Portrait of William Wenban Smith

Name: William Wenban Smith

Burial Number: 0349

Gender: Male

Occupation: Clerk; Builder; Builders Merchant;

Born: 00/00/1839

Died: 17/01/1901

Buried: 21/01/1901


William Wenban Smith was born in Ticehurst, Sussex to William and Mary Smith in 1839. They lived at Ticehurst Farm. Sadly, William’s mother died at the age of 32 years in 1844. William’s father then married Sarah Sweetman in 1846.

The 1861 census finds William Wenban Smith living at The Railway Tavern in Wadhurst with his cousin and working as a clerk. By 1867 William married Elizabeth Lephard in Ticehurst and they had two daughters, Mary E 1868 and Emily in 1870.

The 1871 census finds William and his family living  at Stanley House, Broadwater Road, Worthing and he is now a Builder, employing 17 men and 4 boys.

William and Elizabeth had three more daughters, Florence 1873, Louisa 1874, Ethel K 1880 and two sons,

William E 1876



and Frederick W 1878, during the next ten years and the 1881 census shows the family living at Victoria House, next to the Norfolk Hotel, Broadwater Road, Worthing. William is now a Builders Merchant, employing 37 men and 4 boys.

They had another daughter, Edith Helen in 1882 and sadly, Elizabeth died in 1883 soon after giving birth to their 7th daughter, Mabel. Unfortunately, Mabel died two months after her mother.

William continued to suffer sadness in the family as his daughter Florence died, aged 15years, in 1887 and another daughter Louise died aged 19 years in 1893.

William Wenban Smith died aged 62 years on 17th January 1901, leaving effects of £118,270.13s. and probate was shared between Edwin Lephard, Gentleman, Robert Piper, Fruit Grower and William Edmund Smith his eldest son.

The 1901 census shows William Edmund Smith living at Ground Floor, East Mansion, with Mary E (Streeter) 32yrs, Ethel Kate 21yrs, Edith Ellen 19yrs, Frederick William 22yrs, Kathleen Mary Streeter 9yrs, Hilda Louise Streeter 7yrs, John Wenban Streeter 5yrs with a cook and two housemaids.

Researcher: Sue Standing

The Grave

Photograph of headstone for William Wenban Smith

Location in Cemetery

Area: EB Row: 5 Plot: 32

Exact Location (what3words): rivers.thanks.youth

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


In loving memory of William Wenban Smith who departed this life January 17th 1901 aged 62years. "They rest from their labours and their works do follow them." Also of Elizabeth wife of the above who departed this life May 26th 1883 aged 37years. Her end was peace. And of Mabel daughter of the above who died July 18th 1883 aged 2 months

Further Information


Name: William Wenban Smith

Gender: Male

Born: 00/00/1839

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: 25/3/1867

Spouse First Name: Elizabeth

Spouse Last Name: Lephard

Town of Marriage: Ticehurst

County of Marriage: Sussex

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 17/01/1901

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 1: East Mansion

Address line 3: Heene Road

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


23/1/1901 Worthing Gazette

He came to Worthing in 1868 on business for Messrs Longhurst, builders of Hastings. Took charge of the building of a terrace of houses just west of West buildings. He decided to stay and started a business in Station Road. Besides building operations, he laid out Selden Road, Farncombe Road, Lennox Road ad several others in West Worthing. Also established an ironmongery in Chapel Road He was joint proprietor of the Royal Hotel and the Albion Hotel and managing director of the Durrington Brick Co. He was also an important Freemason. On the day before he died, he was at Southwater where he had started a brick making enterprise. He suffered a fit and was taken by train to Shoreham and then Mr Town provided transport to his home at East Mansions. He died the following morning. There is a wonderful description of the funeral at Heene. The Freemasons dropped sprigs of acacia into his grave on top of the coffin.

23/1/1903 Worthing Gazette, page 3

The Funeral Ceremony, Interment at Heene Cemetery. Large Assembly of Mourners at the Graveside.

The funeral took place at Heene Cemetery on Monday afternoon, the body being the first conveyed on a funeral car from East Mansion, the residence of the deceased, to St. Botolph’s Church. Therte were four mourning coaches. Members of the Lodge of Freemasons formed up two ranks outside the building, and the body was conveyed inside the church, preceded by the Rector (the Rev. J.P. Fallowes), and with the immediate mourners following, the members of the Masonic Order, each wearing a sprig of acacia, filing in afterwards and occupying the seats reserved for them in the back pews to the west of the centre aisle. The front seats were occupied by the relatives and employees of the firm of which the deceased was head. The remaining part of the building was filled with the general public.

After the short service the body was taken to the Cemetery near by, and at the graveside a further service took place. At the close the whole body of Freemasons filed past the grave, dropping on to the coffin the sprigs of acacia from their buttonholes.

The coffin was of polished oak with brass furniture, and the breast-plate bore the following inscription:

William Wenban Smith, Died 17th Jan., 1901. Aged 62 years.

The Mourners who occupied the carriages were Messrs. W.E. Smith and F. Smith (sons), Mr P.A. Cragg, of Heston (son-in-law), Councillor E. Lephard (brother-in-law), Mr P.E. Lephard, Mr Streater, Alderman R Piper, and Messrs. E. Roffey, H.B. Piper, R Grevett, G.A. Hunt, J. E. Saunders, Rolls, J Town, and W.G. Patching.

The Freemasons who attended were the Rev. P. Crick, Dr. F. Hinds, Alderman E.T. Cooksey and R Piper, Councillor G. Baker, and Messrs. J.L. Carpenter, F. Carter, R.W. Charles, C.C. Cook, D. Cotton, T.H. Crouch, F.L. Davies, J. Farncombe, F.C. Gates, C.F Haines, H.W. Hollis, C. Jemmett, W.H. Jordan, T.J. Lyne, C.A. Masters, J.H. Mitchell, W. Nockels, R. Nelson, Walter Paine, E.G. Painter, C.R. Ramsay, J. Roy, W.H. Sawle G.B. Simpson, G. Smith (Canton House), H.E. Snewin, G.H. Warne, And J.B. Whitington, of the Worthing Lodge of Friendship; together with Messrs. V.P. Freeman, T. Bushby, T. Gardiner, B.D. Marner, and W. Skindle, members of other Lodges.

Others present included alderman Captain A. Cortis, and E.C. Patching, Councillors D Brazier, G. Gravett, T. Gray, G. Hewer, and J. White, Messrs. F.H. Aldridge, G. Apted, G. Brazier, O. Biggs, H.G. Box, HJ. Blaker, J. Churcher, C.C. Cook, F.O. Coombes, T. Cracknell, A.T. Chapman, R.T. Bragg, S. Clark, R. Dale, T. Davis, E. Duffield, J. East,  S. Field, C. Fibbens, Melvill Green, G. Goodall, G.W. Goodall (representing the Institute of Clayworkers, of the Committee of which deceased was a member), Gardener, J.M. Head, J.W. Hacker, J. Heron, J. Haywood, J. Hill, E.H. Isted, J.C.S. Kirshaw, H. Kent, Kilgour, J.G. Mills, J. McKerns, E. Meager, C. Moor, F. Martin, G. Norris, F.W. Patching, W.C. Patching, William Paine, C. Paine, W. Reynolds, G. Russell, F. Roberts, F. Sandall, G.E. Steere, E.J. Saunders, J. Stapleton, S. Smith (Horsham), W. Sams, and J. Webster.

The Floral Tributes were very numerous and beautiful, and the inscriptions borne by them were as under:  In loving memory of dear father, Emmie and Percy; In loving memory of our dear father, from Will and Fred; In loving memory of our dear father, from Katie and Edie; In loving memory of my dear father, Lizzie; In loving memory of our dear grandpapa, from Kathleen, Hilda and Jack; In affectionate remembrance, from his brother and sister, J. and F. Hoadley; In loving memory, from John, Sarah Ann, and family; In affectionate remembrance, Mr and Mrs Edwin Lephard and family; From the employees, with deep respect and sympathy, Newland Road department; With deepest regret from the employees at Southwater Brick Works; With deep regret, from the employees of Grigg’s Farm, Horsham; A small token of respect from the Gardener; With sincere regret, from one who has worked under him for twenty years; With deepest regret and sympathy from the Manager, staff, and works of the Ironmongery Establishment; From his old friends, members of the Union Club; With deepest sympathy, from the staff of the Royal Hotel; With sympathy, from old friends of the Albion; From the Worshipful Master of the Worthing Lodge of Freemasons. “As a Freemason he rose to eminence, by merit lived respected, and died regretted.”; From the Companions of the Royal Sussex Chapter, with deep sympathy; To the memory of a worthy brother, with deepest sympathy, from the Worthing Lodge of Freemasons, No. 851; With sincerest sympathy, from Mr and Mrs Mills and family; With much sympathy, from Miss A.M. Dent; With Mrs Isted and family’s sincere sympathy; With deep sympathy, from Mr and Mrs Piper and family; With sincere sympathy, from B.D. Marner; With remembrance and sincere sympathy, from Mr and Mrs T. Bushby; With sincerest sympathy, H. Greville Montgomery; From Mr and Mrs George Patching, with deep sympathy; From Mr and Mrs Edward Roffey, deepest sympathy; With affectionate regard and deepest sympathy, from W.A. Walker; Arthur F. Rolls, Stamford Hill, N.; With sincerest sympathy, from Mr and Mrs Farncombe and family; From William and E.R. Streater, with love and deepest sympathy; From J.E. Saunders, with sincere sympathy; With deepest sympathy, from Mr and Mrs Reinhard Datz; With Mr and Mrs Clifford Russell’s heartfelt sympathy and in memory of a dear friend; With deepest sympathy, from Mr and Mrs R. Grevett; With deepest regret, form Mr and Mrs M.S. Fuller, Lancing;

The wreath from the Southwater employees was a permanent one. Those from the Freemasons were especially beautiful, one consisting entirely of violets attracting great attention. Messrs. Patching and Co. were the undertakers.

We learn that in consequence of the death of Mr Smith the Management Committee of the Union Club, of which he was one of the first members, has decided to postpone the Club’s annual dinner, which was fixed for February 7th.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £118270 13 s 0 d

Current value of effects: Not calculated

Census Information


Living at Tolhurst Farm, Ticehurst

William Wenban Smith aged 2yrs;


Living at Tolhurst Farm

William Wenban Smith, Scholar;


Living at the Railway Tavern, Wadhurst

Joseph Smith; William Wenban Smith, Clerk;


Living at Stanley House, Broadwater Road, Worthing

William Wenban Smith, Builder employing 17 men and 4 boys; Elizabeth; Mary E aged 3yrs; Emily aged 1yr; Susan Wakeham 13yrs, domestic servant;


Living at Victoria House, next to the Norfolk Hotel, Broadwater Road, Worthing

William Wenban Smith, Builders Merchant employing 37 men and 4 boys; Elizabeth; Emily aged 11yrs; Louisa aged 7yrs; William E aged 5yrs; Frederick W aged 3yrs; Ethel aged 1yr; Elizabeth Tulet aged 20yrs, general servant; Harriet Banfield aged 13yrs, Nurse;


Living at “Remenian” Victoria Road, Worthing

William Wenban Smith; Emily aged 21yrs; Louise 17yrs; William E 15yrs; Ethel K 11yrs; Edith Helen 9yrs; Rosa Wheatland 22yrs, general servant;

Miscellaneous Information

All About Horsham

“From the early 20th century, brick making became a year-round industry, employing many people” Brick Making – We can’t discuss employment in the district without investigating brick making. This was a  seasonal industry from the 17th to the 19th century until the foundation of major brickworks such as Warnham and Southwater.

From the early 20th century, brick making became a year-round industry, employing many people. Christ’s Hospital School, which moved from London to Horsham in 1902, was constructed using around 25 million bricks, many of which came from Horsham, Warnham and Cranleigh. One local myth is that Broadbridge Heath grew from housing the builders who worked on the site. However, this is untrue.

Warnham Brickworks was founded in 1896 by Peter Peters, who purchased the land at Pond Tail Farm. By moving out of Horsham town centre, Mr Peters could use the railway line to bring him the town refuse and to take away his bricks.

Three years later, Mr Peters sold out to William Belcher, a London builder, who created the Sussex Brick Company Ltd. In 1903, only two men were working at the site, but the business was transformed and the following year three kilns were operating with a target output of 20 million bricks a year.

During the First World War, the original brickworks north of the station closed , never to reopen. After the war, the industry boomed and three more kilns opened in 1927, the year the company reverted to its old name the Sussex Brick Company, a nightshift started which was to run through the Second World War right up to 1979.

The company continued to grow after the Second World War and merged with Redlands Holding Limited in 1959.

The brickworks at Warnham is now operated by Wienerberger Ltd.

Southwater was famed for its brickworks for almost a century. the factory started in 1890, when the father of Peter Peters purchased Andrews Farm and ran a brick-working factory on the site. As the farm was next to the railway line, it allowed for two sidings, one for dispatching the bricks and the other for receiving coal.

In 1898, Peters mortgaged the works to raise money for investment in Warnham and in 1899 it was sold to Horsham builder Mr Mills and his new partner William Wenban-Smith. They formed the Southwater Brick & Tile Company in 1900, which produced a high class, pressed engineering brick.

In 1907, Southwater Brick & Tile Company amalgamated with the Sussex Brick & Estates Company Ltd at Warnham, improving the finances of the firm.

The works continued to develop after World War One with the introduction of new engines, driers and kilns which enabled 310,000 bricks to be made every week in the 1920’s.

The men also saw improved working conditions, with a bathhouse opening in 1924 and special events including an outing to Southend for employees. About 400 people travelled first class and the chairman’s wife gave out chocolates and cigarettes to all.

By the 1950’s, the bricks made at Southwater were being exported all over the world. In 1959, the site became part of Redland Bricks Ltd, but by 1982 the brickworks were closed. the railway line was axed in 1967 and on 4 August 1983 the last Southwater chimney was blown up. In its place, the council created a country created a country park.