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)

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JOHN  BEEKEN. His age at his death suggests a birth in 1785-6. When he was married in Spalding in Lincolnshire his residence was said to be Crowland. This is a village 7 miles south of Spalding.

No baptism has been found for him around that date and place.

The nearest is in Gosberton, 6 miles north of Spalding, where he married Ann, but to a couple who live in Surfleet, only 4 miles from Spalding.

Baptism. Gosberton.
1785 Jan 7  John son of Thomas and Ann Baccon. Surfleet.

We have not  found any siblings for John, nor have we found his parents’ marriage.

At the time of his wedding in 1811 he was said to be a widower. There is a wedding in Cowbit in 1803 Sep 15 between John Bacon of Pinchbeck and Jane Wittington of Peakil, and a burial of Jane wife of John Bacon aged 30 in Pinchbeck on 10 Aug 1804. Pinchbeck is between Spalding and Surflleet. This seems promising, except that the John Bacon who married Jane was already a widower. If we have his birth date right, he would have been around 18 and his wife considerably older. This was probably an older John Bacon/Beeken.

His surname is often mistranscribed, so he may not show up in searches.

All we know for certain about him before his marriage to Ann Skupham is that he was a shoemaker, a widower and living in Crowland.


ANN SKUPHAM. We can be more confident about Ann, whose baptism and birthplace fit those given in the censuses.

Baptism. Cowbit.
1791 May 6  Ann d of John and Ann Skupholm

Her mother was Ann Cordley

Her father was a tailor.

Cowbit (pronounced Cubbit) is a village 5 miles north of Crowland, and 3 miles south of Spalding, where she married.

Their surname is sometimes given as Skupham and sometimes as Skupholm.

Her mother was a widow when she married John Skupham and we have not yet found her first marriage, which would tell us her maiden name.

Ann was the fifth of nine children, but only four survived infancy. Ann was the third of these.

When she married in Spalding in 1811 she was resident there. She had probably found work in Spalding.

Marriage. Spalding.
1811 Nov 7  John Beeken of the parish of Crowland widower and Ann Skupham of this parish spinster.

Spalding [1]

They raised their family in Spalding. This is a market town on the River Welland, as it flows from Crowland to the Wash. It was surrounded by a rich agricultural area, much of it reclaimed land. As a result, it was subject to flooding.

Baptisms. Spalding.
1812 Mar 20  Mar 26  William  This was 4 months after the wedding. William was buried on 7 Jun 1813 age 1
1813 May 14   Thomas.  His father was a Shoemaker
1815 Oct 11  Sarah.  Shoemaker
1817 Apr 22  Anne.  Shoemaker

In 1817, John Beeken was the victim of an attack.

Stamford Mercury. 25 July 1817.
James Dowker, late of Spalding, grocer, for an assault on John Beeken, was fined 1s.

 The baptisms in Spalding continued.

1818   Sep 30   Mary.  Shoemaker
1820   Apr 17  William. This second William also died in infancy . He was buried on 21 Aug 1821   age 1
1821 Oct 1  William John.  Shoemaker. The third William lived to be 10. He was buried on 9 Oct 1831.
1823 May 21   Bessy Scupham
1825 Apr 1  Samuel
1826 Dec 22  Aaron
1829 Jan 17  John
1831 Jan 7  Hector  Shoe Maker

The eldest surviving son, Thomas, became a shoemaker like his father, and doubtless took over the family business. Samuel, Aaron, John and Hector all became agricultural labourers.

This was a hard time for agricultural workers. The demand for their labour was diminishing and their wages were lowered, while the price of food increased. This must have affected tradesmen like John as well.


John Beeken was buried in Spalding on Feb 1840, aged 54.

The following year we find Ann living in the nearby village of Moulton with two of her sons, a daughter and a son-in-law.

 1841 Census. Moulton.
Ann Beekon      50        Publican widow      Y
John Beekon      12                                       Y
Ector Beekon     10                                       Y
Mark Depeer      20        Tailor                      Y
Ann Depeer       20                                       Y

The designation of Ann as “publican widow” seems surprising, but the presence of 10-year-old Hector confirms that this is the right family. Ann’s age of 50-54 is consistent with a marriage in 1811.

It may not have been John who was running a public house. The business of the pub could have been carried out by Ann, while John did his shoemaking. It would not be unusual for the business to be in the husband’s name, while the work was carried out by his wife.  Alternatively, Ann may have taken on the pub when she moved to Moulton.

Ann Depeer is John and Ann’s daughter.

Five years later, Ann married again.

 Marriage. Moulton.
1846 Oct 26  Francis Maddison  Labourer, Widower, and Ann Beeken, Widow, both of full age and living in Moulton.

His father is Samuel Maddison, Labourer. Hers is John Skupham, Tailor.
Both make their mark X.
Witnesses: William Smith and Sarah Pickerel, who makes her mark.

Ann spent the rest of her life in the smaller village of Moulton Eaugate, a little south of Moulton.

1851 Census. Eaugate, Moulton, Spalding
Francis Madderson   Head      Mar      58   Ag labourer     Moulton
Ann Madderson       Wife       Mar      59                           Cowbit
Martha Cole              Visitor                4                            Moulton

1861 Census. Moulton Eaugate, Moulton, Spalding.
Francis Maddison     Head      Mar      68   Ag Lab            Moulton
Ann Maddison         Wife       Mar      69                           Cowbit

Built on reclaimed fenland, Moulton and its neighbours were subject to frequent flooding, like that in June 1861, when a severe storm struck East Anglia.

“ At Moulton the rain was at its heaviest and in a short time every brook and pond overflowed; some of the houses were flooded but not so severely as in that of last winter. At the southern end of the village the water rolled from the hill between Cheveley and the village cutting a ditch in the highway up to a yard deep. Serious flood damage was done to a farm where the water was up to between the horse’s knees and belly.” [2]


Ann died shortly before the next census.

Burial. Moulton.
1870 Dec 31 Ann Maddison of Moulton, aged 79.

In the census the following year, Francis is a widower, lodging in the home of another farm labourer in Moulton Eaugate.


[1] Spalding Today.
[2] Bury and Norwich Post, 2 Jul 1861.




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