Joseph Samuel Allen, bootmaker and gardener

Joseph Samuel Allen was one of Ari’s 4x great-grandfathers. He was born on 2 April 1843 in Parkstone, Dorset, the fourth child and third son of Joseph Allen and Mary Anne Tilley.

His baptism took place on 11 June, at Skinner Street Congregational Church in Poole.


This building is the last remaining eighteenth-century church in Poole, “constructed at a cost of £1,400. This was 1777, one year after America declared independence, 12 years before heads would roll in the French Revolution, and three decades before a rough stretch of heathland to the east of Poole would start life as Bournemouth.” (Lots more details and photos here.)

His first appearance in the UK census was in 1851, when the family were living in Parkstone. Joseph’s father was working as a shoemaker.

In 1861 they were living on Christchurch Road in Parkstone. Joseph was now eighteen and a labourer, possibly in the pottery (can’t quite read his occupation):

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1861 census,

In 1868 he married Elizabeth Butt. By this time, he had become a shoemaker like his father:

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Marriage certificate, Joseph Samuel Allen and Elizabeth Butt, 16 April 1868, Canford Magna

His older brother Walter was one of the witnesses. The wedding took place at the church in Canford Magna.

Canford Magna parish church

The 1871 census shows Joseph as the head of the family, aged twenty-eight, and a bootmaker. They have two children and are living at Back Lane in Parkstone.

In 1881 Joseph is still a bootmaker. They are now at 4 Laurel Cottage, in Sloop Lane. They have six children, all at school except the baby, Emma Letta.

1891 sees them at 4 Lilac Cottages on North Road. Joseph is forty-nine and a bootmaker. Son William (21) is a gardener, daughter Susan (17) is a draper’s assistant, Ida (16) is a domestic servant, Reginald (14) is a carpenter’s apprentice. Emma (11), Mary (9), Floris (6), and Margaret (4) are at school, and baby Evelyn is seven months old.

By 1901 Joseph has changed his occupation, and the census shows him as a jobbing gardener. They are at the same address and have now been joined by grandchildren Wilfred and Ewart Redmond, children of Joseph and Elizabeth’s daughter Ida, so eleven people in the cottage altogether! We know from the 1911 census that the cottage had five rooms, not counting bathrooms:

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In 1911 there were six of them in the house, and Joseph was working as a gardener for Poole Borough Council.

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1911 census,

Joseph died on 16 Feb 1918 at 4 Lilac Cottages. He was seventy-five, and still working as a gardener. The cause of death was chronic prostatitis. His daughter Margaret was present and registered his death. He did not leave a will, and I don’t know where he was buried.

Ari, this is how you are related to Joseph:

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Ann Best, Wimborne Minster, Dorset

Ari’s 7 great-grandmother, Ann Best, was born in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, in about 1759. (I have found a possible baptism in 1757, with parents Benjamin and Anne, but not yet sure if this is her.)

Books in the Chained Library, Wimborne Minster

On 4 May 1779, Ann married labourer Henry Allen of Corfe Mullen at St Cuthberga’s in Wimborne Minster, after banns were read on three Saturdays in April.

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Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812,

There followed the births of thirteen children, all baptised in Corfe Mullen:

1780: Henry; 1781: Jean; 1782: James; 1784: Mary; 1786: Michael; 1787: Thomas; 1790: John; 1792: Anne; 1794: Jane; 1796: Thomas; 1799: William; 1801: Robert; and 1804: Catherine.

Jean died at just a month old, and the first Thomas died at the age of four.

Ann lived long enough to appear in the 1841 census, where she was recorded living in Corfe Mullen, aged 80:

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At four o’clock in the afternoon of 25 Aug 1841, she died of old age, and she was buried at St Hubert’s in Corfe Mullen on the 29th.

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Dorset, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813–2010


Ari, this is how you are related to Ann:

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Jane Clench of Bloxworth

One of Ari’s 8x great-grandmothers was Jane Clench. She was born on 26 June 1709 in Bloxworth, Dorset, and baptised at St Andrew’s.


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Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812,

Her parents were Charles Clench and Jane Stroud.

On 3 Jan 1732, Jane married a farmer, Matthew Abbott, at the same church.

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Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812,

They had at least seven children, and at some point between the birth of Dorothy in 1744 and the next daughter Martha in 1749, they had moved about ten miles north, to the village of Winterborne Stickland.

Jane died in November 1756 and was buried in Winterborne Stickland on 1 Dec.

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Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812,

The note in the register was because of an Act requiring burial in wool to support the woollen industry.

“No corpse of any person (except those who shall die of the plague) shall be buried in any shift, sheet, or shroud, or anything whatsoever made or mingled with flax, hemp, silk, hair, gold, or silver, or in any stuff, or thing, other than what is made of sheep’s wool only.”

An affidavit had to be provided attesting that the burial complied with the Act. (See

The following year, Jane’s husband Mathew married a widow called Mary.

Ari, this is how you are related to Jane:

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Dorothy Abbott, heiress

Dorothy was one of Ari’s 7x great-grandmothers, born on 19 April 1744 at Bloxworth (near Wareham) in Dorset, and baptised on 31 May at St Andrew’s church.


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Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812,

According to the Bloxworth OPC page, “this is one of the very few churches where the original hour glass and stand, by which, after the Reformation, the length of the sermon was regulated, still exists.”

Dorothy was the sixth child and fifth daughter of a yeoman farmer, Matthew Abbott, and Jane Clench.

Matthew died intestate in January 1767, and his widow (second wife) Mary, administered his estate, giving us a very detailed inventory of his possessions.

In November 1768 Matthew’s brother David Abbott died and his will shows that Dorothy inherited £20 (worth about £1745 now), plus “one Bell mettal pott, Three pewter Dishes, and one pair of Holland sheets”.

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Wiltshire, England, Wills and Probate, 1530-1858,

According to Sleep in Modern England by Sasha Handley, “Holland sheets were made from a fine linen cloth that originated in the Low Countries. They were used sparingly in many households due to their cost, and owning such sheets was a sign of luxury and status”. She also says that “the provenance, decoration and use of linen sheets … ensured that they were regularly bequeathed” (p. 129).

Dorothy married Henry Redway on 18 October 1770, at St Mary’s church in Winterborne Stickland.


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Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812,
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Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812,

Dorothy and Henry had six children betwen 1771 and 1782. I have been unable to find a death or burial for Dorothy.

Ari, this is how you are related to Dorothy:

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Elizabeth Frampton

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This photo, kindly shared with me by her descendant, Claire, is of Elizabeth Frampton, a 5x great-grandmother of Ari’s.

Elizabeth was born in 1803 in Wimborne Minster, Dorset, the daughter of James Frampton and (I think) Elizabeth Miller. (The baptism record doesn’t mention the mother.)

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Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812,
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The amazing tower ceiling at Wimborne Minster, which we visited in 2014, on our way to Thomas Hardy’s cottage.

On 15 December 1832, Elizabeth married a miller’s labourer, Isaac Dibben, also in Wimborne Minster.

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Marriage banns. Dorset, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921,
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The marriage. Dorset, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921,

The couple had four sons: James Pottle, George, John Frampton, and Fred Albert. (I am intrigued to know where the Pottle came from. There was a 1785 marriage between an Elizabeth Pottle and a John Frampton in the right place, but I can’t connect them to our families yet.)

The 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses all show the family in Witchampton.

Former mill house overlooking the River Allen, on Witchampton Lane.

(This could be the mill where Isaac worked. Witchampton had two.)

Elizabeth died in July 1869 and was buried at Witchampton on the 2nd of August.

Spotted in the church at Witchampton.

Ari, this is how you are related to Elizabeth:

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Elizabeth Butt of Christchurch

Elizabeth Butt was born on 27 July 1846 in Christchurch, Dorset.

Sundial Cottage, Christchurch (not where she lived, but very pretty, and for sale!)

She was the daughter of William Thomas Butt and Fanny Briant. We know that her mother died when she was just a baby. At the age of four, she was living with her grandmother Elizabeth (her father’s mother), in Mill Lane, Christchurch.

I’m not sure where she was in 1861, but by 1868 she had moved to Parkstone, Dorset. She married a shoemaker, Joseph Samuel Allen, in Canford Magna, Dorset, on 6 April 1868. This village is also known as Great Canford, and is on the River Stour.


The 1871 census shows them living in Back Lane, Parkstone, with the first two of their ten children: Elizabeth Frances Mary (2) and William Joseph (1).

In 1881 they are at 4 Laurel Cottages in Sloop Lane. Elizabeth was listed as “boot maker’s wife” which was then crossed out (they were only supposed to list women by their own occupation, not their husband’s). By now, four more children had been born: Susan Emma (7); Ida (5), Reginald Woodford (4) and Emma Letta (1).

By the time of the 1891 census, Elizabeth was 44. Several of the chidren were now working (William as a gardener, Susan as a draper’s assistant, Ida as a domestic servant, and Reginald as a carpenter’s apprentice). The four youngest were Mary Maud, Floris, Margaret and seven-month-old Evelyn. They had moved to 4 Lilac Cottage in North Road.

They were still at this address in 1901, now with six children still at home, and also Ida’s newborn baby Ewart. Joseph and two of his sons were now working as gardeners.

Elizabeth lived until the age of 95, so we have a record of her in the 1939 Register, with her daughter Margaret, a dressmaker.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Elizabeth:

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William Thomas Butt

Another of Ari’s 5x great-grandfathers was William Thomas Butt, son of Asher Butt and Elizabeth Thomas.

William was born on 5 August 1815 in Christchurch, Dorset.

Christchurch castle

I can’t find William in the 1841 census, but he wasn’t living with either of his parents. In 1844 he married Fanny Briant. He gave his profession as ‘valet’.

In the 1851 census, after Fanny’s death, he can be seen living at an unnamed hotel in Castle Street, Christchurch, and working as an ostler. (At the time of her death in 1847, he was described as an innkeeper.)

The Kings Arms Hotel in Castle Street

It doesn’t look as though he remarried. In 1861, he was working as a stableman and living at Holdenhurst, just north of Christchurch.

He died the following year, aged just 45 (the cause was consumption). An announcement appeared in the Christchurch Times on 19 April 1862, presumably placed by his daughter Elizabeth:

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Millhams Street is just next to Ducking Stool Lane in Christchurch, where this 1986 replica can be seen:


Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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Fred Albert Dibben of Witchampton, Dorset

One of Ari’s 4x great-grandfathers was Fred Albert Dibben, born in 1848 in Witchampton, Dorset.


He was the fourth son of Isaac Dibben and Elizabeth Frampton, and was baptised on 3 September 1848 at the church dedicated to St Mary, St Cuthburga & All Saints. The online parish clerk’s page gives a good description of Witchampton: “With its quaint timber-framed and thatched cottages resplendent in summer with honeysuckle, roses and jasmine, the village of Witchampton has been described as one of the most beautiful in the country.”

The 1851 census shows Fred, age 2, with his family in the village. His father Isaac was a miller. Fred was still at school in 1861, while his older brother John was working as a blacksmith. Before the next census, Fred had married Emma Orchard, daughter of William Orchard of Langton Matravers. The marriage took place on 19 May 1870, at the parish church of Corfe Castle.

View from the church, August 2017

Fred gave his occupation as a gardener. In the census of 1871, Fred and Emma are living with Isaac, recently widowed, at Lower Street in Witchampton.

Their daughter Alice Sarah was born later that year, followed by Annie Elizabeth, Lucy Mary, Blanche Edna, and then a son, James Albert, in 1886. By this time Fred was working as a general dealer, and they had moved to West Parley.

An unusual monument in the eastern wall of the church at West Parley. Behind the grille and glass is an urn which apparently contains the heart of the Lady of Lydlinch, who endowed the church in the fourteenth century


Emma died in 1897, and Fred was working as a market gardener at the time of the census in 1901. Lucy, Blanche and James were still at home.

Fred died in December 1908 and was buried at Hampreston.

Witchampton: Sheephouse Drove signpost

Ari, this is how you are related to Fred:

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Fanny Briant of Corfe Mullen

Ari’s 5x great-grandmother Fanny Briant was born in 1816 in Corfe Mullen, Dorset.


I don’t know who her parents were (no baptism record has been found, and the space for father’s name on her marriage certificate is blank). The 1816 baptism records for Corfe Mullen seem to be missing, and there are no other Briant or Bryant baptisms in neighbouring years.

I have not been able to find her in the 1841 census.

Fanny married William Thomas Butt on 10 September 1844 at St Hubert’s church in Corfe Mullen.


Their daughter Elizabeth was born on 29 July 1846. Sadly, Fanny died just over a year later, on 26 October 1847, in Christchurch, at the age of 31. Her death certificate gives the cause as intussusception. This happens when a part of the intestine folds into the section next to it. She was suffering for three days before she died. No burial has been found.

Baby Elizabeth went to live with her paternal grandmother.

Ari, this is how you are related to Fanny Briant:

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Christian Gray

One of Ari’s 8x great-grandmothers was called Christian Gray. She was born in 1702 in Corfe Castle, Dorset, and baptised there on 17 May.


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The baptism record shows her parents as Samuel Grey (a labourer) and Margaret.

In the year that she was born, King William III fell off his horse in Richmond Park after it stumbled on a molehill. He broke his clavicle and died in March. Queen Anne was crowned in April. Also that year, the Daily Courant was founded in Fleet Street. This was the first national newspaper to be published regularly.

On 28 December 1731, Christian married John Welch at the church in Corfe Castle.


Christian and John had five children: Mary in 1733, twins Elizabeth and Ann in 1736, John in 1738, and Dorothy in 1740.

Christian died in September 1775, at the age of 73, and was buried at the church “in woolen”.

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Extract from Sepulture: Its History, Methods and Sanitary Requisites by Stephen Wickes, 1884.

Ari, this is how you are related to Christian:

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