This is a brief history of my branch of the Luff family

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Michael John Luff - the author of a history of the Luff family. If after reading this history you have any comments, questions or additions to the records, please e-mail me by clicking on the button below.

My research into the Luff family shows that there was quite a large family of Luff's possibly also known as Luffe (this might have been the result of writing styles in the 17th & 18th centuries), that lived and worked in Surrey and Sussex.

I have traced a John Luff who's son, also called John Luff, was baptised in the St Andrew's Parish Church, Farnham in 1544. However I have been unable to prove his link with my family from Farnham.

Records show that in the 1774 Parliamentary Elections there were 5 landowners who voted in Sussex, these were:
Andrew Luff - Freeholder at Stedham
Richard Luff - Freeholder at Easebourne
William Luff - Freeholder at Fernhurst
William Luff - Freeholder at Harting
Richard Luff - Freeholder at Cocking

Voting in Surrey were:
William Luff - Freeholder at Witley
Thomas Luff - Freeholder at Egham (Chobham Parish)

From the point of my ancestors, I'm uncertain of the family link before circa 1700. I have evidence of two John Luff's who could have been the father of Stephen Luff, see next paragraph.
One John Luff was baptised in Farnham on 21st March, 1723 (his father was William Luff from Wrecclesham, near Farnham).
The other John Luff was baptised in Farnham on 28th April, 1728 (his father was John Luff from Farnham). I have assumed the latter to be my ancestor mainly on the basis of the date that the
children of John Luff were born. As this John Luff's father was named John I have assumed he was probably born circa 1700.

I have proof in this history that Stephen Luff (1761 - 1851) is my Great, Great, Great, Great, Grandfather. Stephen Luff's father was John Luff. I have evidence of the death of a John Luff
who was buried in Farnham on 25th March, 1769. I cannot confirm which of the above John Luffs' this refers to, if either.

Stephen Luff married twice, my direct line of ancestors are offspring with his first wife Mary Mayne.

During research into my family history I have been very surprised by the educational standards of some of my ancestors. The one that particularily stands out is my 4 times Great Grandmother Mary Mayne
who, at the time of her marriage to Stephen Luff in 1784, was able to write her own name. Mary Mayne's father, George Mayne was also literate, this is confirmed by his marriage record of 1762
where he signs his name on the document. George Mayne is my 5 times Great Grandfather. Looking further back into the history of the Mayne family it seems that they were probably landowning farmers.
My research has shown that education before the 19th century, for the average working class family, was mainly provided by Charity Schools. Clearly Mary was encouraged to read and write by her parents,
this could have been through Sunday School teaching. Her husband Stephen Luff was illiterate at the time of his marriage to Mary Mayne in 1784.

There seems to have been a desire by Stephen and Mary to ensure their sons obtained a knowledge of reading and writing. There is clear evidence that their sons William, Stephen and Richard were literate,
as they all signed their names on their marriage documents. Furthermore Stephen and Richard moved to Guernsey in the early 1800's and became very successful business men, leading to a dynasty of Luff's in Guernsey.
Their offspring included a master woodcarver, whose work is still exhibited in St Pauls Cathedral, and a Fellow of the Entomological Society, who wrote books on the scientific study of insects.
However it is evident that neither Jane nor Lucy, the two daughters of Stephen and Mary were literate at the time of their marriages.

Moving forward a generation to my 3 times Grandparents, William and Jane (nee Gadd) Luff, both were literate as evidenced by their marriage records. Their four children were also literate, again evidenced by their marriage records.
These children, born between 1809 and 1818, probably benefited from the formation of the National Society for promoting the education of the poor in 1811.

Moving forward a further generation to my Great Great Grandparents James and Lucy (nee Mouldy) Luff, I know James was literate, but I'm not sure about his wife Lucy. However the situation changed quite dramatcally with their children.
Their first four children, William, Jane, James (my Great Grandfather) and Frederick, were all illiterate, (they were born between 1856 and 1865). None of them could write their names on their marriage documents.
They were probably backward, also they were all found guilty, by Magistrates in Farnham, of theft in their adolescent years. There is also a story in the family that their mother, Lucy, was a poacher and of gipsy stock.
James and Lucy's later children Mary Ann (my Great Grandmother) and George Frederick were both literate and were exemplary citizens.

So it is a mystery to understand why some of my very early ancestors were educated, at a time when education was not available to the majority of people, and yet when education was more available to most people some of my more recent ancestors remained illiterate. A cause might have been an economic depression in the mid 1860's in Surrey.

With regards to Stephen Luff's second marriage to Sarah Patrick, in 1803, neither Stephen nor Sarah could write their names. However, their sons George Luff (1813 - 1880) and Charles Luff (1815 - 1879), were able to write their names at the time of their marriages. I'm unable to confirm the literacy of the other children at the present time.

Although I have included records from 1544, my family history can only be verified from John Luff born circa 1700, to my father Frederick George Luff who died in March 2011.

I have also researched my extended family and have included information of ancestors that have died. I have information of living members but for security reasons have not included them on this web page. To access these brief histories please click on the required name. The documents are pdf files.

My direct family line: My Family Tree Circa 1700 - 2011

Use this drop down list to select a history of the ancestor you wish see. When selected double click on name to show a history.

Many of the Luff Family were baptised, married and buried, in St Andrew's Church, Farnham. Click on the "St Andrew's Church, Farnham" tab below for a picture of the Church.
St Andrew's Church, Farnham

JOHN LUFF 1728 - 1769

John Luff was baptised in St Andrew's Church, Farnham on 28th April 1728.
He married, wife's name unknown, and they had the following children, the baptisms of which are recorded in the Farnham Parish Records.
To see a brief history of the other children of John Luff (and siblings of Stephen Luff), please click on required name. John Luff died and was buried in St Andrews Church, Farnham on 25.2.1769.
A woman, who was buried in St Andrews Church on 13th February 1785, was recorded in the Parish Records as being "the wife of John Luff".

  • A history of John Luff 1728 - 1769: see below for children

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    STEPHEN LUFF 1761 - 1851

    Stephen Luff was baptised on 2nd May 1761 (he puts his birth place as Aldershot in the 1841 census). He married Mary Mayne on 28th December 1784. Mary Mayne was baptised on 7th August 1762 and died on 10th November, 1802.
    The marriage produced the following recorded children. The baptisms of which are recorded in the Farnham Parish Records.
    To see a history of the Stephen Luff and Mary Mayne and their children, please click on appropriate name.

  • A history of Stephen Luff 1761 - 1851: see below for children
  • A history of Mary Mayne (first wife of Stephen Luff) 1762 - 1802

    Mary, Stephen's wife, died in Aldershot on 10th November 1802.

    Stephen then remarried. His new wife was Sarah Patrick and they married in 1803. Sarah Patrick was born circa 1785 in Elstead, Surrey.
    The marriage produced the following recorded children. The baptisms of which are recorded in Parish Records.
    To see a brief history of the children of Stephen and Sarah Luff (and half brothers and sisters of William Luff), please click on appropriate name.

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    WILLIAM LUFF 1785 - 1867

    William Luff was baptised in Aldershot on 13th March, 1785. He married Jane Gadd who was baptised on 23rd July, 1785. The couple were married in Hale on 1st February 1806. The marriage produced the following recorded children. The baptisms of which are recorded in Parish Records.
    To see a brief history of the children of William and Jane Luff, please click on appropriate name.

  • A history of William Luff 1785 - 1867: see below for children
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    JAMES LUFF 1818 - 1883

    James Luff was baptised in Hale, near Farnham on 26th December 1818. James married Eliza White in Hale in 1846. Eliza was born in Upper Hale in 1825. On 21st December 1853 Eliza died. As far as I can ascertain the marriage was childless.

    On 1st July 1856 James remarried. His new wife was Lucy Mouldy. Lucy was born in Chaddleworth, Berkshire in 1834. The marriage took place at Chaddleworth Parish Church in Berkshire. The marriage produced the following recorded children.
    To see a brief history of the other children of James and Lucy Luff (and siblings of James Luff), please click on appropriate name.

  • A history of James Luff 1818 - 1883: see below for children

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    JAMES LUFF 1864 - 1911?

    James Luff was born on 18th May, 1864. James married Maria Harrington in Hale on 4th April, 1886.
    It would seem that James and Maria fell on hard times as records show that Maria died on 12th November 1892 in the Farnham Union Workhouse. She died of typhoid just 2 months after giving birth to her daughter Sarah. Maria was just 28 years of age.
    Sarah the youngest child died on 12th June 1894, she was 21 months old. She died from bronchitis.
    Ernest the eldest son died at the age of 10, on 2nd January 1897. He died of diphtheria in the Farnham Union Workhouse.
    Lucy the third child also died of diphtheria in the Farnham Union Workhouse she died on 29th December 1896. In the 1901 Census James, now a widower, was living with his mother, Lucy Luff, then aged 67, at Wyke Cottages, Hale. It would appear that he was not in employment.
    Living with them were James' brother George, and James' son William Charles. Lucy Luff died in Hale on 13th November 1903.

    I lose track of James and cannot find him on the 1911 census. The only record that might suit is that a James Luff, of similar age, died in the Pewsey Workhouse in 1911. However I cannot substatiate that this was my great grandfather. He was certainly deceased at the time of the marriage of his son William Charles in 1918, as this is stated on the marriage certificate.

    To see a brief history of the other children of James and Maria Luff (and siblings of William Charles Luff), please click on appropriate name.
  • A history of James Luff 1864 - 1911?: see below for children

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    WILLIAM CHARLES LUFF 1888 - 1957

    William Charles Luff was born in Upper Hale, near Farnham on 21st January 1888. He must have had a very unhappy childhood. He lost his mother when he was 4 years old. With his father and siblings he had experienced the poverty of the workhouse. By the age of 9 he had lost his two sisters and older brother.
    At the age of 13, in 1901, William Charles was living with his father and grandmother in Wyke Cottages, Hale, near Farnham. He enlisted as a professional soldier in 1907, at the age of 19. It is likely that after his grandmother died in 1903 he lived with his uncle, Frederick George Luff, at 1, Hillside Cottages, Heath End, Surrey. His father James might also have lived there. I know from records that while on leave from the Army William Charles used to stay at 1, Hillside Cottages.

    William Charles enlisted in the Army at Aldershot on 14th January 1907, aged 19. His army records show him as being 5ft 10 1/2" tall, blue eyes with a fair complexion. He served with the 79th Battery Royal Field Artillery, reaching the rank of Gunner. He served time in India until he completed his period of army service in 1913. He then transferred to the Army Reserve and found work as a labourer.

    At the outbreak of the 1st World War, he was promoted to the rank of Bombardier. He served in France near Rouen in 1915. He was wounded in France and then, in May 1916, was transferred to duties in India. He was stationed in Calcutta and Jubbulpore (1917). He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
    William Charles married Annie Beatrice Thomas in Chelsea on 10th August 1918. Annie Beatrice was born in Rawalpindi, India ( now Pakistan) on 28th March 1895.
    After the Ist World War the couple lived at 33, Stadium Street, Chelsea. The marriage produced 3 children, as below.

  • William Samuel James Luff 1919 - 1919 (Son of William Charles Luff 1888 - 1957)
  • FREDERICK GEORGE LUFF (M.B.E.) 1923 - 2011 - for a history of Frederick George Luff and his family see next page
  • Lucy Beatrice Luff 1928 - 1997 (Daughter of William Charles Luff 1888 - 1957)

    From 1922 William Charles worked for Westminster City Council as a labourer in the Works Department. In 1940 he and his family were bombed out during the Blitz. They moved to a requisitioned property in Draycott Avenue, Nr Sloane Square and were finally rehoused in Hortensia House, Chelsea in 1943.

    William Charles continued to work for Westminster City Council until his retirement at 65 in 1953. He served 31 years with the Council. He then took a job as a liftman at the Westminster Building in Victoria Street, London. The conditions of the job, standing for hours in an unheated environment, and being a heavy smoker contributed to his death on 29th May 1957. He was 69 years old.

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    FREDERICK GEORGE LUFF (M.B.E.) 1923 - 2011

    Frederick George Luff was born at 33 Stadium Street, Chelsea on 14th January 1923. He was the son of William Charles and Alice Beatrice Luff (nee Thomas). He attended Ashburnham Junior School and then St Lukes College in Chelsea until the age of 14.
    He then found employment with Queen Anne's Bounty, London in 1937 - which amalgamated with The Church Commissioners in 1947.

    Fred ( as he was known ) and his family were bombed out twice during the Blitz in 1940, the German bombers target being Lots Road Power Station, Chelsea. The family were re-housed in a requisitioned property in Draycott Avenue, then later in Hortensia House, Chelsea in 1943.
    Fred enlisted as a Royal Marine in 1941 and saw action in W W 2 in the North African and Italian theatres of war. He was awarded 6 service and campaign medals. He was a life-long Chelsea F C supporter, the highlight seeing, with his father, the 3:3 draw at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea played the FC Dynamo Moscow team in November 1945.

    Fred married his Cornish wife Betty in 1943, they were married for 68 years. They had 4 children, 3 of their own and one adopted.

    After demobilisation in 1946, Fred with his wife, and young family, lived in a requisitioned property in Beaufort Street, Chelsea. In 1948 Fred and his family were re-housed in Hortensia House, Chelsea.

    The family then moved from Chelsea in the mid 1950's to a village in Kent. Fred never forgot his Chelsea roots.

    He was awarded the M.B.E. in 1982, for services to the Church Commissioners in London.

    He was very surprised and pleased to receive the Malta George Cross Commemorative Medal in 1994, some 50 years after the event. This medal was awarded to recognise service personnel who were in Malta during the large scale enemy bombings of that Island between June 1940 and September 1943.

    Fred retired in 1983, and later moved with his wife Betty to Truro, in Cornwall. Fred was very much involved with the Royal British Legion, and was awarded their gold badge in 2010.

    Frederick George Luff died suddenly but peacefully in Truro, Cornwall, on 17th March, 2011, aged 88. His youngest daughter was at his death and he died of bronchopneumonia. He left a widow, 4 children, 10 grandchildren and 7 greatgrandchildren.

    He was cremated at Truro, Cornwall on 28th March, 2011 and was afforded a military style funeral, with standard bearers from the Royal British Legion, Royal Marines and Royal Naval Reserve. A buglar played the last post.

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    St Andrew's Church, Farnham

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