The Varndens and Berrymans



The Varndens have long been a mystery. William Varnden and Elizabeth, my great great great grandparents had 6 children in Chertsey: -


Ann Varnden was baptised at St Peter's Chertsey on 16th March 1775, she died unmarried and was buried there on 10th December 1822.

William Varnden was baptised at St Peter's Chertsey on 4th November 1776. He was known to be a brickmaker. He married Sarah Wapshott on 20th September 1804 at St Peter's. They had one daughter, Eliza Varnden, born about 1807, who married John Grove, at Addlestone on 22nd Jul 1845, but Eliza died in April quarter 1846 in Chertsey and was buried at St Peter's on the 18th April. Sarah had died and was buried in St Peter's on 29th January 1807. William remarried Elizabeth Taylor on 13th June 1824 in East Molesey, but Elizabeth died and was buried at Chertsey on 24th August 1829. William Varnden died on 15th April 1861, and was buried on 19th April at St Peter's. See his will.

Sarah Varnden was baptised on 28th September 1778 at St Peter's, but died on 6th April 1797 and was buried at St Peter's on12th April 1797

Elizabeth Varnden was baptised on 23rd November 1780 at St Peter's and died unmarried in April quarter 1860 at Addlestone and was buried at St Peter's on the 3rd May 1860. She left a will see here.

Mary Varnden, my great great grandmother, was baptised on 7th September 1782. She married James Douglass, a watchmaker of Chertsey, at St Martin in the Fields, London on 17th May 1804. They had 7 children see here. Mary died in 1833 and was buried on 5th February 1833 at St Peter's. James died in 1835 and was buried at St Peter's on 30th September 1835.

Sophia Varnden was baptised on 24th November 1785 at St Peter's. She died unmarried on 1st June 1784 at Chertsey and was buried at St Peter's on the 5th June 1874. She lived the latter part of her life at Ottershaw near Chertsey (area was previously know as Chertsey Lane End), with her niece Mary Douglas. See her will.


William Varnden senior died on 30th April 1795 and was buried on 6th May at St Peter's. Elizabeth senior died in 1818 and was also buried at St Peter's on 30th September 1818. No birth was evident for William or marriage despite extensive searching. Elizabeth left a will see here. This suggested that she owned some property. Now William senior too was a brickmaker as shown by the Universal British Directory of 1791 gave Varnden and Berryman and Brickmakers and freeholders.


The next information that came along was through a book called the deposition book of Richard Wyatt, a magistrate who made notes of the cases that came before him. William was featured twice. On the 4th July  1768 William reported he was assaulted by Edward Hall victualler. William is reported to be a servant at the time. This is clearly a contrast to his later relative prosperity. Then on the 12th Oct 1771 he was cited by Ann Southey as the father of her bastard child, who I identified as Ann Varnden Southey, born on 14th September 1771, and baptised at St Peter's on the 15th. William is given as a labourer on this occasion.

Rhe child Ann Varnden Southey unfortunately died in 1771 and was buried in St Peter's Chertsey on 14th December 1771.


Between 1771 and 1791, clearly William's fortunes had taken an upturn.


The parish records for the baptism of Mary Douglas have her mother as Mary formerly Varnden, formerly of Wheelers Green Chertsey. Wheelers Green is the name of a grade 2 listed building in Bittams Lane Chertsey, but seems to be the name of the area earlier. There are no relics of an older building on the site of the farm.


A recent (Apr 2011) visit to Surrey History Centre threw up some more information.


In 1818, William Junior is given as the Occupier of Wheelers Green Farm, which includes a brick kiln, and was opposite the above listed building on the other side of Bittams Lane. Another document describes a legal case brought by John Beauchamp of Chobham in 1806. William is described as a yeoman. This was essentially a test case on the boundary of the parishes over commoners rights of turbery, pannage and pasture. Very older historic surveys were consulted and it was found in William's favour.


There are also references to a brick kiln at Great Grove Farm run by widow Varnden, Great Grove Farm is on the Murray Road, which leads between Ottershaw and Addlestone. The location of the remaining members of the family in 1841-1871 censuses are in Ottershaw though there is no evidence that they are at Great Grove Farm at this time.


Most interesting of all was A copy of monumental inscriptions found by Mr Boyce - who is clearly John Pierce Boyce - and handed to Rev Cotton to put into the parish chest. This dates it as before 1857 when Rev Cotton died.


It contained the following

In Memory of John Berryman - who departed this life 17th November 1771 aged 65 years
Also Ann Berryman wife of the above died May 11th 1790 aged 76 years
Likewise Wm Varnden  nephew of above died April 30th 1795 aged 49 years
Also Sarah Varnden daughter of the aforesaid Wm Varnden died April 6th 1797 aged 18 years.

Notice the slight ambiguity over whether William Varnden is nephew of John Berryman or Ann.


A visit on 16.4.2011 to the National Archives has secured the wills of John Berryman and Ann Berryman see here for transcriptions.

John's just leave everything to his wife Ann, but  Ann's leaves everything to her nephew William Varnden's wife Elizabeth. It should be noted that William Varnden himself died the day after she signed her will.


So although I have managed to make the connection, either Ann was previously a Varnden or William Varnden's unknown mother was sister to Ann's mother.


It appears that John Berryman and Ann's was a late marriage - there were apparently no children. The only appropriate marriage that can be found is John Berryman to Ann Penycod on 6th April 1758. There is a licence associated with this marriage, an index has this text:-

2 Apr., 1758. John Berryman of Chertsey, abode 40 years, farmer, bachelor, 45, and Ann Pennycoat of Chertsey, abode 11 years, spinster (?), 35 ; at Chertsey. Humphrey Salmon of Chertsey, inn- holder, 2nd s.

So this supports the idea that this is a marriage between mature partners, maybe both understating their ages a little. John Berryman's father appears to be Thomas Berryman, John was baptised in 1706, and not 1718 ish as this would suggest. It is noteworthy that a witness to Thomas Berryman's will was Ann Penycod. Thomas is described as a farmer. The only likely Ann Penycod found so far was baptised in Albury, and no sister or brother was found. So it appears Ann was born to Thomas Pennicod and Ann Simmonds, baptised in 1719. Thomas may be the son of Richard in Albury, though a Thomas also died at this time.


There are quite a number of Berryman baptisms, marriages and burials and they are not easy to trace. Earlier Varnden events have already been found to be elusive.


I found that William Varnden Junior's wife Sarah Wapshott was daughter of Richard Wapshott and Susanna Berriman, so although I have not yet tied her up, this connection is not going to solve the Varnden conundrum


The best bet seems to be a baptism at Haslemere where part of the line is missing

(edge of page missing)  ye son of Joseph and Eliza Varnden this is February (or possibly March) 1746

There were 5 baptisms to the couple between 1743 and 1758

Joseph Farnden married Eliza Boxall on 30th September 1739 at Haslemere.

Joseph is known to be a cordwainer from an apprenticeship record


Also found was these sales particulars from 1861 after William junior's death, and some further effects in 1874 - presumably after his sister Sophia's death


Great Grove Farm, Murray Road, Chertsey

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