The Matthews family of Littlehampton

A cousin of my mum did a huge amount of research into the Matthews family who have long lived in Littlehampton, in fact the cousin still lives there! She did all this research before the days of the computer or the internet and what she produced was a magnificent and detailed family tree going back to the splendidly name Solomon Matthews, born in about 1786; he and his wife Sarah Moore had at least nine children, one of whom was named William, the first in a line of Williams who stretched down five generations to my Uncle, William Alan Matthews.

Four Williams, photo taken about 1892
Four Williams, photo taken about 1892

Once I took up researching the family tree I was lucky enough to have the internet to help me. I was working full time and living in the north of England, far away from Littlehampton on the Sussex coast. I thought there couldn’t be too many men named Solomon Matthews, and I searched and searched, and researched and researched and came up with very little.

About a year ago, I suddenly had a breakthrough and came across  Solomon Matthews with the same date as my great-great-great-great-grandfather Solomon, and I found him on a baptismal record in Billingshurst in Sussex. he was the son of Henry and his wife Ann Older. She was a widow who had been married to Samuel, five years older than her, who had died around 1773 leaving four children under the age of six, Hannah, Samuel, Mary and Ann.

Ann was fortunate to meet Henry Matthews, who married her and took on the children. Henry and Ann had a number of children themselves as well as Solomon, Elizabeth, Abraham and Henry, John Barnet and Fanny and lastly little Charlotte in 1793, who was 26 years younger than her half-brother, Samuel.

As with much family research, especially of old records nothing is certain, and I can’t find any trace of Solomon later, so I am not 100% sure he is the right person… and that his parents, Henry and Ann were therefore my ancestors… but I just feel that they were!!

Four Williams, photo taken about 1919
Four Williams, photo taken about 1919

The Matthews family settled in Littlehampton, and on my recent trip I found the road they had lived on and houses which were similar, if not the exact one they had lived in!



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