Charles’ Family Tree

The research to produce this family tree has been carried out by Kathryn Blackshaw.

Descendants of Charles Beesley

Charles, James and John Beesley

Reading Mercury Monday 12th September 1831


GAME DUTY. – List 1

List of Persons who have obtained GENERAL

CERTIFICATES (D) at the rate of Three Pounds Thirteen Shillings and Sixpence each, for the year 1831.

Name                 Residence

[List of about 500 persons, including the following]

Beesley John,           Charney

Beesley Charles,        ditto

Reading Mercury Monday 7th September 1835


Those with Game Certificates at £3 13s. 6d. Each.

[included The following:]

Beesley John, Charney

Beesley Charles, ditto

Reading Mercury Saturday 19th September 1840



List of persons who have taken out GAME CERTIFICATES for the year 1840.



[including the following]

Charles Beesley, Charney

Reading Mercury Saturday 9th May 1840


Kingston Bagpuize Association for the Prosecution of Felons and Protection of Property.


[about 40 listed, including]

Thomas Dewe, Charney

Charles Beesley, Charney

Reading Mercury Saturday 28th April 1860



(Present: The Earl of Radnor and W. Bennett, Esq.)

LEAVING SERVICE.-Joseph Herbert, of Charney, labourer, was brought up on a warrant charged with absenting himself from the service of his master, Mr. Charles Beesley, of the same place, farmer. Mr. Beesley had been obliged to pay 9s. for extra service since the defendant had left his employment, and an order was made for the defendant to pay that amount and 13s. 6d. costs deducted from his wages by weekly instalments.

Reading Mercury Saturday 9 February 1861


PETTY SESSIONS. FEB. 5.- (Present : Viscount Barrington, the Hon. W. Barrington, Sir R. Throckmorton, Bart., Daniel Bennett, Esq., and T. L. Goodlake, Esq.)

Master and Servant– Charles Painter, of Charney, servant in husbandry to Mr. Charles Beesley, of the same place, farmer, was brought up on a warrant, on the information of his master, for leaving his service without his consent. Defendant denied that any document was made, but the Bench ordered him to return to his service, and to have 14s. deducted from his wages for costs.

Reading Mercury Saturday 27 July 1861

Annual Village feast in a field ‘in the occupation of Mr Beesley’ See feast section

Reading Mercury Saturday 27 March 1869

FARINGDON, PETTY SESSIONS, TUESDAY. (Present. D. Bennett and T. S. Goodlake. Esqrs.)  William Woodbridge, of Charney, labourer, was charged with stealing a quantity of wood, the property of Mr. Charles Beesley, of the same place, farmer, and was committed to Reading Gaol for six weeks.

Reading Mercury Saturday 17 April 1869

FARINGDON UNION. – The following gentlemen will constitute the Board of Guardians of this Union for the ensuing year: …Balking, T. Whitfield; Charney, C. Beesley; Hatford, Jno. Brooks; Pusey, John Barnard; Shellingford, John Denby; Stanford, A. Pocock;…

Reading Mercury Saturday 7th May 1870

FAR1NGDON COURT HOUSE, THURSDAY. (Before: T.L.Goodlake, Esq.) Britford Whitfield, of Charney, labourer, was charged with stealing 120 lambs’ tails, value 12s., the property of Mr. Chas. Beesley, of the same place, farmer. The tails were given to prisoner’s brother, Paul Whitfield, to take home and clean, and he left them in charge of Mr. Tagg’s shepherd, from whom prisoner obtained them and afterwards denied all knowledge of them. Committed for trial.

Reading Mercury Saturday 2nd July 1870





BRITFORD WHITFIELD was charged with stealing 120 lambs tails, the property of Mr. C. Beesley, at Charney.

Mr. Harrington prosecuted, and Mr. Montagu Williams defended. It appeared that the prisoner had been sheep shearing at the prosecutor’s farm, and the sheep’s tails were given to the prisoner’s brother, and they afterwards came into the prisoner’s possession, who said he would have a “lark” with them. He hid them in a hedge.

The Jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

Reading Mercury Saturday 15th April 1871


FARINGDON UNION. The undermentioned gentlemen will constitute the Board of Guardians for the year ensuing:…Charney, N.Hobbs;…

OVERSEERS. The following gentlemen have been appointed Overseers of the several parishes in this division:…Charney, Wm.M.Tagg and C.Beesley;…

HIGHWAYDISTRICT. The following gentlemen have been elected Waywardens of the several parishes in this district for the ensuing year:…Charney, John Barnard;…

Reading Mercury Saturday 22nd April 1871

COURT HOUSE, APRIL 15.  (Before T. L. Goodlake, Esq.)

John Tomkins, William Tomkins and James Simmonds were brought up on remand, charged with stealing four fowls, a quantity of undressed wheat, and a quantity of beans and tailing wheat, of the value of £1. 12s., the property of Mr. Charles Beesley, the elder, of Charney, farmer. The prisoners Tomkins, who are father and son, and who come from Bedwell, in Bedfordshire, have been in the habit for many years past of coming to Charney and purchasing straw for the purpose of making straw hats. The straw goes through the process of “drawing” on the premises where it is purchased, and the prisoners are thus occupied about the place for some considerable time, and then take away in a cart the portions of straw selected. They are called “straw drawers.” The prisoner Simmonds is a Charney man, and was employed by other prisoners to assist them while in the neighbourhood. Mr. Haines conducted the prosecution; Mr. Shepherd, of Luton, Beds, appeared for the prisoners.

The first witness examined was Richard Light, of Longworth, police-constable, who stated, that on the morning of the 10th inst.. about half-past eight o’clock, Mr. James Beesley, prosecutor’s son, came to his house, and he accompanied him back to Charney. He saw near The Horn public-house a cart loaded with bundles of straw for hatmaking, and boxes; there was a horse in the cart, but he did not see either of the prisoners. Prisoners Tomkins afterwards took the horse and cart towards their lodgings, and witness went there with Mr. Beesley, who asked the Tomkins if they had any fowls, to which the father gave an evasive answer. They then proceeded to search the cart, the younger prisoner helping to unload the boxes. In one of the boxes they found the two fowls produced. The elder Tomkins said he had bought them and paid for them. Near the bottom of the cart they found a sack full of wheat, half a bushel of split beans, and some chaff in a bag. All this Tomkins said he had bought. He afterwards went with Mr. Beesley to the granary and compared the wheat and found it match; they also compared two potatoes which they found in the cart with some in the woodhouse, and found them agree. He then told the Tomkins’s he should take them into custody. The young one resisted so violently he was obliged to call on Mr. Henry Maskelyne and others who were near to assist him; with some difficulty he got the handcuffs on him, and afterwards he handcuffed the older one.

Mr. James Beesley stated that he went to Longworth for the policeman, in consequence of what one of his father’s men who had the care of the poultry told him. He then corroborated the policeman’s statement as to the searching of the cart, and swore positively to the corn and beans being his father’s property. He sent for the man Jones, who looked after the poultry, and asked him if he knew the fowls, and he said he could swear to one, a white fowl with a black mark on the tail. The policeman then took the two Tomkins’ into custody, but not Simmonds. The younger prisoner was very violent, and kicked and bit, and swore, and they had some difficulty in handcuffing him. He had seen about a bushel of wheat, which he was informed was found in Tomkins’ house at Bidwell, and he could swear it exactly resembled the unwinnowed wheat in the granary. There were beans mixed with both, and he had no doubt it was his father’s property. Police-constable Burritt had bought two fowls, and put them down about fifty yards from the shed where the fowls roost. It was quite out of sight of the roosting shed where they were put down, and there were two gates, another shed, and a wall between where they were put down and the roosting shed. The two fowls produced were the two turned down. He put some corn down for them to eat. One did not stay long; it picked a few corns, and then went straight to the place where they usually roost; the other did the same soon after, but was unable to fly up to the roost, owing to its wings having been cut; it tried nearly a dozen times. From the appearance of the fowls, and the result of his experiment, he had no doubt they were his father’s fowls. The witness was cross-examined at some length by Mr. Shepherd as to the identity of the fowls and corn. The prisoner Simmonds was the son of prosecutor’s carter, and had access to the granary at all times.

Mr. Charles Beesley, jun. corroborated his brother’s evidence.

John Jones swore to the identity of one of the fowls found in the prisoner’s cart, and he had missed it from among the rest when feeding them on the morning of the 10th. The prisoner Tomkins’ horse was kept underneath where the fowls roosted. In cross-examination, he stated that some fowls had been missed about a month ago. About 18 had been missed in all.

Joseph Burritt, police constable, stated that by direction of Supt. Reece, he went to Tomkins’ house, in Bedfordshire, and searched the premises. He brought away 27 live fowls and the bushel of wheat produced. Two of the fowls produced were of the 27 he brought away, and were the ones with which Mr. Beesley made the experiment. He was present when the experiment was made, and so were the two Mr. Beesley’s. A Bedfordshire constable went with him to the prisoner’s house. The fowls went to the roost without the least driving.

Supt. Reece also spoke to the identity of the wheat, which he had compared with the bulk in Mr. Beesley’s granary.

Simmonds was discharged; the other two prisoners were committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions. John Tomkins was admitted to bail, but bail for William Tomkins, the younger prisoner, was refused.

Reading Mercury Saturday 1st July 1871



JOHN TOMKINS and WILLIAM TOMKINS were charged with stealing four fowls, value 10s., a quantity of undressed wheat, value £1, and a quantity of beans and tail wheat, value 2s., the property of Charles Beesley, the elder, at Charney, in the month of April last.

Mr. Harington and Mr. Bron prosecuted, and Mr. Greene and Mr. Lister defended.

Mr. Harington stated that the case was rather important, as the prisoners were well-to-do persons – straw hat manufacturers, residing in Bedfordshire. The elder prisoner had been in the habit of purchasing from the prosecutor, and the prisoners were allowed to trim the straw which they had purchased on the premises, before it was taken away. The learned counsel then proceeded to give an outline of the case, and sketches of the premises were used during the trial.

Charles Belcher said that he was groom in the employ of the prosecutor. On Easter Monday he went to prosecutor’s stable at about 5 o’clock. He heard some one whistle, and he went into the stable. William Tomkins followed him in. He asked him to go and take a cup of tea with him, and he went. The other prisoner was in bed. They went back to the stable, and William Tomkins went into the kitchen for the key of the wheat barn. That was the barn in which the prisoner prepared the straw. Other keys were kept in the kitchen on a hook. Witness locked up the granary on Saturday night. Under the granary the prisoner’s cart was kept.

Henry Cheyney said that he worked for the prosecutor as machineman. On Easter Monday morning he got to the premises shortly after 6 o’clock. He saw John Tomkins standing against the barn door. The prisoners’ cart was close by. The wheat produced was like the prosecutor’s wheat, but witness could not swear that it was the same.

William Harris said that he worked for the prosecutor. On the morning in question he went to the prosecutor’s farm for the purpose of winnowing. He fetched the key of the granary, and he found that in the door of the other granary there was a key. William Tomkins was standing at the cart wheel at the time.

C. Light said that about eight o’clock on the morning in question he saw a cart loaded with straw near the “Horn” public house. He afterwards saw the cart going in the direction of the prisoners’ lodging. He and young Mr. Beesley followed, and saw the prisoners unloading the cart. Mr. Beesley asked them if they had any fowls there, and the elder prisoner said, “Nothing belonging to you.” Mr. Beesley said that he should search the cart, and the elder prisoner said he had no right to do so. Mr. Beesley said that right or wrong he should do it. The cart was then unloaded, and in one of the boxes he found two fowls. Mr. Beesley said, “That’s something like what we were looking for.” The elder prisoner said that he bought them and paid for them. Underneath some loose bundles of straw witness found some corn, in two sacks. One sack contained three bushels. In the second bag were some beans and tail-end wheat. Mr. Beesley said he could match that. The elder prisoner said, “You could not swear to that; they don’t do it in our country.” He said that he bought the wheat, but he did not say where. When witness attempted to hand-cuff the younger prisoner he resisted and kicked about.

The Chairman. – Are you in the habit of hand-cuffing a prisoner when you apprehend him?

Witness. – I could not take two men without. I was going to hand-cuff the prisoners together.

By Mr. Greene. – The elder prisoner said he would go quietly.

James Beesley said. – I am a farmer, living with my father, at Charney. On Easter Monday, I went for the last witness, and returned to Charney at 8:30. I saw John Tomkins’ cart opposite the “Horn” public house. It was loaded with straw and boxes. The prisoners unloaded the cart, and the policeman found the fowls and corn as stated by the last witness. My man, named Jones, said in the presence of the prisoners that he could swear to the white fowl produced, because of the black spots on its tail. The prisoners had been in the habit of coming to our farm to prepare straw for hat making for the last 20 years. They kept their horse under the same shed where the fowls roost.

By Mr. Lister. – The elder Tomkins frequently buys a rick of straw of us. A rick of straw is worth about £25. He paid us £50 for the two ricks. He always paid for them. I had missed fowls before. There were two or three wood pigeons in the same box with the fowls. The pigeons did not belong to me. We had not missed any wheat. They had access to the granary for about a month to dress the straw.

By Mr. Greene. – I have had all my dealings with the elder Tomkins. I cannot swear to any of the fowls, and I won’t swear that the wheat is ours. Two fowls brought from the prisoners’ house at Bidwell were put in the yard, and went immediately to the place where the other fowls were roosting.

Charles Beesley, brother of the last witness, gave similar evidence. He said that the fowls found in the prisoners’ box were quite warm, and they were very much like what prosecutor had. He had no doubt that the wheat produced belonged to his father. The elder prisoner said that he brought the wheat from Bidwell for seed. Witness replied that it was rather strange that he should bring unwinnowed corn for seed. Prisoner lodged at his father-in-law’s house at Charney.

John Jones, labourer, in the employ of the prosecutor, said that he had charge of the fowls. He could swear to the white fowl. There were fourteen fowls on Easter Sunday on roost, and on Monday there were only twelve.

C. Burritt said that he went to the prisoner’s house at Bidwell, and brought away 27 fowls. The two game fowls produced were picked out of the lot, and they went direct to the roost as stated by Mr. Beesley.

Mr. Lister said that there was no evidence that the prosecutor had lost any wheat, and, therefore, none could have been stolen.

The Chairman said that he thought that there was sufficient evidence on this point to go to the jury.

Mr. Greene submitted that there was no evidence against the son, as there was no proof that he had the custody or control of either the fowls or the wheat.

The Chairman. – The two were together.

Mr. Lister then addressed the jury for the elder prisoner, and contented that there was no evidence whatever against him. He asked the jury to bear in mind the respectability and position of the accused, and the great improbability of their committing the offence with which they were charged.

Mr. Greene ably defended the younger prisoner, and reviewed the evidence at great length.

The Chairman having summed up the whole case, the jury returned a verdict of guilty against both prisoners.

John Tomkins was sentenced to nine months’ hard labour, and William Tomkins to six months’ hard labour.

Reading Mercury Saturday 9 October 1880


PETTY SESSIONS, TUESDAY.@ (Present: D. Bennett, T. L. Goodlake, W. Dundas, W. J. Butler, Esqrs.) – Fanny Ballard and Ann Shorter, both of Charney, aged about 14, were charged with stealing a quantity of apples, value 2d., growing in an orchard of Mr. Chas. Beesley’s, at Charney. Defendants pleaded guilty, and were fined 10s. each, including costs. Paid.

Reading Mercury Saturday 9th September 1876


…Charney – A good specimen of the ancient market cross (the great majority of these old villages once had their market) was noticed en route to the Manor House, the residence of Mr. James Beesley. ….

Reading Mercury Saturday 16th November 1878

CONCERT – …. We were glad to hear from the Rev J Whitehurst, who presided, that it is intended to provide other evening entertainments during the winter season, and with such an able assistant as Mr J Beesley, who is a host himself, there is every reason to anticipate success. …the performers included … Mr J Beesley …

Reading Mercury Saturday 4th September 1841


INQUEST.- On Thursday last, an inquest was held at the village of Charney, before E. Cowcher, Esq., Coroner, and a highly respectable jury, on view of the body of Mr. John Beesley, aged 20, son of Mr. Beesley, of Bampton, whose death was occasioned by a fall from his horse on the evening preceding. From the evidence adduced on the enquiry it appeared, that the unfortunate deceased rode on horseback to Faringdon on the day previous, and on his return home went round by Uffington, accompanied by Mr. Whitfield, a farmer, who resides at Goosey Wick, where they separated. Nothing further was heard of the deceased until about half-past four o’clock on Thursday morning, when he was discovered in a state of insensibility by a (person) who was going to a meadow close by, milking, who, recognizing his person, procured assistance, and had him conveyed with the utmost dispatch to his home, but he never rallied from the state in which he was found until his death. The jury immediately returned a verdict of “Accidental Death”.

Charles and Anne Beesley


Memory of

Anne Wife of

Charles Beesley

Died Dec 10 1870

Aged 60 Years

Also of 

Charles Beesley

Died Feb 11 1872

Aged 75 Years

Who was the wife of Charles Beesley (1797- 1872)? A Detective Trail

Research by Stephen Beesley and Kathryn Blackshaw

This is a good example of having to use multiple sources to answer a seeming simple question!


Gravestone information

Inscription on the gravestone in St Peter’s Churchyard: ‘In memory of Anne, wife of Charles Beesley. Died Dec 10 1870 aged 60 years. Also of Charles Beesley died Feb 11 1872 aged 75 years’.

Thus the gravestone shows that Anne died in 1870 and implies that she was born in 1810.

Census – When did they marry?

The 1841 census gives Charles’ birth year as 1801 (the gravestone implies 1797). The Parish records however, show Charles was christened 6 Feb 1797 in Charney Bassett, proving his birth was 1797 as the gravestone suggests, and that the census record is incorrect- they were often out by a few years. There were four other Beesleys in the household: Elizabeth, James, Mariah and John. The assumption is that these are Charles’s siblings. No Anne is mentioned.

The 1851 census shows that Charles was married, Charles was born in Charney. His wife was Anne, born 1811 in Hanney. There was one child in the household, their James, born 1850 in Charney.

Thus the marriage should be in the years 1841 to 1850.

The 1861 census states that Anne (or Ann) was born in East Hanney. The couple are shown to have three children, not only James (b.1850) but also Charles (b.1846) and Elizabeth (b.1843). Where were they in 1851?

There’s a possible entry for Elizabeth (b.1842 age 9) in 1851 at Boarding School, Sutton Courtenay, Abingdon. There are a few Charles Beesleys about, including one in East Hanney! But none of them looks right for “our” Charles junior.

The marriage should therefore be 1841 to 1843.

Find My Past and Ancestry

‘Find My Past’ suggests this as Charles’ marriage: To Ann Lyford, about May 1842. FMP says that this marriage was registered in Farringdon (London) but ‘Ancestry’ shows the marriage as being in Faringdon (Berkshire).

Register of Baptisms for Hanney.

Anne Lyford, daughter of Joseph and Sarah, was born 23 May 1810 in East Hanney and was baptised there on 28 May 1810.

Disc WAN01 lists four other Annes born in Hanney at about this time:

  1. Anne Robins, b.15 Jul 1810, bapt. 16 Jul 1810, d of Henry & Ann
  2. Mary Ann Prior, b.12 Sep 1811, bapt. 20 Sep 1811, d of Thomas & Elizabeth
  3. Anne Seney, b. 16 Dec 1811, bapt. 23 Dec 1811, d. of Mary Seney & Richard Bavis (from Steventon).
  4. Anne Wicks, 16 Jan 1812, bapt. 20 Jan1812, d.of Robert & Esther, West Hanney.

Conclusion (for now!)

Charles Beesley married Anne Lyford (of East Hanney) in about May 1842.

If you have any other information on this Marriage please get in touch.

Additional information – the marriage of Anne Lyford’s parents

The Hanney Register shows that Joseph Lyford married Sarah Boasher on 29 Jan 1810. Two of the witnesses were members of the Dewe family. FMP has a couple of interesting references to the marriage. In one (Berks Marriages Index) her name is given as Boasker and it says “[d. of John & Mary B., of E. Lockinge, and cook to Squire Dewey in pencil]” and “[s.of – , carpenter from Drayton, in pencil]”. The other (England Marriages 1538-1973) gives her name as Bowsher.

James Beesley


Memory of

James Beesley

Who Died July 31st 1874

Aged 66 Years

Thomas Beesley, son of Charles & Anne

Thomas Beesley Gravestone compressed

Thomas Beesley, son of Charles & Anne

Born: 28 December 1853

Died: 1858


John Beesley of Pusey

John Beesley of Pusey
John Beesley, who was buried In Pusey churchyard on 1 June 1790.
Died May 1790 aged 60.
He was the first Beesley to live in Charney Bassett – his five children were born in Charney. He married Jane Pulling who was born in Charney and presumably he moved to Charney when they married. He was also the grandfather of the Charles Beesley above.