Richard Honysett (1679 - 1732/3) Farmer of Herstmonceux

The youngest son of Adrian and Susanna, Richard was baptised in Wartling on 27 December 1679. Soon after his father died in March 1682/3 his mother moved to Westham where he would have been brought up. When his mother died in 1702 he inherited ten pounds, a pair of sheets and two pewter dishes.

He married Ann Nye in Guestling on 28 April 1708 and they lived in Herstmonceux where they had four children baptised:


8 May 1709


22 Jun 1712


27 Mar 1715

buried 24 Nov


12 Apr 1723

Richard was a farmer and from 1714 was the tenant of 10 acres of marshland, approximately a fifth part of land, known as 'The Tongs & Haynes', owned by the Herstmonceux Estate. This may have been used for grazing animals and it is known that Richard kept hay at 'The Tongs'.  From 1724 he was also the tenant of 'Walland', 11 acres of land again owned by the Herstmonceux estate. This was on higher ground.  When Richard died the tenancy passed to his widow, Anne, and when she died to their only son Richard.

Herstmonceux parish church records include a note about 'Seats in the church as settled in 1725'. This includes an entry that reads 'No 2 South Side - Richard Honyset'.

Richard was buried in Herstmonceux on 8 January 1732/3. He left no will, but on 24 January an inventory was taken of his movable possessions which were valued at £232 3s 6d. Below is an extract from the inventory:

A True and Perfect Inventory of all and Singular the Goods Chattells Cattel ready money Debts and all other the moveables of Richard Hunniset of the Parish of Herstmonceux in the County of Sussex farmer deceased Taken this Twenty fourth day of January 1732 by us Richard Bristed & John Dan





Wearing Apparrel & money in Pocket




In the Kitchen




One long Table and form, 6 Chairs, 1 Joynd Stool




A Clock & Case, a Cupboard, a Dresser, & an ovel Table




Fire Shovel and tongs, brandirons, Creepers & Slice




Two pair of potthooks, 1 spitt, 2 gridirons, 2 morters & 2 pestles, a Clever, a Chaffing dish, Stilyards.




A pair of bellows, 2 block Irons, a case Iron and three Candlesticks Iron




Eleven Pewter dishes, 28 pounds & 14 plates




A warming pan, a Small brass ladle, a brass Skillett, 18 Trenchers & Several small things





It goes on to list the contents of the other 5 rooms, including the brewhouse and the milkhouse, his linen and finally his livestock etc. which comprised the bulk of his wealth. It is clear he made his living mainly from his herd of 26 cattle, producing meat, milk, butter and cheese. He also kept a few horses and apparently bought piglets to fatten for the table. He brewed ale and probably cider and the family spun wool and maybe flax to provide yarn for weaving into cloth.

For more information see the full transcript of the inventory and an article describing Richard's life.

A year after Richard's death his sister Mary died, leaving 'the Testament and the Exposition' to Richard's widow Ann and further bequests to each of the children, including her 'house in Westham' to young Richard, who was only about 10 at the time.

His widow Anne was buried in Herstmonceux on 3 November 1744 and her will was proved on the 28th.

Of Richard and Anne's children:

  • Mary married John Wratten in Herstmonceux on 8 October 1735. They had five children baptised in Herstmonceux.
  • Anne married John Gower in Herstmonceux on 2 December 1735.
  • Richard married Elizabeth Edwards in 1745 and lived in Herstmonceux.

Extracts from Anne's will (see also the full transcript):

...... I Anne Honeysett Widow and Relict of Richard Honeysett late of the parish of Herstmonceux in the County of Sussex Labourer deceased .....

...... unto my Daughter Mary Wratten the bedsted Curtains and the Covering of my best Bed in the Milkhouse Chamber the Feather which did belong to this bedsted ...... my best pair of Flaxen Sheets and the best pair of pillowcoats ...... the Sume of fifteen Pounds of lawfull money of Great Britain .....

...... unto my Daughter Anne Gower my second best bed bedsted Curtains and Covering now in my Kitchin Chamber ...... my second best pair of Flaxen Sheets and one pair of my second best Pillow Coats ...... the Sume of Fifteen pounds of lawfull money of Great Britain .....

...... All the rest and residue of my Estate ...... unto my Son Richard Honeysett .....

...... this Twenty Sixth day of October in the Eighteenth Year of The Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Second King of Great Britain and so forth and in the Year of our Lord God One Thousand Seven Hundred Forty and Four.

   X    The mark of Anne Honysett