My Line from William and Winifred

This page gives a brief description of my Hunnisett line from William and Winifred, just so that you can see where I fit in.

Thomas, the eldest child of William and Winifred, was born in Westham and baptised on 4 August 1822. He was a farm labourer in Westham and married Mary Funnell (1831-1864) from Chiddingly in 1848. They had four children; Esther, Ann, William and George. Mary died of TB on 1864, but Thomas lived to be 69 and died in 1892.

William, a son of Thomas and Mary, was born in 1852, became a platelayer on the railway, and married Sarah Ann Elphick in 1878. They had six children; Flora, Lily, William, Jonathan, Violet and Percy, and had moved from Westham into Eastbourne by 1891. William later became the crossing gate keeper on the 'Ballast Hole' branch line where it crossed Seaside, the main road into Eastbourne from the East, and lived in Ballast Cottage. I remember this cottage before it was pulled down in the '50's although I didn't know then that my great-grandparents had lived there. William died in the 'flu epidemic in 1919 and Sarah in 1944.

Jonathan Caleb, my grandfather, was born in 1884, apprenticed to a boat-builder, but eventually became a milkman working for Frowd's Alderney Dairy Ltd. In 1908 he married Edith Bishop, originally from Cley-next-the-Sea in Norfolk and a daughter of Robert Bishop, the first warden of the Clay Marshes Bird Reserve. They lived in Eastbourne and had four children; Ella, Dot, Sydney and Derek. Edith died in 1944 and Jonathan in 1953. I remember that he used to call at our house every Sunday morning on his way to his allotment. He always seemed to have a bar of Peter's chocolate in his pocket - the sort of thing you tend to remember from your childhood!

Sydney was my father and was born in 1914. He was a keen sportsman and won medals for swimming. He and Derek were founder members of the Artisans Sailing Club and helped build the original clubhouse. He became an electrician and worked for Bobby's department store which was later bought by Debenhams. During the second world war he and Derek both applied to join the navy, but neither got in. Sydney was put into the RAF to work on aircraft electrics, and Derek was put into the army (and spent most of the war in prison camps in Poland). Sydney married Winifred Winchester, a fireman's daughter from London, in 1944. I was born in Eastbourne in 1946 and my brother David in 1950. Sydney died in 1975 and Winifred in 1993.

Jen's graduation photo

I studied Engineering, married Val in 1970, and we have a daughter, Jenny, born in 1975.The photograph of the three of us was taken in July 2001.

After a brief spell in machine-tool design I spent my working life in textiles/chemicals industry research. From the early '80s I worked on industrial and office computer systems, initially on process control systems and latterly running a network and pc support team covering several sites.

I am now retired and pursuing my hobbies of walking, photography, family history research, and website design. Since moving back to Sussex I have got very interested in nature photography and learnt a lot about the local wildlife.

More detailed information about my recent ancestors can be found at