William Dumbrell Seventh Great Back to Page Map
Anne Coleman Grandparents Home Page

William Dumbrell, almost certainly born in Portslade in 1642, married Anne, the daughter of John and Margaret Coleman, at Newick on November 13th 1670. Shortly after their marriage they moved to Ringmer, two parishes to the east, where he owned, rather than occupied, a cottage and two acres of land valued at three pounds a year at Norlington, some way to the north of the centre of the village. His property was the nucleus of what later came to be known as Mount Farm, and was appropriate for a person of modest means. The original cottage had one heated room and an outshot with a chamber over. At Easter 1673, William was chosen as churchwarden of Ringmer; this was not an obvious choice as he was then just 31, a newcomer to the village and living about two miles from the church. However, this does indicate that he was indeed a settled resident of the parish. And what of his occupation? John Kay, of the Ringmer Historical Group, suggests he may have been a brick maker, as by the enclosure act of 1767 there was a brick kiln on the site. This had not been there when Cromwell's commissioners surveyed the area in 1649. This occupation would link very well to the fact that William's older brother Abraham was probably a brick-maker, and to the fact that the cottage is sited on very heavy, relatively infertile wealden clay which would have been very difficult to farm.

William and Anne had three sons, all born at Ringmer:

William christened 19 May 1672
Thomas 3 Jan 1675
Abraham 14 Jul 1678

Disaster struck the little family two years later, when Anne, their mother died. She was buried at Newick on August 30th 1680, and William followed her to the grave less than two years later, leaving the three boys of ten, seven and four. What would happen to them now? Fortunately, their grandmother, Lucy, still living in Horsham but now almost eighty years old, took decisive action. Three months after her son's death, she made a will leaving her property to her daughter Frances Berwick, probably by now a widow for the first time, on condition that she cared for the grandchildren until they were twenty one. If any of the sons refused to live with Frances, or in whatever place she appointed, she could keep the property at Horsham for her life, and not be responsible for them. If Frances died, or refused to look after the boys, or neglected them, the property was to go to Lucy's son, Abraham, on condition that he brought up the boys. After Frances's death, the property was to go to the right heirs of the testator according to the custom of the manor.

Extracts courtesy of Graham Johnson, see link on summary page.

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