Henry Peapell

January 2012 – Henry Peapell


Henry and Sarah Peapell are the couple at the centre of the banner picture on the web pages.


The earliest “Peapell” are recorded at Hannington in North Wiltshire just west of Highworth. They were born, married and died and the family gradually branched out from there into the nearby areas.  At the end of the 17th century my direct ancestor moved to Highworth where I still have relations today.

One moved to Coleshill, at the time in Berkshire and now in Oxfordshire, but even then some of his family moved back to Highworth. Common occupations were as carpenters, Butchers, and of course as labourers or the slightly more elevated husbandman, although there were also inn keepers and even a village constable and Baptist Minister.

My great great grandfather was Henry Peapell who with his wife Sarah, nee Crook, had eleven children, ten of who lived to be adults.


On the 21st of November 1840 James Peapell and Elizabeth his wife had their fifth child Henry Peapell in Westrop Highworth. One of their children James had died only a few days after being baptised. Henry was to have four more younger brothers and sisters. His mother was a Leighfield from Board Hinton on the other side of Swindon although the peculiarity of the Wiltshire dialect meant that her surname could be spelt as Lyvill or Livell.


Henry Peapell was baptised at the Methodist church on 25th December 1840, Christmas day, This was one of the few holidays that his parents would have had. All his brothers and sisters were also baptised at the Methodist church except for James born in 1834 and who died five days after being baptised at Highworth Church. The family had converted from the established church when one of the girls had married a Methodist lay preacher. Later when Henry & Sarah’s children married, some returned to the Church of England, while other attended either the Primitive Methodist or the Zion chapels.


Elizabeth, his mother died on 15th April 1855 aged forty five when Henry was aged fourteen. Henry would probably been working by now as an agricultural labourer. Elizabeth was certified with phthisis which probably means she died of Tuberculosis. She was buried in Highworth Churchyard.  The next year James Peapell, his father remarried to a widow Ann Herbert (nee Alexander). The marriage was short as within four months she died of Child Bed Epilepsy. James married again another widow Sarah Cooper (nee Lawrence) and together they had two more children.  James eventually died in Cheltenham age seventy.


When Henry was eighteen he married Sarah Crook who was two years older than him. They were married in Highworth Church. Henry was a labourer at this time. For many years Henry lived in a cottage on the road out of Highworth towards Faringdon. My mother knew the site but I cannot be sure where it was at the moment – I need to do more research Later in 1881 the address in the census is 38 Eastrop Cottages, Highworth and in 1891 onwards at 12 The Gardens Eastrop. These may of course be the same place or close by but I am not sure. In 1901 his sixth son Frank Peapell lived at 11 The Gardens Eastrop which is probably next door.


After 1887 Henry is described in various places as a Contractor, Road Contractor, Road Foreman and Roadman. This suggests that he had become something more than a labourer at least in the eyes of his family.


Henry died a couple of years before Sarah his wife in 1926 but not before he had seen great grandchildren. His cause of death was given as 1) Chronic bronchitis, 2 Syncope Morbis

Syncope is complete and, commonly, sudden loss of sensation and motion, with considerable diminution, or entire suspension of the pulsations of the heart and respiratory movements. Syncope is, commonly, an affection of no consequence; but, sometimes, it is an index of diseased heart.


Charles Peapell Henry’s son was the (in attendance, The Green Highworth)


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