Questions Archive Section

Questions posed and Answers given in 2014 

The archive of questions posed in 2014 and the answers given (up to and including the inauguration of our current website on 31st January 2015) demonstrates the depth of research we can offer from local resources in Tunbridge Wells combined with routine and inspired surfing of the Internet. For £10, which is the cost of one year's membership if you live in the UK, you too can fill gaps in your genealogical knowledge. (The membership subscription is a little higher for overseas members to cover the additional cost of  mailing the Society's Journal internationally). 

Please excuse a small anomaly which arises because a new website was introduced in January 2015.  The questions were posed on the dates shown, but the new program has dated all replies for the end of January 2015, when the current website was launched. In fact the questions were usually answered within a few days.


Question by Beverley Herbert on 2016-08-06 11:37:34

Hello, I am trying to break down a family tree brick wall and one of the possible threads has lead me to Tunbridge Wells. I am researching George Rose, tailor, born abt 1805 Tunbridge Wells (chr. 31 Mar 1805, Tunbridge) to Jane Rose (I think!). I believe he is POSSIBLY the father of my ancestor Thomas Rose born 1853 in Croydon, but not by his wife Hannah (nee Tester). It is a very convoluted and complicated story - the whole saga can be found here (but will take too long to wade through!) :

The only link I MAY have to this George Rose is the possible birth place of Thomas Rose's older sister Elizabeth as Bromley, where this George Rose spent most of his life... and an intereresting looking but vague Thomas Rose living in the household of one of George Rose's legitimate children (Amelia Jane Ashley, nee Rose) in 1871 St Clement Danes, London. I am trying to flesh out the tree of this George Rose to try and find some more concrete links or rule him out. If possible, I would be interested to know more about George's mother Jane Rose - possibly if there is mention in the records of his potential father. A Jane Rose married Henry Anscomb/e or Aynscomb a month after the birth of George so perhaps he was the dad? Married 30 April 1805 Tunbridge, Kent. It looks as though both Jane and Henry had died before the 1841 census though so I haven't been able to see much more about them. I also haven't been able to narrow down a baptism/birth for Jane. I have started to look at George's wife's family as well - the Testers. She was Hannah Tester, dau of Thomas Tester and Elizabeth Roffe (again, I think - not certain) Sorry this is all not very clear - please do ask if there is any other info that might be useful. Thank you in advance for any help/useful pointers.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-08-19 12:17:34

I do not believe that the Thomas you are seeking is the one staying with William W. and Amelia J. Ashley in 1871. That Thomas is shown as born in Bromley. In 1853 Hannah would have been 47 and probably by then infertile and perhaps that Thomas could be a cousin of Amelia. In the 1871 census there is a Thomas Rose, a barman, living at the Railway Bell public house in Tunbridge Wells, whose birthplace is shown as Tooting. Tooting was once part of Mitcham in the Croydon Registration Area.  The age differs slightly, but that is not unusual. I feel sure there is a clue in the birth registration. It will prove whether or not George and Hannah are the parents or it could be others at an address in Tooting. You can obtain a birth certificate from the General Register Office at The relevant details to quote are Quarter 1 1853, Croydon Registration District, volume 2A, page 132.  For the necessary information, you'll need to purchase a full certificate.  The answer to your quest may will be outside our area, but let me know all the details shown and I'll research further.



Answer by Beverley Herbert on 2016-08-22 22:15:39

Just to clarify (it was really hard to try and put all the relevant facts in my question, because my theory is all so convoluted!) - I do not believe that George and Hannah are the parents of my Thomas Rose. T have my Thomas Rose's birth certificate and his parents are given as George Rose, tailor, and Sarah Rose, formerly Hollins. Sarah Rose made her mark and is living in Old Town, Croydon. His birth dateis 29 January 1853. It has so far been impossible to trace which George Rose this actually was and I don't believe he was ever married to my Sarah Hollins/Rose. My Tunbridge Wells theory is that George Rose, tailor of Bromley (born Tunbridge Wells) may have been Thomas' father by Sarah Hollins (who was possibly/probably never a Rose) so my Thomas is probably illegitimate - this may be an impossible quest...Sarah Rose seems to have been very sparing with the truth in any census entry I might be able to attribute to her - her age differs, the children's birth places vary and, as yet, I have not been able to trace my Thomas between 1861 (Canterbury) and 1885, when I know his "first"(?) son was born in Little Chart, Kent (and actually I do not know for absolute certain his whereabouts from birth/baptism onwards! I will definitely have a look at the other Thomas Rose you have mentioned - if I can trace who he is and where he went I might be able to rule him in or out. I am also putting together the family tree of George Rose, Bromley/TW in case a cousin Thomas Rose pops up. Amelia had a much older brother, Thomas, so it could actually be him, but with the age way out.





Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-08-22 22:24:27

Have you searched for a baptism of the Thomas born to Sarah Rose, nee Hollins.  If there was illgitimacy, an officious minister, would state this in the baptism register.  The birth of a son to Thomas at Little Chart in 1885 would appear to be the earliest real fact you have established.  Please send me the full details you hold and I'll try and work back from there.  Have you not found the wedding of Thomas and the mother?

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-10-10 17:30:43

I have checked through the detailed resume you sent me and, after a lengthy search, have found only the following additional information concerning Thomas' wife.  Ann Ansell was born in Quarter 2 1865 in the Eastry registration area, volume 2A, page 746.  In the 1871 census, Ann, born in Ash, is living with her parents Henry and Jane and three siblings at Church Street, Woodnesboro, Kent. (RG10/1000).  In the 1881 census, Ann is living at Overland Hog Houses, Wingham Road, Ash together with her paents and three siblings (RG11 993/21)

Question by Christopher Harding on 2016-08-02 13:48:26

We are researching my wife's family, and in particular my wife's GGGrandfather, Richard Boorman (1823-1892), who was resident for most of his life in Tunbridge Wells. Throughout the period from around 1850 to 1890 he was a master baker and confectioner, working firstly from 63 High Street and laterly from nos. 1, 3 & 5 High Street. Some time during the 1880's he was also a Town Commissioner, possibly chairman of the "Burial Board". In December 1890 his business (Boorman Brothers Bakery) was put into bankruptcy in Tunbridge Wells County Court.

We would like to find any details of his time as a town commissioner; possibly a photograph of him as a councillor; and further details of the bankruptcy.

We would be grateful if anyone could advise as to where we may find details of the meetings, and possibly pictures, of the town council and commissioners during 1880's, and also where we may find and view details of the bankruptcy court case from December 1890. Also, could anyone advise where copies of Tunbridge Wells local newspapers from the 1860's to 1890's are kept and available for viewing.

Many thanks. Christopher Harding, Bedfordshire, UK

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-08-12 09:49:36

I contacted the Tunbridge Wells Museum and the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library.  The Museum has replied that it possesses an election notice of town commissioners from 1872, which lists Mr. Richard Boorman, but no photos are held. It also holds an archive of council minutes, which are stored in the Town Hall, but administered by the Museum.  It does not have the capacity to handle family history enquiries, but it can facilitate a visit, should you want to read through them.  The contact is Elizabeth Douglas at  The Reference library has sent me two newspaper reports of a debtors court case involving the Boorman family in July and November 1890.  These probably resulted in a subsequent bankruptcy, for which reports could not be found.  Are you sure of the December 1890 date? I'll send the reports to you by e-mail. 



Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-09-05 08:51:19

I have received subsequent articles from the Kent & Sussex Courier regarding the bankruptcy from Tunbridge Wells Library and will forward these to you.  At the end of 1890 there was a change in the bankruptcy law whilst the case was proceeding and an article on this is included.

Question by Dennis Hall on 2016-05-22 15:40:29

Does anybody know the names of hospitals in the Tunbridge Wells area used for injured soliders in the first world war and whether there are any records held of the patients that may have been hospitalised there during the conflict.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-07-02 09:02:05

The Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society has recommended to me a book published by its Local History Group, The Shock of War.  Tunbridge Wells: Life on the Home Front 1914-1919".  Chapter 6 (pages 110-131 is entitled ""How Tunbridge Wells coped with the Military Wounded".  It was published in 2014 and can be obtained from Waterstone's, priced at £9.95.



Answer by Catherine James on 2016-07-19 11:55:40


In answer to the question about hospitals in Tunbridge Wells for wounded soldiers, perhaps I can help with one answer.  My great aunt Min Novis was the matron of Nevil Park Hospital, which was resquisitioned in early 1915 to help cope with the wounded who were coming over in the trains from France.  I have in my possession two gifts given to my late great aunt incribed "to Mrs Novis from the Boys of Nevil Park, Xmas 1915 and Xmas 1917 respectively", one a silver claret jug, the other a French travelling clock.


I also found notes written by a Canadian officer in his diary, describing his injuries, travelling details and time spent at Nevil Park, on the internet, which I copied out.


I have passed this information on to Ed Gilbert who said he was writing an article about hospitals in Tunbridge Wells.


Min was born in Tunbridge Wells, and died there in 1947.


If I can help further, please let me know.

Regards, Catherine James (nee Novis)

Question by Jon B on 2016-05-18 11:13:23

I am trying to find out why my relatives may have moved from London (Battersea) to Tunbridge Wells very shortly after they were married in 1930 (in London). They have an address in 1930 shown as "Colebrook Park Lodge - Tonbridge Rural". Do you have any information on Colebrook Park Lodge and perhaps if it may have offered employement to a plumber/general labourer (husband) and short-hand typist (Wife). The family name was John & Lilian Pomeroy. Thank You

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-05-28 19:34:42

Kelly's Directories include Colebrooke Park in its Tonbridge section, because the entrance was in Pembury Road, the main route between Pembury and Tonbridge, until 1922.  In the census returns for 1891, 1901,and 1911 Colebrooke Park Lodge was inhabited by the estate gamekeeper, Henry James Woodhams.  Did John Pomeroy have the necessary experience to take over such a role?  Colebrooke House looks to have been demolished in 1923, but, of course, Colebrooke Park Lodge could have remained inhabited.  This I am trying to check out.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-09-15 08:58:39

The next move to locate the Pomeroys should be to search the electoral rolls through the 1920s to the 1930s to find out exactly when they were in residence at Colebrook Park Lodge. These are held at the Kent History & Library Centre in Maidstone ( Unfortunately for research by a librarian a charge of £8.50 per fifteen minutes is levied.  If practical a personal visit should therfore be made. To limit the search time, I have tried to find out whether Colebrook Park Lodge came within the boundary of Tunbridge Wells or Tonbridge. Seemingly Tonbridge, but I cannot be sure. The electoral rolls will only determine the period of residence, they will not answer your question as to the occupations of the Pomeroys.

Question by John William PRING on 2016-04-02 12:57:03

Any budding Inspector Poirot's out there??
My grandfather was born out of wedlock in 1906 in Tunbridge Wells and given his mothers surname of Hayward. As his real father’s name could not be entered at Registration (they were not married and he was not present) his mother included what she understood as his father’s surname as one of his forenames. A common practise even to this day. The name was SMITH.
However when my uncle was visiting a family of fire-fighters in a house down near the cooling towers at the bottom of Camden road with his father (my grandfather) in about 1943 he was shown a picture of four or five firemen in uniform in a row. It was explained to him that one of those shown was his grandfather (his dad’s REAL father) but a joke was made of the fact that this man told my grandfathers mother (Hayward) that his surname was SMITH (Ha ha) In other words my grandfathers forename of SMITH (as in the birth registration) wasn’t relating to his real father at all and that was because his mother had been lied to when she became pregnant.
So the task is to find out the surname of this family of firemen and that will be my great grandfather's true surname.
I have some pretty good clues:-
1. The picture showed a father and two or three sons who were all firemen in uniform. (No date when it might have been taken.) One of these was my grandfather’s real father and my grandfather must have know that fact to be visiting the family with his son (my uncle when aged about 7) So this visit must have been in about 1943.
2. The location they were living (near the cooling towers at the bottom of Camden Road) and I know they were getting the rent subsidised by the fire service. Hence my previously submitted question.
3. My uncle was told my grandfather’s real father (one of the brothers in the picture) was killed in WW1. (Perhaps a fantastic clue but not without a surname to search for!)
4. So one of the brothers was killed in WW1. The other ‘Mossie' (a nickname) committed suicide (or was accidentally drowned) in a lake in Tunbridge Wells between April 1953 and February 1955. My uncle (the one above who was shown the picture) was serving in the army and was told of the drowning on his return. I have looked at the Kent and Sussex Courier for the report of the drowning of ‘Mossie’ but the archives available online only go up to 1950! A couple of years short. This drowning is NOT the one in 1950 in Sherwood Lake. It’s later than that.
So once I get a surname I hope to tie up the drowning with the death in WW1 and possibly the family of firemen and where they lived.
Then I have to find a direct living male from that family and compare his DNA with a direct male from my grandfather’s side.
It's a big ask but can anyone help?

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-04-02 17:05:14

I have a mass of information on the firefighting Hayward family, which I collated when handling a previous enquiry.  I'll dig it out and send it to you

Answer by John Pring on 2016-04-08 10:45:51

Thank you, Brian for all the information.  This has blown what my uncle has told me out of the water! He is at present in Australia, where he migrated some years ago with his family. He is the little boy who remembered going to the house and seeing the picture and being told the story.I need now to try and take all this in and make sense of it all. I can only presume that my grandfather and uncle were actually visiting my great grandmother's family, the Haywards, who were the firefighters. Alice Annie Hayward was one brother's (Fred, born 1862) daughter and the picture shown was maybe one taken at one of the presentation ceremonies described in the forwarded information around the turn of the century. The fireman pointed out as being my grandfather's real father must have been one of the others at the firestation at the same time. This would explain how Alice met a fireman and became pregnant by him. These all must have been pert-time firemen, because none of them listed in the census returns show qccupations as firemen. Fred was a plumber. If what unle says is true, either Thomas Hayward (born 1857) or William Hayward (born 1867) was nicknamed "Mossie" and was one of the brothers who drowned around 1952. Did you find any details of the drowning? You have done a cracking job and exceeded all my expectations! I am really grateful. Please pass on my sincere thanks to your connections, who have passed the information to you.


Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-04-11 07:21:46

I contacted Roger Lewis once again.  He informed me that before WWII all firemen were part-timers.  He has no information on anyone with the nickname of "Mossie", neither does he have anything on the drowning. I asked if Tunbridge Wells Station has an archive of photos, but whatever photos are in existence are held by the Kent Firefighting Museum at Ash, near Sevenoaks, but they are mainly post-war.  He has sent me a photo of William Hayward, which I will pass on to you.

I have also contacted Edward Gilbert, our member who owns the website  The feature he wrote on William Hayward is currently archived, but he has sent me the text, which I will send to you. He will be sending to me the photos he holds.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-04-11 10:08:53

The article on the Hayward firefighters from Ed Gilbert reveals that it was Frederick James Walter Maskell, the son-in-law of Alfred Hayward, who was drowned in Sherwood Lake.  Could the nickname "Mossie" actually be "Massie" and refer to Frederick?

Question by John Pring on 2016-03-27 21:29:57

Hi everyone. I am trying to find out where there were houses specifically allocated to housing firemen and their families in Tunbridge Wells in the 1940's. My uncle used to visit a family of firefighters in one of these houses and all he can remember is that it was near the big old cooling towers in the area of St Barnabas Camden Road. Also does anyone know if the records are archived anywhere of firefighters who served at this time?

Many thanks

John Pring (Born in Tunbridge Wells 1954)

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-03-30 13:16:17

I consulted Roger Lewis, who is the archivist for Tunbridge Wells Fire Brigade.  He wrote:

In answer to the questions, houses were not allocated to the firemen; they had to find their own accommodation, so there was no specific area in which they lived. Provided they could respond to the fire station in a reasonably quick time, thay could live where they liked. The historical time line of the fire brigade in Tunbridge Wells was, up until August 1941, the Tunbridge Wells Borough Fire Brigade (run by the local council). August 1941 - April 1st 1948 it was the National Fire Service. From April 1st 1948 up until now, the Fire Brigade is the responsibility of the Kent County Council (Kent & Medway Towns Fire Authority). There are no archived details of the firemen who served with the Borough Fire Brigade and most of the records for the wartime firemen (short term service only) were destroyed after the war; only very few survive. Any post records that do survive for the Kent Fire Brigade are held at the Kent Firefighting Museum, Woodlsnds Green Centre, Ash Lane, Ash, near Sevenoaks TN15 7EG. Tel no. 01474 852788 ext 6. 



Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-03-30 15:42:36

If the fireman was the householer, you should be able to find his name and address in the list of Private Residents in Kelly's Directory.  These are available in the Reference Library, Tunbridge Wells.  If you send me the fireman's name and the time period, I'll take a look on my next visit. 

Question by Nicholas WOOLLETT Angela WOOLLETT on 2016-03-17 17:47:14

i would like to migrate my Family History file, currently on a Windows XP Dell laptop to my MacPro with the latest Mac operating system.

This is because the Kapersky anti-virus licence is due for three machines and only one is currently used, the Dell, and we could cancel the licence if the data could be transferred to the Mac.

There is a Family Tree Maker tool fordoing just this in GenSoft but the reviews are not encouraging. 

Any advice, suggestions or experience of doing the same would be greatly appreciated.

Nick Woollertt

Answer by Brian Tayler on 2016-03-20 11:04:47

I am not a Mac user, but do have an iPad to have some experience with cross-platform transfers as our desktop and laptop both run Windows 10 (and previously Windows 8, 7, Vista and XP) with substantial family history data input to Roots Magic.  What programme(s) are you running on the PC?  What will you be running on the Mac?  In principal I would expect that some form of GEDCOM file transfer would be possible, although it may need an intermediate step.  The main issue is that the GEDCOM format was created when family history programmes only stored text, and in relatively few fields at that, so the more complex data sites of modern family history software can cause issues as different vendors treat these newer fields in non-standard ways.  I'll do a little research in the meantime. 



Answer by John Pring on 2016-04-02 16:36:48

I have just recently joined the Society and seen your question. I am quite well experienced at genealogy research.  I also use an Apple Mac.  The best genealogy software for Mac is Reunion. You can download it for free and try before you purchase, but trust me, it's the dog's doodads. If you can export your old genealogy from your PC programme in the form of a Gedcom file, then Reunion will import it for you. A Gedcom file is cross platform, so migrating from PC to Mac shouldn't be a problem. If I can be of any further help, please get in touch.


Question by Carolyn HARRIS on 2016-03-07 15:48:23

I am looking for the name of the father of RICHARD GEORGE MORGAN Bap. 26.12.1817 in Tunbridge Wells

His mother was MARY HEWLITT 


Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-03-13 06:55:33

Richard George Morgan was the namesake of his father.  He was seemingly born illegitimately because under Parents the register states "Richard George Morgan by Mary Hewlite".  Alongside each baptismal entry is an earlier date, almost certainly the actual birth date, in Richard's case July 5th.  Their home is shown as "Tunbridge"   The baptism was performed on 26th December 1817 by W. Nicholson at Tunbridge Wells Chapel

Answer by Carolyn HARRIS on 2016-03-16 10:52:10

Hi Brian, many thanks for the information on Richard George Morgan, a mystery solved.

Question by Peter Sands on 2016-02-29 13:37:33


I am researching my late mother's surname of Pocock and am wondering if you can help me please. I am disabled, cannot travel very far and do not have a computer. I have reached back to Robert Pocock, who died in Frant in 1543. His wife was Anne and she died in Frant in 1558. I would like to know the date of their marriage, Anne's maiden name and also the names of Robert's parents.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-02-29 13:50:48

I could not find any parish records for Frant before 1537.  The Sussex Family History Group also reports on its website that it has found no parish records for Frant before that date. I did however find that many transcriptions for Sussec wills, including those of Robert and Anne, are available to members from a list on the SFHG website.  Peter Sands is also a member of the SFHG and I obtained by e-mail the transcriptions of the wills of Robert and Anne to forward to Mr. Sands by post.

Question by Will on 2016-02-15 21:03:38

Hi, my father Edward P Hodge recently discovered that he was born at Northfields Maternity Home in Langton, Speldhurst. This was a surprise as his family lived in Deptford. Is there any way of finding out why his mother, Doreen (maiden name Buckton) would have given birth to him there? His three siblings - Thomas, Suzie and Sally were all born in London. Thanks 

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-02-18 09:14:49

You do not quote any dates, but I am sure Doreen woulld have been born in the war years.  With the threat of a Nazi invasion of the Kent coast a serious possibility, a number of expectant mother's were transferred to the relative safety of Langton Green.  A number of unmarried expectant mothers and, of course, local mothers also were there.  They were first of all accommodated at Pavey's on the Speldhurst Road on the outskirts of Langton Green and then transferred to Northfields when the birth was imminent.  Northfields was demolished and the land is now covered in housing.  Pavey's still stands.  Yours is the eleventh enquiry regarding Northfields I have received over the past five years.  I will trawl through my files and send you copies of relevant information and photos I hold. 

Question by John Edward SISLEY Mary Kathleen SISLEY on 2016-01-29 09:59:21

I have the following two marriages. Elizabeth SISSLEY to James WOOKKER on 29.09.1815 and Margarett SISSLEY to Stephen WONKKER on 09.03.1818 both in Pembury. Information on Family Search Reference I06763-5. The surnames of the husbands are very unusual and I cannot find any further information on them. Has anybody suggestions on alternative spellings of their names?

My ancestors came from Pembury and I have compiled up quite a deal of information of SISLEYs in Pembury, Tudeley and Brenchley and will be happy to share my information.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-02-09 09:31:53

On Stephen's registration the surname is written again, because he signed with an X and this does look like Wookker.  I have photocopied both registrations, so you can see for yourself and will send them to you by e-mail. 

Answer by John Sisley on 2016-02-17 18:37:50

Thank you so much for the information.  My wife, who was a medical secretary and is used to doctors' scrawls, cannot throw any light on the spellings.  Someone on Ancestry has interpreted Stephen's name as WOOLGARand has quite a comprehensive record of Stephen and Mary's life together.  I must admit I am not convinced



Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-02-17 19:07:54

I do not know whether you have traced the lives of Wookkers further forward in the nineteenth century and beyond.  It could be worth your while contacting the owner of the tree on Ancestry, because he or she my know something you don't.  Many people with foreign surnames changed their surname to an English one to avoid standing out as a foreigner.  This does not have to be done officially, although in modern times, it could be difficult.  One would hope that the Wookkers lived long enough to participate in the 1841 census and possibly later ones.  Have you found them or any descendants in a census return?  

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-03-26 20:21:08

Reference the e-mail you passed on to me suggesting that the surname should read Woolgar. Having carried out more research, I believe the writer is correct. Margaret Sissley was born in Pembury on 21 February 1796.  She died in Bletchingley, Surrey on 9 January 1871 as Margaret Woolgar. Stephen Woolgar, born 1786, died in Bletchingley on 22 November 1846. In the 1851 census Margaret Woolgar, a widow born in Pembury, was with son James at the Almshouse in Bletchingley.

Question by Edward (Ted) Shirley on 2016-01-01 00:00:00

 William Stevens born Speldhurst Kent about 1775, married Sarah Mead at Plumstead Kent 01 Jan 1810 they appear to have only one child, Richard. He was born about 1810 Plumstead Kent, baptized St Paul's Deptford, Kent 19 Jun 1810. He married Maria Weller about Dec 1837 at Dartford Kent. 

They had 13 children between 1838 -1859. Have only found half of their marriages. They all lived mainly in Plumstead Kent.

By their occupations, it's safe to say, that they mostly worked at Royal Woolwich Arsenal. 

Seeking more about William, his baptism, parents. Death.

Richard, was he really an only child? 

Any help or guidance would be appreciated. 

Thank you.



Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-01-05 18:03:32

The TWFHS has transcribed the records of St. Mary's Church in Speldhurst.  However I could find no trace of a William Stevens, born in the 1770s.  I double-checked by visiting the Tunbridge Wells Library to read the parish registers on microfilm.  I also checked the records of nearby Groombridge, Ashurst and the Tunbridge Wells Chapel without success.  Some family trees on Ancestry include the birth year 1875 with the parents named as Edward and Elizabeth Stevens and also a marriage between Edward and Elizabeth in Speldhurst in 1774, which I also cannot find.  Family Search includes a birth date of 1778, which again does not appear to be correct.  I can understand that a child may not have been baptised, but, unless the family were non-conformists, any true marriage record has to be registered.  Unless there is a non-conformist connection, I feel that the Speldhurst connection is a red herring, in particular because nobody including it on their tree states an actual date of birth or baptism, only a year.  Family Search often take the word of researchers, simply because they do not want to miss the opportunity of baptising posthumously  a soul from this planet into the Mormon Church.  I suggest you take a step back to William's marriage in 1810 in Plumstead.  Have you checked the actual church register entry and the parishes stated therein of both William and Sarah.  Usually the church would be in the parish (in this case St. Paul's Deptford) of the bride, but from which parish is William shown?  Unfortunately Deptford and Plumstead are outside our area and records need to be searched locally.  The North West Kent Family History Society ( covers both Deptford and Plumstead, but Plumstead is also covered by the Woolwich Family History Society at  The NWKFHS states in its blog that the records for Deptford are at the London Metropolitan Archives in London.  Maybe those for Plumstead are too.  I note you are in Wickford, which is within easy reach of the LMA anmd a visit would be worthwhile.  Brian Dobson

Answer by Edward Shirley on 2016-02-09 08:49:34

I decided to bite the bullet and get the marriage certificate for the son Richard and his bride Maria Waller, and learned that Richard's father was not William of Speldhurst, but another Richard, a blacksmith by trade, The marriage was in East Wickham, close to Plumstead.  So Speldhurst was, as you said, a Red Herring. Thank you once again for your support and guidance.



Question by Allan Collier on 2015-12-08 17:19:39


We are researching Somerset Photographers 1841 1939 , Thomas Sims who was a Tunbridge photographer until his death in 1910 , Sims worked in Weston super Mare c1849 1850 where he was licenced to take photographs by Thomas Sharp , his negotiation with Sharp was recorded in his diary / papers , these diarys / papers have been deposited in Tunbridge Museum , it would be impractical for us to travel to Tunbridge from Somerset to do a search , I have spoken to Liz Douglas at the museum and confirmed the papers are still there but they wouldn't be able to find the time to search our period ie c May 1849 Sims arrival , to Dec 1850 his departure from WsM. Is one of your members familiar with Sims papers and would be willing to search , ie May 1849 to Dec 1850 re the Sharp Sims negotiation , hope you can help .




Answer by Brian Dobson on 2016-01-05 17:13:10

I met with Liz Douglas just before the holiday season and sorted through the files to ascertain exactly what they contain.  There are:
Two notebooks, which in the main appear to describe various photographic processes, but there are other notes in between on various topics.
Other papers describing photographic processes.
A handwritten biography by E.R. Ashton and subsequent handwritten articles by him.
Various papers on patents
An assortment of press cuttings.
A large number of letters in handwriting, which will require careful reading.  Most of these are dated after 1851, but it is possible that some may refer to the past and could refer to the relationship with Thomas Sharp.
To carry out a proper search of the papers will take up some considerable time and require more than one visit.  I am planning on returningto Tunbridge Wells Library soon.
Brian Dobson


Question by Roy THOMPSON Annabelle THOMPSON on 2015-11-30 12:00:24

I've been asked to find pictures/photographs of Peates Riding School aka Moat Farm from anytime in the late 1950's - early 1960's. Does anyone have any - or know of someone who does? I should be very grateful for help as I would like to frame a copy and give it to a friend who used to ride there and has a very important birthday in the near future.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-12-12 23:09:27

We are a small society with some 200 members, so I recommend that the search be widened by writing to the letters page of our local newspaper, the Kent & Sussex Courier, at  Let me know when this has been done and I'll watch out for publication.  I have made one unsuccessful search for photos at Tunbridge Wells Library.  I'll continue by trying other sources.  I searched through issues of Kelly's Directory of Tunbridge Wells and found Peate's Riding School listed between 1927 and 1974 at Moat Farm, St. Mark's Road.  The proprietor was R. Oswald Peate.  As 1974 was the final edition of Kelly's Directory, the riding school could have been operating longer.  Moat Farm is now a housing estate.  From 1922 to 1926 R. Oswald Peate operated the Mount Riding School in Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells.  It was situated on the north western corner with Rodmell Road.  Interestingly I have found a directory entry for The Jeffrey Peate Livery Stables at Manor Farm Stud, Bells Yew Green Road, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9BH.  Telephone 01892 750288.  Could Jeffrey Peate be a relative?   


Answer by Roy Thompson on 2015-12-17 20:27:33

  To: Brian Dobson. Yes, Geoffrey Peate is one of the founder's children. Angela and Geoffrey are still alive. I think the other son, Guy, died many years ago and interestingly his widow bought a farm from some friends of ours in Five Ashes at least 25 years ago. I will try and contact Geoffrey Peate and see if he has any photographs of the Riding School in the 50s. You never know, he may even remember the friend I'm trying to get a picture for. Thank you for your help. I'll let you know if I am successful    

Question by Rebecca VERKADE-CAVE on 2015-09-03 00:00:00

In my family I have discovered the following marriages all concerning families in the Tunbridge Wells area: 1881  William Killick 1859-1941 married Mary Ann Shoebridge 1857- 1922 1892 Harry Shoebridge 1866-1934  married Isabella Freeland 1869-1942 1893( August) Ellen Killick 1857-1942 married James Freeland 1873-1904 1893 (Sept) William Freeland 1863-1943 married Alice Killick 1876-1923 The Killicks are all siblings, Ellen being my great grandmother. Their parents were William Killick 1831 - 1914 and Sarah Parker 1839-1882 who married in 1857 in Tunbridge Wells, both from Kent/ Sussex area. The Freelands are siblings, James being my great grandfather. Their parents were James Freeland c1834 and Ellen Oakes 1842-1892. James was born in Ireland. The Shoebridges are brother and sister. Their parents were William Shoebridge c1825-1866 and Jane Ann Haggett (or Hugget) c1830-1910. I would be interested in how these families knew each other, and in particular if any has any further information about the Shoebridge family.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-09-03 20:24:19

Our membership is small compared to newspaper circulations. I would recommend widening the audience able to read your enquiry by sending an email to the letters page of our local newspaper, The Kent and Sussex Courier. The address is

Question by Julie McDonald on 2015-07-10 05:34:24

Hello, I am trying to discover more about Alexander Gallard, baptised 21 Sep 1746 in Bidborough. Son of Alexander and Dorothy Various Family Histories have him marrying Elizabeth Cole or Elizabeth Ring. Father of Mathew Gallard baptised 1780, Bidborough. Who married Susannah probably Habens. I would love to know more about this family, and if possible where they lived and died etc Regards, Julie

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-07-18 14:33:06

There are a number of family trees published online for the Gallard family of Bidborough. It is obvious that some contain conflicting information. These I have pieced together and have managed to eliminate a number of the anomalies and prove many of the facts. I am assuming you are based in the UK and so can therefore take advantage of the library versions of Ancestry and FindMyPast, which are available free-of-charge at most public libraries. I will send you by e-mail a chronology of the work I have done so far. For the next stage I will trawl through the parish registers for Bidborough  to prove more links. The interesting find so far is the family link to the philanthropist Charles J. Gallard, whose legacy to his home parish of Southborough is the almshouses, still rented out and serviced today via a trust fund set up in his name.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-08-03 19:24:42

As promised I have checked the baptisms for the Church of St. Lawrence at Bidborough at Tunbridge Wells Library. Unfortunately there are gaps in the records. The baptisms from 1686 to 1706 are missing and the records of marriages before 1813 are only available from 1701 to 1707 and 1740 to 1755. So far I have checked the baptisms from 1707 to 1812 and marriages for those two short periods. By e-mail I am sending a new list. More to follow

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-09-03 22:16:33

I had to pay a visit to Maidstone earlier this week, so I took the opportunity to vist the Kent History & Library Centre.  I checked the Bishop's Transcripts for the Church of St. Lawrence in Bidborough.  These are far from complete, but they do cover a number of the years for the period of 1754 to 1813, when the marriages are missing from the parish records.  Unfortunately I could not find any marriage invoving a Gallard. 

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-10-03 22:03:58

I have found the following baptism for Alexander Gallard of Alexander and Elizabeth on 1st April 1710 in Tonbridge.  The source appears to be Family Search.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-10-30 10:38:52

I visited Tonbridge Library yesterday and can confirm the baptism on 1st April 1710 of Alexander Gallard of Alexander and Elizabeth at the Church of St. Peter and St Paul in Tonbridge. No additional information is shown.  I searched a few years either side of the date and found the following additional Gallard baptisms in the register -

9 Feb 1708 Anne, daughter of Henry and Anne Gallard; 29 Aug 1708 John, son of John and Elizabeth Gallard; 25 Jul 1711 Margaret, daughter of Henry and Anne Gallard; 7 Nov 1711 Elizabeth of John and Elizabeth Gallard; 14 Mar 1712 Anne of Alexander and Elizabeth Gallard.

Unfortunately many of the filmed images are difficult or impossible to read.  There could be more

Question by Dawn Christenson on 2015-03-16 19:53:00

HI, I was wondering if you had any information on Greenhill Farm in Rotherfield? I saw that my 2nd great grandparents, Thomas and Mary Ann Beale lived at Greenhill Farm with their married daugher, Ellen and her husband, Thomas Adams. I was interested in finding out more information on the farm.   This was in the 1861 Census. Thank you

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-03-25 13:14:19

Researching properties is a differerent discipline from family history. You might be able to borrow one of these books from your local library:-  House Histories: The Secrets Behind Your Front Door by Melanie Backe-Hansen; Tracing the History of Houses by Trevor Yorke. The following webpages should help find other tenants of the farm and there are maps:-; The Rotherfield Women’s Institute has a Local History Group. Go to and use the contact facility to send an email. There is a Rotherfield village website at You can contact the editor for information at Great Green Hill Farm is shown on a list of addresses for Council Tax by the WhatAddress website. Write to the current owner at Great Green Hill Farm, Argos Hill, Rotherfield, East Sussex TN6 3QH.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-04-13 22:04:47

If you don't hold a subscription to Ancestry, almost all public libraries have Ancestry's library version. Searching the 1861 census you'll find Thomas & Ellen with two children plus Mary Ann at Green Hill Farm. In 1871 they are with six children and a nursemaid at Sutton Grove, Carshalton. In 1881 with five children plus Mary Ann they are at 5 Pellatt Road, Sutton. In 1891 with two children and a lodger at 16 Queens Road, Sutton. In 1901 Ellen is with daughter Emma Bedwell and her family at Castle Road, Wroxhall, Isle of Wight, while Thomas is with brother John at 11 Mosslea Road, Penge. Thomas died in Qtr 1 1903 Epson, volume 2a, page 18. Ellen seems unsure of her birthplace, stating different places in Kent and Sussex. No death registration or census return found for her. Thomas Martinson Adams baptised 10 February 1833 at Benniworth, Lincs. In 1851 Ellen with parents and one sibling at Thorn House, Marden and in 1841 two siblings at Curtisden Green near Goudhurst. In 1851 Thomas with family at Parsonage House, Marden and in 1841 at Holton Beckering, Lincs. A number of family trees on Ancestry include Thomas and Ellen plus ancestors and descendants. A warning - anomalies between them need to be checked. Thomas and Ellen married Qtr 2 1856 Tonbridge registration area vol 2a page 605 - probably in Marden. I found various useful websites with more details and will forward addresses to your e-mail address.

Question by Tina Grice on 2015-03-04 06:49:47

just a quick one....I have a marriage certificate for my gt-gt-grandparents Edwin Ashdown and Sarah Hughes, dated Dec 24th 1866, 'in the Parish Church in the town of Tunbridge Wells'.  My question is.....which church would this be?

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-03-09 10:47:39

The ceremony was conducted at the Holy Trinity Church by E. Hoare, who is a very respected member of the church and a memorial to him stands in the town.  Go to  In 1974 the church was declared "redundant to pastoral needs" and stood derelict until 1982, when it was converted into the Trinity Theatre.  Go to

Question by Kimberley OConnor on 2015-02-18 23:04:14

Hello I am looking for information on a number of families from the area, apparently we all came from the same area.  If you could help with any of them I would be most appreciative Hannah Overy Wimbeldon Surry England aprox 1851 Thomas Smallpiece Holy Tinity Surrey England 1831 -1876 Mary Woodhouse 1898 Spen Valley Thank you in advance Kim

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-03-13 11:48:39

In the 1841 census I found a Thomas Smallpiece, born 1821 and living in the Holy Trinity parish of Guildford in Surrey.  In 1851 Thomas, born in Middlesex and a grocer, is living with wife Hannah, born in 1825 in Westfield, Sussex, and a son Henry and a servant.  Thomas Smallpiece married Hannah Overy Qtr 1 1851 St. Martins (London) volume 1 page 135.  Quoting that reference, you can purchase a marriage certificate from the General Registration Office at  I could not find death registrations.  Their births occured before registration commenced in 1837.  I could not find them in later censuses. The birth registration for Henry is Q1 1851 Kinston 4 261.  He married Margaret Booker Q1 1870 Kingston 2A 410.  In 1881 census Henry and Margaret were living wuth her father George at 21 Cottage Grove, Kingston.  More to follow

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-03-25 21:52:25

Spen Valley is an area in Yorkshire close to Bradford in West Yorkshire. In the 1901 census I found a Mary A. Woodhouse (born circa 1896 in Bradford) living with parents John (born 1861 in Huddersfield and a silk dyer) and Selina A. (born 1861 in Shipley) and five siblings at 83 Chassum Street, Bradford. Do you know other family members to prove she is your Mary Woodhouse? Mary Alice Woodhouse was born in Qtr 3 1895 Bradford volume 9b page 115. John Woodhouse married Selina Ann Heydon in Qtr 4 1882 Bradford volume 9b page 317. A Mary A. Woodhouse married Joseph Dunn Qtr 2 1924 Bradford volume 9b page 531.  Another Mary A. Woodhouse married Charles H. Dixon Qtr 3 1931 Bradford 9b page 277. The Bradford Family History Society may be able to help with parish records at

Question by CLIVE BARTON on 2015-02-16 10:34:53

Hi Brian, My grandmother, Ethal Grace Mills, was born in Speldhurst approximately 1898.  She had one brother Frederick Mills who we belived lived at High Brooms in the mid 1970's and one sister Alice Mills who we have no information on. Would it be possible for you to give me any further and additional information regarding my family; for example, deceased and living relatives. I look forward to hearing from you. Clive.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-03-03 18:32:13

Ethel Grace born to Frederick Mills & Elizabeth H Qtr.2 1898 in Tonbridge registration area, vol. 2a, page 714. With that, you can buy certificate from GRO. In 1901 census Ethel at North Field (Northfield Rd.?), Speldhurst with Frederick, born c1874 in Slaugham, Sussex, & Elizabeth, born c1870 in Tunbridge Wells & brother Frederick W. b1899. In 1911 census Ethel at Northfield Rd. with mother, brother & sister Alice, b1902 Speldhurst, as lodgers with George & Edith Payne. Father not there, but Mother not shown as a widow. 1901 census shows Ethel born in Tunbridge Wells and Frederick W, in Speldhurst. 1911 shows Ethel born in Speldhurst and Frederick in Tunbridge Wells. Ethel Grace married James Barton in 1918. Frederick William married Dorothy W. Bullock 1922. The parents married in 1897 Tonbridge registration area. Alice Irene N. died 1915. Speldhurst parish records after 1874 are held at Maidstone Library, not Tunbridge Wells. Details of registrations to follow by email.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-04-29 11:02:23

I has cause to visit the Kent History & Library Centre in Maidstone and so was able to consult the later parish records for Speldhurst. Ethel Grace was born on 5th April 1898 to Frederick and Elizabeth Harriet Mills and was baptised at St Mary's Speldhurst on 4th September, when the family address is shown as 6 Auckland Road, Tunbridge Wells. Her father was a coachman. BMD records show Frederick married Elizabeth Harriet Burfield at Tunbridge Wells in Qtr 4 1897. Frederick William was born 21st August 1899 and baptised in Speldhurst on 5th November. Alice Irene Norah was born on 15th April 1002 and baptised in Speldhurst on 15th June. She was buried in Speldhurst on 4th December 1915. Her address is given as Northfield, Speldhurst. Ethel Grace married James Barton, a corporal in the London Regiment and from Ripon in Yorkshire, on 1th May 1918 in Speldhurst. The witnesses were Edward Bailey and Ethel May Avery. Ethel Grace's father is shown as a soldier and James' father is shown as a railway official. Frederick William, a butcher married Dorothy W. Bullock of Speldhurst on 21st August 1922 in Speldhurst. The witnesses were Elizabeth H. Mills and Clara E. Bullock. Frederick's father is shown as a gardener and Dorothy's father, William, is a labourer.

Question by LESLEY SMITH on 2015-01-24 10:32:36

Hello.I researching the Osmond family.My great uncle, Henry Osmond was b 1833 Tunbridge Wells,his mother Philadelphia White died soon after. His father John remarried Fanny Wickenden in Tonbridge in 1836 and together with sons Henry and James b 1837 Tunbridge Wells,they came to Australia on board the William Metcalfe in 1838.Other than a mention of Henry being 57 y-o and living at the time of his fathers death in 1891 in Australia,we have not been able to locate any reliable reference to his marriage or death.Did he return to the UK? I have located a marriage between Henry Osmond and Emma Cobb, Dorset, 1854.Is it him?I have absolutely no idea.Can anyone help? Thank you

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-01-31 14:38:28

To Lesley Smith. Henry Osmond was baptised at St. Laurence Church in Hawkhurst on 25 December 1833. Henry did marry Emma Cobb on 21 June 1854 at Wimborne in Dorset. Henry, his father John and the father of Emma are all shown as labourers. The witnesses were John Dewi and what looks life Jane Friend. Emma was baptised at Wimborne-Minster on 1 February 1829. I cannot find a death registration for either John or Emma. I also found a marriage for Henry Osborn or Osmond to Mary Skelly in Victoria, Australia in 1859. The registration number is 3431. On the Ancestry subscription website you will find family trees for Henry. Brian Dobson

Question by kim rayner on 2015-01-21 10:32:36

i am trying to locate a lady by the name of anita morrigan irvine who lived at 102 sandhurst road turnbride wells.i have information that i am sure she would like to know about.any one who can help locate this lady i would be truly thankful as will she.please contact me if you can i live in australia its hard for me to try and find her.i have some great news for her.thanks for any help given. kim from hervey bay qld australia

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-01-31 14:39:07

To Kim Rayner. I found one A.M. Irvine in the phone book and living in nearby Crowborough, but she is Audrey. If you go to and insert Anita Irvine around 25 names will appear for England and Wales. You will have to pay a small sum to access each entry. Some are obviously not relevant because of a middle initial. The website gathers information from telephone directories and electoral rolls. Please remember however that many people request their phone numbers to be ex-directory and also have their names removed from the public versions of the electoral roll. If you can supply me with more information about the husband and family of Anita it could help ttrack her down. What is her age and when was she living in Sandhurst Road? We are a small society. Your message would reach a wider audience in the letters pages of our local newspaper, The Kent & Sussex Courier. Contact Brian Dobson

Question by Jane Parkin on 2015-01-19 10:32:36

I am researching the orphanage that my Grandmother Doris Manly resided in at the 1911 census. It was run by Charlotte Sharman at Lynwood 72 Upper Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells. I would like to know where I can find out more .

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-01-31 14:29:38

To Jane Parkin. The actual street number is 74 Upper Grosvenor Road. I have found two cuttings from the Kent & Sussex Courier, a small obituary for Charlotte Sharman and a book review on her biography, which I will send to you. The biography by Marguerite Williams is entitled Charlotte Sharman, the romance of a great faith. It was published by the Religious Tract Society in 1930. For sure it will be out of print, but there is a national libraries search service in which all main libraries participate, whereby a national search can be ordered for a fee of £4. I have used it successfully a number of times. Brian Dobson

Question by Eileen Arnold on 2015-01-18 10:32:36

Beth Holme convalescent home I was there 4 times in mid 1930s does anyone know of its existence.i have 4 photos taken with the matron& staff taken byAndre Page&co I would love to know more,I am now 85yrs

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-01-31 14:37:36

To Eileen Arnold. In Kellys Directory Beth Holme is first referred to as the Beth Holme Holiday Home in 1937. The secretary is shown as Daniel Duff. Before 1937 it would appear that it was the private residence of Daniel Duff. I have searched for information about the home, but all I can find are small advertisements for staff, plus a few references that children from the home had attended local events. The holiday home continued in existence until 1974 at least, which is when the last edition of Kellys was published. Today Beth Holme appears to be divided into flats. I will send you a photograph. I will ask the Southborough Society if it has any more information. Brian Dobson

Question by Paul High on 2015-01-17 10:32:36

I am trying to trace my grandmother Caroline Zilpha Coker who as Mrs CZ Parker gave birth to my mother Gladys Kathleen Parker in Tunbridge Wells in June 1909.My grandfather Charles William Parker may have been a tea merchant in the area ? Any info gratefully received

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-01-21 18:55:39

To Paul High. The 1911 census shows Caroline Zilpha, nee Coker and born 1876 in Clerkenwell, London and husband Charles William Parker, born 1873 in Holborn, London and a commercial traveller in tea, had moved to 27 Glencoe Road, Margate with children Beatrice Caroline, born 1902, and Charles Arthur, born 1903 - both in Great Yarmouth - plus Ernest Reginald Harold, 1905, Marjorie Frances, 1907, and Gladys Kathleen - all born in Tunbridge Wells - and Ruth Lillian, age 4 months and born in Margate. She had one other child who had since died. Brian Dobson.

Question by Julie smith on 2015-01-09 10:32:36

Trying to contact Colin George or family( Margaret or Sarah?) relating to family history. Believe they live in nelson street. Any advice greatly recieved

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-01-09 18:49:42

To Julie Smith. There is no Colin George listed in the Tunbridge Wells telephone directory. He may be ex directory. I entered Colin George Tunbridge Wells into Google and the website claims to have one listing in its directory, which also includes electoral roll entries. You would have to pay a small fee to access the information. Nelson Road is in the Hawkenbury area of the town. Brian Dobson

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2015-01-12 18:50:08

To Julie Smith.... There is a Colin George, age 72 living at 38 Nelson Road Tunbridge Wells,Kent with a postal code of TN2 5AN. You could write to him or if you contact the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library they could give you his phone number from the directory.

Question by Graham Miles on 2014-12-30 10:32:36

Please could you inform what No. 22 Broadwater Down was used for in 1947

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-12-31 18:47:27

To Graham Miles....No. 22 during WW II was owned by the Kent County Council and used as an emergency maternity home. The KCC still owned it after WW II and through the period of 1967 to 1978 it was occupied by the West Kent College of Further Education. In 1980 approval was given to convert the building into flats, which it still is today.

Question by Bharti Thakkar on 2014-12-29 10:32:36

My aunt, who lived in Tunbridge Wells, had in her possession an indenture dated 23rd March 1864. She has passed it on to me. This is the original document of the sale of a premises between 2 families and is in good condition. I was wondering if anyone in the society would be related to or interested in this. Name of premises is 4 Victoria Terrace. Family names are: Seller is Henry Whitley, and buyer is Frederick Thomas Hevens. Please let me know if your members have any connections with this property.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-01-08 18:45:08

To Bharti Thakkar. We are a small society and none of our members has posted an interest in the Whitley or Hevens surnames. See Members Interests pages. In census returns I have found that 4 Victoria Terrace was one of four terraced properties in Tunbridge Wells High Street. On 19th century maps some named properties are marked, But not Victoria Terrace. From the census enumerators routes I have calculated that Victoria Terrace was at the northern end on the western side of the High Street. House numbering came in the late 19th century, but I have been unable to find the precise numbers given to the Victoria Terrace properties. I visited the High Street and found that 4 Victoris place would now have an even number, somewhere lower than 30 High Street. There is no old nameplate to locate Victoria Terrace on the building. There are three buildings which could have been listed as a terrace block of four. The properties would all have been, and still are, shops. Brian Dobson

Question by mike stepney on 2014-12-13 10:32:36

I am researching EDGAR VENESS born 1892 at Southborough/Tunbridge Wells.His parents were William and Ellen. He served in the Royal Sussex Regiment, is named on the WORTHING war memorial. Edgar was killed 25th october 1917 he had no known grave but is remembered on Tyne Cot memorial.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-12-21 18:41:31

To Mike Stepney. According to the 1891 census William Veness, Edgars father, was the gardener of the Southfields Park Estate, Southborough, which is nowadays the playing fields of Skinners School, and the Veness family lived at The Lodge on the estate. Edgar was born in the third quarter of 1892 and was baptised at the Church of St. Peter in Southborough, on 23rd October. The family address is shown in the parish register as High Brooms. William does not appear in Kellys Directory as a householder until 1896, at 45 High Brooms Road and he is listed there up to the 1900 edition. It must have been circa 1900 that the family moved away from Southborough, because in the 1901 census the family was living in the village of Broadwater, near Worthing. Edgars time in Southborough was therefore very short. Brian Dobson

Question by Edward James GILBERT on 2014-12-08 00:00:00

Does anyone have and recollections of what life was like at the Ancient Order of Buffaloes orphanage at Park House, 24 Park Road, Southborough? I want to establish what living conditions and the treatment of children was like there and any photos.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-12-17 18:38:35

To Ed Gilbert. The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes website is at It shows the nearest lodge to Tunbridge Wells as being at Hildenborough, north of Tonbridge. The email address is The Grand Lodge is in Harrogate, Yorkshire and its address is It may have information on Park House in its archive. Park House was demolished in the late seventies. There probably are former members of staff still living in this area. To reach a wider audience try writing to the letters page of the Kent & Sussex Courier at Brian Dobson

Question by EddieS on 2014-12-04 10:32:36

Im trying to find info a Gladys Maud Clarke who is my fathers actual birth mother. My dad was born Mount Pleasant Paddock Tonbridge on 30 March 1940. He was then put in a childrens home and was fostered later on. If anyone has any info please contact me. Many thanks.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-12-07 18:34:19

To Eddie S. There are a lot of Gladys M. Clarkes of around the age of the birth mother of your father all around the country. She may have come to Tunbridge Wells in order for the birth to be hushed up. Searches involving fostering and adoption have to be made through an official mediator, who will be given access to all the paperwork, which will probably include clues to the background of the mother. The Salvation Army is a mediator and offers a search service at a reasonable price. Brian Dobson

Question by John Down on 2014-12-01 10:32:36

Would it be possible to find a Birth Record for James Down born 1852 at Wadhurst possibly nonconformist need fathers & mothers names if possible Can someone help!.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-12-08 18:32:14

To John Down. The parish records for Wadhurst are not available at Tunbridge Wells Library. As Wadhurst is in Sussex, the county archive is at The Keep in Brighton. Go to Alternatively try the Sussex Family History Group at The Group has its own room at the Keep and does carry out searches on request. Brian Dobson

Question by christopher pocock on 2014-11-27 10:32:36

My great great grandfather Stephen Pocock was born on 3 May 1815 illegitimately as Stephen Wenban the daughter of Eleanor Wenban a school mistress. He was baptised at Speldhrst Kent on 10 June 1815. On 30 November 1816 Eleanor married a John Pocock a widower at Ashurst Kent. A year later she had a child called Wlliam Pocock. I have struggled for years to find out anything else about John or Eleanor and would be grateful for any information anyone could provide. Christopher Pocock

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-12-21 18:25:49

To Christopher Pocock. I have found no other Wenbans or Pococks in the parish registers for Speldhurst and Ashurst. Tunbridge Wells Library possesses only a private transcriptionof the Ashurst registrations and this does not include complete details. I have asked the Ask a Kent Librarian service to check the actual marriage register to learn whether William was from another parish. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2015-01-01 18:25:21

To Christopher Pocock. Ask a Kent Librarian passed on my request to the Kent History & Library Centre The Centre charges for lookups and require a fee of £8.75 to check the home parish of William. I will forward the email to you. Brian Dobson

Question by Roni Dickerson on 2014-11-27 10:31:36

I am looking for relatives that are related to William C. Hughes of Tunbridge Wells.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-28 18:22:52

To Reni Dickerson. I found a number of William C. Hughes in Kent, but none in Tunbridge Wells. To narrow the search, please advise as best you can the year of his birth. Was Tunbridge Wells his place of birth? Did he have a family? Brian Dobson

Question by Jennifer Rich on 2014-11-26 10:31:36

I am staying at the above address with my daughter until 28th Dec and I have been asked by a friend who also lives in Spain to see if I can find anything about Northfields Maternity Hospital Langton Green where he was born on 25th December 1940. Maps, photos etc. Are any of your members able to help please?

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-29 18:20:31

To Jennifer Rich. Yours is the tenth enquiry over the past two years we have received regarding Northfields. Scan through the enquiries below to find and read them in full. I will send you direct attachments for all documents I hold. Brian Dobson

Question by Tony Palmer on 2014-11-24 10:31:36

HELP please, brick wall. I have information about one of my family members that went to a Rest/Retirement/Nursing home of some kind He died in a Home connected with the Photographic Industry in Thanet May 1993. Where was this home and is it still in existence. Many thanks in advance

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-26 18:17:48

To Tony Palmer. Thanet is well outside our area. Contact the Kent Family History Society at Click on Thanet for the Thanet branch. Brian Dobson

Question by Angela Hardy on 2014-11-18 10:31:36

I am looking for the name of a convalescent home in or near Tunbridge Wells where my Father spent time as a child probably between the years of about 1945 and 1948. The home was on a common and he was sent there from London as he suffered with chronic asthma. I am not sure where to begin looking.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-12-07 18:04:19

To Angela Hardy. I have checked with Kellys Directory of 1948, the only year for which a copy is held in Tunbridge wells Library. The Boundary Recuperative Rest Home was at 2 Frant Road, which is close to Tunbridge Wells Common. Private convalescent homes are clustered with nursing homes and there are a fair number of these. It is difficult to identify a specific home for asthma sufferers. I will ask the historian at the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, who may be able to offer other candidates. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-12-08 18:04:27

To Angels Hardy. CORRECTION. I should have written that the 1948 Kellys Directory is the only issue in Tunbridge Wells Library of relevance to your request. Of course, there is a large collection of Kellys Directories available. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-12-08 18:05:02

To Angela Hardy. This has to be the one. The Hawkenbury Trust ran The Hawkenbury Childrens Convalescent Home. Go to its website at The National Archives has documents available online for the years 1946-1951 for a small charge. I will have to send you the webpage address by email as it contains characters not accepted by the server of our website. Scroll down this webpage to 22 March 2013 and you will find a posting from Roy Brocklehurst, who was a patient at the home from November 1948 to February 1949. Like yourself, Roy asked for his email address to be withheld from publication. I will ask if he is prepared to communicate with you. Roy had responded to a request from Joe Waterman, who replied on 24 February to say he was at the home in 1952 and 1953. For his address click on the blue email alongside the posting. Brian Dobson

Question by Mike Websell on 2014-11-18 10:30:36

I have discovered ancestors in the 1841 and 1851 census living at Tuttys Village, Frant but am unable to locate this on the current map, can anyone assist with this location please, thanks in advance, Mike Websell

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-28 15:05:57

To Mike Websell. I could find no reference to Tuffy's Village at Tunbridge Wells Library. As Frant is in Sussex, the county archive is at The Keep in Brighton. Go to Alternatively try the Sussex Family History Group at The Group has its own room at the Keep and does carry out searches. Brian Dobson

Answer by Elizabeth Layton on 2014-11-28 15:06:38

To Mike Websell and Brian Dobson. I think you will find that Tutty's Village is near Hawkenbury, so the Kent part of the parish of Frant. A Google search should prove fruitful.

Answer by Mike Websell on 2014-11-29 15:07:11

Thanks for your suggestions, Elizabeth Layton and Brian Dobson, I was looking at the Weald site which says Tutty's Village, Hawkenbury so this is obviously the general area to look

Question by Anne Louise Booth on 2014-11-13 10:30:36

I am interested in joining as I have discovered I have roots in Speldhurst. I am descended from Alfred Stanford, but he moved to Deptford in about 1851. It is his family further back I am keen to find out about. I have located a baptism for Alfred Stanford on 1 November 1818 at Speldhurst, with his parents being William and Keziah. In the 1841 census I have found William aged 44 with Keziah 42 and children Alfred 20, Philip 15, Delia 14, George 11 and William 8 at Diggers Lane, Tunbridge Wells. Philip was baptised on 3 March 1822, Delia on 2 January 1825, and William on 10 October 1830 - all in Speldhurst. Kezia Shoebridge, 21, married William Stanford on 19 August 1815 at Leigh, Kent and there is also a baptism of Keziah Shoebridge, daughter of Sarah Shoebridge, at Leigh, on 8 December 1793. No father is named. It is his family further back I am keen to find out about.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-28 17:57:57

To Anne Louise Booth. There are trees on Ancestry, which state conflictingly that the parents of Keziah were Thomas Shoebridge and Jane Goodsall. I tried to check the film of the Leigh parish records at Tonbridge Library, but the names of the parents are not legible, because the spine of the book is in deep shadow. I have written to the Ask A Kent Librarian service to ask if they will look up the original. I checked the marriage of William and Keziah to find both have Leigh as their home parish. In the 1851 census Thomas is shown as born in Surrey. For another person in that census return Deptford, Surrey is shown as a birthplace. When Thomas moved to Deptford, was he returning to his birthplace? Deptford is covered by the North West Kent Family History Society. Go to Leigh is also covered by the NWKFHS, which may have members researching those surnames. We have one researching Shoebridge, who lives in Australia. I will alert her to your enquiry.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-12-07 18:27:21

To Anne Louise Booth. The Kent History and Library Centre has checked the original register for me. The darkening of the spine has been caused by dampness. The names of Keziah's parents cannot be deciphered, but the librarian has guessed that the father's name is Thomas, because she can just read Tho. Therefore there is credibility in the family trees on Ancestry, which show the parents of Keziah as Thomas Shoebridge (1770-1841) and Jane Goodsall (1789 to 1839). These trees go back to 1635. You can communicate with the tree owners through Ancestry's contact facility. Brian Dobson

Answer by Anne Louise Booth on 2014-12-07 18:29:11

Thanks Brian for the info on Keziah, much appreciated. Just to say also that my partner's mother was an Ashcroft from St Helens so if I can help there, anyone is free to email me on

Question by carol willis on 2014-11-09 10:30:36

I saw on your search engine entry that someone is doing their family tree and looking for family members named Roser My mothers maiden name is Roser so If I can help in any way please email me, Carol

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-14 17:55:12

To Carol Willis. It was Sheridan Bagnall, who was enuiriring about a Roser family back in February to March 2014. I have written to notify him of your posting. His email address is Brian Dobson

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-11-17 17:55:49

Hello Carol, I received email from Brian and yes I have been doing the Roser family tree, the one I have been having trouble with is Richard Sutton Roser. Thanks for asking. Regards Sheri

Question by Nadeen crispin on 2014-10-29 10:30:36

I am trying to find information on the family of my great grandmother, born Martha Moone in 1835 I believe she would have been born in UK. Can anybody help me? She married william Harrison in 1868 in tasmania.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-11-03 17:48:39

To Nadeen Crispin. I have Martha Morgan (1835-1912) born England and died May 28,1912 Tasmania, buried May 30 at new Norfolk,Tasmania. She married March 24,1851 William Moore (1824-1866) at Hobart and had two children with him. Then she married April 16,1868 William Harrison(1835-1902) at Hobart.William Harrison died Oct 1,1908 in Tasmania and buried at New Norfolk Tasmania Oct 4th.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-03 17:49:09

To Nadeen Crispin. A Martha Moon, born 1835, is shown in the 1851 census as the daughter of John Starkey and his wife Sarah, living in Hinckley, Leicestershire, where she was born. An Ann Moon, age 30, is a visitor. Was Ann the birth mother of Martha? Martha and her seemingly adoptive parents were all stocking makers. I found other Martha Moons, or Moone, who were born between 1834 and 1836, but none were single. Was Martha a spinster, when she married in Tasmania? To find a baptism for this Martha, contact the Hinckley Group of the Leicestershire & Rutland Family History Society at Three owners of trees posted on Ancestry include Martha and the Starkeys. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-04 17:49:30

To Nadeen Crispin. I have since read the response from Ed Gilbert. A comprehensive family tree on Ancestry under the pseudonym CMart1654 shows that Martha Grace Morgan was born in Worcestershire, in 1835 - possibly in the village of Old Swinford like some of her siblings. Her parents were Richard Morgan, 1800-1843, and his wife Hannah, 1807-1843. Seemingly Richard did not marry Hannah until 3rd May 1841 after the birth of all their children. Or did Richard marry two Hannahs, or Johannas. An early baptism shows the mother as Hannah Green, while the bride in the 1841 marriage is Johanna or Hannah Halton. The family emigrated aboard the Martha Ridgway late in 1841 to Nelson in New Zealand, arriving 7 Apr 1842. Both Richard and his wife and daughter Mary Ann were drowned in the Waimea River on 29 June 1843, when a boat capsized. Together with sister Sarah and her husband, Paulo Portelle, Martha sailed to Hobart, arriving 7 December 1844 aboard the schooner Sisters. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-04 17:50:54

To Nadeen Crispin. The Malvern Family History Society is in the process of transcribing all Worcestershire parish records. Go to Write to the Worcestershire Archives Service at to askl for the baptism of Martha Grace Morgan. Brian Dobson

Answer by Nadeen Crispin on 2014-11-04 18:19:41

Thank you for your assistance9909

Question by Gilly Carr on 2014-10-27 10:30:36

I want to trace the family of Charlotte reeves, born 1892 in Newton-rusthall. She had nephews Freddie Reeves and Douglas Blake reeves who fought in WWIi. Her son, Sidney Ashcroft, was murdered by the Nazis after Charlotte and Sidney moved in Guernsey before the war. Guernsey is erecting a resistance memorial in April 2015 and Sidney will be named. I need to get in touch with his Kent family who can represent him and attend the reception afterwards.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-04 20:15:09

To Gilly Carr. I will make a search for the living descendants of the family of Charlotte Reeves. However we are but a small society. For a wider audience, it would be beneficial for you to write to the letters page of our local newspaper, the Kent & Sussex Courier. The address is Yours is a cause, which should interest the local TV station, BBC South East Today. It is always asking for interesting news items. Write to I will submit another posting in due course. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-14 20:15:41

To Gilly Carr. I have so far found three distant relatives and will forward to you the replies I have received. They are seemingly too distant. I feel sure that researching further I can get closer. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-18 20:16:03

To Gilly Carr. Did you know that Sidney Ashcroft had a younger sister? She was Hilda Ashcroft, who, like Sidney, was born in the Prescot Registration District in the first quarter of 1924. I found no reference to a marriage or a death, so presumably she moved to Guernsey with her parents. I have no access to the records of Guernsey, but I feel sure you will have the support of the Priaulx Library in St. Peter Port in your quest. When searching on Ancestry I found a large number of births for persons named Ashcroft in the Prescot area. Sidney could have cousins, who were born to brothers or sisters of his father James. I suggest you contact the St. Helens Townships Family History Society. Go to The e-mail address is Prescot is in the Knowsley Libraries area, for which the archive is held at Kirkby Library. Contact kirkby.library@ Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-24 08:46:27

To Gilly Carr. As you know, working together with the St. Helens Townships Family History Society, we have established that there are no living descendants of Charlotte Ruby Reeves. I have traced the lines of two of her siblings and these descendants seemingly still live in this area of Kent. I have just despatched full details to you. A third line extends to Nottingham and I suggest you contact the Nottinghamshire Family History Society at to develop this further as there are several candidate descendants with the same name. The siblings of Sidney's father, James, would have to be checked in St. Helens. Ashcroft is a very common surname in that area of the country and there are plenty with the christian name of James. Brian Dobson

Answer by Lilian Nelson on 2014-11-28 08:48:40

My name is Lilian Nelson formerly Reeves I have just read your e.mails and you look as if you are a family history searcher as I am. Charlotte Ruby Reeves was my great aunt and Sydney Ashcroft was my fathers cousin. Charlotte has a niece and a nephew one in Australia and the other in Kent. There are lots of surviving family members. If I can help in anyway please let me know. It was only by chance I looked at that particular website whilst looking for information on my grandfather.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-11-28 08:49:15

To Lilian Nelson. Thank you for you e-mail. Together with a member of the St Helens Townships Family History Society (Sidney and his father were both born in St. Helens) we are building a family tree and have discovered several living descendants. The Island of Guernsey is seeking living relatives because it wants the family to be represented at the unveiling of the memorial in April. To be sure there will be a lot of valuable information collated by the time we have completed our research and I plan to share as much as possible with relatives. However I will, of course, have to gain permission to disclose living relatives. I am hopeful that most, if not all, will co-operate. Please let me know who was your father's cousin and details of other family members. I can then let you know what I have found and hopefully you will be able to add to it. Brian Dobson

Question by Janet Powell on 2014-10-17 10:30:36

I am Hon sec of Folkestone & District FHS. We are researching the family lives of the men on the Folkestone & district war memorials. We have a man buried in the Tunbridge wells cemetery & wonder if some kind souls would take a photograph of his grave for us. He was a William Samuel Andrews who died on august 13th 1916 of the Royal West Kent Regiment. His grave reference is C12 267. It ought to be a CWGC grave. Many thanks in anticipation of your help. Janet

Answer by Roy Thompson on 2014-10-22 20:13:09

To Janet Powell. I found the grave of Private William Andrews without much difficulty in Hawkenbury cemetery, Tunbridge Wells. He lies near a dozen or so graves of other soldiers who died in World War 1. I imagine they had been wounded in battle or had become ill and were returned to the UK for convalescence. Private Andrews was 29 years of age when he died, killed in this terrible conflict.

Question by Tracy Morgan on 2014-10-09 10:30:36

Hi my father was born in sandbank pembury road in 1944 and his mothers address (he was adopted) was Weston road tunbridgewells however we cannot trace this road there is a western road however it states clearly Weston road on certificate could you - are you aware of this being a road

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-10 20:07:00

To Tracy Morgan. Western Road has to be correct. There is no Weston Road and I checked to ensure there was not on in the forties. There is also a Western Road in Soutnborough. Brian Dobson

Question by Bernadette Chick on 2014-10-08 10:30:36

Hello I have a postcard marked on active service to miss gertie fuller 6a halls hole cottages Tunbridge Wells and signed from daddy. Any information on the family would be very useful. Thank you.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-10 20:04:06

To Bernardette Chick. James Fuller, age 32 and an under gardener, was living with his wife Lily, nee Manktelow, age 30 at 6a Halls Hole Road in 1911. James was born in Tunbridge Wells and Lily in Brenchley. Six children are shown on a tree on Ancestry. Rosie born 1912, Thomas 1914, Violet 1916, Kate 1920, William E.J. 1922 and Robert G. 1925. All were born in the Ticehurst registration area in Sussex. Gertrude is missing, but I found her birth registration in Qtr 2 1911, Tonbridge registration area. Brian Dobson

Question by Dave Griggs on 2014-09-30 10:30:36

Does anyone have any information about the Chestnuts at Pembury on the Green oppersite the Camden Arms please? Margaret Carne lived there up to 1934.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-10-01 19:56:15

To David Gibbs. Probate record has Margaret Darne dying at The Chestniuts 1934 with son Reuben Dicker as executor. Margaret and Reuban and one servant at The Chestnuts in 1911 census and she and one servant are there in 1901 census.The estate agents Richmove sold The Chestnuts Jan 21,2000. For info about the house you might try contacting them. The house is a detached freehold residence on the Woodlands in Pembury.You might also try looking for planning applications for this home online.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-04 19:56:38

To Dave Griggs. I checked the local directories. Mrs. Carne lived at the Chestnuts from 1893 to 1932. Before her the householder was a Mrs Veness, who is listed in 1889 and 1892. There is no listing in 1886 and the library does not possess directories for 1887 and 1888. I found no listings after 1932. Maybe the house was renamed The census of 1911 confirms the house was on the High Street. Today there is another Chestnuts on the outskirts of the village, to which estate agents are referring. English Heritage gives advice on researching the history of houses. Go to Brian Dobson

Question by Serena Balston on 2014-09-28 10:30:36

I am researching the White family in Tunbridge Wells, many of whom were butchers. My Gt. Gt. Grandfather Thomas White had a butchers shop at 90 High Street Tunbridge Wells and a farm, Whites Farm, in Frant Forest.One of his sons, James Johnson White, my Gt. Grandfather, was the family black sheep. He was also a butcher but not a very successful one and at one stage he was wanted by creditors. Ultimately his family broke up and he ended up being wanted by police for deserting two of his children and leaving them in the care of the Tonbridge Poor Union.He left the area in 1899 but returned in 1908 when he was arrested and ordered to serve 3 months hard labour. I am interested in what became of him and the family butcher business and would love to know if any photos exist of the shop in Tunbridge.Benjamin Chittenden White,another family member, also had a butchery at Mt Ephraim which I would also like to find out about. Any suggestions of where to look gratefully received.I live in NZ.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-09-29 19:59:10

To Serena Balston. I have sent by email two photos.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-03 16:39:56

To Serena Balston. The earliest directory in Tunbridge Wells Library is 1882. Thomas White & Son is shown at 84 High St. The next directory is 1886, when the shop appears to have moved to no. 90. From 1893 to 1896 the shop is trading as James White. From 1897 to 1909 it is trading as Thomas White. In 1910 the premises had been taken over by Ena Vernon, millener. In 1882 and 1886 Benjamin C. White was trading at 52 Mount Ephraim. The next directory in 1889 shows the butchery business had changed hands to Jon. W. Warwick. In the 1889 directory Benjamin was the householder at Tudor Villa St. John's Road. Aged just 43, Benjamin is shown as retired in the 1891 census. Tudor Villa is also shown in directories as nos. 113 and 114. In the 1899 directory the family had moved to Violet Bank, 69 London Road, Southborough. Violet Bank is shown as in Park Road from 1901. and numbered no. 1 in 1917. No directory is then available until 1922, when the address is 12 Warwick Park. To be continued...

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-03 19:59:37

To Serena Balston. continuation... The last entry at Warwick Park is for 1927. In the 1929 directory the address of Benjamin is The Holt, Rustwick, Rusthall, which changes to 2 Rustwick in 1933, but Benjamin had by then died in Qtr 3 1932 in Hastings, Sussex.The wife of Thomas jnr is shown as a widow in the 1911 census. The family originated from Canterbury and a Thomas White died there in Qtr 1 1906, vol 2a, page 658. With that information you can order a death certificate from the General Registration Office at Still searching for James Johnson White. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-04 15:00:04

To Serena Balston. I could find no further trace of James Johnson White. Where was he prosecuted for desertion? You could find an address on the court papers or in a local newspaper reporting the case. There could be some clue as to where he had disappeared. Where was he imprisoned? Brian Dobson

Answer by Serena Balston on 2014-10-04 16:41:37

To Brian Dobson Re Whites. Thanks for all the directory information, that clarifies the timeline greatly. James' last confirmed address was 30 Lower William Street,Marylebone in June 1899 when my Grandfather was baptised. There are three entries in the police gazette in Sept Oct 1899 for him. A warrant has been issued, info to Chief const. Prior, Tunbridge Wells.He next appears in an article in The Courier March 26 1908 pg 8 in the County Police column,Tunbridge Wells Borough Bench.He was evidently recognised by one Inspector Creed and was taken into custody. He pleaded guilty to 2 charges, desertion of his children in Aug 1899, and being the bailee of a gun,which he fraudently converted to his own use Mar 1896. The Bench imposed a sentence of 3 months hard labour.That's the last trace I have of him, no address given. He is listed as deceased on my grandfathers' marriage cert in 1924 but that may not be accurate. To be cont.

Answer by Serena Balston on 2014-10-04 16:50:16

To Brian Dobson James White cont. Family lore has it that James committed suicide because of an affair, but nobody had any more details than that. His wife Edith is boarding in Eastbourne in the 1901 census and later that year in Battle she had a child. No fathers details are given on the birth certificate or the baptism record. He might have been James' son born after they seperated. Certainly if he was the result of an affair of Ediths' it took James a long time to either find out or be adversely affected by it. Their other children were scattered after 1899. My grandfather Thomas Henry was unofficially adopted by a family in Woolwich, probably friends of Edith,as was Reginald, the child born in Battle.Their daughter Edith was with her maternal grandparents and I believe the two deserted boys, Leslie James and Richard Pendrill, ended up with them as well. In the 1901 census they were both nursery children in the same establishment in the Tunbridge area. All a bit messy.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-17 20:01:18

To Serena Balston. The next move will be to trace the details of the court proceedings and the prison where James was incarcerated I suggest you utilise the ASK A KENT LIBRARIAN service. It will ask all libraries in the whole county, if necessary, however, if the records exist, I believe they will be found in the county archives in Maidstone. Write to Attach the cutting. Explain that the court was the Tunbridge Wells Borough Bench, which sat on 13 March 1908. Probably he was gaoled in Maidstone Prison, which still operates today, and hopefully records have survived and include a later address. If he did commit suicide in later years, a search in newspaper archives, such as those of The British Library or The Times might reveal details. Brian Dobson

Answer by Serena Balston on 2014-10-17 20:05:01

To Brian Dobson. Many thanks for the information Brian. 

Question by Stephen Brown on 2014-09-26 10:30:36

Can you direct me to the best sources for tracing relatives who lived in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge over the period from 1918 to 1997. Many Thanks

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-09-26 19:52:45

To Stephen Brown. Lists of householders appear in copies of Kellys and Peltons Directories, but the last directory was published in 1974. These are held at the British Library and an Tunbridge Wells Library. Send me names and approximate dates of residence and I'll see what I can find. Having identified the householders addresses, you can find all other adults of voting age on the electoral registers. For the period you are researching, these are held at the British Library and the Kent Library and History Centre in Maidstone. Brian Dobson

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-09-26 19:53:10

To Stephen Brown. You can also get a free trial subscription to Ancestry Uk or other sites and view the records Brian referred to.

Answer by Stephen Brown on 2014-09-30 19:53:41

Thanks to Brian Dobson. The names I am interested in are Kate Endall who died in 1958 and her daughter Monica who was married to Herbert Habens. Monica died in 1997. I have Herbert as living, presumably with his wife and possibly mother-in-law, at 212 Upper Grosvenor Road in 1963. Any information about Kate or Monica and where they lived or anyone who knew them will be gratefully received. The earliest date when they may have moved to Tunbridge Wells was about 1920. Thanks also to Ed Gilbert, but I have looked on Ancestry without much luck to date.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-10 19:54:05

To Stephen Brown. Herbert Habens is listed in Kellys Directories as the householder at 212 Upper Grosvenor Road from 1948 until 1973, which I believe was the last directory published. He is not in the 1940 directory and none were seemingly published in the years between. Herbert Hollamby Habens married Monica in Qtr 2 1940. Herbert and Monica probably lived there until his death in 1985. I will check the electoral roll. I cannot find Kate in the Tunbridge Wells directories. Maybe she did not live actually in the town or perhaps she was not the householder. Only householders are listed. Kate W., born 1874, arrived from Durban in South Africa 22 June 1916. In 1918 a Kate Winifred Endall was the householder at an apartment in 20 Waterloo Street, Hove, Sussex according to a Kellys Directory page on Ancestry. Brian Dobson

Question by Dorothy Gibson on 2014-09-24 10:30:36


Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-07 19:50:39

To Dorothy Gibson. I have checked with both the Tonbridge and the Tunbridge Wells libraries and neither can find a Belborough Hall. Tonbridge Library has suggested that maybe you are looking for Bidborough Hall, a village just to the south of Tonbridge. What do you hold that has stimulated this enquiry? It might offer a clue. Brian Dobson

Question by Pat Slugocki on 2014-09-24 10:28:36

I have Irene Olive Palmer b 27.6.1888. Any chance of a baptism? Happy to pay.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-03 19:48:29

To Pat Slugocki. I could find no baptism in Tunbridge Wells, including Southborough, Rusthall and Pembury. Nor could I find her in a census. What were the names of her parents? I could then search to see if they had moved before 1891 and perhaps pre baptism. The birth registration is Qtr 3 1888 in the Tonbridge Registration district, volume 2a, page 629. With that information you can obtain a certificate from the General Registration Office in Southport. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-07 16:32:06

To Pat Slugocki. Irene Olive Palmer was born 27th June 1888 at 134 Upper Grosvenor Road Tunbridge Wells, father Leo Palmer, mother Emily Palmer, formerly PALMER. Father's occupation Clerk in civil Service. Birth registered by mother on 1st August 1888 from same address. The Palmers do not appear in the list of residents in Kellys Directories around that date. Probably they were not the householders or maybe their stay was for a short period only. Brian Dobson

Question by Ian Everest on 2014-09-22 10:28:36

I wonder if you are familiar with the DUNN family. Captain Robin Dunn was killed in an accident in Lincolnshire in 1919 and is buried in Tunbridge Wells cemetery. He is also named on the Bishopstone war memorial, and I am trying to find the connection he has with this village near Seaford. Any contact with the Dunn family would be welcome.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-09-24 18:11:38

To Ian Everest. There is lots of information about him and his family on the Ancestry Uk website and photos. He was buried T.Wells cemetery March 24,1919. Probate record has him as Capt in the army died March 18,1919 Sleaford,Lincolnshire,with his wife Helen Flora Dunn the executor. He served WW 1 at a Lieut with the Lincolnshire Rgmt 5th Btn. He was born T. Wells 1886 and lived with parents in T.Wells up to at least 1901. In 1911 he was living in Lincolnshire, where he enlisted for military service. His name is on the T.Wells War Memorial and no doubt also one in Lincolnshire. His name is given as Robin Gasper in military records and as Robinb Jasper in probate record. Hope this helps.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-09-25 18:10:50

To Ian Everest. Just a typo correction in what I gave before. Capt Robin Dunn was not married. Helen Flora Dunn, nee Gillham was his mother. I have lots of details about this family from research I did earlier this year.So if you have any other questions feel free to ask. I should point out that the name of Capt Dunn is given as R.G.Dunn (for Robin Gaspar Dunn, which he is referred to in military records and is also the name on the Dunn family headstone). His name is also recorded on the Skinners School WW 1 memorial plaque. His brother Godfrey Lawrence Dunn (died 1920) is also on the T.Wells War Memorial but given incorrectly as W. Dunn.Neither of them are on the Southborough War Memorial. Have you traced his siblings residences after 1919 for one of them must have been a resident of Bishopstone.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-09-26 18:11:15

To Ian Everest. It would be best if you posted your email address so that more complete replies to your inquiry can be provided.I have searched census and directory records for any trace of a Dunn in Bishopstone but none found. I have contacted St Andrews church Bishopstone for a photo of the plaque with the name Dunn on it and also the reasons for Dunn being on it. I have also sent an email to the Roll of Honour website on which the plaque transcription is given questioning its accuracy and relevance to Capt Robin Gaspar Dunn in light of my research and other possible Dunns on the CWG website. I will follow up with the results of my inquiries.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-01 18:12:17

To Ian Everest. In this the centenary year of the outbreak of WWI, many towns and villages are researching the names listed on their memorials. The Seaford Historical Society at may be able to help regarding the Bishopstone memorial.. Brian Dobson.

Answer by Ian Everest on 2014-10-01 18:37:16

Many thanks Brian. I am a member of the Seaford Heritage Society and am in regular contact with them. Unfortunately I am drawing a complete blank as to why Robin Dunn's name is on the Bishopstone war memorial plaque. I will keep trying! 

Question by Garth Young on 2014-09-21 10:28:36

I live in Sydney Australia and wanted to enquire as to if your society may be able to help me if I join. My Grandfather, Frederick William Young, was born around 1886 in Tunbridge Wells before emigrating to New Zealand. His parents were Edward Young and Eliza Young who were married in 1871 in Tunbridge Wells, according to family legend, I have found a letter from the brother of Frederick, who was 72 years old in 1957 and lived in Tunbridge Wells at that time. If I join how do I go about tracing this history? I will be in the UK with my wife in November so perhaps I could continue the search whilst I am there. I look forward to your advice.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-09-24 18:03:45

To Garth Young. I sent you the 1884 birth record for Frederick William Young and the 1891 and 1901 census records giving his parents and siblings.Hope this gives you what you need.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-09-30 18:04:12

To Garth Young. A colleague at the Tunbridge Wells Family History Society is putting together information, but I have just come across a tree posted on Ancestry by a Janet Young. This is very detailed, and goes into the present day on one line. However, like all good researchers, Janet shows living people simply as Private. If you are a subscriber to Ancestry, you can send an e-mail to Janet through the contact facility of the specific tree. If you are not, I can contact Janet for you, through my subscription. Please let me know how you would like to proceed. Brian Dobson

Answer by Garth Young on 2014-10-03 18:04:51

Hi Brian. There has been a flurry of activity in the past few hours with contact being made by several living relatives who seem very well connected within the family. My Grandfather left the UK around 1909-1915 and never returned. In fact his nephew, my cousin, even travelled to New Zealand only 5 years ago to try to track down descendants of his lost uncle. The search was unsuccessful & they returned to the UK empty handed, so apparently it has caused quite a good stir in the family when I popped my head up. I will be the first member of our family to meet the UK contingent of the Young family in about 100 years. This would simply not have happened without your involvement and that of others from the TW Family History Society and another 100 plus years would have gone by without contact. Thanks again Brian.

Question by Linda Bain on 2014-09-09 10:28:36

NORTHFIELDS MATERNITY HOME, Langton Rd, Langton Green: Matron Miss C Heggs, SRN SCM. On 1 Sept 2014 armed with details skim read from Tunwells postings, I footslogged round Speldhurst Langton Green and Tunbridge Wells to learn whereabouts of the Northfields Home where I was born in 1946. My Mother, exhausted from having three boys was escorted by the WRVS from a Kent coalfield colliery to give birth to me in the peaceful home with lovely grounds of Northfields Home. I met some delightful people en route. Could you put me in touch with the others researching the Home as per your 5.11.13 posting? I intend to share my findings with those I spoke to in the area but who had no knowledge of the Home except for photo produced by the Tunbridge Wells Library. Thank you. Linda Bain

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-09-18 09:04:07

To Linda Bain. I'll send you an e-mail with the list of addresses of other enquirers and also copies of the paperwork I have accumulated. Brian Dobson

Question by paul kay on 2014-09-05 10:28:36

Is there still or was there a property in Frant called Cantium Cottage. If so does anyone know the names of any occupants during last century? Thank you for any assistance and information.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-09-11 12:55:29
The directories for 1967 to 1970 inclusive have a Miss Sally Spero at Cantium Cottage, High Street,Frant,Sussex

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-09-18 12:58:09
To Paul Kay. A notice placed in the London Gazette, seemingly by a company of solicitors, states that a Mary Katherine De Baissac died at Cantium Cottage on 23 January 1983. You can find this via a Google search Brian Dobson.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-10-01 17:53:47
To Paul Kay. As Kellys Directories and telephone books are listed by householder, the best way to learn the name of an occupier is via the electoral rolls. The rolls for Frant are held in the East Sussex archive at The Keep in Brighton. The Sussex Family History Group has its own working area within the library of the archive. Go to Maybe they can help. Brian Dobson

Question by Sarah George on 2014-08-31 11:28:36

Hi there, I am trying to find out how many cemeteries there were in 1877. This is when my great great grandad William Gordon passed away and i am trying to locate information on him. 3 generations of my family were from tunbridge and it would be lovely to know more

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-09-01 11:32:13

To Sarah George. The Friends of Woodbury Park Cemetery has confirmed that William Gordon was interred there. Also Abraham Cyrus died 1866, Kate died 1865, Frank died 1879. I have asked Jan Holly of Friends to send you details. Seemingly only Abraham Cyrus has a headstone or memorial. The Friends has photos of all memorials and stones at Woodbury Park. For others first check the free-to-view Deceased Online website which holds the records for Tunbridge Wells Cemetery and Crematorium and Southborough Cemetery. Go to There are other graveyards, so please ask if you still have missing links. Brian Dobson

Question by Lucy on 2014-08-29 10:28:36

Hi, looking for info or photos of James Drew mann b. Exeter 1865. James married lizzie swaffer from cranbrook in 1900. James mann was a tailor and had a shop on camden rd sometime between 1910 and 1928. I know this as his daug Violet Ellen Amelia mann worked their before marrying Joseph g p farmer. James mann lived at 59 beulah rd around this time but cant find any info about the shop. Any help would be must welcomed

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-09-05 10:02:18
To Lucy. According to Kellys Directories, No. 59 Beulah Road became a ladies and gents outfitter in 1926 in the name of Bernard Endacott Mann and remained until 1933, when it moved to 48 Quarry Road. From 1935 Bernard E. Mann was a tailot at 35 Crescent Road until at least 1940, when war postponed the next directory until 1948, when there is no trace. A James D. Mann died in Quarter 2 1924 in Maidstone, volume 2a, page 936. With that information you can order a death certificate at Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-09-17 10:03:39
To Lucy. Could not find any directory listings for any Mann on Camden Rd and no photos of his shop. Berard, who Brian mentions was James son and 59 Beulah was the address of his home. Since Beulah connects to Camden Rd it would make sense that they had a shop on Camden Rd but perhaps it did not last long. Strange that it is not in the directories I could search.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-09-19 10:04:04
To Lucy. I was wondering whether 59 Beulah Road could have been a shop as well as a home and went to take a photograph. There are no signs of it ever have looked like a shop. I will send you the photo. It is my guess that the tailoring business was run from home. At that time it is certainly listed in directories as both a private home and a business.The house is very close to the corner of Camden Road. Brian Dobson

Answer by Lucy Woodward on 2014-09-20 10:05:18
To Brian and ed, thankyou for info, I must have been wrong about the shop on Camden road, just what id picked up from relatives but did find an advert in the paper in 1939 for a tailor at Cressent rd and it was posted my Bernard Mann. Got the photo Brian thankyou!much appreciated. Another enquiry, Walter j Mann or (wally)was a rent collector around 1950 to 1955 and the office or shop he worked in was opposite the train station. Any info on this would be great.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-09-23 10:07:21
To Lucy Woodward. I assume you mean the entrance to Mount Pleasant Road from the station. According to Kellys Directories in that period from Grove Hill Road to the entrance of Calverley Grounds the commercial occupants were nos.2-12 R.W Weekes departmental store, no.14 J.H. Bishop Ltd. Chemist, no.14 Royal Liverpool Assurance, no.16 Wells Dentist Laboratories, no.16 Norwich Union Insurance Societies, no.16 A.J. Stanton & Co. Ltd hire purchase financiers, no.16 George Coker sports outfitter, no.18 Wynnes Cafe, no.20 Clarendon Hotel, nos.22-24 Great Hall Cinema, nos.22-24 Kent & Sussex Club, no.26 Richardson & Pierce Ltd. autioneers and valuers, no.28 Martins Bank. W.J. Mann is not listed as a resident of Tunbridge Wells, but he might not have been a householder. Or he could have lived just outside the town. Brian Dobson

Answer by Lucy Woodward on 2014-09-25 10:07:54
To Brain. Once again thankyou Brain, most helpful

Question by pam mercier on 2014-08-26 10:28:36

I am wondering if the cd for St Marys Speldhurst does contain my 3 x g grandfathers baptism. I dont mind buying a copy but I was led to believe all the earlier records had been lost in a fire. Looking for Edward Tapp b 1789 Speldhurst. Can anyone advise if the baptisms for that date are on the CD

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-08-31 10:32:13
To Pam Mercier. The disc contains only burials and memorials. I checked the filmed parish registers at Tunbridge Wells Library from 1786 to 1792, but found no record for Edward Tapp. These records also cover baptisms at Tunbridge Wells Chapel and Groombridge. I also checked the registers for Frant without success. Brian Dobson

Question by Brian Adams on 2014-08-24 10:28:36

Where is the best place to locate obituaries for the Tonbridge area? Looking for Frederick Adams d. Sept 1947 and Henry Thomas Adams d. June 1968 or wife Edith (Thompsett) Adams d. 1990. Thank you!

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-08-24 10:26:13
To Brian Adams. The local newspaper is the Kent & Sussex Courier. Brian Dobson

Question by Lesley Moore on 2014-08-23 10:28:36

Would anyone have the cemetery transcription at St.Albans Frant for John Fenner d.1793.wife Sarah d.1805. also buried with them daughter Sarah Ellames Fenner and Willam and Mary Fenner. Thank you

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-08-31 10:26:13
To Lesley Moore. The headstone reads: In Memory of JOHN FENNER who departed this life Novbr 27th 1793 aged 70 years. Also Sacred to the Memory of Sarah his wife who departed this life Octbr 2nd 1803 aged 77years. Likewise Sarah Elames Fenner Daughter of Willm & Mary Fenner of Tunbridge Wells. Died 27th July 1793 aged 13 weeks. I took a photo and will send it to you. It does not state that William and Mary are buried with them. The church burial index includes William Fenner, who died 9th January 1827, but I did not find this stone. A number of stones are indecipherable. Sarah Elames cannot be the daughter of Sarah, who would have been 67 in 1793 Brian Dobson

Question by Peter Adams on 2014-08-11 10:28:36

Subject: Ed Gilbert member Message: I wish to contact Ed re his All about Tunbridge Wells website James S Bayfield photographer

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-08-14 10:09:37
I understand Ed Gilbert has replied directly to you.

Question by Mavis Saunters on 2014-08-10 10:28:36

can anyone tell me which church or churches may have been used for baptisms of the Beeney Beaney gypsy families of Highbrooms and Southborough would the cds of TW churches help

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-08-21 10:26:13
To Mavis Saunders. If you send me the details of the baptisms you are seeking, I will look up the parish records on my next visit to Tunbridge Wells Library. Brian Dobson

Question by dave morgan on 2014-07-27 10:28:36

i am interested in history behind a bench name plate opposite Carrs chemist calverley road, reading David Handel George Morgan. who was he, please

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-08-01 10:26:13

To David Morgan.. Have you considered it might refer to David H. G. Morgan who taught Sociology at Manchester University for over 30 years. Don't know if this is the man you are looking for but there is some information about him on the internet. I could find no direct link between the man you named and Tunbridge Wells but obviously there must be one. Others may also reply to your inquiry

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-08-02 10:26:13
To Dave Morgan. David Handel George Morgan was born 27 February 1929 in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. On the seat it is atated that he loved to visit Tunbridge Wells to visit his family. He died in quarter 2 1997 in Haverfordwest. A Raymond Critchley includes him in his family tree, which is posted on Ancestry. I have used the Ancestry contact facility to write to Raymond and ask if he would correspond with you. A second death registration for a David Handel George Morgan is listed in Haverfordwest for Quarter 1 in 1998, but Raymond shows the 1997 date. Brian Dobson

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-08-05 10:26:13
To David Morgan. You might want to contact the Tunbridge Wells town office to find out more about the installation of the bench, year installed, why the plate was installed etc. Their website is with department contacts.

Question by Maggie Bacon on 2014-07-26 10:28:36

Hi I am a member of Sussex Family History Society and cuurently researching families of my house. I have a Mary Carley who is listed as being born in Penshurst sometime around 1818 to a Stephen Carley and Sophia Carley nee Veness are you able to confirm this for me please. Cheers

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-08-02 10:26:13
To Maggie Bacon. The registers for Penshurst are still held at St John the Baptist parish church. There is a genealogical service offered at Brian Dobson

Question by michele tsur on 2014-07-20 10:28:36

I found photographs of a baby girl, from a few months old up to 2yrs 7 months old, among my late mother's personal effects. On the back is written Tunbridge Wells but no name or date, from around 1941-42. How can I post these photos on your site? Clearly seen is a nanny/nurse holding the baby, a farm, and a beautiful house.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-07-23 10:26:13
To Michele Isur. Unfortunately the restrictive structure of our website does not allow us to post photos. Our chairman passed round the photos at our monthly meeting yesterday, but none could recognise those portrayed. We aim to publish the photos in the next edition of our Journal, out in a couple of months. To aid identification Please advise of the name of your mother at the time and her age. A larger readership would be available if you wrote to the letters page of our local newspaper, Kent & Sussex Courier, a BBC South East TV is always requesting interesting stories. Write to Or try ITV at Give as much information as you can. Was your mother living in Tunbridge Wells at the time? If so, at which address? Brian Dobson

Question by Caroline Stevens on 2014-07-19 10:28:36

I am part of a volunteer gardening group, and we are slowly cleaning off the memorial stones in the old churchyard of the Holy Trinity Church. Just wondered if you have any information about those buried here, or plans of the old churchyard.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-07-20 10:26:13
To Caroline Stevens. One of our members, Jan Holly, has already been approached by your group and is awaiting contact with James. Jan is one of the key researchers for the Friends of Woodbury Park Cemetery and was deeply involved in identifying the graves thers. I have passed on your e-mail address to Jan. Brian Dobson

Question by Gena Giandomenico on 2014-07-09 10:28:36

Hi, I am looking for William Webster Styles Chandler b.Dec 19,1839 supposedly in Tunbridge Wells. It was said he jumped ship in Canada from the British Navy but I dont know anything of his family in England. I hope I have the right place! thanks, Gena

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-07-18 10:26:13
To Gena Giandomenico... I sent you information about William Chandler and his family. Did you receive it ok and was it useful?

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-07-31 10:26:13
To Gena Giandomenico. I could find neither a birth registration nor baptism for William Webster Styles Chandler in Tunbridge Wells. I could not find a birth registration anywhere in England and Wales. This was early days of birth registration and not everzbody did so. There are trees posted on Ancestry and presumably you confirmed the date of birth via the partial press clipping included on several. However there are other trees on Ancestry showing the year of birth as 1843 and 1845 and the county as Middlesex or London. What is shown on the Canadian census returns for date and place of birth? It would be interesting to see the text that was part of that cutting. Have you checked the Vancouver newspapers? When did William arrive in Canada? If he was a merchant seaman, check out Brian Dobson

Question by Caroline Sherwood on 2014-07-09 10:28:36

JAMES YATE JOHNSON (1861-1935) died in Southborough Nursing Home on 19 July 1935. He was the son of John Henry Johnson, and my great uncle. I wondered if the building that was the Southborough Nursing Home still exists and if anyone has any records regarding this James Yate Johnson. (John Henry Johnson also had a brother of this name).

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-07-14 10:26:13
To Caroline Sherwood.....I have forwarded to your email address my reply regarding James Yate Johnson. I hope you find it useful

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-08-24 10:26:02
To Caroline Sherwood. I have checked Kellys Directories. In the 1940 edition the Southborough Nursing Home was at 17/19 Park Road, Southborough with an annexe at No. 28. Both buildings have been demolished and replaced by new buildings. 17/19 is an apartment block, Vale Court, while 28 is a private house. At Southborough Library, in a book, I found a short text about the property with a photograph. This I will send to you via email. James Yate Johnson was born in Quarter 4 1861 in Hildenborough Hildenborough to John H. Johnson and Frances Lawson. He married Constance Freeman Kemp in 1887. I found no children. He died in Quarter 3 1935 in the Tonbridge registration area. In 1911 census he was a solicitor and living with his wife, together with three servants at Lapel, Manor Park, Chislehurst. Two trees have been posted on Ancestry. Brian Dobson

Question by Debbie Knight on 2014-06-18 10:28:36

Hi, my mother worked in Weeks Department store. does anybody have any old photos, particularly of the china and glass department.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-21 10:26:02
To Debbie Knight. We are a small organisation. To hit a wider audience, try writing to the letters pages at our locsl newspaper, the Kent & Sussex Courier, at Tunbridge Wells Library at or Tunbridge Wells Museum at may hold photos. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-21 10:26:02
To Debbie Knight. Ed Gilbert has experienced difficulty posting his reply to you. He has documentation regarding R.W.Weekes departmental store and I have given him your address to post direct. A Steve Darby includes a period working at Weekes during the seventies in his Linkedin profile. Go to Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-22 10:26:02
To Debbie Knight. I omitted to write that R. W. Weekes is now Hoopers. The public relations department at Hoopers might hold archive material. To enquire, you can use the form on the contact page of the website at Brian Dobson

Question by Lauren Robinson on 2014-05-29 10:28:36

Looking for an actual obituary that might have appeared in a Tonbridge, Kent newspaper after Sept 6, 1904 for Patrick Arthur Lyons (Capt). Wife was Jane Ann White Lyons. Death certificate states his daughter M.Lyons was present at his death on Lyons Crescent. I need to know for family history who M. Lyons was???? Can anyone help me?

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-04 10:26:02
To Lauren Robinson. I found death and burial reports re Captain Patrick Lyons in consecutive issues of the Kent & Sussex Courier. The filmed reproduction is poor, so I have had to transcribe these. I will send the transcriptions to you via e-mail. On Ancestry I found trees featuring two daughters, who could be M.Lyons. Margaret Elizabeth Lyons born 1st July 1874 and Mary Jane Lyons, born 13th October 1878. Both were born in Morar, Bengal, India. Mary Jane died 25 April 1923 in Chakrata, Uttaranchal in India. Brian Dobson

Answer by Lauren Robinson on 2014-06-14 08:56:25

Thank you so much for sending me the notices on the passing of the great grandfather of my husband. They will be a wonderful addition to our Capt. Patrick Lyons genealogy folder. We visited Tonbridge in April this year. At the time I knew Capt. Lyons and his wife lived at 38 Lyons Crescent. What we did not know is that the house, along with the attached house, number 36, was built specifically in 1902 for Capt. Lyons and his family upon his retirement from the British Army having served in India for entire career. I noticed that there is a cement tablet set into the brick above the front door reading Fernhurst and above the front door on 36 is the name Rosemarie. Could you possibly give me some insight into the significance of naming your home? Was it common in the early 1900 to do this? In my family research I have not come across anyone one with the first name Rosemarie nor anyone with the surname of Fernhurst.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-18 10:26:02
To Lauren Robinson. Before numbering was introduced in the middle to late 19th century most of the houses in this area were named. A considerable number of houses today have both numbers and names, but many names are old and obsolete. Even nowadays some people give their houses names. Usually it would be the name of a person or place dear to them, as you hsve guessed, or one connected with the locality. The Tonbridge Historical Society at may know the significance of the names. The oration by the priest shows that Capt Lyons was very highly regarded. If the minutes of Church Meetings for 1902 still exist, there should be more to discover. Write to Brian Dobson

Answer by Lauren Robinson on 2014-06-19 12:21:14
To Brian Dobson....thank you for your help and for posting. I will check out the Tonbridge Historical Society and I will contact the Church to see if there are any Minutes/notes from Church Meetings in 1904-1904. You are have been very helpful and kind to help me out. Lauren Robinson

Question by Michael Hutchinson on 2014-05-27 10:28:36

do you have any records of the kent & sussex courier paper from around may 1918 regarding a percy woodcock who disapperded in may 1918 please michael

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-08 10:26:02
To Michael Hutchinson. I have found the cutting you requested and will send it to you via e-mail. Percy Woodcock, age 15, was the foster son of Joseph Gabriel. He went missing from the family home on 13 May 1918 and the Kent & Sussex Courier reported it in the issue of Friday 17. As Joseph said that all is forgiven, it suggests there was a family argument. Brian Dobson

Question by Judith Taylor. on 2014-05-25 10:28:36

Dear Kentish Historian, I am writing a chapter about the history of clematis breeding for my next book about great flower breeders of the past. Thomas Cripps, a Tunbridge Wells nurseryman, introduced more than 40 new kinds of clematis over a 20 year period between 1867 and 1887. He lived from 1809 to 1888. Cripps is best known for his new fuschsia, the first one with white sepals introduced in 1848. I am trying to find out as much as I can about his life and work and family background. In the latter part of his life the business was known as Thomas Cripps and Son. Does the society have nay records on this man or could you point me to other sources where I could enquire? If you wish to see the sort of thing I write you could visit my web site: I am a retired English physician now living in San Francisco. With many thanks Yours sincerely Judith Taylor

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-05-26 10:26:02
To Judith Taylor. I have sent by separate email an article I wrote that should answer your questions.

Question by Patricia Press on 2014-05-24 10:28:36

Looking for Edith daisy Tonbridge who married Frederick Ernest Press and lived in south africa

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-30 10:26:02

To Patricia Press. Edith Daisy Tunbridge was born in Chatham Qtr 2 1882 Medway District vol 2a page 271. Her father James Robert was born 1840 in New Romney and died 1895 Woolwich. Mother Sarah Butler was born 1845 in Chatham and died 1913 in South Africa. Frederick Ernest Press was born in Stepney, London 5 June 1882 - registration Qtr 2 1882 Mile End registration area vol 1c 495. He died in 1911 in Cape town. He was the son of Samuel and Marie Scott. 1891 census shows Samuel a widower. With the registration references you can order certificates from I found no marriage, so maybe it took place in South Africa. At there a detailed family tree has been posted. I'll send you the page details. On Ancestry there are posted a number of trees. I found no connection with Tunbridge Wells. I will send details of relevant societies by email. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-31 10:26:02
To Pamela Press. When I tried to send further information via email, Google reported that your stated email address does not exist. The website page to which I am directing you is I have found no trace of either family in Tunbridge Wells. What makes you think there is a connection? For family research in New Romney, go to For Chatham go to the website of the Medway branch of the Kent Family History Society at For Woolwich go to Stepney is now part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Go to the East of London Family History Society at A return voyage from Cape Town to Southampton, arriving on 21st September 1909 aboard the ship German, is recorded on Ancestry for Frederick. His occupation is shown as an electrician. Brian Dobson

Answer by Patricia Press on 2014-06-01 10:26:14
Thank you so very much Brian for that information. My husband is ecstatic. Would you happen to know if I could find out if Edith Daisy Tonbridge worked in crown service or Frederick Ernest Press.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-01 11:26:14
To Patricia Press. Are you saying that Edith or Frederick, or both, may have worked for the British High Commission in South Africa? Probably your starting point is to pose a question on the National Archives website. Go to

Question by Pam Eames on 2014-05-21 10:28:36

Attention Mrs. Rosemary Stanley Hello. I'm in Australia tracing HILL family roots with a lead taking me to Tunbridge Wells. If possible, can you tell me if there was a John Hill born c1828 to a John Hill & Elizabeth Whitmore in your locality? Regards, Pam

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-18 10:26:02

To Pam Eames. Rosemary Cousins informed me that she had contacted you direct that your John Hill does not link with her tree. I've checked baptisms for both Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, but could not find a baptism for John Hill. What is the lead you have connecting him with Tunbridge Wells? Brian Dobson

Answer by Pam Eames on 2014-06-19 12:17:20

To Brian Dobson. Thanks so much for taking the time to check the baptisms for John Hill, Brian. I'm on an elimination trail with this ancestor, originally being led to the area by a Census notation. This one is now debunked. Onward I go... Pam Eames 

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-21 10:26:02
To Pam Eames. I have found a John Hill born circa 1829 in Leigh near Tonbridge. His wife Margaret was born circa 1833 in Tunbridge Wells. At time of 1891 census he was a gatekeeper at a powder mill. He died in 1912 in the Tonbridge registration area. Is this your man? If not, please provide any more information you hold so I can work back from a census. Brian Dobson

Answer by Pam Eames on 2014-06-22 10:26:02

To Brian Dobson. Thanks Brian, but no. By 1891 the John Hill I'm interested in had married in Australia and was living in Bathurst, New South Wales. I did also have a reference to him (that's the Cyclopedia of New South Wales - top of 2nd column, 1st sentence) - Tunbridge Wells, Staffordshire which has been confusing. Pam Eames

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-22 10:26:02
To Pam Eames. Tunbridge Wells is not in Staffordshire. I cannot access the Cyclopaedia of New South Wales through Ancestry to check whether it has been mistranscribed. When did John arrive in Australia and was he a passenger or transported? I found a passenger John Bignall Hill, born circa 1828 and a saddler from Hanslope in Nottinghamshire, who arrived in NSW 7 August 1848, which had been mistranscribed, stating he was from Shropshire. Did his parents also travel to Australia? Brian Dobson

Answer by Pam Eames on 2014-06-23 10:26:02

To Brian Dobson. The Cyclopaedia of New South Wales records ...His paternal grandfather, Mr. John Hill, of Tunbridge Wells, Staffordshire was for years an engineer in the service of the Turkish Government while an uncle at the same time occupied a like position under the Russian Government... I haven't found this paternal grandfather's son's passage to Australia yet (there are many John Hill's). Ancestry has a John Hill travelling from Liverpool to New York on the Ticonderoga 11 Oct 1851. He could have travelled directly from New York to Melbourne. Pam Eames

Answer by Pam Eames on 2014-06-28 10:26:02
I have sent you a copy of the Cyclopedia of NSW. A mistranscription is likely. The Cyclopedia article concerns James Whitmore Hill, half brother to John Hill 1. The grandfather of James Whitmore Hill and John Hill 1 is the said paternal grandfather, John Hill 2 of Tunbridge Wells, Staffordshire, who married Elizabeth Whitmore. The marriage certificates of John Hill 1 to Harriet Pudner in 1854 and Susan Sparry in 1871, sent to you refer. I believe John Hill 2 & Elizabeth Whitmore may have married 4 Nov 1811 in Worcestershire - IGI Batch No. M04027-1. GS Film number 291595). A John Hill travelled Liverpool-New York on Ticonderoga March 1851, who may be John Hill 1 - see Ancestry NY Passenger Lists 1820-1957 Roll 106, M237. I have not found his passage details to Australia yet but it must have been prior to Feb 1854, when he married Harriet Pudner. John Hill 2 was an engineer in the service of the Turkish government.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-06-28 10:26:02
To Pam Eames. Worcestershire could be the vital clue. There is a town named Tenbury Wells in that county. The Malvern Family History Society is in the process of transcribing all Worcestershire parish records. Go to Write to the Worcestershire Archives Service at to check criminal records and find out if John was transported. Brian Dobson

Answer by Pam Eames on 2014-06-29 12:17:20

To Brian Dobson Thanks Brian. You've been very helpful and I'm grateful for your good advice. On the trail... 

Question by Anne Bourne on 2014-05-03 10:28:36

regarding this :Posted by Ed Gilbert on 08/07/2013 To Ann Bourne. Probate for Sir Frederick Samuel Augustus Bourne states he was living at The Firs in Mayfield,Sussex in 1940.From the internet The Firs is located on Station Road near Victoria Road Thank you Can you tell me where you found the location of The Firs the house still there, named this? Anne

Answer by Anne Bourne on 2014-05-03 10:26:02
Thank you for the 008/07/13 information on Sir Frederick Samuel Augustus Bourne, The Firs in 1940 and the stained glass in the chapel at St Dunstan, commissioned in 1950. I am looking for any information about his daughter Margaret, sister to Sir Frederick Chalmers Bourne, and Kenneth Morrison Bourne.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-05-04 10:26:02
To Anne Bourne. The Firs is mentioned in the London Gazette and probate records for 1940. A Google search gave the location. To find out more about The Firs I suggest you contact the historical society or reference librara in Mayfield. I have no info about Margaret Alice Bourne except from a online family tree stating she was born abt 1895. I would expect she was born in Hong Kong with her siblings.You can search online for Hong Kong births.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-08 10:26:02
To Anne Bourne. The postcode for The Firs in Station Road is TN20 6BW. Put that into Google Search and select, then click MAPS and the location map will appear. The Mayfield Local History Society, as recommended by Ed, is at The website for St. Thomas Church Southborough is at Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-08 10:26:02
To Anne Bourne. Margaret Alice Bourne was born Qtr 2 1890 Tonbridge registration area volume 2a page 665. She died aged 82 Qtr 4 1972 Surrey North reg area vol. 5g page 451. With that information you can buy certificates at Alice was born 5 May 1890 and baptised 10 June 1890 at St. Thomas Church, Southborough, where the family were living. Frederick Chalmers, born 12 August 1891, and Kenneth Morrison, born 1 November 1893 were baptised at St. Thomas 26 July 1894. They were born in Hong Kong and were living in Canton, where father was Vice Consul. Mother was Isabel Alice Chalmers. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-08-09 10:26:02
To Anne Bourne. Sir Frederick Samuel Augustus Bourne was seemingly living in Southborough at the time of the birth of Margaret. Investigating further I found her birth registration shows Margaret Alice Bourne was born to Frederick and his wife Isabel Alice on 6th May 1890 at Clyde Villas, Southborough. I also found a short biographical paragraph. I shared this information with the Southborough Society and suggested that Sir Frederick could be a worthy candidate for its programme of placing commemorative green plaques to denote the residences of notable citizens. I have just learned that Sir Frederick has been added to the list of potential candidates. The house still stands on the main thoroughfare through Southborough. Clyde Villas is now known as The Corner House and is situated on the corner of London Road and Meadow Road. I will send you a photo sent to me by the Society. Brian Dobson

Answer by Anne Bourne on 2014-08-11 10:26:02
To Brian Dobson Here is the note Ed Gilbert sentlast summer regarding Mayfield: Probate for Sir Frederick Samuel Augustus Bourne states he was living at The Firs in Mayfield,Sussex in 1940.From the internet The Firs is located on Station Road near Victoria Road. I realize you have found an earlier residence where Margaret Alice was born Thank you Anne

Answer by Anne Bourne on 2014-08-11 10:26:02
Thankyou Brian, I always knew there home as Mayfield , have not seen the name Clyde Villa nor Southworth in their albums Is Mayfield perhaps their later home?

Question by John Martin on 2014-05-01 10:28:36

Martin Family stonemasons worked for Clanricarde Estate

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-01 10:26:02
To John Martin. The Clancarde Estate is in County Galway, Ireland. What makes you believe the Martins had connections with Tunbridge Wells? For those Martins that do, please give christian names, an idea of dates and any other relevant information you hold. Brian Dobson

Question by Richard Wallace on 2014-04-26 10:28:36

Is anyone researching the Tunbridge Wells family of Sir William Tyrone Power, who lived at Kilmore House in the 1890s to the 1930s?

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-04-29 10:26:02
To Richard Wallace. I have researched the Power family and written an article about them which I will send by email to you

Question by Michael Egan on 2014-04-20 10:28:36

Looking for any information on Josephine Ann Rye (nee harrod/horrod). She died in Tunbridge about 1911. She was my GG Grandfather Henry Sedgwick Harrods sister. He emigrated to New Zealand from London c1863.

Answer by Edward Gilbert on 2014-04-21 10:26:02
To Michael Egan. Josephine born Nov 9 1838 at 25 Dhadds Row, Holborn, London. Parents were James Sedgwick Harrod and Ann Tagg. Her siblings were James Joseph (1835-1838) James Sedgwick (1837-1838) Henry Augustus (1840-1917) Caroline Elizabeth (1841-1842). You said she had a brother Henry Sedgwick. Josephine married James Rye, an agricultural worker May 3,1858 at Hildenborough. They had two children Charles in 1857 and Herbert Sedgwick in 1863. 1861 census taken at Cage Green, Tonbridge. James an ag labourer, Josephine a dressmaker and son Charles. 1871 census taken at the Clocker Beerhouse in Tonbridge. James is a farm labourer and beerhouse keeper. With him is Josephine, their two sons. James Rye was born 1837 Tonbridge one of seven children born to George Rye (1812-1849) and Sarah Ann Fagg (1810-1891). In 1841 James living with parents and siblings at Womenswold, Kent. He died 1907 in Sussex. Josephine died March qtr 1911 at Tonbridge.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-08 10:26:02

To Michael Egan. Josephine Ann Rye, aged 72 and the widow of labourer James Rye, died on 22 February 1911 at 1 Dermer Road, Tonbridge. Son H. Rye was present at the death and registered it. You may wish to keep confidential the cause of death, so I'll send this to you by e-mail. Brian Dobson

Question by Philip Reinders on 2014-04-16 10:28:36

Looking for the son and/or daughter of Dr Victor David Randall Martin, he passed away in 2001, his wife Mary passed away a few years ago, looking forward if someone could get me in touch with son Nick or daughter ?, thanks in advance. Philip, netherlands

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-01 10:26:02
To Philip Reinders. Victor David Randall Martin, born 19 March 1919, was cremated in 2001 at the Kent & Sussex Crematorium. The family contact known to the Crematorium was wife Mary. She was Gertrude Mary Gunn and the couple married in 1980.I found a Gertrude Mary Martin was cremated at Cambridge Crematorium on 16 June 2005 and the family contact was a Terance Martin of Sandy in Bedfordshire. At you can purchase, for a small fee, his address taken from the 2013 electoral roll. A Nicholas R.D. Martin was married in Tunbridge Wells to Jacqueline Attwell in quarter 2 of 1985. Was he the son of Victor from an earlier marriage? Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-08 10:26:02
To Philip Reinders. On further checking, I have found that Nicholas R. D. Martin was the son of Richard Hadlow Martin and not Victor David Randall Martin and Gertrude Mary. Brian Dobson

Question by Tracy Dunne on 2014-04-12 10:28:36

I am hoping to trace the marriage between James MASON & Mary LAKEY/LEAKY in the Tunbridge Wells area sometime between 1834-1836. Mary was originally from Medstead, Hants & James from Plymouth, Devon. Mary had a son - John LAKEY born out of wedlock in Aug 1834 and her next son (Dennis MASON) was born around 1835/36 at Tunbridge so I think it safe to assume the marriage took place sometime after Aug 1834. Any info would be much appreciated. Thank you!

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-02 10:26:02
To Tracy Dunne. I have checked both the Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge parish registers but could find neither a baptism for David Mason, nor a marriage for his parents. Maybe they were non-conformists. Or was a nearby village church the venue. Tonbridge is outside our area. Try the North West Kent FHS at Maybe one of its members can help Brian Dobson

Question by Deb Svanefelt on 2014-04-11 10:28:36

Hi, I'm visiting Tunbridge Wells with my mother next weekend (Easter), looking for relatives of her father (my grandfather) who was born there - his name was Leonard Percy Cozens, born in 1900 or 1901. Can you help us find any relatives? Thanks, and cheers, deb svanefelt

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-04-16 10:26:02
To Deb Svanefelt. Rosemary Cozens wrote to the Guestbook earlier this year. You will see below I sent replies on the 26th February and the 1st March. I did not receive a reply to the questions I raised regarding Moira and Michael Cozens. With an idea of age I could check further, in particular for marriages and children, if you feel they are the extension of the family line. Brian Dobson

Question by Carolyn Harris on 2014-04-09 10:28:36

I have 3 marriages that I would like to know, if possible, which church they took place in. Henry Martin & Naomi King - married 25.2.1860 -. The Registration District of Tonbridge. The Parish Church of Tunbridge Frederick Arnold & Susan Braybon - married 22.5.1849 - Registration District of Tonbridge. The Parish Church of Tonbridge William Braybon & Mary Hewlitt - married 1.5.1824 - Tunbridge Wells

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-04-18 10:26:02

To Carolyn Harris. All three marriages took place in Tonbridge. Those in 1824 and 1849 would have been conducted at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. However in 1853 St. Stephens was inaugurated and was designated the parish church for the southern half of the town, while St Peter and St. Paul remained the parish church for the northern half. The filmed record of the marriage of Henry Martin and Naomi King, held at Tonbridge library, states only that the marriage took place in the parish church. The library does not know thew answer. It suggested using the Ask A Kent Librarian Service at to determine to which church the record refers. What should be a clue is that the marriage was conducted by Henry Parr, curate. Maybe one of the churches has a record of Henry's ecclesiastical service. Or perhaps the Tonbridge Historical Society at Family Search wrongly shows the marriage as taking place in Tunbridge Wells. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-05-01 10:26:02
TTo Carolyn Harris. Tonbridge Library has confirmed to the Ask A Kent Librarian Service that the marriage between Henry Martin and Naomi King took place at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Tonbridge. Brian Dobson

Question by Peter Jenner on 2014-04-06 10:28:36

My ancestor John Jenner (Widower) married Charity Pinion of Hollingbourne at Laughton Sussex on 7th November 1791. On 5th May 1792 a Removal Order was issued by the Parish of Laughton to settle John Jenner (blacksmith) and his wife Charity to the Parish of Speldhurst. They raised a family in Speldhurst and with the exception of Philadelphia all births were recorded in the church records for the Tunbridge Wells Chapel. I had thought that John Jenner was born 1761 in Speldhurst as the son of John and Sarah Jenner (nee Fry). John and Sarah had 7 children born in Speldhurst but the Will for John Jenner the father dated 13th December 1780 only refers to five children Robert, Samuel, James, Isaac and Sarah. John and William are not included in the Will which was proved by his widow Sarah Jenner on 21st February 1783. There is a death recorded at Speldhurst for a John Jenner 24th Sept 1761 and William Jenner 5th January 1765. If this was my John Jenner then I can not confirm who were Joh

Answer by Peter Jenner on 2014-04-07 10:26:02
Continuation for search regarding John Jenner. There is a death recorded at Speldhurst for a John Jenner 24th Sept 1761 and William Jenner 5th January 1765. If this was my John Jenner then I can not confirm who were Johns parents. I also have no record of who was John Jenners first wife. Any help that you can give me would be most welcome.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-04-18 10:26:02
To Peter Jenner. John Jenner, baptised 1761, and William Jenner, baptised 1764, both died soon after and are buried in Speldhurst. I found further baptisms for John Jenners to John and Sarah on 27 Dec 1765, 14 Aug 1776, 6 Oct 1780 and 12 Jun 1785. As there are baptisms to children of parents John and Sarah Jenner until 1799, there must have been more than one couple bearing those names. On 12 Aug 1753 a John Jenner married a Jane Kenward at Speldhurst. Both are shown as living in the parish. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-04-25 10:26:02
To Peter Jenner. The filmed records of the early parish records for Speldhurst are not always clear. I rechecked with a magnifying glass and the baptism on 12 Jun 1785 is for a John Jonnson and not John Jenner. A John Jenner was baptised on 4 Aug 1776 and not the 14th. On 27 Dec 1765 and 6 Oct 1780 the forename of both children is James. Unfortunately there are pages that are illegible. Jenner is a common surname in villages of that area of Kent. Check with the county archives to see if the apprenticeship records for blacksmiths in Laughton and Speldhurst have survived. These could name the parents and the age of John. For Speldhurst try the Ask a Kent Librarian service at Did John junior first marry a local girl in Laughton? A John Jenner aged 71 was buried in Speldhurst on 27 Jul 1807. Brian Dobson

Question by John Rogers on 2014-04-06 10:28:36

In 1878, Captain Mandeville of HMVS Cerberus in Australia, posted photos of his new ship and crew home to Mum in Tunbridge Wells. Mrs Mandeville then send at least one of the photos to The Graphic newspaper, which published an engraving of one of the photos. We, Friends of the Cerberus, would love to see copies of the original photos and we are hoping that they still exist. The engraving and accompaning text can be seen at

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-04-24 21:03:59

To John Rogers. Tunbridge Wells Museum knows nothing about Captain Mandeville or HMVS Cerberus. Kent Libraries offers a research service entitled Ask a Kent Librarian. When answering enquiries it checks with all library resources within the county of Kent. Write to The photos would appear to be of significant historical interest. Try the National Maritime Museum at Brian Dobson

Question by Helen OConnor on 2014-04-04 10:28:36

I am not sure if there are any photography or photographer archives in Tunbridge Wells. I am seeking information about an Amos Phillips, who was listed in the 1922 edition of Kellys Directory as a photographer at 26 Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells. I am researching on behalf of a family estate and have been able to trace Amos from his birth at Fulham, Middlesex in 1883 to his Army discharge on medical grounds in 1903. He is not found in the 1911 census, though his father was listed in Folkestone. It is a bit of a long shot, but perhaps you can suggest an avenue for more information and personal details about Amos, the photographer, in the hope that he is our family member. We are not seeking photos but something like an Obituary may have the details we need.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-04-09 10:26:10
To Helen OConnor. The 1922 T.Wells directory listing you referred to is a A Phillips and so there is nothing to confirm that this is Amos. Your Amos seems to disappear after his discharge in WW 1. I noted he was discharged in Ireland, and so it sit possible he remained there?

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-04-25 10:26:10
To Helen OConnor. I have checked the editions of Kellys and Peltons Directories. From 1912 to 1948 26 Camden Road was occupied by photographers. 1912-1915 Bijou Studio. 1916-1919 Frederick Cooper. 1922-1929 Philip Phillips. 1931-1948 Phillips Photographers. In the missing years no directory is available. I found no Amos Phillips. Are you sure he was a photographer? If so, Your Family Tree magazine runs a column entitled Image from the Past. The photographic historian, Audrey Linkman, regularly refers to regional directories when identyfying local photographers. Write to the Letters page at Brian Dobson

Question by Ali. B. Kagamaster on 2014-03-31 10:28:36

My great great grandfather Stephen Tunbridge and his daughter my great grandmother Eliza Tunbridge may have some connection to the Tunbridge Wells. How can I find out? Eliza named her middle son, Frances Tunbridge, after her family. Eliza Tunbridge married Francis Bullock and they lived in Exeter. Their children were Francis Tunbridge Bullock 1870-1870, Stephen Edward Bullock 1871, my grandfather Walter Frederick Bullock 1873-1942, William Bullock 1876-1881 I think Eliza was born near Tunbridge in about 1841. She may have died in 1890s or sooner.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-04-02 10:26:10
To Ali B Kagamaster. In responding to your inquiry I noted that the William Bullock 1876- 1881 your referred to was William Tunbridge Bullock born 1876 died 1881 Exeter.Also the wife of Stephen Tunbridge was Ann. Francis Bullock and Eliza Tunbridge were married April 4,1863 at Camberwell London, the children of Stephen Tunbridge and James Bullock.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-04-03 10:26:10
To Ali B. Kagamaster. Stephen Tunbridge, 1795-1869, was born in Ashford, Kent and married Ann Sills, born 1798 in Ashford. They had 13 children. Eliza was born in Q3 1839 in the West Ashford District volume 5, page 10. With that information you can purchase a certificate at Stephen, a retired baker died in Camberwell in South East London. Richard Tunbridge, 1771-1809 and born in Ashford, was the father of Stephen. He married Sarah Godfrey. Francis Bullock, a commercial traveller was born in 1838 in Walworth or neighbouring Camberwell. There are intricate trees on Ancestry for Eliza Tunbridge and Francis Bullock, but noone has yet linked the two. Brian Dobson

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-04-09 10:26:10
To Ali B Kagamaster. Baptism record gives Eliza Tunridge, daughter of Stephen and Ann Tunbridge at Asford,Kent Aug 23,1839. the 1871 and 1881 census also give Eliza born 1840 Ashford, Kent so no connection to Tunbridge Wells. Eliza died sometime between the 1881 and 1891 census as her husband in 1891 is recorded as widower. Hope this helps.

Question by David Funnell on 2014-03-16 10:28:36

Hello. I am researching my family tree and I was wondering if anyone had already looked into the Funnell family from Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall. My grandparents moved from Tunbridge Wells to Rusthall in 1935 just a few weeks after my late father Maurice William Funnell was born. Please feel free to contact me if you have any information that might help. Thank you. David.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-03-21 10:26:10
To David Funnel- In the 1911 census fir Tunbridge Wells there are 95 members of the Funnel family. What information are you specifically looking for and have you looked online at the various geneology websites to do your research? I would be glad to help if there is something specific you want to know.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-27 10:26:10
David Funnell. A detailed tree is posted on Ancestry under the pseudonym David_Angie. I do not know whether or not this is you. Brian Dobson

Question by Alec Quarterman on 2014-03-15 00:00:00

Would be possible to mention the Kent Family History Fair at Lockmeadow Maidstone on May 18th. on your website also will you be attending on the day? as I have had a few enquires. Many thanks Alec

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-27 09:47:46

To Alec Quartermain. An announcement was made at our monthly meeting last Tuesday to promote the Kent Family History Fair at Lockmeadow, Maidstone on 18th May. We'll repeat it at the April meeting. Brian Dobson

Question by Vicky Pettey on 2014-03-12 10:28:36

Looking for parents of Edith Minnie Elizabeth Ann Watts born Oct 1866 in Tumbridge. Found her in England & Wales Free BMD Birth Index 1837-1915. Listed in book 2a page 515. Would be willing to pay for a copy of that record. Thanks Vicky Pettey

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-27 10:26:10
To Vicky Pettey. I omitted to include in my earlier response that family trees on Ancestry state that Edith Minnie Elizabeth Ann Watts was born on 31 October 1866. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-27 10:26:10
To Vicky Pettey. In the 1871 census Minnie Watts is with parents William and Margaret and two siblings. William Watts, born Canterbury 1835 and a carpenter, married Margaret Powell, born 1943 in Tunbridge Wells, GRO reference Q1 1864 Tonbridge registration area volume 2a page 539. Brian Dobson

Question by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-03-10 10:28:36

Hello Brian,on one of the birth certificatesI got of a roser born in 1888 it says the birth place is 2 Ebony cottages, St. John Street Tunbridge Wells MSD, but this is not the address the family were living at do you know if this was a hospital or maternity home. Thanks Sheri

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-27 10:26:10
To Sheri Bagnall. The correct address is 2 Ebury Cottages, John Street. In the 1886 Directory of Tunbridge Wells a John Butler was living at that address. In 1889 Ebury Cottages has been omitted from Kellys Directory. The next edition held at the T.W. Library is 1892, when William Joseph Mayes was the householder at number 2. There is no Roser listed as a private resident in T.W. in the 1886 directory. In the 1889 directory a William Roser, a plasterer was living at 96 St. James Road. So long as there was a male adult living with the family, you should find him listed on the electoral roll. The electoral rolls are held at the Kent History & Library Centre in Maidstone. Brian Dobson

Question by Carolyn Harris on 2014-02-25 10:28:36

Unable to find birth of Naomi King born around 1833. Married Henry Martin 1860 died 11.7.1886 According to census says she was born in Tonbridge In 1851 census down as Servant paid by Parish. Any help most welcome.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-27 10:26:10
To Carolyn Harris. The marriage by banns of Naomi King, a spinster of Tunbridge Wells, and 40 years old Henry Martin, a widower and a bricklayer of Tunbridge Wells, took place at the parish church Tonbridge on 25th February 1860. The father of Naomi was labourer Charles King. The father of Henry was labourer Thomas Martin. Henry signed the register, Naomi made a mark. The witnesses were William Douth and Robert Corke. Tonbridge is outside our area. Contact Tonbridge Reference Library, which holds filmed parish records of baptisms, at or the North West Kent FHS at Brian Dobson

Question by Gordon Pavey on 2014-02-25 10:28:36

Looking for Pavey in or around Pembury area. Any information would be welcome

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-25 10:26:10
To Gordon Pavey. To enable us to to make a thorough search, you need to supply more information, such as christian names, dates of birth if known or an idea of the times during which they lived in Pembury. Any other known facts will be useful. Brian Dobson

Answer by Gordon Pavey on 2014-02-28 10:19:11

Thanks for the reply. I am trying to help a lady in Queensland find her family. so far I have got back to John Pavey b about 1728 who m Margaret Hodgkin in or near Pembury in 1756. John lived in Wadhurst, but I cannot find his place of birth. If I can locate that I may be able to link her family to mine, for which I have an extensive history back to 1527. Any help would be most welcome.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-10 10:26:10
To Gordon Pavey. When surfing Google I came across three free-to-view pages from Ancestry, which show that both John Pavey senior, 1728-1772, and Margaret Hodgskins, 1733-1828, were both baptised and married at St. Marys Church in Lamberhurst. Johns parents were Nicholas and Jane. The Kent Archaeological Society lists the memorials in St Marys graveyard. There are five with the surname, Hodgskins or Hodgkins - numbers 210, 211, 212, 214 and 263. I will send separately by e-mail whe webpage addresses, which contain symbols not accepted by our website progamme. Brian Dobson

Question by Rosemary Cozens on 2014-02-19 10:28:36

I would like to know if there are any of my family still in the Tunbridge Wells area. My father was Leonard Percy Cozens, born in !900, to Frederick and Elizabeth Cozens. He had brothers Edward and Cecil, sisters Daisy, Violet, Lillian. Back in the 1940s cousins wrote to me, Moira and Michael Cozens. More than that, I do not know. Any advice you could give me would be most appreciated. I am planning to be in the T.Wells area at the end of April.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-26 10:26:10
To Rosemary Cozens. Ours is a small society. The letters page of our local newspaper, the Kent & Sussex Courier, would offer a much larger audience. Write to I checked Kellys Directories for the names of householders. A Frederick Cozens was at 4 Woodbury Park Road in 1940. The war years intervened and the next issue is 1948. Miss D. Cozens is named at that address 1948 to 1968. Frederick Cozens Jnr was at 35 Whitefield Road 1948-61. At 9 Court Road 1950=53 was Mrs M.M. Cozens, then Miss K. Cozens 1955-57. At 30 Culverden Avenue in 1955 was Cecil C. Cozens. In 1969 R. K. Cozens was at 28 Manor Road and then at 5 Mayfield Road in 1973. Fras. A, Cozens was at 68 Sandhurst Road 1971- 1974 possibly longer. Edward S. Cozens was at 29 Birling Drive from 1974. 1974 was the last year of publication. How old were Moira and Michael in 1940? Were they the children of Frederick? There are 3 Cozens in the phone book. I will send details by e-mail. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-01 10:26:01
To Rosemary Cozens. Burials and cremations at the Kent & Sussex Cemetery and Crematorium in Tunbridge Wells are listed at You need only enter the surname and the years you want to scan for free. There are several entries for Cozens. Brian Dobson

Question by Lowell Herzog on 2014-02-18 10:28:36

Hello to All, I am doing the research for a book on the 1926 Galveston (Texas) Bathing Girl Revue beauty contest. In it was a girl named Constance Martin. She was born 14 December 1904 to Lionel and Florence Martin in/around Tunbridge Wells. Her father was either an employee of the railroad or had some ownership in it, and died in a railway accident. Their house in/near TW was visited by one of Constance's sons in the 1970's and the owners knew about the Martin family. There was also a brother to Constance named Lionel (Jr. I presume) who was born around 1906. Both parents and Lionel Jr. are buried in/around TW. If anyone has any info on the family, the father's death or anything that may help me complete my story of her life before emigrating to the US, please let me know. Thanks, Lowell Herzog P.O. Box 1266 Brenham, TX 77834-1266 979-836-7715

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-02-18 10:26:01
To Lowell Herzog. Perhaps this helps. Passenger list departed New York arrived Liverpool Dec 25,1916 Florence Louisa Martin,widow,age 32 with children Constance Irene Martin,age 12 and Lionel Beresford Martin age 10. care of W.W. Martin Homewood,East Cliff Ramsgate Kent. And Feb 5,1905 baptism for Constance Irene Martin at Christ Church, Ramsgate,Kent parents were Lionel William Martin and Florence (Flossie)Louisa Martin. Birth of Constance Irene Martin registered Jan 1905 at Thanet,Kent.Could not find any connection of this family to Tunbridge Wells except for 1911 census with Rose Martin,age 61,widow who had living with her were grandchildren Constance, age 7, born 1904 Tunbridge Wells and Wilfred born 1905 T. Wells.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-26 10:26:01
To Lowell Herzog. I did not find a Lionel Beresford Martin. Perhaps he was a nephew. In the 1911 census Flossie Carnell was a boarder of Walter J. & Jessie Markwick , 18 Mount Pleasant Road, Hastings. I found no reference to the railway accident. To seek help in Thanet, go to the website of the Thanet Branch of the Kent FHS at For Hastings contact the Hastings & Rother FHS at I could not find Lionel or Flossie as a householder in the Tunbridge Wells editions of Kellys Directories from 1904 to 1911. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-26 10:26:01
To Lowell Herzog. Lionel William Martin married Flossie Louisa Carnell in Quarter 1 1899 Hastings registration area volume 2b page 24. Flossie Louisa Carnell was born in Quarter 2 1883 in the Hastings area volume 2b page 15. In the 1901 census Flossie Louisa Carnell was a visitor to William & Eleanor Cuttenden at Church Street, Bexhill, Sussex. No occupation is shown. She is shown as single. I found a Lionel William Martin, a grocery assistant aged 22, at what looks like I. Backer & Co.19 & 21 Young Street, Kensington London. He was born in Ramsgate, Kent, which is within the registration area of Thanet, where Constance was born. He too is shown as single. Were they both live-in employees, who dare not disclose they were married? A son, Wilfred Charles Martin was born Q2 1905 Tonbridge registration area vol 2a page 818 With the registration details you can order certificates from the General Register Office at Brian Dobson

Answer by Elizabeth Layton on 2014-02-27 10:26:00
To Lowell Herzog.Lionel and Flossie actually married in 1904, not 1899,but other registration details are correct.Lionel Beresford Martin was born on 3 May 1906 in Toronto,Canada.His father appears to have arrived in Canada in Oct 1906 and in 1910 is described as a Rail Road Clerk, and as a brakeman in 1914. Florence was a widow by May 1917.Constance Martin was a student at Braemar School,Upper Grosvenor Rd, Tunbridge Wells and returned to USA from Southampton in Aug 1923.Hope this helps.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-27 10:26:01

To Lowell Herzog. Elizabeth is right. I am sorry that I obviously copied the wrong year for the marriage. This explains why they are shown as single in the 1904 census. If the Flossie Carnell I found in the 1911 census is your Flossie, why did she use her maiden name? I found a death registration for Constance Irene Martin - Q4 1991 Southend-on-Sea registration area volume 9 page 3051. Is this your Constance? Southend is in the county of Essex. Contact the Southend & District Family History Computer Group at or the U3A Southend Family History Group at Looks as though the railway accident happened in Canada. I'll see what I can find on Braemar School. Brian Dobson

Answer by Elizabeth Layton on 2014-02-27 10:26:02

To Lowell Herzog and Brian Dobson.I have now discovered that Constance Irene Martin married Herman A Meister in Cleveland, Ohio on 30 Jun 1931. The 1921 Canadian census shows that Florence and her 2 children are living in Toronto, but the family moved to Cleveland in about 1922.I am still working on the passenger lists as the family travelled across the Atlantic several times.Constance Meister died on 10 May 1972 in Cleveland OH.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-07 10:26:00
To Lowell Herzog and Elizabeth Layton. Braemar School was a girls school and preparatory school for boys under headmistress Miss B. Martin at 31 Upper Grosvenor Road from 1918. From 1912 to 1917 the headmistress was Miss F. Draper,first at 18 Queens Road, then 11 Park Road before moving to Upper Grosvenor Road sometime during WWI. From 1913 to 1917 it is listed as a girls shool as it is in 1911 under Miss A.Finnis and Mrs Gregg. Before then it was a boys school Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-07 10:26:02
To Lowell Herzog. To find out if records for Braemar School are archived in Kent, write to the Ask a Kent Librarian service at Also try the National Archives at www.national Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-07 10:26:03
To Lowell Herzog. I discovered a book entitled Tonbridge, Royal Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks as Educational Centres. In it is an entry - Braemar, Upper Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells. Boarding and Day School for Girls, Preparatory for Boys. The School provides a good sound Education. Up-to-date methods. Individual attention. Careful training. Pupils can be prepared for the Cambridge Locals and the various Musical and Drawing Examinations. Pupils prepared for the Public Schools. Principal: Miss Beatrice Martin. I believe the book was published in 1939, which has been written in ink on a sticker. Note Miss Martin is still headmistress since the 20s.

Answer by Elizabeth Layton on 2014-03-07 10:26:04
To Lowell Herzog and Brian Dobson. Beatrice Martin was aunt to Constance and can be found on the 1881 census with her brother Lionel and other siblings and their father William Woodgate Martin, a well known builder in Ramsgate. The company he founded still exists and has a useful website at Constance arrived in Southampton from New York destination Woodfield, St Michael, Tenterden on 9 September 1922 and left Braemar School, sailing back to New York on 8 August 1923.

Question by Vivienne Clark on 2014-02-16 10:28:36

Hi, I'm hoping to elicit some information about my relative Mary Clapson b.c1802 and her parentage. I've found a baptism record for her for 31st Jan 1802 in Pembury, Kent. She subsequently married David Seymour and they lived mostly in East Hoathly, East Sussex. It appears that Mary Clapson may be illigitimate as only her mother's name (also Mary Clapson) is mentioned on her baptism record. I have drawn a blank and can find no further info about Mary Clapson snr. online and wonder if anyone can help me with where to look. I have an Ancestry subscription, no luck there either. I am no longer living locally but do come to Sussex and could do some hands on research if I knew how to narrow down where to look. Thank you v much to anyone responding to this!

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-27 10:26:01
To Vivienne Clark. I checked the Pembury parish records from 1770 to 1786 but could not find Mary Clark senior, although some entries are hard to read. I found the baptism for Mary jnr and I agree that almost certainly Mary jnr was born illegitimately. If Mary snr lived until 1841 or 1851, then she is not to be found in the census returns for the Tunbridge Wells area, There is a small number in villages in both Kent and Sussex, but I could not establish links. There are a large number of family trees on Ancestry, but many show the wrong parents for Mary junior. Was Mary a recipient of parish relief in the parish of Pembury? If records exist, this would be recorded. Contact Ask a Kent Librarian, the county research service, and ask if the contents of the parish chest are available somewhere. Go to I assume you found on Ancestry the two children of Mary jnr. and the death of David. Brian

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-28 10:26:01
To Vivienne Clark. My response of course should have referred to Mary Clapson senior and not Mary Clark. Sorry for the error. Brian Dobson

Question by Amy Gerrard on 2014-02-14 10:28:36

Hi there, I am looking for my father - EDWARD ARTHUR OWEN D.O.B 09/1954. Was last seen in Tunbridge wells 2005. May have moved to Canterbury. Would love to get in touch with him. Thanks

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-20 10:26:01
To Amy Gerrard. I have been unable to find any information on Edward Arthur Owen. Ours is a small organisation. For a wide audience I suggest you write to the letters page of our local newspaper, The Kent & Sussex Courier at For Canterbury contact the Kentish Gazette at To trace a living person the Salvation Army would appear to be your best option. Go to Brian Dobson

Question by Candida Ridler on 2014-02-10 10:28:36

Please can someone help me with the birth and death dates of Mathew Stidolph who was in charge of Sprangs circulating library at the Post Office in Tonbridge around the 1780s.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-11 10:26:01
To Candida Ridler. Mathew Stidolph and descendants are all detailed on a tree at Brian Dobson

Question by Wendy Rich on 2014-02-10 10:28:36

I am hoping for any information on a lady called Violet Mary Hayes was Seal. I believe she lived in Leigh Road Tunbridge Wells in 1946?

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-12 10:26:01
To Wendy Rich. The only Leigh Road in the area I can find is in Hildenborough, just outside Tonbridge. The only Kellys Directories available at Tunbridge Wells Library are the editions of 1942 and 1948. Noone with the surname Hayes is listed as a householder in Leigh Road. Maybe Violet was sharing a tenancy. I suggest you try the electoral rolls. These are held at the Kent History & Library Centre at Hildenborough is outside our area and in that of the North West Kent Family History Society at Brian Dobson

Question by Tony Miles-Prouten on 2014-02-04 00:00:00

Where may I search on for the 1891 and 1901 census records for the road Broadwater Down in Tunbrudge Wells? Which county, which civil parish and which enumeration district? Thank you.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-02-06 10:05:41

To Tony Miles- Prouten. I have researched the history of Broadwater Down extensively and written several articles about it including a listing of residents, buildings constructed on it etc. If you want to read about it go to my website and look on page 2. To answer your question the Broadwater Down parish and road etc were originally in Frant,Sussex so I would begin there. Later it became part of Tunbridge Wells,Kent when the boundary was realigned.

Answer by Tony Miles-Prouten on 2014-02-08 10:06:40

To Ed Gilbert Brilliant, thank you very much. This will be of great interest to someone I know who is current resident of Broadwater Down.

Question by Laurie Chick on 2014-01-29 10:28:36

I am trying to trace my G/G/Father, George Cole, who was born 1st November 1856 in Tunbridgw Wells. Would the reg District be Canterbury ? I have a reg Qtr 1 1857 but do not want to send for another wrong certificate. Any help would be appreciated.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-29 10:26:01
To Laurie Chick. Registration area would be Tonbridge and not Canterbury. I think you have the wrong year. Try Q1 1858 Tonbridge 2a 381. Brian Dobson

Answer by Laurie Chick on 2014-01-31 10:26:01
Brian Dobson, Thanks for reply, I will send for copy of the birth cert you mention as George gave his dob as 1/11/1856 when he joined the Met Police. Thanks again and I will let you know the outcome

Answer by Laurie Chick on 2014-02-03 10:26:01

To Brian Dobson, I have a copy of the birth cert for George 1/11/1858 Tonbridge 2a Page 381 Qtr 4 not 1 but it's not the right father this shows Charles Cole & I am looking for a George Thomas Cole a Gardener. I will keep on trying, but, thanks anway. Regards Laurie

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-02-09 10:26:01
To Laurie Chick. I did some checking on your inquiry but found nothing that matches the information you gave. I found no record for George born in Tunbridge Wells with a father George Thomas Cole as a gardener or any other occupation. How did you come to conclude George was born in Tunbridge Wells and that his father was George Thomas Cole? Perhaps you should check to see if the family is in the town of Tonbridge and not Tunbridge Wells. Many people get the two places mixed up due to the similarity and sloppy use of the names.

Answer by Laurie Chick on 2014-02-11 10:26:01
To Ed Gilbert, thanks for trying to help. I admit it is a bit confusing. I have George Cole (wedding cert) married 29/7/1877 with his father as George Thomas Cole a Gardener. 30/6/1879 he joined Police W-Div at Clapham and gave his birth date as 1/11/1856 Tunbridge Wells. 1881 Census shows birth place as Southbore Kent. 1891 as Tunbridge Wells. 1901 no trace. 1911 Southborough Kent. A newspaper article on his 50th Wedd. states he came from Tunbridge Wells. Is Southborough in the same area or should I try somewhere else ? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-02-12 10:26:01
To Laurie Chick. The birth certificate for George Cole is at Vol 2a pg 381. His birth was registed in the tonbridge district 4th qtr 1858. A family tree has him born November 1,1858 at Southborough (nearTunbridge Wells). His parents are Charles Frederick Cole (1824-1908) and Mary Ann Turner(1822-1885).Census of 1861 and 1871 give the above parents names. George married Emily Voller (1853-1939) July 29,1877 at St George the Martyr,Surrey.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-02-13 10:26:01

To Laurie Chick. Are you saying that Charles Fred4rick Cole is not George's father solely because his father is given as George Thomas Cole on his marriage certificate? If that is the case I would suggest that you reconsider given in part because the marriage certificate gives his wife as Emily Voller and the 1881 cenus for George gives his wife as Emily Cole of about the same birth year and that George is shown born in Southborough. The only birth for a George Cole in Southborugh is the one I gave you in my previous rely making his parents Charles Frederick Cole and Mary Ann Turner.However if you are convinced that his father is George Thomas Cole then like you I am at a loss for I can find no record for him.Good luck with your search. I hope you get to the bottom of the mystery.

Answer by Laurie Chick on 2014-02-13 10:26:01
To Ed Gilbert. The information you gave does not refer to my George as can be seen from my e-mail to Brian Dobson 3/2/14 and my e-mail to you 11/2. I hold a copy of the birth cert you mention and it is not his parents. I have also seen a number of trees that have the incorrect parents as well. I am in the process of contacting a few remaininf Cole family members in London and hope that they can help. Regards Laurie

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-20 10:26:01
To Laurie Chick. On Ancestry there is a tree posted by pseudonym dglyn190. The tree has a photograph of George Cole, born 1/11/1858 in Southborough, of the Special Branch London Police. He died in 1943. There is also a press cutting about an arrest he made. The article appeared when he was aged 80 and living at Fairview Road, South Tottenham. The tree shows Charles as the father. Via Ancestry there is a facility to contact the tree owner. Brian Dobson

Question by Philip Reinders on 2014-01-24 10:28:36

For research about a publication about the Angel of Arnhem 1944, Kate Ter horst, I am looking for relatives of the late Captain Victor David Randall Martin who fought at Arnhem, but passed away in 2001. If anyone can help me out I am looking forward hearing from you Thanks in advance

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-27 10:26:01
To Philip Reinders. To give me some clue as to where to search, please let me know what information you hold on Captain Martin being resident in Tunbridge Wells. We are a small society. I would suggest that you need to cover more people in the area by writing to the letters page of our local newspaper, the Kent & Sussex Courier, at Brian Dobson

Question by Allan Jameson on 2014-01-23 10:28:36

I live in Australia and stumbled across your website. Tunbridge or Tonbridge which is the correct spelling? My 5X Great Grandfather, William Ralfs born about 1734 married a Charlotte Oakley in 1834. As far as I know they had 3 children, Isabella, Richard, Matilda and Clara. Living in Australia it is not easy to information on the other side of the world. William may have been and artist or landscape painter. I know this is a long shot but does your family group have anything on the Ralfs or Oakleys

Answer by Allan Jameson on 2014-01-25 10:26:01
William Ralfs Born in Tunbridge Wells about 1783. He married a Charlotte Oakley in 1805. Charlotte was also born in Tunbridge Wells about 1784. Can anyone give me any information bout them and any children. I live in Australia and it is not easy obtaining information on the other sied of the world.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-29 10:26:01
To Alan Jameson. Tonbridge is the original town. In older times it was often spelt as Tunbridge. When a chalybeate spring was found in 1606, five miles south of Tonbridge, the area was known as the Wells of Tunbridge. As a village, then town, grew, it became known as Tunbridge Wells. Tonbridge is in the area of the North West Kent FHS at Brian Dobson

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-01-29 10:26:01
To Allan Jameson. Looks like the Ralf family are in the town of Tonbridge and not Tunbridge Wells and so is outside our area. However see 1826 Pigots directory for Tonbridge and see William Falf is a bookseller and stationer. See also online a marriage record dated December 28,1805 for William Ralf to Charlott Oakley at Saint Clement Danes,Westminser London. See also family tree online for William and Charlotte that gives parents of Charlotte as John and Anne and that Charlotte born 1774 Wigmore,Hertforshire and had daughter Isabella who on July 14,1836 married John Coulton(1806-1874)who had 6 children.See also baptism of Edward Ralf son of William and Charlotte at Tonbridge Aug 1,1917.See also post office appointment at Tonbridge for William June 30,1828. He would have been perhaps the postmaster in Tonbridge at his stationers shop.

Answer by Allan Jameson on 2014-01-31 10:26:01
Ed Gilbert. Thank you very much for this information, greatly appreciated. I had not heard of the Pigots directory, Is it available on line. Also where on line did you find the other information? as I have not found it yet. Regards, Allan Jameson

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-02-01 10:26:01
To Allan Jameson. I have sent to you by private email details about the source of the information and how you can access it.

Question by Lesley Moore on 2014-01-22 10:28:36

Hi, am researching the lines of James Nye and Elizabeth Fenner and William Fenner, all involved in the Tunbridge Wares. Would love to hear from anyone else interested in the Nye/Fenner line. Thank you Lesley

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-27 10:26:01

To Lesley Moore. Go to the Members Interests page on our website and you will find address details of one member researching Fenner. The Tunbridge Wells Museum has a large collection of Tunbridge Ware and I would guess almost certainly possesses biographical information on James Nye and the Fenners. We are a small society. To hit a wider audience, I suggest you write to the letters page of the Kent & Sussex Courier at People's knowledge often does not go back that far. They do not know they have illustrious ancestors. You should add the latest family members on your tree to your request. The historical branch of The Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society may be able to help at Click on Contact Us for a direct link. Brian Dobson

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-01-29 10:26:01
To Leslie Moore. I have sent to you directly an article I wrote about Tunbridge Ware that includes information regarding the families you were asking about.

Question by Sarah Courage on 2014-01-21 10:28:36

I am trying to locate a copy of a census of Parham House, Mount Pleasant Road between 1904-1924, the home of my great grandparents Dr Francis Bisshopp and his wife Mary Emily Fanny.

Answer by Ed Gilbert on 2014-01-21 10:26:01
To Sarah Courage. I have researched the history of Parham House and written an article about it. It no doubt contains the census information you are looking for.I have sent it directly to your email address

Question by susan fisher on 2014-01-20 10:28:36

hi I'm looking for my ancestors as doing family tree. James Jones and Minnie jones hadlow 1925. any info would be great thanks

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-27 10:26:01
To Susan Fisher. Hadlow is outside our area. You need the North West Kent FHS at However I checked the editions in the 1920s of Kellys Directory. The only Jones I found in Hadlow is Henry Jones, Fishmonger, in the 1922 edition. Not one private address shows a Jones as the head of household. They could of course have been lodging. To find descendants still in the area, you would hit a wider audience by placing a request in the letters pages of the Kent & Sussex Courier. Write to You can check the electoral rolls to find out when and when the Jones were in Hadlow. These are held in Maidstone at the Kent History & Library Centre at Maybe the Hadlow History Society at can help. Brian Dobson

Question by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-01-15 10:28:36

Hi I am doing my family tree but have got stuck, family name Roser from Tunbridge Wells Kent. The person I am having trouble with is Richard Sutton Roser born 1856 wife Alice,can anyone please help. Thankyou Sheri

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-01-16 09:02:46

Hi sent email yesterday but forgot to say could not find Richard Sutton Roser from 1884 and cannot find a death record. Thankyou Sheri

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-17 09:03:58

To Sheri Bagnall. Richard Sutton Roser was born Quarter 1 1856 in the Kensington registration area, volume 1a, page 26. He married Alice in Quarter 4 1879 in the Edmonton registration area, volume 3a, page 340. With this information you can order certificates from the General Register Office at I could not find a death registration. Why do you believe Richard had links with Tunbridge Wells? Brian Dobson

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-01-20 09:05:36

Hi Brian thanks for the reply, yes I have the certificates granddad Frederick William and other children were born there and lived there until they moved to Brighton Sussex between 1902 and 1908. Have been able to trace all others in the family but not the death of Richard Sutton Roser(1856). I wonder if he could have been in prison. I belong to three other sites and still cannot find his death,it must be after 1884 as that is when Frederick William was born. Many thanks Sheri

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-24 09:06:39

To Sheri Bagnall. What is the address for the birth of Frederick William? I can try tracking it in Kellys Directories. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-27 10:26:01
To Sheri Barnall. Tunbridge Wells Library has Kellys Directories only for 1882, where there is no street index, and 1886, where a Mrs Ashdown, hairdresser, is listed. She is also listed in 1889. Try searching for Richard on the electoral rolls. These are held in Maidstone at the Kent History & Library Centre at Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-13 09:07:12

To Sheri Bagnall. A Richard Roser appeared in court in Tunbridge Wells on 26 September 1913. I am sending a press cutting. A Richard Roser died Quarter 2 1929 in the Romford registration area volume 4a page 459. That's seven years out on his birth, but the informant could have been guessing at the age. Brian Dobson

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-02-14 09:08:01

Hi Brian, many thanks for your help,I have come across another couple of press cuttings from the kent and sussex courier of 1877 and 1878 when he would be 21 or 22 years old and because his name is Sutton Roser he comes up in one as Richard Sutton alias Roser and the other as Mr R Roser and when he was up for loitering the week before said his name was Sutton. I do know if the one who died in Romford in 1929 is my one(who seems to be a bad boy) any idea how I could know? Thanks for your help you are great Sheri

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-14 09:08:32

To Sheri Bagnall. Why would Richard have moved to Essex at such a late age? Did he move in with one of his children? I would purchase a death certificate to see who reported the death. It would appear he was living in Tunbridge Wells in 1913. Maybe you can find him in the electoral roll. However, it would take a long trawl without knowing the actual street. The electoral rolls are at the Kent History & Library Centre in Maidstone. If you do find him, you will learn of other eligible voters with whom he was living and can track that address in subsequent years. Before that check the 1911 census for Tunbridge Wells with a toothcomb. Brian Dobson

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-02-15 09:09:10

Hi Brian, I do not know why he would have moved to Essex, only all of his children moved from Kent to Brighton Sussex in 1900's also some of his wife's family had moved to Sussex before that, but as I said I cannot find him in the 1891 census this is why I thought he has died. Thankyou for the newspaper it does sound as if he was an alcoholic and perhaps this is why I cannot find him with his family. I will check the 1911 census I have not checked it before as I thought he had died. I think I will have to come to kent if I cannot out the 20 years. Thank you you do a lot of work and help. Sheri

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-15 09:09:51

To Sheri BagnallDo not forget the 1901 census. I will check the Kellys Directories, but if he was an alcoholic, then he probably will not feature in the list of householders. Brian Dobson

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-02-15 09:10:19

Hi Brian, have been checking 1901, 1911 this morning have not found him, the 1911 census books make it hard as they give little info. Sheri

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-20 10:26:00
To Sheri Bagnall. I have checked Kellys and Peltons Directories from 1885 to 1915, but found no trace of Richard Sutton Roser as a householder. I am puzzled why you say the 1911 census gives little information, but I too could not find him in the Ancestry index. Brian Dobson

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-20 10:26:01
To Sheri Bagnall. You could try the electoral rolls, which are held in Maidstone at the Kent History & Library Centre, but without an address, the search would be a long process, because they are indexed by street and not by name. The Centre might be able to trace the court record of the drunkeness proceedings, which should contain an address. Brian Dobson

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-02-21 10:26:01
Hi Brian, I could not find him in the 1911 census and the 1911 census summery books only give a name and no other info. I went to Eastbourne yesterday and saw an aunt who was a granddaughter of Richard Sutton Roser she is now 90 years old and she said that she never met her granddad but heard he was a bit of a roamer(?). I think me and a cousin will come to Kent when the weather gets better, any idea which would be the best place for us to look . Many thanks for your help you are a great help. Sheri

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-22 10:26:01
To Sheri Bagnall. Although missing from the census returns, Richard should be listed on the electoral rolls. These are held at the Kent History & Library Centre in Maidstone. As I said earlier, it could be a long trawl, but you may be lucky and find him with a Roser listed as a householder in the summary books for 1901 and 1911, which do show addresses. A Richard Roser married Rose Turner Q4 1923 Tonbridge 2a 1901. A Richard S. Roser married Ruth Goble Q2 1922 Lewes 2b 423. A Richard Roser was sentenced to 4 months hard labour on 2 July 1870 for uttering a medal as a current coin. There could be a press report. Brian Dobson

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-02-23 10:26:01

Hi Brian, thanks for info and marriage list the Richard S Roser was Richard Sutton Roser's son who married Ruth Goble in 1922 Lewis all of the family moved to Brighton Sussex and the only one I cannot find is Richard Sutton Roser and I cannot find divorce records only on the 1891 census his wife is down as married living with some of the children and housekeeper to a Mr hall but when they moved to Brighton she is now Mrs Hall married for 23years the great aunt I saw said she did not think her grandmother and Mr Hall were married. I cannot find any divorce or remarriage for her, her name was Alice Roser-nee Moore. Regards Sheri

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-02-27 10:26:01
To Sheri Bagnall. In 1923 the marriage to Rose Towner was that of Richard Roser, age 22, the son of Thomas Roser. Seemingly not your tree, but I hold full details if you want them. Brian Dobson

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-02-28 10:26:01

Hi Brian, I do not think that Richard Roser is our direct line as ours all moved to Sussex in the 1900's. It makes it very hard to trace Richard Sutton Roser when there are a lot of Richard Roser's and his name is not fully used all the time, except as I said in the newspaper reports when he used Sutton and Roser, thank you for keep trying to help me. Sheri

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-02-28 10:26:02
Hi Brian, I did not get that Richard Roser marriage right have been checking and it seems that his father Thomas Roser is the half brother of our Richard Sutton Roser, thanks for the info it has added to the tree. Sheri

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-03-01 10:26:01
To Sheri Bagnall. Here then are the full details. Marriage between Richard Roser and Rose TOWNER took place on 10th Nov 1923. Richard was aged 22 and a batchelor, labourer, residence 4 Richardson Road Father Thomas Roser, Fly Proprietor. Rose Towner age 21 Spinster, same address. Father Albert Towner Farm Labourer.Both signed the register. Witnesses Francis Roser and Cyril Waters. Marriage was by Banns. Brian Dobson

Answer by Sheri Bagnall on 2014-03-01 10:26:02

Hi Brian thank you for all that info, where do you get all of this you must do a lot of work,many thanks Sheri

Question by Geoff Hull on 2014-01-13 10:28:36

Hello to you all. I have come to a bit of an in pas in researching my great grandfather from Tunbridge Wells, and wonder if you can help. John Joy lived in Tunbridge Wells, and was believed to have operated a grocery business. He was married to an Elena May Dolding. His son, John Thomas, did war service in WW1. Do you have any information on ancestors? Thanks so much for your consideration.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-24 10:26:01
To Geoff Hull. John Thomas Joy was born illegitimately in Brenchley - Q4 1869 Tonbridge registration area volume 2a page 555. His mother was Sarah Joy, born 1843. She married Joseph Russell - Q3 1873 Tonbridge 2a 799. John Thomas married Elena Celia Dolding- Q2 1889 Tonbridge 2a 1031. With those references you can order certificates from the GRO. In 1891 census they are at 30 Commercial Road, Paddock Wood with daughter Mabel, aged 1 and two visitors named Dolding. John is a bricklayers labourer. In 1911 John is an out-of-work picture house manager. He lived at St. Marys Rd, Faversham with Elena, and children Nellie-13, Cyril-10, Stewart-8, Redvirs-6 and Eric-2. I found no reference to a grocer. John Thomas jnr was born Q4 1891 Tonbridge 2a 727. In 1911 he was a servant at 1 St. Andrews Pavement, Stamford Hill, North London. Brian Dobson

Question by M Ramsay on 2014-01-08 10:28:36

I have found a Maynard ancestor from Tumbridge wells and want to trace my ancestors further back. Thomas Maynard, born 1819 married Esther Tribe, born Llandshipping Pembrokeshire Wales on Sept 1843 in Carmarthenshire Pembrokeshire Wales? He died 1887 Pembrokeshire Wales. I need Thomas Maynard father and mother name.

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-17 10:26:01

To Paul Ramsey. Thomas, the son of Thomas Maynard and Lucy, was baptised at St. Albans parish church, Frant, Sussex on 16 May 1819. Thomas senior was a labourer. I could not find a marriage for Thomas and Lucy in the Frant register between 1800 and 1819. There's a long blog on, which discusses other family members. Go to It should be worthwhile joining in. Brian Dobson

Question by Frances Gould on 2014-01-08 10:28:36

Hi! I'm sending this from Geraldton in Western Australia. I have been tracing my family history, and have discovered that my Grandfather was born/raised at no 21 High Street Tunbridge Wells in 1888 or 89. We know very little about his other family, and only have his father's name. He was Edward Henry Martin, son of Horace. We don't even know if he had any siblings. I was wondering if you could put me in touch with someone who knows the history of the house and its occupants? (Out here we have the Town Council that keeps public records). Thank you. I would be most grateful for your reply. Kind regards Frances Gould

Answer by Brian Dobson on 2014-01-17 10:26:01
To Frances Gould. I have been unable to link the Martins with 21 High Street, Tunbridge Wells. In the 1891 census Horace and wife Annie, both born circa 1866, and son Edward, born circa 1889, were living at 4 Rock Terrace, Rusthall. In the 1901 census they are still there. In 1888/1889, according to Kellys Directory, 21 High St was occupied by Jones, Thomas, Hugh, a fancy draper. The next available issue at Tunbridge Wells Library is 1892 with Bennetts, boot & shoe makers, the occupiers. A Ragau Martin, solicitor, shared no. 25 with a grocer. Horace, born in Maidstone, was a general labourer, so I would not expect to find him in the High Street. Annie was born in Rusthall and the family were tenants at the house of her father. What prompts you to believe they were living in the High Street? Brian Dobson