Family tree: Edith Anthony ancestors
Edith Rose Anthony was one of eleven children born to Henry Anthony and Rose née Russell. Henry was a gardener born in New Road and living in Watford. Edith’s sister Midge was a lady’s maid working for the Crussells family, who owned Dunn & Co. Edith’s brother John was a keen professional gardener with greenhouses and a sanctuary for healing in his garden.
Henry’s father Edward Anthony was born in Chenies Bucks and started his working life as a plough boy and later progressed to groom. He married Sarah Jane Coles of Bushey.
Edward came from a family of eleven children whose father William Anthony was a gamekeeper of Chenies Manor. William was the illegitimate son of pauper Dinah Anthony, whose ancestry was derived primarily from the Quaker records of Jordens in Buckinghamshire. There is reason to believe that William’s father was William Mills, as evidenced in Chalfont St. Giles’ Churchwarden’s Account (Ref. No. 35/5/1) of 3 April 1815: “Paid for the examination of Dinah Anthony and a warrant against William Mills, 4s-6p.”
William leased cottage number two in Chenies in 1853:
I, William Anthony, of Flaunden in the County of Hertford acknowledge that I hold of the Duke of Bedford, the cottage in Chenies in the County of Buckingham newly built, together with its Yard, Barn, and Garden, and the right of pumping water from the Tanks with the use of the Oven, and depositing ashes in the Ashpit respectively appropriated for the said Cottage and two other cottages, from the fourteenth day of January one thousand eight hundred and fifty three from week to week, at the weekly rent of one shilling fourpence upon and subject to [various] conditions.
There are a number of unusual stories attached to William’s tenth child Charles Floyd Anthony. Unlike the other Anthony children, he was baptized 10 months after birth, instead of the usual three months. He was singled out for a paid education. He corresponded with an Italian lady in Liverpool for many years. Another resident of Chenies ‘Uncle Dovey’ was also involved in his upbringing. According to Charles’ wife Harriet, he never mentioned his Anthony siblings, even though some of them emigrated to Australia. He was dark and swarthy with a dramatic temperament, in contrast to his fair brothers and sisters. Why were Selby Lyons (or Lowndes) and Odo Russell associated with Charles’ past? Family speculation was that Charles was the illegitimate son of one of the Russells and was given to the Anthonys to raise as their own. In the 1970s, the Marquess of Tavistock replied to a family enquiry (on Woburn Abbey stationery) stating that no records were kept of the illegitimate children of the Russell family.
It has been a great thrill to ‘meet’ lost cousins and researchers of the Anthony family via the internet. Frances Webster, living in Canada, has traced the family back to Robert Anthony, born in Bucks in 1520. Brian Anthony of Watford contacted Steve Anthony, who has shared many wonderful family photos as well as amazing scenes of Canada.
With the beautiful rolling countryside around Chenies and country pursuits such as grooming horses and game keeping, it is easy to conjure up images of the privileged classes hunting, shooting and fishing. Indeed there is a 16th-century Chenies family portrait depicting the 4th Earl of Bedford (of the Russell family) holding a falcon on his fist.
With rich hunting grounds surrounding the manor, Chenies was a residence frequented during royal progresses; Henry VIII is known to have stayed there and hunting was a particular attraction. Elizabeth I was entertained at the house, which includes a medieval well, dungeon and reputed priest hole. Its beautiful gardens include an extensive Physic Garden and two mazes.
Hanging on the south wall of Chenies church is a wooden box placed there in 1879. Inside it is an engraved scroll presented to a clergyman of the Russell family, Lord Wriothesley Russell, who celebrated fifty years of service to the parish, and his golden wedding anniversary, that year. The watercolours on the plaque depict the buildings of Chenies as they were in 1879.
On the inside of the open doors of the box are the signatures of each of the inhabitants of the village at the time. Careful examination will reveal the names of William and Letitia Anthony, and their youngest daughter, Adelaide along with Letty’s brother and sisters James, Eliza and Elizabeth Floyd. I have transcribed all 240 names on the plaque and many of them match the 1881 census.