Walter Honeysett (1790 - 1867) farmer of Dallington

Walter, a son of William and Esther, was baptised in Herstmonceux on 27 June 1790. He married Sarah Bedell (ca.1797-1870, daughter of James & Mary Bedell) in Herstmonceux on 10 May 1812 and they appear to have had the following children:


9 Sep 1813

born 9 Aug


1 Nov 1814

born 1 Aug


28 Jan 1816


22 Jun 1817


9 May 1819


ca. 1820


ca. 1821


ca. 1823


ca. 1824


5 Jun 1825

born 3 Mar died 1835


15 Aug 1826

born 10 Aug


29 Jun 1828

born 24 May


8 Oct 1843

Dallington - born 1830


30 Jun 1833

born 6 Apr


27 Sep 1835

born 19 Aug


8 Oct 1843

Dallington - born 1839

The first two children were baptised in the Calvinist Chapel in Burwash; the rest at the Congregational Chapel in Herstmonceux, apart from David and James who were late baptisms after the family had moved to Dallington, and Sarah, Eleanor, Ann and Eliza, whose baptisms have not been found.

Most of the baptisms, even those at Burwash, suggest that Walter was a farm labourer in the parish of Herstmonceux. Only the burial entry for his son Thomas in 1835 is more specific, stating that Thomas was from Cowbeech. Some time between then and the census of 1841 Walter managed to lease his own farm.

The 1841 census shows Walter, a farmer, at Darwell Hole, Dallington, with Sarah and their children William, Eleanor, David, Emily, George and James. Also with them was 10 year old David (Mary's son, Thomas David).

In 1851 Walter was still at Darwell Hole, where he farmed 52 acres, with Sarah and three of their children; David, Emily and James. Thomas David was still with them, working on the farm with David. Also with them was Isaac Smith, aged 8, Walter's grandson, son of his daughter Mary.

By 1861 Walter and Sarah were still at Darwell Hole Farm, now with their still unmarried son James and their, by then widowed, son William and his 5 children. Also with them was George, the 10-year-old son of their daughter Emily.

Walter died on 10 February 1867 and was buried in Dallington on 17 February. He left a will of which his son 'David Honeysett of Battle, farmer' was an executor. It is clear from the will that Walter had been running Musings Farm and Doctors Farm, leased from trhe Earl of Ashburnham. Sarah was buried in Dallington on 17 October 1870.

Extracts from Walter's will:

This is the last Will and Testament of me Walter Honeysett of Darwell Hole in the Parish of Dallington in the County of Sussex Farmer

I nominate and Appoint William Denyer of the Parish of Battle in the said County of Sussex Seedsman and my son David Honeysett of the Parish of Battle in the said County of Sussex Farmer Trustees and Executors of this my Will

...... All those my leasehold farms called Musings Farm in Dallington aforesaid and Brightling and Doctors Farm in the parishes of Battle and Brightling aforesaid and which I hold under lease from the Earl of Ashburnham and all and every other lands which may be in my occupation And all the term and interest it may have therein at the time of my decease whether under my present use or otherwise together with all the crops live and dead stock implements household furniture and effects ...... to make sale dispose of and convert into money ...... such parts of my said personal Estate as shall not consist of money or securities for money and to receive recover and get in the remainder thereof ...... to invest the same in government funds or on mortgage securities at interest ...... Upon trust to pay the dividends interest and annual produce thereof to Sarah my Wife for and during the term of her natural life ......

...... and I direct that my trustees will as soon as convenient may be after my decease cause a valuation of my farming stock household furniture and effects in and about my farms dwellinghouse and premises to be taken Provided also and I do hereby will and declare that should my said trustees for the time being deem it advantageous for my four sons William Honeysett Walter Honeysett David Honeysett and James Honeysett or any of them to carry on the farms aforesaid for the term during which I hold the same or for any other period not exceeding the period of the decease of my said Wife and they my said sons should be desirous to carry on the said farming business it shall be lawful for them so to do And I hereby empower my said trustees to retain unsold and unconverted so much of my live and dead stock furniture and other personal Estate as may be requisite for carrying on the said farm and paying the rent and other expenses thereof And as to the net profits of the said farming businesses I direct that the same shall in the first place shall be applied in and toward the maintenance and support of my said Wife and afterwards in and toward the maintenance and support of my said four sons And I direct that my said Wife may reside in the dwellinghouse of the said farm and have the use of the furniture therein during her life or such time as the said farm shall be carried on rent free ......

...... And I direct that on the decease of my said Wife my said trustees do cause a revaluation to be made of all the crops live and dead stock implements household furniture and effects and if it shall appear by such revaluation to be of greater amount or value and been increased during the time my sons shall have so carried on the said farming business I direct that the surplus difference between the valuation made at the time of my decease and the revaluation to be made at the time of the decease of my said Wife be equally divided between my said sons And I bequeath such surplus (if any) to them accordingly But in case it shall appear by such revaluation that any loss has been incurred by such carrying on of such farming business I direct that such loss shall fall equally on my Estate and be divided between all and every my children

And I direct that the trustees for the time being of this my Will shall as soon as conveniently may be after the death of my said Wife sell and convert all the residue of my real and personal Estate and effects of whatsoever description and wheresoever situate and out of the proceeds arising therefrom in the first place pay and discharge the funeral and testamentary expenses of my said Wife and all the other costs and expenses attending the execution of the trusts of this my Will and then pay and divide the residue and remainder equally between all and every my sons and daughters who may survive my said Wife and the executors and administrators of any son or daughter who shall be then dead ......

...... In witness whereof I the said Walter Honeysett have to this my last Will and Testament contained in one sheet of paper set my hand this eighth day of November one thousand eight hundred and sixty one

The mark of   X   Walter Honeysett

Proved at Lewes with a Codicil the 11th day of April 1867 by the Oath of David Honeysett the son the Executor named in the Will and Ebenezer William Weller the Executor named in the said Codicil to whom administration was granted

The Testator was Walter Honeysett late of Darwell Hole in the Parish of Dallington in the County of Sussex Farmer and died on the tenth day of February 1867 at Dallington aforesaid

Under £600

C Sheppard Solicitor Battle

Of their children:

  • Mary had two illegitimate children; James in 1829, and Thomas David in 1830. On 26 November 1832 she married a farmer, James Smith in Herstmonceux and they lived in Warbleton. Son James lived with them and was brought up as James Smith. Son Thomas lived with his grandparents Walter and Sarah. Mary appears to have died in 1880 and her husband a year later.
    • Thomas married Elizabeth Skinner in 1855. He later abandoned her and their children and in 1862 one of Elizabeth's children drowned in a pond and Elizabeth was tried for the child's murder. This story is described in full on the Accident or Murder page.
  • Jane married John Colbran on 21 October 1833 and they emigrated to Australia in 1839, arriving in New South Wales on the Strathfieldsay on 25 July. Jane died on 26 October 1871 at the Hyde Park Asylum, Sydney, NSW. Photo
  • Harriett married Henry Rushman in Herstmonceux in 1836 and they were in Warbleton in 1841 and managing the Railway Arms in Eastbourne in 1851. They do not appear to have had any children and Henry died in 1858. Harriett subsequently married Robert Hollebone in Hailsham in 1859 and they were managing The Red Lion, Hailsham, in 1871. They also appear to have had no children.
  • Caroline married William Goble in Herstmonceux in 1832 (Jane Honeysett and John Colbran were witnesses). They had daughters Mary Ann in 1833 and Caroline in 1838 but William must have died as Caroline subsequently married John Grant in 1842 and they had more children. John died in 1860 and in 1881 Caroline was recorded as a nurse. She died in 1885 at the Sussex Lunatic Asylum, Wivelsfield.
  • William married Lucy Drury and farmed in Dallington.
  • Sarah was a servant at Ireland Farm, Battle, in 1841 and in 1846 she married James Rushman at Battle parish church. They lived in Warbleton where she had 11 children and died in 1873.
  • Ann emigrated to Australia in 1839 under the care of her sister Jane. She married Lewis Hancock, a widower, in Richmond, NSW, in January 1846. They had a daughter, Ann, in March and Lewis died in April. She continued to live in Richmond and had a further ten children fathered by William Sweet. She is known to have been a midwife and is believed to have birthed all ger grandchildren. Ann died in 1901, registered as Ann Sweet, although no marriage has been found. Photos
  • Eliza married Frederick Crouch in Dallington on 25 December 1842.
  • Walter married Charlotte Drury and was a farm labourer in Westfield.
  • David married Harriet Relf and farmed at Brightling.
  • Emily had an illegitimate son George in 1852.
    • George married Ann in 1876 and farmed in Brightling.
  • George was buried in Dallington on 9 March 1851 aged 15.
  • James married Hannah Beeney and farmed at Brightling.