Susan Sarandon finds ancestral links to Ludgershall

This Is Wiltshire:

Oscar winner Susan Sarandon has uncovered ancestral links to the village of Ludgershall.

While the American actress had previously thought her familial roots were in Wales, her journey to track down her ancestors led her to Winifred Dixon, church warden at St. James church.

Church records showed that Susan's Great Great uncle Charles Guyatt was committed to the assize court in 1818 for killing a rabbit using a ferret and a net, a felony at the time.

The 17-year-old was caught in the act in the woods at Amport. After that, he and his family apparently fled to Wales, probably out of shame.

Further records in Ludgershall show that Susan's Great Great Grandmother Sophia Guyatt married local labourer James Beams and in 1853 gave birth to a daughter, Susanna Beams who was Susan's Great Grandmother.

Nicknamed 'Spunky Susanna', by Ms Sarandon, the Ludgershall native moved to London as a teenager and became a domestic servant at a grand house in Portman Square.

A few years later, at the age of 23, she'd not only met and married Susan's Great Grandfather, William Tomalin, but had followed him out to America making the voyage alone to New York on the SS Aragon: "That's very romantic on her part," said Susan, "or desperate."

Susanna emigrated to New York and the rest, as they say, is history.

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