Westfield in East Sussex Village Guide

Selmes Families

If there are any family historians/genealogists who are interested in the Selmes family (occasional spelling Selms) from Westfield or any other parishes in East Sussex, then please leave a message as I may be able to help with info or connections.

I have direct Selmes ancestry myself and have a one-name study for Selmes, so am always keen to make contact with others researching the families.

Best Wishes,

8 responses to “Selmes Families”

  1.  avatar

    Hi Caroline,

    My husband has an Ann Selmes either the partner or wife of Henry Freeland who lived in Sedlescombe. I think Ann was born c1801 but do not know much more about her.


  2.  avatar

    Hello Sheila,

    Henry Freeland Selmes (baptised Mountfield 1775, son of Mercy Selmes) had a son Henry (born 1801 at Sedlescombe) and who seems to have used the name Freeland rather than Selmes. Henry Freeland married an Ann(e) Watson at Rye on 25 October 1819. Ann’s age was given as 39 at the 1841 census and her burial entry in 1849 shows age 45. I don’t have any further info to confirm Ann(e)’s origins, I’m afraid, but she could be Ann Watson, daughter of Sarah and Stephen, baptised at Sedlescombe on 4 November 1804. Stephen and Sarah also had a son Edward baptised on 25 December 1806 and I notice from the 1841 census that there is an Edward Watson and his family shown at the next entry after the Freelands.

    Happy to help further.
    Best wishes,

  3.  avatar

    Hello Caroline
    Thanks for that information. I always thought that the Selmes name belonged to Ann but that does not seem to be the case. It would explain why the children are entered as Freeland or Selmes. I would like to know how the Rye connection comes into things. I will have to try following the line of Mercy Selmes. There seem to be so many of them. If you have any information on Aaron Sargent who gives his birthplace as Westfield, born about 1805. I would be grateful. He has alluded me a for a long time.
    Many thanks,

  4.  avatar

    In his will dated 1806 Samuel Selmes of Sedlescombe (1717-1807) left £20 to “… my great grandson Henry, son of my grandson Henry Freeland Selmes..” According to the baptism entry for Henry Freeland Selmes at Mountfield on 25 April 1775, he was the baseborn son of Mary Selmes. Amongst his children, Samuel Selmes had a daughter called Mary and a daughter called Mercy. Mary Selmes married John Richardson in 1764 and they lived at Bexhill where they had four children, the last one (called Mercy) being baptised in April 1776. I do not think that she is the mother of Henry Freeland Selmes. However, Mercy Selmes had an illegitimate daughter Rebecca Selmes (father’s surname shown as Lingham) in 1777 in Hooe and then later married Samuel Ticehurst at Hooe in 1785. The entry in Samuel Selmes’ will for Henry Freeland Selmes appears directly after the bequests to Mercy’s children. I have not seen the original Mountfield baptism register entry, relying on a transcript only.However, in my experience it is not unusual sometimes for the name Mercy to appear as Mary in registers etc. So, all the evidence points to Mercy Selmes, and not Mary, as being the mother of Henry Freeland Selmes.

    As both Henry and his bride were quite young when they married they may have chosen a parish away from their homes to marry secretly. I don’t have a copy of the original marriage entry.

    There is a baptism for an Aaron SERJEANT at Westfield on 1 November 1807, son of James and Ann. They are probably the couple James Sarjant and Ann Pankhurst who married at Sedlescombe on 24 June 1792. James was noted as being ‘of Whatlington’ at the time of their marriage but I think he came from Battle. They had children baptised at Battle and then Westfield and both James and Ann were still alive at the time of the 1841 census, living in Battle. Ann Sargent was buried at Battle on 16 March 1845, age 78, and James Sargent on 14 December 1857 age 84.

    If you would like to contact me for more Selmes info my One-Name Study address is selmes at one-name dot org

    Best wishes

  5.  avatar

    Hi Caroline
    Just a quick thank you for all the information, gives me a lot to work on. I have tried to send a message on the address you gave me but do not think it is getting through to you.
    Regards Sheila

  6.  avatar

    Hello Sheila

    Try via the Guild of One Name Studies’ website www.one-name.org and put Selmes in the surname search box.

    Hoping to hear from you.

    Best wishes,


  7.  avatar

    Just ran into your conversation thread between Sheila Freeland and you. I am originally from state of Michigan, USA. My 2g grandfather was Horace Freeland from Seddlescombe. He was the son of Spencer Freeland (1806-1876) who was the son of Henry Freeland (1775-1815) both of Seddlescombe. My Spencer’s grandmother seems to be a Selmes. In all honesty, the Freelands mentioned here have a lot of proof behind them but the Selmes I have come across are just noted in other family trees I encountered on Ancestry.com. I have also been researching my 2xg grandfather Horace Freeland’s brother Spencer’s descendants. He followed Horace to America. Originally, they both met up in Illinois. Horace walked the distance between NY and there. Horace married a Canadian woman and lived in Ontario for awhile but then made it to Michigan. Spencer followed them to Ontario, Canada. Other than a short foray to Michigan he married several times and mostly stayed in Canada though he did fight in our Civil War and the 1860’s. Anyway, it looks like we’re Selmes, too. In case you ever want to see more of these two men’s descendants that I have put together I’d be glad to show them to you. I have also been accumulating but not adding to my ancestry.com tree, Bos Marquez Tree, all their modern day descendants. Not sure if you’re interested in a full-extension of one North American group of descendants. Of course, I’m really hoping you can help me understand my Selmes family tree. Get the impression you are a professional. I am an amateur, I guess. Not sure how to gauge that but I have been trying to look at the bigger picture of the diaspora of descendants on a number of my ancestors. I do have a marriage certficate coming from Eng. for Henry (Selmes) Freeland (1775-1815). Been waiting a month but it ids suppose to arrive on Dec 18, 2013. Just a few days away.

  8.  avatar

    Hello Don

    Thank you for getting in touch via this site and for the interesting family info.
    As you’ll see from my reply to Sheila’s message, Henry Freeland Selmes was the son of Mercy Selmes, and she didn’t marry Mr Freeland. It was common practice for mothers of illegitimate children to include the child’s father’s surname as a forename. Then if the couple married the mother’s maiden name could be dropped. In this case they didn’t marry, so strictly speaking his surname was Selmes and not Freeland. So if you are a descendant of Henry’s then you are one of the Selmes family.So far all the Selmes I have found are from one big family.

    I will get in touch with you via Ancestry to give a bit more info on Selmes or you can contact me via my Guild e-mail address Selmes at one-name dot org

    Best wishes,


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