The Arnsby Family of Everton

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Date:6/20/01 4:04:11 PM GMT Daylight Time

From:††† (Linda Patrick)


Wednesday, 20 June 2001

To Bernard Quirk,

Having found your site through reading about it in Family Tree Magazine, I was so excited and pleased to read about Everton-cum Tetworth.As a family history addict I have been researching my family in the area for the last three years.No mention of them in your records though, so I thought I should tell you about them.

John Arnsby the elder, my Gt.Gt.Gt. Grandfather was the tenant of Village Farm, which is shown on the 1851 Census between Warden HillFarm and Waterloo Farm.He farmed 500 acres and employed four labourers and four boys.I believe he, and his family, moved into the area from Raunds, Northants around 1830.At the time of his death, in 1859,he was a Farm Bailiff.In the 1881 Census his grandson William Hendry was shown as a Foreman to Estate( Farm Bailiff) of Sandy.John was a widower in 1839, when for his second marriage, he married Elizabeth Brewer Church, daughter of James Brewer of the Black Bull Inn. She was only five years older than his eldest daughter.One of the witnesses was Olney Folbrigg of Port Mahon Farm.John had two sons (and many daughters).

His son John was my Gt Gt Grandfather and while a tenant at Story Farm had fifteen children, by two wives. You can find John the younger on the 1841,51,61,71 Census for Everton.In the 1881 he and his unmarried children, apart from my Gt Grandfather are shown living in Audenshaw, now part of Manchester, where he retired. Your piece on the decline in Everton may well explain the move. His body was returned to Everton after his death in 1889, and he is buried in St Marys Church between his two wives ( the three graves being the first you see to the rear of the church)

I am led to believe, by family legend that my Gt Grandfather Lot Arnsby was something of a character.He was a noted runner and I believe he would run for purses put up by the local gentry.I am told he made so much money that he would not work, which caused a rift in his relations with his father.All family talk of course, although we do still have in the family, a large silver cup he won in 1870 for a three mile race at Eaton Socon, St Neots, at the age of twenty.

John Arnsby the elders other son, William, moved to Kings Street, Potton, where he had a Market Garden.This site became a housing estate after the Second World War.

I donít know if any of this is of interest to you, perhaps you knew this already and did not find it of sufficient interest to include, in which case please accept my apologies for bothering you.

Yours etc,

Linda Patrick (ne Arnsby)


To Bernard Quirk,

The Arnsbys of Everton cum Tetworth


The Arnsbys of Everton cum Tetworth, (eventually there were thirty of them) came to what is now Everton in Bedfordshire, between 1814 and 1822.  They lived there, until that bad period in Evertonís history of agricultural depression in the late 1870s.  No one now remembers them and all that is left are three graves, all alone, at the front of the graveyard, John junior in the middle, his first wife, Sarah, on his right and (my Gt. Grandmother) Amy on his left.  The graveyard abuts the land John junior farmed, Storey Farm.  The farm is still there today, and can be seen from the footpath, which runs, from the church in Everton village through Story Farm land, on past Woodberry (sic) Hall and on to Tetworth  Hall, but the farm house you see today from that path, is not his farm house, as the present house was built in the 1880s.  So apart from those three graves there is nothing left to remember them by, except for the land they worked, and even that has changed.  The tree lined avenue from Everton church to Storey Farm was uprooted in the Second World War to allow planes from the secret airfield at Tempsford an easier take off over the top of the Greensands Ridge.  Tempsford was an important place then, it was the place where the SOE operated from, and at night, flew agents such as Violette Szorbo, Odette Churchill, Peter Churchill, and Yeo-Thomas into France, but I digress.  Lets go back to the beginning.


The Arnsbys who came to Everton were John Arnsby 1783-1859 and his elder son John Arnsby 1809-1889.  To avoid confusion I shall call them John senior and John junior as they appear in the local directory of the time. 


They came from Raunds, Northampton where a number of Arnsbys had lived during the eighteenth century, and this line descended father, son, each the eldest, each called John from John and Anne Arnsby. The first son found so far in Raunds was christened in 1731.  By the 1800s there were rather a lot of Arnsbys in Raunds, all living close by one and other and all with the same names, (very confusing). So many in fact, that there was a place named Arnsby Hill.


So who were these people, who came to Everton and what did they do.  Well first there was John Arnsby senior.  He came with his first wife, Sarah Ivens Arnsby 1786-1835, whose grave is back in St Peters, Raunds churchyard and reads ďSarah wife of John Arnsby daughter of John and Sarah Ivens 13th August 1835 aged 50Ē.  Also with John were his older daughters and his sons, John and William.  


John Arnsby senior is shown on the 1851 Everton census as a farmer of 500 acres employing 4 labourers and 4 boys and living at Village Farm with his second wife Elizabeth Brewer Church Arnsby, his second son William, his grandson David Murray Arnsby, and a female servant Sarah Russell.  John married the widow Elizabeth on September 19th 1839.  She was the daughter of James Brewer, landlord of The Black Horse which was on the corner of Church Road and Potton Road,.  The witnesses at the wedding were James Brewer, Christopher Edwards and Olney Folbigg ( of Port Mahon Farm)- not his sons you notice, perhaps because Elizabeth was only five years older than Johnís oldest daughter, who knows. 


By 1859 when John senior died of dropsy aged 76, he was shown on his death certificate as a Farm Bailiff and living in Girtford, Sandy. The death being reported by his son in law William Hendry.  By this time his second son William was married to Frances and living in Potton as a Market Gardener. Williamís son, also called William, became a clockmaker and there are still clocks around bearing the inscription William Arnsby, Northampton. 


So on to John junior.  In 1836 John Arnsby junior married Sarah Seal and around this time took over Story Farm, and by 1837 their first child, another John, was born followed by William1838, Sarah1840, Hannah 1841 and Elizabeth 1843.  Sarah died on the 14th September1846 aged 35, and was buried in St Mary the Virgin churchyard, where her gravestone can still be seen.  It has a very nice verse on it, she seems to have been well loved, however, within three months, eighteen-year old Amy Holmes was pregnant with Johnís third son James Arnsby Holmes.  


James was registered with no fatherís name and when Amy married John by licence, on the 27th April 1848 with William and Sara Holmes as witnesses, he was taken into the family home and ever after known as James Holmes Arnsby.  It is rather sad that having been born illegitimate, in his old age, his life ended in the workhouse infirmary at Erdington, Birmingham. 


Following her marriage, Amy Holmes Arnsby then had Jane 1849, Lot 1850, Emily1854, Mary 1855, Harry 1857, Katherine (Kate) 1860, Lucretia 1862, Annie Maria 1867, and in early summer 1869, Agnes May (May). Poor Amy died of a fever, just six months later, on 14th December 1869.  Also living in the house was Alice Middleton.  She was the illegitimate daughter of Hannah who was born in 1867.  She seems to have been brought up as if she was another daughter of John and Amy, and lived in the family home after Hannah left.  So these were the Arnsbys of Story Farm.


Story Farm what was it like? Well it is just south of Woodbury Hall, east of Story Moats, west of White Wood, and north of St Mary the Virgin church.  Woodbury Hall was the home in the 1830s of the young naturalist Emily Shore.  She kept a journal and described White Wood in it.  There was at that time, a wide variety of plants, trees and birds there, and in the twentieth century, it was for some time, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  In 1991 there was a count of 113 species of birds, and sightings of muntjac deer, badgers, weasels and foxes. Nightingales in the trees and lily of the valley under foot, so all in all White Wood and the surrounding area would have been a lovely place in the mid eighteenth century.  Emilyís journal is now held at the University of Virginia.  Story Moats appear to date from about the thirteenth century the site is now overgrown and a pond above the site has been banked up and is used today as a reservoir for Story Farm. The area used to be covered with primroses, violets, kingcups, etc and wild birds nested on the waters edge. Here and in the nearby meadows villagers used to gather cowslips, elderberries, crab apples, sloes and blackberries. Sounds lovely doesnít it? 


The 1870s saw the start of the agricultural depression, workers were laid off and some ended up in the workhouse. Times were hard and the once prosperous village of Everton began to change, for the Arnsbys of Story Farm things changed as well, once they had employed servants in the house, but no longer.     


The older girls, with the exception of Hannah had married by this time, and married well by their standards. Amy had died, business was bad. John junior was lucky in that his uncle Lot Arnsby a Corn Merchant of Fenstanton, Huntingdon had named him as his heir and so he was able on his uncleís death (17th September 1873) to retire, and take his remaining unmarried children with him to a new life in Audenshaw, Manchester.  This was a growing city, a new industrial centre.  


John, eldest son of John junior, who seems to have left in the 1860ís was a Gardener, presumably on an estate as he gives his address as The Lodge, Papworth Everard, Cambridge.  The only unmarried son who didnít go north was Lot who had (pipe) dreams of his own and had already run away, around 1870, to make his fortune Ė he hoped. 


Lot Arnsby was an athlete who on the 18th of April1870 had won the three mile race at Eaton Socon, St Neots and been given a large silver cup.  He had started running races for money and thought that he could earn far more this way than by working.  This attitude did not make his father happy, so he left.  He used to run handicapped races against horses, he was very good at it, and for a time did well, but of course it did not last. 


Ofthe children who went north, Jane stayed at home and looked after her father until she married Mr Bagshaw, and Emily, Kate and Lucretia became dressmakers. The boys, well they had been brought up to farm, and now there was no farm, so they slid down the social scale.  William who went north, became a Carter and lived first in Wigan and then in Ashton upon Mersey, Cheshire.  James became a Hairdresser in Chorlton, Manchester but died in Birmingham.  Harry became a Drayman and lived for some time in Ashton under Lyne, and then I think he moved back to Audenshaw, to 37 Hawthorne Street where his family remained until 1989.


I donít know really any more about these people, but my grandfather Herbert Lot Arnsby, told me as a child, about Lot who was Herbertís  father, but that does not relate to this story of Everton Arnsbys, except for the following.


When John junior died in Audenshaw on the 9th October 1889 his body was brought back to Everton for burial and his family came back for the service.  My grandfather remembered the journey and the day.  We have photos of Lot and Herbert in their brand new clothes brought for the occasion.  Herbert always remembered Lot walking him to the top of the hill and showing him the place of his childhood, and Herbert smiled when he spoke of it when he told me in the 1950s. A sad day, but a happy memory, of that walk with his father, to his fatherís place of birth.  


So today still, John junior lies between his two wives, Sarah on his right and Amy on his left, all that is left to remind people of the thirty members of the Arnsby family who lived in Everton. 



Linda Arnsby Patrick 2004

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