The A'Bear Branch

Memorandum by F.R.B.

Lyson's Eng...(unreadable)

p.411. Manor of Bear Place, Parish of Wargrave is property and residence of Moses Ximenes, Esq., who purchased in 1780 of the Hon Capt. Hamilton. Previously it had been in the family of De Grey and Silver and is said to have been formerly in the A'Bears, a family still existing and supposed to be of the great antiquity but their names are not found at the Heralds College nor among the Tower Records.

Bear Hill was in 1746 Lady Preston's Seat.

H.J.Reid's History of Wargrave 1885.

p.114. Register of the Parish Church.
About the first name is Abear. Several times occurs between 1536-43. In 1544 the death is recorded of no less than nine of them within three weeks believed to be father, mother and seven children, probably caused by an epidemic.

It is currently believed that the A'Bears date from the Conquest, but we have elsewhere noted the first mention of the name viz. in 1340. The College of Arms fails to record them.

William Silver married Jane daughter of John A'Bear early in the 18th Century. By the Will of John A'Bear dated 1709 certain properties in Wargrave passed to the above Wm. Silver and are now held by Mr. Darter his descendant.

(* ? William Silver Darter who died about 1888. F.R.B.)

Mrs. K.J.Clisenson's History of Shiplake.

p.357. In 1887 Mr. Sewell let Shiplake Court Farm to Mr John Burton A'Bear, one of the ancient family of yeoman farmers known for centuries in this neibourhood both in Berks and Oxfordshire.

Note: The A'Bears have a right to the Three Feathers as armorial bearing, like the Prince of Wales, given to their ancestor after the battle of Crecy.

p.358. In December 1819 Mr Daniel A'Bear died, and was buried at Shiplake at the age of 32 and his Mother, Mrs Elzth. A'Bear died the next month, January 1820.

There is no doubt of the great antinquity of the A'Bear family. It seems probable also that originally they were a branch of the De la Beres' family, as to which there are many records to be found in the various published Records.

The following is taken from the record of "Wills and Administrations in the Archdeaconry of Berks from 1508 to 1652". Issued by the British Record Society Ltd. 1893:-

1557 Abeare, Abere, A'Beyre, Beire or Bere (Befer) George Reading. Dand. 30
1616 Abeare, John Snr. Harehatch, Wargrave 1655.
1550 Abeare, John Snr. Wargrave. Aust.10.
1640 Abeare, John Wargrave
1637 Abeare, Mary Wargrave ad. 1a. iii
1550 Abeare, John Wargrave B.118
1553 Abeare, Wm. Wargrave B.192
1544d. Abeare, Thos. Wargrave Dand.40
1562 Abeare, Thos. Wargrave D. 363
1637 Abeare, Thos. Wargrave ad. 1a iii
1550 Beare, Bere, Beire or Abere, John Wargrave B.118
1553 Beare, Wm. Harehatch, Wargrave B.192
1598 Beare, Thos. Padworth ad. J.423.

In November 1906, I (F.R.B.) was corresponding with Mr. John Bevan A'Bear of "Cornfields", Henley-on-Thames, Farmer and subsequently saw him several times and he was good enough to allow my Father and myself to see some old Deeds and Wills of which we took a note. There is a small bell in Waltham St. Lawrence Church Tower presented by Mr. John Abeare of the Hill in 1818.

The Hill or Hill Farm was owned and farmed by the family for many generations. In fact nearly all the farms each side of the River have at some time been farmed by this family and the name appears in old deeds relating to property hereabouts.

The Gibstrode Farm House has for many years been turned into a Cottage for one of the hands. F.R.B.

The following notes were taken from the Deeds and Wills produced as stated by Mr. J.B.A'Bear:-

1632 Nov 30th Deed to which John Abeare of Holden on the Hill Near Harehatch was a party as purchaser
1679 May 5th Deed. Thomas Abeare of Harehatch, Yeoman, son and heir of his father Thomas Abeare, Yeoman, deceased late of Harehatch who was one of the sons of John Abeare Snr. late of Harehatch, Yeoman, deceased and John Abeare then of Harehatch, Yeoman, eldest son and heir of his father John Abeare deceased who was the son and heir of the said John Abeare Snr. decd. and eldest brother to said Thomas Abeare deceased.
1704 Oct 7th Two of the parties are John Abeare Father & Son both described as of the Hill. A Deed entered into on the marriage of the son to Martha Underwood.
1704 Nov 7th Deed. John Abeare of Wargrave "of the Parish" to John A'Beare "of the Hill" purchaser and Edwd. Simeon./td>
1710 Oct 14th Release John Abeare of the Parish to Edward Simeon.
1728 August 20th Will of Elizabeth Simeon (so dated) Widow described as of Gibstrode gives to her daughter Mary Sayor her farm called Gibstrode.

N.B. Mary Sayor probably married Caleb Abeare. F.R.B.
1729 April 28th Lease John Abeare the Elder, yeoman to John Abear the Younger husbandman both of Wargrave.
1741 Oct 3rd Will so dated of John Abear the Elder of the Will Wargrave Yeoman, Gestions in the order as under:-

Sons: (1) John (3) Francis (4) Joshua (5) Caleb to whom he gave 200.

Daughters: (2) Rebecca Drew wife of Richard Drew of Twiford, Cellar maker - (6) Ann wife of John Clarke (7) Mary wife of John Butler. He appointed one of his Executors his brother in law, Mr Silver of Henley-upon-Thames, Wheelwright (Of. Reid's History of Wargrave).
1744Aug.20th Deed mentions John Abeare of the Hill near Hare Hatch.
1744Augt. 22nd Settlement made on the marriage of John Abear of the Hill & Elizabeth Whitfield.
1769June12th Will of this date proved 6 Nov. 1771 of John Abear of the Parish of Wargrave mentions John also son John Burton Abear
1785July5th Draft Release to John A'Bear "of the Hill".
1787June22nd Lease of lands to John A'Bear of Harehatch, Yeoman.

Account of the lands at Hare Hatch belonging to the late John Abear - signed J.B.A'Aear.
1796April18th Admission refers to Mary A'Bear Widow, one of the devisees of John A'Bear.
1820Oct14th Probate of Will dated 3rd May 1799 of Mary Stevens of Caversham Spinster granted to amongst others, Sarah A'Bear formerly Stevens wife of John A'Bear.

From Burn's History of Henley-on-Thames (1861) p.266

This Book containing the Court Roll from 1622 notes:-

John Abeare:
The family of A'Bear still hold a farm at Hare Hatch.
It is said that when Charles II was passing near it one of his courtiers remarked that that family had held it for 500 years & that the farm had never been more or less ...

Notes of papers relating to the A'Bear connection in possession of Miss Augusta A. Mills. (April 1911)

1806 Oct 3rd
Receipt so dated "to a pair of Grave stones to the Memory of Joshua ABear put up in Wargrave Church Yard", also the engraving etc.

Mutilated copy of the Inscription:-

Sacred to the Memory of Joshua ABear who departed this Life Feby. the 15th 1800 Aged 43 years.

For whatsoever had affliction ...
For Virtues trial or for p.....
Let's bear it calmly the la...
And still adore the Hand...

More recent research (2003) has found that the complete quotation should be:

Then, to whatever End Affliction's sent,
To try our Virtues, or for Punishment,
We bear it calmly, tho' a pond'rous Woe,
And still adore the Hand that gives the Blow.

1813 April 8 Received of Mrs. Diana Abear £15 for corn. John Allen.
1817 Aug. 14 Recd. of Mrs. Abear £10 on a/c ... Geo. Newell
1819 March 11 Recd. of Mrs. Diana A'Bear £6 for "Low Tun" of Hay. Ann Whitfield.
1832 Aug. 13 Recd. of Mrs. Bergh £6.7.4. Jn. Harrison
1832. (Bill) The Executors of the late Mrs. Diana ABear to Jn. Harrison for Coffin & Housekeeping.
Note: Mary ABear afterwards Berg died in 1781 and her husband F.C.A.Berg left England in 1783 and died in 1817. It is surprising therefore that as late as 1832 the connection was kept up. Perhaps Mrs. Diana was the Widow of Joshua, brother of Caleb? F.R.B.

Richard Lloyd (in 2003) writes:

I've spoken to Di Bush who lives at Gibstroude farm. The old cottage (pair of cottages) were pulled down about 1970, at the time when the Bushes built their current bungalow. The door with the painting was kept, and is somewhere on their premises - probably in the loft. The painting is of a man with staring eyes draped with a snake (I think she said) and the men refused to go into that area of the farm to work when the door was open because they were scared of it! It was looked at by an art expert, and deemed to be early 19th century; has been used as a dartboard at some time! I'll hope to get to see it sometime and try and photograph for you.

Pope (in 1929) wrote:

On a door in the farmhouse there is a painting with a local reputation for age, but I think it unlikely the painting is 50 years old or the door 100.

What slightly complicates the Gibstroude question is that the present Farm of that name was during the 20th C an outpost, run from the farmhouse now known as Highfield Farm, half a mile away across the fields.

This page was very difficult to read, and it is possible that there are a few errors of transcription.