George Parsons came from a line of farmers who had lived in the extreme south eastern corner of the county of Somerset and adjoining parts of the county of Dorset for generations.
The pointer in the map to the left marks the location of the village of Charlton Horethorne where George lived for most of his adult life and where he died.
George was born in Horsington, about two miles to the east of Charlton Horethorne, and married in West Stour which is another four miles further to the east, across the border in the county of Dorset.
Several generations of George’s ancestors had lived in Kington Magna, a village which adjoins West Stour, and George and his wife Jane also lived there for a few years before they settled in Charlton Horethorne.
George was baptised in Horsington on the 14th of February 1784. He was a son of William Parsons and Mary West. William was a yeoman farmer and later an inn-keeper. He had been born in Kington Magna in Dorset but lived most of his life in Holton, a small village just to the west of Wincanton, where he owned a number of properties, including the Old Inn where he lived, and he was a churchwarden.
George Parsons married Jane Peters on the 1st of May 1806. The ceremony was held in Jane’s home village of West Stour in Dorset which is less than two miles from Kington Magna. Jane was about 22 years old. She was the daughter of John Peters, a wealthy land-owner.
At the time of his marriage George was living on his father’s farm in Kington Magna. The couple lived there for nearly ten years and had six children there but then they moved five or six miles away to Charlton Horethorne in Somerset where they remained for the rest of their lives. George leased the farm from the Marquess of Angelsey and it comprised over 600 acres in the parishes of Charlton Horethorne, Milborne Port, Cheriton and Horsington.
George lived with his family in the Manor Farm House in Charlton Horethorne which is shown on the right. His descendants still live there today. In the 20th century, when the opportunity arose, they purchased the freehold.
George Parsons’ arrival in Charlton Horethorne coincided with major changes in the ownership of land there which must have given George an opportunity to improve his fortune. In 1815 the last 313 acres of common land in the parish had been enclosed, and there had been a complex exchange of lands. Coincidently, the manor had until 1809 been owned by Lady Jane Mildmay and her son. This was the same Lady Mildmay who in 1830, 55 miles away in Hampshire, lived at Marwell and owned the land on which John Boyes had lived, the notorious John Boyes who became involved in the ”Swing” riots and who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land before being pardoned by the Home Secretary, Lord Melbourne. Much later, in 1872, George’s great-nephew, John Parsons, would marry John Boyes’ granddaughter Harriet.
Acting in the spirit of the times George tried to improve the efficiency of his farm by mechanising it. In the early 1830s he installed a water powered threshing machine but unfortunately he was unable to provide a steady, reliable supply of water. The machinery was sold in 1836.
George Parsons died on the 17th of March 1845 in Charlton Horethorne with his son Henry in attendance.
An announcement was placed in several newspapers.
It read — “March 11, at Church Farm, Charlton Horethorne, Somerset, much and deservedly respected, Mr. George Parsons, aged 61”.
Two years before he died, George had prepared his last will and testament. It was proven in London in May 1845. His wife and his son Henry acted as the executors.
The advertisement on the left is taken from the Salisbury and Winchester Journal on the 10th of July 1848. It gives an idea of the scale of George Parsons’ farm in Charlton Horethorne. George also owned land in West Stower, Dorset, where his son John lived.
After George’s death his wife Jane continued to live at the farm in Charlton Horethorne with her son Uriah. She died there in March 1880 when she was 95 years old.
Jane’s wealthy brother John Weston Peters, who had no male children, passed on much of his wealth to George and Jane’s children and grandchildren.
George and Jane Parsons were buried in a chest tomb in the churchyard in Charlton Horethorne and the church has a large stained-glass window dedicated to them. The inscription in the lower part of the window reads — This window is erected in loving memory of George and Jane Parsons by their sons Henry and William.
Children of George and Jane Parsons née Peters
George and Jane had twelve children but only seven of them lived to become adults. The five who died young were all boys.
The first of their sons called William was born in Kington Magna in 1813 and died when he was eleven years old. He was buried in Charlton Horethorne.
Edmund, born about a year after William, died before his first birthday and was buried in Kington Magna.
George and Jane’s first son called Henry was born in 1817. He was the first of their children to be born in Charlton Horethorne and he died there when he was about eight months old.
The second of their three sons named Henry was born about a year later but he too died before he reached his first birthday.
In 1825 George and Jane had another son. They named him William but he died either at or very soon after his birth.
• George Parsons was George and Jane’s. first child. He was born in 1807 and was baptised in West Stour which was Jane’s home village. He grew up to become a farmer, a steward to Lord Portman, an inventor, and an entrepeneur. In later life he and his wife emigrated to New Zealand. More information about George and his children can be found here — George Parsons.
• John Parsons was born in West Stour in about 1808. In 1841 he married Sarah Case, the daughter of a cheese maker from a village near Shaftesbury. (Shaftesbury, or Shaston as it was usually then known, is about 4 miles east of West Stour.) John became a became a cheese maker too, but he also farmed. John and Sarah lived at her father’s farm at Tout Hill which is very near to the centre of Shaftesbury, but actually in the hamlet of Enmore Green within the parish of Motcombe. After his father George and his uncle John Weston Peters had died John was able to use his inheritance to expand his holdings from a modest 77 acres to 600 acres and soon he moved to Pylle in Somerset. Sarah had been born a Wesleyan Methodist and John became one too. John Parsons died at Hedge Farm, Pylle, in January 1868 and was buried in Charlton Horethorne. Several of John and Sarah’s children emigrated to New Zealand. One of them, Freeborn Parsons, achieved the world record in shooting at 700 yards with the Martini-Henry rifle. John Parsons has his own biographical web page.
• Charles Peters Parsons was also born in West Stour and he was baptised at All Saints’ Church in Kington Magna on the 20th of April 1810. He became a farmer in South Petherton, Somerset, not far from his brothers George, Uriah, and Henry. Charles married Charlotte Heap in South Petherton in March 1840 and their first three children were born there. They were called James, Sarah and Charles. In about 1841 the family moved to Steepleton Preston in Dorset. (Steepleton, Preston, or Iwerne-Steepleton, is south of Shaftesbury and east of Stalbridge and Sturminster Newton.) They lived at Park Farm and by 1851 Charles was farming 560 acres and employing 27 men. When Charles’ uncle Charles Parsons of Marston Magna died in 1846 Charles Peters Parsons was named in his will as one of the executors. Charles and Charlotte had five more children, George, Charlotte, Henry, Julia and Elizabeth, who were all born at Park Farm. Charles lived there for the rest of his life until he died in 1860 at the age of about 50. A short obituary in the South Petherton village diary said he was “no doubt the largest man in the neighbourhood & who died from hard drinking”. Charles and Charlotte’s second son, Charles, married his cousin Jane Gale who was a daughter of the Glastonbury surgeon Frederick Gale who was of the Gale family of Malmesbury.
• Jane Parsons was also baptised in Kington Magna, but on the 8th of December 1811. She got married in April 1838 to John Hole, a farmer from Mudford Sock Farm in Somerset. (Mudford is a few miles north of Yeovil in Somerset, and Mudford Sock is about one mile south west of the village.) Their sons Henry and William were born there. They moved a few miles east to Corton Denham where they lived at Whitcombe Farm where John farmed 400 acres. Here they had two more boys, John and George. But early in 1849 Jane died and John’s unmarried sister Eliza moved in to be his housekeeper. John Hole died at Whitcombe Farm in 1871. Jane and John’s son William married a daughter of a Jersey man called Philippe Asplet who was a noted poet in the Jèrriais language and a friend of the author Victor Hugo.
• George and Jane’s son Edmund, who was born in 1814, died before he was a year old.
• Henry Parsons, born in 1821, was the third of George and Jane’s sons to be called Henry. The first two were born in 1817 and 1819 but died in infancy. Henry farmed in Haselbury Plucknett, which is near Crewkerne in Somerset, where he and his wife Elizabeth Mary Merefield Donne lived at Haselbury House. He became a well known land agent selling farms, houses and stock on behalf of his clients as well as working for Lord Portman. He also became a director of the West of England Insurance Company. In later life Henry moved to Misterton where he lived at Misterton House which he bought from Lord Portman. After he died in December 1895 a large memoral service was held in Misterton and then his coffin was taken by rail to Woking to be cremated in England’s only crematorium in which the first official cremations had been carried out just ten years before.
• Uriah Parsons was baptised in Charlton Horethorne on the 12th of December 1823. He became a farmer in Charlton Horethorne and also worked as an agent for Lord Portman. He died as a result of a shooting accident in November 1887 after which his son, Weston Peters Parsons, took over Manor Farm in Charlton Horethorne.
• William Parsons was the third of George and Jane’s sons with that name. The first died when he was about eight years old and the second about a week after being born. Their third William was born in about 1829 in Charlton Horethorne. His mother’s brother, John Weston Peters, who was wealthy but had no male heirs, put a clause in his will offering a large additional legacy to any of Jane’s children who would adopt the surname Peters. William chose to do so and, on the 5th of May 1859, William Parsons legally became William Parsons Peters. He farmed at least 300 acres in South Petherton and lived in a house at Yeabridge where he was sometimes visited by his nephews. In 1864 he married Eliza Mary Walter. They had two sons, John and William, and two daughters, Ezit and Ellen. William’s wife Eliza died in 1873. In 1877 William married again. His second wife was Elizabeth Mathew who had been born in Bath. William and Elizabeth continued to live in Yeabridge for some years but by 1871 they had moved to North Cadbury in Somerset and a few years later they retired to Bath where William died in 1902. His estate was valued at £36,882 11s 2d.
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 © 2013 Mike Parsons. All rights reserved.