Family History




Born: 1810 Lancing

Died: 1882 Lancing

Married: 1835 Lancing Margaret Nottingham



John Steer was born 1810 Lancing. He and his twin Sarah were the youngest children of Thomas Steer and Martha Merritt. He is the only ancestor I have found who was a twin. He was baptised June 1810 at St James the Less Church Lancing. He married Margaret Nottingham on 20/6/1835 at St Jamesís. The marriage, following banns read 17, 24, 31 May, was witnessed by Johnís brother Thomas Steer and his wife Ann, who made their marks, as did John and Margaret. John worked as an agricultural labourer and then a gardener. He died 28 December 1882 and was buried 2nd January 1882.  Cause of death was congestion of liver and lungs. The death was reported by son George Steer on 29 December. 

Married but separate

On the1841 census John was an agricultural labourer and living in Upper Lancing Street with Sarah Oliver born 1773, William Baker born 1776, Fanny Hill born 1821, Robert Kidd born 1811 Scotland, Sarah Simmons born 1821 and Samuel Woodward born 1771. They were probably occupying a tenement close to that of George Bushby farmer. He was renting Newmanís Farm so John may have worked on it? Margaret was living Upper Lancing Street with her grandparents Thomas and Deborah Winton and sons George and Thomas. Why living apart? The 1840s were a bad time for agricultural labourers so he may not have been able to afford the rent for their own place, or find an employer with a cottage for them. Margaret may have been needed to look after her grandparents and there wasnít room for John. Robert Kidd ten years later was working for Elizabeth Lloyd land proprietor 4 Brunswick Terrace Hove as a gardener

Living at the manor House

Ten years later John was still living apart from Margaret. On the 1851 census he was the resident gardener at Lancing House. Lady Lloyd not in residence (was she the Elizabeth Lloyd mentioned above?). Sarah Oliver housekeeper was interestingly the same woman who was living in the same dwelling as John in 1841. Perhaps they were Lancing manor estate workers then as well or Sarah was instrumental in finding him the job? Manorial records when I can see them might help. The other staff at the manor House then were Harriet Parsons, Jane Moore and Frances Young house servants and James Comper agricultural labourer. Was John still working for lancing Manor in 1861? He is described as a gardenerís labourer. The gardener living at the Manor House then was Amos Comper (living at the House with his wife). Lady Loyd was still absent and apart from the Compers the Manor House was only habited by Ellen Voller housekeeper and Emily Beech housekeeper. Margaret and the children were in 1851 living Upper Lancing Street. On the 1861 -1881 census returns John and family are still there, next to Ship House. This may have been on of the cottages later known as Joyces. In 1881 their two unmarried sons George and James were still with them.


1881 living with his wife and two unmarried sons George and James just past Ship House. Sister Sarah Winton next door . Occupation gardener. From 185-1881 this may have been one of the cottages later known as Joyces.

A Steer on Salt farms

South Lancing, to which Johnís daughter and son-in-law Jane and James Steer were to move, was in the early 19th century still sparsely populated compared to North Lancing. It was agricultural and the two main farms on reclaimed land were Old Salts Farm and New Salts Farm. Thomas Steer the witness at Johnís wedding was Johnís older brother and in 1841 he and his family were living at Old Salts Farm and in 1851 New Salts farm. So he was the first of the family to have a connection with South Lancing.

A marriage cut short

GEORGE STEER who registered his fatherís death was born1836 Lancing, John and Margaretís eldest son. He lived with his parents, and then after 1882 his widowed mother until his marriage on 9 April 1887 St James the Less Lancing to Martha Quinnell. Martha was not a local girl. 19 years younger than George she came from Tunbridge Wells where her father had been a railway porter, and her brother with whom she was living 1881 a signalman. Martha was a servant so she probably had obtained local work to where George lived. However the marriage was tragically cut short. George was buried on 17 December 1887. Their son George Arthur was born in the spring of 1888 so his father never saw him. Martha remarried John Glazebrook a stableman groom in 1890 and they lived in Portslade where they had two daughters Mary Jane (who died as an infant) and Emily Elizabeth. On the 1911 census George Arthur was living with his mother and step-sister and working as a milk carrier. Martha died in 1923.

The twin Sarah

John is the only ancestor Iíve found with a surviving twin. Sarah Steer married William Page Winton in 1831, and they had four children, Wlilliam 1832, mary Ann 1834, harriet 1836 and Charles 1838. William was buried 25 march 1840. Sarah was then living next to her father and stepmother. John may have been ill before his death as Sarah was receiving outdoor relief from the end of 1839. As soon as William died she was put on permanent weekly relief of 6s a week, though this varied over the months and years, depending on how many children she has to support and any money she earned. The payments stopped in 1850. her youngest child was no doubt working by then, and Sarah was still earning as a washerwoman. For the years between 1861 and 1881 and probably a few more Sarah was living next door to her twin. She was sharing Ship House with the Stringer family. Stephen Stringer was a gardener. The Steer twins stayed close throughout their lives. As children of eight one can imagine them comforting each other when their mother died. Sarah finished her days at the age of 87 in the new almhouses along North Road which had been built by the last two members of the Penfold family in Sompting.

Children: George Steer born 1836 died 1887 married 1887 Martha Quinnell

Thomas Steer born 1839 died 1843

Abraham Steer born 1842 died 1899 married 1865 Emma Gough

Charles Steer born 1845 died 1914 married 1869 Sarah Ide

Jane Steer born 1849 died 1908 married 1871 James Steer

James Steer born 1858 died 1923 married 1887 Janet Elizabeth Wellstead,