The Harbrows, Harboroughs,
Harbers or whichever way you wish to spell the
name, have lived in the South of England for centuries. Indeed, the
earliest listing according to County records for Sussex
is for a male christening on 15
March 1548 at Horsham for a Gaynsford
Abarow, child of Wylim
and Alys Abarow.
Whats that got to do with you, a Harbro of today? Well, in those years, many people
could neither read nor write and most would sign their own name wit an
X. When it came time for a christening or some other event, the
officiating Minister would ask the name from in this case, Serf Harbrow, and then record it as he heard it.
This is the family history of the Harbrows in Australia
and of those who chose to go onward to New
Zealand. We start the story with
William Ambrose Harber and Jane Bone back in the
old country. In Sussex,
Surrey and Kent
in fact, where the family moved from farm to farm as itinerant workers,
picking hops, peas, and other crops. It was the time of the industrial
revolution that took place in Britain
between 1760 and 1840. There were many changes on the farm in the way
of mechanization as the steam engine took over. So jobs were getting
fewer as machines like traction engines and threshers came onto the
farm. And although this was a period of great prosperity for Britain,
the riches did not filter down to lower classes who suffered poverty and
misery, long working hours for low wages and exploitation of child labour. There were also ongoing troubles over in Ireland
and Napoleon was kicking up his heals in France.
This however, was a long way from the Harbers who
did their rounds every year on the farms in the Southern Counties.
We do get a mention in Burkes landed Gentry of Ireland :
1958 Edition, which states on Page 475 that Mary, the third daughter of Francis
Mansergh, married William Harbrow
of Warren Park, Melbourne.
Now Francis was a brother of 'Peter of Melbourne' (born 1805) who emigrated to Australia
in 1840, after relinquishing his position and inheritance. We'll close
that closet right now. So much for fame and fortune.
A Harbrow family crest shown below,
was provided by Jocelyn Harbrough-Brenton in Australia.
The motto on the crest is in Latin and reads Hostis
meaning "Jealousy is an Enemy of Honour".
How it came about, I cannot say.
Harbrow Family Crest
Our story then starts with Ambrose and Jane in the early 1800's in the fields
of Sussex, or
Susfex as it was spelt in those times. There
is no fame and fortune in farm labouring, just hard
work. Nevertheless, it was an essential occupation in
those days - for both men and women and of course any children in the
family who could carry. But it was a good healthy life away from the
cities where poverty and disease sometimes ran rife. One of the
landowners in the area at this time, was one Henry Dendy, who we will come across again later in the story.
Sussex County is located in the South of England and covers 1,457 square
miles. It is bounded by Surrey, Kent and Hampshire. To the South
is the English Channel and the County is traversed East to West by the South
Downs. Agriculture was and still is, the predominant activity with
cornfields, hop gardens and orchards of apples, pears and cherries
abounding. In the height of summer, families moved from farm to farm
picking hops, hay making, picking fruit and undertaking various other
tasks. When the work ran out, the labourers
moved over the border to Kent pea picking, or to Surrey harvesting cerials and vegetables. The Harbers
as their names were spelt then, were seasonal workers of this kind and moved
from place to place as the records show. There are births and marriages
recorded at Worth, Hartfield and Withyham, all in Sussex, and also at Westerham
in Kent, although the family lived mostly in the Parish of Withyham and latterly in Withyham
St. John, close to Crowborough.
Ambrose Harber was born around 1790 and at 19 he
was developing into a fine young man. The summer sun had tanned his
skin and his muscles, well developed from years of farm work, flexed as he
forked over the hay. Sweat dripped down his forehead and trickled down
his back. Small pieces of hay clung to his skin. Like his father
before him and his grandfather, he had been raised to the life as a farm labourer, but changes were on the way. The
agricultural revolution in England was starting to change farming but, as
yet, few farms in Sussex had invested money in the new machinery. The
women and children also worked in the fields. Today, it was standing
and tying the hay to dry. Children gathered the bundles together and
held them while their Mothers looped the twine around them. Smaller
children played together at one side of the field, overseen by one of the
older women. Temporary lodgings was provided
by the farmer. In some cases families would have to bunk down together
in a dormitory although on some farms, small cottages were available to
family groups at a nominal rent. The wages were not high by any
means. Farmers paid taxes on their land and this was the period of the
windows tax, where the government squeezed from the population 8 shillings
for each house with 6 windows or less, 1 pound for 7 windows, and so
on. Some landowners had registered their defiance by bricking up the
windows, making the cottaged quite dark inside.
In the early 1800's, the Church still played a large part in everyone's
life. Church rates were compulsory and attendance on Sundays was a
requirement. Those who didn't comply risked not only their soul being
cast into the depths of hell, but also being brought before the Magistrate to
be fined. De facto relationships were reluctantly accepted by the
Church while the couples were below the legal age for marriage, but social
pressure was often the catylist for the wedding to
take place once the couple were eligible. It
was usually the age of the male that determined when a couple could be
married. It would have been while Ambrose was working on a farm, near
Worth, that he met Jane Bone. Jane's parents were also country folk but
they had found regular work and did not move around like the Harbers. Jane was 18 when she and Ambrose were
married. The wedding took place at Worth on 26 October 1810, in the
Autumn, after the seasons work had been completed. The records show
Jane's birth at Worth on 22 July 1792 to William and Mary Bone, but no
earlier records for Ambrose can be found, although his year of birth is shown
on the www.theweald.org website as c. 1785 (about 1785).
Crowborough Hill 1838
This was the time of the Napoleonic wars in Europe
when all the talk in England
was of the triumphs of the Duke of Wellington over the French. Seven
children were born to the couple over a twenty year period and, eventually,
they found themselves a permanent home near Withyham
from where Ambrose and their children, as they got older, could scout around
for work. Their children were:
Hester b. 5 May 1811, Worth,
William b. 13 March 1814, Balcombe, Sussex (registered at Worth), m.
Elizabeth Tester 12 October 1890.
Emigrated to Australia 1842
b. 1818, Westerham, Kent (m. Ellen Shepherd)
Link here with excel
file for Allen Family Tree
Ezekiel b. 29 April
1821, Banstead, Surrey (m. Elizabeth Walters 9 Feb 1842)
Emigrated to Australia
b. 1822, Sussex (m. Ann Chapman) Emigrated
before 1854. d. 1879
Link here with excel
file for James Family Tree
Mary b. 27
May 1824, Banstead, Surrey
m. Thomas Pilbean?
b. 1830, Withyham, Sussex. (m. Laura Bell)
Emigrated to Australia after 1851 d. 1894 Brighton, Australia
There was a County Census taken in 1838 including Crowborough
Town and it showed Jane Harboro, Head of house, Widowed,
belonging to Withyham Parish with 4 of her children
- Child un-named, James, Mary and Stephen. Children's ages were shown
as 5 year age groupings like 1820 - 25. There was a comment to the
effect that Jane 'Lives in one of the Parish houses having a small sussistence from the relieving officer.
On 7 June 1841, England's first national Census was taken. That Census
showed Jane Harbor'o and three of her children
living at St Johns near Crowborough. The
District under which the family was recorded was described as 'All that part
of the Parish of Withyham called Crowborough and which lies to the South of the stream
running from Crooks Corner to the Crowborough
Mile's Stream, the remainder of the boundary formed by the fence surrounding
and including Crowborough Warren'. It should
be noted that ages in the 1841 Census were sometimes rounded to 5 year
lots. The 1841 Census listings produced the following details:
born in Sussex
8 Agric. Lab.
An old house in Forest Grove, Crowborough
of that period
In the Census of 1851, the ages were recorded more
accurately. Allen and his family and Stephen, his brother
were living at 7 Forest Grove while Jane, now
shown as a widow, was living at 4 St. Johns,
the Church Alms house - shown below. The Alms house was situated next
to Withyham St. Johns Church and housed pensioners.
Details recorded in 1851 were:
4 St. Johns House
62 Pensioner in Alms b. Sufsex,
7 Forest Grove
Head Married 33
Agr. Lab. b. Kent, Westerham
b. Sufsex, Hartfield
b. Sufsex, Withyham
Lab. b. Sufsex, Withyham
Actual details on Allen Harbrough and family are:
Harbrough Allen b. 1818 Westerham, Kent m. Ellen Shepherd - 3
- Mary b. 1849 Hartfield, Sussex
- Ezekiel b. 1850 Withyham, Sussex
- Edwin Allan b. 1860 d. 1 Apr 1886 Little Bay, Sydney m. Mary Ann Fullalow - 6 children
- Martha b. Sydney
- Allen b. Sydney
- William b. Sydney
- Sydney M b. 1886
- plus 1 male and 1 female (shown on one of the regn
Link here with file
for Allen Family
Johns Church was
built in 1839 and is located on an outlying part of the Withyham
Parish, nearly in Crowborough, in Forest
Grove. The Church is pictured below.
James Harbrow married Ann Chapman and emigrated
and raised his family in Melbourne.
d. 1879 Their children, some of whom died quite young, were:
1851 Victoria. m. Thomas Dunkley 1869 Brighton.
(2 children) d. 1937 Heatherton.
Harriet b. 1854 Brighton,
Australia m. Charles
Board 1874 (8 children)
b. 1855 Brighton, Australia
b. 1856 Brighton, Australia
1859 m. James Burton Terry
1878. (5 children) d. 1925
Catherine b. 1861 m. Thomas Richard Marriott 1881 Brighton.
Alice b. 1862 d.
Alfred b. 1864 m. Ann McConnell 1898. d. 1935 Abbortsford
Link here with file
for James Family Tree
Stephen Harbrow emigrated
after the 1851 Census. He married Laura Bell and they had one child
Emily Francis b. 1871 d. 1946 Oakleigh