The Thatcher – 5 generations living side-by-side?

This is becoming more common now as people live longer, but 5 generations living in Sticklepath in 1851?

Let’s start with the family I am calling household ‘5’ in the 1841 census. It is hard to know where exactly they were living, but somewhere near Oaktree Park and the current village shop in Sticklepath. John Yeo, aged 42, an ag. lab. was living with his wife Jemima aged 40, his 4 children and his grandfather. The children were James, 17, also an ag.lab., Mary a worsted spinner aged 15, John aged 9, and William aged 3 months. The grandfather (baby William’s great grandfather) was William Way aged 78 who is described as a thatcher. Was he still thatching at 78? We will probably never know.

1907 The Thatcher a DB Tuck postcard

Ten years later 1851 census, taken 30 March shows William Waye (different spelling) ‘former thatcher’. It seems John Yeo may have died as Jemima Yeo and son John aged 10 are now living, along with our thatcher, in the household of James Crocker aged 28y, Cordwainer, and his wife Mary A Crocker aged 25 a wool sorter.

For every record you find there are immediately at least two more records needed and several questions you need to go and find the answers to! There should be records of John Yeo’s death and burial, and of a marriage for Mary Yeo to James Crocker, and of course we need to follow the family to the next census. A Cordwainer is a shoe-maker, especially one who makes new shoes as compared to a cobbler who mends old shoes for example. Mary having been a worsted spinner at 15 is now a wool sorter – is that a promotion I wonder?

Sadly though, the burial records show that just one month later, on 29 April 1851 William Waye was buried by Rev WS Best in Sticklepath ‘Quaker burying ground’. A note is made in the register that at his graveside were children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. So a day or two earlier if passing through Sticklepath we could have seen 5 generations of the one family.

It is always a good idea to look at other burials in close proximity in the register. Sadly on 21 May, less than 4 weeks after that, the family would have been mourning the loss of William Waye Clarke, great great grandson of the thatcher.

Sticklepath Quaker Burying Ground 2020

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