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)

Monk Tree



WILLIAM CLIFFE. William married in 1732 and brought up his family in the West Essex village of High Roding. The most likely baptism for him is the following.
Baptism. St Andrew, Barnston.
1699 born Oct 2 bap Oct 12  William son of John and Mary Cliffe.

His mother was Mary Browne.

He was the fourth of ten children, but some died young, leaving William the eldest surviving son, He was born in Barnston, 2 m south of Great Dunmow, but when he was about 5 or 6 his family moved west to Aythorpe Roding, which is only two miles from High Roding where he raised his family. It was here that William grew up.

It has not been firmly established that William’s father was a farmer, but it seems likely.  If so, then William followed in his footsteps.

By the time of his wedding, he had moved from Aythorpe Roding to High Roding.

These are the northernmost two of a cluster of parishes known as The Rodings. They lie either side of the River Roding, close to the border between Essex and Hertfordshire. High Roding straggles along the old Roman road from Dunmow to Ongar. It is known as The Street.

The Black Lion, High Roding[1]


ANN LIVEINGS. We have not found a plausible baptism for Ann. She was resident in High Roding when she married. The earliest record of the surname in High Roding is the burial in 1747 of John Livins. He could be her father, if the family moved there after the children were born. There are burials for Susan Livings in 1764 and for Mary Livings in 1776. There is also a marriage for Linsel Living in 1773. This looks like a family that had moved to High Roding in the early 18th century, but we have not been able to find where they came from.

Although both of them were resident in High Roding, William and Ann married in Bishops Stortford. This is 8 m west of High Roding, just over the border in Hertfordshire. Ann may have been working there for a short time. It does not appear that she had family there, because her wedding is the first record of the Livings surname in Bishops Stortford.

Marriage. Bishop Stortford.
1732 Nov 6  William Cliffe and Ann Liveings both of High Roding.

Baptisms. All Saints, High Roding.
1734 Sep 7  Sarah
1735 Oct 8  John
1737 Jan 25  William
1739 Jun 21  Elizabeth
1740 Dec 13  Joseph

In 1739 William Cliff is mentioned as a beneficiary in the will of Richard Foster of Margaret Roding. He is occupying premises in High Roding, and Richard Foster is presumably his landlord. It was customary for farmers to rent land. Owner occupation was less common.

Ann died when her youngest child was only seven.
Burial. High Roding.
1747 Jan 19  Ann wife of William Cliff

 William lived for another thirty-one years.

In the latter part of the 18th century, there was unrest in Essex, as the price of food far outstripped wages. In William’s birth parish of Barnston, a grocer Richard Choate appealed to the Justices of the Peace for help. A mob of starving villagers had stormed into his shop and threatened to attack him and the shop unless he signed a contract to sell them butter at 6d a pound and cheese at 3d a pound. Under duress, he signed, though this was far below the market price. Scenes like these were repeated elsewhere in the county.

As a farmer, William would have been protected against these rises, but would have faced the hostility of the lower-paid around him.

 The most likely burial for William is the following.
Burial. High Roding.
1778 Sep 19  William Cliff, Farmer

This would mean he was just short of 79 when he died. The next burial for William Cliff would make him 94.


[1] Redbubble: The Black Lion, High Roding, Essex




Monk Tree