Samuel Nurse of Hanham (Born 1809)

Great-Great Grandfather – FFMF1
Figure 1: Samuel Nurse

Robert Francis Nurse - my great-great grandfather married his cousin Sarah Elizabeth Nurse. Robert's father Robert was the youngest child and his older brother Samuel was Sarah's father so he was also my great-great-grandfather.

Not much is known about Samuel's earlier life, but it is a fairly safe assumption that he helped his father in the malting business. He was still living with his parents when the 1841 Census was carried out.2

His occupation was not mentioned, but both his father and his brother Jonathan, who is the adjacent entry and may have lived in the same house are both described as Maltsters. The Census says he was 25 (ages of adults were supposed to be rounded up to the nearest 5 years), but he was actually 32. His occupation is stated as Maltster in the 1851 Census.3 The next mention of Samuel was when he married Dinah Willis on Christmas Day 1848.4

Figure 2: Dinah Nurse

Dinah was the eldest of six children (5 daughters and one son) of Robert Willis and Dinah Leonard.5,6

Willis7 is quite a popular name in Hanham, most of the Willises being labourers or quarrymen.3 Robert however, was quite well off, being classified, as a Yeoman in both the 1851 and 1861 3,8 censuses and his will,9 where he leaves most of his estate to his daughter Dinah Nurse, Samuel Nurse’s wife.

While both Samuel and his brother Robert had inherited the family malting business from their father Robert and brother Jonathan, it was Samuel who operated the business.

Figure 3: The Family of Samuel and Dinah Nurse

Samuel and Dinah had three children a boy Robert Willis (who died in infancy) and two daughters Sarah Elizabeth (my great grandmother) and Frances Willis. While I have not found a will for either Dinah or Samuel, Samuel apparently left his share to his son-law Robert Francis Nurse (who had already inherited his father's share).

Bibliography and Notes


  1. When showing relationships F means Father, M means Mother. So FFM is my father’s father’s mother.

  2. 1841 National Census. Microfiche copy held at the Bristol Reference Library.

  3. 1851 National Census. Microfiche copy held at the Bristol Reference Library.

  4. Parish Register for the Parish of St. Mary, Bitton, including the chapelries of Hanham and Oldland, 1571 - 1934. Microfiched by the Bristol Record Office, Bristol.

  5. Personal Notes of William Richmond Nurse, 1882-1937.

  6. Parish Register of St. Nicholas Church, City of Bristol, 1754-1812. Microfiched by the Bristol Record Office, Bristol.

  7. Due to the number of Willis families in the Hanham/Bitton area it has proven quite difficult to trace the Willis line back very far. Robert Willis and Dinah Leonard were married 24 Jun 1810 at St. Nicholas Church in the city of Bristol. Robert, born 28 Feb 1777, was the one of eleven children (6 boys and 5 girls) of Samuel Willis and Sarah Rawbone, who were married on 1 May 1774 at St. Mary, Bitton.4 Samuel Willis was the son of Thomas Willis and Elizabeth Hicks and Sarah Rawbone was the daughter of John and Jane Rawbone (and the sister of Betty Rawbone who married John Couch and was the mother of Sally Couch).

  8. 1861 National Census. Microfiche copy held at the Bristol Reference Library.

  9. The Will of Robert Willis, dated 19 Jun 1863; Bristol Wills, vol. 26, Bristol Record Office.

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