Alan March’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back many generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from Alan’s as (1)

Monk Tree



JOHN JEFFCOAT made his first marriage in 1682, putting his likely birth date in the late 1650s. This was the time of the Puritan Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell.

Throughout his adult life we find him living in the Oxfordshire hamlet of Hempton, in Deddington parish. This is 6 miles south of Banbury. We have not found a birth or baptism for him in a 20-mile radius. It may be that an early record is missing, or that he came from some distance away. There is no evidence of an extended family of Jeffcoats in Hempton, so it is likely that they were newcomers.

Among the many witnesses of his two marriages, there are no Jeffcoats, but John and Daniel Jeffcoat witnessed a marriage in 1700, and Anne Jeffcutt in 1699. Daniel is probably John’s brother and Anne a sister or sister-in-law. This suggests that the Jeffcoats arrived in Hempton as a family, or were born there.

Hempton did not have its own church until 1851. The parish church was in nearby Deddington, but the Jeffcoats were Quakers, worshipping in private homes or in newly-built meeting houses.

Hempton, which in Anglo-Saxon means high place, stands on a ridge 146 metres above sea level, a mile west of Deddington. To the north it overlooks the valley of the River Swere, whilst southwards there are unbroken fields rolling across another valley to the villages of Duns Tew and Over Worton.

‘To the north and northwest of the village the traveller may see fields with a curious wave-like appearance. These are the last vestiges of the communal husbandry which flourished here in medieval times.’[1] This was the ridge and furrow method of ploughing strip fields.

In 1662, only 17 inhabitants were taxed.

Steepness Hill above Hempton[2]

 John became a husbandman, with a small farm.

The Jeffcoats were a Quaker family. The Society of Friends, known as Quakers, arose from an inspirational vision of George Fox on Pendle Hill in Lancashire in 1652. The movement quickly spread, as George Fox, and other men and women, travelled the country, preaching out of doors. The Society of Friends holds that people have no need of priests. God speaks directly to each of us.

Their meetings had no set liturgy. Friends would sit in silence, until the Holy Spirit inspired one of them to speak, man or woman. It was a non-sacramental form of Christianity. They did not baptise, either children or adults, nor did they celebrate Holy Communion.

The movement spread rapidly. By 1680, two years before John married, there were 60,000 Quakers in England and Wales, 1.15% of the population.

We do not know whether John and his siblings were born to a Quaker couple who were early converts, or whether they joined the Society as adults.

At first the Quakers met in private houses, but by the end of the 17th century several meeting houses had been built in Oxfordshire. The Jeffcoats nearest meeting house was in South Newington, 3 miles west of Hempton.

John’s first marriage took place at a Quaker meeting in South Newington. His bride was the maidservant Margery Biggs. Later Quaker marriage certificates tell us about the couple’s parentage, but this is not the case here.

These are to notify all whom it may concern that whereas John Jeffcott of Humton in the county of Oxon, husbandman, and Margery Biggs of South Newton in the county of Oxon, maidservant, have with the consent of their parents and nearest relations several times declared their intention to take each other in marriage at the monthly men and women’s meeting of the people of God called Quakers near Banbury in the county of Oxon. And upon serious consideration had and on enquiry made they being both clear in that respect from all others had the full consent and approbation at the said meeting. And for the compleat solemnizing of the marriage on the 6th day of the 8th month in the year 1682. In a publick assembly of the people of God called Quakers and others in South Newton in the aforesaid county according to the examples and practise of the holy men and women in former ages. Friends in the house of the Lord, John Jeffcot take thee Margorie Biggs to be my wife promising to be faithful and loving husband till death seaparates us. And in the house of the Lord, I, Margory Biggs, take thee John Jeffcott to be my husband promising to be a loving wife till death separates us. In testimony whereof we hereunder set our hand on the day and year above written.

John Jeffcott, Mary Jeffcott.

And we whose name are here subscribed being those present on their each other and setting their hands to his certificate are witnesses to the present:

Richard Kings, Wm Tredwell, Robert Knight, Wm Busby, Wm French, John Nicholls, James Clifford, John Tredwell, Wm Tomkins, John Polton, John Gilkes, Thomas Butcher, Walter Coleman, John Hewitt, John Tomkins, John Gilkes, Katharine Owen, Sarah Kings, Sarah French, Ann Gilkes, Susanna Groome, Sarah Tomkins, Edith Tredwell, Margery Hodges, Mary Hodges, Mary Potter, Mary Kings, Mary Busby, Alice Gilkes, Rachell Hawkes, Mary Butcher, Joanne Busby, Rebecca Stranke, Abigail Warde, Sarah Riton, Hoestill Stranke, Margaret Kings.

 ‘Humton’ is Hempton. ‘South Newton’ is South Newington.

Among the witnesses are four members of the Gilkes family, that John would later marry into.

We do not have the record of Margery’s death, but she appears to have died without children.


HANNAH GILKES. Hannah’s birth was recorded at the Banbury monthly meeting of the Society of Friends. She was thus born into a Quaker family. Her parents were Thomas Gilkes and Mary Cooke. [3]

Birth. Sidbury Gower.
11 Hannah daughter of Thomas Gilkes and Mary his wife of Sibbarby Gore was borne.

The exact day is not given.

‘Sibbarby Gore’ is Sibford Gower.

 Hannah was the fourth of six children, five girls and one boy.

She grew up in the village of Sibford Gower, 7 mile NW of Hempton. Like John, her father was a husbandman, farming on a small scale.

Sibford Gower stands on the north bank of the Sib valley, opposite Sibford Fens. It is famous for the Quaker blacksmith, turned clockmaker, Thomas Gilkes, who passed on the skill to his sons. He was a contemporary of Hannah, with his birthdate given as 1665 or 1675.

Several websites say that the Sibford Gower Society of Friends first met in his house in 1669. Clearly, the householder must be an older Thomas Gilkes, the clockmaker’s father or grandfather. He would also have been related to Hannah, though we do not know how closely.


Hannah and John married in 1697 at the South Newington Quaker meeting house. The record was kept at the monthly meeting in Banbury.

Marriage. Quaker Meeting House, South Newington.
These are to certify all whome it dothe or may concerne, that whereas John Jeffcot of Hempton in the County of Oxon, husbandman, and Hannah Gilkes of Sibford Gower in the County of Oxon, spinster, daughter of Thomas Gilkes of Sibford Gower aforesaid, husbandman. Have, with the consent of their parents and nearest relations, severall times declared their intention of taking each other in marriage at the men’s and women’s meetings of the people of God called Quakers in the county of Oxon and upon serious consideration had, and on enquiry made, they being both cleare in that respect and relation from all others, and the full consent and approbation of the sd. meetings, and for the solemnizing of the said marriage on the 1 and 20th day of the 12th month called February in the yeare of our Lord 1697. In publicke assembly of the people of God called Quakers and others at South Newton in the County of Oxon, the said John Jeffcot taking her the said Hannah Gilkes by the hand did solemnly and expressly declare that he did take her the said Hannah Gilkes to be his wife, and in like manner she the said Hannah Gilkes holding him the said John Jeffcot by the hand did solemnly and expressly declare that she did take him the said John Jeffcott be her husband, and each of them did solemnly promise to be loving and faithfull to each other in relation of husband and wife until it should please the Lord to separate them by death. And as a confirmation thereof the said John Jeffcot and Hannah Gilkes did then and there set their hands.
And we whose names are hereunder written being then present at the solemnizing of the marriage have hereunto set our hands as witnesses to the same.
Thomas Gilkes Sr, Katherine Owen, John Gilkes, Thomas Gilkes Jr, Eliz Portnam, Joseph Groom, Isaac Groom, Richard Gilkes, Mary Gilkes, Susanna Groom, Mary Gilkes, Eliz Gilkes, John Smith, Tom Samby?, John Gilkes, John Stow, Richard Parks, Eliz Stow, Thomas Butcher, Tho Potter, John Baggs, Tom French, John French, Edward Robinson, James Page, Robert Knight, John Carpenter, William Watts, Hannah Stow, Richard Evens?, Ursula Wheeler, Thomas French, Eliz Swift, Mary Parsons, Wm Woodwing?, Richard King, Eliz King.

We are fortunate that this certificate gives more details about Hannah’s father than do those of her siblings.

The births of two children were recorded at the Banbury Monthly Meeting, Their residence is given at Hempton.

Births. Society of Friends, Banbury Monthly Meeting.
1698 Nov 8  Thomas
1700 Jun 14  John

In 1699 Ann Jeffcutt witnessed a Quaker marriage, and John Jeffcoat and Daniel Jeffcoat witnessed another in 1700. Ann and Daniel are probably John’s siblings.

Two years later, John died, leaving Hannah pregnant, with two young sons. He was buried at South Newington.

Burial. South Newington.
The Banbury Quaker records tell us:
‘1702 April 26  John Jeffcoat of Hempton was buried at South Newinton. ‘

This was not the Quaker burial ground. The parish register reads:
John Jeffcutt of Hampton in ye parish of Deddington, buried in ye churchyard.’

In his will, written on 17 April 1702, John provided for his unborn child.

In the name of God Amen I John Jefcoat of Yempton in the parishe of Dadington in the County of Oxon Husbandman, Being weak of body, but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be to Almighty God for ye same, doe constitute make and ordaine this my last Will and Testament in manner and forme following (That is to say)
Imprimis I give and bequeath unto my eldest son Thomas Jefcoat ye sum’e of Twenty pounds of lawfull Englishe money to be payd within one whole year after my decease, by my Executrix hereafter named.
Item I give and bequeath unto my youngest son John Jefcoat ye sum’e of Twenty pounds of
lawfull Englishe money to be payd within one whole year after my decease.
 Item I give unto my child that my wife is now Great withall ye sum’e of Tenn pounds of lawfull money of England, to be paid within four years after my decease. But in case any or either of my said children, that are now liveing, or to be born should dye, That then the said Legacies shalbe equally divided to the Survivor or Survivors of them, as it shall happen
Item I give and bequeath unto my loveing wife Hannah Jefcoat all my goods cattle Chattles
Utensinsills of husbandry stock or stocks both within and without all crops of corn or hay now standing, and all bonds Bills debts and redy money which I shall then dye possessed of paying My debts and dischargeing the Legacies aforesaid, and my funerall expences. And for the performance of This my last will and Testament, I doe constitute and ordaine my said loveing wife Hannah Jefcoate My sole and absolute Executrix of this my last will and testament, revokeing and disanulling all former wills by me made.
And for the better assistance of my said wife Hannah Jefcoat and children my desire is That my loveing freinds Thomas Owen of Yempton aforesaid and John Gilkes of Atherbury in the County of Oxon Husbandman shall take care of my said wife and children, and put out the said Legacies as they shalbe become due for their use and best advantage.
In witness whereof I the said John Jefcoat doe publishe and declare this to be my last will and Testam’t revokeing all former wills by me made this seaventeenth day of April in the first year of the Reigne of Our Lady Ann Queen of England &c. And in the year our Lord One Thousand seaven hundred and Two.
Signed sealed delivered                        John Jefcot (O)
published and declared
to by my last will & Testam’t
in the p’sence of us
William Gilkes
Charles Coles
John Bignell

Probat &c 5’to Aprilis 1703 apud Chip norton Coram
Ven’li Viro Tho Ayloffe? LL D’re et D’ni Epi’ Oxon Vicar &c

An inventory was made of his belongings.

Aprill ye 28th 1702
An invitory Taken of the Goods and Chatells of John Jefcot
lately decesed

It’ warin Cloes and Money in perse     3   0 0
in the hall won tabell two bras Cetles & A scillit and
pweter dishes & spons and other small things     1 10 0
It’ in the butry and darey hous the barills & Coulls? & Chespres
and other small things     1   0 0
It’ in the hall Chamber won bed & bedin and linen & three
small bockses & won chear     1   5 0
It’ in the Chamber over the butrey A bed and all other things
in that roome     1   0 0
It’ Whet in the barne     6   0 0
It’ hay and peas     7   0 0
all The horses and hornes   11   0 0
It’ The Cows and all ye Cavs & 3 pigs   20   0 0
It’ The Crop upon the Ground
valued at forscore pound   80   0 0
It’ wagins & 2 muckarts & harows & plows
and all other small impliments of husbandry
twelve pound   12   0 0
It’ hovillin and all other fire wod & fers
and Coalls     7   0 0
  128 15
  150 19
  148 15

      The Sum Totall is – 150 -15 – 0

apraised by uss
William Tomkins
William Gilkes

Exhibit’ &c 5’to Aprilis 1703 Per Hannam
Relict et Ex’tricem &c pro vero &c …
Geo: Cooper Reg’r dep’

This shows that the Jeffcoat house had a hall, a buttery and a dairy, with one bedchamber over the hall and another over the buttery. A buttery was a storeroom for provisions.

John spent his life under a succession of Stuart monarchs: Charles II, James II, Mary II and her husband William III, and Anne.

Some two weeks after his father’s death, Daniel was born on 11 May 1702. Hannah did not register his birth with the Society of Friends, but had all three children entered in the register of Deddington parish church, as the law required, but as few Quakers did.

From this, and the fact that she had John buried in the parish churchyard, it would seem that Hannah was less attached to the Society of Friends than her husband was.

Hannah did not remarry. We have not found her burial, but other researchers say she died in Hempton around 1743.

The posthumous son, Daniel, married Hannah Potter, but not until a month after the birth of their daughter Mary. After Daniel’s death, this younger Hannah fell on hard times. She was allowed to live rent free in an upstairs room of the Meeting House in Adderbury.

At one time, financial assistance was given to the widow Hannah Jeffcoat and her son Daniel and his family. This may refer to the older Hannah.


[1] John Temple-Smith, Deddington History.
[2] https://getoutside.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/local/steepness-hill-cherwell-or-radwell-hill
[3] Her mother is named on the Gilkes Web Site: https://www.myheritage.com/site-61591431/gilkes, ‘Thomas and Mary’.




Monk Tree