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Family Trees From The Garden of England

  • The Wakeman Family of Wrotham

    The Wakeman family lived in Wrotham in the 1700s and 1800s. Richard Wakeman was a carpenter living at Borough Green in Wrotham at the time of the 1841 census, aged 72. The family were Baptists and only a handful of baptism records survived for the family. There was reference to Richard Wakeman having a Dissenter's Meeting House on Lower Street in Borough Green in 1813.

    Prior to this date Richard had two children baptised at Plaxtol, a chapelry within the parish of Wrotham. Here his wife's name was recorded as Lou or Lois. Richard married Louisa Milbourn at Plaxtol on the 3rd of October 1787.

    Richard was apprenticed to William Couchman of Ightham in August 1775. The records showed that this was to last eight years.

    This suggested that Richard was older than the 1841 census had suggested. The 1841 census would have suggested that Richard was aged about 7 in August 1775 but it would seem more likely that he would start an apprenticeship around 11 or 14 years of age.

    The search in the parish registers was therefore widened to take into account the fact that Richard was probably born earlier than thought. This lead to the discovery of the following baptism at Wrotham:

    Richard son of Thomas & Elizabeth Wakeman bpt. 7th August 1763 at Wrotham. Father's occupation: Hostler at The Bull

    This baptism seemed very likely to be relevant. It was in the right area and the timing of the baptism in August was around the same time as the apprenticeship started. The baptism would have taken place soon after the birth and of course the apprenticeship would have started soon after Richard's birthday. Richard would have been aged 12 in 1775 which would be a much more likely age to be starting an apprenticeship.

    Other children baptised to Thomas and Elizabeth at Wrotham were:

    Thomas bpt. 7 February 1762. Father's occupation: Hostler at The Mill [sic. Not sure if this is meant to The Bull]

    John bpt. 30 November 1765. Father's occupation: Master of The Rose & Crown

    Robert bpt. 30 November 1766. Father's occupation: Master of The Rose & Crown

    It was fascinating to discover their father, Thomas's, occupation. As a local publican he would have been well known to other families in the parish and been at the heart of the community. Although there are a high number of pubs in the village! The Rose & Crown still stands on the High Street as does The Bull, a few hundred yards away, which was an old coaching inn.

    Richard's father, Thomas married at Wrotham to Elizabeth Chapman on the 2nd of November 1761.

    A baptism was sought at Wrotham for Thomas:

    Thomas bpt. 5 November 1732 son of John & Elizabeth Wakeman

    The family had been present in the area for over 100 years. Further research will reveal whether they were present in the parish any earlier.

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