Local characters., People., Places.

The Ballinger Family of Symonds Yat West and Whitchurch.

Within our society we have several groups of members who have elected to  research different subjects with a local and historical connections.

The ‘People Group’ of WAG LHS consist of Trish Dixon, Jo Dickens, Pat Gore and Lynne Ralph.  Most of the work below is attributable to Lynne Ralph.

The Ballinger Family.

Records for this family were found from the 1700s and members of the family once owned the Ferrie Inn, the Symonds Yat Hotel and the Yew Tree Inn.  Lynne has only got up to 1940, but has a lot of information about other ancestors within the Ballinger family, but there is a record here of 200 years, and 6 generations of one family’s involvement with the Whitchurch/Symonds Yat area.  Further research may discover relatives still living in the area today, making a 300 year record of habitation.

For the purpose of this paper it was decided to take just 1 child from each generation who had stayed in the Whitchurch area in order to follow a link through the generations, as there were so many siblings in the families.

1. John Ballinger, born in 1743 in Whitchurch, married Elizabeth Bessex at Dixton in 1768.  They had 6 recorded children, all born in Whitchurch.

2a. One of their sons, also John, was born in 1773 and married Ann Hatton  at Ganarew in 1798.  They had 9 children, all born in Whitchurch.  John was recorded as dying in Washings, (Washings Lane?) Monmouth, Herefordshire in 1824.

2b. Another son, Edward, born in 1776, was convicted at Herefordshire court for stealing sheep and given life imprisonment.  He was transported to Australia (instead of imprisonment?) but died on board the ship on 29thJanuary 1836.

3a.  One of John’s sons, Isaac (1807-1875), a woodman, had a son Thomas (1855) who was recorded as running the Yew Tree Inn in the 1911 census.  Thomas had 3 sons.

3b.  Another son, William (1800-1858) married Hannah Bury and had 11 children.  He is recorded as a barge owner of Washings Road.

4.​One of William’s sons – another John (1833-1908) owned Symonds Yat Hotel, whilst another, Edwin (1838-1902) owned the Ferrie Inn, but is not recorded as having any children.  Yet another son, Henry (1827-1867) had a son in 1860 who became Sir John Ballinger and was first Librarian of the National Library of Wales.

5.​John, of Symonds Yat Hotel, married Sarah Sheldon.  One of their sons, William John

​(1858-1904) married Sarah Dunn and lived in Ash Cottage (now ‘Ash grove’).  He is recorded as being a haulier.  They had 2 children, Edwin John (b: 1886) who moved to Essex in 1911 and:

6.​William Frederick (b: 1890) who was a motor fitter.  He married Rosa Haywood in 1917 in Gloucester and is recorded as dying in Ross in 1940.

Ballinger family tree
Ballinger family tree.
The Olde Ferrie Inn at about 1890. Note a trow belonging to Mr Ballinger as well as the ferry and a pleasure boat.

3 thoughts on “The Ballinger Family of Symonds Yat West and Whitchurch.”

  1. It is fascinating how in one family you can have one family member deported for sheep stealing and another is knighted.


  2. The Ferrie Inn ferry was the “Government Postal Ferry” – in 1889 Edwin Ballinger was fined 5/- plus £2 costs for charging 1d to carry the postman across the river – Act of Parliament prohibited tolls from Crown officials. I wonder if that Act is still in force!


  3. Good to find this. I am a descendent of John Ballinger on my paternal grandmother’s side but have never seen this side of the family tree. Thank you for sharing.


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