Sunday, 9 February 2014

Okay, so this is the last of the January catch-ups. From now on I will NOT get so far behind again. I hope.


These maternal g-g-grandparents were married at the Parish Church in Lyminge Kent on this day in 1853. William was a 26 year old agricultural labourer while Ann was only 19. Both were born & bred in the parish and continued to live within its boundary all their lives; in Lyminge New Town, Mount Pleasant, Woodlands and Each End Hill (later called Etchinghill). 

Between 1855 and 1873 William and Ann had 9 children – Thomas, James, Ellen, William, Louisa (my great-grandmother), Charles, Elizabeth, Jane and George. I have very little information on these children other than what I have gleaned from the census records but I am sure there is much more information to be found!

On the 1861 census, William & Ann are living on Lyminge Street with 8yr old Thomas, 6 yr old James, 4yr old Ellen, 2yr old William and a 61 year old boarder called Thomas Raines. At the time Ann would also have been pregnant with my great-grandmother who was born 7 months later.

By 1871 the family have moved 2.5kms away to Each End Hill. Eldest son, Thomas is now 18 and like his father is also working as an ag lab, 11yr old William has no occupation shown, nor is he listed as a “scholar” like his 9yr old sister Louisa, but it is highly unlikely that he was not working in some capacity to bring in a small income to help the family. Like Louisa, 6yr old Charles is shown as a “scholar” but it must be remembered that this was hardly an indication that they were receiving much of a formal education as we know it. Until about 1870 all schools were charitable or private institutions and in small rural areas the standards of education were basic at best. Also at home was 3yr old Elizabeth. I have not been able to find where 16 year old James is at this time.

The 1881 census return shows the family have moved 6.5kms away to Woodland. Son Thomas is now 27 and still living at home, as is 10 yr old Jane and 8 yr old George. The Kennets have taken in another lodger, William Horolaw, a 17yr old agricultural labourer. G-Grandmother Louisa is now working as a domestic servant about 4 kms away at Monks Horton on the farm owned by Charles Hamon. Daughter Ellen is now 14 and living and working in Lyminge as a general servant to Alfred Vincent who describes himself as a “Grocer, Baker, Draper and Beer House Keeper”. James has now reappeared in the area as a 26year old living with his wife Roseanna Barham and her family and has learned the bakers profession. It is now William and Elizabeth who have spread their wings and cannot be found.

By 1891 William and Ann are back in Each End Hill and have only Jane and George still at home with them and both are employed outside the home. Jane is a domestic servant and George a general labourer. William, at 63, is still working as an agricultural labourer.

The final census on which we find William and Ann is that of 1901. Still in Etchinghill, at Ark Cottage, they are now living on parish relief, both being too old for the demands of work. Their unmarried son Thomas is now 46 and still labouring for a living. 40 year old William is now a widower and back at home working as a farm wagoner and horse worker and 28 year old George is still single and a journeyman stone worker. Intriguingly, also in the household is a 10 year old Louisa, born in Cheriton, who is described as “granddaughter”. Is she William’s perhaps? More research is needed here I think.

William passed away in 1908 and we see on the 1911 census Ann is still in Ark Cottage with Thomas and George. The interesting feature of this 1911 census is that the records we see are those completed by the householder themselves. These are not enumerators transcripts. What we have is a document in the shaky hand of the 76 year old widower, Ann Kennet just 6 years before her death in 1917.

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