Posted by: Christine | January 4, 2012

Naughty Knights

I have discovered a bit of scandal to liven up the blog. It might also help me fill in a barren twig in one of my Family Trees.

It is thanks to Bill Atkins, who is transcribing some of the Norfolk Poor Law Records now to be found on familysearch. The Erpingham Union Records consist of 2098 images of the Minute Books of the meetings of the Board of Guardians from 12 April 1836 to 26 January 1852, with each image covering two pages. So far about a quarter of the images have now been transcribed and can be found here 

At the meeting of the Board on 16 Nov 1840 I found this:

Minutes of Meeting of Erpingham Board of Guardians November 16th 1840

Transcription – A Person by name Mary Cushion of the Parish of Thorpe Market, and having a Bastard Child, made Application to the Board for relief and charged a Person by name of Benjamin Knights of the Parish of Happisburgh as father of the same.
The Board having made diligent inquiries as to the Father of the Child are of the opinion that the said Benjamin Knights is Father of the same.
Ordered that notices be prepared for signature against the next Weekly Meeting of the Guardians

The order was signed the following week “… to reimburse the Union for the Maintenance and support of the Child …”

 So who was Benjamin? I know that my family of Knights lived in Happisburgh, on the north coast of Norfolk, at some point, so it’s possible.

 November 1840 is sufficiently close to the first available census on 6th Jun 1841. Searching the census brings up twelve Benjamin Knights – ten in Norfolk – but only one living in Happisburgh.

1841 Census Ref. HO 107/775/17 folio 18

This Benjamin is an Ag Lab (Agricultural Labourer), working for a farmer called Christopher Cushon – this looks hopeful. However both these gentlemen were aged 65. (As ages in the 1841 census were rounded down to the nearest 5 years, they could have been anything between 65 and 69.) Was this Benjamin the same person mentioned in the Bastardy Order or his father? Was Christopher the father or grandfather of Mary? There were no children in the household.

 There are several Cushion families in Thorpe Market including another Christopher aged 40 and his wife Harriot. In the household is Mary Ann aged 15 (i.e. between 15-19) and Harriot aged 1. In 1851 Harriot is listed as daughter of the elder Harriot, now a widow. Is she the bastard of Benjamin Knights?

 In 1851 Benjamin gave his age as 74 and was still working as an Ag Lab. By this time he was living in Ingham and his place of birth was Sutton in Norfolk. This ties up with my family tree, which has a Benjamin baptised 12 May 1776 in Sutton. His brother was my 4xG Grandfather Charles – in fact half-brother, born shortly before his widowed father married his mother. I can trace no marriage or children for this Benjamin.

 So nothing to add to my tree – yet!

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