In the chart, I have only covered the descendants of George Gambrel (b.1720). George had four siblings, and I know from a casual search that his brother Thomas (b.1711) married and had at least six children. So by the next generation there are Thomas’s six children and George’s eight children, and that’s before checking to see if siblings Mary, John or Elizabeth had offspring. So how many distant relatives are there still to be identified? If by chance you are one of them, please contact me.


Knowing where your ancestors came from is interesting, but it always leaves that unanswered ... “can I find out exactly where they lived, and what did they do for a living?”. As I developed this story I was amazed when, by chance, I found two references to Gambrel occupations in a most informative website ‘The Old Parish of Nonington’. From that website:

   1. George Gambrel is listed in the 1705 Tax Records for Nonington in a Frogham Street household comprising:

         William Sharp and his wife; his servant George Gambrel, .........

   This could be either George Gambrel b.1682 or his father, who married Elizabeth Jourdan. Also, I found several references to people in the area with the Jourdan surname, but as yet none that I can link to my Elizabeth Jourdan.  

    2. Thomas Gambrel - licensee of the Redd Lyon alehouse in Frogham, Nonington.

       “In 1744 began a long tenure by the family of Thomas Gambole, whose surname is spelt variously ... in assorted documents.

        He was succeeded in 1782 by his son, John Gambrell, who six years later died and was succeeded by ‘Widow’ Gambrele”.

Still to be resolved is whether the licensee is the same Thomas Gambrel (b.1711) I have in the family tree above. I do know that my Thomas had a son John (b.17xx), and their birth dates make them a perfect match with the 1744 and 1782 licensee dates.

Now to find the location of the Redd Lyon alehouse. I know
from the Old Parish of Nonington website that The Redd Lyon was renamed The Phoenix Inn sometime in the late 1700s. From an extract of an 1859 Nonington tithe map I was able to locate the Phoenix Inn in the Frogham borough of Nonington. See red circle in the blue framed box to the right.

The alehouse probably consisted of a parlour room in the front of the house, and the licensee’s family occupied other rooms in the building. An alehouse was a working class establishment, a bit downscale from an inn. The brewing of the ale may well have been the responsibility of the owner’s wife (a local brew indeed!).

My next challenge was to find the Frogham community on the 1801 area map above that I used to track family movements. Frogham Street is clearly marked, but the roads didn’t seem to match. Then I realized that drawing maps with North as the top wasn’t a given. When I twisted the blue framed map nearly 90-degree anti-clockwise, the roads all magically matched. And there was the same building on the 1801 map - lower map to right - red circle in the blue box. 

I have done some land surveying in my time, and I am in awe at the accuracy of these two maps - the roads are almost a perfect match!

Unfortunately the Redd Lyon building has long gone, so I can’t drop in to have a celebratory pint. Still, it really feels good to be able to visualize where an ancestor probably lived in the 1700s.

Another strong link is that although The Redd Lyon was in the parish of Nonington, it is only a 10 minute walk from Barfrestone, where many of my Gambrels resided in the 1700s.

You may have wondered just how big these villages and hamlets were. From the 1801 Census:

   Nonington (population 562);  Eythorne (pop. 346);  Barfrestone (pop. 59).

Barfrestone - population 59.  This intrigues me no end. That’s a dozen households. You can almost count them all on the map.I wanted to know more.

Barfrestone has become a story in itself.