So far I have only managed to trace my ancestry back to several George Grants, all of whom had family ties to Chitterne. However, in order to be more positive about their particular parentage, I am constantly revising my research by adding snippets of historical information abstracted from the works of fellow family historians whose findings about their own ancestors include details about other Grant families in the immediate area.
Although I have yet to prove it conclusively, it is my belief that earliest of my particular George Grants of Chitterne was one of the sons of a John & Alice Grant, also of that parish. Both Alice and John Grant were reasonably wealthy, but curiously although Alice owned several major properties and estates when she died, in her will of 1773, she only left the son of her late son George, a single shilling. It was a paltry sum and suggests that his father may have received an advance on his inheritence, or as is more likely, had been discredited. It is my considered opinion that Alice was indeed referring to my ancestor George Grant, because it is known that he had brought shame on the family name by being the subject of a Chitterne removal order produced by the parish officials in 1745. These officials considered George and his wife Hestor (also known as Esther) together with their son William, to be undesirable and although having personal ties with the parish, they nevertheless escorted the entire family back to his wife's parish of Market Lavington.
The Removal Order dated 1745.
Reproduced by kind permission of WSRO.
George Grant 1753 - 1840
My proven ancestor, George Grant (junior) was born in Wiltshire about 1753. As already stated, his parents were almost certainly the above George Grant and Hestor Notton who had married in Salisbury in 1739. As yet I have been unable to find any information on George's baptism, but this could either be lying un indexed in the maze of yet to be transcribed parish registers,or as is more likely, was not considered to be of immediate importance by his parents.
Sadly, I have no information on my George Grant's youth, nor that of any brothers or sisters, but I do know that when just an agricultural labourer, he returned to the parish which I contend had evicted both his parents and elder brother and married Rachel Yeates (Yates or Yats) on 2nd July 1779. Rachel, whose baptism was in Woodford on 4th December 1755, was the daughter of John Yats (Yeates or Yates) and Mary Shepherd who had married in St Martins, Salisbury, on 26 Jan 1744.
George and Rachel then started a rather large family in Chitterne and produced the following children. John, born 1780; William, born 1781; Joseph, born 1783; James, born 1785; Jacob, born 1787; Isaac, born 1789; Benjamin, born 1794; Mary born 1794; George, born 1795.
With the exception of the first born John whose baptism I still cannot find, and George the youngest, whose baptism was later found in March of 1795 at Winterbourne Stoke, all the remainder of George and Rachel's children were born and baptised in Chitterne. Furthermore, I assume from the youngest son's birth, that whilst George and Rachel did not sever their ties with Chitterne completely, they resettled in Winterbourne Stoke sometime between late 1794 and early 1795.
Whilst in Chitterne, George Grant had shown himself to be a dedicated practicing Baptist and is well documented as having attended religious meetings both there and in the house of John Pearce of Winterbourne Stoke. In 1801, he is also seen to register his own house in Chitterne (then occupied by his son John 'Shepherd' Grant and family) as a meeting house for Baptist services. Later in 1811, he turned another house of his in Winterbourne Stoke into a meeting house for Baptist worship and copies of other meeting house certificates show that his sons John (certificate dated 7 Oct 1815) and James (certificate dated 12 November 1834) were also active members of that particular faith.
From the inheritance of just one shilling, George Grant is known to have become reasonably wealthy by early 19th century standards. For example, the 1812 Enclosure Awards show that he leased some 80 acres of prime farm land in Winterbourne Stoke from the Lord of the Manor, Alexander Baring and his will confirms that he became a rather prosperous farmer with four properties to his name.
George's Son, John (Shepherd) Grant 1779 - 1848
George and Rachel's son John (Shepherd) Grant was born in Chitterne about 1779. I have not found any reference to his baptism due to his parents being non conformists, but as he was the eldest in the family, it is possible his birth was very close to the date of his parents' marriage and he may have even been given his mother's maiden name at birth.
He too became a Baptist and has also been described as both a cottager and a carrier. His middle name of 'Shepherd' however, does not suggest he worked with sheep, it came from his mother's side of the family. That full name appears on several official documents including on 21st October 1799, his marriage to Elizabeth Wansborough of Chitterne. The reason I suspect that the entire name was so widely used was that it differentiated him from his second cousin another John Grant, who was the Chitterne parish clerk.
Note: My John 'Shepherd' Grant & his second cousin John Grant (parish clerk) were sequential marriages in the Chitterne Parish register.
The location of the births of John and Elizabeth's children is uncertain for whilst the couple were living in one of their father's houses in Chitterne, they prefered to leave their children's baptisms until much later into their adult life. The baptims therefore only appeared in the Winterbourne Stoke parish registers, by which time all of the children were in their late teens.
John's wife, Elizabeth nee Wansborough fomerly of Chitterne, died in Winterbourne Stoke on 19th March 1854 at the age of 54. Her family history has been well documented by Frank Dawson of Perth in Australia. who has an interest in the Wansborough family line. (see 1981 edition of the Wiltshire Family Historian)