In 1776 Thomas Mantell, written sometimes as Mantle, married Sarah Austin born 25 Nov 1755 from Peckam Kent and lived together in 16 St Mary’s Lane, Lewes. Thomas Mantell born 21 April 1750 signed himself in documents as a Cordwainer, or shoe maker.The history of the ownership of the house is listed in Colin Brent’s exhaustive analysis of house ownership and residences of Lewes.
Number 23 SML SJ: Southover manor freehold, rent eight pence
1710 Widow Hawcombe, late Auger: tenement next the Ship in SML – MR
1733 & 1738 Jas Daw junior master bricklayer [GL] Westgate owner & occ – DN list
1761 house belonging to J Daws: abuttal – FB 116
1780-6 Mr Thatcher, 1787 J Wimble junior,1788-1807 T Mantell owner – LT W1
1807 death of TM boot maker & master gardener aged 55 – SWA 13 July
1807-12 Mrs M owner – LT W1 W2
1780-1 J Edwards, 1782 Jos Burgess, 1786 Fowle, 1787 JW junior
1789-1807 T Mantell shoemaker, 1807-12 Wicks, Saxby, Morley, occs* – LT W1
1812 Gideon Mantell occ – W2
Thomas did also own various other buildings in Fisher Street, St John’s Street and Lancaster Street as well as the Methodist chapel he had built in St Mary’s Lane by the time of his death on 11 July 1807. The first Thomas Mantell came to Lewes in the 1550s and took up important roles in the governing of the town such as Headborough in 1562 and Constable in 1572. The full family story is told in the 2008 book by Dennis Dean Gideon Mantell and the Discovery of Dinosaurs http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gideon-Mantell-Discovery-Dinosaurs-Dennis/dp/0521088178
Thomas and Sarah’s fifth child was Gideon Algernon born 3 February 1790 whose middle name reflected his father’s admiration for Algernon Sidney, a republican hero. Together living with Gideon and his parents were older sister Mary (their first child Sarah had died in infancy) and brothers Thomas and Samuel. Later they were joined by younger siblings Joshua, Jemima and, when Sarah was aged about forty five, her eighth child Kezia.
Thomas founded a Methodist chapel opposite the house on St Mary’s Lane in 1788 where Gideon was baptised by the Rev George Barnard on 8 September 1790. Thomas Mantell died in 1807 and was buried in his parish church, St John sub Castro graveyard along with other members of the Mantell family. In 1812 Gideon is recorded as back from London living with Sarah who was listed as owner of the family home, before taking up his medical practice with Dr Moore on the High Street around the corner. In December 1828 Sarah died age 73, Gideon wrote in his diary “my poor mother was interred this morning in a steined grave close to my father, who was buried 22 years since”.