Robert Deudney (1801-1883)
Robert Deudney was a farm-owner, taking over the running of Gensing Farm from his father (the 1851 Census lists him as managing 787 acres and employing 26 men). Robert was possibly connected with the White Rock Brewery, although this was mainly his brother Charles' enterprise. He served as Commissioner for St. Leonards on many occasions - assisting James Burton in measuring and laying out plots for the new town - and held many public positions including that of representative of the Eversfield Estate; taking this role between 1844 and 1863, a Conservative Councillor until his resignation in 1854 citing his private work - this also required him to step down from the St Leonards Commissioners, chairman of the Gas Company, member of the Highways Board and Board of Guardians to name but a few. As his father, and grandfather before him had served, Robert acted as chair of the St. Mary Magdalen vestry meetings - presenting a vestry and account book dating back to 1767 to the church in 1857.
He resided at Gensing Farmhouse for sixty years of his life, only moving out when a builder dug under the foundations of the drawing room making the building unsafe. Robert and his wife had two daughters - Caroline (1807-) and Ellen (1836-).
In later years, he was resident at Gensing House, Maze Hill; his grandson Frank Simmons being listed as resident with Robert and his wife at the time of the 1871 census, where he died on the 31st of March, 1883. He had a wife and daughter who pre-deceased him, his wife in 1874. He was buried at Church in the Wood in the family plot.
As an aside, he acted to save this church for future generations at one point; the church having fallen into disrepair and a proposal was raised by the rector (the Rev. Rush) to remove the building to Sir Charles Lamb's house at Beauport. Deudney's opposal to this scheme was successful and the church remained in its original position.
References & Notes
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 28 December 1878 Pg. 0003
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 16 September 1871 Pg. 0002
- British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 3 March 1883 Pg. 0003
- Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 57
- UK Census return 1871