Sidney Alfred Parsons and his Ancestors

Moses Parsons of Kington Magna (1714 to 1789)

Moses Parsons, who lived in Kington Magna in Dorset from about 1714 to 1789, was the father of William Parsons who kept the Old Inn at Holton, near Wincanton, in Somerset. And William was the father of Charles Parsons of Marston Magna who was one ofSidney Parsons’ great-grandfathers.

Moses’s parents were Moses Parsons the elder and his wife Mary. He was his parents’ third son to be given the name Moses, the previous two having died while they were still very young.

Kington Magna is a small village on the edge of the Blackmore Vale in Dorset. The nearest towns are Wincanton, Shaftesbury and Gillingham. It is situated on the slope of a hill overlooking the valley of the River Cale, a tributory of the Stour, with marshy ground in the valley. Sir Frederick Treves wrote in his book Highways & Byways in Dorset that Kington Magna “straggles down hill like a small mountain stream”. There is a medieval fishpond near the church and the view from there has been described as the “best ecclesiastical view in Dorset”. The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book where it was called Chintone. Nyland, a small settlement on high ground on the other side of the valley, near where the Bow Brook joins the river, forms a distinct part of the parish.

The map below, which dates from the early 20th century , shows the layout of the parish.

Moses was baptised in Kington Magna on the 18th of November 1714 and grew up with his parents in Kington Magna. His father died in 1736, and after his mother died two years later he became the sole owner of his father’s property.

Moses got married on the 23rd of April 1740 in Shaftesbury in the church of the Holy Trinity. His wife’s name was Martha Turl. The entry in the parish register may be seen on the right.

Shaftesbury is a small market town which is about five miles to the east of Kington Magna. The church in which Moses and Martha married no longer exists having been demolished and re-built in the year 1842.

Moses and Martha spent their whole lives in Kington Magna and raised their children there. Moses’ will mentions his dwelling house called Bow Hutt near Bow Bridge so they probably lived in the tything of Nyland rather than in Kington Magna itself. (The present-day Bowbridge Cottage is at Lower Nyland which is closer to Henstridge than to the centre of Kington Magna.)

They had four sons (Moses, James, John and William) and three daughters (Martha, Mary and Ruth). Land tax records show that Moses was a relatively well-to-do yeoman farmer. In 1780, for example, he paid £4 15s which made him one of the higher payers in the parish.

Moses died in 1789. A transcription of his will is below:

Know all Men that I Moses Parsons of Kington in the County of Dorset being possessed of worldly substance and being sensible that life is very uncertain am willing to dispose of my substance by this my last will and testament in manner and form following .... first I give and bequeath to my son Moses Parsons twenty pounds of lawful money I also give and bequeath to my daughter Ruth Mead twenty pounds and to my daughter Martha Goding I give and bequeath the sum of thirty pounds and to my son John Parsons I give and bequeath my dwelling house with garden orchards and all appurtenances thereto belonging call’d Bow Hutt situate near Bow Bridge I also give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Chislet the sum of ten pounds of lawful money I also give to my grandson Moses two pounds to be paid him at the age of eighteen years I also give to my grand daughter Dinah the sum of two pounds I also give to my grand daughter Mary Chislet the like sum of two pounds And all the rest of my Estate goods and effects whatsoever and wheresoever I give and bequeath to my two sons William and James Parsons between them share and share alike. And I appoint them my joint executors of this my last will and testament Nevertheless I hereby bind my son James Parsons one of my executors to pay my wife Martha Parsons the sum of two shillings weekly and every week during her natural life for her support and maintenance And making void all former wills I declare this to be my last will and testament signed seald and delivered this fourth day of January 1787
The mark of Moses X Parsons

After his death some of Moses’ land in Kington Magna passed to his son William who retired to live there before his death in 1837.

Children of Moses and Martha Parsons

The information which has so far been discovered about Moses and Martha’s children and grandchildren is summarised below.

•  Moses and Martha’s son Moses was baptised on the 15th of April 1741. He moved to the parish of Horsington which is about four miles west of Kington Magna and there, in July 1772, he married Betty Hobbs. Betty came from Abbas Combe which borders Horsington to its south. Moses and Betty had six children — Lydia, Moses, Meshach, Thomas, Maria, Thomas and William. Moses died in Horsington in July 1805. Betty survived him by eighteen years to reach the age of 82. At the time of her death she was living in North Cheriton which is within the parish of Horsington so that might have been where she and Moses spent their married lives. The following link leads to a Transcription of Moses’ Will.

•  James was baptised in Kington Magna in January 1743. Like his elder brother he moved to Horsington and there he married Susanna Longman when he was just 19 or 20 years old. They lived at Horsington Marsh which is close to Nyland in the parish of Kington Magna and had children called Mary, James, Susanna and William. James wrote his will in 1821 well before he died in December 1830. The following link leads to a Transcription of James’s Will.

•  Martha died whilst still an infant. She was buried on the 5th of October 1743.

•  Mary was born in Kington Magna in 1744. In 1771 she married James Chislett in Horsington.

•  Moses and Martha’s third son was baptised with the name John on the 4th of January 1747. He got married in May 1769 to Mary Rice in the Parish of West Stour. West Stour borders Kington Magna to its east. Another researcher, Diana Colgrave, has suggested that John became a soldier in the 40th Regiment and fought in the Peninsular War.

•  Ruth Parsons, Moses and Martha’s 3rd daughter, was born in 1748. She married George Mead in the parish church at Buckhorn Weston (immediately to the north of Kington Magna) on the 30th of November 1773. Her younger brother William Parsons and his future wife Mary West were the formal witnesses at the ceremony. They settled in Buckhorn Weston and had children — Sarah, Martha, Mary, Emma and Charles. Emma lived only a few months and they named their next daughter Emma as well, but she died before reaching her first birthday. Ruth died in 1816 and was buried in Buckhorn Weston. George died four years later.

•  William Parsons was Moses and Martha’s youngest son. He was born in 1751. In 1774 he married Mary West who came from the parish of Stour. They lived in Horsington at first, near to William’s brothers Moses and James, but within a few years they moved a couple of miles north to Holton, near Wincanton, where William bought the Old Inn. Their son George married Jane Peters of the wealthy Peters family. And George and Jane’s son George became an inventor and entrepeneur who founded the Parrett Iron Works and Mill at Martock, in Somerset, before emigrating to New Zealand to retire. Another of William and Jane’s sons was Charles Parsons, a well to do farmer who settled in Marston Magna, in Somerset and became a great-grandfather of Sidney Parsons who was a grandfather of the author of this document. William Parsons has his own biographical web page.

•  Martha, named after her sister who had died as a baby, was Moses and Martha’s youngest child. On the 13th of December 1781, when she was about 19 years old, she married Edward Godwin in Kington Magna with her brother William Parsons as a witness. Edward was a farmer from East Stour and he and Martha lived there after they married. They had at least six children and their eldest son, who was also called Edward Godwin, eventually inherited the farm in East Stour which by 1851 consisted of 230 acres.

Ancestors of Moses Parsons

Father — Moses Parsons of Kington Magna in Somerset (1678 to 1737)
Mother — Mary Parsons (died 1739)

Grandfather — Richard Parsons of Kington Magna (died 1713)
Grandmother — Elizabeth Parsons (died 1711)

Grandfather — unknown
Grandmother — unknown

Return to Sidney Parsons’ Ancestors

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

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.