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The Back Family linked to Lynsted Parish and nearby

The Back family in Lynsted generated an exchange of correspondence between David Bage, Nigel Heriz-Smith and family researcher Mrs Courtney in 2005. Mrs Courtney also shared with us a copy of her family tree research notes.

Stephen Back - Schoolmaster

Dear Mrs Courtney (copied to David Bage, who had the initial enquiry),

This is my best estimate of the location and some background (that I assume you have but was more or less ready to hand so is included here).

Lynsted Map Detail for the SchoolhousesTaking the census of 1861 and the order of houses that moved north, the sequence was: series of unnamed cottages -> schoolhouse -> Lynsted Cottage -> Vicarage House -> Bogle House. So, in 1861, there were no houses between Vicarage House and Bogle, which is half way towards Greenstreet (A2).

Looking at the maps of 1872 and 1909, clearly there was a change in use of houses along the north end of The Street that reflects the construction of the new Primary School (1878) on land donated for that purpose by the Vallance family.

Lynsted Map detail from 1909In the map of 1872, the house now called Vicarage Farm appears to me to be the location of the school in question - now called "School (Boys and Girls)", followed by the lovely cottage next door with the "chapel-like" windows and then what is now known as "The Vicarage". You will notice from the detail of 1872, there was also a "Schoolhouse" marked further north, next to what is now called Berkeley House. However, given the order of the census, this is not the residence but may have been another school building.

We can speculate (I have no evidence) that the donation by Aymers Vallance of the land in 1878 may have reflected the dispersed sites and sought to bring everything into one site. Given that the site of the old "Schoolhouse" (1872) is now host to a modern house, it may be that the "Schoolhouse" was in a poor state?
[Note: Mrs Courtney responded - according to an 1853 Inspection Report there was only one school]

Early schoolhouse in Lynsted VillageSo, I believe that what we now know as Vicarage Farm, was the "School (Boys and Girls)" in 1861.

I have attached some details from our records that may be of interest and will help you make sense of my text.

I assume you have the entry for the 1861 Census, but just in case:

Name Estimated Birth Year Birthplace Relationship Age
Agnes Black abt 1848 Linsted, Kent Daughter 13 yrs old
Henry Lilly Back (could read "Solly" too - 1871 census gives "S"??) abt 1859 Linsted, Kent Son 2 yrs old
John Solly Back abt 1857 Linsted, Kent Son 4 yrs old
Martha Back abt 1850 Linsted, Kent Daughter 11 yrs old
Sarah Back abt 1822 St Lawrence, Ramsgate Wife 39 yrs old
Sarah Back abt 1860 Linsted, Kent Daughter 8 months
Stephen Back abt 1813 Teynham Head Schoolmaster 48 yrs old
William Alfred Back abt 1843 Teynham, Kent Son 18 yrs old, Gardener
Elizabeth Sherlock abt 1785 Eastling, Kent Lodger Widow

1871 Census: The family appears to have decamped to No.1 Manor Place (off Ospringe Street), Faversham in the next census with Stephen Back (now 58) registered as - gardener "domestic service". Family members resident were: Sarah, Agnes, John S, Henry, Sarah and John S.

1881 Census: Sarah (57 - not unusual to see variations in reported ages) is now the head of household at 18A Park Road, Faversham and registered occupation as Laundress. Resident with her are Agnes “Greyath” (30), John (24 - gardener), Sarah S (20 - ironer), and James Back (17 - drapers apprentice). Further detectivework by Mrs Courtney discovered that Agnes’s married name should have been registered as “Guyatt”. The census of 1901 identifies Agnes as married to James Guyatt (Political Agent of Stoke next Guildford St Saviour, Guildford, Surrey, England - with three children. It does look like vagaries of spelling created the confusion? This goes to show how names and dates are fairly approximate.

1891 Census: Sarah (68) is now head of household in 27 Park Road. Now only with John S (36 - Railway Signalman), and Sarah (30 - Assistant Laundress). The Chatham to Faversham Railway line was opened on 25th January 1858, roughly the year after John was born in "Linsted".

I hope this is helpful - I found it an interesting family story!

Do you mind if I reproduce this snippet of research on our website as an example of how detective work can cast sidelights on our Parish history? If you have any of your family history on a website, I can then link through for those interested in following your story further?

Nigel Heriz-Smith
Lynsted with Kingsdown Society


Further research by Mrs Courtney has been supplied for connections made to date in the form of a family tree.

.... and some clarifications in a follow up e-mail of 16th June:

“Now some random notes -

I think Solly is Sally & Henry & John were stepsons of Stephen. No firm proof but a probability?

Agnes's name was not Gwyneth - I have a copy of her birth cert, but probably her married name - Guyatt, but have found no evidence to back this up. [Society research suggests that the 1881 Census was wrong (giving Greyath - our misreading of this as “Gwyneth”, now corrected) and was correct by the time of the 1901 Census (giving Guyatt). There is plenty of ambiguity in family researches!]

The school was only on one site on 1853 inspection report so not dispersed on several sites then.

Harriott Back's grave (Stephen's sister in law) is in Lynsted churchyard first on the left as you go in the north gate. Thomas her husband was the builder.

As you can see - Stephen's eldest son became a Chief Inspector in the Metropolitan Police - not bad for a village lad. There seems to be a Southwark connection but I am a bit woolly on the exact truth.