1901 Census Monks Horton,
Kent, England

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 Kent, England

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My great x 3 grandparents

John Shrubsole & Ann Clements are my gt x 2 grandparents & for about 35 years have been a brick wall in my tree until recently when I smashed it down with a grin on my face from ear to ear as I was doing so;  it was such a great feeling after all these years to have finally solved a mystery.  

Of course it was not a mystery I was intent on solving every day – it had just been put on the back burner for most of the time, taken out from time to time to look at again & then returned to the back burner to sit and wait whilst more data became available online.  I had to rely on online data as I had moved away from Kent and thus didn’t have easy access to original records any more.


It was with my great x 3 grandparents that I hit a brick wall for many of my years researching.  I couldn't find where John Shrubsole or Ann Clements were born & thus couldn't find their parents, and John's Will left no clue either.  I had many theories and ideas but it wasn't until recently when much more information had become available online that I was able to widen my search and come to my conclusions.

I have always been aware that ages given at death are only as good as the information the person reporting the death knows;  it is never conclusive & must only be taken as a guide & even today it is still often reported wrongly.  I had always borne this in mind when looking for John because I had got his year of birth as ca 1766 from his age given at burial on 13 Mar 1832 in the parish register entry in St Peter's Church, Monks Horton.  I looked at the original Bishops Transcripts in Canterbury Cathedral Archives & went back twice to check just in case there was any chance of a mistake in my transcription & I wrote to the Vicar of St Peter's Church, Monks Horton asking him to check the original Parish Register entry for me, which he did.  

The other facts I knew from the Will was that John owned a property in Monks Horton which was left to his children.  It states John Shrubsole, Yeoman and he leaves a 'dwelling house & lands adjoining'.  Where had he got this property from;  inherited or did he purchase it?  I've walked around Monks Horton several times and it is not large, and there weren't many properties there.

I also knew the following facts:

Land Tax 1778 showed a David Shrubsole living in property owned by John Daniels in Monks Horton.

Land Tax 1787 showed Widow Shrubsole living in property owned by John Daniels in Monks Horton.

Land tax 1798 showed Widow Shrubsole owning and living in property in Monks Horton.

I deduced from this that David Shrubsole & his wife at some stage rented this property and then by 1798 widow Shrubsole owned the property as well as lived in.  It was too coincidental not to be John's parents and thus presumably he would have inherited the property from his mother, so now I was looking for John with a father David (& interestingly John names his first son David!).  I also wanted to know what role John Daniels had in all of this.

Having earlier exhausted all the John Shrubsole's I could find in Kent as potential candidates, giving myself a birth error of approximately five years I thought it could well be a John Shrubsole baptised in Saltwood in 1771, whose father was David, that was in another Shrubsole tree I was researching.

[A little tale here - Back in the 1970's I was in Folkestone library research room with my cousin & we were doing some research on the family.  Another lady in the room with us approached us after a while and said she'd heard us mention Shrubsole. She was there researching the Shrubsole name too for a friend who lived in Kent who had a contact in Canada who was descended from a Shrubsole family. At first glance it didn't appear the families linked up but I did know that we had a lot of detail on the family she was researching so she gave us her friends address & I took it from there. I contacted him & gave him all the information we had so far researched on this family and he passed it on to his friend, May Newman in Canada.  I soon had a very nice letter from May thanking me for the information & we kept in touch over the years, linking up on the internet too once that moved into everyone's homes. We were convinced our families must link up because of the close proximity of where they all lived, but try as we may neither of us could find the proof.  Sadly the last I heard from May was about five years ago when she was giving up independent living and moving into a nursing home. Knowing her birth year I fear she has by now joined our ancestors.  

How she would have loved to have known I've found the link & we are related; so sad I didn't find it sooner.]

Let us then return to the link of John baptised in Saltwood in 1771 (his parents married in 1770 so possibly not born before 1770).   Even if John knew his correct age, & very often people at that time didn't, he may have needed to tell a little white lie at some stage, perhaps to get work, & once told the lie remains?  I've not found a John b ca 1766 in all of Kent and with all the other circumstantial evidence I have for this link then I think this has to be him.

Fact: David Shrubshall of Saltwood and Mary Oldfield of Saltwood married 19 Nov 1770 at Saltwood.

Fact: John Shrubshall bapt 7 Jul 1771 Saltwood son of David Shrubshall & Mary

Fact: Jane Shrubshall bapt 2 Oct 1774 Saltwood dau of David Shrubshall & Mary

Fact: I can find no other children baptised for them here in Saltwood or anywhere else.

Fact: There is in Saltwood a Mary Shrushall buried 7 Mar 1806 aged 77 of Horton (lots of the records record Monks Horton as Horton).

Conjecture:  If you look at the children of John Shrubsole and Ann Clements you will see the eldest child is Elizabeth born 5 November 1807 – 2 years before John and Ann married. [Her legal name was Clements but as yet I've not found a baptism for her.]  She was Elizabeth Clements when she married Edward Edwards & in John's Will he named her his 'daughter Elizabeth Clements'.  However her own illegitimate daughter was baptised as Ann Shrubsole – mother Elizabeth.  My guess is that once John & Ann married Elizabeth used the Shrubsole surname.  We can confirm she is one and the same person as in the 1851 census with her husband Edward and daughter Ann the entry beside Ann Shrubsole says 'wife's daughter'.   On Elizabeth's headstone, which I found in the churchyard of St Peter's Church in Monks Horton, it says Elizabeth Oldfield Edwards, as it does on her death registration and burial records and the probate of her Will.  {We also get her date of birth from the headstone}

It is the Oldfield part of the name that really had me excited.  As you are probably well aware very often children were given either the surname of  their mother or grandmother as a second name & with illegitimate children it was often to 'own' a child to a particular father.  You cannot have failed to notice that David Shrubsole's wife Mary is Mary Oldfield.

I often wondered how John acquired a dwelling house and lands adjoining, but if David & Mary are his parents then he obviously inherited from his mother.  It has to be the same family as although the properties aren't all named in Monks Horton in the land tax assessment in 1798 there are only 8 properties recorded & no other Shrubsoles.  It looks as if David had died by 1787, but try as I may I have yet to find a burial for him.

The next query was to discover how Widow Shrubsole (which must be Mary – see the burial recorded in Saltwood above mentioning 'of Horton')  goes from renting a property from John Daniels to owning it so I went back to the marriage of Mary Oldfield and David Shrubshall to see where that lead me.

Fact: Mary Shrubshall buried 7 3 1806 Saltwood of Horton age 77 – as above. If she was 77 when she died then she was born ca 1729.

Fact: Mary Oldfield bapt Saltwood 17 9 1734 dau of David & Jane

Fact: David Oldfield bapt Saltwood 11.5.1736 son of David & Jane

Fact: Elisabeth Oldfield bapt Saltwood 11 1.1737/8 dau of David & Jane

Fact: Jane Oldfield bapt Saltwood 8 3 1739 dau of David & Jane

Fact: Marriage of David Oldfield of Saltwood + Jane Caister of Cheriton 17 Feb 1731 St Martins Cheriton.

I am assuming that the Mary Oldfield bapt 1734 in Saltwood is the Mary Oldfield that married David Shrubsall.  I have exhausted all other Mary Oldfield's I can find in the area and they just don't fit, so her year of birth is yet again a few years out from the age given at burial, but par for the course.

Fact: When Mary Oldfield & David Shrubshall married their witnesses were John Daniels & Elizabeth Oldfield (remember this was in 1770)   I assumed John Daniels was a friend and Elizabeth Oldfield, Mary's sister.  Mary's father David was buried in Saltwood 27 10 1745 so hence the reason he wasn't a witness.  I then discovered that after David Oldfield's death Mary's mother Jane had remarried, to of all people John Daniels!  

Fact: Marriage of John Daniels, a bachelor 29 Feb 1756 Saltwood to Jane Oldfield widow, both of this parish.

John Daniels had married Jane Oldfield (nee Caister), Mary's mother & had thus become Mary's step father. He was a bachelor on marriage to Jane so presumably had no children of his own & thus eventually passed on his property to Jane's children. This would then make sense of the land tax assessment showing him as the landlord to begin with in the property in Monks Horton & then Mary eventually owning it.

All we had to do now was to tie in David Shrubshall, who married Mary Oldfield to the David Shrubsole baptised in Lyminge.  {Probably just worth mentioning here that the spelling of the Shrubsole name just differs depending on who is recording it, so I don't get hung up on the different spellings of it all;  there are so many variations as well as errors in transcriptions it is unbelievable!}  

As Mary & David's marriage in Saltwood says 'both of this parish' & I can't find a baptism of David Shrubsole in Saltwood at all he has obviously moved in there at some time from a neighbouring parish; either working there or living temporarily just for the banns to be read.  I have checked for David Shrubsole in Kent around his age group and the only one that fits is David Shrubsole baptised in Lyminge 19 Mar 1727, son of John & Elizabeth.   Notice also David & Mary's children's names – John after his father and Jane after Mary's mother?  They married quite late in life too & I can only find the two children John and Jane.

The only other David born around this time anywhere in England was David Shrubsole bapt 1725 in Canterbury the son of James & Elizabeth (& they also had an earlier David bapt 1719 but he must have died for them to name another child David).   I also have this family tree containing James & Elisabeth and can find nothing whatsoever to link it to my gt x 3 grandfather John Shrubsole.

My conclusions therefore are that John Shrubsole my gt x 3 grandfather, who was buried in Monks Horton in 1832, is one and the same John that was baptised 1771 in Saltwood, son of David & Mary.

I have also noticed that John married late in life & I'd often thought perhaps he'd had an earlier marriage but now I have discovered all of this I can see it is perhaps because he was still living at home, with his mother.  His father, having died sometime between 1778 & 1787 would mean John would have been between 7 & 16 years old when his father died, so at some stage would have probably taken on the responsibility of the man of the house & just continued that way.  Jane, his sister married in 1800.  It would seem that it was only after his mother died in Mar 1806 that he got together with Ann Clements.  Their first child Elizabeth (& I believe her to be John's child) was born out of wedlock Nov 1807 so must have been conceived ca Mar 1807 & he married Ann in Jul 1809 and his second child David was bapt in Feb 1810 so Ann was probably already pregnant again at the wedding.  A reluctant husband perhaps, at his age of 38?

I can find a burial of a John Daniels in Saltwood in 1800 stating he was born 1718 but can find no Will as yet, but am still searching.  The land tax of 1798 showed Widow Shrubsole already owning the property she was living in.  So sometime between 1787 & 1798 it became Mary's property.  Perhaps John Daniels didn't make a Will but sorted his affairs out before he died?  His wife Jane was buried in Saltwood in 1778 – did he perhaps move in with Widow Shrubsole sometime between 1787 & 1798 for her to look after him in his old age & transferred the property to her?

Once back in the 1700's I find a family tree is much harder to substantiate without Wills etc. & circumstantial evidence is often all there is left to work on.  I cannot find a Will for either David or Mary Shrubsole nor John Daniels.  So until such time as any other documentation is perhaps uncovered to disprove this I have convinced myself that David baptised in Lyminge is my gt x 4 grandfather and that his father John is my gt x 5 grandfather.  It makes perfectly logical sense to me, so I hope it does to you also.