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)

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 WILLIAM CLIFF. From the date and place of his marriage, there are two possible baptisms for William.
Baptism. High Roding.
1737 Jan 25  William son of William and Ann Cliff.
Baptism. High Easter.
1741 Apr 5  William son of John and Mary Cliff.

The first couple were William Cliffe and Ann Liveings, both of High Roding, who married in Bishops Stortford on 6 Nov 1732.

The second pair were John Cliff and Mary Swallow, both of High Easter, who married there on 11 April 1737.

The William we are pursuing used High Roding church much more than High Easter.

We have found only one marriage for a William Cliff/Clift in this generation, suggesting that one of them died young. There is a burial for William Cliff in High Easter in 1757, that could be the second William, but no comparable burial in High Roding.

The first couple also had a son Joseph, a name that is repeated in our Cliff/Clift lineage.

On the balance of probabilities, it would seem that the first William is the one we want.

John Cliff, father of the second William, was the younger brother of the William Cliff who fathered the first William. He was born in Aythorpe Roding, but spent most of his life in High Easter. He was an inmate of the workhouse there when he died. So the two younger Williams were first cousins.

The second William was the oldest surviving child of eight, brought up in High Easter. The fact that his father ended his days in the workhouse, suggests that the latter was an agricultural labourer.

If the first William is the correct reading, then he was the third of five children, and the second son. His father was a farmer.

He grew up in the village of High Roding, the northernmost of a group of parishes known as The Rodings, on the banks of the River Roding in West Essex.

We do not know if he became a farmer like his father. He was the second son, so this is less likely than it would be for the eldest. His youngest son was an agricultural labourer, but his two eldest sons died before the 1841 census, which would have told us whether either of them was a farmer.

His father had been born in the village of Barnston, 3 miles NE of High Roding, and it is here that we find William living at the time of his marriage, although the wedding took place in High Roding. It may be that the family had land here, and that William junior was working on one of those farms. Farming in Essex was mostly arable.


ELIZABETH CAMPION. We have been unable to find a plausible baptism for Elizabeth. She was of Barnston when she married, but there are no records of the Campion surname there. The age given at her burial would give her a birth date of around 1740-1. The nearest plausible baptisms we have found are the following:
Baptism, Little Yeldham
1739 Nov 10  Elizabeth daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Campyn/Champion
Baptism. Waltham Abbey.
1739 Jan 2  Elizabeth daughter of James and Mary Campyn/Champion

Little Yeldham is 15 miles north of Barnston, and Waltham Abbey 20 m SW. These distances are too far for these to be likely.

There is also the possibility that she was a widow.

The couple married in William’s birthplace of High Roding.
Marriage. High Roding.
1764 Dec 7  William Cliff of Barnstone and Elizabeth Campion of Barnstone.

Their first child was baptised in High Easter, 4 m south of Barnston, and 3 m from High Roding.
Baptism. High Easter.
1765 Feb 19  Elizabeth

The rest of the baptism took place at All Saints, High Roding. The Cliffs may have moved to High Roding, or they may have lived between the two churches.

All Saints, High Roding [1]

Baptisms. High Roding
1766 Jul 13  William
1768 Feb 17  Sarah
1769 Nov 26  Mary
1771 Sep 8  John
1773 Jul 3  Ann
1775 Feb 2  Phoebe
1776 Dec 1  Joseph

 There is a burial in High Roding two years later for William Cliff farmer, but we believe this to be William’s father. More likely is the following:
Burial. All Saints, High Roding.
1793 Oct 16  William Cliff

This would make him 56 when he died.

William died at the outset of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. In the following years England was at real risk of invasion from France. Elizabeth lived through these troubled times, dying a year before the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.

Burial. All Saints, High Roding.
1814 Mar 9  Elizabeth Cliff  73


[1] Wikimedia Commons. File: All Saints Church, High Roding.




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