In the Sussex marriage index dated 19 Jun 1819, Henry RICHARDSON (bachelor, of this parish) and Ann PECKHAM (spinster, of Appledore Kent) were married by license in Brede East Sussex, just north of Hastings. No ages or parents’ names were provided. Looking at his son’s 1853 marriage certificate, both father (deceased farmer) and son (gamekeeper) were named as Henry Procter/Proster Richardson. Handwriting is fairly legible but irregular, so is still open to interpretation. The deceased father is in keeping with Henry Sr’s death in 1850.
So far I have been unable to locate a baptism record for Henry Procter RICHARDSON in or around 1789. There are numerous Richardson baptism records indexed for Brede between 1729 to 1833, but they do NOT include a Henry Proctor or even a Henry in this time period. The closest baptism for a Henry was in 1778. Were the records incomplete or was he baptised elsewhere or not at all? I have been told that the original parish records for Brede are (or were) housed in the Record Office in Lewes, East Sussex but are too fragile to be viewed or filmed. Some transcripts of these registers have been filmed by the LDS, but I am told that there are gaps in these records around the time in question. It is possible that the desired records were missing or unreadable in the original, or missed being transcribed if they existed.
We know that this Henry Proctor RICHARDSON “the first” was a farmer and parish clerk according to the baptism records of his children. Henry P Richardson is also listed as the Brede Parish Clerk from 1824 to 1841 in the book Brede, The Story of a Sussex Parish by Edmund Austen, printed 1946. This book also states that in 1826, "Henry P. Richardson and his wife" were managing the Brede Workhouse for the poor, but perhaps only until 1829. As to their children, their first son Henry was baptized 28 Jan 1820, about seven months after their marriage. According to a removal order for a pregnant Ann PECKHAM [sic] dated 10 Mar 1818 that sent her back to Appledore Kent from Brede Sussex, it appears that their son Henry was probably born in 1818 rather than 1819 or 1820. (This younger Henry died very young in 1823, coincidentally repeating the pattern of the previous generation.) After their marriage, Henry P and Ann RICHARDSON had 7 more children including my ancestor Henry Proctor Richardson II (born 1825, baptized 1830). Their last child Mary was born 17 Dec 1838. Sadly Ann died in childbirth on that same day at the age of 39, the wife of a “reduced farmer”.
Further evidence of Henry’s farming activities has been found in a 2004 pamphlet entitled "Hop Token Issuers and Their Tokens, The Parishes of Beckley, Brede, Northiam, Peasmarsh & Udimore” by Alan Henderson. It lists a Henry Richardson of Church House Farm who issued hop tokens to his hop pickers:
“The only date we have for this issuer is 1819 which appears on one of his tokens. ESLT shows that Henry Richardson Sen. owned and occupied Church Land, Brook’s, Loneham, The Home Land, Parkwood, York Land, Kings Wood Land. The largest of these holdings was Church Lands. Mention of Richardson Sen. suggests that there was also a Henry Richardson Jr. The tokens are brass cast in values of B1, B12, B30, and B60, the name of the last two being Richardsons, which perhaps suggests father and son working together. The B60 is dated 1819.”
So I hesitantly claim Henry RICHARDSON and Martha PROCTER as my ancestors until I can find evidence to the contrary or hopefully find additional confirmation. If true, my RICHARDSON lineage extends back through Henry (1756- ) and Martha PROCTOR, Henry (1727-1798*) and Mary SWEETLOVE, Henry (1703-1775) and Susannah THOMAS, and Richard (c1674-1712) and Ann WATTS of Guestling Sussex.
There are still additional avenues to explore. For instance, I have not yet located possible coroner's records from 1850 that might provide further clues about Henry's family and birth in addition to the circumstances of his death. And perhaps there are more wills to be found. What a relief it would be to resolve these doubts about my RICHARDSON ancestors.