Richard Hunnisett (1748 - 1827) Looker of Herstmonceux

Richard, a son of Richard and Elizabeth, was baptised in Herstmonceux on 6 March 1748.

He may have been married to Mary and had a son Thomas in Herstmonceux in 1769, but if so Thomas and Mary do not seem to have survived. Then in 1775 'Ann Hunnisett, illegitimate daughter of Charity Calloway' was baptised followed in 1776 by 'Richard, illegitimate son of Charity Calloway by Richard Hunnisett', both at Herstmonceux parish church.


7 May 1775


28 Dec 1776

It is assumed these were both Richard's children but what happened to Charity or Ann is unknown.

Richard was a 'looker' in the Wartling and Herstmonceux area. A marsh looker was someone who looked after sheep and cattle, not necessarily his own, on the marshes to the south of these villages, and was often provided with a cottage and a small amount of land. Checking the cattle is still known in the area as 'lookering'. Whilst it doesn't sound very glamorous Richard apparently made a good living and was perhaps the equivalent of a yeoman farmer.

Richard's father died in 1781, and in 1782, presumably with the aid of money from his father's will, Richard purchased 'Yew Tree Cottage' a 17th century house and garden at Goldings Cross which still existed in 1980. In the same year he became the tenant of 2 acres of land called 'Iron Croft' which was more or less adjacent to the cottage.

Richard married Anne Sharood in Herstmonceux on 26 March 1788 and they had two daughters, Ann and Sarah baptised there:


6 Oct 1788


16 Nov 1796

In 1794 he also purchased 11 rods of land in Stunts Green, which until then had been 'wayside waste'. He then built a house on it, 'Garland Cottage' which still exists, and perhaps moved into it himself and let his other cottage. In 1799 he purchased 'Iron Croft', the land he had been tenant of for 17 years, and all these properties remained his until he died.

His other investment was in 1799 when he and his brother William purchased 'Ivy Nook' a house with 3 acres, all of which they immediately mortgaged back to the vendor, Thomas Studwell. Richard and William ceased to be the owners of this property in 1809 when their interest was sold to Jesse Smith and John Pursglove.

Ann, 'wife of Richard', was buried in Herstmonceux on 22 February 1806. Richard, 'of Marsh Side', was buried in Herstmonceux on 23 February 1827 'aged 81' and left everything to his two daughters, Ann Hoad and Sarah Rich.

Of Richard's children:

  • Richard and his wife Anne lived in Ripe and Laughton.
  • Ann married Thomas Hoad by licence in Herstmonceux on 16 September 1806.
  • Sarah married George Rich in Herstmonceux on 2 May 1815. One of the witnesses was William Honisett (probably her uncle, Richard's younger brother).

Extracts from Richard's will:

This is the last Will and Testament of me Richard Hunnisett of Herstmonceux in the County of Sussex Looker .....

...... I give devise and bequeath unto William Lock of Wartling in the County aforesaid Yeoman All and every my Messuages Buildings Lands Tenements Hereditaments and Real Estates whatsoever ...... Upon the several Trusts nevertheless hereinafter declared ...... sell and dispose of my said ...... And the Monies arising from the Sale ...... unto and betweenmy Daughters Ann Hoad and Sarah Rich .....

...... And I nominate constitute and appoint the said William Lock sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament ...... the seventeenth day of February in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty six

  Richard Hunnisett

...... in the presence of .....

  William Allfree       Joseph Johnson       Thomas Miller Sen

all of Herstmonceux aforesaid.

Richard's will was proved at Lewes on 18 June 1827 and his estate valued at under £300.