George Hunnisett (1802 - 1866)
Agricultural Labourer of Westham

Although no baptism has been found for George under the name George Hunnisett, it seems very clear that the baptism of George Gosden in Faversham on 29th September 1802 refers to him. His parents were recorded as Samuel and Mansell Gosden (transcribed as Golden). However, Mansell does not seem to have been married at this time so Samuel’s surname was probably conveniently omitted. Maybe he wasn’t even present at the baptism. As George later used the surname Hunnisett it is very likely that his father was a Samuel Hunnisett, but which one is not known.

Mansell Gosden, a daughter of John and Sarah (née Pierce), was baptised in East Dean on 28th April 1782, so was only 20 when George was born. She married Joseph French in Brighton on 3rd June 1805 and they are known to have had 3 children in Hastings; Joseph (1806), Joanna (1812) and Jeremiah (1817). Joseph must have died as Mansell French, widow, married James Jenner, bachelor, in Ore on 23rd November 1824, but they are not believed to have had further children. In 1841 James and Mansell were living at 29 All Saints Street, Hastings. Mansell was 67 and her birthplace was given as East Dean in Sussex. Mansell was buried at Hastings, All Saints, on 17th April 1868 aged 88.

George must have been brought up mostly in Hastings along with his half-siblings. In Westham on 11th August 1822 George married Mary Putland who was born there in about 1805, the daughter of John and Mary (née Trill).

He seems to have tried to settle in Hellingly as three months later on 24th November 1822 the parish of Hellingly paid him 2 shillings and sixpence “to go to Hastings to enquire of his mother about the place of his birth”. In December the overseer and others travelled to Kent to establish George’s place of birth. On 1st February 1823 George and his wife were removed to Westham at the cost of 4 shillings and sixpence.  This was probably because Mary was born there. In March the overseers again travelled to Hastings and Faversham “to enquire into George Hunnisett’s settlement”. They were clearly going to a lot of trouble to avoid being saddled with George and his then pregnant wife as a possible charge on their parish.

George and Mary are known to have had the following children baptised in Westham:


5 Oct 1823


16 Apr 1826

John Putland

31 Aug 1828

died young ?


1 May 1831

died Jan 1856 aged 24


5 Jan 1834

died Jan 1835 aged 14 months


3 Apr 1836


6 Jan 1839


1 May 1841


2 Jun 1844


4 Jul 1847

In 1841 George and Mary were living in Handcomb with Harriett, Jesse, William and Mansell. George was an agricultural labourer and they also had Mary Putland living with them, a nurse aged about 75 and presumably George’s mother-in-law. Son George was boarded out.

In 1851 the family were at Sodders Lane Westham registered under the surname Gausden. George’s place of birth is here given as Faversham, Kent, which is where he was baptised under his mother’s name of Gosden.

In 1861 George and Mary were again in Hankham with their sons, David and Alfred, and a granddaughter, Georgeanah, born in Coventry (son George’s daughter). All except Georgeanah then had the middle name Gosden.

George died in 1866 and was buried in Westham on 20th July. Mary continued to live in Westham until she died in 1889.

Of their children:

  • Harriett had a daughter, Mary Ann, baptised on 6 September 1846 and married Thomas Brook on 13 May 1852.
  • George joined the army and married Sarah Poultney in Coventry. George's story is told in an article elsewhere on this site.
  • William, a bricklayer, married Elizabeth Harffey and they lived in Eastbourne with their children until 1890 when he died of a heart attack.
  • Mansell was working as a cook in Streatham in 1861. Her marriage to George Hubbard, a boot maker, was registered in Eastbourne in 1868. In 1871 they were living in Lambeth.
  • David married Harriet Morley in Eastbourne and was a farm labourer.
  • Jonathan, a corn dealer’s storeman, married Ellen and lived in Hastings.
  • Alfred married Mary Martin and lived in Hankham, Westham where they had two children. George was recorded in 1899 as sexton for Hankham village. He was buried in Westham in 1929.