Members of the Reffell family had lived in the rural country of Surrey since the 18th century and in 1861 there were still a number of families connected with the brewery trade living there. The senior member of the family was Elizabeth Reffell, the widow of John, but the rift which was to result in legal proceedings upon her death had already started. William Joseph Reffell was living in Gomshall Villa, next to the Black Horse pub & brewery with his wife Emma and children Josephine, William & Alfred. His brother Henry Reffell had already moved away and was living in Station Road in Reigate near to the Somers Arms. Also with him was wife Mary Ann and their three sons; John, William Robert & Arthur Henry, the future founders of the Reffell Brothers Brewery in Bexley.
Martha Reffell had never married and was living as a lodger in Shere Street, and was to die the following year. John Reffell was farming 65 acres at Gomshall. He had not married either. Henry Reffell was a gardener at Felday Moor. Sarah Reffell was aged 18 and working as a servant near Guildford, her parents were Samuel & Elizabeth from Bury St Edmunds.