Sidney Alfred Parsons and his Ancestors

Sidney Alfred Parsons And His Ancestors

Sidney Alfred Parsons was a grandfather of the author of this web page. He was born on the 3rd of March 1876 in Southampton, on the south coast of England, in his father’s public house, the Blue Boar Inn in East Street. He died on the 27th of September 1924, also in Southampton.

Sidney’s wife, whom he married in 1907, was Dorothy Bennett. The story of her ancestors can be found at her own series of web pages. To read it click on the following link — Rose Dorothy Bennett And Her Ancestors.

Sidney’s parents were not wealthy but his father, John Parsons, lived a colouful life as a well known Southampton publican, and he had come from a line of prosperous families who had farmed for centuries on the Somerset/Dorset border. His earliest known ancestor who bore the Parsons name was Richard Parsons who lived in Kington Magna in Dorset shortly after the Civil War had ended.

These pages tell the story of Sidney’s life and also of the lives of some of his ancestors, and try to convey something of the flavour of the times in which they lived.

The chart below shows Sidney and three generations of his ancestors. Below it, the people on the chart are listed - click on any name in the list for a detailed description of that person's life. And below that are links to some other noteworthy individuals in the extended tree of relatives.

Click on any of the following names for more information.

Sidney Parsons

   Sidney Parsons (1876 to 1924), of Southampton and Queensland

Sidney Parsons’ Parents

   John Parsons (1845 to 1925), a Southampton publican who lived a colourful life
   Harriet Boyes (1852 to 1921)

Sidney Parsons’ Grandparents

   Edward Parsons (1809 to 1893), a Somerset labourer who was excluded from his wealthy father’s will
   Elizabeth Taylor (1810 to 1874)
   William Boyes (1807 to 1886), a timber carrier from Fair Oak
   Harriet Slade (born 1816)

Sidney Parsons’ Great-grandparents

   Charles Parsons (1787 to 1846), a wealthy farmer from Marston Magna in Somerset
   Ann Jukes (1787 to 1848), the daughter of a yeoman farmer from Gillingham, Dorset

   John Taylor (born circa 1771), the village baker in Marston Magna
   Rosanna Bond (born 1773), who came originally from a village near Langport in Somerset

   John Boyes (1782 to 1856), a farmer from Owslebury, near Winchester in Hampshire who, after being tried twice, was transported to Van Diemen's land, but then pardoned after a public outcry
   Faith Newlyn (1782 to 1860), who was born a London girl, but whose family moved back to their original home in the Hampshire countryside near Winchester

   John Slade (1790 to 1832), from Millbrook near Southanpton who eventually became an inn-keeper in Bishopstoke, also near Southampton
   Mary Diaper (born 1791), a girl whose ancestors came from the Diaper families of Itchen Ferry near Southampton

Sidney Parsons’ Great-great-grandparents (not shown on the chart above)

   William Parsons (1751 to 1836), a landowner and publican who lived for most of his life in Holton in Somerset
   Mary West (1753 to 1842), the daughter of a farmer from Stowell in Somerset

   Giles Jukes, a farmer from Gillingham in Dorset
   Elizabeth Hill

   Unknown — the father of John Taylor
   Unknown — the mother of John Taylor

   John Bond, who lived in the village of High Ham near Langport in Somerset and married his wife Anne there in 1762
   Anne Read, the mother of Rosanna Bond

   Edward Boyes (1748 to 1795), a farmer from Owslebury in Hampshire
   Eleanor Woods (1758 to 1784), a girl from Owslebury who was Edward’s first wife. She died when she was only 26 years old

   William Newlyn (1751 to 1821), from Owslebury in Hampshire who lived in London while he was a young man but later returned to Hampshire where he eventually settled in Upham
   Jane Elkins (1754 to 1835), a girl from Owslebury who married William in London

   James Slade (died 1823), a farmer from Millbrook near Southampton
   Sarah Warner (1757 to 1837)

   Thomas Diaper (died 1796), an inn-keeper who lived in Hamble in Hampshire
   Catherine Rice (1764 to 1795), who came from Portsmouth and married Thomas Diaper there in 1780

Sidney Parsons’ earliest known ancestors

   Richard Parsons (died 1713), who lived in Kington Magna in north Dorset, was the earliest known ancestor of Sidney’s to bear the Parsons name.

   William Complyn (died 1498), William and his wife Agnes were commemorated as major benefactors of the newly renovated church at Weeke near Winchester.

   Richard Goldfinch (died 1682), whose barrel of beer brewed especially for his son’s christening was saved by a kindly officer of the Parliamentary Forces during the siege of Winchester.

   Edward Boyes (mid to late 17th century), a yeoman farmer from Owslebury in Hampshire.

There were other interesting characters and families who were, in various ways, connected with Sidney Parsons’ extended family tree. Among them were:

George Parsons, founder of the Parrett Works in Somerset

   George Parsons (1807 to 1876) was a flamboyant Victorian entrepeneur who founded the Parret Iron Works and Flax Mill in Martock, Somerset. In later life he retired to New Zealand.

The ‘Newton’ connection

   James Parsons (born 1781) who married the non-conformist Sarah Newton. Their son Dr. Samuel Newton Parsons became a General Practitioner in Wincanton and Milborne Port in Somerset. In 1852 he was one of the founders of the Independent Chapel in Wincanton. James and Sarah’s other son, William Newton Parsons, became a brewer and wine merchant and then a farmer before emigrating to Canada with his family some time in the 1850s.

John Weston Peters of Somerset

   John Weston Peters (1783 to 1858) had no male heirs and passed his considerable wealth and his family name on to the family of his sister Jane’s husband George Parsons who was a brother of Sidney’s great-grandfather Charles Parsons of Marston Magna.

William Parsons Peters

   William Parsons Peters (1829 to 1902) inherited much of his uncle John Weston Peters’  wealth. His daughter Ezit married a widower called called George Rodie Thompson who already had children. Mary Thompson, one of his daughters by his first marriage, married Lieutenant Colonel John Chancellor, who was later knighted, and she accompanied him to Trindad when he was appointed Governor. After Trinidad Sir John became Governor of Southern Rhodesia, and was later High Commissioner of the British Mandate of Palestine. One of Sir John’s and Lady Mary’s grandsons married the younger sister of Camilla Rosemary Shand who is now HRH the Duchess of Cornwall. Another of their grandchildren, Anna Chancellor, is a well-known actress who played “Duckface” opposite Hugh Grant in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Edward Berkeley Portman, 1st Viscount Portman)

   Lord Portman (1799 to 1888) was a politician and landowner in Dorset, Somerset and Devon. Several members of the Parsons family worked for him as stewards and land agents, the first of them being George Parsons, the inventor and entrepeneur, who was a nephew of Charles Parsons of Marston Magna.

The Estcourt family

   The Estcourts were a prominent family from Gloucestershire many of whom became members of parliament and some of whom were knighted. Estcourt Park, near Tetbury, was founded by the family in the 14th century. Grace Estcourt and her husband Isaac Gale, whom she married in 1679, were great-great-grandparents of Elizabeth Anne Gale who became the wife of George Parsons the inventor and entrepeneur.

Thomas Machen of Gloucester

   Thomas Machen (c.1540 to 1614) was a merchant who,with his wife, is commemorated by a magnificant memorial in Gloucester cathedral. He was mayor of Gloucester on three occasions and was elected member of parliament for that city. Thomas was an ancestor of Elizabeth Gale, the wife of the Victorian entrepeneur George Parsons.

Charles Guy of Bishop’s Waltham in Hampshire

   Charles Guy (born c.1843), the husband of John Boyes’ granddaughter Elizabeth, who was imprisoned for six years after he tried to shoot his father-in-law and his wife’s sister. (John Boyes was the father of Sidney Parsons’ maternal grandfather.)

The Diaper Families of Itchen Ferry near Southampton

   The Diapers originated in an small maritime community on the opposite side of the Itchen river to the town of Southampton but spread to other nearby villages and towns with maritime connections. Thomas Diaper (1752 to 1796), who was an inn-keeper in the small ship-building town of Hamble, was a great-great-grandfather of Sidney Parsons.

George Brown, the famous Hampshire and England cricketer

   George Brown (1887 to 1964) was the husband of Sidney Parsons’ wife Dorothy Bennett’s sister Ada Mabel Frances. The well known cricket commentator John Arlott described him as the most complete all-round cricketer the game has ever known.

Benjamin Misselbrook, Head Keeper at London Zoo

   Benjamin Misselbrook (1810 to 1893) was a brother of Sidney’s wife Dorothy’s great-grandmother Elizabeth Bennett née Misselbrook. He worked for the London Zoological Society for 60 years from 1828 and was Head Keeper at their zoo in Regents Park for 20 of those years.

Richard Parsons of Wincanton, who died in 1682

   Richard Parsons was a flax-dresser and weaver who lived and worked in Wincanton in Somerset but died in Kington Magna in Dorset. He was very likely a relative of Sidney’s ancestors in Kington Magna and, if so, he would be the earliest known relative to bear the Parsons name.

Annie and Florence Parsons, who climbed one of New Zealand’s highest mountains

   Annie and Florence were daughters of George Estcourt Parsons (1841 to 1925), the eldest son of George Parsons who founded the Parrett Works in Somerset. They were the first European women to reach the summit of Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku which, at 2885 metres, is New Zealand’s tallest peak outside the Southern Alps. They were part of a February 1890 expedition led by George McRae who was the son of the first European to climb it.

Judge Fenton, who drew up New Zealand’s Native Lands Act

   Francis Dart Fenton (1824 to 1898) drew up New Zealand’s Native Lands Act and became Chief Judge of the Native Land Court. He was considered to be one of the greatest authorities on Maori matters and he was widely respected in his time. Judge Fenton’s son Hugh Fenton married a granddaughter of Henry Parsons (1821 to 1895), Margaret Grace Parsons, who was Sidney Parsons’ cousin twice removed.

Freeborn Parsons, a world-champion rifle shot

   Feeborn Parsons, who lived from 1855 to 1937, travelled to New Zealand as a young man where he became one of the best known sheep farmers in the Marlborough district. He was an outstanding rifle shot and in 1896 he achieved a world record score at 700 yards with the Martini-Henry rifle. Freeborn was a grandson of George Parsons of Charlton Horethorne. His cousins George Estcourt Parsons, John Athelstone Parsons and Henry William Parsons also lived in New Zealand.

Sir William Broadbent Bart, F.R.S., F.R.C.P., who was physician-extraordinary to Queen Victoria

   Sir William (1835 - 1907) had a brilliant career and gained a reputation as one of the finest clinical teachers of his day and was a physician to three generations of the Royal family. He received a baronetcy in 1893 and was made K.C.V.O. in 1901. His granddaughter Phyllis Margaret Broadbent married Captain Arthur Henry Parsons R.N. who was a son of Robert Maurice Peters Parsons, a second cousin once removed of Sidney Parsons. (Captain Arthur Parsons’ great-grandfather, George Parsons, was a brother of Sidney Parsons’ great-grandfather, Charles Parsons of Marston Magna.)

Charles Webber Hutchinson, Postmaster General of the Madras Province of India

   Charles Webber Hutchinson was born in 1833 in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, a son of a Scotsman called John Ross Hutchinson who worked in the Colonial Civil Service. Charles spent his life in India where, like his father, he was a civil servant, and rose to become Postmaster General of the Madras province. The Post Office was well established when Charles took over its management having been loosely established in 1774 and formalised twelve years later by two employees of the East India Company. Charles’ first wife, whom he married in India in 1859, was Elizabeth Armstrong Faithfull who was a great-granddaughter of Charles Complin of Winchester. Elizabeth had been born in the East Indies. Her father, who had been a Lieutenant Colonel in the Bengal army, died while she was still a young girl. In 1867 Elizabeth died and a year later Charles married Edith Eliza Morgan in Nagpur, Bengal. Charles died in the city of Madras (now called Chennai) in January 1886.

George Robert Parsons, who started a gold-rush in South Africa

   George Robert Parsons (1845 - 1874) was a son of Charles Peters Parsons. In 1868 he discovered traces of gold in the Mtwalume river in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Adventurers flocked to the area but little more gold was found and the gold-rush soon petered out. George was also involved in the first discovery of gold in the Transvaal Republic. He died in Pretoria in 1874 when he was only 29 years old.

Sir Henry James Wakely Fry, CIE, who, in 1912, became Director General of Stores for the India office

   Sir Henry (1849 - 1920) was the husband of Charles Peters Parsons’ daughter Elizabeth.

Sir John Chancellor, who was Governor of Trinidad, Governor of Southern Rhodesia, and in 1928 became High Commissioner of Palestine

   Sir John’s wife’s father, George Rodie Thompson, married Ezit Peters, one of William Parsons Peters’ daughters. Sir John’s grandson, Simon John Elliot, married Annabel Shand, the younger sister of Camilla Rosemary Shand, and Camilla, having married His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, is now the Duchess of Cornwall. Another Chancellor relative is his granddaughter the actress Anna Chancellor who played “Duckface” opposite Hugh Grant in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Philippe (or Philip) Asplet, a poet in the Jèrriais language of Jersey

   Philippe (or Philip) Asplet was a noted poet in Jersey’s Norman dialect who, with his brother Charles, became a good friend of the French author Victor Hugo who was exiled to the Channel Islands during the reign of Napoléon III. Philip’s connection with the Parsons family is through his daughter Letitia who married a grandson of George Parsons and his wife Jane Peters.

The Watts family of Queen Camel in Somerset

   The Watts family were tallow chandlers and “soap boylers” from Queen Camel in Somerset two of whom moved to the island of Jersey.

The Reverend John Findon Smith Phabayn of Charlton Horethorne in Somerset

   John Findon Smith Phabayn (1810 - 1889) was for 44 years vicar of the parish of Charlton Horethorne and carried out a restoration of the church largely at his own expense.

Charles Richard Dunn

   Charles Dunn (born 1858) was a sailor on the Royal Naval ship HMS Eurydice which on the 24th of March 1878 sank off the Isle of Wight with the loss of all but two of the 319 people on board. The loss of the ship was one of Britain’s worst peace-time maritime disasters. Charles Dunn’s connection to the Parsons family was through his mother Eleanor Cupper whose sister Jane Cupper was the wife of Sidney Parsons’ uncle Isaac Parsons.

Louis Henry Parsons

   Louis Parsons (1864 - 1905) was a sailor in the Royal Navy who left a detailed journal of his service in the Caribbean, the Far East and North America between the years 1881 and 1901. Louis was a son of Sidney Parsons’ uncle Isaac Parsons.

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.

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