Friday, 27 November 2009


Chant & Offin, Purdy & Longley

This is the church at Hutton in Essex which I visited on the 25th. At one time there was a wealthy local family named Offin and Mary Ann Offin married Samuel Chant. He was from a Shoreditch family with stockbroking connections. I can trace his line back, but only so far because of missing records. Samuel is buried here.

Mary Ann's great niece, Catherine Offin, moved to Crewkerne. She married Ptolemy Colmer. There are still Colmers in the area but I have not tied any of them to my Chant family yet.

Mary Ann's nephew, Henry Offin, married Clara Purdy. Clara was the daughter of John Purdy a gun spring maker from the east end of London. When Henry died Clara moved to Albert Square (Stratford not Walford), less than a quarter of a mile from Chant Street where property was owned by related members of Samuel's Chant family.

Before I started on the family tree and when Eastenders was new on television I mentioned Albert Square to my mother. "I was born there," she said. Although that does not reflect on her birth certificate, why should she have said that? It certainly stuck in my mind and she was not one to court an association with a television programme, no matter how popular. A fact which could occur, probably only to me, was that there may have been a family connection. She was the first born and her mother could have gone to a relative for her confinement. Her Longley mother was a Purdy!

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