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


 WILLIAM LADD raised his family in Sutton, five miles west of Croydon, but he was not born there. The baptism of his daughter Elizabeth in 1725  is the first entry for Ladd in the Sutton registers.

The nearest baptism we have found for him is in Barnes, 9 miles to the north.

Baptism. St Mary, Barnes.
1696 born Dec 6, bapt Dec 26  William son of William Lad by Abigail his wife.

Although this is a bigger move than usual, there is no evidence of this William Ladd dying young, marrying nearer to Barnes, or raising a family in the Barnes area. The Sutton baptisms are the nearest for him.

His mother was Abigail Broomsgrove.

William was the third of their children. Two years later, his mother died. He was four when his father married again to the widow Elizabeth Cock.

We learn from the record of this marriage that William’s father was a husbandman, farming a small plot of land.

Barnes was then a village between the arms of the River Thames, which makes a large loop northward opposite Hammersmith.

Five half-siblings followed this second marriage, and there was one child whose baptism we have not found.

Six of these nine children died before reaching adulthood. This suggests that William grew up in a poverty-stricken family.

William became a lime burner. This involves crushing limestone, chalk or seashells, and feeding this into a red-hot kiln to produce quicklime.

It was a dangerous occupation. The process gives off carbon monoxide, which can paralyse or suffocate you. Stepping inside the kiln to empty it could result in burns. The resulting quicklime then had to be added to water, which produces a violent reaction, spitting caustic material.

This specialised occupation may be what took William to Sutton as a young man. It would be unusual for an agricultural labourer to move that far, but a lime burner may have had to find opportunities further afield. William may have learned that there was an opening in Sutton.

His first marriage took place in Croydon, 5 miles east of Sutton.

Marriage. St John, Croydon.
1723 Jun 23  William Lad and Elizabeth Hazel both of the parish of Sutton by licence.
The fact that they married in Croydon may mean that they lived in the east of Sutton parish, nearer to Croydon church.

Four baptisms followed.

Baptisms. Sutton.
1725 Oct 6  Elizabeth
1726 Mar 9  Amey
1729 Feb 23  William
1736 Oct 26  James

James’s birth cost Elizabeth her life.
Burial. Sutton.
1736 Oct 26  Elizabeth Ladd.

Seven years later we have the baptism of another child.

1743 Oct 6  John s. of the woman yt lives with Wm Ladd, p.b., brt to Ch 10.

“p.b.” means that he was privately baptised and brought to the church to have this ratified on Oct 10. Normally, a child was privately baptised if it was feared that it might not survive. It could be done by a lay person, such as the midwife. The large number of private baptisms at this period suggests that a clergyman may not always have been available in Sutton.

It is not explicitly said that William was the child’s father, but this is the implication in the absence of the mother’s name.

Two months later there was another wedding.

Marriage. Fleet Prison.
1743 Dec 14  William Ladd, Lime burner, of Sutton, County Surrey, with Elizabeth Owder, Spr.
Spr is Spinster.

William’s father had also had a second marriage at the Fleet.


ELIZABETH CLOWDER. We cannot be certain that William’s second bride was the mother of John, but it is hard to imagine another woman marrying him when he had been living with John’s mother only two months previously.

Elizabeth’s surname is given as Owder at her marriage. No other instances of this name have been found, but there are many Clowders in the Croydon area, close to Sutton. In later centuries the name turns into Crowder.

There are two possible baptisms in Croydon. Both make her close in age to William.
Baptisms. St John, Croydon.
1696 born Jan 25, bapt 28  Elizabeth Clowder daughter of Abraham & Sarah
1698 Nov 14  Elizabeth Clowder daughter of Jeremiah & Elizabeth
Jeremiah Clowder and his family migrated to America, leaving the daughter of Abraham and Sarah as the only option.

No burial or other marriage has been found for her.

She was the elder of two daughters.

Elizabeth would have been in her forties when she married William.

Marriages at the Fleet Prison were known as “clandestine marriages”. Between 1710 and 1750, thousands of Londoners, and some from further afield, were married there. More weddings took place at the Fleet than anywhere else in England.

Clandestine marriages were favoured because they were cheaper than a parish marriage, because they were more private than marrying where the couple were known, because they could be performed more speedily, without the need for banns or a licence, or because they did not require parental consent in the case of a minor.

We have found no further baptisms for this couple.

William saw the transition of Sutton from a village to a thriving small town. The transformation was brought about in 1755, with the arrival of not one but two turnpike roads, which met at Sutton. This led to a rise in hostelries and other businesses catering to travellers.

Burial. Sutton.
1763 Apr 24  Elizabeth wife William Lad
If we are right about her baptism, she was 66.

There is a burial in 1778 for William Ladd, but this is probably his son. The next burial for William Ladd is the following.
Burial. Sutton.
1785 Jun 1  William Ladd, 89.
This gives a birth date of 1696, which matches the one we have for him in Barnes.




March Tree