George Peirce

Meet the Relative

Helen Peirce was my great great grandmother and I have introduced you to her already on this blog (click here for a reminder).

Helen had a younger brother called George who was born in 1833. George would have been my great great great uncle. I never knew him, of course.

But aspects of his life make him interesting to me. First of all, there’s his birthplace. I think of my ancestors as being East Sussex people through and through. Great Great Granny Helen, for example, was born in Newick in 1829 and by the time of the first ‘genealogy’ census in 1841 that was where they lived. But Helen must have spent a part of her childhood in West Sussex for in 1833, George was born in Findon and so, too, was his younger sister, Elizabeth. By the time John was born, in 1837, the family were back in Newick, That Findon birthplace fascinates me – not least because it is a lovely village.

Findon has a privately maintained and delightful web Page at www.findonvillage.com.It was there I found this extract related to the school in 1836. I daresay ancestor Helen was a pupil then.

In the Spring of 1836, Findon was suddenly hit by an extremely hard frost at night and all the ponds were completely frozen over.   It was remarkable weather for the time of year.   This was followed by high winds on May Day which ruined the village festivities.  The poor school children ventured out as planned.  They were beautifully decked with their May garlands but were taken by the cruel gusts and battered and blown all over the place.  The celebrations in 1836 were quite ruined for the younger generation of Findon. 

George would probably have been a bit young to take this in.

George also fascinates me because at the time of the 1871 census he lived in Crawley which was my home throughout most of my childhood. His address was Clappers Cottages. I have not been able to locate these cottages.

By then George, an agricultural labourer, was married and had six of his seven children. It was to be his last census for he died at the age of 43 on 11th August 1876. He still lived in Crawley. I believe it was Tony and Gill in Australia who sent me a digital copy of a memorial card for George.

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For the record, his widow, Martha and children continued to live in Crawley (more particularly Ifield) until after the 1881 census.

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