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The Dewe Family of Charney Bassett

Research by Kathryn Blackshaw with additional research by David Standley:

William Dewe, of Charney, and Ann Wicks/Weeks, of Drayton, were married in Oxford on 1 May 1732 as shown on the parish register.

There were four children born to William and Ann, all baptised in Charney. Mary was the oldest in 1732 followed by William in 1734, Thomas in 1738 and John in 1741.

William died in 1773 and was buried in Sparsholt. 

Oxford Journal – Saturday 12 June 1773 – Newspaper obituary

Mary Dewe (b1732/33) was baptised in Charney on 18 January 1732. Note that this is on the old calendar when the year changed on 25 March. Using modern nomenclature the date is 18/1/1733. For better accuracy some records list these dates as 18 Jan 1732/33.

Mary married Richard Stephens but it is unclear if they continued to live in Charney.

William Dewe (b1734) married Martha Brunsden and they had nine children. He lived in Charney all his life. 

The census for Charney from 1841 until 1871 shows that three of William and Martha’s children were still living in Charney until Mary’s death in 1871. They were all unmarried. William and Martha had another three boys but none of them appear to have married and/or had children. 

Thomas Dewe (b1738) married Mary Tyrrell from Drayton. He moved to Drayton when they married and they had eight children. One of these children was Elizabeth born in 1771 and she moved to Charney when she married John Beesley in 1794, thus establishing the link between the Dewe and Beesley families. 

John Dewe (b1741), William and Ann’s  fourth child, married Mary Lambal but moved away from Charney.

Northampton Mercury – Monday 12 April 1773

Northampton Mercury – Monday 12 April 1773
Last Thursday Morning, about Eight o’Clock, a terrible Fire happened at the Village of Charney, near Wantage, Berkshire, occasioned by the Carelessness of not putting out Fire that had sin?ed [singed?] a Hog: While the Hog was carrying within Doors, ’tis supposed the Wind, which at that Time was very high, blew some of the lighted Straw about the Farm-Yard, which instantly caught Fire, and the Flames spreading With the greatest Rapidity, the Barns, Stables, and Outhouses belonging to Mr. Dew, were immediately consumed, and all his Stock Corn, &c. with the Dwelling House, Barns, &c. of Mr. John Bunce, a Farmer, together with a Mill upon River Ock. The Fire raged so very furiously, that the unhappy Sufferers could hardly save any Thing. The loss altogether is supposed to amount to 3000l.[£3000] G.

‘William’ is a family name of the Dewes and is likely to be William 4/8/1734 to 27/11/1818. The family had held land in Charney since at least 1756, there is a lease of that date between the very wealthy Keck family of Great Tew, (then Lords of the Manor) and William.

Bruce Hedge’s research indicates that the land in question was all that lying East of the manor house and the mill to Lyford bridge. The family lived in was is now called the manor house, but it was a very different building then. It was purchased in 1906 by William Price, who employed the architect William Weir to convert it into a ‘gentleman’s’ residence in the Cotswold Arts & Crafts style. All existing barns and outbuildings were demolished, a new north wing was added, and the main block was remodelled. The main East front door coming from an Exeter goal! The Undercroft and Solar date from the 13th century.

William Price is the Price from Price, Waterhouse the auditing firm.

In 1804, William Dewe or possibly his son, also William (3/4/1777 to 14/8/1837) purchased from James Crowdy, one of the then four Lords of the Manor, 118 acres 3 roods 28 perches of land, i.e. all that aforementioned land to Lyford Bridge.

So, it’s very likely that a fire on that site in 1773 would send burning debris across the road to what was almost certainly a thatched mill building, and in what was stated to be a very high wind.

Oxford Journal – Saturday 24 June 1780

Oxford Journal – Saturday 24 June 1780
The following Subscriptions for the Benefit of the Sufferers by Fire at Drayton, Berks, have been received since our last.


Mr Dewe                     £1 1s 0d
Mr Beesley                 £0 10s 6d
Mr Richard Beesley  £0 10s 6d
Mr Loder                    £0 10s 6d
Mr Whitehorne         £0 10s 6d
Rest of the Parish     £0 8s 0d

Oxford Journal – Saturday 29 January 1774

Oxford Journal – Saturday 29 January 1774
WHEAREAS the Doors of the Stables of John Beesly and William Dewe, of Charney, were maliciously broke open Friday Night last, the 21st of January Instant, and the Hair cut off the Manes and Tails of their Horses: If any One will give Information to either them of the Person Persons so offending, so as he or they may be convicted, shall receive Five Guineas Reward, from JOHN BEESLY. WILLIAM DEWE. N. B. If an Accomplice will discover the Fact, he shall receive the same Reward of Five Guineas, and a free Pardon.

Oxford Journal – Saturday 03 February 1781

Oxford Journal – Saturday 03 February 1781
STOLEN. WHEREAS it appears upon Oath, that a fat COW, the Property of Mr. WILLIAM DEWE, of Charney, in the County of Berks, was on Wednesday Night last the 31st Day of January, 1781, feloniously Stolen from out of a Groudd belonging to the said Mr. Dewe, in the Parish of Longworth, in the said County; and that JOHN WELLER of Abingdon, Berks, Butcher, did feloniously steal and drive away: the said Cow. Therefore this is to give Notice, That if any Person or Persons will apprehend the said John Weller, and bring him to Justice, shall upon Conviction thereof, receive FIVE GUINEAS Reward of the said Mr. Dewe.

Reading Mercury Monday 29 March 1784 sheep theft

Reading Mercury Monday 29 March 1784 sheep theft
Last Monday night sixty-one fat sheep were stolen from the turnip fold Mr. Dewe, of Charney, in this county. The villains were pursued on Tuesday, and intelligence obtained at Wheatley turnpike, that they had passed that road for Thame market, where, the thieves sold some of them, and went on to Aylesbury with the remainder, where they were apprehended, and immediately committed Aylesbury gaol, charged on the oath of one of the pursuers, who swore to the identity the sheep.

Reading Mercury – Monday 28 June 1784

Reading Mercury – Monday 28 June 1784
On Tuesday last died, in gaol, Charles Loder, who was apprehended at Aylesbury, for stealing a great number sheep, the property of Mr. Dew, of Charney, in this county. A little before his death, he declared to William the turnkey, that Sexton, who was apprehended with him, was innocent of the crime which he was committed for, that he hired him as a servant at nine shillings per week, and that he always told Sexton he had purchased them, till was apprehended.

Reading Mercury – Monday 20 October 1788

Reading Mercury – Monday 20 October 1788
BERKSHIRE GAME DUTY. AN additional list of persons who have taken out Certificates, since the 1st of August, 1788.
Dewe William, gent Charney

Oxford Journal – Saturday 24 November 1798

Oxford Journal – Saturday 24 November 1798
BERKSHIRE; GAME DUTY. A LIST of PERSONS to whom CERTIFICATES have been issued in the County of Berks, for the KILLING OF GAME, for the Year 1797, pursuant to two Acts of Parliament made in the 25th and 31st Years of the Reign of his present Majesty. Names and Places of Abode.
Dewe, Charles, Esq. East Hanney.
Dewe, William, Gent. Charney.

Thomas (d1854) and Mary (d1871) Dewe

In 1851 Thomas Dewe (b1780) farmed 200 acres and employed 16 labourers and was a tenant of  Mr Philip Pusey; so they were obviously an important part of Charney life. He and his sisters Mary and Ann lived together. He died in 1854 at the age of 74, by 1861 Mary was the only one still alive. She was recorded as living as a fund holder in Charney. In 1871 she was living in Charney Manor at the age of 89 years with a companion and three servants. She died on the 20th April 1871 at the age of 90 and was buried on the 27th April 1871, ending the presence of the Dewe family in Charney Bassett. In the eastern portion of the churchyard, close to the manor wall, they are commemorated by a now-collapsed table-top tomb. The land it stands on was purchased from Thomas to extend the churchyard in 1845.

The grave still exists in St Peter’s Churchyard, Charney Bassett

Grave of Elizabeth and Thomas Dewe

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

Dewe, Thomas: Farmer

Report of the Charities Commission – Mary Dewe

Township of Charney
Miss Mary Dewe’s Charity for Infant and Sunday School
Miss Mary Dewe, by her will dated 2nd April 1868, and proved at London 15th May 1871, gave to the Infant and Sunday School held by Susan Gardner £5 annually. To meet this bequest a sum of £154 5s 1d Consols was purchased, which was transferred to the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds under an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated 24th June 1884. The annual income is £3 17s.
There are no trustees of the Charity, but for many years the dividends have been remitted to Mr S E B Bouverie Pusey.
The school designated in the will was a private adventure of Susan Gardner, which came to an end shortly after the will was proved, on the opening of the existing school at Charney. The income was remitted to the managers of this school until about 1901, when by reason of a misapprehension of Mrs Cradock, the manager, who received the money, as to the trusts of the Charity, it was applied by her to Miss Dewe’s Clothing Club Charity, next mentioned, until about 1906, when, having discovered her error she returned the cheque to Mr Bouverie Pusey. Since then that gentleman has withheld the dividends.
(Since the above was written Mr Pusey has paid the arrears from 1906 to the vicar of
Longworth, but no part of the income appropriated in error to the Clothing Club Charity has been repaid)

Mary Dewe’s Charity for the Clothing Club
The same testatrix bequeathed to the Charney Clothing Club 5 pounds annually. To meet this bequest £154 5s 1d Consols was purchased, which were transferred to the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds under an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated 24th June 1884.
By an Order of the Charity Commissioners dated 15th May 1885, The Rev J R Illingworth,
Rector of Longworth, the Rev W H Bath, curate of Charney, and Sidney Edward Bouverie
Pusey, of Pusey House, were appointed trustees of this charity.
The dividends, which amount to £3 17s yearly, are to be remitted to the rector, who sends
them to Mrs Craddock, the treasurer of the Clothing Club. This club numbers about 20
participating subscribers, paying 3d or 6d weekly, and the income of the Charity, together with donations from other sources, is divided among them in proportion to their contributions.

Elizabeth Dewe/Dwe

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

Elizabeth and John had ten children.

Children of Elizabeth (Dewe) and John Beesley:

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

  • 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.

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.

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

Extract from ‘A  HISTORY  OF  CHARNEY  MANOR’ By Harriet Salisbury, 1989:

George Anthony Legh Keck of Stougton Grange, Leicestershire, enclosed the common lands of Charney in 1804; a Mr Bushnell of Wallingford lived there in 1806; the estate was soon after sold on a fifty per cent mortgage to four joint purchasers. The Manor House went to James Crowdy, the agent to the Duke of Marlborough, along with land stretching Eastwards to Lyford Bridge; all this became the Manor farm, and his share included a great deal of the village including the two inns. The other members of the consortium were Thomas Price Belcher, Daniel Giles and William Finder. In 1809 the estate was involved in a court case brought by the Rev John Davis Clerk, rector of Longworth, over the amount of tithes that should be paid to Longworth church, in whose parish the village stood. The defendants were William Dewe , John Beesley, Charles Loder, Richard Beesley, Richard Woodbridge, Hungerford Whitefield, Daniel Giles, William Pinder (Finder?) and James Crowdy.

A letter- written by John Caley from Grays Inn sets out the case for the defence. It concerns the lands that belonged “from time immemorial” to Abbingdon abbey – the Boardlands; “name which from its very derivation imports them to have been the Demesne Lands of lands set apart for the Board or Tables of the Monk’s”. The landlords were also entitled to “Leonard’s tithes; being the first crop after a fallow on arable lands not Boardlands”. The rector of Longworth was forced to concede both these ancient rights.

The property was sold by the Rev. John Bushnell, Rector of Beenham to Mr Philip Pusey in 1833. His tenant in 1851 was Thomas Dewe, employing 16 labourers and farming 200 acres. He was 70 and unmarried, living with two unmarried sisters; Mary, 72, and Ann, 65. They were all born at Charney. In the eastern portion of the churchyard, close to the manor wall, they are commemorated by a now-collapsed table-top tomb. The land it stands on was purchased from Thomas to extend the churchyard in 1845. He died in 1854 at the age of 74, and Mary in 1871 at the age of 90.

Enclosure Map 1804

William Dewe land on the Enclosure Map 1804