When you read any literature regarding the history of the village of Leigh , several names appear on a regular basis. William Charles Sealy – Manager of Gunpowder works John Cheeseman – Foreman at the Gunpowder works, James Thomas May – Vicar’s son and George Martin – Publican.
To these names we can add, from Tonbridge, William Martin, Robert John Saunders and Zachariah Sandall. All these man have a common link; they were all BROTHERS-in-LAW, as they all married daughters of Henry and Jane Morgan.
Henry obtained work as a carpenter at the gun powder works at Power Mill and moved to Leigh from Tonbridge between 1816 and 1818. Henry and Jane had 4 children but after their move added a further 8 children to the family.
Henry – b. 1812, Jane – b. 1814, William – b. 1815, Matthew Thomas – b 1816, Fanny – b 1818, Joseph – b 1821, Ann – b. 1823, Eliza – b. 1826, Esther – b 1828, Kezia – b 1831, George – b. 1833 and finally Harriot – b. 1837.
The boys married and raised their own families and there by extended the Morgan name, but the girls went into service several at the Vicarage.
The first to leave home was Fanny at the age of 17 in 1835 married John Cheeseman 8 years her senior. They produced 17 children, later they moved to Westmoreland where John was given the job as Foreman in the new Gunpowder Works. Many people today still living in the area can trace their Family History back to John and Fanny.
The next to leave was Jane who in 1836 married a local lad William Martin; they had one daughter and continued to live in the area.
Ann was next in 1846 in Paddington, London, she married Zachariah Sandall. They set up home in Tonbridge High Street, where Zachariah practised his trade as a butcher. They raised a family of 10 children.
In 1847 Esther married William Charles Sealey, the manager of the Gunpowder Works. William and Esther produced 10 children, firstly in Leigh, then Lancashire and finally Argyll, Scotland . Several of their children went into the gunpowder industry in Lancashire, Argyll, Yorkshire and finally back to Kent at Faversham.
Eliza finally left home in 1852 and married Robert John Saunders who tried several occupations, one being the Landlord of the “Compasses in Sevenoaks” They had no children.
Then there was an eight year wait before the youngest married George Martin in 1860 and became the landlady of the “The Porcupine” or “Goats Head” and raised 10 children
The final sister to marry was Kezia May, she was working as a servant in the vicarage where she met the Vicar’s son James Thomas May, they must have been attracted to each other but we believe James father said no!! James was sent to Oxford and was found a position as a Curate, firstly at Beledlow, Buckinghamshire, then Bucknell, Oxfordshire. Kezia followed him living just down the road and finally (we think) without his father permission they married in 1869 at St Peters, St Pancras, London. The delay in marrying meant it was too late for children.
From the marriage of Henry and Jane we have identified 66 grandchildren. We have only given a small amount of information regarding the sisters; if anybody would like to discuss or add information about the Morgan Family please contact the Historical Society
Parish Magazine Article: February 2010: edited by Chris Rowley