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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SAMUEL COX. The older generations of Coxes moved around the villages of rural Norfolk, before settling in Cromer in the early 19th century.

Samuel Cox senior was the eleventh of thirteen children of William and Susan Cox of Woodbastwick on the edge of the Norfolk Broads. Four of the older children had died in infancy, which is often an indication of poverty. His mother’s name was Smith

Baptism. Woodbastwick.
1752 Dec 13  Samuel Cox son of William and Susan.

It is highly likely that his father was an agricultural labourer and that Samuel became one too.


MARY STIMPSON.. She was living in Roughton (pronounced Rowton) at the time of her marriage.

There are a number of baptisms for Mary Stimpson across Norfolk. The nearest in date and location is in Guist, 16 miles to the SW.

Baptism. Guist.
1754 Oct 6 Mary daughter of William and Mary Stimpson.

Given the distance, this should be treated with caution, but no burial or nearby marriage has been found for this Mary.

Wherever her birthplace, she had moved to Roughton by the time of her marriage.


Marriage. Roughton.
1780 Apr 15  Samuel Cox of Woodbastrick, Singleman, and Mary Stimpson of Roughton, Singlewoman.
Witnesses:  D Christmas, Wm Gibbs
Both bride and groom make their mark.
“Woodbastrick” is Woodbastwick.

 The couple made their home in Roughton. It is likely that Samuel was already working there, though it had not yet become his parish of settlement.

This was a considerable move for him, since Woodbastwick is 15 miles south of Roughton.

It is likely that Samuel continued to work as an agricultural labourer, but the move to Roughton meant that their son, Samuel junior, could become a fisherman. Roughton village is 3 miles inland, but parts of the parish are much closer to the coast, and about half the men in Roughton were fishermen.

The church of St Mary, where their children were baptised, has a round tower, believed to be Saxon.

St Mary’s, Roughton [1]

Baptisms. Roughton
1781 Apr 8  Mary
1782 Dec 8  Ann
1785 Apr 12  Samuel
1787 Feb 18  William
1789 Dec 20  George. He was buried a week later on 27 Dec. In both records the family are said to be paupers.

Times were hard for agricultural workers in the late 18th and early 19th century. Enclosures meant the labourers lost the ability to collect free firewood or to graze a cow or pig. Prices were rising and wages were very low. Rural poverty was widespread.

Mary and the children would have joined Samuel in working on the land, though for even less pay..


We have not found burials for either Samuel or Mary. One possibility is that they joined the Primitive Methodists, who opened a chapel in Roughton in the early 19th century. The Primitive Methodists appealed particularly to the working class, whom they evangelised at open-air meetings.

Against this it can be argued that Roughton Chapel did not have a burial ground.


[1] Norfolk Heritage Explorer – Norfolk County Council




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