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Charlotte's two elder brothers, John (1787-1868) and Thomas (1789-1865), trained as

wheelwrights, ran businesses, married and raised families all in Bosham. John married

twice and had eight children. He appears to have prospered in business. We know he

repaired Bosham Church Spire in 1841 and made new pews for the church in 1845. By

the 1851 Census he is a Master craftsman employing four men. Thomas, on the other

hand, perhaps did not fare as well. He married once and had nine children and by the

1871 Census his widow, Ann and unmarried daughter, Ann are said to be Paupers.


Charlotte's eldest sister, unmarried Jane (1791-1841) had three illegitimate children. Henry Hammond Kearvell (b1829 - ?), George Hammond Kearvell (b1831 - 1902) and Philip Hammond Kearvell (b1840 - 1841) all fathered by one Henry Hammond a local man. A surprising fact of these three births is that the first took place when Jane was about thirty eight years of age. By the the time the third child's birth is registered, Jane has already died as a result of the childbirth at the age of forty nine! What do we know about Henry Hammond? Well, family folklore has handed down the story that Henry was a deserter from the Royal Navy who assumed Jane's surname to conceal his identity and burnt parish papers to remove records of the birth of his sons. What we don't know is whether this Henry Hammond was any family relation to Martha Hammond, Charlotte's mother. From the 1841 Census we know that Henry Hammond, considerably younger than Jane at age 35 years, was working as a Blacksmith and lived in North Bersted, a parish to the east of Bosham. Two surviving sons, Henry (12) and George (9), are living with their father.


Her next sister, Mary Ann (whose surname is recorded as Mervill in Bosham's baptism records in 1793) is an infant death at twenty-one months old.


When I look back at the life of my 3rd great-grand aunt, Charlotte Kearvil, I never know whether to consider her relationship with Charles Cheesman as an enduring love story or one founded on opportunity and ongoing financial arrangements. The information about their relationship, backgrounds and lives is often sketchy and at times non-existent but what can be gleaned makes fascinating reading. Here is the evidence I have been able to put together… you make up your mind!

An Older Gentleman and a Young Girl - an enduring love story?

Charles Cheesman (1771-1849) Yeoman Farmer and Charlotte Kearvil (1795-1880)

What do we know about Charlotte and her family background?

She was born at Bosham, Sussex in 1795. She was one of the six girls and two boys born between 1787-1809 to Thomas Kearvell (1763-1830) and Martha Hammond (1762-1842). The family she was born into had its fair share of 'twists and turns'. Her father, Thomas, is almost certainly the Tom Kervell, Parish Clerk of dubious fame in Bosham for allegedly burning the Parish Records. The accusation is made in the book on Bosham written by C J Longcroft and published in 1867. The arson act is said to have taken place one Christmastime when Tom was in a drunken rage with the vicar, the Reverend William Killick. The same vicar Longcroft describes as " The taste of the vicar was untheological and unliterary in the extreme. It took rather an alcoholic turn ..."! Killick was the incumbent at Bosham from 1800-1838. I have not yet been able to establish the trade of Thomas but am confident that he must have been a worker with wood. Perhaps a carpenter/joiner, such is the number of his descendants that follow a similair path.


Photo ©2005 Jill Bennett

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