(..or John of Quarrendon, and the story of Henry King Seamons)
While not in the direct line that this website has focused on, the descendants of John Seamons and Anne King are widespread and feature strongly throughout England and the Americas.
John Seamons , born August 1758 in Hardwicke, was the first son of John Seamons and Hannah Turpin. John’s younger brother was William, who feature on this website as William of the Napoleonic Wars. John is generally referred to as John of Quarrendon, as, although he inherited “Snugge” from his father, he lived at Quarrendon, while the younger brother, William, farmed the land at “Snugge”.
At the age of 22, John married the daughter of Henry King, a Methodist pioneer who rented a dairy farm at Quarrendon. By 1781 he had left Weedon to work for and with his father in law. It was a marriage according to Wesley's instructions; one young Methodist marrying another. In the autumn of 1781 , towards a year after their marriage at Hardwicke, their first daughter was born. Gradually the family mounted up to a total of eight, six of whom were girls (another girl died in her infancy). In one sense John and Ann were fortunate; there were only two boys for whom to find land. The first was given a name which then became a tradition in the family. He was named Henry King, after his honoured grandfather whose only son had died in infancy. Descendants perpetuated the names so that a Henry King Seamons was living even in the Second World War, and the King surname has continued to be used as a Christian name well into the twentieth century (the author has been able to clearly identify 5 Henry King Seamons'; there are possibly more!). The second son was named Joseph, after the uncle who had ventured to make a living as a coal dealer in London, but had died tragically young (aged 45) the year before Ann King and John Seamons had married. The name John was not used for a son; possibly John of Quarrendon and Ann thought there would, in all likelihood, be another son. Instead, two daughters followed the two sons.
The highly respected Henry King died just as the 19th century came to birth, and his son in law succeeded to the tenancy of the dairy farm. The rent was increased, but only slightly. Little has been discovered about John's next ten years, except that in 1805 on the death of his father, he succeeded to the ownership of "Snugge", and refused to act as his father's executor. Unquestionably, however, he found the £150 needed to pay his father's legacies within the specified twelve month period.
Events showed that when the eldest son, Henry, was ready to marry and launch out on his own, his father was able to give him his start as an independent farmer. Young Henry King Seamons was but twenty three years old when he married 19 year old Elizabeth Fincher at Whitchurch Church in the autumn of 1811, and their first son was christened there just one day short of a year after. Again, it was a wedding in the Methodist tradition. Elizabeth belonged to a stalwart Methodist family. All the same, the wedding and the christening were in the parish Church. Another generation had to pass before the law allowed weddings, under any circumstances, in Methodist Chapels, and in 1812 the Methodists of the Vale of Aylesbury had not ventured on a baptism outside the parish Church. Very shortly after their marriage, Henry King's spinster aunt, Hannah, who lived at "Snugge" herself, accepted an offer of marriage. This opened the way for him to live there in his father's freehold and to establish himself in Weedon as a farmer.
The later course of farming in the family of John of Quarrendon was determined more by the chances of life than by the harsh economic winds which blew in the 1820's and 1830's. Scores of tenant farmers in the Vale of Aylesbury were driven out of business. Aylesbury itself had a long list of farms seeking a tenant. John of Quarrendon was not driven out of business by those conditions but by elements no man controls. The farmer was used to saying that he dealt in weather and life, and both were unpredictable. In the case of John of Quarrendon, the word "life" stood for his sons rather than his stock.
Joseph, the younger son, soon turned his back on his father's calling. Perhaps he was sickened with the isolation of Quarrendon and its muddy tracks in winter which sometimes were flooded and at other times could be blocked by snowdrifts, cutting of communication between Weedon and Waddesdon across the fields "Quarrendon way ". Possibly he scented that the difficulties of a farmer were mounting and did not wish to battle against them. Also, as his brother was now settled in Weedon, he realised that his portion would inevitably be Quarrendon, and probably shrank from it. Quarrendon’s pastures were rich, but not every man or every man's wife would choose life there for their children and themselves. Maybe, his health was uncertain. Whatever the reason, Joseph chose to be a baker and not a farmer, and to live in Aylesbury rather than Quarrendon. He married at twenty one years and two and a half years later he and his wife Catherine presented their son for baptism at Aylesbury Church. He was named "Henry King Seamons". Four months later in 1815, Catherine lost her husband, and little Henry King his father. Joseph was buried at Aylesbury. His mother soon married again, but Henry King died in 1836 at the age of 22. Thus John of Quarrendon was bereft of one of his two sons.
In 1823, the elder son, Henry King Seamons died. He was but thirty five years old and left a widow, with five sons and one daughter. Henry, the eldest son, was ten years old at the time.
Thus, John of Quarrendon was robbed of his second son. Within a year of the death of his first son, John also lost his wife. One memorial stone was erected in Hardwicke Churchyard for mother and son.
Spurred on, doubtless by necessity, an indomitable spirit and a religious faith, John of Quarrendon plodded on across his lush, and sometimes muddy, pasture lands. There was no son to follow him and no grandson old enough to stand by him. The years passed and still he was there. He reached his 80th birthday and the home where Ann King, his wife, had been born, still held him. But by 1839 he had made up his mind. There were too many grand children to be fitted up as independent farmers. His daughters had their families, and as he contemplated retirement it was to one of THEM he had to turn. Further, as he considered appointing an executor, it was to the husband and then the son of another of them he found it best to turn. The five sons of his own son ALL had their claim on him. He decided that, instead of doing a big thing for one of them and leaving the rest to fend for themselves, he must do something for them all. In no case could the five sons have enough to establish themselves as farmers, but what they received might help them to trade in a small way; perhaps to secure an inn where they could earn an independent livelihood. On that principle the old man made his will. He stated that already he had made some provision for some of his grandsons, and then he proceeded to share out among the others. One, of course, would do better than the rest, viz., the one who inherited "Snugge". That went to a daughter's son, and was unencumbered with provisions such as he had been willed to meet. For the others, it was a matter of Henry's £100, and John's £50, and so on.
Having made his will, the octogenarian turned his back on Quarrendon pastures where he had spent sixty years, and retired to Whitchurch to live with his Methodist daughter, Elizabeth Fincher, and as he was able, to share at the Chapel, the pew for which together they paid the rent. He also lived for so long that he had to add a codicil to his will! A legacy to a son in law had lapsed through death, and two legacies to grandsons were reduced, possibly because the estate was steadily being eroded, or probably because they, in their turn, had already received help from their grandfather. At the end there was a dispute as to his age. He had lived so long that there was uncertainty between 87 and 86. The parson recorded 87 in the burials register at Hardwicke, and the family stated 86 on the tombstone. The family were correct in their arithmetic.
Henry King SEAMONS (1787 – 1823) married Elizabeth FINCHER in 1792.
Their Children were:-
Henry SEAMONS (1812 – 1895) married Mary Anne Burrell in 1834.
Their Children were:
1. Elizabeth SEAMONS married Edwin Rose
Their Children were:
- Helen ROSE
- Ernest S ROSE
- Alice Mary ROSE, who married William PLESTED
2. Henry King SEAMONS married his cousin Clara SEAMONS (daughter of Joseph and Rebecca Watkins).
Their Children were:
- Henry Joseph SEAMONS married Millicent Maude Day
- Walter Charles SEAMONS married Mary Annie Deane
- William SEAMONS died as an infant
- Clara SEAMONS died as a toddler
- Harold H SEAMONS
- Louisa SEAMONS died as a toddler
- Millicent A SEAMONS died as a toddler
3. Mary SEAMONS, possibly married John SANDERS in 1874 (to be verified)
John Seamons (1814 – 190) married Elizabeth Honour at Hardwicke on 24 April 1837.
Their Children were:-
1. Henry King SEAMONS (1837 – 1846)
2. John SEAMONS (1839-) no record can be found of John after the 1861 census, when he was still living with his parents.
3. Elizabeth SEAMONS (1841) died as a toddler
4. Elizabeth SEAMONS (1845 – 1851)
5. David Honour SEAMONS (1842 – 1923) married Comfort Griffin in 1867. She died in the same year as the birth of their only child, John Griffin George SEAMONS in 1871. David remarried Fanny Jennings in 1883, and they had a daughter, Edith Emily SEAMONS born 1897. (John Griffin George Seamons was the last remaining Seamons resident of Weedon, when he was finally laid to rest in 1953.
6. George SEAMONS (1850 - ) no record can be found of George after the 1861 census, when he was still living with his parents.
7. Hannah Maria SEAMONS (1852 - ) married Edward Prickett in 1877, and they had 5 sons:
- Edward Seamons PRICKETT
- Fred Seamons PRICKETT
- William Seamons PRICKETT
- Harold Seamons PRICKETT
- George Richard Seamons PRICKETT
Joseph Seamons (1816 – 1900) married Rebecca Watkins in 1835. Rebecca and Joseph had a son John who died 2 days old.. Rebecca died in 1837 and Joseph re-married Mary Ann Williams in 1838. Their children were:-
1. Mary Anne SEAMONS married Abraham James LOW, and immigrated to the USA
2. Sophie SEAMONS married William John FREELAND
3. Clara SEAMONS married her cousin, Henry King SEAMONS (details above)
4. Jane SEAMONS married Daniel SWIFT. in 1865 and they had 4 sons:-
- Arthur Joseph SWIFT
- Edgar Daniel SWIFT
- Ernest Seamons SWIFT
- Samuel Leonard SWIFT
5. Joseph SEAMONS married Dianna Hannah ELDERTON, and they had 5 children. Joseph and his family immigrated to the USA
- George Joseph SEAMONS
- Herbert SEAMONS
- Elizabeth SEAMONS
- Frances Jessie SEAMONS
- Sophia SEAMONS
William Fincher Seamons married Maria Honour in 1839. Their children were:-
1. Maria Ann SEAMONS married Joseph ATKINS in 1865. They had 5 children:
- Annie Maria ATKINS
- William C ATKINS
- Edith M ATKINS
- Joseph C Trevor ATKINS
- Constance E ATKINS
2. William SEAMONS married Kate "Kitty" TAYLOR in 1871. They had one child
- William Edwin SEAMONS, who married Annie WATSON and had 2 children
3. James SEAMONS who apparantly died as a child. (no record in 1851 census)
4. John SEAMONS married Emma HEDGES in 1869 and they had 10 children:
- Alice Maud Maria SEAMONS married George Frederick SHELL in 1911
- Anna Louisa SEAMONS, married Frederick MARSH in 1920
- Emma Maude SEAMONS did not marry. Died 1953.
- Bertha Mary SEAMONS married Thomas ROGERS. They had 3 children.
- Walter John SEAMONS married Clara PRICE, and they had 6 children.
- Arthur Charles King SEAMONS married Alice SMITH in 1907
- Harry William SEAMONS died as an infant
- James Charles SEAMONS died as an infant
- Edith Elizabeth SEAMONS married Samuel FAY in 1914.
- Percy William Joseph SEAMONS who married Rosetta May SHARP
5. Elizabeth SEAMONS married Charles BEESON in 1899. No children have been identified in the 1911 census.
6. Ellen Louisa SEAMONS married William James TOMPKINS and they had 6 children:-
- William H TOMPKINS
- Elizabeth E TOMPKINS
- John C TOMPKINS
- Dora TOMPKINS
- Jack TOMPKINS
- Rose TOMPKINS
7. Henry King SEAMONS married Elizabeth MORGAN, and they had 2 children:-
- Henry Douglas M SEAMONS
- John William K SEAMONS married Marie JENKINS in 1919
George Seamons married Elizabeth Turnham in 1841. Their Children were:-
1. George SEAMONS who married Elizabeth EMMONS in 1869; George died at aged 34 leaving Elizabeth to raise 3 sons aged 2, 4 and 6 :-
- George SEAMONS, died aged 32
- Charles SEAMONS married Susan GREEN
- William SEAMONS, died aged 25
2. Charles SEAMONS, died aged 18
Sophia Seamons married John Brown in 1844. Their children were:-
1. William BROWN
2. George BROWN
3. Edwin BROWN
4. Elizabeth BROWN
5. James BROWN
6. Joseph BROWN
Joseph Seamons (1790 – 1815) married Catherine Dawney in 1812. Their only child was
Henry King SEAMONS (1814 – 1836), who never married.