William Parsons was born in Kington Magna in Dorset and baptised there on the 13th of October 1751. His Parents were Moses and Martha Parsons (Martha’s maiden name was Turl). At least three generations of William’s ancestors had also lived in Kington Magna. His grandfather Moses Parsons was born there in 1678 and his great-grandfather Richard Parsons, who was born during or just before the Civil War had also lived there. William’s son Charles Parsons was a great-grandfather of Sidney Parsons who was a grandfather of the present author.
The location of Kington Magna is shown by a cross on the map. Wincanton is about four miles to the north west, Shaftesbury four miles to the east, and Sherborne six miles to the west. The population of Kington Magna in the 18th century would have been about seven hundred. Only about half that number live there today.
Kington Magna lies on the edge of the Blackmore Vale. It has been said that its church has the best ecclesiastical view in Dorset. Villager John Bastable penned the following tribute to the village in verse:
“A pretty picture, it makes to me
So quiet, calm and still,
The dear old village where we live
Just underneath the hill.”
All Saints Church in Kington Magna commands a view over the Blackmore Vale. Much of it was re-built in 1862, but the tower dates from the 15th century. Beside the church there is a medieval fish pond.
William became friendly with Mary West, a girl from a nearby village, and in November 1773, when William’s sister Ruth married George Mead in Buckhorn Weston, William Parsons and Mary West signed the register as witnesses.
The following year William and Mary got married. Banns were read in Kington Magna on the 20th and 27th of February and the 6th of March. William was 22 years old and Mary was 20. She came from Stowell in Dorset where her father William was a farmer.
William and Mary’s wedding was not recorded in the parish register of All Saints, Kingston Magna, so maybe they were married elsewhere; or perhaps theirs was a non-conformist wedding. However they must have married because in February 1775, a year later, their first child, William, was baptised in Horsington, a village which is about four miles away just across the border in Somerset. William’s brothers Moses and James were also living in Horsington at that time. William and Mary lived in Horsington for more than ten years and at least five of their children were born while they were living there.
Shortly before William’s father Moses died in 1789 William and his family moved to Holton, a small village just west of Wincanton and about two miles north of Horsington. They lived in Holton for more than forty five years. William was a prominent member of the community. He kept an inn, called the Old Inn, and he was for many years a churchwarden; one of his duties was keeping account of money raised for briefs read at Holton church. By the end of his life William owned at least five dwelling houses in Holton, an orchard, and the inn, as well as a farm in Kington Magna which he had inherited.
The Old Inn at Holton, near Wincanton, is a traditional coaching inn which lies alongside the old main road from London to Exeter. The modern A303 by-passes the village. The pub is known to have been trading under that name in 1630 and is probably a lot older than that.
After William died his son Uriah inherited the inn and it stayed in the hands of the Parsons family for many years, although for at least twenty years it was let out to Richard and Phoebe Jukes. In 1873, when the licence was transferred to a Mr. George Stacey, the owner was another Uriah Parsons, one of William’s grandsons who was a farmer and a wealthy land agent.
The Old Inn is still a popular pub and restaurant.
William kept his farm in Kington Magna and moved back there before he died on the 10th of February 1837. He was buried there on the 17th. His wife Mary lived on in Kington Magna for another five years with her son Uriah until she died in April 1842.
He left a will, a copy of which is held by the Somerset County Records Office. At the time he wrote it, he owned several dwelling houses in Holton (all rented out) as well as the Old Inn with its malt-house and stables. He also owned a farm and house in Kington Magna.
A transcription of William’s will can be found by clicking on the following link — The Will of William Parsons.
Below is William Parsons’ signature from his will which he signed in January 1836. It looks rather shaky. Perhaps he was unwell.
Children of William Parsons and his wife Mary (née West)
William and Mary’s children are shown in the chart to the left.
• William was William and Mary’s first child. He was born in Horsington on the 17th of February 1775 and lived there until his teenage years when his parents moved to Holton. On the 31st of March 1796 he married Elizabeth Mitchell by licence in the church at Holton. Their first child was born six months later. William and Elizabeth lived in Stowell, a small village near Horsington, where he farmed, until his death in 1842 at the age of 67 years. Elizabeth then moved to Holton where she lived with one of their sons, George Parsons, who was a butcher there.
• James was baptised on the 12th of October 1777 in his mother’s home village, West Stour.
On the 22nd of November 1798 he married Sarah Newton at Milborne Port in Somerset. Sarah’s family were non-conformists and James
became one too — for many years he was Deacon of the Independent Chapel in Milborne Port. Sarah died there in 1832 and was buried at the Old
Meeting House. James died there on the 30th of September 1845. James and Sarah had two children: Samuel Newton Parsons and
William Newton Parsons. Samuel never married. He received a substantial inheritance from his aunt Elizabeth Newton, studied medicine, and became a
General Practitioner first in Wincanton (where he was one of the founders of the Methodist Chapel) and later in Milborne Port. He died in 1881. William
became a brewer, maltster, and spirit merchant in Ringwood in Hampshire. At the end of 1834 he married Mary Bower Lewis in Milborne Port. After
William’s father died he and Mary moved to Broomfield in Somerset, which is near Bridgewater, and then, in 1854, they emigrated to Canada.
Sadly their two youngest children died on the voyage, one of dysentery and the other of “dentition”. In Canada they settled in Ontario where
William became a station-master. He died in Ingersoll in 1888.
Read more about James, Sarah and their children at James Parsons and Sarah Newton of Milborne Port
• Martha was baptised in Horsington on the 15th of August 1779. She never married. After her father died she supervised the malt-house and continued to live in Holton in a house which was then, and still is, known as The Nook. When her mother died Martha inherited the house and 70 acres of land which she farmed. For a while an elderly lady called Elizabeth Jukes lived with her. She was a relative (probably an aunt) of her brother Charles’ wife Ann. After Martha died in November 1857 her nephew John Parsons was the executor of her will. The house was eventually passed down to another nephew William Parsons Peters who had adopted the surname Peters in order to secure an inheritance.
• Mary was baptised in Horsington in December 1782 but she died when she was only nine years old.
• George, William and Mary’s third son, was baptised on the 14th of February 1784 in Horsington. He married
Jane Peters, whose brother John Weston Peters was very wealthy but produced no male heirs, and left large legacies to
Jane’s and George’s children among whom were: George Parsons, a farmer, inventor, and
entrepeneur; Henry and Uriah Parsons, who were land agents who
often acted for Lord Portman; John Parsons, a cheese merchant
and farmer; and Charles Peters Parsons, a farmer who lived in South Petherton, Stalbridge, and
Several of William and Mary’s grandchildren emigrated to New Zealand.
For more details about George Parsons please select the following link — George Parsons of Charlton Horethorne.
• Charles was the present author’s great-grandfather’s grandfather. He was born in 1787. On Christmas Eve in
1807 he married Ann Jukes and they eventually settled in Marston Magna in Somerset where they raised their family.
Marston Magna is about 8 miles south-west of Holton where Charles grew up. Charles died there in 1846.
For more details about Charles Parsons please select the following link — Charles Parsons of Marston Magna.
• Ruth was born in Holton in April 1789 but sadly she only survived for about a month.
• Isaac was baptised in Holton in August 1791. On the 29th of December 1814 he married Jane Mitchell in Wincanton
which was her home town. Isaac was still living in Holton but after they married he and Jane lived for a while in Buckhorn Weston which is about three
miles south-east of Wincanton. Their first child, a daughter called Ann, was born there. However they soon moved to Nether Compton, a village between
Yeovil and Sherborne, where they lived for many years. Their remaining seven children were born there — James, Benjamin, Mary, Jane, Maria, Ruth,
Martha and Isaac. After Isaac’s father died in 1836 he inherited some money and some property in Holton. Soon afterwards he and his family moved
to a larger farm in Pawlett which is near the town of Bridgewater. Soon after they had moved there the freehold of the farm was advertised for sale in
The Law Times where it was described as follows:
“The Eastern Farm of the Walpole Estate, consisting of a comfortable new-built farm-house, erected at considerable expense, replete with every convenience, and all requisite farm buildings, yards, gardens and premises, also situated near the turnpike-road leading from Bristol to Bridgwater, in the occupation of Mr. Isaac Parsons, together with a cottage and garden, and 18 closes of rich and excellent meadow, orchard and arable lands, containing one hundred acres, two roods, and eighteen perches, more of less.”
Isaac died in Pawlett in November 1851. Jane continued to live on the farm, helped by her son Isaac, until she died there in 1869.
• Henry was baptised in Holton on the 7th of January 1793 but only survived a few months. He was buried on the 23rd of April.
• Henry, William and Mary’s second son of that name, was born just over a year after his predecessor and was baptised on the 24th of April 1794. He too died very young and was buried on the 16th of December of the same year.
• Uriah was baptised in September 1796. He never married. After his father died he farmed in Kington Magna. He died there on the 4th of October 1860 after which his affairs were concluded by his nephews Richard Parsons of Marston Magna and Benjamin Parsons of Pawlett.
• Henry, William and Mary’s youngest child, and the third of that name, was baptised in Holton on the 20th of May 1797. In 1816 he wrote a short note on the fly-leaf of the family bible; it reads: “This book my name shall ever have, When I am dead and in my grave, Where giddy worms my body eat, Here you may read my name compleat”. He lived for his whole life in Holton and never married, living alone with two faithful servants, George Dyke and Elizabeth Penny, who were with him for more than twenty years. He described himself as a landed proprietor. Henry died in Holton in December 1870 and nominated his nephews Henry Parsons of Haselbury Plucknett and Uriah Parsons of Charlton Horethorne as his executors.
Ancestors of William Parsons
Father — Moses Parsons the younger, of Kington Magna in Dorset
Mother — Martha Parsons née Turl
Grandfather — Moses Parsons the elder, of Kington Magna
Grandmother — Mary Parsons
Great-grandfather — Richard Parsons of Kington Magna
Great-grandmother — Elizabeth 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 email@example.com
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.