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)(1)
HENRY MONK EVANS and JANE ELIZABETH BEEKEN (4)
HENRY MONK EVANS. The early years of Harry Monk of Croydon have been difficult to track down. He appears variously as Henry Monk Evans, Harry Monk Evans, Harry Neal and Harry Monk.
In the end there is only one explanation that makes sense of the evidence.
Throughout his adult life in Croydon, he is known only as Harry Monk. This is the name in every census, on his marriage registration and his death registration.
He says in every census that he was born at Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, and in one case at Waddesdon Hill.
The evidence puts his birth in 1861-2.
No record has been found for a Harry Monk of that age in or near Waddesdon. No birth registration, no baptism, no census record.
Waddesdon is a village 6m NW of Aylesbury, on the main road to Bicester. It was known for its lacemaking and silk weaving.
From the 1861 census we know that his father was 44 and unmarried, farming at Sheepcott Hill on the outskirts of Waddesdon, just one hill further on than Waddesdon Hill. His mother was 20 years old and a “sewer”.
His mother Emily moved to Kensington, where she married Frederick James Neal, labourer, also from Waddesdon. Harry appears to have stayed behind and been brought up by his grandparents, Robert and Elizabeth Evans in their cottage on Waddesdon Hill.
His mother returned there for the birth of Harry’s half-sister Ada towards the end of 1867.
She was still there on a February night in 1868 when the rickyard of the neighbouring farm caught fire. She dressed the children and went outside, no doubt fearing that their cottage, which may have been thatched, was at risk of catching fire itself, from a stray spark or ember. It must have been an awesome sight for a six-year-old boy to see the ricks blazing against the night sky.
His father died in 1869.
By the next census, Harry’s mother had returned to Kensington, leaving Harry in Waddesdon.
1871 Census. Waddesdon Hill, Waddesdon, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Robert Evans Head Mar 62 Ag Labourer Oxon, Piddington
Elizabeth Evans Wife Mar 63 Lacemaker Bucks, Westcott
Elizabeth Evans Granddaur 13 Lacemaker Bucks, Waddesdon
Harry Monk Evans Grandson 9 Scholar Bucks, Waddesdon
There are reasons to suspect that the younger Elizabeth, too, may have been born out of wedlock to Emily or her sister, though we do not have her parents’ names.
Given his origins, it is possible that Harry had half-brothers or sisters elsewhere in Waddesdon.
We find him again ten years later, this time in Egham. At 19, he has become a bricklayer and is living with his mother, stepfather and two half-sisters. The enumerator has mistakenly given him the surname Neal, no doubt assuming he was Frederick’s son.
1881 Census. 10 Collingwood Terrace, Egham, Surrey.
Frederick J Neal Head Mar 34 General labourer Bucks, Waddesdon
Emily Neal Wife Mar 40 Bucks, Waddesdon
Harry Neal Son Unmar 19 Bricklayer Bucks, Waddesdon
Ada Florence Neal Daur Unmar 13 Scholar Bucks, Waddesdon
Frances Miriam Neal Daur Unmar 9 Scholar Middx, Paddington
Thomas E Hibberd Boarder Unmar 17 General labourer Surrey, Egham
When we next meet him it is in 1885, when he married Elizabeth Jane Beeken in Croydon. He is now Harry Monk, and remains so for the rest of his life.
JANE ELIZABETH BEEKEN. Her birth was registered in the Spalding district of Lincolnshire in the third quarter of 1864. She is usually known as Elizabeth, and she gives her name thereafter as Elizabeth Jane, though she is Jane E Monk in the registration of her death. She should not be confused with a younger Elizabeth Jane Beeken registered in the Spalding district in 1870.
She gives her birthplace sometimes as Moulton and at other times as Spalding.
She spent her childhood in Moulton Eaugate, a small village within the parish of Moulton. This is a village 5m SE of the town of Spalding and the same distance south of the larger village of Moulton. These villages were built on the reclaimed marshland of South Holland.
A local landmark is Moulton Windmill, the tallest of its kind in Britain.
Moulton Windmill and All Saints church 
In the 1871 census Elizabeth is 6 years old and living with her parents and eight siblings at Eaugate, Moulton, Spalding.
Her father and older brothers are farm labourers, though her grandfather was a shoemaker. Elizabeth was their eighth child, but a twin boy and girl had died before she was born. There was another pair of twins four years older than her and a disabled sister, a year younger than Elizabeth, as well as two smaller brothers.
The older children had been baptised in the Anglican chapel at Moulton Eaugate, whose christenings were recorded in the register of the mother church, All Saints, Moulton. But the younger children, including Elizabeth, were not. We have only their civil birth registrations. The burials of her parents show that they were non-conformists, almost certainly Baptists. They would not have had their children baptised, but would left them to make the choice themselves when they were old enough, though such churches often kept a register of children born to members. Here, we do not have access to that register.
In the following census, the Beekens are still at the same address, but 16-year-old Elizabeth is no longer with them. Nor has she been found anywhere else, although her unusual surname may have been misspelt. We do not know whether she was working away from home in Lincolnshire, or whether she had already moved to Croydon.
Both Harry and Elizabeth left their birth counties and moved to the outskirts of London. For Harry this was a move of 45 miles, and he was going to join his mother and stepfather; for Elizabeth it was 95 miles, and we know of no relatives in the London area. Both came from rural villages, no doubt drawn by the much great opportunity for employment.
It is difficult to imagine Elizabeth simply getting on a train at Spalding and travelling 95 miles to Croydon in the hope of finding a job. It is more likely that she was working for a family who moved there and took her with them, or that her employers or her church minister knew of an opening there and recommended her for the position. The fact that she was married in a Baptist chapel in Croydon suggests that she had kept her affinity to the church of her parents, so an offer of employment through the Baptist minister there is a good possibility.
Harry and Elizabeth were married at the Baptist Chapel, Tamworth Road, Croydon, on 21 Oct 1885. He is Harry Monk, 23 years, bachelor and General Labourer. She is Elizabeth Jane Beeken, 21 years, spinster. Both are living at 81 Windmill Road, Croydon.
Harry gives his father as Harry Monk (deceased), General Labourer. Elizabeth’s father is Aaron Beeken, General Labourer.
It is unlikely that Harry knew the full story of his birth. He was probably told that he was named Harry Monk after his father, but not that this was the local farmer Henry Monk. He may simply have assumed that his father was a labourer, like the grandfather who brought him up.
We have found baptisms for some of Harry and Elizabeth’s children, but not others. Their dates of birth can often be found in school admission registers.
The baptisms we do have are in Anglican churches, so Elizabeth evidently did not keep her links with the Baptist church.
Arthur William was born on 31 Mar 1886. The couple had married in Oct 1885, so it would appear that Elizabeth was pregnant at her wedding.
Gertrude followed in the fourth quarter of 1887.
The family moved frequently, from one rented house to another. Jessie was born on 10 Nov 1888 and baptised at Holy Saviour Church on 6 Dec. Harry was then a labourer and they were living at 21 Princess Road.
Sidney Harry was born on 12 May 1890 and baptised at St Michael’s on 6 Jul. They were now at 10 Union Rd, and Harry is again a labourer.
In 1891 they are still in Union Road.
1891 Census. Union Road, Croydon
Harry Monk Head M 27 Labourer General Bucks, Waddesdon
Elizabeth Monk Wife M 26 Lincs, Moulton
William A Monk Son 5 Croydon
Gertrude Monk Daur 3 Croydon
Sydney Monk Son 11m Croydon
Jessie Monk Daur 2 Croydon
Five more children were born before the next census. Gordon was born on 16 Feb 1892.
Sidney Harry Monk died in the fourth quarter of that year aged 2.
Frank Stanley was baptised at St John’s on 19 May 1894. By now, the family had moved to Northbrook Rd. Harry was still a labourer. Frederick died in the first quarter of 1895.
Harry junior was born on 6 Oct 1895 and baptised on 22 Dec, Alfred Beeken was born on 21 Mar 1899, and Esther Emily on 10 May 1900.
They were still living at 50 Northbrook Road when William entered Whitehorse Road Boys School in March 1896. He had previously been at Whitehorse Road Junior. He left in Oct 1997 for St Saviour’s School.
On 11 May 1896, Gordon entered Whitehorse Road Infants School. The family were still at 50 Northbrook Road.
Harry junior was admitted to Whitehorse Road Infants School on 25 Aug 1900. The family were now at 88 Pawsons Road. He left on 7 Apr 1903.
The next census shows them still at Pawsons Road. Harry senior has taken a move up from a labourer, and is now a painter.
1901 Census. 88 Pawsons Road, Croydon.
Harry Monk Head M 37 Painter Worker Bucks, Waddesdon
Elizabeth J Monk Wife M 35 Lincs, Moulton
William A Monk Son 15 Errand boy Worker Croydon
Gertrude Monk Daughter 13 Croydon
Jessie Monk Daughter 12 Croydon
Gordon Monk Son 9 Croydon
Harry Monk Son 5 Croydon
Alfred B Monk Son 2 Croydon
Esther E Monk Daughter 10m Croydon
They were still living at 88 Pawsons Rd on 1 Apr 1901 when Gordon entered Whitehorse Road Boys School. He left in 1904 to become a Van Boy.
Three more children were born to expand their already large family, Ernest George, on 10 Oct 1902, Albert on 12 Mar 1905 and Walter John on 10 Jul 1908.
On 11 Apr 1904, Harry junior transferred from the Infants to Whitehorse Road Boys School. The family were still living at Pawsons Road. He left in Oct 1909 to become a Van Boy like his older brother Gordon.
From now on, the Monks’ children are not sent to Whitehorse Road schools, but to Ecclesbourne Road.
They were still living at Pawsons Road when Alfred and Esther joined the Ecclesbourne Road Infants School in May 1904.
When Alfred transferred to Ecclesbourne Road Boys School in Apr 1907, the family had moved to 21 Mayo Road. He left on 30 Dec 1912 to become a clerk.
They were living at the same address when Ernest joined the Boys school in Apr 1907 He left in May 1914 to become a decorator like his father. By the 1939 Register he had become a chauffeur.
Arthur William married in 1910. Harry’s occupation is given as decorator. The family were still at 21 Mayo Road, and also when Albert joined Ecclesbourne Road Infants School in Apr 1910. By the 1935 Register he had become a Laundry Engineer.
The next census show Harry back as a labourer.
1911 Census. 21 Mayo Road, Croydon.
Harry Monk Head 48 Married General labourer, Worker Bucks, Waddesdon Hill
Elizabeth Monk Wife 47 Married Lincs. Spalding
Gertrude Monk Daughter 23 Single Collar machinist. Laundry. Worker Croydon
Jessie Monk Daughter 22 Single Croydon
Gordon Monk Son 20 Single Carman (To Carrier) Worker Croydon
Harry Monk Son 15 Vanguard (To Carrier) Worker Croydon
Alfred Monk Son 12 School Croydon
Esther Monk Daughter 10 School Croydon
Ernest Monk Son 8 School Croydon
Albert Monk Son 6 School Croydon
John Monk Son 2 Croydon
The Monks report that they have had 12 children, of whom 10 are still alive.
John, whose full name was Walter John, was the last of their children.
In 1913 he was admitted to Ecclesbourne Infants School. They have a new address at 20 Saxon Rd. John was transferred to another school in 1916.
On 26 Feb 1914, well before the outbreak of the First World War, Harry junior enlisted in the Royal Tank Corps. He had previously been a Laundry Roundsman. His parents were still living at 20 Saxon Road in the parish of St Saviour, Croydon. He survived the war and re-enlisted on 1 Nov 1928.
When Jessie married in 1916, Harry was once more a painter. The family have now moved to 266 Whitehorse Road, where they remained for the rest of Harry and Elizabeth’s lives.
They were there for the 1921 census.
Harry has had annother change of occupation to undertaker’s assistant. His son Walter John remembered bodies being laid out in the front toom.
1921 Census. 266 Whitehorse Road, Croydon.
Harry Monk Head 59y 7m Married Bucks, Wadsden Undertaker’s Assistant John Hook 28 High St Selhurst SC
Elizabeth Jane Monk Wife 57y 10m Moulton Chapel, Lincs Home Duties
Gertrude Monk Daughter 33y 8m Single Croydon Machinist Laundry Mrs New Laundress Whitehorse Road West Croydon
Ester Emily Monk Daughter 21y 1m Single Croydon Clerk LBSC Railway London Bridge SE
Ernest George Monk Son 15y 8m Single Croydon Baker’s Roundsman Couldrey & Son High Street South Norwood SE
Albert Monk Son 16y 3m Single Croydon Washouse Boy
Laundry Mrs New Laundress Whitehorse Road West Croydon
Walter John Monk Son 13y Croydon Wholetime school
At Esther’s marriage in 1924 and Albert’s in 1930 Harry is still an undertaker’s assistant.
Harry Monk died in Croydon in the third quarter of 1930, aged 68.
When Walter John married the following year, his father’s occupation is given, inexplicably, as gentleman (deceased).
Jane E Monk died in Croydon in the fourth quarter of 1937.
NEXT GENERATION: 3. MONK-BELFIELD
PREVIOUS GENERATIONS: 5. MONK-EVANS