William Hunnisett (1753 - 1812) grocer of Herstmonceux

William, a son of Richard and Elizabeth, was baptised in Herstmonceux on 3 November 1753 and became a grocer.

In 1783 he was named as the father of Mary Tanner. The Herstmonceux baptism entry reads:

Mary, illegitimate daughter of Hannah Tanner by William Hunnisett was baptized October 26 1783

According to William's will Hannah was later known as Hannah Hodge and Mary as Mary Samway.

William seems to have married rather late in life, on 21 April 1799 in Herstmonceux, to Mary Bicknell, a widow, but they did not have any children.

Also in 1799 William and his brother Richard 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.

In 1806 William bought 'Pernes', a cottage in Flowers Green, where he perhaps lived until he died six years later.

William was buried in Herstmonceux on 8 April 1812 aged 58. In his will of 1811 (shown below), he left everything to his wife Mary, but upon her death or remarriage it was to pass to his daughter, Mary Samway, and subsequently to her children. His will was proved in Lewes on 10 October 1812 and it was 'sworn also that the Goods Chattels and credits of the said deceased do not amount in value unto One Thousand Pounds'.

As Mary did not remarry and, in fact lived for a further 29 years, it is not clear how much eventually passed to Mary Samway. In fact Mary made her own will in 1836 in which she made many bequests to her sister, various nieces and a nephew, and only the codicil of 1838 mentions 'I give to Mrs Samways the Corner Cupboard in my Room' so perhaps the terms of William's will were conveniently forgotten!

However, Pernes seems to have passed to Mary Samway before Mary Honeysett's death as in 1839 it was recorded as owned by Joseph Samway, with an Ann Honeysett as tenant. Joseph would have been Mary's husband as he married Mary Tanner in Horsmonden, Kent, on 25 September 1807. The 1841 census finds them living in Yalding, Kent, with 3 children which would explain why they had a tenant in Pernes. This may also explain Mary Honeysett's will as they may have come to some mutually beneficial agreement allowing the house to pass to Mary Samway. I have not identified Ann Honeysett, the tenant.

William's wife Mary died of consumption aged 77 on 31 March 1841 and was buried in Herstmonceux on 5 April.

Extracts from William's will:

This is the last Will and Testament of me William Hunnisett of Herstmonceux in the County of Sussex shopkeeper ......

I give and bequeath unto my Wife Mary Hunnisett the sum of fifty pounds of lawful money of Great Britain ......

...... I give and bequeath all the rest and residue of my Monies Goods Chattels and Personal Estate whatsoever ...... unto John Pursglove of Herstmonceux aforesaid Gentleman ...... upon trust that he ...... convert the whole of my said estate into money and place out the same on some good and sufficient security or securities at interest and pay such interest when and as the same shall from time to time accrue and be received unto my said wife Mary Hunnisett or her assigns for and during the term of her natural life if she shall so long remain my widow, and from and after the decease or second marriage of my said wife which shall first happen Upon Trust such interest money unto Mary Samway a natural daughter born of the body of Hannah Hodge then Hannah Tanner Spinster or her assigns for and during the term of her natural life and after the decease Upon Trust to pay the principal money arising from my said estate unto the children or child of the said Mary Samway living at the time of her death in equal shares and proportions ......

...... I give and devise my Messuage or Tenement Hereditaments and premises situated in Herstmonceux aforesaid and now in my own occupation with the appurtenances unto my said wife Mary Hunnisett ...... and after her decease or second marriage which shall first happen ...... unto the said Mary Samway ...... and after her decease then unto the children or child of the said Mary Samway ......

...... this twenty second day of March in the year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and eleven

Extracts from Mary's will & codicil:

This is the last Will and Testament of me Mary Hunnisett of Herstmonceux in the County of Sussex Widow ......

...... I give and bequeath unto my Niece Ann Brooks the wife of Hezekiah Brooks of Rotherfield in the said County Labourer the Legacy or Sum of ten pounds ...... Also I give and bequeath unto Ansley Brooks Daughter of my said Niece Ann Brooks the Legacy or Sum of One hundred pounds ......

...... Also I give and bequeath unto the said Ansley Brooks (who is now residing with me) the Bed whereon she usually sleeps with the Bedstead Hanging three pair of Sheets three Blankets and two Quilts thereto belonging or therewith used And also my large Trunk Clothes Chest with Drawers Table Cloth No 4 and best set of China and six silver Tea Spoons two silver Table Spoons and my silver Sugar Tongs ......

...... unto my Niece Mary Duly Daughter of my Sister Susannah Moore six silver Tea Spoons and two silver Table Spoons ......

...... And all the Rest Residue and Remainder ...... unto John Farmer the Younger of the Cliffe near Lewes in the said County Grocer and William Colman the Younger of Herstmonceux aforesaid Carpenter Upon Trust ...... sell and dispose of the said Residuum of my personal Estate ...... and do put and place the same out at Interest on some good and sufficient Government or Real Security or Securities in their or his own names or name and pay the Interest or Dividends thereof from time to time when and as the same shall accure and be received unto my Sister Susannah Moore for and during the Term of her natural Life to and for her own Use and Benefit And upon the decease of the said Susannah Moore to divide the same said Trust principal Monies so directed to be put and placed out at Interest as aforesaid between my Nephew and Nieces Thomas Moore, Mary Duly, Ann Brooks and Mary Simmons in equal shares and proportions ......

...... the eighth day of August in the Year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and thirty six.


1838 February 26 Mary Hunnisett this is my Will and desire that the things underneath should be executed according to this my Order.

I give Ansly Brooks my Tea Table Tea Tray Waiter and Tea Caddy my best Bed Quilt 1 pair of Sheets Home maidens marked MB 2 pairs of Pillow Cases 3 signed Napkins mark W H M 2 Brass Candlesticks ? ? dish all the Moveables in the Corner Cubard 1 dineing Cloth No 4 if not in the Will 2 Petticoats Calliminco and Dimity Red Cloak and piece of Merino Silk Gown and Cloak 2 Shalls 1 Silk and one Black with Colourd Border 1 pair Mehogany Drawers 1 Red Leather Trunk.

I give Mrs Samways the Corner Cubard in my Room.

I give to Ann Brooks my Cloth Cloake 2 Gowns 1 Stuff 1 Lavender Stripe 1 Mesler Peitcoat.

I give to Mary Simmons my Cloth Pelise 1 White Peticoat 2 dark Gowns 1 Chince 1 Devenshire Brown 1 light Shall.

I give Mrs. Thomas Hoad my purple Stript Gown.

I give Rebaca Billins 1 White workd Shall.

And the Remainder that will be found after my decese I wish you to devide eaquile between you