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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WILLIAM RODWAY was married in St Albans, but we know from the 1851 census that he was born in London, Middlesex, around 1778-9. This corresponds with the following baptism.

Baptism. Christ Church, Spitalfields, Stepney.
1778 Apr 21  William Rodway son of Isaac and Ann Rodway. Occupation: Coachmaker. Address: Pearl Street.

William was 8 days old, making his birth date April 13.

We have not found any siblings, nor the maiden name of his mother.


William became a gardener.


MARY BAILEY. Some transcriptions give William Rodway’s bride as Mary Barley. Her signature appears to be “Baley”. The censuses show her unmarried sister’s name to be Sarah Bailey.

The censuses tell us that both were born in St Stephen’s, Hertfordshire. This is a parish in St Albans. Mary’s age gives her a birth date of 1779-80. Sarah’s is 1775-6.

Despite this information, we have been unable to find either of their baptisms. It may be that their parents did not have them baptised, or they were baptised in a non-conformist church whose register has not survived.


We are on firmer ground with their wedding.
Marriage. St Michael’s, St Albans.
1801 Jan 19  William Rodway, bachelor, and Mary Bailey, spinster, both of this parish.

Both sign their names. Mary’s signature appears to be “Mary Baley”.
Witnesses: David Whiten, Martha Hendson and John Brown.

St Albans was then a small cathedral city. Its chief importance was that it was the first stop on the coaching route north from London. It had a large number of inns.

We do not know what brought William there from London.

Their first child was baptised in St Albans Abbey and their next two in Redbourn. After that, they appear to have settled in Abbots Langley, where six more children were born.

Redbourn is 5 miles NE from St Albans. It was known for its watercress cultivation on the water meadows of the River Ver.

Abbots Langley is an attractive village 5 miles SE of St Albans. A number of substantial houses were built there in the 18th and 19th centuries. These would have provided employment for a number of gardeners.

Gardener at Rosehill, Abbots Langley[1]

Baptism. St Albans Abbey.
1801 Jul 17  William
Mary must have been pregnant at the wedding.

Baptisms. Redbourn.
1803 Jul 24  Sarah
1805 Jan 13  John

Baptisms. Abbots Langley.
1807 Jun 21 George
1809 Sep 17  Margaret.
1812 Aug 2  Ezekiel
Margaret died, aged 3, and was buried on 11 Apr 1813. She was “buried in Woollen as appeared by oath”. This requirement was to protect the English woollen industry. The two women who prepared the body for burial had to sign an affidavit that the corpse had been shrouded in woollen cloth.
1815 May 14  Mary Ann
1817 Apr 6  Joseph
1819 Mar 20  Robert
For the last three entries, the father’s occupation is given, and it is here that we learn that William was a gardener.

The couple raised their family during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. They would have celebrated with the rest of the country at the British victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, though mourning the death of the national hero Lord Nelson. The end of the war came with the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, when Napoleon was defeated and captured.

Sometime between 1819 and 1841, they moved from Abbots Langley to Kingsbury, Middlesex, in NW London. Given the frequency of moves we know about, it is likely that they had several addresses between these dates.

In the 1841 census we find them living at Grove Farm Cottages with four male servants, whose ages, rounded down, range from 50 to 20. With William and Mary are Mary’s sister Sarah.
It is here that we learn that William was born in Middlesex.

1841 Census. Grove Farm Cottage, Kingsbury, Hendon, Middx.
Alexander Walker             25          M S
James Davidson                25          M S
Robert Mill                       20          M S
Thomas Kent                     50          M S            Y
William Rodway              60          M S            Y
Mary Rodway                  60          F S             No
Sarah Bailey                      65          Ind              No
Mary is also working as a female servant.

We find them in the 1851 census still in Kingsbury, but at a different address.
1851 Census.. The Hyde, Kingsbury, Hendon, Middx.
William Rodway  Head                    Mar       72      Gardener      Middx, London
Mary Rodway      Wife                    Mar       71                           Herts, St Stevens
Sarah Bailey          Wife’s sister       U           75      Annuitant     Herts, St Stevens
Sarah Rodway       Grand Daur                       12      Scholar         Middx, London
Robert Hinton        Grandson                           5                            Middx, Edgware

The Hyde is in NW London. It is situated east of Kingsbury and west of Hendon.

They do not appear in the 1861 census and we have the following burials.
Burial. Kingsbury.
1854 Jun 4  William Rodway, aged 78. Residence: Hyde.
1857 Apr 10  Mary Rodway, aged 80. Residence: Edgware.

Their ages do not quite match those in the 1851 census, but this was not uncommon with older people, whose younger relatives may not have been entirely sure about this.

In the 1851 census, their grandson Robert Hinton, born in Edgware, was living with them. His mother, the Rodways’ daughter Mary Ann, was a dressmaker living in Little Stanmore, Hendon, in that census, but her children were born in Edgware. Mary may have moved there to live with the Hintons after William’s death.


[1] Wikipedia. Tiffin the gardener at Rosehill, Abbots Langley, late 1800s.




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