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Anstee

AnsteeThe Anstee family  were significant in Chewton Mendip in the 18th century. A number of variations of the name are recorded. Anstie, Ansty, Anstes, Antice and Anstis are all variations that appear in the records. There were probably three generations of Robert Anstee who were overseers and owned at least one field as shown in the extract from the 1794 map on the left. They owned a field between Chew Hill and Coles Lane (east). Most of Chew Down  can be seen. A number of records show that the Anstees were tenants of the Kingsmills. It is possible that the Anstees had links to the Loxton-Parson family.
Robert Anstee 1748Mary, the daughter of Robert and Eliza or Elizabeth Anstis baptised on 22/10/1735 in Chewton Mendip. Robert always called himself Anstee as his example of his signature from 1744 when he was signing poor law accounts show.
 Robert Antice was paying poor rates for Payne’s  and Blackmans in 1750. His name appears in the ist of rates collected in the Town tithing but here is a suggestion that some of the estates were based elsewhere. The implication is that the owners of the land were listed in 1750 so the field marked Anstee in the 1794 map may have been the part of Payne’s or Blackman’s estates mentioned in 1750.
 The poor law records show that Robert Anstee was a ‘waywarden’ in the middle of the 18th century. Waywardens had th unpopular responsibility for getting the parish to maintain the roads in the parish. Paying taxes or working for free is never popular but the locals had little interest in maintaining highways used by outsiders travelling through their land.
Hampshire record 41M89/318 are the deeds relating to a cottage and garden, containing 28 perches, in Chewton Town. It lists the owners and occupiers. Robert Kingsmill  was the owner  and Robert Anstee  (yeoman) was the tenant in 1768.  James Curtis, a yeoman in 1782, and Zebedee Curtis, labourer, in 1786 were the tenants when  Richard Jenkyns of Chewton Priory was the owner. It is possible that their farmhouse was based on what is now Tudor Cottage. Another possibility is what was Veal Farm.
The Zebedee Curtis mentioned probably  died  on 2nd February 1833 aged 77,  and his wife Mary who died 3rd June 1826 aged 78. They are buried in the old Churchyard next a grave for Ann Curtis  who died on 3rd April 1824 aged 88. She was the sister of Hipisley Curtis who died on 14th March 1829  aged 74. His first name shows a link to the prosperous Hippisley family. Both Curtis graves are close to a grave for Benjamin Batt esq who died on 26th January 1855 and his wife Sarah who died 28th September 1820. The graves are of a similar style but the grave for Zebedee and Mary are a plain flat slab level with the ground whilst Batt and the other Curtis grave are more prominent. The implication is that Benjamin Batt had married a member of the Curtis family.
 Robert Anstee the younger was identified as the tenant of Scutts Hill in 1774. His name is spelt as ‘Austice‘ and he is described as a yeoman.
 One record held by the Hampshire Archive (ref 19M61/4108) dated 1790  links Robert Anstee to the Unicorn Inn but the published information dos not make it clear what the link may have been. Other contemporary records list a number of people involved in the building trade but the Anstees were not mentioned in that context. One possibility is that he ran the Unicorn Inn which probably belonged to the Kingsmills.
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