Charles was born in West Stour in Dorset in 1810 and baptised in nearby Kington Magna on the 29th of April of that year.
Kington Magna, a small village in Dorset’s Blackmore Vale, is near the Somerset border. It had been the home of Charles’ grandfather William Parsons and several generations of his ancestors.
Charles’ parents, George Parsons and Jane Peters, had begun their married life in Kington Magna but when Charles was about 5 years old they moved to Charlton Horethorne in Somerset where they lived in the manor house. Jane’s family were wealthy and the Parsons family benefited from that wealth and from the business relationship which Jane’s father John Peters had with Lord Portman. Charles was their third son.
As a young man Charles farmed in Wigborough near South Petherton in Somerset. His wealthy uncle John Weston Peters lived very nearby in Yeabridge.
Charles lived in the manor house, Wigborough House, which is shown to the right.
On the 26th of March 1841 Charles married Charlotte Heap in the parish church in South Petherton. They were married by licence. Charlotte had been born in Kendal, in Westmorland, but the register records that both Charles and Charlotte were resident in the parish at the time of their marriage. Charlotte’s father, Robert Heap, had been a butcher in Kendal but he had died eleven years before Charlotte married.
A year after Charles married Charlotte their first child was baptised in South Petherton. It was a boy and they named him James Sayer Parsons. The origin of the name Sayer is unclear but in 1841 there was an 80 year old lady called Sarah Sayer who was also living at Wigborough House. She continued to live in South Petherton until she died five years later.
Their second child, Sarah, was also baptised in South Petherton but by the middle of 1843, when their third child was born, they had moved to Stalbridge in Dorset. However the child, a boy called Charles, was baptised in Charlton Horethorne.
Stalbridge is Dorset’s smallest town and lies close to the Somerset border. It is about six miles south east of Charlton Horethorne and a similar distance south of Kington Magna. Charles and his family lived at Park Farm which is just north of the town. (Thomas Hardy used Stalbridge Park as a setting in his in his Wessex novels but called it “Stapleford Park”.) According to the 1851 census Charles farmed 560 acres and employed 27 labourers but not in Stalbridge; his land was in Steepleton Preston which is about 7 or 8 miles to the south-east.
Charles and Charlotte had four more children while they were living in Stalbridge — George, Henry, Charlotte and Julia, but in 1854 their last child, Elizabeth, was baptised in Steepleton Preston, not in Stalbridge.
Some time in the mid to late 1850s Charles and his family moved to Martock in Somerset which (coincidently or not) was near to his brother George Parsons who had recently founded a company there based at Carey’s Mill on the River Parrett.
On the 24th of July 1860 Charles died in Martock. He was only 50 years old and his children ranged in age from about 19 to about 6. He was buried four days later
His death was recorded as follows (with his age incorrectly given as about 55 years):
“Also this month Mr Charles Parsons of Martock Died being the eldest Brother of Mr Wm P Peters, Stratton, his age about 55 and no doubt the largest man in the Neighbourhood & who died from hard drinking.”
Charles’ wife Charlotte continued to live in Martock for a while. Her home was in North Street, near to a school and not far from Ashfield House, where she lived with her son Charles, her daughter Elizabeth, and her widowed sister Frances Clark. But by 1871 she was staying at Manor Farm in Charlton Horethorne with her brother-in-law Uriah Parsons. Ten years later she was staying in Epsom, in Surrey, with her daughter Elizabeth and her husband Henry Fry (later to become known as Sir Henry James Wakely Fry, CIE) who was a senior civil servant in the India Office. In January 1890 Charlotte died in Netherhampton in Wiltshire. She was buried in Martock on the 1st of February.
Charles Peters Parsons and his wife Charlotte’s Children
George and Elizabeth had eight children, four boys and four girls.
• James Sayer Parsons was their first child. He was baptised in South Petherton on the 26th of March 1841 while his parents were living at Wigborough House and he lived with his parents until his father died when he was about 19 years old. After then he lived with his uncle William Parsons Peters whose home at Yeabridge, near South Petherton, was very near to Wigborough House where he had been born. About a year and a half later he married a girl from Charlton Horethorne called Mary Baker. Mary was a daughter of Henry Baker, a farmer of 400 acres in Charlton Horethorne. James & Mary’s first child, Emma, was born three months after they married. The family moved to Abbotts Ann near Andover in North Hampshire and they had three more children while they were living there: Louise, James and William. In about 1870 they decided to emigrate to the United States and they settled in Virginia where they had three more children: Mabel, George and Charlotte. James died in Virginia in 1885 and Mary in 1917.
• Sarah Parsons was born in South Petherton on the 27th of February 1842. When she was 23 years old she married a first cousin, George Estcourt Parsons, who was a son of her uncle George Parsons, the entrepeneur and engineer who lived in Martock. Sarah and her husband travelled; their first child, was born in San Francisco, but she was baptised back in Charlton Horethorne. After returning to England Sarah and Estcourt, as he was known, lived at Madey Mill in Martock for a few years. Estcourt was an engineer like his father, and a keen freemason. They had another child, Florence, while they were in Martock, but then they emigrated to New Zealand. They spent most of their married lives in Kaikoura on South Island and celebrated their golden wedding at their home at Kincaid Downs in 1915. They had three children in New Zealand: Ella, Louisa and Mabel but sadly Ella and Louisa died while they were still young children. Sarah died in Kaikoura in 1919 and Estcourt died at his daughter Florence’s home in Blenheim NZ in 1926.
• Charles Parsons, Charles and Charlotte’s third child, was born in Stalbridge in 1843 and baptised in Charlton Horethorne of the 18th of August of that year. His father died when he was about 17 years old and by the time he was 27 he was farming 150 acres in North Cadbury in Somerset. In 1874 he married. The ceremony was in North Cheriton and his bride was his second cousin Jane Alice Elizabeth Gale who was a daughter of Frederick Gale and Julia Peters, thus creating another matrimonial link between the Parsons, Gale and Peters families. Their daughter Julia was born the following year in North Cadbury but by September 1876 when their second child, Robert, was born, they had moved to north Hampshire near Andover. They farmed at Apsley Farm on the border between the parishes of Hurstbourne Priors and St Mary Bourne and while they were living there they had three more children: Alice, Arthur and Phoebe. By 1907 Charles and his family had moved to another farm in North Hampshire. It was Freemantle Farm in North Oakley, a few miles north-west of Basingstoke. Charles eventually retired to Chandlers Ford, which is between Winchester and Southampton, and he died in Hospital in Winchester in 1918.
• George Robert Parsons was baptised in Stalbridge on the 29th of May 1845. He went to boarding school in Axminster in Devon and he was about 15 years old when his father died. In his early 20s George travelled to South Africa and became a gold prospector. His discovery of gold in the Mtwalume river in KwaZulu Natal started a gold rush but little more was found. He was also involved in the first discovery of gold in the Transvaal Republic. George died in South Africa in 1874 when he was only 29 years old.
More details of George Robert Parsons’ life can be found here — George Robert Parsons
• Henry Parsons: Charles and Charlotte’s son Henry was also born in Stalbridge. He was baptised there on the 25th of March 1748 but, sadly, he was buried just four days later.
• Charlotte Jane Parsons, Charles and Charlotte’s sixth child and their second daughter, was baptised in Stalbridge on the 12th of April 1848. Her deceased brother Henry was probably her twin. Charlotte was only about 12 when her father died. In the 1871 census, when she was 23 years old, she described herself as a ‘housekeeper’. Five years later, when she married, she was living in Poyntington which is a village in Dorset between Charlton Horethorne and Sherborne. The wedding was held in Poyntington on the 26th of November 1876 and her husband was a Mr. William Robert Cox, a schoolmaster from Axminster in Devon who was employed at the same school that Charlotte’s brother Robert had attended. Charlotte went to live with him in Axminster and their daughter Mabel was born there. But then they moved to Poole, on the Dorset coast, where William became the Principal of Seldon House School. Charlotte was also involved in running the school: an advertisement at the time wrote that “The domestic arrangements are personally superintended by Mrs. Cox, who has had great experience in such duties”. They had four children, all daughters, while they were living in Poole: Frances, Norah, Charlotte and Muriel. By 1887, when their son John was born, they had moved to Netherhampton House School which was about two miles from Salisbury in Wiltshire. And by 1901 they had moved again; this time to Maidstone in Kent where they were at Devon House School in Tonbridge Road. But later in that year they moved to Bristol and in August William died. Charlotte continued to live in Clifton, Bristol, with her unmarried daughters and son, until she died there in March 1922.
• Julia Sophia Parsons was baptised on the 9th of April 1851 in Stalbridge and she was about 9 years old when her father died. She went to a boarding school in Melcombe Regis, Weymouth, in Dorset and as a young woman she went to New Zealand. There, on the 25th of February 1873, she married Major Morton Brandt Reid Horneman who had come to New Zealand with his parents and siblings in 1852. Major Horneman was of Danish extraction, his grandfather Henrich Friderich Olesen Horneman having been born in Copenhagen before settling in London. Julia and Morton had nine children one of whom, Frank Arthur Horneman, was present at the siege of Ladysmith in the Boer War. Julia’s husband died in 1924 and she died ten years later. She was buried in Papakura cemetary in Auckland.
• Elizabeth Parsons. Charles and Charlotte’s youngest child, Elizabeth, was baptised in Iwerne Steepleton in Dorset, about four miles north of Blandford, on the 15th of January 1855. After her father died when she was about 5 years old she lived with her mother in Martock. In the 1871 census, when she was visiting her brother Charles in North Cadbury, she described herself as a ‘companion’. She married in September 1877 at All Saints’ Church in Poyntington where her sister Charlotte had got married the previous year. Her husband’s name was Henry James Wakely Fry and he was a civil servant who worked in the India Office in London. Elizabeth and Henry spent most of their married lives in Epsom, in Surrey, and their children, five girls, were born there. In 1912 Henry was promoted to the post of Director General of Stores in the India Office and two years later he was knighted and became known as Sir Henry James Wakely Fry CIE. When he retired he and Elizabeth moved to Englefield Green in Surrey and he died there in 1920. Elizabeth died suddenly of pneumonia eight years later in Horsham in Sussex.
Ancestors of Charles Peters Parsons
Grandfather — William Parsons, a farmer and inn-keeper who lived most of his life in Holton, near Wincanton, in Somerset.
Grandmother — Mary West, William’s wife, who came from Stowell in Somerset
Grandfather — John Peters
Grandmother — Jane Gatehouse from Kington Magna in Dorset
Great-grandfather — Moses Parsons of Kington Magna in Dorset
Great-grandmother — Martha Turl
Great-grandfather — William West who was born in Stalbridge in Dorset but spent most of his life in Stowell in Somerset
Great-grandmother — Mary Tulk who was also born in Stalbridge
You are free to make use of the information in these web pages in any way that you wish but please be aware that the author, Mike Parsons, is unable to accept respsonsibility for any errors or omissions.
Mike can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The information in these web pages comes from a number of sources including: Hampshire County Records Office, Somerset Heritage Centre; Dorset County Records Office; Southampton City Archives; the General Register Office; several on-line newspaper archives; several on-line transcriptions of Parish Register Entries; and several on-line indexes of births, marriages and deaths. The research has also been guided at times by the published work of others, both on-line and in the form of printed books, and by information from personal correspondence with other researchers, for all of which thanks are given. However, all of the information in these web pages has been independently verified by the author from original sources, facimile copies, or, in the case of a few parish register entries, transcriptions published by on-line genealogy sites. The author is aware that some other researchers have in some cases drawn different conclusions and have published information which is at variance from that shown in these web pages.
Copyright © 2014 Mike Parsons. All rights reserved.