Sarah Killmaster, born about 1760, location unknown

For related information see List, Place Index and Wills Index


Yet to be summarised.

Parents and family

Alternate spellings include KILMESTER, KILMASTER, KILLMASTER, KILMISTER, KEYLMASTER, of which KILMASTER appears to be amongst the most common in the area in question.

The KILLMASTER family was a well to do farming family in Swinbrook, at least one of whom was associated with Paynes Farm. Descendants of these KILLMASTER's farmed at Shilton (in 1868 there is a record of a Mr KILLMASTER beginning reaping on 11 July 1868 and the 1873 Return of Landowners has a Richard KILLMASTER owning 5a 0r 36p and paying an estimated rent of 10 6s.)

There is a bond catalogued amongst the Secker Family papers in the Oxford Records Office (ref: Pickford/I/i/1) & dated 1 May 1779 in which Richard KILMASTER of Swinbrook is described as Yeoman. (in other words a wealthy peasant landowner, freeholder, or local village official).

The 1851 census still has KILLMASTERs farming in the area. It lists a John KILLMASTER, born in Swinbrook and a farmer of 300 Acres.  It also lists a Robert KILMASTER farming 300 Acres near Whitney (about 4 miles downstream from Swinbrook). Robert's birthplace is not known but he married Letitia HOWSE from Swinbrook and had children born in Shilton (Robert abt 1849 & Ann abt 1851), and Paines Farm (Richard abt 1847 & Mary L abt 1845).


About 1760 from age at death. Her relations are all in the West Oxfordshire area so it is likely that she was born in that vacinity.

Childhood and education





Sarah herself may have had connections with the well to do of Berkshire. On her application to marry her place of abode is given as Buscot and she married there. It is interesting to note that there is a Kilmester's Farm in Buscot (sometimes placed with the village of Eaton Hastings instead), though no link has yet been proved. Kilmester's farm appears to have two wells supplying water to Lechlade (a fact that is of no significance as yet).

Sarah married John Hatton (abt 1750-1811), at Buscot, on whose page can be found details of their married life, such as are known.

Shortly after Sarah & John were married at Buscot, the mansion of Buscot Park was occupied by its original builder, the wealthy and influential Edward Loveden Loveden (formerly Townsend). Loveden was one of the prime movers behind the Thames & Severn Canal, a venture in which Sarah's son Richard appears to have had business connections.

The years as a widow

On 6 Mar 1811 he husband John died at the family's home village of Widford, Oxon (then Gloucs). Then, on 11 Mar 1811, he was buried  in the same tomb as his parents at Swinbrook, Oxon.

John instructed in his will that his Widford, Oxon. (then Gloucs.) property should be sold and the sale of seems to have gone through in 1813 when the Freeman & Mitford families of Morton in the Marsh deposited the Title Deeds to land they had aquired at Asthall, Shipton & Widford. The Gloucestershire Records Office have these deeds amongst the Batsford Park Estate papers (ref D1447/1/260). The scope & content description refers to messuages, fields,  Lower Ham, Cold Comfort, and Ten Acre Piece, 2 Cottages, a paper mill and a corn mill, all in Widford, Oxon. (then Gloucs.); messuages and land in Asthall, Oxon.; a small piece of land (abuttals) in Shilton, Oxon. (then Wilts.)

1810 Will of John HATTON, Paper Maker of Widford, he grants Sarah's son Richard HATTON the right to a lease on the mill lands at Upton, provided he meets certain criteria.

In 23rd August 1814 the London Gazette carried the notice of the bankruptcy of  Richard HATTON of Upton Mill.

An Excise list of 1816 has Sarah's son William HATTON noted as Master Paper Maker of Upton Mill (excise mill no.226 ). Clearly, Richard HATTON's bankruptcy had not proved terminal for the HATTON's business. 

Despite the change of ownership of the Widford Mill, Sarah appears to have stayed on in administrative control there, for an Excise list of 1816 lists one Sarah HATTON paying duty there.

In 1825 an advertisement appeared in Jacksons Oxford Journal for the sale by auction of Upton Mill. For a view of the same, prospective buyers were instructed to 'apply to Mrs. Hatton, Widford near Burford; and for further particulars, to Mr. Hatton, Builder, Cheltenham'. The Mrs HATTON referred to was probably Sarah as the Mr HATTON was her son John HATTON. It notes that tenure was 'freehold of inheritance', and that immediate possession was offered.

Last Will and Testament

On the 10 Jun 1830 Sarah left a short Will, the details of which may be summarised as follows:
Sarah Hatton of Swallowfield, Wilts
She had purchased two shares that were due to go to her sons Richard & William on her death. The money from these was now to be divided amongst her Daughters Esther White [Wife of Edward Skeate White the younger of Reading, Berks], Rachel , Helen and Martha (no surname mentioned but she had younger daughters by these names).
100 debt owed by her Son John Hatton to be divided between these daughters, the interest on the debt to be surrendered apart from 5, in lieu of 5 of the debt that had already been repaid.
Esther appointed executor and residuary legatee.
Witnessed by William Benham & Elizabeth Eed
Signed – 10 Jun 1830
Proved – 20 August 1830

A full transcription has been produced for the probate record for this will, see the Probate Records Index.

The two shares mentioned here were possibly from the will of John Hatton and due to go to his sons upon her death. Edward Skeate White appears to have been a resident of Reading around this time.


Sarah died in Swallowfield, Berkshire.


She was buried on 9 Jul 1830 at Swinbrook, Oxfordshire, in the same tomb as her husband.
Church records give: Age 70, name Sarah HATTON, widow, from Swallowfield, Brks, formerly of Widford.

Inscription for Sarah Hatton
Inscription on the south side
In memory of John Hatton
(late of Widford)
who died March 6th 1811
Aged 61 Years
Also the wife of the above
Who died ** **** 183* 
Aged 7*  Years
Thomas Hatton Son of

Sarah and John Hatton
Hatton Chest Tomb at Swinbrook
HATTON family tomb

There are several KILLMASTER Graves in Swinbrook churchyard and the HATTON tomb is in the same area. Sarah's brother Richard KILLMASTER and his wife Ann (nee SMITH) are buried beneath a huge slab.
Grave of Richard Killmaster and his wife Ann Grave of Richard Killmaster at Swinbrook 
Nearby is a smaller upright tombstone belonging to John KILLMASTER (Grandson of the above Richard KILLMASTER) and his wife Charlotte (nee HOWSE / HOUSE). After John's death Charlotte married again, this time to William MORRIS (the Grandfather of William MORRIS, Lord Nuffield).

There are also a large number of Killmaster burials in Eaton Hastings and Buscot.

Descendants and notable relations

Any transcripts and images on this page are Copyright R I Kirby 2008 unless stated otherwise.