James Winter, born about 1773 in Hampshire County, England , probably in the town of Durley, and Sally Light, born about 1781 in the town of Twyford, a few miles south of Durley, were married in Holy Cross Church in Durley on the 6th of November, 1801.  This small church was built over 700 years ago is still in use today as the Episcopal Church for the town.  Durley is located a short distance inland from the English Channel.   

The Durley Village website states:



"The village of Durley is located between Southampton and Bishop's Waltham, about 7½ miles North East of Southampton. Durley, with a current population of around 500 was first mentioned in A.D.900 when Edward the Elder made a grant of land to the Abbey of New Minster at Winchester.  It was known as Doerleage at this time. Durley soon became the property of the Bishops of Winchester as part of their Manor of Bishop's Waltham and thereafter its history was inextricably linked with that of Bishop's Waltham. Rumour has it that Durley Manor was home to the granddaughters of Oliver Cromwell. The manor house has since been demolished. The village church, The Church of The Holy Cross, dates back as far as A.D. 1300 and has undergone several additions and restorations. Gilbert White, the naturalist, became curate of Durley in September 1753 and held this post for eighteen months. During this time he had lodgings in Bishop's Waltham. Durley enjoys the benefits of an excellent primary school, two public houses and a Post Office. " 

         The church records also show other Winter marriages as far back as 1775 but I have not discovered if these are James’ relatives.  I have found baptisms listed for 7 children born to James and Sally – more information on the children later.  In the 1841 census, it appears that James and Sally (whose name is frequently listed as Sarah in different records) were living with their son, John and his family.  They were living on Durley Street and James, a labourer, is listed as 65 years old and Sally is 55.  James died in March 1844, at the age of 71, and was buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery on March 20th.         


 I have a copy of the death registration for “Sarah Winter”.  She is listed as the widow of James Winter, agricultural labourer.  She died on the 11th of August in 1853 at the age of 74.  She died in Bishop’s Waltham, a small town located few miles from Durley.  It appears that she might have been living with her daughter, Rachel, since Rachel is listed as “present at the death”.  The cause of death is stated to be ascites.  Today, the term is used to describe fluid that accumulates in the abdomen as a result of liver disease.  I am not sure if the term had the same meaning during that time period.  Sarah was buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Durley on the 14th of August.  Hopefully, a trip to this area might find surviving gravestones.


            It appears that the family was one of limited financial means.  James and his children were general labourers – often in the agricultural field.  I suspect that they worked for landowners rather than on any land that they themselves purchased.  The children stayed close to home and married local people.  This, then, is what I’ve been able to learn of  the seven known children:

1.  Sarah (1803-1871) is my paternal ggg-great-grandmother.  A separate biography is included on her.


2.  John was born in 1807 and baptized on October 11th.  He married Mary Cole (c1808-1883) and they had 5 sons and 1 daughter.  Children:


Andrew (b.1829), William (b.1831), Sarah (b. 1833), Henry (b. 1835), John (b. 1838), Edward (b. 1841).  In the 1841 and 1851 censuses, John and Mary are listed as living on Durley Street.  In 1841, John’s parents, James and Sarah are living with them and in 1851, John’s mother-in-law, Sarah Cole,  has moved in  with them.  By 1861, they have moved to Little Snakemoor Farm in Durley and their daughter, Sarah is with them. She has married a John Aslett and has two young sons, William Henry and John.  It appears that John Aslett may have been a mariner and is away at sea at the time.  Sadly, on the 31st of May, 1865 at the age of 58, John Winter “being of unsound and distracted mind did himself slay and murder by hanging himself on the limb of a tree.”  He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery on the 4th of June.


3.  Mary Ann, born 1810, baptized July 22nd.  She married William Merritt in Durley on the 24th of December.  They had 3 children – William (1834), George (1837), and MaryAnn (1846).  Mary worked as a laundress and her husband, William, was an agricultural labourer.  During the 1851 and 1881 censuses, they were found living in Bishop’s Waltham.  They both lived to at least the age of 70.


4.  Rachel, born 1813, baptized April 18.  She appears to have married a man with the surname of “Conduct” and they also lived in Bishop’s Waltham.  This was the name given on her mother’s death registration.


5.  William, born 1815, baptized July 23rd.  William died at the age of 8 in July of 1824.


6.  Charlotte, born 1818, baptized Dec. 27th.  She married a man from Durley, named Thomas Stubbington, on the 21st of November in 1840.  They had three known children:  Thomas (1848), Henry Albert (1855), and Harriet (1857).  For most of their lives, they lived in the town of Hound and Thomas worked as a shepherd and a gardener.  Charlotte lived at least until the age of 71 and was listed as a widow and living with her son Henry in West Ham, Essex County during the 1891 Census.


7.  Harriet, born 1826, baptized on the 26th of March.  She died from consumption (TB) at the age of 17 on the 20th March 1842 in Durley.


    Written by Patricia Balkcom, gggg-great grand daughter of James Winter,  February 19, 2007.