VOL. III - CHAPTER 2

James Barton and Orpah Crowhurst

James Barton who was born on 5 February 1825 the son of John Barton and Catherine Keeley (chapter 1). He was baptised on 13 March 1825 at Heathfield Independent Chapel.

It may have been James who witnessed his sister Jane's marriage in 1842.

On 4 September 1847 James married Orpah Crowhurst at All Saints Church, Herstmonceux. James was a 25 year old bachelor, a labourer from Cowbeech, the son of John Barton, labourer. Orpah is described a 21 year old spinster, daughter of Charles Crowhurst. No occupation is given for Charles. Both James and Orpah were only able to make their mark, as were the witnesses James Christmas and Charlotte Martin. (Reg Gen Sept Qtr 1847 Hailsham 7 491).

Orpah Crowhurst's ancestry is considered at Appendix D

All Saints Church is situated over a mile from the village centre closer to the castle on the edge of Pevensey Levels. The village may have been relocated after the Black Death in AD1348 as a number of villages in the area were. The church contains some of the best examples of early 13th century architecture in Sussex. The oldest part is the 12th century tower, the nave, chancel and aisles are from the 13th & 14th centuries, while the north (Dacre) chapel is 15th century. It is constructed of red Flemish bricks and was added by the builders of Herstmonceux castle.

The Church has a mounting block on the wall just outside which was used to help ladies get on their horses. The ladies with their long skirts would have had great difficulty mounting their horses, even side saddle, without the aid of these steps.

In 1841 Orpah Crowhurst had been living with James' brother John Barton, his wife Ellen and their children and was employed as a general servant (Appendix C).

James and Orpah had four children:

  • Jane Barton. Baptised 2 January 1848 at Warbleton.
  • Dorcas Barton. Born 1850 in Warbleton
  • Rhoda Barton. Born 1860 in Warbleton
  • John Henry Barton. Baptised 4 March 1864 in Warbleton

At the time of the 1851 census James and Orpah Barton were living at Bodle Street with their daughters Jane and Dorcus.

In 1861 they were still in Bodle Street, Warbleton. James, aged 36 was a labourer. Daughter Dorcas, aged 10, a scholar and Rhoda Barton, daughter, aged 11 months are listed. Daughter Jane, aged 13 was a house servant living with Stephen Neve, his wife Jane and their family at Rushlake Green.

'Kelly's Post Office Directory of Essex, Herts, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey and Sussex, 1867'

describes Warbleton as

"a parish, 7 miles north from Hailsham, 3 south from Heathfield, and 10 west from Battle railway station, in the Eastern division of the county, Hawkesborough hundred, Lewes county court district and archdeaconry, Hailsham union, Hastings rape, diocese of Chichester, and rural deanery of Dallington.

The Earls of Ashburnham and Chichester, and the trustees of Smith's charity, are lords of the manor. Here are charities of £45 annual value. Stone House, the seat of John Roberts Dunn, Esq., D.L., is a large mansion, partly in the Elizabethan style and partly modern, situated in well wooded and pleasant grounds: this mansion has been in the Roberts family for several centuries. Markly is the seat of George Darby, Esq., D.L.: the house, which is large and commodious, commands extensive views of the surrounding scenery.

About one mile east of Rushlake Green are the remains of an ancient priory (now forming part of the Priory farm house), built by John Pelham in the year 1413, for the monks of the Holy Trinity in Hastings. The parish contained in 1861 a population of 1,431 and the area is 5,763 acres"

James appears to have improved his circumstances. An insurance policy taken out on 24 June 1869 refers to

"Mr James Barton of Bodle Street Green in the parish of Warbleton in the county of Sussex, Pork Butcher and Huckster".

The insurance covered the period from

"24 June 1869 to 24 June 1870. Premium for one year 11s 3d" .

"on his dwelling house situate at Bodle Street Green, brick built, roof part tiled and other part thatched situate as above and in his own occupation £125. On his stable and east lodge near his house but not adjoining £25.00"


When the census was taken on 2 April 1871 the family were still living at Bodle Street Green. The entry reads:

  • James Barton, head, aged 46, carrier, born Warbleton
  • Orpah Barton , wife, aged 45, born Herstmonceux
  • Rhoda Barton, daughter, aged 10, scholar, born Warbleton
  • Henry Barton, son , aged 7, scholar, born Warbleton
  • Martha Crowhurst, mother in law, widow, aged 84, born Herstmonceux
  • Sarah Wood, general servant, aged 17, born Wartling.

Some seven months later Martha had been admitted to the Asylum where she died on 28 December 1871.

In 1881 James and Orpah were still living at Bodle Street Green, Warbleton. James, aged 55, is now described as a Pork Butcher. Also at the address, his 54 year old wife, Orpah, his 17 year old son, John H , a grocers assistant and their grandson, George Reed, aged 9, born Warbleton. George was the son of daughter Jane (see below)

By 1891 James and Orpah are living alone at Brick Cottage, Wartling. James, aged 65 is now described as an agricultural labourer. I wonder what had happened to the butchers? Orpha was aged 66.

James Barton died in 1897 aged 72 (Reg Gen March Qtr 1897 Hailsham 2b 59)

His will made on 16 March 1870 and written in what appears to be a diary seems to set up a trust. He leaves all his estate to his wife Orpah Barton 'for her life' and following her death to his son John Henry Barton. However he does not appear to appoint trustees or stipulate that Orpah is only entitled to the income from his estate, although this is perhaps implicit. After the death of John Henry his executors are to sell all his estate and divide the proceeds between Jane (or her heirs), Dorcus (or her heirs) and Rhoda (or her heirs). If John Henry should die before Orpah then on Orpah's death, the estate is to be sold and the proceeds to be divided between Jane (and her heirs) and Dorcas (or her heirs) and Rhoda (or her heirs).

In 1901 Orpah, aged 74, was living in Gardner Street, Herstmonceux with a boarder, Edmond Elphick, aged 33, a trug basket maker, born Herstmonceux. Any relationship between Edmond Elphick and Orpah's daughter Rhoda's husband has yet to be established.

At the time she was living next door to her daughter Dorcas, her husband William Jarman and family (Appendix E)

Orpah Barton died in 1905 aged 78 (Reg Gen Dec Qtr 1905 Hailsham 2b 5 38).

Our line continues through James and Orpah's son, John Henry Barton. Click here to go to "Chapter 3 - John Henry Barton and Caroline Wood". 

To find out more about the Crowhursts click here to go to "Appendix D - Crowhurst"

To find out more about James and Orpah's remaining children click here to go to "Appendix E - The children of James Barton and Orpah Crowhurst"

Click here to go back to "Chapter 1 - The Early Generations"