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Neptune Smith

Eric Trudgill    -    4 September 2012

The gypsiologist, E O Winstedt, from conversations with members of their family, concluded that the Neptune Smith and Elizabeth Ayres who were buried in Benson, Oxon in 1855 had the following children: Louisa, wife of Mark Smith; Neptune junior, who died at an advanced age in Coleford, Glos; Phoebe, wife of James Bunce; Thomas, father of Ambrose; Christiana, wife of Edmund Heron; Reuben, husband of Syphorella Boswell; Charlotte, wife of first a Phelps and then Solomon Boswell; James, husband of first Fairnetti Boswell and then Charlotte Loveridge; Ambrose, father of Nelson; and Ruth, wife of Job/Joseph Law.

We have baptisms for Reuben in Kington St Michael, Wilts in 1812, and James in Farnham, Surrey in 1828 “of Horton, Wilts”, and for three children unknown to Winstedt, Josiah baptised in Kington St Michael in 1811 (14 months before Reuben), Cementi in Lydney, Glos in January 1815, and Angelina in Ashwick, Somerset in 1826 “of Worton, Wilts” (perhaps these three died young and were thereby unknown to Winstedt’s informants, though Cementi at least may have been re-named as Phoebe, who had a Cinamenti). The references to Horton and Worton, which are next door to Potterne, Wilts, show that the children’s father was the Neptune Smith baptised in Potterne in November 1781 son of Thomas and Ashey, and that the children’s grandparents were the Thomas Smith and Asha Burton who had married in Bristol St James in January 1781. This in turn, since Louisa Smith, widow of Mark, in the 1871 census claimed to be 63 and born in Thatcham, Berks, suggests that she’d been baptised in honour of her grandmother as Ashi Smith in Buckland, Berks in December 1808 daughter of Nepthan. The mothers given for Josiah and Ashi (Hannah and Sissy) may have been earlier wives of Neptune, but Sissy is found as an alternate for Elizabeth.

No baptisms have yet been found for the other children Winstedt credited to Neptune, but the circumstantial supportfor his data is pretty compelling. Ambrose in the 1851 census was travelling in Bishopstone, Wilts with a Neptune Smith claiming to have been born in Horton, Wilts about 1795; Thomas was travelling in 1861 and 1881 with Neptune’s son, James, and on the second occasion with some of Phoebe’s children; Charlotte married a cousin of Reuben’s wife and James’ first wife, and her son married a child of Edmond and Selina Smith, like two of Phoebe’s children; Ruth christened a daughter Phoebe, and did so in Lambourn, Berks very close to Bishopstone; and the Neptune who died in Coleford, Glos had a plausible forename and a territorial profile which echoes that of the earlier Neptune. There’s no circumstantial evidence to suggest the latter was father of the Christiana who married Edmund Heron, but that Christiana was certainly a Smith, and given Winstedt’s seeming accuracy with regard to the other children, I’m prepared for now to give her the benefit of the doubt. Here’s what I know about the children named by Winstedt and described as reaching adulthood, in the best birth order I can currently manage.

Neptune Smith, presumed son of Neptune and born in Stratton, Wilts about 1806, by a Sarah Smith had Mark (christened in Gt Barrington, Glos in 1830), a fiddler who married Ann Smith daughter of Nathaniel in 1848; Sophia (born about 1832), who married John Loveridge son of Henry in 1852; Hannah, born about 1837; Neptune, born in Leigh Delamere, Wilts in 1839 and buried in Christchurch, Glos in 1840 aged nine months, his father of Stratton, Wilts; Josiah/Tite Neptune(born about 1842), a fiddler who married Patience Loveridge daughter of William in 1878; Simpaton (perhaps an error for Limpetty), born about 1844; Sarah (christened in Parkend, Glos in 1847), who married David Walker son of Charles in 1866; Mary (born about 1849), who married David Vaughan son of William; and Elijah (christened in Parkend in 1854), who married Susanna Taylor.

Louisa Smith, daughter of Neptune and baptised as Ashi in 1808, by Mark Smith son of Arthur and Carnation had Lucy (christened in Ewelme, Oxon in 1827), who married Henry Bath; Arkles/William (christened in Emmington, Oxon in 1829), who married Naomi Buckland daughter of Dimiti and Lavinia, and in 1886 Emily Lee daughter of Charles and Ann; Phineal, christened in Lewknor, Oxon in 1831; Jonas, christened in Stanford in the Vale, Oxon in 1832; Oliver (christened in Warborough, Oxon, in 1834), who married Lavinia Smith daughter of Arkles and Eliza; Counsellety (christened in Ipsden, Oxon in 1837), who married Tommy Boswell son of Lewis and Constance; Perun/Frank, christened in Didcot, Berks in 1838; Urania, christened in Ewelme in 1843 and buried in Aston Tirrold, Berks the following month; Victoria (Tiggy) and Albert, twins christened in N Stoke, Oxon in 1845, Victoria marrying William Nelson, and Albert seemingly dying young; Josiah, christened in Chalgrove, Oxon in 1847; Job (christened in Goring Heath, Oxon in 1850), who married his cousin, Myrenny Smith daughter of James and Fairnetti; and Adelaide (christened in Goring Heath in 1853), who married Dennis Smith son of Guilderoy and Eve. Winstedt was given the names of all these children except Phineal, and he was given in addition an Anselina who married her cousin, Lewis Smith son of Reuben and Syphorella, and a Mary, surely the Mary Ann Smith who christened two illegitimate daughters in Goring Heath in 1876 and 1882, the second having John Lee named as her father. Mary Ann was probably born about 1841 and Anselina about 1851.

Reuben Smith, son of Neptune and baptised in 1812, by Syphorella Boswell daughter of Lewis and Cleopatra probably had a Stephen, christened in Hagbourne, Berks in 1838as a Boswell, illegitimate son of Syphorella. He certainly had the following five children, all christened as Ayres in deference to his mother: Uriah (in E Hendred, Berks in 1844), who married Betsy Smith daughter of Arkles and Lavinia belatedly in 1900; Lewis (in Dowlish Wake, Somerset in 1845), who married the afore-mentioned Anselina Smith daughter of Mark and Louisa; Sylvester (in Pangbourne, Berks in 1846), who married Cinderella Buckland daughter of Absalom and Eleanor; Constance, christened in Yeovil, Somerset in 1848; and Urania, christened in NewnhamMurren, Oxon in 1851. Reuben and Syphorella also had Councilety Smith, named after his sister, christened in Kidmore End, Oxon in 1854.

Christiana Smith, presumed daughter of Neptune, born probably about 1816 (she was said to be thirty at her death in February 1845 in Lt Addington, Northants), married Edmund Heron (christened in 1813) son of Edward and Siberensi. She had by him Sage Heron (christened in Boughton, Northants in 1836), who married William (Righteous) Gray son of Israel and Maria; Matilda Heron (born about 1839 and christened in Ringstead, Northants in 1850 asa daughter of Edmund by his second wife, Jemima), who married Samuel Heron, Edmund’s half-brother; and Amelia Heron (born in Lt Addington in 1843 daughter of Edmund and Christihannah, formerly Smith), who married Elias Gray son of Elias and Sophia.

Phoebe, presumed daughter of Neptune and born probably about 1818, possibly in Pewsey, Wilts, married James Bunce in Chalgrove, Oxon in March 1835, and had by him George Bunce (christened in Bucklebury, Berks in 1836), who seemingly died fairly young; Stephen Bunce (christened in GtHaseley, Oxon in 1838), who allegedly married a Brinkley; CinamentiBunce, born in Berrick Salome, Oxon in 1840; William Bunce (christened in Bath Trinity, Somerset in 1843), who married Jane Scource in 1865, and 30 years on a Margaret; James Bunce (born in Wks about 1850), who married Desira/Sarah Smith daughter of Edmond and Selina; Ruth Bunce (christened in Chalgrove in1853), who married Charles Smith son of Edmond and Selina; SelinaBunce (born in Abingdon, Oxon in 1855), who married Benjamin Brown; and George Bunce (born about 1859), who married Caroline Willis in 1882.

Charlotte Smith, presumed daughter of Neptune and born probably in Oxfordshire about 1820, married first Benjamin Phelps and then Solomon Boswell, son of Solomon and Ann. By Benjamin she had a junior Benjamin Phelps, christened in Aldworth, Berks in 1836; Emma (born about 1838), who married Henry Green son of George and Leo in 1859; and Matthias (born about 1843), who married Maria/Eldery Smith daughter of Edmond and Selina. By Solomon Charlotte had Siterus/Septirus (christened as Syterah Smith in Aston Tirrold, Berks in 1849 son of Charlotte single woman), who seems to have marriedRosanna Loveridge/Coffey; and Marianne Boswell Smith (christened in E Hendred, Berks in 1852 daughter of Charlotte Smith singlewoman), who married Joseph Hearn son of Bendigo and Mary.

Ruth Smith, presumed daughter of Neptune and born probably about 1822, by Job/Joseph Law had Eli Law (born about 1840), who married Penelope Fenner daughter of Joseph and Penelope in 1867; and Phoebe Law (christened in Lambourn, Berks in 1846), who married Alexander Smith, christened in 1837 as the son of William and Mary Draper. I haven’t been able to trace the Elizabeth Law who, Winstedt claimed, married her brother Eli’s brother-in-law, Cornelius Fenner.

Thomas Smith, presumed son of Neptune and born probably in Somerset about 1824, was said to have married first a Romany woman, and then a gorjer, but the only wife we know of was Ann Gray, who may have mothered all his children: Emma (born about 1847), who married James Rose; Angelina (Eleanor), born about 1850; Amy (born about 1853), who allegedly married a Ted Rose; Ambrose (born about 1855), who married Annie Hayward in 1879; Thomas junior (born about 1861), who allegedly married an Ellen Davis; Phoebe, born about 1866; Amelia, born in Devizes in 1869 daughter of Thomas Smith and Ann, formerly Gray; Agnes, born about 1872; and Alfred (born about 1875), who married an Alice.

James, son of Neptune and baptised in 1828, had two documented children by Fairnetti Boswell, daughter of Lewis and Constance: Francis (christened in Grove, Berks in 1848 as a Boswell, parents not named), who allegedly died young; and Myrenny Smith (christened in Cholsey, Oxon in 1854), who married her cousin, Job Smith son of Mark and Louisa. James married Charlotte Loveridge, daughter of William in Lechlade, Glos in 1875, and there was no issue.

Finally, Ambrose Smith, son of Neptune and born in Appleton, Berks about 1830, married Eliza Garnsey in 1852, and had Anna Maria (born in 1856), who allegedly married Bill Hitchins; George Reuben (born in 1858), who married Britannia Hughes daughter of Josiah and Rhoda in 1880; Nelson (born in Trowbridge, Wilts in 1863), who married Isabella Black daughter of John and Mary Ann in 1887; Leonard (born in Trowbridge in 1866), who married Louisa Walker daughter of Josiah and Rosina in 1884; Walter, christened in Donhead, Wilts in 1868; Sidney/Nipton (christened in Wilton, Wilts in 1872), who married Jane Isaacs daughter of Matthew; and Liberty, christened in Trowbridge in 1875.

The Neptune Smith baptised in 1781 is my wife’s 4xgreat grandfather, and we’d be very glad of any corrections or additions you can make to the family structure outlined in this article.

Copyright © 2012 Eric Trudgill