The Reffell Family - 1800s

In the early part of the century, the family was still largely confined to the South East. Much the family at this time seems to be in the county of Surrey, particularly around the Shere area, this branch eventually becoming the founders of the Gomshall Brewery. By 1826 Joseph Reffell had become the Colonial Secretary and Superintendent in Sierra Leone.

Henry Reffell was born to William Reffell and Hannah Smith in June 1792 at Albury. His parents were originally from Shere, but they had settlement in Albury on 21 April 1781. Henry married Amelia Fipps in 1815 at her parish of Ashtead, but two years later he obtained another settlement certificate that enabled them to move back to Shere. At this time they had one daughter Ceilia who was born in 1817. By 1830 the family had grown to three more daughters (Mary Ann 1820, Emma 1825, & Ann 1830) and two sons (William 1822 & John 1828), and there may be one other born around 1832. However, they are shown in the Shere list of paupers from 1830 to 1835. Ceilia had lately been ‘working in service’ at Epsom, but it appears that in some way she became chargeable to that parish. Therefore on 7 June 1834, a Removal Order was granted and she was removed back to Shere. There was salvation for her however on 10 November 1835 when she was married in the church of St James Shere to James Gilham. Henry Reffell died and was buried at the same church in 1863.

1881 census mapBy the latter half of the 1800s branches of the family had spread to London (Joseph Reffell), had become farmers in Buckinghamshire, brewers in Kent and gun makers in the Midlands. The map on the left is derived from analysis of the 1881 census returns for England & Wales, after allowing for incorrect transcriptions etc. The depth of the colour shown indicates the relative proportion of individuals in a census return for each county (the deeper the shade, the more individuals in that county). Areas with no colour indicates that there were no individuals in the census returns for that county. However, this does not take account of the fact that many of those who are shown to be in Kent, Surrey and Essex actually lived in what we would now call Greater London.

Henry Joshua Reffell was born, married and had his first two children in London. However another branch of the family was started when around 1883 he took his family to South Glamorgan and established the branch of the Reffell family that is still going strong in that area today.

More details about the family of one hundred and fifty years ago are shown in information taken from the 1861 census.

Between 1837 and 1899, in the UK there were 238 births, 106 marriages and 119 deaths recorded in the England, Wales and Scotland civil registration indexes.


1806 John Reffell marries Mary Ann Luxford at Chidingford

8 November 1807 Elizabeth wife of John is buried at Shere

14 December 1808 John is baptised at Shere

13 January 1814 John marries Elizabeth Smith at West Horsley

1817 Henry obtains Settlement Certificate for Shere

12 October 1817 Henry is baptised at Shere

11 February 1823 William Joseph I is baptised at Shere

2 July 1825 John is named as the father of Mary Allen's illegitimate baby

1824-9 Joseph Reffell Colonial Secretary and Superintendent is in Sierra Leone

1830 The Reffell Malthouse at Shere is built

1830 The Chestnuts at Gomshall is built

1830-5 Henry is shown on paupers list

1831 John buys Elm (now Seaforth) Cottage, Gomshall Lane, Shere

1844 Mary is the occupier of Seaforth Cottage according to the Tithe map

1855 In the Dorking Trade Directory - John R Farmer, William J Brewer

15 August 1865 Elizabeth dies leaving two conflicting wills to be contested

1865 Henry Reffell opens the Redhill Brewery

1874 Henry Reffell opens the Bexley Brewery, passing it to his sons to become the Reffell Brothers Brewery in 1886

1883 Henry Joshua Reffell leaves London and takes his family to South Wales

3 December 1898 The Reffell Brothers capitalise the Brewery as Reffells Bexley Brewery Limited