Henry Hunnisett (1775 - 1859)
Wheelwright and Farmer of Chatham
Henry, a son of Henry and Elizabeth of Hailsham, Sussex, was baptised there on 4 June 1775. His father died in 1791 leaving him a sum of money, which would have enabled him to travel to Kent to start a new life. He seems to have spent some time in Tenterden, apparently fathering a daughter, Jane, by Ann Norden alias Winder. He then married Ann Winder (1774-1855) in Tenterden on 2 June 1800 by which time he was 'of Chatham'. They lived in Luton, Chatham and are known to have had seven more children baptised there:
15 Oct 1798
27 Jul 1800
6 Jun 1802
6 Jul 1806
30 Apr 1809
14 Jul 1811
20 Jun 1813
14 Jan 1816
Henry was apparently a wheelwright by trade but owned a significant amount of land and property on Beacon Hill and was later described as a farmer.
In the 1851 census Henry's place of birth was given as Elsam, Sussex. According to 'The Place Names of Sussex' the pronunciation of Hailsham would have been 'Helserm' which is very close phonetically, and easily transcribed incorrectly.
Ann was buried in Chatham on 3 September 1855 and Henry on 1 November 1859 having died on 25 October. In his will he left land and property to four of his children; Jane, Henry, Richard and Harriet, plus a house and land specifically to a granddaughter, Elizabeth Brooker, the illegitimate, and by then married, child of his daughter Ann.
Of their children:
- Jane married Joseph Drury, a cabinetmaker, in Strood in 1820 and lived at Gravel Walk, Rochester with their children, Richard, Ann, Harriett, William, James and Frederick.
- Henry married and lived in Chatham.
- Ann had an illegitimate child, Elizabeth, in 1833. She married William How, a wheelwright, in Rochester on 8 June 1840.
- Elizabeth married William Brooker in 1852.
- Richard became a butcher, married and lived in Chatham.
- Harriet married Anthony West, a grazier.
Extracts from Henry's will:
This is the last will and testament of me Henry Hunnisett of Luton in the Parish of Chatham in the County of Kent Yeoman ......
...... I give and devise unto my son Henry Hunnisett all such part of the piece of land called Webbs piece situate on the Beacon Hill in the Parish of Chatham aforesaid as he rents of me and on some part of which he has erected five cottages and also all that cottage situate on the Beacon Hill aforesaid now or late in the occupation of ????? Brattle ......
...... I give and devise unto my son Richard Hunnisett All that messuage or dwellinghouse erected by him together with the garden and appurtenances occupied therewith situate and being upon the Beacon hill aforesaid and also all that flint built dwellinghouse with the garden and appurtenances thereunto belonging situate on the South or South East of the last mentioned hereditaments ...... I give and devise All that piece of land called the Beacon piece situate lying and being upon the Beacon Hill aforesaid and also All that my cottage called Grandmothers House with the appurtenances thereunto respectively belonging situate and being upon Beacon Hill aforesaid unto my said son Richard Hunnisett ......
...... I give and devise all those my one other flint built dwellinghouse and two of my brick built dwellinghouses ...... being upon Beacon Hill ...... and also a piece of the land I now use situate on the Beacon Hill ...... containing three rods and a half in front and rear and extending the whole depth of my land there unto my daughter Jane Drury ......
...... I give and devise my two brick built dwellinghouses with their appurtenances situate on the Beacon Hill ...... and also a piece of land I now use situate on the Beacon Hill aforesaid adjoining to and on the South or South East of the foot-path leading to the said two dwellinghouses and containing three rods and a half in front and rear and extending the whole depth of my land there unto my said granddaughter Elizabeth Brooker ......
...... I give and devise all that my dwellinghouse in which I now reside and my land hereditaments and premises which I now occupy and use (except the portions thereof hereinbefore devised) with the appurtenances to the same respectively belonging situate and being upon the Beacon Hill aforesaid unto Anthony West and my daughter Harriet West the wife of the said Anthony West ......
...... I give and bequeath all my household furniture money stock cattle goods chattels and personal estate and effects whatsoever unto my executors hereinafter named upon trust as soon as shall be convenient after my decease to convert into money all such part or parts thereof as shall not consist of money and then to divide retain and pay the whole of the moneys which shall come to their hands unto and equally between my said sons Henry Hunnisett and Richard Hunnisett my said daughter Jane Drury and my said granddaughter Elizabeth Brooker ......
...... this twentieth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty six
The mark of X Henry Hunnisett