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A Headache from Start to Finish
by Kevin Herridge

Part Four

So where was Thomas in April when the Census was taken? He was not in London or Purley. Had he left Eliza? Had he had enough of London? Was he working away from home? I know his son John married in Nunhead, Camberwell but as yet have not located Eliza’s death or re-marriage or his other children’s marriages. Not knowing whether the family stayed in London or returned to Berkshire after Thomas’ death, I have left that line of enquiry open at the moment.

    The fact that Thomas and Eliza had both been born in Berkshire and the River Kennet ran through the County and they lived in Kennet Wharf Lane seemed a coincidence. As Thomas’ occupation  was given as ‘wharf carman’ at the baptism of his daughter Harriett in 1859, I thought it possible he could have worked at Kennet Wharf or Worcester Wharf. A letter to the Bishopsgate Institute in London was rewarded with a reply and photocopies from the 1852, 1854, 1861 and 1863 Directories covering Kennet Wharf. They showed William D. & Frederick G. WHITE, Wharfingers, running barges from Kennet Wharf to Basingstoke, Andover, Odiham and Alton via the Basingstoke Canal. Running close to the Hampshire/Berkshire border, this would have been an easy way to visit home in Purley from London.

    Working backwards from Elizabeth Ann’s baptism I located her parents’ marriage certificate at St. Catherine’s House. They were married on February 3rd, 1850 at St. John’s, Praed Street, Paddington. Both parties gave their address as Praed Street and both were of full age. Thomas’ occupation was given as ‘labourer’ and he signed with an ‘X’. The witnesses were J. HERRIDGE and E. JOSEY and Thomas’ father was given as William, a ‘labourer’.

    Joining the Berkshire Family History Society certainly paid dividends. As soon as I joined I made contact with Diana WETHERELL (formerly JOSEY) and Michael YOUNG. Diana was doing a study on her maiden name and Michael had collected much information on his mother’s maiden name – HERRIDGE – and traced his family through Hampshire back to Berkshire. At this point I must add there were many others that furnished me information, too many to name. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of them for their help.

    Having traced my family out of London I was now back in Purley, Berkshire. Having listed all the HERRIDGEs on the I.G.I. some months earlier, two names stuck out – William and Leah of Purley. For some reason they just struck me as nice names. Little did I know that of all the hundreds of names I copied out I would be descended from these two people. Re-checking the I.G.I. details gave me the baptisms of the children of William and Leah in Purley: Sarah, June 15th, 1806; Hannah, October 8th, 1809; Elizabeth, November 3rd, 1811; Richard, August 14th, 1814; Edward, September 29th, 1816; William, December 26th, 1818; Anne, October 28th, 1821; James, July 17th, 1824; Thomas, January 28th, 1827 and in Jean’s notes I found John, May 16th, 1830, who was not on the I.G.I. There was no marriage on the I.G.I. for William and Leah. I started listing all the variants and found their marriage listed under HARRIDGE. William married Leah SIMPSON in Purley by licence and both signed with an ‘X’. The witnesses were William CURTIS and Benjamin HUMPHRIES.

    Jean’s notes proved invaluable at this point. William had 26 mentions as a Juror and Inhabitant on Court Leets in Purley and Tidmarsh from 1808 to 1847. I could see from these entries that I was going to encounter difficulties with name variations. Those I came across as well as HERRIDGE were HARIGE, HERIDGE, HERAGE, HIRIDGE, HERIGE, ERRIDGE, HERGES, HIRGES, HEREGE, HERDAG, and HEREDG. As I traced the family further back I encountered even more surprises in spelling variations.

    From the Census returns of 1841, 1851 and 1861 I discovered that William was an ‘agricultural labourer’ or ‘farm labourer’ and that the family lived on the Oxford Road and Purley Village. As with all ‘ag. labs.’, work could be short at times causing hardships within the family. The Purley Church Warden Accounts show they paid out “5/- for midwifery” when William’s son Thomas was born in 1827. The Minutes of the Board of Guardians of Bradfield Union (G/B 1/3) state that on August 21st, 1827, “the R.O. reports that William HERRIDGE (54) wd. not accept relief on loan.” From November 27th to December 12th, 1827, William was credited 1/-per week towards relief on the loan. It was noted that William belonged to a Medical Club (August 7th, 1837) and that he applied for relief on a loan of four shillings and five-pence halfpenny on August 14th, 1837 as he was “ill from a fall.” The Accounts state he had “a wife (52) and three children aged 12, 11 and 7. Wife is reaping, James earns 3/- and Thomas 2/6d pr week.”  On January 1st, 1838, he “pd. five-pence halfpenny, balance of loan.”

    Two other sons of William were buried in Purley. They were Edward on November 28th, 1826, and William on April 1st, 1848, neither of whom had married. Apart from Thomas, the only other one of William’s children I have found that married was Richard who married Mary GREEN on August 24th, 1839 in Purley. Mary was also born in Purley, the daughter of William (a shepherd) and Elizabeth. In April, 1828, she was “out to service” and from 1854-71 she was the school mistress of Purley Free School. The couple lived in School Cottage, Purley (Village) Street which was formerly known as the ‘Martins’ and is still standing today (1991). Previous to becoming a schoolmistress, Mary had given Richard five children.

    From the Census returns I found William to have been born in Hampstead Norris and Leah born in Whitchurch, Oxfordshire. As yet, I have found no further details of her. There does not appear to be a baptism for her in Whitchurch.

    On January 12th. 1867, William died and was buried on the 17th. The ‘Reading Mercury and Oxford Gazette’ of Saturday, January 19th, 1867, mentions an Inquest before William WEEDON, Esq., Deputy Coroner: “On Monday last at the house of Mr. William POCOCK, Purley, on the body of William HERRIDGE, 83 years, pauper, who fell from his chair on the proceeding Saturday and was taken up dead. It appeared that deceased was frequently ceased with giddiness in his head and had had several falls in consequence. The Jury returned a verdict of ‘Death from Natural Causes.”

    Purley was recorded in the Doomsday Book as Porlai/ei and means ‘a clearing in the woods for snipe and bittern.’ A school was built in Purley in 1872 and financed by the Rector, the Reverend Richard PALMER, for 45 children of the ‘labouring, manufacturing and other poorer classes of Purley.’ Richard and Mary’s daughter, Ann HUGHES, was recorded on the 1871 Census as a ‘schoolteacher.’ I wonder if her or her mother ever taught in the new school?

    The Census returns gave William’s date of birth as circa. 1784. A quick search of the I.G.I. gave William’s baptism as May 28th, 1786, Hampstead Norris, the son of Richard and Sarah.

    Richard had married Sarah WELLS on October 18th, 1772 in Hampstead Norris by Banns. Both parties were said to be “of this Parish” and both signed with an ‘X’. Sarah was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth (formerly MILTON) and baptized on December 29th, 1747, in Hampstead Norris. I could find no baptism for Richard so I was “stuck” again. Several visits to the Berkshire Records Office did not help.

    The I.G.I. gave five children for Richard and Sarah: Elizabeth, December 13th, 1776; Sarah, April 25th, 1779; William, July 10th, 1785; another William, May 28th, 1786 and Thomas, December 16th, 1787, all in Hampstead Norris. The first son named William was buried on April 2nd, 1786. Richard’s daughter, Sarah, married James WOODWARD on October 20th, 1806, in Hampstead Norris.

    In 1782 Richard received a ‘Whitsuntide Gift Coat’ (as HERRAGE) from the Church Wardens and again in 1809 (as HERRIAGE) (C/W Accounts D/P62/5/1+2). I wrote to Shire Hall enquiring about these ‘Gift Coats’ and was told at the back of the Parish register was a list of those in receipt of  ‘EMERY’s Charity.’ “This consisted of five white fustian great coats costing 25 shillings each, made by a tailor in Leckhampstead and given on Whitsunday as a rule to shepherds and men who spent a large part of their time out of doors or to labourers with large families. The charity was started by EMERY’s Will dated 1690 and endowed by the rents from ten and a half acres of land in the common fields of Crowmarsh Gifford, Oxfordshire, and administered by the churchwarden or overseers of Hampstead Norris.”

    Richard’s wife, Sarah, was buried on July 17th, 1796, in Hampstead Norris and seven years later Richard re-married to Ann CHEYNEY, a spinster, by Banns, in Hampstead Norris. Both parties were “of this parish” and signed with an ‘X’. As Ann was not a direct ancestor I have not followed up on her line.

    Still “stuck”, with no sign of Richard’s baptism, I thought I had at last come to the end of my research on the HERRIDGE line. I thought I had done quite well to have got back that far and would concentrate on other family lines again.

    The breakthrough…the end of the headache…or was it the beginning?

    I then received a letter from Berkshire F.H.S. member, Michael YOUNG, who had discovered a major spelling variation for his HERRIDGE ancestors. He too had got “stuck” in the mid-1700s on his line. He could find no baptism for his ancestor, John HERRIDGE, who had married Mary POOR, in 1755, in Hampstead Norris. Tipped off, I believe by Jean DEBNEY, he extended his search area and was surprised to find a variant spelling. In the baptism register of Hurst he found a family whose surname alternated between HERRIDGE and HEADAGE between 1762 and 1782. In Bucklebury he found a baptism in 1725 of a Betty, the daughter of Thomas and Anne HEADACH/HERRIDGE, the surnames bracketed together. He found the baptism of John he had been searching for in 1726, the son of Jos (baptized HEADACH) and Mary HERAGE of Hampstead Norris. He went on to say, “The spelling changed gradually from HEADACH/HEADAGE to HERRIDGE over a period of about thirty years in the first half of the 18th century. It may possibly be derived from Hawkridge near Bucklebury where a number of HEADACH’s lived…I have also found two Wills from Bucklebury; one is that of Joseph HERRIDGE, 1729, and the other of his wife, Elizabeth HEADACH, 1730.”

    Following Michael’s theory, I began checking the HEADACH(E), HEADAGE, HEADIGE, etc entries on the I.G.I. for Berkshire and it looked as though there was some substance to it. From the HERRIDGE entries I had copied out and formed into family trees, it was obvious there was something amiss as there were very few entries before 1700 and the HEADACH entries were drying up between 1700 and 1750. The exact same thing was happening in other Counties where the surname was prevalent; Oxfordshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and London. The HEADACH spelling seems to have lasted longer in London probably because they moved up from the country and being removed from the ‘nest’, did not follow local trends or were not affected by the spelling whims of the country clergy or their clerks. This is given even more credence by those who emigrated or were transported to America or Australia. The largest concentration in any single village was in Gillingham, Dorset, where the spelling varied from HEDDITCH to HERRIDGE with HEDDIGE, HEDDAGE, HEDDEGE, etc. to a lesser degree. There were over 200 baptisms, 100 marriages and 120 burials between 1595 and 1899 from this family!

Part Five

 

 
 
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