One of Ari’s 4x great-grandfathers was Robert Butler, who was born in 1837 in Bredicot, Worcestershire. Bredicot is a small parish in the centre of the county, about 4 miles east of Worcester.
Conveniently, Robert was born in the year that civil registration of births became compulsory, so we know that his father was Thomas Butler and his mother was Elizabeth Reynolds. He was the first of their nine children, and was baptised on 5 October 1837 at the thirteenth-century church of St James the Less.
The 1841 census shows him with his parents and younger brother William, living in the hamlet of Libbery, in the parish of Grafton Flyford.
They were still there in 1851, and Robert now had three more brothers and a sister. He was now 13 and at school.
By the time of the next census, in April 1861, Robert was employed as a cow man at Upper Goosehill Farm in Hanbury.
Shortly after that he married Caroline Lumley in Evesham, and their first daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1862. The family had moved to Huddington by 1871, by which time Harriet and Annie (Ari’s great-great-great-grandmother) had also been born. Robert was now working as an agricultural labourer.
In 1881 only Annie was still at home with her parents, and a nephew, John Keen, was also living with them. They were now living in Lower Crowle.
Robert was widowed in 1895, and in 1901 his granddaughter, 15-year-old Kate Wilks, was living with him. She worked at home as a glove machinist, and he was still working as an agricultural labourer.
In the last census, of April 1911, he is on his own at the age of 73, and still working as a farm labourer. Robert died in December 1917, and was buried at Crowle on 18 December.
George Thomas Waters was Ari’s 3x great-grandfather, born in 1856 in Kempsey, Worcestershire and baptised on 23 March at St Peter the Great, in Worcester.
In the 1861 census we can see him age five and a ‘scholar’, living in Grafton Flyford. He is the third child of William and Emma, who went on to have thirteen children altogether. He has three little sisters, Mercy (4), Martha (1), Mary Elizabeth (five months), an older sister Sarah Ann (7), and a brother William John who is already a ‘carter’s boy’ at nine.
The 1871 census for him still needs to be found (he was not living at home, and I’m guessing he was working on a farm somewhere).
George married Mary James on 20 Apr 1879 in Grafton Flyford, and in 1881 they are living in Himbleton village and he is working as an agricultural labourer. They have a baby daughter, Martha James Waters.
By 1891 George is a farm labourer in Neight Hill, Himbleton, and they have six children.
In 1901 he is a carter on a farm and three more children have been born. Here is his 1911 census entry, showing that one child had died.
George died in 1930 at the age of 74. I will try to find where he is buried.
Mary Bishop was Ari’s 5x great-grandmother, born in 1809 in Grafton Flyford in Worcestershire.
Mary was the seventh of eight children of John Bishop and Ann Willis, who had married in 1792. She was christened on 30 Dec 1809 at the church of St John the Baptist, and married at the same church at the age of 16. Her husband was a farmer, Joseph Sheppard (spelled Shepherd).
We can see Mary in the 1841 census living at Sale Green with her husband Joseph, an agricultural labourer, and a ten-month-old baby, also called Joseph. Living with them was 15-year-old Mary Allbut.
Mary and Joseph had two more children, William and Ann. Tragically, Joseph drowned in the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at the age of 42. In 1851, Mary (40) is living with her two sons Joseph (10) and William (8), and her occupation is given as pauper, gloveress (see my earlier post). I think Ann had died as a baby.
By 1861, Mary’s parents have both died and she has become a shopkeeper (we later see more evidence of this in a local directory for 1879). The small family are in Huddington, with both sons working and living at home. In 1871 she is listed as a provision dealer (61), the two sons have left home, and 19-year-old James Wells is sharing her home as a boarder (crossed out) / lodger. He is presumably the same person as the nephew James Wills (actually Willis) living with her in 1881.
By 1891, Mary is 80. She is still living in Sale Green, but now with two teenage granddaughters (Mary and Sarah, children of her son William) sharing her home. Mary died in January of 1892, and was buried on 12 Jan at the church of St James in Huddington.
Leigh Sinton is a parish in the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire where “the inhabitants are wholly engaged in agricultural pursuits” (The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 1868).
One of Ari’s 3x great-grandmothers, Mary James, was born there on 5 Mar 1857 and baptised on 5 Apr 1857. (It helps to know that the parish was called Leigh with Bransford, and the civil registration district was Martley.) Knowing her parents’ names (John and Ann) from the baptism, I then found Ann’s maiden name (Amphlett) from the GRO records, which led me to their marriage in 1849.
In the 1861 census the family are living in Leigh, and the address suggests they are next door to a chapel, Lady Huntingdon’s Connexion. Mary is 5 and at school, as are two brothers (John and Charles) and a sister (Matilda), while her brother Thomas (10) is a waggoner’s boy, and there is also two-year-old William.
The chapel is mentioned in this account of smallpox in the village, from the Worcester Journal of 16 Nov 1872 (on Findmypast):
Mary married George Thomas Waters on 20 Apr 1879 at Grafton Flyford. In 1881 they are living in Himbleton village, with baby daughter Martha James Waters.
In 1891 they are in Neight Hill, Himbleton, with six children, and the 1911 census shows that they have had nine altogether. (The youngest, Florence May Waters, married Alfred John Sheppard and will have her own page as Ari’s great-great grandmother.) Their house had three bedrooms and two living rooms.
The final record for Mary before her death in 1940 is the 1939 Register, where she is still in Himbleton and living with her daughter Dorothy Winifred.
This week I received a document from Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service, discovered when I was searching the National Archives catalogue. It refers to Edward Willis, Ari’s 7x great-grandfather, and is titled:
Epiphany 1766: Removal Order Edward Willis & wife Mary from Grafton Flyford to Upton Snodbury [sic].
It comes from the Worcestershire Quarter Sessions. The Epiphany quarter was January, and this document is dated 9 December 1765.
What the document is telling us is that a complaint had been made to the county’s justices of the peace that Edward Willis and his wife Mary had lately come and “intruded into the Parish of Grafton Flyford aforesaid, endeavouring there to settle as Inhabitants thereof, contrary to Law, … and are likely to become chargeable thereunto.” The church wardens and Overseers of the Poor of Grafton Flyford are commanded “forthwith to remove and convey the said Edward Willis and Mary his Wife … unto the Parish of Upton Snodsbury” (where they were last legally settled), to be delivered over to the church wardens and Overseers of the Poor in that parish who “are hereby required to receive and provide for them as the Law directs”.
(Source: Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service. Ref: 1/1/422/33)
This was extremely helpful because I then knew to look for the couple in Upton Snodsbury, which is six miles east of Worcester, on the road to Inkberrow. As a result of this, I found Edward’s burial, on 5 Aug 1824 at the church of St Kenelm. This in turn provided his birth date of 1745, and there is a possible baptism in 1744 with parents Edward and Hannah, who might therefore be Ari’s 8x great-grandparents!
I am very grateful to the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service for their extremely speedy and helpful service!