Wine & Spirit Merchant

From the Bristol Mercury - Saturday 13 December 1862 page 5: "GROCERS AND WINE AND SPIRIT MERCHANTS.- A Young Man of 12 years' experience is now open to an Engagement as ASSISTANT. Satisfactory references. - Address A B, Bridge House, Chippenham."

In the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard - Saturday 20 December 1856 page 1, it is reported that Abraham Brown, domestic servant to John Wilson, grocer & wine and spirit merchant, High Street, Chippenham, who had a family of 7 children, was awarded a prize of £2 having been recommended by Mr. Wilson. This is most likely the A. B. above as John Wilson is advertising for a new assistant about this time too. From the same paper 5 June 1862: TO GROCERS. WANTED EXPERIENCED YOUNG MAN ASSISTANT.— Apply personally to Mr. John Wilson, grocer, wine and spirit merchant, Chippenham. It is possible that one of A. B.'s sons was assisting Wilson at the shop as A. B. himself was not young (47) in 1862. Wilson moves to Bath shortly afterwards and I suspect this is when John Anstey takes on the business.

John Anstey was born in Washfield, near Tiverton, Devon, in 1824, son of farmer John Anstey of Lower Pill and wife Susan Tidboald. By 1851, at age 27, he is assistant to Elizabeth Bardsley, a Tea Dealer on the Tottenham Court Road, London. He married Lavinia Mary, daughter of John Gillson Auger, Oyster Merchant, of Newington Place, at St. Mary Newington, Surrey, on 1 December 1859. He describes the occupation of both his father and himself, at the time, as farmers. Lavinia was born in Burnham, Essex, in 1819. By 1861 John had indeed reverted to farming, he and Lavinia were running a small farm at Bradley Down, just south of Washfield. They had a daughter that year, Kate Sweeting Anstey. Another daughter, Lavinia Mary, was born at the farm in June 1862, shortly before the move to Chippenham.

Mr. Anstey's premises suffered badly in the election riots in Chippenham in July 1865, as did many other homes and businesses of Conservative supporters. In December 1867 he had been nominated as Town Councillor in the place of the late Mr. B. I. Neale, but he had refused to accept the position. Anstey's business was sold in 1868, he announced the sale in the Wiltshire Independent - Thursday 12 November 1868: "The Bridge, Chippenham, October 30th 1868. John Anstey returns his thanks to the Clergy, Gentry, and other Inhabitants of Chippenham and its vicinity, for the support he has received for the past Six years, and begs to inform them that he has disposed of his business to Messrs. G. & H. POND, on whose behalf he solicits their patronage."

    In the same column George & Henry Pond announce their business: "Bridge House, Chippenham, November 2nd 1868 - G. & H. POND HAVING succeeded Mr. ANSTEY in his old established Tea, Coffee, Grocery and Wine and Spirit Business, beg leave to solicit from the Public a continuance of their favours, and at the same time their recommendation. They are resolved to buy in the best Markets, to select Goods of the first quality, and to be satisfied with a fair remunerative profit, feeling assured that this course, together with a careful attention to all commands, will ensure the patronage of all classes of the community." The license for the sale of wine & spirits was transferred at the petty sessions of Thurs. Nov 5th 1868.

From the Thanet Advertiser - Saturday 13 March 1869 page 3: "Presentation to a Tradesman. —Mr. John Anstey, who has recently taken Mr. Robinson’s grocery business in the High-street, had forwarded to him on Monday last a handsome testimonial from his successors (Messrs. G. and H. Pond), Chippendale (sic), Wilts, and few friends as a mark their esteem. The testimonial consists of handsome silver salver and an elegant claret jug. The salver, which weighs 79½ ozs bears the following inscription:-"Presented to Mr. John Anstey, Chippendale, Wilts, by his successors and friends as mark of esteem and respect on the occasion of his leaving that town for Margate, October, 1863" (the date when it was intended the presentation should be made.) The claret jug is beautifully chased and weighs 20oz. The initials of Mr. Anstey are engraved on one side and "1868" on the other. The salver and claret jug were manufactured by Messrs. Lias and Son, of Salisbury-court, Fleet Street, London." This information was key to finding John Anstey in the historical record. The incorrect spelling of Chippenham compounded the difficulty, and the sojourn there taking place between the census years, but after 20 years of searching I found him eventually. In the 1871 census he was running a grocery store at 52 High Street, Margate in Kent. He was here until at least 1874, but by 1879 he was a grocer at Knockhundred Row, Midhurst, Sussex. By 1891 he had retired and was living on his means at Victoria Street, St. Alban's, Herts. Daughter Kate was still living at home. Lavinia died in 1898 at 23 Cautley Ave., Clapham Common and was buried at Norwood Cemetery, Lambeth on 11 October. John died at the same address on 13 July 1903, leaving his estate to daughter Kate Sweeting Anstey. It seems Kate never married and died in Dorset in 1947. Lavinia Mary, daughter, died in Mere, Wilts. in 1957.

2 Gallon Stone Jar Anstey1.jpg
JOHN ANSTEY / Wine & Spirit Merchant / CHIPPENHAM

Potters Mark: Powell, Bristol.

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