To find a Chitterne connection to Harry Potter of Salisbury Plain we must look among the six Potter cousins who lived and worked in Chitterne. Most likely are the two who married Chitterne girls. Jesse Potter who married Jane Whatley in 1842, and Leonard Potter who married Jane’s sister Ann Whatley in 1846.
Jesse and Jane lived at Two Barns. By 1861 Jesse was a shepherd and he and Jane had two children, George in 1846 and Maria in 1851, but no Harry. Jesse, Jane, George and Maria must have left Chitterne because after 1861 we hear no more of them.
What about Leonard Potter? Leonard we have no exact date of birth for, but he was baptised at Imber in 1825 and married Ann Whatley in Chitterne. Ann and Leonard had three children born in Chitterne All Saints, Mary Jane in 1847, John in 1849 and James in 1851. Sadly, John and James died in infancy before the family moved to Tilshead around 1854. At Down Farm in Tilshead Leonard and Ann had six more children: George 1854, Arthur 1857, Harry 1859, James 1963, Albert 1866 and Maria 1871, and here is our Harry Potter of Salisbury Plain! Born in Tilshead in 1859 to Leonard and Ann Potter. So we can stop our search for Harry right here, but in order to find his connection to our local Potters we must carry on a bit further.
Harry never lives in Chitterne himself. The only one of his siblings born in Chitterne, his sister Mary Jane, also never returns to live in the village, although her son Henry and his wife Laura Maria are living here with their son Percy Hubert in 1911, but they don’t provide the connection we need. So where to go next? What of Harry’s other siblings?
To cut a long story short we should take a look at Harry’s brother, Albert Potter, born in Tilshead in 1866, for it is he who provides the answer. Albert marries Jane Plank at West Lavington in 1890 and together they have six sons and two daughters. The couple live at West Lavington, not Chitterne, but one of their sons, Clifford, born in 1902, marries Rose Mundy from Maddington, just down the road towards Shrewton. So we are getting closer, but still not close enough.
Albert Potter and Jane Plank have another son, Percy John Potter, born in 1908. He looks more promising. In 1934 Percy marries Chitterne girl Evelyn Mabel Mundy. Even I remember Percy and Mabel who produced six children, one of whom still lives in the village. At last we have found our connection! So Harry Potter was Percy John’s great uncle.
With thanks to H & W for a great piece of research. A full account of their research can be found on the Chitterne village website by clicking on Village History/People and Places.
- Tuesday 3 May 2016 Correction: Percy and Mabel Potter did not live at Down Barn, it was Mabel’s parents, Charles Mundy and family who lived there. Thanks to AC for this update.