Elizabeth Dewe/Dwe

(from research by Steve Beesley and Kathryn Blackshaw. John Beesley or Beesly and Elizabeth Dewe were Steve’s great-great-great-grandparents)

Elizabeth Dwe was baptised 16 January 1771 in Drayton to parents Thomas Dwe and Mary Dwe.

Elizabeth had brothers called James and William. James Dewe was baptised 6 January 1782 in Drayton. According to the 1861 census William Dewe was baptised in Sutton Wick (part of Drayton parish) in 1780.

Elizabeth Dewe married John Beesly on 7 May 1794 at Sutton Courtney. There is a marriage bond dated 6 May 1794 in the Sarum Marriage Bonds Transcription. The bondsman was Thomas Dewe of Sutton Courtney.

John Beesley or Beesly was baptised 12 Dec 1771 in Charney, so we assume he was born there in 1771. He died age 53 and was buried in Charney on 10 Feb 1825. (see Beesley page).

John and Elizabeth had ten children.

There are two existing graves in St Peter’s Churchyard, Charney Bassett

The Post Office Directory of Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire; with Bedfordshire,Buckinghamshire and Huntingdonshire. [1854] gives:

Dewe, Thomas: Farmer

Elizabeth Beesley’s (Née Dewe) Will

Notes on the 1832 will of Elizabeth Beesley, a widow in Charney, Berkshire; Dated 6th January 1832.


This is the last will and testament of me, Elizabeth Beesly of Charney in the county of Berks, widow, made this sixth day of January one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two. I give and bequeath unto my brothers William of Stonehill Farm and James Dewe of Catmore Farm, both in the county of Berks, all my stock in trade (?), money and all other of my personal estate and effects of which I may die possessed upon trust that they or the survivors of them, his ancestors or administrators do and shall, as soon as convenient after my decease sell and dispose of such parts thereof as may be of a saleable nature, either by public sale or private contract or valuation, as they or he may think best, and collect and get in all the residue thereof And I do direct my said trustees and the survivor of them , his executors or administrators to hand proceeds of the monies to arise (?) by such sale or valuation and (?) to be collected and gotten in as aforesaid.

Upon the trusts (?) following, that is to say in the first place to pay all my just debts, funeral and testamentary charges and expenses and after payment thereof to pay unto my daughters Ann and Maria and my son James the sum of five hundreds pounds apiece of lawful money current in England. To my son William the sum of two hundreds and fifty pounds of like lawful money. To my son Charles the sum of five hundreds pounds of like lawful money. And as to all the residue of the said trust monies upon (?) must (?) to divide the same between and amongst my sons Charles, Thomas, William and James and my daughters Elizabeth, Ann and Maria in equal shares and proportions share and share alike.

And I do hereby ratify and confirm the appointment made by me of certain lands in the parish of Longworth in the county of Berks in favour of my sons Charles and Thomas pursuant to a power (?) contained in my marriage settlement and which appointment bears date the fifteenth day of December last year (?).

And hereby revoking all former and other wills by me at any time heretofore made, do declare this to be my last will and testament. And I do nominate constitute and appoint my said brothers William and James Dewe executors of this my will. In witness whereof I, the said Elizabeth Beesly have in this my last will and testament (?) my hand and seal the day and years (?) above written.

Signed, sealed, published and declared by the said testatrix Elizabeth Beesly as and for her last will and testament in the presence of us who, at her request in her presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses.


Personal Estate:

She leaves her personal estate and effects to her brothers. Her brothers are William Dewe of Stonehill Farm (in Sutton Wick, about 6.5 miles east of Charney) and James Dewe of Catmore Farm (about 14 miles south of Charney), both in Berkshire. They are to be executors or administrators of her estate and sell everything.

The money is to be used:

First to pay funeral debts and “testamentary charges”, I take that to be all charges incurred in the execution of the will.

Then to pay to her daughters Ann and Maria and to son James “the sum of five hundred pounds apiece”. To son William “the sum of two hundreds and fifty pounds”. To son Charles five hundred pounds.

Then “as to the residue …to divide the same between and amongst my sons Charles, Thomas, William and James and my daughters Elizabeth Ann and Maria in equal shares and proportions share and share alike.”

Real Estate:

She had already made arrangements to transfer land in Longworth to her sons Charles and Thomas.

Children of John Beesley and Elizabeth (Dewe):

John and Elizabeth had ten children, those underlined are mentioned in the will:

  • John      1796-1852            Bapt. 17 Mar 1796, Charney. Buried 23 Jan 1852, Charney. (Married Elizabeth Church, 24 Mar 1819, Longworth)
  • Charles 1797-1872            Bapt. 6 Feb 1797, Charney. Buried 15 Feb 1872, Charney. (Married Anne Lyford, May 1842)
  • William 1799-1848            Bapt. 10 Mar 1799, Charney. Buried 26 Oct 1848, Wantage. (Married Mary Frogley, 10 May 1832, West Hanney) 
  • Elizabeth 1800-?               Bapt. 25 May 1800, Charney.
  • Thomas 1802-1803           Bapt. 12 Jul 1802, Charney. Buried 20 Apr 1803, Pusey.
  • Mary     1803-1821            Bapt. 25 Dec 1803, Charney. Buried 28 Nov 1821, Charney. Unmarried.
  • Thomas 1805-1853           Bapt. 15 Aug 1805, Charney. Buried 18 Apr 1853, Charney. Unmarried.
  • James   1807-1874            Bapt. 22 Feb 1807, Charney. Buried 4 Aug 1874, Charney.
  • Ann        1809-1863            Bapt. 26 Feb 1809, Charney. Buried 12 Oct 1863, Charney. (Married Harry Hitchcock, 26 Dec 1839, Charney).
  • Maria    1811-1860            Bapt. 17 Nov 1811, Charney. Buried 19 Oct 1860, Charney. Unmarried.

Notes: Value of £500

The “Measuring Worth” website gives various means of assessing what historical amounts of money are worth now.


I’ve used the “purchasing power calculator” which uses RPI inflation. This shows that £500 in 1832 was worth £44,160.00 in 2017.

The Dewe family

I believe their summaries are correct, but not proved.

Elizabeth Dewe (1770 to 1836): Born c. Jan 1771, Drayton. Married John Beesley 17 May 1794, had 10 children, died May 1836, buried at Charney. Her parents were Thomas and Mary Dewe.

I believe, but haven’t proved, that Elizabeth died 1836. Burial 31 May 1836, Charney. This death record gives a birth year of 1770, but I couldn’t find a birth record.

Searched FMP for birth 1770 + or – 20 years in Drayton, Berkshire on FMP. Found 2 records, both show:

Elizabeth Dwe, baptised 16 Jan 1771 at Drayton, Residence Drayton. Father was Thomas Dwe, mother was Mary. This record is also on Family Search.

I am ready to accept that these baptism (16 Jan 1771) and burial (31 May 1836) records are for the right person.

I searched FreeReg parish records 1761-1781, this found the record which Kath Blackshaw had discovered, Elizabeth Dewe baptised 16 March 1777 at Hinton Waldrist. Kath has found that she died a couple of months later. Drayton is not listed as a parish for which they have records, under Berkshire or Oxfordshire.

William Dewe (1781? to 1865?):  Born c. 1771, Drayton. Married Clara (born in Marcham). They had three sons. Died 1865?

The 1841 census shows William at Stone Hill Farm, Sutton Courtney, Sutton Wick, he was a farmer born in Berkshire in 1781. The 1851 census shows him at Stone Hill Farm, a farmer of 400 acres employing 24 men and boys, born in Drayton in 1781.  In the 1861 census he is a farmer of 512 acres employing 19 men and 10 boys, born Sutton Wick in 1780. His wife is Clara.


The census returns identify his children: William b. 1816. John b.1818. James b.1821. There was a daughter-in-law Elizabeth B.1815. Grandchildren Thomas b.1846 and Emily b.1850.

FMP hints has various suggestions for the burial of William Dewe, including: about 1865 in Abingdon and 31 Oct 1865 in Drayton, could there be the same event, using different definitions of the same place?

The other burial hints are pre-1861 so can be discounted.

Searched FMP for birth 1780 + or – 20 years in Drayton, Berkshire on FMP. Nothing found.

Searched FreeReg parish records 1771-1791, nothing found. Drayton is not listed as a parish for which they have records.

I searched Family Search, found: William Dewe bapt. 3 April 1777 in Charney. Parents William & Martha. Wrong place, wrong parents.

William Dewe born 1778, burial 14 Aug 1837 in Charney. Probably the same person as 1777 baptism.

William Dewe married Martha at Catmore on 5 Feb 1834, but her surname is only given as Dewe. I can’t find a matching record on FMP. I believe this is the correct marriage record.

James Dewe (1782? to 1846?): Born c. Jun 1872 in Drayton. Married Maria Floyd  on 16 May 1811 at Marcham. They had three children. He died c. Jul 1846 at Catmore.

The 1841 census shows James at Catmore, Wantage, Berkshire, it gives his birth year as 1786, his occupation was farmer and he was born in Berkshire. I can’t find him in a later census. It names Maria (b. 1796) (wife) and children: Thomas b.1821. Anne b.1821. Sarah b.1826

Find My Past hints shows the marriage of James Dewe to Maria Floyd on 16 May 1811 at Marcham. It also shows the death of a James Dewe at Catmore on 3 Jul 1846. It gives his birth year as 1782; it looks like our man.

Searched FMP for birth 1786 + or – 10 years in Drayton, Berkshire on FMP. Found 1 record: James Dewe, baptised 6 Jun 1782 at Drayton, residence Drayton. Father was Thomas Dewe, mother was Mary. This could be him or a short-lived brother.

There’s an astonishingly big gap between the birth years I found originally; it suggests that there may be several more siblings that we haven’t discovered.

Searched FreeReg parish records 1772-1792, this found the record which Kath Blackshaw had discovered, James Dewe baptised 16 Sep 1774 at Hinton Waldrist and James Dewe baptised 8 Aug 1784 at Hinton Waldrist. Drayton is not listed as a parish for which they have records.

Stonehill Farm, Sutton Wick nr Sutton Courtenay (about 6.5 miles east of Charney)

Stonehill Farm Wick

Catmore Farm (approx 14 miles south of Charney)

Catmore Farm