|Thomas Dumbrell||Twelth Great||Back to Page Map|
The most distant ancestor positively traced is Thomas Dumbrell , tenant of Antye Farm, Wivelsfield, near today's Burgess Hill. He died about 1536. But he certainly wasn't the only Dumbrell in that part of mid-Sussex at the time. Far from it. For example, John and Henry Dumbrell were living at Fletching, about five miles away, at the same time. In the mid-sixteenth century there were also Dumbrells nearby at Lindhurst, Cuckfield, Nuthurst and Horsham, and it is quite probable that our Wivelsfield branch were related to Richard Dumbrell of Basden (now Bawlsdon) at Rottingdean, since Thomas' son, William, cites this family in his will.
Nor were they poor. Antye Farm (the name 'Antye' means 'at the high enclosure') was acquired by Thomas Dumbrell's family in about 1500 from the Hentys, whose name is derived from the property. This was the third largest in Wivelsfield at the time, after the manor house, 'Great Otehall', and 'Theobalds', an adjacent farm. Antye Farm (sometimes called 'Hantye') had been built in the thirteenth or fourteenth century, possibly replacing a previous settlement called Entenie that was given to the monks of Lewes Priory before 1150. The farmhouse still stands today, much altered.
We know very little about Thomas. He did pay tax on his property of ten pounds to the Hundred of Street in 1524. This is recorded in the Lay Subsidy Rolls of that date. He died some time before May 31st 1536, and his widow Joan took over the property until her death in that year. She would have had the right to remain at Antye when the property passed to Thomas's son, William. This was because of her 'right of widow's bench', a succession law which allowed the widow to continue to live at the family property after her husband's death.
Extracts courtesy of Graham Johnson, see link on summary page.
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