The Potters of Chitterne

I couldn’t think of an appropriate heading for this, to be honest it’s more “The Potters who have lived in Chitterne” as there are quite a few from other places here as well. Where best to start? At the beginning, I suppose, so I have taken Sue's Potter list, and re-arranged them by date of birth, and from there, hope to come up to date, showing just who is related to whom. OK, let’s get on with it!

First one up is Jesse Potter – here he is:

Potter, Jesse: b. c1818, Imber, Wiltshire.
Ag Lab. 1841 census. Shepherd. 1861 census.
Married: Jane Whatley on 5 Oct 1842 at Chitterne AS (b. c1823, Chitterne AS). John Rogers; Parish Records.
Children: George 1846; Maria. 1851 census; 1861 census; Parish Records.
Lived: Stable, Chitterne AS 1841; Two Barns 1861. 1841 census; 1861 census.

Jesse proved to be something of a challenge as, although being from Imber, he did not seem to have been baptised there, and I began to wonder just who he was. Luckily, however, a record of his baptism did surface on Ancestry, and that shows that he is definitely from Imber, just baptised elsewhere. He is born on 10th August 1818 and baptised as a Non-Conformist on 11th April 1822, his parents being named as Leonard Potter and Prudence Green, and they again are from Imber. There is a problem with this record, however, in that I have Leonard marrying in Imber on 13th January 1817, his bride being Prudence Grant – I have checked the original marriage record, and there is no doubt about this, she is definitely a Grant, so just why her name is said to be Green is something of a mystery to me at this point in time. There is a record for a baptism of Prudence Grant in Imber on 25th October 1794, and with Leonard himself being also baptised in Imber on 10th April 1795, and to me, this all leads me to believe that her maiden name is indeed Grant. Indeed, her burial in Imber on 19th July 1830, aged 34, just seems to add to the above. Strange!

Next two up are brothers Leonard and Michael, and it was with Leonard that we started off on this journey, through that cutting about his son Harry recently. Here is Leonard:

Potter, Leonard: b. c1825, Imber, Wiltshire.
Married: Ann Whatley on 20 Jun 1846 at Chitterne AS (b. c1826, Chitterne AS, widowed 1900, lived in Market Lavington 1901, died 1908). John Rogers; Parish Records.
Children: Mary Jane 1847; John 1849-1849; James 1851-1853; George 1854; Arthur 1857; Harry 1859; James 1863; Albert 1866; Maria 1871 last 6 born in Orcheston, Wiltshire. 1851 census; Parish Records.
Lived: Chitterne AS 1851; Tilshead, Wiltshire by 1854. 1851 census; Barbara Thain.
Died 1900. John Rogers.
“Leonard was working in Tilshead, it seems as though he worked there a good few years. Their first child was George, my ggrandfather, who lived to a good old age, and was still alive in 1922 when he was witness at my grandmother’s second marriage.” Barbara Thain.

I’m afraid that I do not have an exact date of birth for Leonard – indeed, that is the same for all of the other early Potters, but he was baptised in Imber and this is the record of that:

1825 10-Apr Leonard Potter John Potter Rebecca Meaden

John and Rebecca are both Imber folk as well.

Potter, Michael: b. c1842, Imber, Wiltshire. 1871 census.
Carter. 1871 census.
Married: Mary Ann Barnes in 1869 (b. c1841, Winterslow, Wiltshire, died 1921). 1871 census.
Children: Henry W. 1871 census.
Lived: Bush Barn, Chitterne AS 1871. 1871 census.
Died 1904. John Rogers.

Here is his baptism record, showing his parents:

1842 11-Sep Michael Potter John Potter Rebecca Meaden

He is a brother of Leonard Potter, born in 1825, and obviously the parents information for Leonard applies here to Michael. His wife is Mary Ann Barnes, who I have as born in Winterslow in 1839, rather than 1841, and they got married in Imber on 9th February 1869. Mary Ann died in 1921, though exactly where I am not sure, as her death is just registered in Warminster, and there is no trace of her burial in Imber

I’ll go slightly out of order, date-wise, here, for a reason that will become clear shortly. Next up is George, here from Sue's list:

Potter, George: bap. 16 Sep 1832, Imber , Wiltshire. John Rogers.
Married: Emma Lester in 1854, possibly in Chitterne (of Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, died 12 Sep 1909 leaving a will). John Rogers.
Children: Albert 1855; Ann born Tilshead, Wiltshire 1859. John Rogers.
Lived: Chitterne 1854-1859; Tilshead 1859; Sutton Veny 1861; Upton Lovell, Wiltshire; Cloford, Somerset; The Close, Alfred Street, Westbury, Wiltshire. John Rogers.
Died 1901 at Westbury, Wiltshire. John Rogers.

And here is his baptism, from the Imber parish records:

1832 16-Sep George Potter James Potter Christian Found nee Green

At this point, I’m a bit unsure why Christian is Found nee Green, but it is not really relevant here, this is just to show who the parents of George are. Later note: just found out the reason for this – Christian had been married before marrying James Potter, her first husband being William Found, also of Imber. He had died in 1825.

Lastly, I shall put Alfred and James Potter together here, for obvious reasons, which you will see. Here they are from the list:

Potter, Alfred: b. c1830, Norton Bavant, Wiltshire.
Ag Lab.
Married: Sarah Carter on 12 Oct 1849 at Chitterne AS (b. c1826, Chitterne AS). John Rogers; Parish Records.
Children: Elizabeth Jane 1851. Parish Records.
Lived: with in-laws 1851. 1851 census.

Potter, James: b. c1833, Norton Bavant, Wiltshire.
Ag Lab.
Married: Emma Jane Titt Carter on 13 Sep 1851 at Chitterne AS (b. c1830, Chitterne). John Rogers; Parish Records.
Children: James 1853; Barbara Ellen 1856. Parish Records.
Lived: with Jonathan Carter 1851. 1851 census.
Died 1880. John Rogers.

Alfred was baptised in Norton Bavant on 25th December 1830, while James is baptised there on 24th June 1832. They are in fact brothers, their parents being Richard Potter of Imber and Susanna Price of Warminster – here is the baptism of Richard in Imber in 1798:

1798 11-Nov Richard Potter James Potter Sarah Earley

So that makes six original Potters coming to Chitterne, from which all the others are descended.

There is very much a direct link here between the above people, and that is through their respective fathers. Leonard, Jesse’s father, John, Leonard and Michael’s father, James, George’s father, and Richard (father of Alfred and James) are all brothers, and here they all are in the Imber parish records as a family group:

1792 14-Oct James Potter James Potter Sarah Earley
1795 10-Apr Leonard Potter James Potter Sarah Earley
1798 11-Nov Richard Potter James Potter Sarah Earley
1803 26-Jun John Potter James Potter Sarah Earley

I am going to go from these six men down through their respective children, insofar as they impact on Chitterne, and so on down through all the people on Sue's Potter list.

Subsequent Generations

Coming on down from the original Potters arriving in Chitterne, we now need to look at their descendants. Starting with Jesse Potter and Jane Whatley’s children, there are only the two born in Chitterne, these being:

Potter, George: bap. 3 May 1846, Chitterne AS, son of Jesse Potter & Jane Whatley. 1851 census; Parish Records.

Potter, Maria: b. c1849, Chitterne AS, dau of Jesse & Jane Potter. 1851 census; 1861 census.

Of these, it is only George who is baptised in the village, as above, there being no record of Maria’s baptism. After the 1861 census, there is no further mention of the family in connection with Chitterne, and it seems that they left at some point after 1861.

I will leave the next in line, Leonard, for the moment – it is from him that the majority of the Chitterne Potters are descended, so there is a lot to explain with him – we now move on to Michael Potter and Mary Ann Barnes’ children, of which there are two with any connection to Chitterne. The family is living in All Saints at the time of the 1871 census, at which point their son Henry William, born 1869 in Imber, is with them. The family must have stayed in the village until at least 1873, as their daughter Fanny is born in the village early that year, though there is no record of her being baptised either in Chitterne or Imber itself, where the family have moved back to by the time of the 1881 census. Here are the two children:

Potter. Henry William: b. c1869, Imber, Wiltshire, son of Michael & Mary A Potter. 1871 census.
Married: Florence Maude Evans in 1896. John Rogers.

Potter, Fanny: b. c1873, Chitterne, dau of Michael & Margaret Potter. 1901 census.
Lived: Imber, Wiltshire in 1901. 1901 census.

Here is the baptism, in Imber, of Henry William:

1868 13-Sep Henry William Potter Michael Potter Mary Ann Barnes

And, by chance, I have just found a baptism record for Fanny on Ancestry. She was baptised in All Cannings on 6th August 1876, so the family must have been there at around that time. After this early 1870s residence in Chitterne, the family do not seem to have any further significant impact in the village.

Moving on, we come next to George Potter and Emma Lester and their children, of whom only the one, Albert, is actually born in Chitterne. Here he is:

Potter, Albert: bap. 5 Aug 1855, Chitterne AS, son of George Potter & Emma Lester. Parish Records.

Apart from the birth of Alfred and his subsequent baptism, this family, like most of the others so far, have no further impact on the village – by 1859, when their next child is born, they are living in Tilshead, and, as far as I can see, do not return to Chitterne. There is one thing I should correct here – George and Emma are actually married in Imber on 18th April 1854 and not, as I had originally thought, in Chitterne itself.

Next is Alfred Potter and his wife Sarah Carter and their daughter Elizabeth Jane. They only appear in the 1851 census, and by the 1861 census, appear in Wylye. There is no sign of Elizabeth Jane apart from the baptism record in 1851, and it is a mystery what happens to her. As she does not appear with the family in Wylye, the most likely thing is that she has not survived, though again I could find no death record to confirm this.

The last of the Potters here is James Potter and Emma Jane Titt Carter and their children. They are:

Potter, James: bap. 4 Sep 1853, Chitterne SM, son of James Potter & Emma Jane Carter. Parish Records.

Potter, Barbara Ellen: bap. 3 Aug 1856, Chitterne AS, dau of James Potter & Emma Jane Carter. Parish Records.

After the birth and baptisms of the two children, the family moves from Chitterne re-appearing in the 1861 census in the Bristol area, and as far as the village is concerned, there is no further contact with the family. There is one slight oddity with son James (1853) who, for reasons unknown, appears with his parents under the name of William Potter, though in all the official records that I have found, his name is given as James Potter.

The above should cover all the Potters in Chitterne in the mid-1800s, with the exception of Leonard and his descendants, and I will turn to them next.

Leonard Potter

Here is an edited version of the entry for Leonard from the Potter list, containing the relevant information we need to refer to:

Potter, Leonard: b. c1825, Imber, Wiltshire.
Married: Ann Whatley on 20 Jun 1846 at Chitterne AS (b. c1826, Chitterne AS, widowed 1900, lived in Market Lavington 1901, died 1908). John Rogers; Parish Records.
Children: Mary Jane 1847; John 1849-1849; James 1851-1853; George 1854; Arthur 1857; Harry 1859; James 1863; Albert 1866; Maria 1871 last 6 born in Tilshead, Wiltshire. 1851 census; Parish Records.

Mary Jane was the only one of the Chitterne-born children to survive into adulthood, and she had three children, as stated here:

Potter, Mary Jane: bap. 3 Jan 1847, Chitterne AS, dau of Leonard Potter & Ann Whatley. 1851 census; Parish Records.
Children: Henry 1864; Francis/Frank c1866; Charlotte 1872 all born in Orcheston, Wiltshire. John Rogers.

Mary Jane appears on both the 1861 and 1871 censuses with her parents, but is missing on the 1881 census, though her children are still with her parents in Tilshead in 1881. She then re-appears on the 1891 census, again in Tilshead, this time with son Frank and daughter Charlotte. After this, I have been unable to trace her – there does not appear to be a marriage or death record in her name, not that I could find at this time anyway.

The only one of these children to concern us, insofar as there is a Chitterne connection is Henry, and this is his entry:

Potter, Henry: b. c1863, Tilshead, Wiltshire. 1911 census. Carter. 1911 census.
Married: Maria Laura Kyte in 1889 (b. c1862, Tilshead, Wiltshire, died 1934). 1911 census; John Rogers.
Children: Percy Hubert. 1911 census.
Lived: Bidden Lane, Chitterne SM + lodger Henry Searchfield & visitor Ethel Smith in 1911. 1911 census.
Died 1938. John Rogers.

He was born in Tilshead in 1864, his birth being registered there during the second quarter of that year. Henry's father was Charles Bolter of Little Cheverell, this information coming from a copy of Henry and Laura's 1889 marriage certificate. Henry married Maria Laura, or Laura Maria, Kyte in Tilshead as above, and the family appear in the 1901 census in Codford St Mary, moving to Chitterne by the time of the 1911 census. Henry and Maria do have other children, apart from Percy Hubert, though there is no record of these actually in Chitterne. For the record, the others are Elizabeth Jane Kyte, born in 1886 in Tilshead and Flossie Gertrude Potter, born 1891 also in Tilshead. Elizabeth Jane was actually born some time before Henry and Maria’s marriage, and my guess is that Henry was her step-father, rather than her natural father, as his name does not appear on Elizabeth Jane’s marriage record in 1906, when she marries as Elizabeth Jane Kyte, though she does appear as Henry’s daughter on the 1901 census, as Elizabeth Jane Potter.

I have looked at the electoral registers to see if we can narrow down the period when Henry and family moved to Chitterne, but found this surprisingly difficult. He does appear on the 1912 Electoral Register for Chitterne All Saints, when he is living in Bitton (sic) Lane – this does, of course, fit in with the 1911 census record. This seems to be the first, and as far as I can see, only record of Henry in the village – by the way, he is listed here as Harry Potter, but this is unquestionably the same man. Does this mean that Henry was only in Chitterne for that one year? We do know that Laura Maria, Henry’s wife, died in Norton Bavant on 24th June 1934, with Henry himself passing away in Stockton on 16th January 1938. As both Elizabeth Jane Kyte (see above) and Flossie Gertrude Potter do not appear with their parents on the 1911 census in Chitterne – both are actually recorded together in the Andover region of Hampshire on that census – it seems to me that it is highly unlikely that either of the two girls actually were resident in Chitterne.

Bearing the above in mind, and moving on to Henry’s son, Percy Hubert, it seems that his residence in Chitterne was similarly short-lived. Here he is from the Potter list:

Potter, Percy Hubert: b. 2 Aug 1893, Tilshead, Wiltshire, son of Henry & Maria Potter. 1911 census.
Farm labourer. 1911 census.
Married: Lily Howard in 1920. John Rogers.
Lived: with parents in Bidden Lane, Chitterne SM in 1911. 1911 census.
Died Feb 1985 in Salisbury reg. district. John Rogers.

Lily, by the way, was from Sutton Veny, being born there on 21st February 1899 and she died in 1972. It seems to me that, apart from that 1911 census record, Percy Hubert did not return to Chitterne – this means that the Potter line down through Henry finished in Chitterne soon after that census.

This then brings up the main point here – from where do the present Potters of Chitterne descend? The one, most likely, candidate was of course, Henry Potter 1864 of Tilshead, but as we have seen above, this is not the case. Here we have to turn again to Leonard and Ann, where we started, and look at another one of their sons, this being Albert, the one born in Tilshead in 1866 – Albert it is who is the man responsible for the Chitterne Potters through into the 20th century and up to the present day. Oddly enough, though he is in this way deeply involved in the life of the village over so many years, he himself never seems to live in Chitterne at any point.

Albert Potter 1866-1951

As stated above, Albert was born, and raised, in the village of Tilshead. In 1890, he got married to Jane Plank in West Lavington. She was born in 1869 in Hanging Langford, and died in 1943, with Albert himself passing away in 1951. Over the years, Albert and Jane had six sons and two daughters, and it is through one of those sons that the present Potter line arises, with another son providing another, brief, Chitterne connection and it is that one that I think is best dealt with first.

This son was Clifford, born in 1902 in West Lavington, where Albert and Jane had settled after the marriage – in 1932, Clifford got married to Rose Mundy, a girl from Maddington. She was born there in 1902 and sadly died in 1938. Clifford and Rose had a number of children, amongst whom was a son born in 1933, this being Anthony R Potter – he would go on to marry in Chitterne in 1958 Ivy Sheppard, a daughter of this man, from the Sheppard list:

Sheppard, Leslie: b. 1 Oct 1906, bap. 25 Nov 1906, Chitterne AS with SM, son of Frank Sheppard & Helen Fry. Canner Visiting Bk; 1911 census; Parish Records.
Attended Chitterne School. National School Admissions Registers and Log-Books 1870 – 1914.
Married: Florence Margaret Elloway in 1937 at Warminster (b. 1905, died 1985).
Died 1984, Warminster district.

The other son of Albert and Jane, and the more important in terms of Chitterne, was Percy John, born in 1908, here from the Potter list:

Potter, Percy John: b. 5 Aug 1908, son of Albert Potter & Jane Plank, grandson of Leonard & Ann Potter. John Rogers.
Married: (Evelyn) Mabel Mundy in Jun 1934 at Chitterne AS with SM (b. 29 Feb 1912, died 2 Sep 1997, aged 85 years, buried 10 Sep 1997, SM, grave no. 50). Chitterne Newsletter Oct 1997; Parish Records.
Children: William Albert 1934; Elizabeth June 1937; Brian Richard 1946.
Lived: Down Barn Cottage (they were the last people to live there); 8 Abdon Close 1981, 1996. Warminster & District Directory 102nd Ed; Chitterne Newsletter Jun 1996.
Died 1 May 1996, aged 87 years. Buried 8 May 1996, SM. Grave No. 50. BR.

All the 20th century Potters of Chitterne are descended from Percy John and his wife Evelyn Mabel Mundy. She was a local girl, baptised in the village on 12th October 1913, the daughter of William Charles Mundy, of Shrewton and his wife Eliza Hibberd, who came from Wishford (or Great Wishford).

Research by John & Rose Rogers, this narrative adapted from their emails to Sue Robinson in October/November 2015.

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