Family History

My great-grandfather William Blunden was born in Midhurst sometime 1846-1849. I have been unable to trace a birth registration or baptismal record. His mother Martha

Bennett married William Blunden in Heyshott in 1850. The only definite information I have on William Blunden Sr is the marriage certificate and 1851 census return as William Sr died in 1860. On the marriage certificate he gives his father as Joseph Clue farmer and on the census return his place of birth as Binsted, Hants. I have been able to trace a family of tenant farmers called Clues living in Binsted at the time he would have been born c 1820. The head of the family was Josiah Clues who died 1823 aged 74 (I know he was rather on the old side to have fathered William!). There was no Blunden family living in Binsted at the time (at least mentioned in the parish registers) apart from a John Blunden who married 1801 Sarah Greenwood. They had a

son John baptised 1803. John Blunden married another Sarah, Sarah Davies in 1818. No trace of burial for the first Sarah. They do not seem to have stayed in Binsted or had any children baptised there. A possible burial for John Blunden Sr is 17/7/1837 in Bentley, a neighbouring parish. This John Blunden is given as aged 57.

In the 1841 census for Heyshott there was a Blunden family headed by George Blunden born Selham. There was also on a farm a William Blunden aged 15. I believe this was my William Blunden Sr. George Blunden had an older brother John b 1773 Selham and at one time I believed this was the John Blunden in Binstead. It would explain how William Sr came to live in Heyshott. However this theory is undermined by the burial in Bentley . However there is no John Blunden born in Hampshire around 1780 so it is possible that the age was wrongly entered or transcribed from the burial register. I have not been able to check this myself (1/10/2007). I have checked that John Blunden born 1773 didn’t die in Selham as a child.

There is a further link – again involving some suppositions. When my great-grandfather married in 1875 in Madehurst one of the witnesses was George Blunden. Now he only had two brothers John and Richard. Could this be your George b 1835. William started off life as an agricultural labourer but in the early 1870s seems to have changed to become a woodsman – he ended up as wood merchant. Your George from census information seems to have been a woodsman so is too far fetched to think William learnt his craft from George, a cousin? There seem to be no other George Blundens who could have been the witness!

Final puzzle that might make this all irrelevant is whether William Sr was my gt-grandfather’s father anyway. His mother had already had one possibly two illegitimate children. His brother John (possible evidence that William Sr‘s father was a John?) was born in 1849 and registered as John Blunden Bennett. Early census returns give William as being born 1846 but the years pass he seems to lose about three years! If indeed he was born about 1848 then I would accept he was William’s son but if he was actually born 1846 or even 1847 then might he have a different father anyway? My grandmother used to say her father was ill-treated as a child by his father because he was illegitimate (but this could mean just born out of his parents marriage) and his father was made to marry his mother!