I myself have just posted the first message on the new Ansted forum - it gives you a weird sense of discovery, doesn't it? (I claimed the newfoundland for my Queen, so it is now part of the sovereign territory of the United Kingdom - till it rebels, of course).
As to Whitbreads, I think it is likely that your line may be connected to the famous brewing dynasty. When Samuel Whitbread (1720-1796) first founded the Whitbread Brewery in 1742 the family were living in Cardington in Beds, not far from Gravenhurst. They still own a substantial country house at Southhill Park, not far away.
Samuel Whitbread was born at Cardington on 30 August 1720, the 7th of 8 children and the youngest of 5 sons. It is claimed that the family had been yeomen as far back as the 13th century (when, rather dubiously, they are said to have been called Blaunchpayne). Certainly Samuel's grandfather had been a Justice of the Peace and Receiver-General for Bedfordshire, and a soldier on the Parliamentarian side in the Civil War in the previous century.
One of Samuel's aunts married the father of John Howard, the great prison reformer and life-long friend of Samuel. Though Samuel was an Anglican, some of the family were members of John Bunyan's first nonconformist congregation in Cardington (so you may not always find them in the parish registers).
The brewery Samuel Whitbread founded is now one of the largest companies in the UK, but until just a couple of years ago it had always had a Whitbread on the Board, and it is still very proud of its history as a family company and maintains a full-time archivist. If you write to The Archivist, Whitbread PLC, The Brewery, Chiswell St, London EC4 2AA, United Kingdom, he may well be able to provide you with a great deal more information.
Good luck, Matt Tompkins, London
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