Subject Name: Ann Furlonger née Varndell (b 1809 – d 1885)
Ann was born on 24th February 1809 in Northchapel, Sussex, just over the Surrey border some 17 miles south of Godalming. She was the first recorded child of John and Frances Varndell, née Dalgrace, and was baptised on 9th March in nearby St Mary the Virgin Church, Petworth.
Ann’s sister Mary was born on 13th September 1812 at Tillington, Petworth. Less than three years later, their father John died and was buried on 19th February 1815 at All Hallows Church, Tillington.
This left Ann’s mother Frances in the difficult situation of having two young children to care for so it is likely she would have been keen to remarry, which she did three years later, to widower John Chalcraft in Tillington on 23rd December 1818.
When Ann moved from Sussex to Witley is not known, but on her marriage record to bachelor John Furlonger at the village’s All Saints Church on the 3rd October 1831, she was noted as a spinster of Witley. She would have been 22 while John was about ten years older.
Their first child Richard was born in 1833 and baptised at All Saints Church on 25th August 1833. They were living at Wormley Heath with John’s occupation noted as a labourer.
In 1836 they had a second son, John, who was baptised on 11th December 1836 at St Nicholas Church, Peper Harow, near Godalming where they were now living.
By 1841 the family were living in Dunsfold, Surrey with John an agricultural labourer. Both John and Ann are noted as 40 years old and the children Richard and John both 7, but these ages were all approximate – from other records, it can be calculated that John was actually 43, Ann 32, Richard 8 and John 4.
By the time of the 1851 census, Richard, 17, had left home to live and work with his uncle Richard Furlonger as a hay binder in Witley (9). This left John, age 56, Ann, 40 and their 14-year-old son John, a scholar, living in Labourn, a tything or subdivision of Godalming.
Richard was back with the family in Godalming by the 1861 Census with little else having changed. John, age 63, was still an agricultural labourer living with Ann, 53, and their son John, 24. Both Richard and John were unmarried labourers.
Six months after the Census, Richard married Mary Ann Hersey on 13th October 1861 in Godalming. His brother followed suit when he married Charlotte Bridger in Witley on 21st July 1866.
A year later, Ann’s husband John died at Sandhills, Witley on 24 October 1867, age 70, from “diseased lungs” (14). John was buried at Witley’s All Saints Church on 29th October.
This left Ann alone and with no apparent source of income, so she would have been eligible to receive poor relief. The Guildford Poor Law Union Statement of Accounts Book show that Ann received Non-Resident Outdoor Poor Relief in 1870 for the half-year ending Michaelmas (29th September) to the sum of £3 7s 6d (£3.37½). She received two further “non-resident poor” payments from Guildford while living in the Hambledon Union area (which covered Witley) – £3 5s 0d (£3.25) for the half-year ending Lady Day 1871 (25th March) and then the same amount again for the following half-year.
In the 1871 Census (2nd April), Ann aged 63 was living on her own in Witley. Both of her sons and their families were in the same village.
On 30th March 1872, the Guildford Board of Guardians Minutes “… ordered that the relief to Ann Furlonger belonging to Godalming and residing just over the border of this Union and hitherto relieved by Hambledon on account of this Union be continued by the Relieving Officer of the Godalming District.” So Ann did continue to receive Outdoor Poor Relief, and she would surely not have worried which Union it came from!
There are no further existing poor relief records nor Workhouse admission records to indicate Ann’s
situation until 1881, but it seems certain that she would have had a tough time in the intervening years.
We know that by 1881 she was in the Hambledon Workhouse because Minutes from a Hambledon Union meeting held on 6th January 1881 record that “The Clerk was instructed to inquire whether the Guardians of the Guildford Union would accept these paupers without orders of removal they appearing to belong to that Union.” Ann was one of these paupers. Two weeks later, on 20th January, the proposal had been agreed and “The Clerk reported that the Guardians of the Guildford Union had accepted Ann Furlonger and William Parsons from this Union without an order of removal.”
By the time of the Census on 3rd April 1881, Ann had been moved to the Guildford Union Workhouse, where she is noted as a widow, age 74, and occupation domestic servant. Perhaps she had worked as a domestic servant at some stage in her life?
At some later stage Ann left the Guildford Workhouse. It would be nice to think she was able to go back to live in Witley, but we don’t know her circumstances. However, we do know that she passed away at the Hambledon Union Workhouse on 21st October 1885 from an ulcer and senile decay, age 76. She was buried four days later at Witley’s All Saints Church where her wedding had taken place 54 years earlier.
September 2020, updated March 2022
Sources : Ancestry.co.uk
General Register Office gro.gov.uk
Surrey History Centre
Full references here