Maceys of Chilmark

Updated April 2019: Corrections to the number of Maceys in each census year

My direct family line of Maceys originate from the village of Chilmark in Wiltshire, England. It is a village approximately 13 miles to the West of Salisbury and not far from Stonehenge.

Before I started on this genealogical journey, Chilmark was a place I had not heard of and had never come up in conversation with my grandparents. It has turned out to be a goldmine for Macey/Macy history as Thomas Macy of the village went to America in the 1630s. His history will be covered in another blog.


The information from the censuses, baptisms, burial and marriage records suggest that Maceys stayed in Chilmark for centuries until the early part of the 1900’s. My family moved to Dorset in the early 1900’s then on to Sussex and finally coming to a rest in London.

1841-1911 censuses and 1939 register

The censuses provide a good starting place to look at the history of Maceys in Chilmark. I’m an analyst in my day job and charts and tables are my happy place for sharing information.

The Numbers


The number of Maceys in Chilmark peaked at 80 for the 1851 census, spread across 17 households. The average number of Maceys per household over the years ranged from 2.7 to 5.5 (including those who were servants in part of a larger non-Macey household).

Interestingly the 1861 census 52 people had their surname recorded as Macy and 12 as Macey. This I think this is an error as some are written as Maceys from the 1851 census.

By the time of the start of World War II there were just eight Maceys remaining in Chilmark in three households.

The Maceys made up between 8% and 13% of the population of Chilmark and Ridge over the censuses (ex. 1939 register)

Age and Gender

The split between male and female is quite even, males made up between 46.6% to 54.5% of Maceys over the censuses. The average age of the Maceys is also quite steady ranging between 23 in 1851 to 28 for 1881 and 1891.

Three Maceys were recorded over the age of 80

  • Samuel Macey (b.1821), aged 80 in 1901, a widower living with his unmarried children Benjamin (b. 1862) and Elizabeth (b. 1857)
  • James Macey (b. 1808), 83 in 1891, a married retired gamekeeper
  • Also in 1891 Emma Macey (b. 1805), 85, a widow originally from Baverstock, Wiltshire, living by herself but visited by Sarah Noke on the day of the census.


The most common profession was a labourer, either agricultural or general and , was the most common profession followed by scholar.

Some of the more notable professions were
Lydia Macey – Infant school mistress in 1861.
Martha Macey – Nursery maid for the Reverend Charles Tower in 1851 and 1861 at the Vicarage.
Edward Macey – A road labourer and a pig butcher during 1871.
Quarry workers – 1891 saw a few men working in the local stone quarry.


The largest household of Maceys in 1851 was made up of  ten people. This was the family of Harry (born Henry ) and Phoebe Macey and their eight children, ranging from 15 years old to 2 months old. The children were born between 1836 and 1851. From looking at the baptism records Henry and Phoebe had another two children, one who died at the age of one and another born after 1851.


Further blogs will look at each census year in more detail.


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