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)
JAMES DUFFIELD and ELIZABETH DENNIS (6)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
NEXT GENERATION: 5. COX-DUFFIELD
PREVIOUS GENERATIONS: 7. DUFFIELD-BARNES