The Greenmans of Dauntsey, Wiltshire

Map of Greenmans Lane, Dauntsey, 1910
Map of Greenmans Lane, Dauntsey, 1910

There were 18 people named Greenman resident in Dauntsey on census night of 1841. At least one member of the family, David Greenman, had owned land in Dauntsey since 1798 or earlier; other Greenmans occupied land owned by Mordaunt Fenwick, who at that time was the principal landowner in Dauntsey.

Several members of the Greenman family were substantial farmers. In the 1841 census, David Greenman was described as a “Yeoman” and his farm was called “Middle Green Farm”. He was still farming in 1851 at the age of 81, at which time, he was living at Great Dairy Farm with his wife Mary, aged 61,  farming 100 acres and employing 3 labourers.

Land Tax Assessment for Dauntsey, 1811
Land Tax Assessment for Dauntsey, 1811

John Greenman, aged 41 in 1841, employed 5 labourers and one boy at Good Munday’s Farm, where he lived with his wife, Jane, aged 48, and son, Elijah. In 1847, John Greenman was also recorded as “Occupier” of Evergreen Farm.

Meanwhile, Thomas Greenman was a farmer of 37 acres and a “butter-carrier”.  He lived with his wife, Ann, at Lower Park Farm, where he employed one labourer.

Thomas and Ann had a daughter, Susannah, who was born in Dauntsey on 6 November 1827. In the spring of 1841, when she was 13, she was employed as a servant by Grocer, Ann Heath who was 60 years of age. Susannah was living with Ann and probably worked both as a “domestic” and in the shop.

Cottages for Sale at 26 to 29 Dauntsey, 1913
Cottages for Sale at 26 to 29 Dauntsey, 1913

Susannah married Abraham Skull  in 1850 and they went, initially, to live in the neighbouring hamlet of Swallett, Christian Malford. By 1861, they had moved back to Dauntsey Parish and were living at the “Letter Office”. Abraham worked as an agricultural labourer and Susannah, aged 33, was “Worker of the Post Office”. They now had a son, Francis, aged 9, and two younger daughters.

In 1871, Susannah and Abraham were still at the “Post Office”. Susannah was now described as Postmistress and Abraham was a Gardener; their son, Francis was still living at home and he was described as “Under Gardener”; daughter, Alice, was an unemployed “General Servant”; also at home was their 8-year-old son, Frederick, who was a “Scholar”.

Strangely, there is no mention of a Post Office in Kelly’s Directory of 1875; the entry says, “Letters through Chippenham. The nearest money order office is Malmesbury”.

By 1881, Susannah was no longer Postmistress. Her husband, Abraham, had taken over as Postmaster and his son, Frederick was Assistant Postmaster. In around 1890, the local Post Office service was transferred to the village shop. However, Susannah and Abraham continued to live at “No. 25 Dauntsey” and in 1901, Abraham, aged 79, was still working, probably as a semi-retired bailiff or gardener. Susannah Skull, nee Greenman, died at the age of 80 in 1908 and her husband died at the age of 87 in 1909.

The 1911 census records that there was only one person with the surname Greenman still living in Dauntsey: 76-year-old widow and pensioner Ann Greenman of Dauntsey Wharf. She was living with her daughter-in-law and her grandson, who was a coal haulier. The Greenman name had, however, been passed on to the grandson as his middle name; he was named Joseph Greenman Burgess.

Read more about Dauntsey and other Wiltshire families in the New Year. If you would like to discover your own family stories, please contact Steph Woods.

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