Thomas Honeysett (1770 - 1842) labourer of Burwash

Thomas, youngest son of John and Mary, was baptised in Dallington on 14 January 1770. On 28 March 1796 he married Mary Cheal, a widow 18 years his senior, in Burwash. Born Mary Geer in about 1752 she had married Benjamin Cheal in 1772 and they had five children before Benjamin died in 1794. The children were between 8 and 20 years old when Thomas married Mary so presumably some of them would still have been 'at home'. Clearly Thomas married Mary because she was 'with child' by him. Thomas and Mary had one child baptised in Burwash:


13 Nov 1796

Mary died and was buried in Burwash on 24 April 1802. On 28 August 1802 the parish constable, William Budd, served a summons on Thomas Honeysett, but as yet I have not discovered what for.

Thomas remarried at All Saints, Lewes on 26 November 1810 to Elizabeth Hyland (1778-1832) who already had at least four illegitimate children including Thomas (ca.1797), Isaac (1799) and Lucy (1803). Thomas and Elizabeth had four more children, all baptised in Burwash:


30 Nov 1811

born 22 September


27 Dec 1813


27 Aug 1815


4 Mar 1818

Bell Alley, Burwash
Bell Alley, Burwash

The parish registers say that Thomas was a labourer and on 5 April 1817 he was paid "2 weeks pay" (6 shillings) from the parish.

Elizabeth was buried in Burwash on 28 November 1832, aged 54.

In 1841 Thomas was living at Bell Alley, Burwash, shown in the photograph. The middle and lower cottages date from about 1600. The cottage on the right dates from around 1700 and was formerly the ‘Bell Inn’.

Thomas died in Burwash, aged 72, and was buried there on 14 July 1842.

Of Thomas's children:

  • John married Mary Field and lived in Burwash.
  • Thomas married Eliza Russell and emigrated to Australia.
  • George is believed to have married Ann Weston and emigrated to Australia.
  • Charles married Hannah Braban and lived in Burwash.

Footnote on Elizabeth's illegitimate children:

In 1839 one of Elizabeth's early children, Thomas Hyland emigrated to Australia, and claimed on the shipping documents that his father was Thomas Honeysett. Clearly he really meant step-father as Thomas Honeysett was probably the only 'father' he had ever known. The Burwash Overseers Accounts and a letter to the parish of Portsea in Hampshire show that a boy born to Elizabeth around 1797, almost certainly Thomas Hyland, was fathered by Edward Hilder of Portsea and it was not until 1801 that the parish of Portsea agreed to pay 217 weeks back pay to support the child. In 1799 Isaac Slaughter made payments for the upkeep of Elizabeth's son, Isaac Slaughter Hyland, and in 1803 William Waghorn made a payment of £40 in discharge of his responsibilities for Elizabeth's daughter, Lucy Hyland.