The West Family Of Portslade

Heritage Plus volunteer seeks information about his ancestors

By John Cheves

Photo:Rod Patterson as an Army cadet, aged 12

Rod Patterson as an Army cadet, aged 12

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus Archive

Rod Patterson, one of our most dedicated volunteers and lifelong Portslade resident is seeking information about his ancestors. He writes:


My sister Christine and I have been tracing our family history in the Portslade area. This is the history of the WEST family, which is my mother's side of the family. Both my grandparents and my great grandparents on the West side of the family lived in Portslade.

Going back in time we found a lot of our ancestors came from the Cowfield/ Bolney area of Sussex. During our research we found a Nicholas West living in Bolney in 1636. He was my seven times great grandfather and he had a son - Thomas West born in 1672 at Cowfield. Thomas had six children, one being Elizabeth West born in 1707 in Bolney.

Thomas West held the property of the estate called Drewitts, which is located in the top right hand corner of the Parish of Cowfield and borders Slaugham and Bolney. Drewitts had previously been held by Edward West - Thomas's grandfather, my eight times great grandfather).

At some point (date and reason not known) Elizabeth came to Portslade to live. It is recorded that she held the property of Drewitts for a short while. In 1751 she married William Valance at St Ann's Church, Lewes. They were both of Portslade at the time. Now the story of Elizabeth ends. I have a copy of her will dated 1781 (the year she died). She left most of her property in Portslade to her sister's children.

Just as a matter of local interest I have listed a few names of Portslade families married to the WEST family.

DEACON, Rose married Henry D WEST (1892)
COOK, William married Lydia L WEST (1898)
BRAWN,   Emily married Oliver WEST (1895)
BANNISTER, Kate married George WEST (1899)
EDOM , Charles A married Mary J WEST (1903)
BENSLEY, Samuel married Kate WEST (1899)
BRAWN, Henry married Caroline WEST (1901)
RATCLIFFE, E married Jane WEST (1905)
GOACHER, Alice married John WEST (1907)
GRAYSMARK, George married Emily K WEST (1918)

I would love to know more about Elizabeth's life in Portslade, where did she live? Did she have children? And was she buried in Portslade?

If anyone has any information about the West family please contact Nicola Benge at WRVS Heritage Plus Portslade 07901 552164 or email

To read more about Rod's life and his days in the army please visit this page in our archive.

This page was added by John Cheves on 12/01/2009.

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