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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JAMES DUFFIELD was baptised in the north Norfolk village of Kelling on 1825 May 17. He was the son of Criss Duffield and Susan Barnes. When James and his siblings were born, His father was a labourer but rose to become a warrener, the keeper of a rabbit warren, and held that position for the rest of his life. James’s grandfather, too, was a warrener.

His father’s name is sometimes given as Christopher, but Criss was his baptismal name.

James was the sixth of nine children. His mother died when James was 14. His father remarried, just before the 1841 census.

1841 Census. Kelling, Erpingham, Norfolk.
Christopher Duffield   Warrener          50      Y
Rebecca Duffield                                 45        Y
Charles Duffield                                  20        Y
James Duffield                                    15        Y
Sarah Ann Duffield                              15        Y
Hannah Duffield                                  12        Y
Susan Duffield                                     10        Y


ELIZABETH DENNIS. She was born in Beeston Regis on the north Norfolk coast, 4 miles west of Cromer and 5 miles east of Kelling.

Baptism. Beeston Regis.
1826 born Dec 18, bapt Dec 24   Elizabeth daur of Doyley Dennis shepherd and Elizabeth, late Grimes.

In Beeston Regis, the parish register at this time gave the mother’s maiden name, a boon to family historians.

Elizabeth was the youngest of six children. Though her father was a shepherd, he had started his working life as a fisherman, like Elizabeth’s older brother.

Most men in Beeston Regis worked either as fisherman or in farming.

1837 saw the young Queen Victoria come to the throne. Elizabeth was then ten.

1841 Census. Beeston, Beeston Regis, Erpingham.
Doily Dennis           50        Shepherd              Y
Elizabeth Dennis    50                                    Y
Doily Dennis           15        Fisherman            Y
Elizabeth Dennis    15                                    Y
James Dennis          13                                    Y
Robert Dennis         10                                    Y
John Dennis            5                                     Y

James was the son of Elizabeth’s unmarried sister Mary and John of her sister Hannah.

Elizabeth went into domestic service. At some point in the next six years she moved from Beeston Regis to Kelling. It is possible that she was working for a family in Beeston who then moved to Kelling and took Elizabeth with them.

It was in Kelling that she met James. She was living there at the time of her marriage.

The couple married on Christmas Day. 

Marriage. Kelling.
1847 Dec 25  James Duffield, bachelor and labourer, and Elizabeth Dennis, spinster and domestic servant, both of Kelling and of full age.
His father is Criss Duffield, warrener. No father is given for Elizabeth, although Doyley Dennis was still alive.
James makes his mark + and Elizabeth X.
The witnesses are Robert Dennis, probably Elizabeth’s brother, and Margaret Broughton.

Their first child was born a year later.

Baptism. Kelling.
1848 Dec 17  Anne

1851 Census. Kelling Hall, Kelling, Erpingham.
James Duffield            Head        Mar    25       Pauper (Ag. lab)            Kelling
Elizabeth Duffield       Wife        Mar    24                                           Beeston
Ann Duffield               Daur                   2                                            Kelling
This was not the present-day Kelling Hall, which was built in 1913.

It may be that James was already in poor health, and unable to work enough to keep the family out of poverty.

A son was born later that year.

Baptism. Kelling.
1851 Sep 7  Charles.  Beeston.  Labourer.

Two years later, James died, aged 29. He was buried in Kelling in 1853 Jun 30.

Not only was Elizabeth left with two small children, but she was pregnant with their third child. Mary Elizabeth was born in Kelling in the first quarter of 1854.

Elizabeth returned with the children to her home in Beeston Regis, where her father now had a 5-acre farm.

In the second quarter of 1856, she gave birth to a son Joseph in Beeston Regis. He was clearly not James Duffield’s son. He may have been Joseph Blyth’s, but if so we would have expected them to marry sooner.

The following year, Elizabeth married the widower Joseph Blyth. He was ten years older than she was. There had been no children from his short previous marriage.

Marriage. Beeston Regis.
1857 Feb 24  Joseph Thomas Blyth, widower and labourer, and Elizabeth Duffield, widow. Both were of full age and living in Beeston Regis. Both sign with their mark X.
His father is Jeremiah Blyth, Sailor, hers is Doily Dennis, Farmer.
The witnesses are Doiley Dennis and Hannah Hutton. The second Doiley is probably Elizabeth’s brother.

The following year, Elizabeth gave birth to another daughter, Martha Elizabeth.

Baptism. Beeston Regis.
1858  Martha Elizabeth. Born Apr 11, bapt May 9. Beeston. Labourer.

Though Joseph was a labourer when she married him, he became a shepherd, as Elizabeth’s father had been before he acquired his farm.

1861 Census. Common, Beeston Regis, Erpingham.
Joseph Blyth           Head       Mar      44             Shepherd       Beeston Regis
Elizabeth Blyth       Wife       Mar      35                                  Beeston Regis
Ann D Blyth           Daur                   12                                  Kelling
Charles D Blyth       Son                    10                                  Kelling
Mary D Blyth          Daur                   7                                   Kelling
Joseph D Blyth        Son                    5                                   Beeston Regis
Martha E Blyth        Daur                   3                                   Beeston Regis
John W Blyth                                    5m                                 Beeston Regis

All the children are listed with the surname Blyth, but the Duffield children have a D after their first names. Probably either Joseph or Elizabeth told the enumerator that the children’s name was Duffield, and he assumed that this was their middle name.

No relationship is given for the infant John W Blyth. He may be Joseph’s nephew.

Next door are Elizabeth’s parents, now in the seventies. Her father is farming 5 acres.

Flint Cottages on Beeston Common[1]

Elizabeth bore Joseph two more children.

Baptisms. Beeston Regis.
1863 Oct 4  Jeremiah.  Beeston. Labourer.
1866 Jan 21  George Frederick.  Beeston. Labourer.

It appears from this that Joseph’s spell as a shepherd was short lived.

By the next census Elizabeth’s widowed mother is living with them.

1871 Census. Beeston Common, Beeston, Erpingham.
Joseph T Blyth        Head                  Mar   55      Ag. lab.       Beeston Regis
Elizabeth Blyth       Wife                   Mar   45                         Beeston Regis
Joseph Blyth           Son                    Unm  15      Ag. lab.       Beeston Regis
Elizabeth Blyth        Daur                            13      Scholar        Beeston Regis
Jeremiah Blyth        Son                              2                          Beeston Regis
Elizabeth Dennis    Mother in law               82      P R              Aylmerton

Aylmerton is 3 miles inland from Beeston Regis.

Elizabeth’s mother is no longer with them in the 1881 census. She died in 1876. Instead, there are an assortment of Elizabeth’s children and grandchildren.

1881 Census. The Common, Beeston Regis, Erpingham, Norfolk.
Joseph Blyth           Head                Mar   66        Ag lab    Beeston Regis
Elizabeth Blyth       Wife                Mar   56                      Beeston Regis
Jeremiah Blyth        Son                           12        Scholar   Beeston Regis
Cbarles H Wigg       Grandson                   8                       Beeston Regis          Dumb from Birth
Charles Duffield      Son                  Mar   29        Ag lab    Kelling
Ann Duffield           Daur in law      Mar   23                      Durham, Seaham
Mary E Duffield      Granddaur                 2                       Beeston Regis
James T Duffield     Grandson                   4 mo                  Beeston Regis

There is a final column on the census form for certain kinds of infirmity. 8-year-old Charles H Wigg is “Dumb from Birth”. This probably means that he was born profoundly deaf, so never learned to talk.

Ten years later, their household has greatly diminished.

1891 Census. Beeston Regis.
Joseph T Blyth      Head           M      75      Agricultural labourer. Employed.      Beeston Regis
Elizabeth Blyth    Wife            M      65                                                            Beeston Regis
Charles Duffield    Grandson              9       Scholar                                           Beeston Regis
Robert Duffield     Grandson              5       Scholar                                           Beeston Regis

Elizabeth comes across as someone whose house was always filled with children.

Joseph died in 1897, just before the end of the century.

Burial. Beeston Regis.
1897 Apr 18  Joseph Thomas Blythe  Beeston Regis  80 years.

Elizabeth moved to live with her son Jeremiah, though still on Beeston Common. There were several of her family in nearby households.

1901 Census. Beeston Common, Beeston Regis.
Jeremiah Blythe    Head           M         35    General labourer    Sea Wall             Beeston
Sarah A Blythe      Wife            M         31                                                          Sheringham
E Blythe               Mother        Wid      75                                                          Beeston
Edward Pegg         Son             S          11                                                          Sheringham
Joseph T Blythe    Son             S          5                                                            Beeston
Belinda E Blythe   Daur           S          3                                                            Beeston
John Wm Blythe   Son             S          1                                                            Beeston
C Duffield             Nephew       S          19    Bricklayer                                       Beeston
Ethel Duffield       Niece          S`         13                                                          Beeston

Elizabeth probably died in the next ten years. We have not found her in the 1911 census, nor have we found a burial or a death registration for her.


 [1] File:-200-12-31 Cottages on Beeston common lane, Beeston Regis, Norfolk.JPG – Wikimedia Commons





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