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)

March Tree



JOHN COX was the second of four sons of Samuel and Frances Cox of Cromer. There was also an older sister. John was born in 1824-5. 1825 was the year when the world’s first modern railway, the Stockton and Darlington, opened.

John’s father was a fisherman. When John was in his teens, the family was living in Jarvis’s Yard, off Brook Street. This lies between Cromer’s main street and the beach. This may also be where John spent his childhood. The photograph shows  Church Mews off Brook St. This may be the sort of housing where the Coxes lived.

In the 1841 census John is aged 15. His sister Mary’s occupation is given as a Female Servant. No occupation is stated for John and his older brother William, but it is likely that they too were employed. His younger brothers started work later as errand boys.

By the 1851 census, when John was 25, he had joined his father as a fisherman. We do not know whether they worked on the same boat.  John was still unmarried. All four brothers were living at home. His elder brother William had become a bricklayer. His sister Mary was no longer with them, but there was John’s 3-month-old niece, Frances Anna Fey. It is likely that she was Mary’s daughter and that Mary had died in childbirth.

John was married towards the end of 1851.


ESTHER PAYNE MARGERSON. Esther was born on 12 July 1829 in the parish of Runton, just west of Cromer. She was baptised at Holy Trinity, West Runton on 19 July. In the baptismal register she is recorded as Esther Payne, the daughter of John Margerson and Judy Hardingham.[1] For the baptisms of all her siblings her mother’s name is given as Judith.

Esther was the middle one of seven children. There some variation in the spelling of this surname. Two of her older siblings are recorded in the transcript of baptisms as Margetson and one as Margitson. The original form was Margaretson. Although Esther’s is the only baptism which give the surname as Margerson, her later history and that of her sister Phoebe shows that this became the accepted spelling.

Phoebe and Thomas, like Esther, were given the middle name Payne. But when her three younger siblings were baptised, from 1831 to 1838, their surname was recorded as Payne. On the IGI these baptisms appear under the surname Margitson.

The family are Payne in the 1841 and 1851 censuses, but when Esther’s marriage was registered her surname was recorded as Margerson. Payne appears to be both a baptismal name and an alias, or alternative surname.

Esther’s father, like John’s, was a fisherman. Her mother was a dressmaker.

West Runton lies close to the sea, between Cromer and Sheringham. East Runton is nearly a mile from the shore, and nearer Cromer. Even today, West Runton is described as ‘a rather wild place, with woods on the hill above and a dramatic seascape’.[2]

In the 1841 census, Esther is aged 11 and living at Street in Runton with her parents, her elder sister and two younger brothers. She may already have been at work, but only her father’s occupation is given.

In the 1851 census, their address is given as East Runton. At 21, Esther is a laundress. Her parents’ occupations are recorded as fisherman and dressmaker. Her 28-year-old sister Phoebe is a net maker, 19-year-old Benjamin is also a fisherman and 13-year-old Ambrose an agricultural labourer.

Later that year, Esther married John.


On 5 Dec 1851 the marriage took place in Cromer of John Cox, bachelor, and Esther Payne Margerson, spinster. Both were of full age and living in Cromer. His father is Samuel Cox, fisherman, and hers is John Margerson, also a fisherman.
John signs his name; Esther makes her mark X.
The witnesses are E Bowman and Sarahann Dyball.

They set up home in Cromer.

Three children were born: George Benjamin on 14 Dec 1852, bapt 2 Jan 1853, Frances Emily on 10 Dec 1854, bapt 7 Jan 1855, and Thomas William, born on 28 Dec 1855, bapt 3 Feb 1856.

Frances lived only two months. She was buried on 16 Mar 1855.

John and Esther were starting their family at the time of the Crimean War.

By 1961 they were living in Cromer at No 7, ?Newstead’s Yard, Church Street. The handwriting is difficult to read, but there was a Mr Newstead living on the south side of Church Street, the main thoroughfare in Cromer.

1861 Census. Cromer. Church Street. ?Newstead’s Yard.
John Cox 
          Head    Mar   36      Fisherman                             Cromer
Esther  Do          Wife    Mar   32                                                  Runton
George  Do        Son               8       Scholar                                 Cromer
William Do        Son               5          Do                                        Do

Ten years later, their address is given as ‘Church Square at the back’. Since they have the same neighbours as in 1861, this seems to be a renaming of the yard where they lived before.

By now, the two boys are working with a baker.

1871 Census. Cromer. Church Square at the back.
John Cox
          Head    Mard    45        Fisherman                        Cromer
Esther Cox         wife     Mard    41                                                Runton
George B Cox    son      Unmd  18        Baker’s Assistant             Cromer
Thomas W Cox son                  15        Baker’s Boy                     Cromer

Before the next census, both sons had become fishermen like their father and both were married.

The 1870s saw great strides in the modernisation of the town. In 1875 the gas works opened.  The East Norfolk Railway reached Cromer in March 1877. The waterworks was opened in 1878.

Esther lived to see these innovations. She was buried on 5 Mar 1880, at the age of 50. The name given on her death certificate and in her burial record is Esther Margerson Cox.


As a widower, John lived with his younger son Thomas William and daughter-in-law Jemima in Church Street. It is not clear whether this is a different house, or a simplification of the address they had before.

1881 Census. Cromer. Church St.
Thomas W Cox  Head    Mar      25        Fisherman                        Cromer
Jemima        do  Wife    Mar      24                                                    do
John             do  Father  Wid     53        Fisherman                            do

John was still living with them in Church Street ten years later. By now, there were four grandchildren in the house. Both John and William were self-employed fishermen. Jemima’s name has been shortened to Minnie.

1891 Census. Cromer. Church St.
William Cox    Head      M         37        Fisherman                        Cromer
Minnie Cox     Wife      M         33                                                    do
Jno H     do      Son                    9         Scholar                                do
Frances  do      Daur                  7             do                                    do
Richd        do     Son                    5             do                                    do
Frederic do      Son                    2                                                     do
John       do     Father    Widr    63        Fisherman                            do


John’s death was registered in the third quarter of 1897 in the Erpingham District. He was 72.[3]


[1] http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~tinstaafl/Church_Pages/runton.htm#1820
[2] http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/westrunton/westrunton.htm
[3] Erpingham, 1897, Jul-Aug-Sep, 4b, 53





March Tree