of Judith Humfrey the wife of Henry
Humfrey and Thomas Pratt alias Cooper......." Henry Humfrey had married
Judith Pratt or Cooper on the 7 April 1591 at Rudgwick, a nearby parish. I have yet to prove the connection between
the two families but it seems probable they were in some way related and thus
the inheritance of land occurred. The uncertainty arose because Anthony died
without issue. His nephews, William and Anthony, sons of his brother Thomas,
became his heirs, and the Court could not decide whether it was the custom for
the eldest or youngest son to inherit the land.
At the Court on 11 September 1598 "Anthony Tanner son junior of
Thomas brother of Anthony is heir but because there does not appear evidence to
the Court concerning the Custom because no such admission can be found in the
Court Rolls nor has any such example occurred either by the inspection of
copies or by the testimony of the old tenants from their own experience, the
admission of Anthony is delayed until it can more clearly appear to the Court
concerning the certitude of this Custom".
However by the
Court held 22 March 1599 the matter was resolved - Henry Humfrey and his wife Judith sought
licence from the Lord of the Manor to surrender the lease of Style Place and Fandlands from Michelmas
for 37 years and it was granted in the sum of 2s3d. The following then appears:
"Into the court comes William son senior and Anthony Tanner son Junior
sons of Thomas Tanner brother of Anthony Tanner deceased who hold from his
death for themselves and their heirs of the Lord of the Manor the reversion of
one tenements and ferling called Styleplace and Fandlands in Nutbourne after
the death of Judith Humfrey wife of Henry occurred. William and Anthony
brothers presenting to the Court through the Steward a writing signed by
Richard Lewknor Sergeant at Law and William Towse Counsellor at Law [Barrister]
deposited with the Steward by which it appears that since no similar admission
or example can be found in the Court Rolls to confirm or verify the Custom
which was presented at the Court therefore there can be no such custom but the
reversion should descend according to the course of the Common Law the said
presentment not withstanding. The said William seeks to be and was admitted
tenant.” As there were several years between entries of land transactions it
has not possible to determine exactly when William died and how the land then passed
forward to his nephew, yet another Anthony Tanner.
died in 1651 and at a court held on 20 January 1652 it stated that Agnes her
daughter was the next heir to the premises, and this is confusing with regard
to the Tanner family as at the Court Baron held 9 June 1653 it states: "At
this Court the Homage does present Anthony Tanner who holds of the said Manor
the Reversion (after the death of Judith Humfrey) of one tenement and three
farlings of land called Fandlands in Nutbourne and three farlings of land
called Style Place to him and his heirs has died seized thereof .............no
herriott ......... and the said Judith Humfrey is also dead and therefore that
by the oath and information of Edmund Negus Clerk, Anthony Tanner being youngest
son of the said Anthony Tanner deceased, according to the custom of the said
Manor is next heir to the premises whereupon the first admission was made. And now at the same Court upon the first of
the month the said Anthony Tanner present in Court in his own upon the whole
homage and desired to be admitted to all and singular the said premises to whom
the law by his Steward granted thereof..... and because the said Anthony Tanner
is within his Age of one and twenty years being the age of year or thereabouts
so he cannot govern himself or manage the said premises therefore the Custody
of the said Anthony and also of his said tenements is remitted to Elizabeth
Tanner his mother until the said Anthony shall come to his full age upon
condition that she shall well and honestly educate the said Anthony finding him
competent food and rayment and repairing the buildings with the reparations and
she gave to the Lord for a fine and was admitted thereof tenant during the
minority of the said Anthony”.
1670 Anthony married Martha daughter of Richard Luxford and Sarah (nee
Boarde). Sarah Luxford was the daughter
of Sir Stephen Boarde and was baptised 25 August 1611, she married at
Cuckfield, Richard Luxford of Hurstpierpoint on the 16 November 1630 and Martha
their 9th child was baptised at East Grinstead
on the 26 March 1644. Richard Luxford was buried there 3 December 1653 and a
Sarah Luxford, was buried at Godstone 30 January 1668. The precise whereabouts
of Martha and her family after the death of her father are unknown and her
marriage to Anthony has not yet been traced, she is mentioned as Martha Tanner
in the Will of her brother Edward of Lambeth, Surrey, when he died 3 December
1670, and again as such in the Will of her brother John who died in November
is mentioned again at a Court Baron held at Nutbourne on the 17 October 1669 ‘A
load of timber was allocated to Anthony Tanner to repair his buildings called
Fand Lands and Style Place in Nut borne by the assigning of Robert Batcheller’
and a ‘Licence was granted to let to whoever suitable (to? The holdings) should
best please him for the term of seven years beginning at the feast of St.
Michael preceding the date of this court.
And given to the lord as a fine for such a licence, two shillings and
On the 5 June
1672 he surrendered the land of Style Place and Fandlands back to the Lord of
the Manor, and the family moved to Ditchling where at the Court Baron held
there on the 9 May 1673, “one cottage
and one garden called Leasinghall in Ditchling, which had been surrendered back
to the Lord on the 11 April 1673 by one John Turner, was passed to the use of
Anthony Tanner his heirs etc.”
1674 and December 1684 Anthony and Martha Tanner had several children whose
baptisms and burials appear in the Ditchling Parish Registers, including the
burial of a son Anthony in May 1680. He was presumably born before they moved
to the area, as there is no record of his baptism at Ditchling or in the West Chiltington registers. Anthony appears in the parish
register as a surveyor of the highway in Ditchling in 1683, an overseer in 1684
and a churchwarden in 1689. He was buried at Ditchling 6 March 1695/6 and as he
died intestate his son Edward Tanner, Cordwainer of Ditchling, was granted an
administration on the 21 April 1696 on the renunciation of Anthony's relict
Martha - he left £62.1.8d. Until
Anthony’s death there had been nothing to indicate the occupation of the family
and this is the first time a trade is mentioned.
On the 26
October 1696 John Farncombe, yeoman, of Ditchling and Poynings, “held Leasinghall in Ditchling as security
from Anthony Tanner and was admitted on forfeiture on the 28 October
1697”. John Farncombe died on the 27
April 1700 and in his will it states "whereas I have surrendered two
copyholds one in Ditchling and one in Preston to the use of my last Will &
Testament I give and bequeath same to Elizabeth Hamsher [his half sister]
...but whereas the Ditchling copyhold is only a mortgage provided the money
thereupon be paid of that the said Elizabeth Hamshar shall be thereupon
mortgage was obviously paid up as this same extract is quoted in the Court
Books in October 1700 when Martha, Anthony’ widow, was admitted to the land.
derived from the name of the Spanish town Cordova where leather was made out of
goat-skins tanned and dressed, or later of split horse-hides, which were mostly
used, for shoes etc by the wealthy during the Middle Ages. From the diary of John
Burgess a glover of Ditchling, written in 1780 and mentioned later, horse hides
and also sheep skins were obviously much in use in Sussex.
preparation and tanning of hides appears to have been one of the oldest known
to mankind and the process took about eighteen months from beginning to end.
First the hide had to be cleaned in a water pit to remove any blood and also to
swell the fibres. It was then put into the limepits, firstly into a mellow
solution of old lime in water with hen manure and dog excreta, next into a less
mellow solution and thirdly into a solution of almost new lime. The length of
time depended on the type of leather required. For hard sole leather, eight to
ten days in the strong lime but for soft pliable leather, such as for harnesses
and shoe uppers, up to six weeks was needed in the old mellow solution. The
main purpose of liming was to loosen the hair and outer portion of the skin.
This was done by a beamsman using special knives, working in the beam house -
the beam being a steeply sloping wooden work table with convex top, over which
the hide was thrown for de-hairing and fleshing. Before tanning, the hide was
cut up, as different parts took up the tanning at different rates and the odd
uneconomic pieces were sent away to make glue or gelatine. A vast quantity of
oak bark was used and had to be kept dry in the bark room, before being finely
ground in the mill house - a very dusty process. The powder was added to cold
water in a leaching pit, and then transferred to the tanning pits. First the
hides were suspended in a weak solution, and then moved from pit to pit into
gradually stronger solutions, keeping the hides from touching each other.
Afterwards they were moved into another set of pits of much stronger tanning
where they were laid flat before a final wash in a weak solution and being hung
up to dry slowly in the drying shed. Tanned leather ended up stiff and badly
coloured so had then to pass through the hands of a currier to make it suitable
for the shoemaker and other craftsmen to use. Currying was a separate, highly
skilled craft. There were very strict laws governing the processes of tanning,
and buying and selling hides had to be on the open market, the finished ones
being stamped by the licensing officer before sale.
the family, Edward, Anthony and Martha’s
son was baptised at Ditchling in 1674 and married there 4 December 1707 Hannah
Browne the daughter of William and Susanna of Wivelsfield. It is probable that the Browne’s were
non-conformists as Hannah was baptised at Ditchling a few months before the
wedding on 14 September 1707. Between
1708 and 1721 Edward and Hannah’s eight children were all baptised at
listed in the Parish records for Ditchling as an overseer in 1708 and as a
churchwarden in 1714, 1715 and 1716. At the Court Baron held in Ditchling in
April 1729 Edward Tanner appears on the homage and in August of the same year
Leasinghall appears to be leased to him again.
A stamp duty was imposed on apprenticeship indentures
by an act of 1710 and the records of this tax up to 1811, are held at the The
National Archives at Kew. [An index can be
found online]. From these, we know that Edward's son Anthony was apprenticed to
Richard Earle of Ditchling,
for 7 years from 14 April 1729 in the sum of £8. Laurance, his youngest son, was apprenticed
to an Edward Tanner, of Hellingly,
wheeler, in the sum of £5 on the 6 Oct 1748 (possibly his elder brother,
however no connection has been made). Laurance continued in the trade of
wheelwright during his working life, and the information and tree of his family
and descendants were researched and given to me by Peggy (nee Tanner) Shelley
one of his direct descendents. Although there appears no record of a formal
apprenticeship, Edward's other son William became a Carpenter and is referred
to as such of Ditchelling, Sussex both in his will and when he took Jos.Davey
as apprentice in 1748.
At the Court
Baron at Ditchling on the 15 July 1751, Edward Tanner surrendered the cottage
and gardens named Leasinghall to the Lord of the Manor on reversion to his son
Anthony Tanner, fellmonger, his heirs
and assigns for ever. Nobody came to make a claim so a second proclamation was made at the next Court on 18
May 1752 and Anthony Tanner was admitted tenant for a fine of 6d. A Fellmonger
was a dealer in skins or hides especially sheep skins, today an operative who
was buried at Ditchling in 1752 and there appears no trace of any will so it is
difficult to establish whether his eldest son Edward was still alive, certainly
there appears no reference to him, or another son John in the Ditchling parish
records after their baptisms. Also on the family tree composed by Richard
Tuppen Tanner in 1848 only Anthony, William and Laurance appear so it is
probably safe to assume that the other brothers, Edward and John were deceased.
his apprenticeship in 1736 Edward's son Anthony married at nearby Westmeston,
30 July 1741, Mary daughter of John and Mary Fuller who was baptised at
Ditchling 13 November 1715. Although Anthony and Mary were married for 50 years
they only had two children, Mary baptised 15 May 1742 who married at Ditchling
14 February 1765 John Borer and William baptised 26 June 1744.
It was during
the next 50 years that the Tanners started to accumulate more property and
land, some of which they inherited through marriage. However, they continued to
raise money by taking out mortgages and on 11 June 1753 Anthony surrendered
Leasinghall for the sum of £159.12s. 0d.
to Mary Hollingdale of Lindfield spinster. He had to repay her £4.8s.0d
at her dwellinghouse in Lindfield on the 27 April 1754, 28 April 1755, 27 April
1756 and then the residue of £144.18s 0d. on 27 April 1757. If not the surrender
would be void. However, at the Court on 6 June 1759 Mary Hollingdale
acknowledged herself satisfied! He is
shown as a Fellmonger when paying off another surrender 30 May 1780, and at the
Court Baron in 1783 "Anthony Tanner Fellmonger satisfied and paid all
principal money and interest on conditional surrender of premises of Leasing
Hill by Richard Cox".
Anthony and his brother William appear
regularly signing inhabitant’s lists and rates books during this period and
both were obviously heavily involved in the running of the affairs of the
village. On Sunday 9th September 1744
Anthony was a signatory on a memorandum "We
whose names are hereunder written do hereby testify that notice according to an
Act of Parliament was published in our Parish Church of Ditchling signifying
that an assessment for the Poor of the said Parish at the rate of 2/6d on the
pound was allowed by two of his majesties Justices of the Peace”. William signed a similar memo in 1745.
appointed a surveyor in 1746, a sidesman in 1747, was a signatory at a vestry
meeting held at the Bull in Ditchling 4 November 1748 and was again appointed
surveyor 26 December 1748. He held the office of churchwarden from 1749-57, and
on 26 December 1749 he was appointed an Overseer of the Poor with John Attree,
and on the 26 December 1750 with his brother William. William took over the
post of churchwarden from March 1758 - 1762 and 1767, 68, 69 and was a surveyor
in 1765 and 66.
Anthony is styled yeoman, when he was granted 15 acres of land called Rowles
Croft. Some years later at a Court Baron held in 1787, he surrendered this land on the fine of 2s to
his daughter Mary Borrer wife of John Borrer of Ditchling Gent. In 1780 the land tax assessment for his house
in Ditchling was £2.5s 0d so he paid 9s.0d tax and for Leasing Hill, which had
been renamed the Bull, £4. 10s 0d. - 18s.0d tax. At the Court in 1790 he surrendered this
tenement building and garden to the use of Henry Hubbard Innkeeper. I have yet
to establish when the family rented out Leasinghall and moved to the house. By
19 September 1795 when he drew up his will he was a gentleman of Ditchling,
Sussex and to show the extent of his land holdings an extract of his will is
shown below. He died and was buried at Ditchling on the 4 April 1796.
daughter Mary wife of John Borer, freehold and copyhold estate tenement and
garden late Scrases' in Ditchling now in the tenure and occupation of Mistress
Affield and also tenements shops stable building garden and field thereto
adjoining - one acre - late Nights, also my three pieces or parcels of copyhold
land late Hubbards called Noor Diamonds Croft and Little Sands, all which said
copyhold tenements are situate in the Parish of Ditchling. Also to my daughter
Mary Borrer the sum of £800 within three months after my decease. Also one
moiety or half part of the principal sum of £220 lent and advanced by me to the
Trustees of the Ditchling Turnpike
Road and secured to me on the credit of the tolls
“I give and bequeath
to my son William Tanner all and singular the freehold and copyhold estates
hereinafter and particularly mentioned freehold messuage or tenement stables,
barns, buildings farm and lands with the appurtances called or known by the
name of Newhouse situate and lying and being in the parish of Hurstpierpoint.
Also freehold stables, barns, drying houses, buildings, tan yard farm lands and
premises with all the appurtenances in Wivelsfield and now in the tenure and
occupation of my said son William Tanner. Also copyhold messuage tenement
garden orchard and fellmongers yard late Harden's situate lying and being in
Ditchling. Also my piece of copyhold land in Ditchling called Rolls Croft and
the new stable thereon lately erected and built.
“I subject and
charge the same with the payment of one annuity or yearly rent of £40 clear of
all taxes and deductions to my loving wife Mary and her assigns during the term
of her natural life. Four times a year, feasts of Annunciation. The Blessed
Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, St. Michael the Archangel
and the Nativity. Also to my wife Mary the sum of £10 to be paid immediately on
my decease and all my household goods, implements and utensils of household.
Peter Morley, John Tanner, John Chanther 18 September 1796 Sworn to William
Tanner sole executor goods chattels and credits do not amount in value unto
son William born in 1744 married at Ditchling 2 February 1780 Ann the daughter
of Thos. Field gentleman and Sarah his wife who was baptised at Ditchling 27
August 1742. William and Ann Tanner only had three children. Thomas William
baptised 13 February 1781 who died and was buried at Wivelsfield 24 August 1811
aged 30. Anthony baptised 4 May 1783, who married Mary Neve 5 February 1811 and
was buried at Wivelsfield 26 September 1832 and Ann baptised 3 September 1786
who married John Neve a Farmer of Halden in Kent 14 May 1811 and died there on
the 23 March 1816. William had inherited
the tanyard at Wivelsfield from his uncle John Fuller and by the 1780's he was
shown by trade as a Tanner of Ditchling and Wivelsfield.
Before the Police Force came into existence,
it was the usual thing for people of property, for their own safety, to band
themselves together into societies. Such a society flourished in Ditchling
during the eighteenth and well into the middle of the nineteenth century. Ditchling Society for the Prosecuting of
Thieves was established 30th
day of November 1784 at a meeting held at the Bull Inn, Ditchling. The object of the society was to raise a fund
for prosecuting persons who were found to be guilty of murdering or robbing and
defrauding any member of the said society of their property, and for the more
effectually discovering and bringing such persons to justice, and for offering
and paying such rewards to persons giving information hereby such offenders
were apprehended and convicted.
A meeting of
this society “was held once in every year at the Bull Inn on Monday nearest the
full moon in the month of November, and that dinner be upon the table at two
o’clock in the afternoon, and that each member pay three shillings to defray
the ordinary expenses thereof”. At this
meeting all the business of the Society was transacted, and a treasurer and a
clerk appointed every year .No member, we are told, was to claim protection for
any property ‘situated beyond ten miles from the town of Ditcheling’. [The History of Ditchling by Henry Cheal Jnr Organist of St
Margaret’s Church Ditchling printed 1901]
A document is
still hanging  in the pub showing the names of members of the Society and
in which several Tanner names appear.
We can gain
further insight into the life in Ditchling during the period 1785-90 from a
journal written by John Burgess, a glover, who lived and worked in the village,
and in which he mentions the Tanners and their tanyards. In his diary he recorded his day-to-day life,
with references to business transactions and everyday events, and always, in a
column on the right hand side ruled for the purpose, he commented on the
weather - thus the fixation of the climatic conditions around us are not a
modern idiom! John Burgess was a Baptist and eventually in 1794 he decided to
go to America
with his sons Henry 13, and Tom 11, mainly because he was in debt and because
he was probably finding his religious beliefs were being oppressed.
therefore, that on Sunday 28th January 1787 "there was a great fall of
snow with strong south wind but toward night it began to thaw and was much
wasted before morning, we have had a good winter for cold and wet", and
"we have had a remarkable sharp frost great deal of snow likewise the
frost began Nov 24th 1788 and lasted about 8 weeks many people say it more
severe cold than it was in the hard winter water was scarce and very bad many
wells dry has been so very dry for so long, long time great numbers of fish was
perished as well as birds &c.
went to the tanyard in Ditchling and on a fine Thursday 15 June 1786 he
"purchased a pair of collerd oyl skins of Mr Tanner at 3/- each", and
on a wet Wednesday 6 June 1787 he " went to Mr.Tanners and bought collered
sheep skins to make Mr.Sanders a pair 5/6d each". On another wet Saturday,
7 November 1789 he went to "ye tanyard paid Mr.Tanner £1-2-6d for tanning
all I owed him". On a fine Saturday, 2 September 1786, he went "to ye
tanyard with 3 dozen of leather to tan" and on a very wet and windy day
Saturday 3 March 1787 he went to "ye tan yard after 2 doz leathers".
On Friday 27 April when it was only cloudy he went to "ye tanyard Mrs
Baker with me brought 3 dozen in ye weelbarrow we got home about 9
o’clock." On a fine Saturday lst March 1788 he went "after my leather
4 dozen" and finally on a frosty Monday 17 November 1788 he "went to
ye Tanyard after leather paid him for all that have been tand since I paid him
before paid him £0-19-0d. He again "went to ye Tanyard at Weavelsfield on a
frosty and cold Friday, 25 March 1785, a cold Sunday 26 March 1786 on a showery
Wednesday, 5 July 1786 he "went to ye tanyard with 2 dozen leather".
On a very windy and wet day Thursday 14 September 1786 "he went to
Weavelsfield to ye tanyard for 3 dozen leather and the same on Wednesday 4
October 1786. However it was fine on Friday 14 and Thursday 27 September 1787
went he went to get his leather.
At the Quarter
Session Indictments at Horsham in 1788 William Carter gent, Collector of Excise
stated "that one William Tanner of Wivelsfield, Tanner, on 24th June last
at Wivelsfield, did take 9 hides out of the Wooze and Liquour wherein the same
had been tanned and did hang up or dispose of the said hides to be dried
without giving or sending notice in writing to the proper office for the duties
payable to such hides of the time when the said William Tanner should so take
the said hides two days before and dispose of them in Horsham --- plead 'not
guilty-- Thomas Coxton Officer of Excise (a credible witness) declares that the
hides were taken without notice --- found guilty and fined £20".
and was buried at Wivelsfield 23 December 1809 and the following appears on one
of the family tombs in Wivelsfield Churchyard.
William Tanner of the Tan Yard died 17 December
1809 aged 65
his wife died 27 September 1830 aged 88.
William Tanner their son died 21 August 1811 aged 30
John Neve Tanner son of Anthony and Mary
Tanner died 10 March 1820 aged 4.
In his Will
dated 17 June 1796 and proved 26 March 1810 he left everything as follows: “To my eldest son Thomas William all that
freehold capital messuage or tenement and Mansion House called Newhouse
otherwise Willmansworth together with the barns, stables, buildings, orchards,
backsides, curtilages and the several closes pieces and parcels of arable
meadow pasture and woodland by estimation 108.5 acres being in the several
parishes of Hurstpierpoint and Twineham and now in the tenure and occupation of
James Wood or his assigns sometime since purchased by my late father Anthony
Tanner deceased of and from John Norton then of Leatherhead in Surrey, Tanner.
Also that piece or parcel of copyhold land by estimation one acre and one road
lying near Herringsbridge in Twineham and held by the manor of Camios which I
have duly surrendered to the use of this Will.
youngest son Anthony Tanner messuage or tenement, barns outhouses and buildings
and all those several closes pieces or parcels of arable meadow and pasture
land to the said messuage known as Pepperhall and were sometimes called
Easterfields in Wivelsfield. Also all those several close pieces or parcels of
arable meadow and pasture land to the said messuage and premises belonging or
appertaining thereof severed and inclosed from a certain common called
Wivelsfield Common containing by estimation 46 acres now the tenure of Joseph
Hyder. Also Griggs otherwise Giffords about 11 acres Wivelsfield. Also Pdstream
and all barns, stables, outhouses, buildings, backsides, tanyard, gardens,
orchards and three several pieces or parcels of land to the said messuage or
tenement known as Tanhouse, Mead Ryecroft and Hurstwood containing 11 acres
Wivelsfield in my own occupation, the said last mentioned premises were
purchased by my father Anthony Tanner deceased from Francis Warden Esq., and
Robert Chatfield, Yeoman Executors in trust named in the Will of Richard Fuller
formerly of Cuckfield deceased. To hold the said several messuages or tenements
or farm lands etc unto my said son Anthony Tanner his heirs and assigns for
pursuance of Covenant in a certain indenture of release by way of settlement
dated 28 Jan 1780 previous to my marriage to Ann Field spinster) I bequeath to
my dear wife a yearly annuity of £60 for her natural life clear of all taxes
quarterly Lady Day, Midsummer Day, Michaelmas Day, Christmas Day. And I do
hereby charge and make chargeable the aforesaid capital messuage tenement and
Mansion House called Newhouse otherwise Willmansworth and the barns stables
buildings gardens orchards lands given and devised to my eldest son Thomas
William. In order to secure the due and
regular payment I direct my Executors to place out at interest on Government or
good security the sum of £1000 and with the dividends and interest thereon to
pay my wife Ann the yearly sum of £40 being two thirds of her annual annuity. I
do give and bequeath the said principal £1000 and all dividends and interest
thereon and also such overplus and surplus as shall on my death be remaining in
the hands of my executors from the dividends after discharging the said £40 and
all costs and charges to my son Anthony Tanner and my daughter Ann Tanner
equally within six months after the death of their mother provided they are 21.
Also to my wife Ann all my household goods, household, furniture, plate, linen,
china, beds, bedding and other implements of household in my dwelling house and
premises in Wivelsfield. I give to my son Anthony Tanner £1000 and my daughter
Ann Tanner £1500 to be paid within 6 months.
Executors: Reverend Richard Turner Westmeston
Clerk [brother-in-law]. William Tanner of Morehouse, gentleman.[brother] 5
guineas each for mourning rings.
Saml Waller. Walter Chatfield, Luke Killick. 26 March 1810 Goods not valued
June 1798 leaving the outhouses, garden, orchard, close of land one acre one
road twenty seven perches lying and being at Haywards Heath on the East Side of
the Turnpike Road leading from Lindfield towards Ditchling now in the tenure of
widow Langham purchased from Sir Thomas Shirley Baronet to Anthony Tanner.
died aged 30 and was buried on the 24 August 1811 at Wivelsfield.
Administration of his goods was granted to his brother Anthony on the 9th
married Mary Neve by licence at Tenterden in Kent on the 5 February 1811. They
returned to live at Cleavewater Farm next to the tanyard in Wivelsfield and
Anthony appears as a gentleman/farmer and tanner in the baptisms of his eight
children between December 1811 and May 1825. Their son John Neve Tanner died
aged 4 and was buried at Wivelsfield 17 March 1820. His wife Mary died aged 40
and was buried 15 June 1827. Following her death Anthony drew up his Will on 31
August 1827, when he was styled gentleman of Wivelsfield. His mother Ann died
aged 88 and was buried 30 September 1830. On the 26 September 1832 aged 49 he
died as a result of falling from his horse on Ditchling Hill on his way back
from a day in Brighton and the following appeared in several Brighton
are concerned to announce the shocking death of Mr Anthony Tanner of Wivelsfield.
The particulars of his lamentable end will be found in our account of
inquests. Mr Tanner was as we learn
generally esteemed, but we cannot conceive that we shall be discharging our
duty as public journalists unless we draw the attention of our readers to the
sad and fatal consequences which are ever to be apprehended from too free an
indulgence in the seductive vice of drinking.
On the 23rd inst. the
body of Mr A Tanner of Wivelsfield – George Hoather stated that he worked at
the lime kilns at Ditchling Bostell and was lying down at one of the kilns
about eight o’clock on Saturday night, when he heard the sound as of a horse
galloping down the hill very fast towards Ditchling – Sarah, the wife of George
Brooker, deposed that her husband was a labourer and lived at Ditchling lime
kilns; that about ten o’clock on Saturday night, Richard Bonnyface, a carter at
the kilns came into the house and requested her to go out with a light saying
there as a man dead in the road, and that she answered dead drunk supposed, and
went out immediately with a light, which was put out by the wind: that about
five or six rods from the house she saw the body of a man lying with his face
flat upon ground with one leg doubled under him and the other straight. She
turned up the body, it was covered with blood, and she knew it to be Mr Anthony
Tanner. She washed his face on the spot,
and conveyed him to the house in a chair; he was dead; the body did not appear
to have been moved; it appeared to her that deceased had had something to drink
– James Beall was the next witness examined; he stated that he was a bricklayer
and lived at 30 Chesterfield Street, Brighton, that between ten and eleven
o’clock on Saturday night he was at the Ditchling lime kilns and heard an
outcry amongst some women. As the cries continued he went down from the kiln to
the spot, where he saw the body of a man lying upon his face in the road, he
untied his handkerchief and unbuttoned his shirt collar and the waistband of
his clothes; he felt his bosom, which was warm, he put his head close to the
deceased’s and thought he perceived him to draw breath; he mentioned this to
Mrs Brooker, he put his mouth to the mouth of the deceased, and perceived
something like a rustle come from it, he washed him and had him placed in a
chair and conveyed him into the house – William Randalls deposed that he was a
shoemaker at Ditchling, that he was in the Bull Inn at Ditchling on Saturday
evening in company with several other persons, when George Heather came in and
said there was a man lying dead under the kiln, that they then started together
towards the place, and when they came to the turnpike gate he saw a horse on
the Brighton side of the road. The horse
was bridled and saddled, the stirrups were spring stirrups, and the left hand
stirrup was open there was no dirt upon the saddle, he mounted the horse and
rode up to the place where the body was lying, he examined the horse’s knees,
they were not injured – Robert Boddington stated he was a surgeon at Ditchling
that he saw Mr A Tanner, the deceased, about five o’clock on Saturday at
Brighton that they agreed to return home together at six. He did not consider the deceased quite sober
at the time. He waited for him till nearly 9 o’clock and as deceased did not
come, he started home by himself and got to Ditchling about 10 o’clock. As he was coming down Ditchling Bostell he
saw the deceased who had then been removed into the house and was quite dead
and he supposed had been for an hour or two.
He saw William Randall upon a horse, which he knew, belonged to the
deceased, had examined the body of the deceased in the presence of the jury,
the skull was fractured, as he imagined, from a fall. In his opinion the body had been drawn for some
distance, the fracture he saw was sufficient to have caused death.
Verdict – Accidental Death.
Gazette Thursday 27 September 1832.
“We have the pain of recording
the death of Mr Anthony Tanner of Wivelsfield under very distressing
circumstances. On Saturday last he was
in Brighton nearly the whole day, and spent
the afternoon with a friend in Ship
Street. He left the Brunswick Arms about seven
o’clock in the evening on horseback and proceeded up the Ditchling road on his
way home. About 10 o’clock Mr Tanner was found quite dead on the road, near the
bottom of Ditchling Bostell, by a man in the employ of Mr Bennett, lime burner.
The body was almost cold; the back part of the head was dreadfully cut and the
coat much torn. It is supposed that
whilst riding down the hill, the deceased fell asleep and overbalanced himself.
It appeared from marks of blood in the road that he must have been dragged a
considerable distance before he was clear of the stirrups. The horse went on to
the turnpike. On the following day a Coroner’s Inquest was held on the body,
and a verdict of ‘Accidental Death’
returned. The deceased left six children but no wife.
Saturday 29 September 1832
“FATAL OCCURRENCE On Saturday night last, between eleven and
twelve o’clock, Mr Anthony Tanner, a respectable farmer, residing in
Wivelsfield, in the county was found lying dead in the road, at the foot of
Ditchling Bosthill. An inquest was held
the following day on the body, when it appeared that on Saturday, the deceased
had been to Brighton, and had agreed to ride
home with Mr Boddington, a surgeon of Ditchling. The deceased was at the King and Queen
between five and six o’clock, but as Mr Boddington had not arrived, he started
alone. No more was seen of him until he
was found by some labourers at Ditchling lime-kilns, as above stated. The deceased’s skull was fractured, and his
horse was found at the road side, near Ditchling. It is rather remarkable, that
Mr Boddington, who left Brighton soon after Mr Tanner, saw his friend lying in
the road, at the foot of the Bosthill, and called out to him: but, receiving no
answer judged it was some person in liquor laid down to sleep, and passed
on. Verdict ‘Accidental Death’.
The following letter to the
SIR, - In the Brighton Guardian
of the 26th instant, there appeared an account of the death of Mr.
A. Tanner of Wivelsfield. Now, Sir, to
expect any thing but the most cold-hearted malignity from this quarter would be
to imagine any impossibility could be realized.
The shameless and cowardly Guardian must make this affair a vehicle for
his ravenous appetite for slander. The grave was not suffered to close on the
unfortunate man before he is held up as an example for drunkards to beware and
take warning by his untimely end. Think
you, Sir, that the inhabitants of Brighton
will not appreciate the conduct of this excrescence; who, perhaps, cannot be
more justly described than in the word of the poet:
“A bloated mass, a
gross unkneaded clodd,
“A foe to man, a
renegade to God:
childhood to his present age
“Sacred be infamy,
thru every stage”.
It is an act of common humanity,
Mr Editor, if justice be dear to you, if you would rescue from attempted insult
the memory of one of the most benevolent, one of the most kind-hearted men that
ever existed. Pray give publicity to these remarks. Nor, Sir, do I shrink from avowal, if
required, of who I am: and here throw down the gauntlet and bid defiance to the
base malinger – and stigmatise him thus, publicly as a libeller and coward!!!
Sept, 28 1832 A
FRIEND OF THE DECEASED.
Anthony Tanner’s will proved on 4 June 1833
ran to several pages. He left as his executors his brother-in-laws John Neve of
Tenterden, Kent, and Thomas Neve of Benenden, Kent, and his cousins William
Tanner of Patcham, and Richard Tanner of Wivelsfield, gentleman and stated that
they should "absolutely sell and dispose of all and singular my said
messuages lands tenements hereditaments and premises either together or in
parcels and by public sale or private contract..... Sell everything and call in
all rent etc equally divide the proceeds between his children.”
At the time of
his death the tanyard was mortgaged and over the next few years Thomas Neve,
acting for the other executors, disposed of all his property. The tanyard, on the
particulars of Sale by Auction on June 4th 1833 by Verrall & Son at the
Star Inn at Lewes at 4pm of 12 Lots by Direction of the Acting Devisee in Trust
and Executor of the late Mr. Anthony Tanner is described as follows; "a
most desirable freehold property ...consisting of a roomy dwelling house, late
the residence of Mr .A. Tanner, deceased, with Excellent Gardens, Orchards and
Pleasure Ground, a Summer House, Chaise House, Stabling for five horses,
Granary, Cart Lodge, Cow Lodge, Farm Yard, Bark Barn, Mill House, two Drying
Sheds, Leather Beam, Lime House and Tan Yard, well supplied with water, and
containing sixty-five Pits, also five pieces of Rich Meadow land, 8a 3r 36p,
subject to annual quite rent of 1 shilling to the Manor of Franklands and 6d to
the Manor of Otehall. The purchaser to have option of taking the Pits, Bark
Mill, Stock in Trade and Implements at fair valuation".
that the tanyard was no longer operational as no tanner was found in the 1841
census but a John Cook who occupied Cleavewater, was farming the Tanyard Meads.
One of the executors, William Tanner purchased it in 1856, by which time the
land had diminished from almost 9 acres to one acre and nineteen perches. The
pits were later incorporated into the garden of Hurstwood House,
which was built in 1869.
died his children were aged as follows - Mary 21, Elizabeth 19, William 18,
Maria 14, Anthony 12, Harriet 10 and Richard Tuppen 8. They obviously left
Wivelsfield by the middle of the following year when the farm was up for sale
and moved to London
to live in Lambeth with their Aunt Harriet Neve, (their mother's youngest
sister). Probate off Anthony’s will was
granted in 1835 and the sum of £3,000 was shown. By the 1841 census they were
living at 9 Walnut Tree Walk, Lambeth.
William as the head of the family was a Clerk, Richard was an apprentice
and Elizabeth, Maria, Harriet and Harriet Neve as independent. However although
named in their father’s will and being shown on the Inland Revenue document
dated 1835 there appears no further reference to either Mary Ann or Anthony
despite searches in many burial and/or marriage records. It has not been
possible to ascertain which publisher William was employed by but from later
records we know that when he was about 14, Richard was apprenticed to Spalding
and Hodge, wholesale stationers and paper manufactures in Drury Lane, Westminster.
died on the 3rd March 1843 at 9 Walnut Tree Walk at the age of 24, the cause of
death given by William Carter, Coroner for Surrey, Kingston was that she “cut
her throat being at the time in a state of mental derangement.” She was buried
at St May’s Church Lambeth.
In the 1851
census at Walnut Tree Walk William is a Publishers Assistant, Richard a
Stationers Assistant, Harriet his sister, and Harriet Neve his aunt still
independent and his cousin George Dixon aged 20 a Tea Dealers Assistant. Elizabeth was shown as a
visitor staying at Ditchling, with her cousin Martha, the wife of George Dixon
the Rector, parents of the aforementioned George.
On 3rd July 1849 John Neve died
at Tenterden after cutting his throat.
His first wife Mary was Anthony’s sister who had died in 1816; under the
terms of her marriage settlement upon John’s death money was to be returned to
her brother or his heirs. John’s brother
Thomas Neve was one of the executors and once again he was acting for the four
surviving Tanner children. The problem arose as John Neve had married again and
so a settlement had to be reached with his second wife. Therefore his will was not finally proved
until the 8 July 1850 – the sum showed under £25,000. In the Inland Revenue document it states
that “ By deed dated 28 April 1850 £3,200 was settled in trust for the same
purposes as the ⅓ of residue given to the four Tanners for life with
remainders to their children …….Statement filed in letter 1560491 shows the
circumstances, but in brief, there was a dispute as to the will and the widow
was paid £6,721 in liquidation of her claims under the will or interest …. Of
deceased. Such sum to be paid by
residuary legatees. By deed of 27 April
1850 Harriet Neve and the Tanners assigned their shares of residue to T Neve on
his undertaking the …. Debt of
£6,721. By a deed of 27 April 1850 H
Neve and the 4 Tanners assigned to Thos Neve all their shares of residue and
share of £7,000 given to the wife for life and all their legacies under
the will in consideration of a payment of £8000. The deed noted above was the
settlement of the sum agreed upon £3,200 was invested in £3570.8.8. consols.
Counsel advised that the Tanners took vested interests in the ⅓ of
residue. The parties have always acted
on the opposite view and that view was confirmed by the office in answer to
letter 25604.9 of ? £3200, the greater part if not the entirety represents the
legacy of £4500 to which the Tanners
were also entitled and therefore the deed of 28 April remainder ⅓ each 1850 is a settlement
By the 1861
census the family had moved from Lambeth to 3 Upper Eaumont Terrace, Hampstead
where Richard is shown as a Wholesale Stationer. William by then aged 47 had
given up work and with his two sisters and Aunt Harriet is shown as a
Fundholder. It would appear that Richard
had decided with this share of the inheritance to leave Spalding & Hodge in
1859 and set up in business with John Hunt in the name of Hunt and Tanner. Their partnership was dissolved in 1877 when
Richard set up the family business of R.T.
Tanner & Company, which was to run through four generations of the family,
finally ceasing trading in 1999.
On the 19
January 1865 Richard Tuppen Tanner wholesale stationer of Hampstead, son of
Anthony Tanner, Gentleman married Mary Ann
Scotney Ellis of Hampstead, daughter of Richard Ellis, Surgeon at St.
Johns Hampstead, witnessed by J.Macquire and Harriet Tanner and they went to
live at 38 Marlborough Hill, St. Johns Wood. They moved to 99 Alexandra Road, and then to 43 Belsize
Park, Hampstead and in the next fifteen years had six children, two died and
Harriet Neve died at 3 Upper Eamont Terrace
on 19 May 1866. She had drawn up her
will 31 August 1849 shortly after the death of her brother John leaving £200
to her brother Thomas Neve of Benenden, £200 to her sister Caroline, wife of
Francis Grant of Van Demansland [New Zealand] Gentleman, £200 to her nephew
Thomas Montague Hammond son of her late sister Maria wife of Thomas Wiffnall
Hammond of Brixton Surrey and £200 to each of her nephews and nieces, William
Tanner, Richard Tuppen Tanner, Elizabeth Tanner and Harriet Tanner the sons and
daughters of her late sister Mary, wife of Anthony Tanner, late of Wivelsfield
in the County of Sussex Gentleman. The entire residue was to be divided between
them. [As there is still no mention of Mary and Anthony it is safe to assume
that they had both died]. Probate was
granted the 25 June 1866 to William Tanner and Richard Tuppen Tanner of 38
Marlborough Hill, St.John's Wood gents and nephews, her effects were under
Tanner died 6 September 1880. William
died 13 December 1886 and in his will drawn up 1st September 1882 he mentions
furniture and effects of his late father. He left everything to his two sisters
Harriet and Elizabeth or if they had died to the children of his deceased
brother Richard Tuppen. Stock £ 5% Great Western Railway 1500 shares personal
estate was £10,617.4s.6d. His will was proved 13 December 1886 to executors
Charles Neve of Amberfield, Chart Sutton, Kent and William West Neve 5
Bloomsbury Square, Middlesex. After his death Harriet and Elizabeth both wrote
their Wills on 16 December 1887 leaving their effects either to each other or
otherwise to Richard's children William Anthony, Frances Mary, Edith and
Arthur. Their executors were William West Neve and William Anthony Tanner. Elizabeth's Will was
proved 4 April 1888 £5,803.11s 3d and Harriet's 18 November 1890 £9,052.18s.
deaths of William, Richard, Harriet and Elizabeth all links with Sussex
ended. Richard’s widow and surviving
children remained in Hampstead and later generations lived in Surrey,
Kent, Northampton and Buckinghamshire.
written for my father-in-law Derek Tanner for his 80th birthday in
2010 and 2012.