Peter Brown Family History

Peter Brown (1689) & Anne Wood

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General History

Peter Brown & Anne Wood were not one of my direct ancestors but they are related to me as later indirect generations of a direct ancestor.

Key Dates:

Peter Brown (Browne) was baptised on 21st January 1689 in Ditchling, Sussex. He was the the son of Edward & Mary Brown who was the son of John Brown, the son of Allan Browne, the son of John Brown & Mary Mills. He married Anne Wood on 24th February 1715 in Ditchling, Sussex and was mentioned in her father Henry Wood's 'Will' of 1725. Peter probably paid a 'Window Tax' of 2s in Lindfield in 1747 (see Places- Window Tax). He was a Baptist and was a Draper/Grocer in Ditchling. Peter left a 'Will' dated 22nd November 1771 and died on 5th May 1774 in Ditchling, Sussex ('aged 86'). He was buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows ' In memory of PETER BROWNE of this parish Draper, Grocer etc who departed this life May 5th 1774 Aged 86 years').

Anne Wood birth details are not known. She was the daughter of Henry Wood of Ditchling (see Documents - Archive 1). She was mentioned in her father Henry Wood's 'Will' of 1725 and in her mother Ann Wood's 'will' of 1750.

Children Returns to 'Top of Page'

Peter & Anne had eight children.

Nathanial James Anne Peter Elizabeth Henry Mary John
  1. Nathanial Brown was baptised on 25th January 1716 in Ditchling, Sussex. He was mentioned in his grandmother Ann Wood's 'will' of 1750, his brother Henry's 'Will' of 1761 (and shown to be living in Alfriston) and in his father's 'Will' of 1771.
  2. James Brown was born and baptised on 2nd March 1717 in Ditchling, Sussex. He was mentioned in his grandmother Ann Wood's 'will' of 1750 and in his father's 'Will' of 1771. He probably married Sarah. In 1758 he was possibly living in Chailey and was a mercer (see archive 3 b). James at some time moved with his brother John to Shipley, about 10 km south of Horsham and 20 km from Ditchling. James died on 1st January 1775 and was buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'In memory of JAMES BROWNE who departed this life January lst 1775 Aged 49 years'). Note: ages quoted look incorrect). James & Sarah had at least four children
    1. James Brown was born in about 1744 probably in Ditchling, Sussex. He died on 8th April 1768 in Shipley, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records - 'age 24, son of James of Shipley') and was possibly buried in Horsham General Baptist churchyard .
    2. Sarah Brown was born in about 1746, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. She died on 13th March 1809 and was buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'SARAH BROWNE daughter o.f James & Sarah BROWNE who departed this life March 13th 1809 Aged 63 years').
    3. Elizabeth Brown was born in about 1748 probably in Ditchling, Sussex. She died on 12th February 1766 in Shipley, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records - 'age 18, dau of James & Sarah of Shipley') and was possibly buried in Horsham General Baptist churchyard.
    4. Nathaniel Brown was born in about 1750 probably in Ditchling, Sussex. He died on 6th November 1767 in Shipley, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records - 'son of James & Sarah of Shipley') and was possibly buried in Horsham General Baptist churchyard.
  3. Anne Brown was born in about 1719, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. She was mentioned in her grandmother Ann Wood's 'will' of 1750.
  4. Peter Brown was born in about 1721, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. He was mentioned in his grandmother Ann Wood's 'will' of 1750, in his brother Henry's 'Will' of 1761 (and shown to be living in Lindfield) and in his father's 'Will' of 1771 as executor. In 1758 he was a shown as a Mercer in Lindfield (see archive 3 b). Peter probably married Sarah Lasmere on 25th July 1749 in Lindfield, Sussex. In his brother Henry's 'Will' of 1761 he is shown as living in Lindfield, Sussex. Peter & Sarah had at least one child.
    1. Peter Brown was born in about 1755 possibly in Lindfield, Sussex and died on 11th April 1761 and was buried in the Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'Altar Tomb: In memory of PETER son of Peter and Sarah BROWNE who died April ye 11th 1761 Aged 6 years').
  5. Elizabeth Brown was born in about 1723, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. She was mentioned in her grandmother Ann Wood's 'will' of 1750 (as Elizabeth Prior) and in her father's 'Will' of 1771 as Elizabeth Pryor. She probably married Richard Pryor on 29th December 1743 in Withyham, Sussex (Elizabeth of Lindfield, Richard of E.Grinstead).
  6. Henry Brown was born in about 1725, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. He married Elizabeth Ellyott on 13th June 1751 in Withyham, Sussex. He was mentioned in his grandmother Ann Wood's 'will' of 1750 and in his father's 'Will' of 1771 as dead. Henry left a 'Will' dated 4th November 1761 and was buried on 21st February 1762 in Withyham, Sussex (a shopkeeper). Elizabeth was buried on 5th June 1760 in Withyham, Sussex ('wife of Henry'). Henry & Elizabeth had at least three children who were mentioned in his father's 'Will' of 1771 as grandchildren of late son Henry.
    1. Peter Brown was born in about 1752, probably in Withyham, Sussex. He was mentioned in his father's 'Will' of 1761 as under 21. He died on 23rd May 1771 and was buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'In memory of PETER BROWNE son of Henry and Elizabeth BROWNE who died May the 23rd 1771 Aged 18 years' ).
    2. Elizabeth Brown was born in about 1754, probably in Withyham, Sussex. She was mentioned in her father's 'Will' of 1761 as under 21.
    3. Stephen Brown was born in about 1756, probably in Withyham, Sussex. He was mentioned in his father's 'Will' of 1761 as under 21
  7. Mary Brown was born in about 1727, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. She was mentioned in her grandmother Ann Wood's 'will' of 1750 and in her father's 'Will' of 1771 as Mary Holder.
  8. John Brown was born in about 1729, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. He married Anne Booker on 29th January 1753 in Ditchling, Sussex.  (Note: In 1762, a Henry Booker - a bricklayer from Ditchling and a member of (and occasional preacher at) the Ditchling General Baptist Chapel founded the Bethel Strict Baptist Chapel at Wivelsfield.). He was mentioned in his grandmother Ann Wood's 'will' of 1750. (Note: However John was not mentioned in his father's 'Will' implying that he maybe died prior to 1771 - He was alive in 1758 (see archive 3 b). John at some time moved, with his brother James, to Shipley, about 10 km south of Horsham and 20 km from Ditchling. John possibly died on 25th May 1788 in Nuthurst, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records - 'age 63 of Nuthurst). Anne died on 12th May 1801 and was buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'ANN wife of John BROWNE died May 12th 1801 Aged 73 years'). John and Anne had at least four children (probably more).
    1. Mary Brown was born in about 1755, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. Mary died on 17th February 1845 and was buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'Erected to the memory of Miss MARY BROWNE who died the 17th February 1845 in the 89th year of her age 'Mary BROWNE was the daughter of John & Ann BROWNE grand daughter of Peter BROWNE who was buried in this part of his garden who gave this ground to be used used by the family as a place of burial').
    2. Allen Brown was born in about 1760 probably in Ditchling, Sussex. (Note there is no evidence showing he is the son of John except for naming his first child John). He married Susanna. Susanna died on 28th June 1830 probably in Shipley, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records - age 73, wife of Allen ) and was possibly buried in Horsham General Baptist churchyard. It is assumed that Allen moved back to Ditchling after 1790 ( see Personal History below). Allen & Susanna had five children.
      1. John Brown was born on 26th July 1784 in Shipley, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records) and died on 16th April 1785 (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records - age 9 months, son of Allen & Susanna of Shipley) and was possibly buried in Horsham General Baptist churchyard.
      2. Allen Brown was born on 11th March 1786 in Shipley, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records). He married Philadelphia. Philadelphia died on 20th August 1854 and Allen died on 3rd October 1861. They were buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'To the beloved memory of PHILADELPHIA wife of Allen BROWNE who died August 20th 1854 Aged 60 years Also of the above named ALLEN BROWNE died October 3rd 1861 Aged 75 years') In 1823 Allen Browne was a shopkeeper of Lindfield (see archive 3),
      3. Sarah Brown was born on 29th March 1787 in Shipley, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records).
      4. Anne Brown was born on 29th March 1787 in Shipley, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records) and died in July 1787 (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records - infant, dau of Allen & Susanna of Shipley) and was possibly buried in Horsham General Baptist churchyard.
      5. Peter Brown was born on 30th September 1790 in Shipley, Sussex (shown in Horsham General Baptist Chapel records).
    3. Hannah Brown was born in about 1766, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. Hannah died on 10th March 1769 and was buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'HANNAH daughter of John and Ann BROWNE who departed this life March the 10th 1769 Aged 2 years')
    4. James Brown was born in about 1770, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. (Note there is no evidence showing he is the son of John - if fact archive below shows he had different siblings). It is assumed that James moved back to Ditchling after 1790 ( see Personal History below). James died on 10th January 1834 and was buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'In memory of JAMES BROWNE Shopkeeper of this place who died January 10th 1834 Aged 64 years').
      1. John Browne was born in about 1796 probably in Ditchling, Sussex. He moved from Ditchling to Horsham in 1824. In 1825 he married Hannah Potter and had three children - Edwin, Alfred and Jane who married James Comber of Balcombe. John Browne's first wife died in 1832 and six years later he married his second wife, Elizabeth Newnham. He had four more children by this marriage - Newnham, Flint, Frances and Elizabeth. John died in 1884 (see archive 4 below)
    5. Joseph Brown was born in about 1771, probably in Ditchling, Sussex. Joseph died on 26th May 1790 and was buried in the Brown family Baptist graveyard, Ditchling, Sussex (inscription shows 'In memory of JOSEPH BROWNE son of John & Ann BROWNE who died May 26th 1790 Aged 18 years')

Personal History Returns to 'Top of Page'

Baptists in Ditchling

Ditchling was a local centre for Protestant Dissent: 64 residents of the parish declared themselves Nonconformists in a religious census of 1676. In 1724, 25 families out of 80 were identified as Anabaptists (a term often used at the time in reference to various Baptist groups). The chapel at Ditchling was situated in a field called Gunsfield. In the 18th and 19th centuries the Old Meeting House in Ditchling was an important centre for Baptists from the wider area.

The Old Meeting House, The Twitten, Ditchling, District of Lewes, East Sussex. Built in the 1730s as an extension to an adjacent house of 1672.

According to tradition the Chapel was founded in 1698 by Robert Chatfield of Streat. But for forty years before then Sussex had been worked by General Baptist evangelists, the chief of whom was Matthew Caffyn of Horsham.  (By 1676 there were about 100 Nonconformists in Horsham, and the General Baptist cause was led by local radical and evangelist Matthew Caffyn. Under his guidance, Baptists had met in small house-groups in the area (in particular at Southwater and Broadbridge Heath) since 1669 or possibly as early as 1645. His influence on Baptist causes throughout southeast England was considerable: in 1696, his increasingly radical, unorthodox beliefs caused a schism in the General Baptist Assembly, and its response to his changing theology was significant in the development of Unitarianism). Ditchling appears to have been a centre for Baptists in Sussex with members from Billingshurst, Balcombe, Ringmer, Henfield, Cuckfield, Lindfield, Falmer , Clayton, Ashford, Wivelsficld , Battle, Southover, Lewes, Chailey , Sweat, Westmcston , Chiddingly, and others. In the Chapel records are many references to the Browne family, owners of the private burial ground across the Twitten. An outstanding member of the period 1790-1834 was James Browne, a Ditchling grocer, who lived at Place House,the timbered Tudor building opposite the Church now called Wings Place. Another prominent member of this period was Allen Brown. (Source F A Macrae- History of the old meeting house Ditchling).

The first written record of the chapel dates from 1737, when a list of members received into the congregation was started. By 1760 the original Baptist burial ground had become overcrowded with graves. It was then that Peter Browne, who lived on the other side of Gunsfield, set aside a part of his garden as a private burial place for his family. Following his death the remainder of his land passed into other hands but, to ensure access to the burial ground, a slip of land down to East End Lane was purchased. This now forms part of The Twitten where 'The Brown family Baptist graveyard' can be found.

Besides the Baptist community at Horsham there is another large community in Bessells Green, near Sevenoaks. See John Colgate 1726

 

Verification & Concerns Returns to 'Top of Page'

  1. In general the family name BROWNE was used up to about 1700 and then BROWN became standard
  2. Athough the details of the individual entries are correct, and the children are born to the named parents, a rigorous analysis has not yet been undertaken to ensure that the correct family heads are with the appropriate children (ie if there was a choice of father's called 'William' the wrong one may have been used).Therefore this structure should only be viewed as indicative.
  3. There are extensive Baptist records for Ditchling for the 1800's that can be found at http://ukunitarians.org.uk/ditchling/records/
  4. There are a number of factors that tie this family group firmly into the John Brown 1546 & Mary Mills group. Peter's grandfather John inherited land from his father in Ditchling. Nathaniel is a rare name, but is a featured childs name in the groups (Peter's grandfather John's brother was called Nathanial; Peter's son; a cousin to Peter in 1701; and there is another in 1743). Later generations of the Baptists use the name Allen (another rare name) which was Peter's great grandfather's name.
  5. Tthere are few baptism parish records in Ditchling for the period 1654-1662- only 13 in total compared to normal yearly average of about 8.
Documents Returns to 'Top of Page'

Wills:

  1. Peter Brown (family ref Top) left a 'Will' that was dated 22nd November 1771 and was proved on 12th July 1774 (ref Lewes A63.P140). It mentions his daughters Elizabeth Pryor & Mary Holder, his sons James, Peter (executor) & Nathanial and grandchildren of his late son Henry.
  2. Henry Brown (family ref 5 ) left a 'Will' that was dated 4th November 1761 and was proved in 1762 (ref Lewes A60.P451). It mentions his brothers Nathanial in Alfriston and Peter in Lindfield. He also mentions his three children as under 21 ( Peter, Elizabeth & Stephen). Others were Thomas Wood of Ditchling; witnesses were Abraham Osborne, Richard Marshall, Samuel Dodson.

Archives:

  1. Probate (Lewes) of the will (26 Jul 1725) of Henry Wood of Ditchling, yeoman  AMS 1877  13 Oct 1725. These documents are held at East Sussex Record Office
    Contents
    Pecuniary and chattel bequests to eldest son Henry Wood of Ditchling, sons James Wood, Thomas Wood, Richard Wood and William Wood, daughters Ann Browne, Elizabeth Wood and Sarah Wood
    Messuage and garden in Ditchling, occupied by Peter Browne, copyhold of the manor of Ditchling, to daughter Ann Browne, unless the surrender to his will is not entered in the court book, in which case it will descent to his youngest son William Wood, who at 21 is to pay £100 of his legacy to his sister Ann Browne
    Wife Ann Wood executrix; brother John Wood of Shermanbury and kinsman Richard Webb of Wivelsfield to assist, or take on his business should his wife die 'while I live under lingering weakness' or before she has executed the trust
    W: Richard Parson, Elizabeth Valentine, William Wood
  2. Sxfg People Index: Peter Browne & Henry Browne   1758-1760 Source Number 114   Entry ref :   76644 :  
    Henry Browne admit,with N8A. 1759 surr JM. 1760 mercer of Wivelsfeild surr RH, heriot horse compo 42/-. 1759-1759:   John Martin and other land pay £250 to Peter Browne of Ditchling.1759 surr EJ.1760 PB satis and surr HB Property reference: M223/N8; M223/N8A Nutley
  3. East Sussex RECORD OFFICE - UNITARIAN Churches:
    1. Conveyance to new trustees (enrolled)  NU/1/10/1  22 Apr 1823: Henry Browne of Lewes, draper; Allen Browne of Lindfield, shopkeeper
    2. Contents:
      'Scrap Book Vol II' containing copies of the title deeds as follows, probably prepared for James Browne as Secretary & Treasurer of the Congregation in order to facilitate the creation of a new deed
      pp25-7 30 Oct 1758 Bargain & sale
      Joseph Chatfield of Ditchling yeo to JD, SA, DB, JB, RP, MM, WM, TW as in b) above, and Thomas Pannett of Clayton, farmer, Michael Chatfield of Ditchling, gent. James Browne of Chailey, mercer, Peter Browne of Lindfield, mercer, John Browne of Ditchling, mercer, John Dancey the younger of Cuckfield, husb., Daniel Pannett of Newick, farmer & Thomas Agate of Ditchli
    3. pp3-23 1 May 1740 Bargain & sale: Daniel Brown of Streat, farmer,
    4. pp69-79 29 May 1790 Bargain & sale: Henry Browne of Ditchling, mercer,
    5. and Joseph Browne of Chailey, mercer, in trust for charitable uses, 30 Apr 1743
  4. Browne family papers  Add Mss 29,203 - 29,223  1769-1912: held at East Sussex Record Office
    1. Administrative history:
      These are the papers of the Browne family and relate in particular to James Browne of Ditchling and John Browne of Horsham.
      James Browne (1770-1834) was a general shopkeeper in Ditchling. He played a prominent part in the Baptist congregation at Ditchling, holding the office of deacon for several years and that of treasurer for forty years. He had one brother and a sister, Ann, who married Thomas Billingshurst and emigrated to America in 1795. James Browne had two daughters, who died without issue and one son, John.
      John Browne (1796-1884) moved from Ditchling to Horsham in 1824 where he took over Pollard's drapery business in West Street. He was at various times a Constable, Overseer and Guardian of the Poor. See Horsham Museum Mss. 806-815 for other papers relating to John Browne. In 1825 he married Hannah Potter and had three children - Edwin, Alfred and Jane who married James Comber of Balcombe. John Browne's first wife died in 1832 and six years later he married his second wife, Elizabeth Newnham. He had four more children by this marriage - Newnham, Flint, Frances and Elizabeth.
  5. Probate (Lewes) of the will (27 Dec 1750) of Ann Wood of Ditchling, widow  AMS 1878  22 Sep 1753: held at East Sussex Record Office
    1. Contents
      Pecuniary and chattel bequests to three daughters Ann Brown, Elizabeth Combridge and Sarah Hallett; eldest son Henry Wood, sons James Wood, Thomas Wood and William Wood; grandchildren Nathaniel, James, Peter, Henry, John and Ann Brown, Elizabeth Prior and Mary Brown; Mary Hallett and Ann Hallett
      Messuage, barn, garden and croft in Ditchling, purchased from Thomas Davies, to son Richard Wood
      Executors: sons Thomas and Richard Wood; overseers: James Wood of Keymer, yeoman, Michael Martin of Rottingdean, yeoman and Peter Geere of Ashurst, yeoman
      W: Elizabeth Fuller, Simeon Buckman, Thomas Hallett

Inscriptions:

The following inscriptions can be found in the 'Brown family Baptist graveyard' in Ditchling. There are others for those born post 1800 see: http://ukunitarians.org.uk/ditchling/records/

  1. (Family ref Top ) - In memory of PETER BROWNE of this parish Draper, Grocer etc who departed this life May 5th 1774 Aged 86 years
  2. (Family ref 5 A ) - In memory of PETER BROWNE son of Henry and Elizabeth BROWNe who died May the 23rd 1771 Aged 18 years
  3. (Family ref 7 ) - Headstone broken - inscription from DL107 quoting Col. Attree ANN wife of John BROWNE died May 12th 1801 Aged 73 years
  4. (Family ref 7 A) - Erected to the memory of Miss MARY BROWNE who died the 17th February 1845 in the 89th year of her age 'Mary BROWNe was the daughter of John & Ann BROWNE grand daughter of Peter BROWNE who was buried in this part of his garden who gave this ground to be used used by the family as a place of burial'
  5. (Family ref 7 D) - In memory of JAMES BROWNE Shopkeeper of this place who died January 10th 1834 Aged 64 years
  6. (Family ref 7 E) - In memory of JOSEPH BROWNE son of John &. Ann BROWNE who died May 26th 1790 Aged 18 years
  7. (Family ref 8) - In memory of JAMES BROWNE who departed this life January lst 1775 Aged 49 years.
    (Family ref 7 B) Also HANNAH daughter of John and Ann BROWNE who departed this life March the 10th 1769 Aged 2 years
  8. (Family ref 8 A) - SARAH BROWNE daughter o.f James & Sarah BROWNe who departed this life March 13th 1809 Aged 63 years
  9. Erected to the memory of MARTHA wife of Henry BROWNE late of Lewes who died July 13th 1828 Aged 60 years
  10. Erected to the memory of Mr HENRY BROWNE of Lewes who died May 18th 1822 Aged 57 years

The following inscriptions can be found in the 'Baptist graveyard' in Ditchling. There are others for those born post 1800 see: http://ukunitarians.org.uk/ditchling/history.htm

  1. (Family ref 1A ) - Altar Tomb: In memory of PETER son of Peter and Sarah BROWNE who died April ye 11th 1761 Aged 6 years
  2. JOHN BROWNE died Dec 31st 1750 Aged 32 years 
  3. NATHANIEL BROWNE d February 5 1743 aged 5 days very small headstone
  4. (Family ref 7 B ii) - To the beloved memory of PHILADELPHIA wife of Allen BROWNE who died August 20th 1854 Aged 60 years Also of the above named ALLEN BROWNE died October 3rd 1861 Aged 75 years
Sources Returns to 'Top of Page'
  1. Sussex Record Society -  East Grinstead Parish Registers 1558-1661:
  2. Sussex Parish Registers – Ardingly, Bolney, Chailey, Crawley, Cuckfield, Ditchling, East Grinstead, Fletching, Horsted Keynes, Hartfield, Ifield, Lindfield,  Maresfield, Newick, Rotherfield, Slaugham, West Hoathly, Withyham, Worth
  3. Surrey Parish Registers – Bletchingly(some), Burstow, Caterham , Charlwood, Crowhurst, Godstone, Horley, Horne, Limpsfield, Lingfield, Nutfield, Oxted, Rusper, Tandridge
  4. Kent Parish Registers – Ashurst, Cowden, Edenbridge, Speldhurst
  5. Sussex Record Society – Marriage Licenses at Lewes 1586-1642,1670-1732, 1772-1837 (Volumes 1, 6, 25,26)
  6. Lewes Will Microfilm
  7. Sussex Family History Group-Sussex Marriage Index CD
  8. Surrey Marriage index CD
  9. Sussex Family History Group - Baptism records
  10. Surrey Marriage Licenses - Allegations for marriage licences - Commissary Court of Surrey 1673-1770
  11. Latter day Saints - Family Search: For initial identification of details only