The Family of George Best of Durweston, Dorset

George Best was born in 1795. George was a popular name in the area at that time, since King George III took his summer holidays at Weymouth nearly every year between 1789 and 1811, probably travelling via Blandford and establishing Weymouth as a fashionable resort for the wealthy.

In January 1816, George married Elizabeth Melmer at Durweston and they had three children before Elizabeth died in 1821. In 1830 he married Sarah Cuff at Blandford Forum and they had a further eight children. George was listed as an Ag Lab in the 1851 census. He died in 1852 and Sarah died in 1881.


The children were

  1. George was born in 1816. He married Sarah Coffin, daughter of Abel and Ann, in 1840 at Blandford St Mary and three sons were born: Edwin (1841), Alfred (1845), and Samuel (1848). There was also a daughter, Elizabeth, baptised in 1843 and buried in 1843 at Bryanstone. They first lived and George worked as gardener at Bryanston, on the estate of Lord Portman, whose mansion was later turned into a school. At that time Sarah was a dressmaker and they were living at the 'Lodge' (along with ten other families). By 1845, they were at Durweston, where the other two children were born. In 1849 they joined the throng of people leaving the area and migrated to Australia under the Bounty Scheme.

  2. Eliza – born 1818, Durweston; died 1845

  3. Merit born in 1819 at Durweston. Merit married Ann Sophia Harvey and had one daughter.

  4. Andrew was born in 1831 at Durweston. He married Jane Adams in 1862 at Durweston. They lived at Durweston and had four children.

  5. Hannah was born in 1832 at Bryanston. In 1859 she married William Thomas, labourer, of Frome (son of Stephen Thomas), and they had two children, Emily and James.

  6. Ann was born in 1834 at Bryanston. She married Daniel Dove , bricklayer of Blandford (son of Daniel), in 1858. Two children, James and Ada.

  7. James was born in 1836 at Bryanston. He married Elizabeth ____; no children. Lived in Durweston until their deaths in 1902 and 1920. Their headstone is the only Best family headstone in the churchyard of St Nicholas, Durweston.

  8. Frederick – born Bryanston 1839; died 1843 at Bryanston.

  9. Jane was born at Bryanston in 1841. She married Joseph Giles , a groom, son of John, at Durweston in 1871. A son Francis was born at Corton Denham, Somerset in 1879.

  10. Frederick – born Bryanston 1845, Frederick was a Labourer. He married Ann Noyes, (daughter of James Noyes) at Durweston in 1872. Daughter, Anna born at Durweston in 1874

  11. Joseph – born Durweston 1847. Married Ellen Higgins 1873