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)
JOHN COX and ESTHER PAYNE MARGERSON (6)
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 a back street 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. For the baptisms of all her siblings her mother’s name is given as Judith.
Esther was the middle one of seven children. There is considerable confusion about their family surname. Two of her older siblings are recorded in the transcript of baptisms as Margetson and one as Margitson. There is a note on the parish website that the handwriting on the microfiche was faint and hard to read. 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 was the correct reading.
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’.
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.
 Erpingham, 1897, Jul-Aug-Sep, 4b, 53
NEXT GENERATION: 5. COX-DUFFIELD
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