Welcome to the pages where I write mostly about family history.

Latest Post – The Tenby Years

For Winchurch history go to WINCHURCH FAMILY HISTORY

My Faces of  history pages give more information about the origins and lives of my family.

Tour of Mont Blanc 2008 is an account of backpacking in the Alps with Elizabeth.

Elizabeth has an extensive blog, covering many aspects of our life in Cornwall plus a variety of other topics: Elizabeth Harper’s blog

Feel free to offer additions and comments.

John Winchurch

Cornwall, 2009


71 thoughts on “Introduction

  1. I spent a few days in Benton, Illinois with my Aunt Elsie, last surviving child of Anna Winchurch Smith. She gave me some valuable information about the family.

    Anna was one of twelve children. She could only remember the names of six, but she did say that Anna had at least one glassblower in the family.. She could not remember the names, but I am almost sure your grandfather was her brother. Glass blowers are not that common!

    Most of the Winchurches lived in Woodsetton, near Dudley. She gave me these names: The youngest was named Maude. She married Richard Guest, who was also a glassblower, and they ran a grocery store in Swan Village, near Birmingham. They had one daughter names Gladys who moved to the White Cliffs of Dover when her husband died. She may still be living. Richard died young, a common problem with glassblowers.
    – Will and Ben were preachers who lived in Dudley. I scrawled the name Netherton next to theirs, but I cannot remember why. Maybe you can piece that together. They had children who may still be living there. One is a minister.

    – There was a son named Edwin who ran a grocery store. in Roseville.. He married Gertrude.

    – Clara married a man named Sam Hampton. She ran a clothing store in Swan Village. They had two kids named Helen and Jim. Sam and Jim were in the tobacco business.

    – There was also a sister named Polly.

  2. I would like to thank you for getting your WEB SITE running a lot better. I was born in Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire, England. The year was 1947. I got your web site before, but could not get to you, for more information on the FAMILY, I would like to find out how? the name of Winchurch came about? If you can return my E-Mail, I will give you most of the information I have about my side of the FAMILY. I would like to thank you for the information you have, sorry, I should say your father, then you. I look forward to your return E-Mail.

  3. Just read your E-Mail back to me, I will try to put all the dates, places, marriages, births,and deaths and where. I do know my side has some people in London area, or near London. If they have anyone a live now I do not know, but I will ask my dad, who still lives in Halifax. yours Eric.

  4. Just looked at the top page, and it say’s Cornwall, is this the area you live in? Eric

  5. Readed the part on the origins. To what I have read of the microfilm at the Morman church here in Bakersfield, CA, USA, it say’s Winsthurst, then Winchurst, but I will have to find the papers, because it go’s back to about 1200’s, and the names is abit smaller, and spelled different. Eric

  6. Eric and James,

    if you read this, get in touch again with John who can put you in touch with me.

    Eric, I am pretty sure that you are from my branch of the Winchurch family, descended from George Winchurch and Fanny Brookes of Bilston, Staffs via their son John.

    James, I think that there may be a connection here too but with the siblings of George from Bilston (the Woodsetton family). I have more information on that branch and evidence to support the connection, but not guaranteed as yet, but could put you in touch with someone else from that line.

  7. John, can you give Shila Williamsmy E-Mail address, or can you give me her E-mail. Thank you Eric. P.s. I may be getting some where now!!!!! Can you look at your Web Site, your right side of the screen may adjustmet, where I am writing, the right side is covered by (Sitemeter)

  8. Hello Eric

    I have passed your email address on to Sheila Williams.

    Best Wishes


  9. Eric
    Sheila and I have both tried to email using the ‘Yahoo’ account that you used to send the above comments, but both got error messages – ‘user does not have a Yahoo account’
    Do you have another address, please ?

  10. I am sorry but I put (-), should have been (_). Can you try again. Eric. John, I have permission from my dad to give you what information,photo’s, I have, so I will try to get all I can together, so I can send them to you. Eric.

  11. Could James have put NETHERTON, next to the names of Will and Ben, that were preachers, could it have been for a church that they may have been serving, or may have been in Netherton. WEB SITE shows it about 1.5 miles south of Dudley. Eric.

  12. Thanks to James Winchurch for re re establishing contact via email.
    I am always interested to hear from anyone who has family history information of any sort.


  13. Can you pass on my E-mail to James, just in case we can help each other out with information, then send on to you. Eric

  14. Hi All,
    just a short note to introduce myself. My great-grandfather was Edwin James Winchurch and my Grandmother Lily Winchurch. I’ve just got an update from Sheila which I am going to look at with my Mother over the Easter Hols.

    As an additional note, I also visited Benton Illinois in 1986 and stayed with Ben and Elsie for a few days.I have a few photos of them. Their daughter Susanne now lives in Florida and I have visited her also.

    Kind regards

  15. Hi Andrew,
    Welcome. I shall be interested to hear more about the Winchurch migration to America.
    Many thanks to Sheila for the descendant report.
    I am at present scratching my head about the various Winchursts making nails and anchors in Stepney in Tudor times. We might have helped to defeat the Spanish Armada !

  16. Just checking your comment’s, to find that another (NAIL) in the family tree has been found so we can nail all the items together in the Family Tree House.

  17. Hi All,

    thanks for the welcome and I will try and be an active nail……

    One goal when I started doing my family tree 2 years ago was to identify Thomas Winchurch. He was on HMS Neptune at the Battle of Trafalgar as a Marine. 70 Black country lads volunteered and sailed with the fleet. I have been down to kew and have copies of the ships log (he survived uninjured). I have not seen in any of the lists the correct Thomas Winchurch…..putting this nail in would be great.

    Kind regards

  18. …finally, I accidentally met another Winchurch (Claire) in Sheffield last November. She is newly married to a Paul Winchurch whose Father came from the Black country. I am currently trying to get more info to link her into the chain. Any help with this would also be good.

    Kind regards

  19. Hi Andrew
    Is there any record of roughly when Thomas was born ?
    Thomas Winchurch and Phebe (Jewkes) had a son Thomas, born in Dudley in 1765, which would make him 39 or 40 in 1805. Maybe a bit old to volunteer for the marines?

  20. ..or it might have been my 2G grandfather, Thomas, (b1787) who married for the first time in 1808.
    Most likely, perhaps, Thomas b1782, second youngest son of William and Elizabeth (Guttridge) m1764.
    William (b about 1733) was Thomas’s b1734 (who married Phebe) elder brother.
    Hope that helps. There were lots of Thomas around that time “

  21. Andrew
    Just had a look on National Archives website but can’t find a Thomas Winchurch listed at Trafalgar, but Joseph Winchurch is. Was it definitely Thomas ?

    Joseph Winchurch.
    Ship: HMS Neptune
    Rank/Rating: Private, Marine
    Service details
    Comments: From: Plymouth HQs
    HMS Neptune
    Ship’s pay book number: (ML 281)
    30 July 1805

  22. …yes, sorry, Joseph, I had a lot of trouble today from my oldest son (Thomas) and the brain was not in gear.

    Is there a place where I can mail or send you photos for the collection?

    Kind regards

  23. Joseph b1785 was the youngest son of William and Elizabeth (Guttridge) m1764.
    William (b about 1733) was Thomas’s b1734 (who married Phebe) elder brother.
    Most likely candidate

  24. I have added more information about the connections between the Winchursts of Stourbridge and Stepney in London. I am finding the precise relationships in Tudor times hard to tabulate though !

  25. Hello to all. Friday 2-Apr-2010, 7:00 am, here in Cal, USA. Good to read some more nails are been put on the family tree. I also have some photo’s and information to send, would like an address to send to. Still trying to put all the information together. Nice abit of history there, I have some newspaper clipings to with the information. Thank you all for what you are doing. Eirc

  26. Sheila, has given me some information, and it is very good, I am the Eric she has on her paper work. I will be putting all the information I have, will be with dates, places, and if I can photos of the living and the one’s that have died.

  27. I am back on the road driving an 18 Wheeler, (Semi-lorry), will try more to read the papers, and reply to you all.

  28. Criminal record, Enoch Winchurch 1848

    Just came across Enoch’s conviction for Larceny in the Stafford 1848 Assizes. He got 4 Months for this.

    I’ve eMailed the photo to John…….

  29. John
    You have a question regarding the will of John Winchurst Naylor of Dudley 1700. His wife is named as Jane.

    I have John the son of George Winchurst and Ann Bridgewater (m. Rowley Regis Oct 1639) John was born 1645 and married Ann Freeman at St Thomas in Dudley on 6th Oct 1667, I have no record of any other marriage for John, could it be that Ann’s middle name may have been Jane?

    Steve Winchurch

  30. Hi Steve

    Thanks for your comment.
    I think the problem is there were at least two John Winchursts around at this time.
    I have puzzled about the parentage of John (who left the will) for some time.
    I don’t think he was the son of George and Ann. In fact, I think G & A moved to Abingdon.
    If we jump forward to 3 January 1765, there is an agreement of which I have a copy:

    Agreement 3rd Jan 1765 bet John Winchurst of Dudley. Nailor
    eldest son and heir male of the body of Thos Winchurst
    who was one of the sons of John W
    who was eldest son and heir of Humphrey W ? of Dudley, nailor decd

    So there was definitely a John, eldest son and heir of Humphrey ?
    All of this is made more complicated by the movement taking place between Dudley and London (probably via the River Thames at Abingdon), so the mysterious Jane might have appeared there.
    At the moment, I don’t have the answer, but am open to suggestions ?

  31. I have now had the ‘Humphrey Winch alias Winchurst’ 1605 and 1606 documents translated by Simon Neal
    These confirm that George was a ‘kinsman’ (maybe cousin) of Humphrey.
    That Humphrey’s wife was Isabel and that his three children, John, Isabel and Katherine were all minors in 1605.
    It also provides further clues to the relationships between the ‘Tudor Winchursts’ in London, Abingdon and Stepney and the interchangability of the names Winst, Winch, Winsthurst, Winchurst etc.

  32. Note that the family of Thomas Winchurch, my 2g grandfather is transcribed as ‘Minchurd’ at 3 Lord Street Birmingham in the 1851 census. I am in contact with ‘Find my Past’ but so far they refuse to accept the mistake.

    Footnote. This has still not been corrected (Dec 2011)

    I have pointed out to ‘Find my Past’ and Brightsolid, the parent company that Thomas Winchurch and family are documented as living at 3, Lord St in several places, including the family bible ! Also, that the name ‘Minchurd’ does not exist anywhere else.
    To no avail.
    Perhaps others may wish to challenge this entry. If nothing else they could have a cross reference system for questionable entries ?


  33. Yes, Christine. Do you still live in Halifax? Was a scooter-combo.

  34. Can you tell me about “Find my past”, is there a WEB SITE? Yours Eric

  35. Hi Andrew,
    I haven’t been on the site yet, but intend to do so. I am guessing that it will be offered as part of a new package from Find my Past, since the owners, Brightsolid, are responsible for the scanning etc. Meanwhile, any further information on the cyclist – Benjamin Ernest Winchurch – would be gratefully received

  36. Hi John, a quick scan last night showed me that he was extremely good, winning several races including a 24 hour one where he did over 400 Miles! More info to follow…..

  37. Repost :

    Note that the family of Thomas Winchurch, my 2g grandfather is transcribed as ‘Minchurd’ at 3 Lord Street Birmingham in the 1851 census. I am in contact with ‘Find my Past’ but so far they refuse to accept the mistake.

    Footnote. This has still not been corrected (Dec 2011)

    I have pointed out to ‘Find my Past’ and Brightsolid, the parent company that Thomas Winchurch and family are documented as living at 3, Lord St in several places, including the family bible ! Also, that the name ‘Minchurd’ does not exist anywhere else.
    To no avail.
    Perhaps others may wish to challenge this entry. If nothing else they could have a cross reference system for questionable entries ?


  38. hi my name is peter winchurch just seen your page and you have got the same name as my uncle who died 3 years ago, my dad was Brian winchurch.. anyway hope you are ell xx

  39. Do you know who now has FV Winchurch’s Birmingham Marriage Index from 1776 owards?

  40. Do you know who now has the F V Winchurch’s Birmingham Marriage Index from 1776 onwards?

  41. Hello Mary
    I am not aware of a specific marriage index fitting that description. Do you mean a general Birmingham index or one listing Winchurch marriages ?

  42. Hi I would dearly love to know about my Fathers brother’s side of the family, My father Victor Francis Williams Born 02/05/1911 in Kings Norton, Died 19/02/1977 Middlesex, His father I think was Francis John Williams Born around 1876, Married about 1905 to Edith Alice Hancox., Francis John Williams may have been a son of Elizabeth Prosser Williams. I need to find my fathers brother who was Sydney Williams born in 1907 again in Kings Norton, and the family business was tailoring.
    My father broke away from the family business and pursued an engineering profession.

  43. Hello Robert

    Many thanks for your email.
    From the information you have sent it looks as though your great grandmother was Elizabeth Prosser Sternberg (who married John James Williams at Kings Norton in 1875)
    My great grandmother was Elizabeth’s sister, Alice Plucknett Sternberg, which makes us third cousins.
    I don’t know if you are aware, but John Williams was born in North Wales at Corwen and started a successful tailoring business.
    The names Prosser, Plucknett and of course Sternberg occur prominently in our family tree.
    The Christian name Francis came from Germany with Francis (Franz) George Sternberg in the eighteenth century as you have probably seen on my website.
    Francis has been used as a first name in every generation – my Father was Francis Victor Winchurch and there is a Francis living in Worcestershire, currently in his late teens !
    I did not have a record of your father’s birth, but I have your grandmother recorded as Edith Alice Hall, not Hancox and married Q4 1902. Was Edith married twice, do you know?
    On the subject of your father’s engineering career, did you know that his uncle William Victor Williams patented a froth removing beer pump ? PDFs attached .
    I also attach a 1901 census return for Elizabeth and family Francis John and William Victor still living at home in Kings Norton.
    According to my records Sydney John N Williams was born Q3 1906 in Kings Norton and married Annie B Page Q4 1927 in B’ham South.
    They had three children – John B 1928, Jeanne M 1930 and Peter H in 1931.
    Let me know if any of this agrees or conflicts with your information ?


    John Winchurch

  44. Hello John,
    A Happy new year to you,Ihave a new hard drive & dont seem to have saved your email. Cant remember what I sent you.

  45. George Arthur Gadsby Smith is my husband’s grandfather on his mother’s side, Irene Gadsby Smith and her brother William Smith were the children of George and his wife Agnes. Irene married Franics James Watt. My husband has two sisters, Barbara and Frances. My husband is Robert James Watt and my name is Ingrid. We live in Tiny, Ontario, Canada (about 2 hours north of Toronto. We have two sons, James Andrew Watt is married to Malinda and they are expecting their first child in August. Kevin Robert Watt is married to Rebecca and they have a 5-month old daughter named Abbigale Anna May Watt.

  46. Hi Ingrid
    Good to hear from you.
    Travelling in Spain at present – so will be in touch next week



  47. Hi Ingrid

    Apologies for not having followed up on your message sooner.
    Could you please email me on jonvic42 (at) and I will reply with more info.
    Best wishes to you and your family, especially my second cousin, Robert !


  48. Good morning, John.

    I am Frances Cunningham. I am the youngest daughter of Frank & Irene Watt. I just read the article that you wrote on the Smith family. I was quite touched. I have a picture of George Arthur but didn’t realize it was a post card. I was saddened by the fact that he was so young when he passed away. There wasn’t much information shared about him. I do remember being told some things about the place in England. I was curious about my grandfather’s birth date. I am told that I look like Lizzie. I would appreciate any further information that you might be able to pass along.

    Best regards


  49. Hello Fran,

    Thanks for your comments.
    I am away from home at the moment but will write to you in the next couple of weeks



  50. Hi John

    I have been trying to contact you again but not having much success. My sister, Barbara and I have been collecting some family pictures together and would like to send them to you if you would give us your mailing address. We will fill in as many dates as we can.

    Looking forward to hearing from you again. Barb & I sure have enjoyed reading your email. They have sure created a real interest in finding out more about our great grandparents.

    Best regards


  51. Hi Fran

    I did reply to Barbara’s email (via your gmail account I think ?)
    I will try sending it again.
    I would love to receive your picture as email attachments, but will send my mailing address too (which was also in my reply)
    We will get there eventually

    Best Wishes


  52. Glad that you got the email. We would love to send you the pictures. We had so little information about the family in England. I will get in touch with Barb to let her know that you emailed. Gmail has made some changes just to complicate things for us.


  53. I am looking for information about Thomas Sternberg, the author of The Dialect and Folklore of Northamptonshire. I have read in your blog that he was born in 1794. Any idea of when he died or why he became interested in dialects? Thank you very much. Sincerely, María

  54. Thank you for your comment Maria. I have subsequently revised my information on the author of The Dialect and Folklore of Northamptonshire, following correspondence from Stephen Miller :

    Thomas Sternberg, born in 1794 was, I originally thought, the likely author of ‘The Dialect and Folk-Lore of Northamptonshire’, published in 1851. I had no definite proof that the author was the same Thomas Sternberg, but the combination of the name, plus the unlikely coincidence of there being two Thomas Sternbergs of the right age and background in Northamptonshire in 1851 pointed decisively to that conclusion.

    However, recent correspondence with Stephen Miller, an expert on Folklore writing, has revised this assumption. There was a second edition of ‘The Dialect and Folk-Lore of Northamptonshire’ also published in 1851. The author’s name on this publication is Vincent Thomas Sternberg, Thomas’s son, born in London in December 1831 (see more below). Vincent would have been only nineteen in 1851, so clearly displayed a precocious literary talent at an early age .

    I am grateful to Stephen Miller for his input into this story. His article on the book was published in Folklore magazine on 25 Jun 2012

  55. I found this website really exciting. I have been working on my family history for about four years and I have just made a discovery regarding Richard Brown and Mary Ellen Gornall. I am a decendant of Henry Jones (1853-1882) and Mary Jane Brown (1851-1906). According to records my grandmother has Richard and Mary Ellen Brown (nee Gornall) were the parents of Mary Jane. Could you please clarify this? Do you have records of how many children Richard and Mary Ellen had? If you have information and photos could you please share them with me. I live in South Africa and find it hard to access many of the British records.

    Kind Regards
    Jordan Scholfield

  56. Hello Jordan

    Thanks for your comments
    I am away from my records for a few weeks, but will contact you again when I have more information


    John Winchurch

  57. Hi, just to say that Ethel Winchurch celebrated her 100th Birthday in Coseley on 9th June. Maiden name Mason, she married John Winchurch in 1938 and he died in 1974. She still lives in the family home! If anyone needs to update their tree and can verify the correct John Winchurch then please let me know! Kind regards Andrew

  58. Thanks Andrew I did get a ‘Winchurch alert’ for this. I think it was reported with photo in the ‘Black Country Bugle’

  59. Hello there my maiden was Whitmore my Gt Gt granddad was Henry Whitmore Bilston 1862 He was son to Jane Winchurch who Married John Whitmore Sedgley Dudley 1856 My Dad who is 88 this month mentioned the Winchurch garage in Bearwood He was born and lived in Smethwick he is the last of his family alive What brought me to the Winchurch name today in Our Black Country Bugle was Joseph who was at Trafalgaer battle his name was listed in this weeks paper hope you don’t mind me sending this E mail regards

  60. Hello Pauline

    Delighted to hear from you.
    I don’t have a complete record of the Winchurch family in Dudley in the mid nineteenth century, since my branch moved to Aston in 1821, but I will have a look at my records to see if I can find Jane.

    Best Wishes to you and your Dad

    John Winchurch

  61. Hi John and Pauline, I think that Jane was a older sister of my great-grandmother Lucy who married Benjamin Dudley. Sheila

  62. Hi Sheila

    Good to hear from you.
    That connection looks good – I’m sure you are right.


  63. Hi very interested in your BROOKS My ancestor was John Waldron who built and ran the Hill Tavern in Clent. Twice he arranged a mortage with an Elizabeth Brooks. the first was for 200 pounds the second 100 pounds – are you aware of the family having money – Regards from OZ

  64. Hi Nelliepee

    My gg grandmother Ann Brooks was only married at Clent because of the particular arrangement with Rowley Regis church at that time. As far as I know there is no connection with the Elizabeth Brooks that you mention. Sorry, but thanks for your enquiry. John

  65. Hi John. Spending a beautiful blue sky winter’s day in Christchurch, New Zealand, looking for Class photos for Greenhill School and landed here. What an interesting site! 1959 was my first year at Greenhill and I recognise many faces. I still stay in touch with a few. I should be in the photo and wonder whether I might be on the far left or right, which is cut off on the inserted photo. Would you by chance have a complete copy that could be emailed. Kind regards, Peter John.

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