Family History




Born: 1773 Ashington

Died: 1819 Lancing

Married: 1798 Steyning Thomas Steer


MARTHA MERRIT was the daughter of Edward Merritt and Mary Dinnig.(Dinnage) baptised 9/10/1773 Ashington. It would seem at the time the family were living in Ashington as other baptismal entries at the time are marked Washington or Wiston. Perhaps these parishes had absent clergy at the time? Ashington is a parish just over 3 miles north-east from Storrington, 10 miles from Horsham, and the church is dedicated to SS Peter & paul

She married Thomas Steer 26/6/1798 in Steyning by special licence issued by Chichester diocese. She was shown to have been living in the parish of Steyning for four weeks. It is not surprising that the marriage took place after Martha had found out she was pregnant. Why did they get married by licence? Was it to speed up matters – perhaps Martha could no longer continue in her employment? Martha would not now recognise the chancel of St Andrew’s Steyning which was rebuilt in the Victorian era (so it was probably not in the best of conditions when she married) , but she would the Norman nave with its carved arcades and clerestory, zig-zag and dogtooth with additional human and animal motifs. She would also recognise the 15th century porch and 16th century tower.

She was buried 24 January 1819 Lancing. For some reason whilst the other entries on the page on the burial register record whether the deceased was from North lancing, South Lancing or elsewhere, for Martha only lancing is given as the abode.

Martha’s eldest daughter Mary is one of few siblings of my ancestors whose lives I’ve been unable to trace. She was baptised 10 February 1799 Lancing and probably named after Martha’s mother. I have found no trace found of burial or marriage. Could she have possibly in 1841 have been living in Sompting as Mary Grover wife of William Grover aged 61 with children Sarah 9, Henry 7, Samuel 6?

Children: Mary Steer born 1799

William Steer born 1800 died 1869 married 1821 Ann Kimber

Ambrose Steer born 1803 died 1876 married 1833 Emma Lawson

Thomas Steer born 1805 buried 1858 married 1830 Ann Still

Frances Steer born 1806/1807 married 1835 Richard Mitchell

John Steer b 1810 died 1882 married 1835 Margaret Nottingham

Sarah Steer born 1810 died 1897 married 1830 William Winton