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)

March Tree



JOHN CULLIP. This unusual surname is variously spelt Cullip, Collip, Collop, Collopp, Coleb, Caleb, Collup, Cullit, Coleup, or Cullep. By far the greatest concentration of the name is found in Bedfordshire,

We find John at his marriage in 1767 in the village of Croxton. This lies, not in Bedordshire, but in neighbouring Cambridgeshire, where this parish makes an inroad into the former county of Huntingdonshire.

This is the first record of this surname in Croxton, so John had evidently come from elsewhere. For the next generation, there are only records of him, Sarah and their children, so he evidently came alone.

If we have identified his burial correctly, he was born around 1739-40. No plausible baptism has been found for him close to Croxton. There is one in Willlington in Bedfordhsire in 1742, but this child seems to have died in infancy.

We have no record of John’s occupation, either, but his sons and grandsons were agricultural labourers, so it is very likely that John was too.


SARAH RISELY. Sarah, on the other hand, was born in Croxton, but her baptism is the first of this surname in the parish register. Her family came from neighbouring Great Paxton, where they go back to the beginning of the 18th century.

Baptism. Croxton.
1749 Apr 9  Sarah daughter of John and Elizabeth Risely

Her mother was Elizabeth Lingo of Great Paxton

Sarah was the eldest of 11 children, three of whom died in infancy and another two as children. We do not know her father’s occupation, but a high rate of child mortality is usually associated with poverty.

The picture of a farm labourer bringing up his family in the cottage where he and his forebears were born does not reflect reality. Some workers had regular employment with the same farmer, but many were at the mercy of annual hiring fairs. If they were not taken on for another year, they lost, not only their job, but their home.

These shifts from one parish to another show us the precarious nature of their lives.


Sarah and John married in 1767, in the reign of George III.

Marriage. St James, Croxton.
1767 Sep 29  John Cullip and Sarah Risley

Croxton grew up around two medieval manor houses, one for the manor of Westbury and the other for the manor of Croxton. Despite its name, the present Croxton Manor is, in fact, the manor house for Westbury.

Sarah, and possibly John, would have seen the construction of the red-brick mansion of Croxton Park around 1760. This incorporated part of a previous Tudor building that was the manor house for Croxton.

Croxton Manor
Really the Elizabethan manor house of Westbury.

 The clay soil here did not lend itself to arable farming. Much of the parish was rough grazing, but the waterlogged fields led to much loss of sheep. There was some cultivation of wheat, barley, oats, peas and beans.

The fields were not inclosed until 1811.

John and Sarah had eleven children baptised at the 13th-century church of St James.

Baptisms. St James, Croxton.
1768 Aug 30  Elizabeth, Buried 10 Sep 1768
1769 Jul 30  William
1771 Apr 14  Elizabeth
1773 Apr 18  Sarah
1775 May 7  Ann
1777 Jun 15  John
1781 Nov 18  Mary
1783 May 4  Joan
1785 Nov 6  Hannah
1789 Jun 11  Samuel
1790 Dec 12  James

Sarah lived little more than two years after James’s birth. She was 43 when she died.

Burial. St James, Croxton.
1793 Mar 14  Sarah Cullip

 John lived to see the poverty in this area brought about by the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. As demand for home-grown food dropped, many farms were left unoccupied. Labourers were said to be half-starved.

 Croxton had two centres of population, one round the manor house of Westbury, and the other round the manor house of Croxton. In 1818, George Leeds of Croxton Park, had the rectory demolished to make an ornamental lake. Over the next eight years, the houses around St James’s church were also removed, to improve the view from his windows.

There is no burial for John Cullip in Croxton, but there is one in Eltisley, less than a mile away.

Burial. Eltisley.
1825 Jul 30  John Cullip of this parish, aged 85.

There are no other entries for Cullip in this parish. The likelihood is that John had gone there in his later years to live with one of his married daughters.




March Tree