The Kirtling Cricks Part 1

William Crick’s Origins and Family


Having discovered that William Crick made the journey to Australia from Kirtling in Cambridgeshire, England, at the age of 19, accompanied by his brother, Thomas, 21, and, I assumed, a cousin, Charles, 18, it became an inevitable next step to find out more about their early life in Kirtling, who their families were, and why they would set off on such a journey at such young ages.

Kirtling, I discovered, is a small parish (‘parish’ doubled as an ecclesiastical territory and an administrative area of civil government) in the country of Cambridgeshire in East England. It was – and probably still is – a tiny farming hamlet. It has a few buildings that go back several centuries, one of them being All Saints Church.

It was 1851 when William, Thomas and Charles packed up what meagre possessions they would have had, farewelled their parents and siblings for the last time (they would never see them again – possibly never even hear from or about them) and set out for London to board the ship Sibella, which set sail from London on 4 December 1851. William had just turned 19. Charles was still 18. Thomas was 21. They were all described in the shipping list as “agricultural labourers”.

Life in Kirtling

All the Cricks in Kirtling, as it turned out, were “agricultural labourers” or “farm labourers” (Church records, Census data). I think the descriptions were interchangeable.

The Street, KirtlingThe farm labourer was the lowest of the classes. Life at the time in England was very class-structured. So life as a farm labourer would not have been easy at the best of times. There had been a time when the farm labourers – as opposed to the farm servants – prospered both economically and socially, although still remaining and marrying within their class. They often had access to their own plots and, to an extent, farmed for themselves.  They were able to grow a lot of their own food and become self-sufficient. This, in turn, encouraged a vibrant, self-respecting, moderately well-off class of farm labourer. However, that all started to fall apart in the latter part of the 18th century – from around 1760. It had to do with changing economics in the farm sector and industrialisation. Small farm allotments were being consolidated to grow crops more economically; and access to the Commons, on which farm labourers depended for their subsistence farming, was being cut-off by the process of ‘enclosure’. Farm labourers were being reduced to paupers. Many drifted to the cities where the industrial revolution was creating jobs, at least in the North. Cambridgeshire was one of the hardest hit areas in this nation-wide decline of the farm labourer sector.

Ramifications of these developments included legislation to assist farm labourers and the poor generally, not all of which wasThe Queens Head, Kirtling helpful. The ‘workhouse’ was also a feature of life in England around this time. The workhouses were about the last resort for those who had no other way of sustaining themselves, including both adults and children. They were grim places where men and women were kept separate and families broken up. Work was hard, food was meagre and discipline was harsh. The most common image of life in the workhouse is from portrayals of Dickens’ story of Oliver Twist. Remember the scene of Oliver, bowl in hand, hesitatingly murmuring, “Please, Sir, I want some more.” 

I have included reference to the workhouse because, sadly, the records indicate that some of the Cricks, along with others in the farm labourer class in Kirtling, ended up there. Charles, who accompanied William and Thomas, was, perhaps, luckier than he could ever imagine. His father and his grandparents all died in the Union Workhouse at Newmarket. One can barely imagine how they spent their last years. Compared to the 18th and 19th century workhouse in England, today’s nursing homes would seem like Heaven on Earth. 

Union Workhouse, Newmarket(Photo courtesy of Nigel Cox) 

 By the time the three Crick boys who travelled to Australia were born, life as a farm labourer had already deteriorated significantly, compared to what it had been like a generation previously; and was probably about at its nadir. They obviously decided that there was no future in farm labouring – borne out by the future plight of other family members; and seemingly took up some form of government assisted passage to South Australia. (The Sibella shipping list refers to “257 Government emigrants.” Most were listed as farm labourers.)

This happened at the time when South Australia was the only colony that had not been a penal colony – so had not benefitted from the abundance of free or cheap labour that would have come with convict settlement. This was presumably why, about this time, government-sponsored passage to South Australia was available – probably encouraged.

You can read more about life as a farm labourer in this article. I drew on it and several other sites to piece together a few images of life as a farm labourer in Kirtling around the time of the Cricks.

There's also some interesting and easy-to-read descriptions of Kirtling on this page and the next.

Old photos courtesy of Parish Community,

The First Generation of Kirtling Cricks

A Very Early Crick

The first recording of a Crick in Kirtling is in 1726 in the marriage register of All Saints Church in Kirtling. It records an Elizabeth Crick marrying Thomas Gilman on 30 Sept 1726. However, there are no Kirtling baptism records of Elizabeth, suggesting that she came from outside Kirtling. One assumes probably not too far away, but I don’t know from where. One assumes that Thomas Gilman met her during one of his trips somewhere and brought her back to Kirtling. They ended up having seven children, the last being born in 1739. At least two of the children died in infancy, but only one of them appears in the burials register. There’s not a mention in either the marriage or burials register of any of the other children; or of Elizabeth or Thomas in the burials register. One wouldn’t expect there to be any marriages by the time the last child was registered in 1739, but the fact that there are none at any time, suggests that they might all have packed up and left Kirtling sometime after 1739, leaving no more Crick descendents in Kirtling. It remains a puzzle as to why the births register has a John attributed to them in both 1733 and 1736, with no burial entry for the first one. (It was a common practice, I discovered, for a child to be called the same name as an earlier one who died in infancy.) I don’t know if it’s a reasonable explanation, in this case, that the first john might have been stillborn, baptised, but not given a normal burial.

Next Mention of Cricks in Church Records

The next mention of Crick in the church records of All Saints, Kirtling, is in 1781. This would seem to be the first time that CricksAll Saints, Kirtling settled in Kirtling. At this time, there were no civil registrations for births, deaths or marriages. However, local parish churches kept records of baptisms, marriages and burials. The All Saints registers date back to the second half of the 1500s.

According to the marriages register, John Crick and Mary Crick (Mary was a Crick!) married on 14 December 1781 “by licence”. They are both listed as being of Kirtling Parish.

There are two points to note here. First, the reference to a marriage licence suggests that such was needed to allow the usual period of banns to be waived. Most likely, this was because Mary was already 5 months pregnant. Possibly, also, they might have only recently arrived in Kirtling. Secondly, they were cousins. This was not unusual. In fact, there was no law prohibiting marriage between cousins, even first cousins. It was allowed in the Church of England by the Book of Common Prayer.

The marriages register then has Edward Crick marrying Catherine Wright on 14 October 1783. Catherine appears in the Kirtling baptism records as being the daughter of Henry and Mary Wright, baptised on 12 November 1758 (so, a native of Kirtling and  25 when she married Edward).

The other set of records that starts listing Cricks about this time is the baptism register.

The first Crick in the All Saints baptisms register is John Crick, 21 April 1782, son of John and Mary.

 This is followed by William, 24 April 1785, son of John and Mary.

Then comes William, 18 September 1785, son of William and Susanna.

There are a few more baptism recordings of children from ‘John and Mary’ and ‘William and Susanna’ before recordings start, beginning in 1791, of children of Edward and Catherine.

While there are continuing entries in the baptisms register of children of these three couples, there are no more marriages until, it would seem, their children start to get married. The next wave of baptism recordings is also related to their children (now as parents).

All this strongly suggests that all the Cricks in Kirtling were connected to or descendents of the first group of arrivals centred on John and Mary (both Cricks), William and Susanna (Susanna’s maiden name n/k), and Edward.

Members of the First Generation of Kirtling Cricks

Kirtling TowersIt would seem that John, Mary, William (with Susanna) and Edward Crick arrived in Kirtling, from wherever, between about 1780 and 1784. Although they would seem not to have necessarily arrived at the same time, the proximity of their arrivals and closeness of ages suggest they were related and came from the same area.

William and Susanna arrived already married, possibly already with a baby daughter, Mary. There is no record of their marriage in the All Saints register or of Mary in the baptisms register. However, the burials register at All Saints lists a Mary Crick, 27 July 1863, at 80 years of age. That means she would have been born about 1783. The fact that she doesn’t appear in the Kirtling baptisms register suggests she was born outside Kirtling. Her age would seem to link her to William and Susanna.

William and Susanna’s first registered baptism in Kirtling was in 1785, so Mary might have been the eldest child, at 2 years old, when her brother William was born in 1785. The fact that Mary doesn’t appear on the baptism register but William does suggests William and Susanna arrived in Kirtling in 1783 or 1784. In 1783, William would have been 25 and Susanna 31. They ended up having five children. William and Susanna both died in 1837 as residents of Wood Ditton, a neighbouring parish. His age is listed as 79; hers as 85.

John and Mary presumably arrived together. The fact they would have been cousins,  expecting their first child by late July 1781 and married hurriedly by December 1781 suggests John and Mary arrived in 1781. In 1781, John and Mary would have both been 24. They ended up having eight children.  John died in 1822. His age is listed as 65. Mary died in 1837. Her age is listed as 80.

Edward certainly arrived in time to get to know the locals well enough to have married one (Catherine Wright) in 1783. That suggests Edward probably arrived in 1781 with John and Mary. He would have been 27. Edward and Catherine ended up having five children. Edward died in 1844. His age is listed as 90. Catherine died in 1831. Her age is listed as 74.

As to the relationships among this first generation of Kirtling Cricks and their circumstances, my conclusions are:

1.       There would likely be a close-knit core amongst the four Cricks, Edward, John, Mary and William, to have them make the change of location to Kirtling together.

2.       Mary would be a cousin of John, given they get married (and were most likely pregnant when they arrived).

3.       It’s possible that all the men were brothers, and Mary a first cousin of them all. My feeling, however, is that Mary is more likely to have come with a brother, even though she was likely already involved with and pregnant to John. On this assumption, Edward would be the brother, making him also a first cousin of John.

4.       It could be that William is the brother of both Edward and Mary, making John the tag-along cousin, having got their sister pregnant, which, in turn, was probably why they all left their home hamlet, wherever it was, and headed for Kirtling.

5.       William arrived with Susanna and baby Mary up to 2 or 3 years after Edward, John and Mary. This was presumably because of their own personal circumstances. But why come at that stage if Mary had her elder brother there to watch out for her? The best reason I can think of is that William was a brother of John; and was more motivated by the need to provide some support to and to be with his younger brother, who was probably perceived to be the main reason for the upheavals (by getting Mary pregnant).

6.       So, William and John were probably brothers; Edward and Mary brother and sister; and William and John (brothers) were first cousins of Edward and Mary (brother and sister).

Lineage of William Crick of Wentworth NSW

Where does William of Wentworth fit in with this first generation of Kirtling Cricks? (I’ll call him William of Wentworth simply to differentiate him from the several Williams that occur at every generation.)

William of Wentworth’s death certificate identifies his place of birth as Kirtling and his father as Thomas, a ‘farm labourer’. Extrapolating from his stated age on the Sibella shipping list and his date of death and age on his death certificate, his birth year was around 1832.

The All Saints baptisms register has a William Crick, 25 November 1832, son of Thomas and Sarah.

Data from the 1841, 1851 and 1861 Cambridge census records, while not consistent, suggests that William’s father, Thomas, was born in either 1792 or 1796. His stated age in the 1841 census was 45, making 1796 as his birth year. However, his stated ages in the 1851 and 1861 census were 59 and 69 respectively, making 1792 as his birth year. There is an entry in the All Saints burials register for Thomas Crick, 29 June 1871, at age 79. That also makes his birth year 1792.

Remember that there were no records specifically of births and deaths; only baptisms and burials. One spin-off of this situation is that people were probably unsure of their birthdays, let alone their year of birth. Children would know only what their parents told them; and their parents may well have lost count of the years and forgotten the dates. They likely would not have had access to the registers or been able to read them even if they had access. Hence, some dates are always going to be approximate.

Thomas would seem to have had second thoughts after the 1841 census. 1841 was the first census, so a very new and baffling experience. For some reason, he might have concluded understating his age was a good thing to do. Or it might have been a simple miscalculation. Or he simply didn’t know! Anyway, he was consistent for the 1851 and 1861 census; and his stated ages were consistent with his recorded age at death. The numbers quoted put his birth year as 1792. The problem is that there is no entry in the baptisms register for him or any Crick in 1792! 

There is an entry for Thomas Crick, 16 February 1794, son of John and Mary. This would have to be him.

So, Thomas, father of William of Wentworth, was baptised on 16 February 1794, making, I assume, 1794 his year of birth. He was the fifth child of John and Mary Crick (they were both Cricks) identified in the previous section as part of the first generation of Kirtling Cricks.

Data from the 1841, 1851 and 1861 Cambridge census records, while not consistent,Grave of William and Margaret Crick, Waverly Cemetery suggests that Sarah was born in either 1793 or 1796. Her stated age in the 1841 census was 45, making 1796 as her birth year. However, her stated ages in the 1851 and 1861 census were 58 and 68 respectively, making 1793 as her birth year. There is an entry in the All Saints burials register for Sarah Crick, 1 March 1879, at age 86. That also makes her birth year 1793.  That all follows the same pattern as for Thomas. It was as though, after the first census, someone stepped in and got it all corrected and consistent. Except that, as with Thomas, there is no entry in the baptisms register for Sarah in 1793.

There is an entry for Sarah Crick, 14 June 1795, daughter of Edward and Catherine. This would have to be her.

So, Sarah, mother of William of Wentworth, was baptised on 14 June 1795, making, I assume, 1795 her year of birth. She was the third child of Edward and Catherine Crick (Catherine was née Wright) identified in the previous section as part of the first generation of Kirtling Cricks.

This gets confirmed when a cross check is made of the marriages register, which has an entry for the marriage of Thomas Crick and Sarah Crick on 7 November 1820. Interestingly, the witnesses were Robert Crick and Rhoda Wright – seemingly, one from each side of the family (Catherine, her mother, was a Wright)!

In summary:

William of Wentworth was the son of Thomas and Sarah Crick (both were Cricks).

Thomas was born in Kirtling. His parents were John and Mary Crick (both were Cricks) who were two of the first generation of Cricks to arrive in Kirtling.

Sarah was born in Kirtling. Her parents were Edward and Catherine Crick (Catherine was a Wright). Edward was one of the first generation of Cricks to arrive in Kirtling. Catherine had been born in Kirtling to Henry and Mary Wright.

So, both Thomas and Sarah were among the second generation of Kirtling Cricks. They also were cousins. If John and Edward were first cousins, as I concluded, then Thomas and Sarah were second cousins. Well, ordinarily, they would have been. But, if Thomas’ mother (Mary) was the sister of Sarah’s father (Edward), as I concluded, then Thomas and Sarah were also first cousins. That means they were both first and second cousins at the same time! As would have been their siblings!

Here is a summary report generated by some genealogy software. The software is not designed to accommodate marrying cousins, so there are duplications of descendant lines to reflect that there was some common parentage. However, it may provide a helpful reference tool to figure out who is who.

The Second Generation of Kirtling Cricks

John and Mary Crick had 8 children: John (b 1782), William (b 1785), Sarah (b 1788), Jeffery (b 1798), Thomas (b 1794), Mary (b 1797), Robert (b 1798) and Alice (b 1800).

John is a mystery, although I have recently (Jan 2012) been made aware of further data on him. I need to chase that up.

William married Abigail Taylor in 1808. Their eldest son was George (b 1809), who was the father of Charles, who emigrated to Australia. They also had a son, William (b 1811), and twin girls, Mary and Mary Ann (b 1812) who died in infancy. William Snr died in the Union Workhouse in Newmarket in 1852, aged 66. Abigail also died there in 1849. She was 79. (See below under Insights into Some of the Early Kirtling Cricks.)

Sarah married James Pettett in 1823. She was 35. They had no children. James died in 1836, aged 50. Sarah died in 1845, aged 57. (There’s a story in this. See more on this below under Insights into Some of the Early Kirtling Cricks.)

Jeffery didn’t marry. He would seem to have had a son, Richard (b 1814). He stayed in Kirtling and died in 1878, aged 87. (See more on him below under Insights into Some of the Early Kirtling Cricks.)

Thomas married Sarah Crick as spelt out above.

Mary married Thomas Isaacson in 1817. They had 2 children, Mary Ann (b 1820) and Thomas (b 1822). Mary died in 1823, aged 27.

Robert died in infancy in 1798.

Alice married William Sneazewell in 1821. They must have left Kirtling soon afterwards, as there are no further records of them or any children.

William and Susanna Crick had 5 children: Mary (b 1783), William (b 1784), John (b 1787), James (b 1788) and Edward (b 1793).

Mary never married. She lived to about 80 and died in 1863.

William married Elizabeth Mote in 1810. They had three children, William (b 1815), Henry (b 1822) and Joanna (b 1828). They appear together in the 1861 census data. William died in 1873 aged 89. Elizabeth died in 1874 aged 87.

John does not appear in any of the Kirtling marriages burial or census records. Maybe he went back to when his parents had come from or emigrated.

James married Charlotte Aylard in 1811. They seemingly had no children. Charlotte died in 1820. The entry in the burials register reads ”Charlotte of Soham wife of James”. Soham is a nearby parish. There is no entry of James in the All Souls burials register. James, however, is in the 1841 and 1851 census data in Soham married to Margaretta and with 5 children to her, James (b 1827), Charles (b 1828), Elizabeth (b 1830), Ellen (b 1832), and George (b 1836).

Edward does not appear in any of the Kirtling marriages, burials or census records. Maybe he went back to when his parents had come from or emigrated. Perhaps Edward and John took off together.

Edward and Catherine Crick had 5 children: Thomas (b 1788), William (b 1791), John (b 1793), Sarah (b 1795), Robert (b 1798), and Henry (b 1801).

Thomas links with a Sarah (née n/k). There is no entry for them in the ALL Souls marriages registry. They either married outside Kirtling or not at all. In any event, she is subsequently recorded as a Crick. They had two children, Mathew (b 1811) and William (b 1812). Sarah died in 1849, aged about 75. Thomas died in 1867, aged 79. He is recorded as “of Upend Green” (part of Kirtling parish).

William doesn’t turn up in the All Souls marriages or burials registers. There is a William in the 1851 census data, living alone, with the stated age of 60. That would seem to be him. He’s not in the census data for Kirtling in either 1841 or 1861.

John married Mary West, a widow, in 1822. They turn up in the 1841 census data – just a John and Mary together under the same folio number. John’s stated age is 40 (in fact, he was 48) and Mary’s is 50. If my supposition about Mary, below, is right, she was 47. They also turn up together in the 1851 census but not the 1861 census. Apart from John’s baptism entry, the only All Souls record for him is an entry in the burials register for ‘John of Upend’, 1859, aged 70 (hence not in the 1861 census). There is no entry for their marriage. Neither is there an entry for Mary’s first marriage. One of the witnesses for her marriage to John is James Leach. There is an entry in the baptisms register for a Mary Leach, 1 June 1794. That’s possibly her (just a year younger than John, although from the 1841 census, they obviously thought there was about a ten year difference – presumably a perception from when they first met!). It seems as though she married West outside Kirtling and returned after his death.

Sarah married Thomas Crick, as spelt out above.

Robert married Mary Woollard in 1824. They had five children, Daniel (b 1826), Susan and Mary (b 1829), Tabitha (b 1831) and William (b 1833). Susan died at 3; Tabitha as an infant; and William at 1. Mary died in 1833. The burials register lists only the year. Presumably she died at child birth.  Robert then married Honor (Honour) Taylor (née Norbury), a widow, in 1835. They didn’t have any children.

Henry/Henery married Mary Carter in 1823. They had seven children, Philip (b 1826), Henery (b 1827), Mary (b 1829), Josiah (b 1832), James (b 1834), Keziah (b 1838) and Isaac (b 1841). Henry died in 1879. Mary died in 1860.

William of Wentworth’s Siblings (Third Generation of Kirtling Cricks)

Thomas and Sarah had ten children: Rhoda (b 1821), Mary Ann (b 1823), Sarah (b 1825), Joseph (b 1828), Thomas (b 1830), William (b 1832), Catharine (b 1834), John (b 1837), Richard (b 1839) and Elizabeth (b 1841).

Rhoda married Giles Pettitt in 1842. They had seven children, Mary (b 1843), Samuel (b 1845), Sarah (b 1850), John (b 1852), Sarah (b 1855), Ellen (b 1857), and David Nelson (b 1858). The first Sarah died in 1852. David Nelson? 1858 was the centenary of Horatio Nelson’s birth! The entries for the last two children indicate that the parents were from Wood Ditton. The family appears in the 1861 census data for the parish of Newmarket All Saints and Wood Ditton.

Mary Ann gave birth to Eliza Anne Price in 1844. That’s her baptism name. No father’s name is recorded, although one might surmise it was Price (there are Prices in the neighbouring parish of Wood Ditton, including a Charles (b 1812)! She appears in the 1851 census data with Eliza, aged 7, living with her parents. Mary Ann married John Barrow in 1859. She was 36 at the time. They would seem to have left Cambridgeshire.

Sarah married Obadiah Claydon in 1841. They had two children, David (b 1841) and Obadiah (b 1844).

The entry in the marriages register records that both were “of full age”. It also says that Sarah is the daughter of William. There is no other Sarah Crick, daughter of William, apart from this Sarah. The fact that Sarah was 15 and 6 months pregnant at the date of her marriage prompted some further research into marriage ages. I found this on this site:

During the 19th century the minimum age at which marriage was permitted (with parental consent) was 12 for a girl and 14 for a boy.

In 1929, in response to a campaign by the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship, Parliament raised the age limit to 16 for both sexes in the Ages of Marriage Act. This is still the minimum age.

Sadly, Sarah died in March of 1845, at just 19 years old, having had 2 children by then. Obadiah ‘married’ again and had at least two more children. As an aside, Obadiah was about 20 when he and Sarah married, judging from his stated age in the 1841 census. He appears in the 1851 census with his new wife/partner, Eliza, and Walter, 4 months. David and Obadiah Jun are with them. They have another child, Emma, in 1853. There are no Claydons at all in the 1861 Kirtling census (but lots in Newmarket, where there were none in 1851.) In the 1861 census, there is no Obadiah Claydon anywhere in Cambridgeshire. Also, Obadiah Snr is not on the baptisms register; nor is there any entry for a marriage to Eliza.

Joseph appears in the 1841 and 1851 census data living with his parents (he was 23 in 1851). Then he disappears. Did he also emigrate like his brothers Thomas and William?

Thomas appears in the 1841 and 1851 census data living with his parents (he was 21 in 1851). He emigrated to Australia in 1851. See William Crick page.

William appears in the 1841 and 1851 census data living with his parents (he was 18 in 1851). He emigrated to Australia in 1851. See William Crick page.

Catharine appears in the 1841 and 1851 census data living with her parents (she was 17 in 1851). She seems to disappear after that.

John died at the age of 1 in 1838.

Richard appears in the 1841, 1851 and 1861 census data living with his parents (he was 22 in 1861). Then he disappears. Did he also emigrate like his brothers Thomas and William?

Elizabeth married George Ginn in 1880. They had one child, Frederick (b 1882). Elizabeth was 39 when she married. Elizabeth died in 1902, aged 61.

Insights into Some of the Early Kirtling Cricks

This section is intended to provide a few random glimpses into aspects of the Kirtling Cricks. It doesn’t cover everyone.

The Three Adventurers: Thomas, William and Charles

Thomas, William and Charles all left at a time when things would have been grim. They set out for Australia to an unknown future, but, at least, one of hope. Their only other option was to stay to an almost certain future of abject poverty. As to the three adventurers, there is enough on William and Thomas on the William Crick page. Charles seems to have disappeared. Why didn’t he stay with Thomas and William, being a cousin and having come all that way together?  I have no idea at this stage. I’m yet to search South Australian records; but might do so eventually.

Thomas and Sarah

Thomas and Sarah, William of Wentworth’s parents, seemed to have survived reasonably okay. They kept appearing in census data in 1841, 1851 and 1861 (I don’t have the 1871 data, but they would also be in that). They lived long lives together. Thomas died at age 77 in 1871; and Sarah died aged 84 in 1879. Seemingly, they remained in their accommodation in Kirtling. Despite the deteriorating economic circumstances, they seemed to have lead a reasonable life. They had 10 children, most of whom seemed to have done reasonably well or took their chances by leaving Kirtling. They did have a few worries with the death of John at 1 and with Mary Ann and Sarah getting pregnant before they should have. But overall, they did better than many others of their time, not to understate the hardships that would have endured throughout.

The Other Thomas and Sarah

There was another contemporaneous Thomas and Sarah, who get mentioned as parents in the baptism registry, appear in census data and in the burials register. I came across a couple of websites which had included both couples’ children as belonging only to the Thomas and Sarah who were the parents of William of Wentworth. There’s at least one family out there who think they have traced their family back to this Thomas and Sarah, when, in fact, they are descendents of the ‘Other’ Thomas and Sarah.

The ‘Other’ Thomas and Sarah were Thomas, son of Edward and Catherine and brother of Sarah, William of Wentworth’s mother. So, brother-in-law of Thomas, William of Wentworth’s father. And, of course, also first cousin and, to round it off, second cousin as well. The ‘Other’ Sarah is a mystery. I haven’t discovered her maiden name. There’s no record of the ‘Other’ Thomas and Sarah in the marriages register. However, both, as Cricks, are listed in the baptism register as parents of Mathew (b 6 Oct 1811) and William (b 7 Nov 1811). They then appear together in 1841 census records together; and Thomas in the 1851 census, living alone; and in 1861, living with Mathew and family.  Sarah died in 1849, aged about 75.

William and Abigail

There were two Williams born in the same year – 1785. One was the son of John and Mary; the other was the son of William and Susanna. One married Abigail Taylor in 1808; the other married Elizabeth Mote in 1810. It’s not immediately obvious which William married Abigail and which one married Elizabeth. I’m going with the son of John and Mary, Thomas’ brother, as the one who married Abigail. At this stage I’m relying on the assumption that, in the 1841 census, people grouped under a  single ‘folio number’ lived in a single dwelling of some sort. If that’s true, then all Thomas’ and Sarah’s family (except their eldest, Rhoda), as well as Sarah’s father, Edward, and George (son of William and Abigail), and his son, Charles, all lived under the same roof. It seems to be more likely that George would be Thomas' nephew -  son of his brother William (who therefore would be the son of John and Mary). I think that's logical.

There are, however, other pointers. One of the witnesses to the marriage of William and Abigail was James Crick, who seems to be the brother of William the son of William and Susanna. There's a bit of logic in assuming that he might have been more likey a witness to his brother's marriage, which would suggest that the William who married Abigail was the son of William and Susanna. Nonetheless, I think the relationship between Thomas and George is more gogent, so I'm staying with the pairings I have made.

William and Abigail, as mentioned, had a son George (father of young Charles, who went to Australia with his cousins), a son William, and twin daughters, Mary and Mary Ann. The girls died in infancy. Abigail died in 1849 and William (her husband) in 1852. At the time of their deaths, both were listed as “of Union Workhouse Newmarket.” There was a 15 year age difference between them, Abigail being the elder. William was 66 when he died and Abigail was 79. Presumably they went into the workhouse together. How long after 1841 is uncertain. Probably not long afterwards. With so many mouths to feed (11 names are under the relevant portfolio number), the situation was undoubtedly already desperate.

They would have been there at the time James Reynolds spent some months there in 1846 and wrote a poem about the Union Workhouse, Newmarket, describing what daily life was like.


William and Abigail’s son, George, and Susan (née n/k) had a son, Charles, who travelled with William and Thomas on the Sibella, a son, Robert, who died within a year, and another son, Robert, who also died within a year. There is no record in the marriages registry of them. Neither does Susan appear with George or Charles in the 1841 census. This might be a long shot, but there is a Susannah Simpkin in the burials register for 21 December 1839 at age 25. Her age would fit (she would have been 18, possibly 19, when Charles was born and 20 and 22 when the Roberts were born). Her death in 1839 would explain why she wasn’t in the 1841 census. Interestingly, the name Susannah Simpkin does not appear in relevant periods in either the baptisms or marriages registers (either as a maiden name or acquiring the married name Simpkin). Whoever Charles’ mother was, she was certainly not with George or Charles by 1841 (Charles was 8).

Remember, Charles left for Australia at 18, in 1851. At that stage, he was George’s only living child. George appears in the 1851 and 1861 census data, living in Kirtling. In the 1861 census, his age is stated as 60. In fact, he was born in 1809, so would have been only 52. He died in the Union Workhouse in Newmarket in 1869 at the age of 60 (the burials register records his burial at age 65). His transfer to the workhouse was sometime after 1861. Things might have been getting a little less grim by then. There were 11 names under the one portfolio number (William and Abigail had by then preceded George into the workhouse and had died). Moreover, William, Thomas and Charles were soon to leave for Australia, leaving 8, including George. Maybe he felt he was an unproductive burden – and, by then, the odd one out.


Jeffery gets spelt in about three or four different ways throughout the records (including with both a J and a G). He’s interesting on a few accounts.

He would seem never to have married. He lived to a ripe old age, dying in 1878, aged 87, although the entry in the burials registry has 89. That’s quite an achievement in the conditions of the time. He also lived out his years, seemingly, in the same accommodation. In the census records of 1841, 1851 and 1861, he is listed in the same folio as a Richard Crick. In the 1841 and 1851 census data, there’s only the two of them, suggesting, I think (yet to be confirmed) that they might have shared a room at a boarding house or, at least, shared some form of accommodation throughout those years. In the 1861 census data, Jeffery and Richard are living with Thomas and Sarah and family. (I expect that the 1871 census data will show the same.) Richard’s ages in the census records place his year of birth around 1816. There’s only one Richard in the baptisms registry within the vicinity of that year. His baptism is recorded as 13 Jan 1814.

So, who is he, this Richard, who lived nigh on 40 years alone with Jeffery and presumably would have cared for him in his waning years? Well, this is where it gets interesting. Richard’s baptism entry states: “1814, Jan 13...CRICK...Richard son of [blank] and Sarah otp [blank]”. (otp = of this parish.) Invariably, the father’s name appears where the first [blank] is; and his occupation where the second [blank] is.  So, Richard was born to Sarah out of wedlock. It’s almost certain that Richard would have been Jeffery’s illegitimate son.  That’s why they stayed together.

But, who was Sarah? The baptism entry has Richard as a Crick, so Sarah’s name must have been Crick. He was baptised on 13 Jan 1814, so Sarah became pregnant with him around April 1813 (Springtime in Kirtling, if still a little bleak). Jeffery was 22. Sarahs that can be identified at that time are:

Sarah, daughter of John and Mary, b 27 Jan 1788. This Sarah was Jeffery’s sister. In April 1813, Sarah was 25. She later married James Pettett in 1823, when she was 35. Her relatively later-in-life marriage might have been partly due to the pregnancy and birth of Richard. She died in 1845, aged 57. James had died in 1836, aged 50. They didn’t have any children. Curiously, Sarah doesn’t seem to show up in the 1841 census – not under Pettett, Pettitt or Crick, although she does turn up in the burials register in 1845. There’s no indication in the burials register that she came from anywhere other than Kirtling (in contrast to recordings of those who came from the Union Workhouse in Newmarket).  Perhaps she had become a recluse and simply got missed in the census.

Sarah, daughter of Edward and Catherine, b 14 June 1895. This Sarah was Jeffery’s cousin – a first and second cousin. In April 1813, Sarah was 17. She later married Thomas (Jeffery’s brother) in 1820, when she was 25. She died in 1879, aged 83, having had ten children with Thomas, one of them being William of Wentworth. At the young age of 17, she could have succumbed to the advances of the relatively much older Jeffery; and it was several years, presumably, before she developed a love interest in Thomas.

Sarah, daughter of n/k (not a Crick, it would seem), b 1774-1776. In April 1813, Sarah was about 38. This Sarah was the ‘partner’ of Thomas, son of Edward and Catherine (the Sarah in the ‘Other’ Thomas and Sarah, mentioned above). It’s not clear if they married outside Kirtling or were de facto spouses. Despite her age – and the age difference between Jeffery and her, it’s noteworthy that she gave birth to Mathew in 1811 and William in 1812. Could she have then got pregnant by Jeffery with Richard in 1813, giving birth to Richard in 1814?

I find it difficult to link Sarah, mother of Mathew and William, to a dalliance with Jeffery in 1813. Apart from the age difference, she would seem to have found a good relationship in her mid 30s; and her life seems to have focussed on husband, Thomas, and sons, Mathew and William. However, both of the other two Sarahs are contenders. I’m inclined to go with Jeffery’s sister. There are a few pointers in this direction. The slightly later-in-life marriage, no children, and disappearing after her husband died could indicate someone with a few issues to deal with! Moreover, in the 1861 census, Jeffery and Richard are actually living with Thomas and Sarah (as in parents of William of Wentworth), which suggests a reasonable relationship between them. I wonder whether they would have felt comfortable doing that if Richard had been the illegitimate son of Sarah, even though he was born long before she married Thomas.

Now, here’s another twist. Remember that Jeffery died in 1878. There is an entry in the burials register for Richard, 9 Jan 1893, at age 74. This suggests a birth year of 1819. However, there is only one Richard in the baptism registry until a second one appears in 1839, so the first entry has to be for Richard son of Jeffery (b 1814). Richard would have been 79 when he died. The burials registry has him recorded “of Union Workhouse” – presumably at Newmarket. It’s interesting that he stayed in some normal accommodation for all those years until, seemingly, sometime after his father died in 1878. Richard was 64 at the time of his father’s death. If he was doing okay, as in managing to survive in normal accommodation, at 64, with his father at 87, then why did it all fall apart after that, with Richard ending up in the infamous workhouse?  (PS. I still need to check 1871 census, although I expect to find that Jeffery and Richard are still together, probably living with Sarah and Thomas.)

All this started to make me wonder, with regard to Jeffery and Richard, who was caring for whom? If Richard was the product of a sexual encounter between Jeffery and his sister, Sarah, that raises some genetic issues. I haven’t done the research, but I’ve found several allusions to significantly increased risk of genetic birth defects arising from brother/sister coupling than, say, even cousin coupling. Could poor Richard have ended up with a ‘recessive gene’ of some sort as a result of being the product of a brother/sister relationship? That would certainly explain why he was always with Jeffery – and mostly just the two of them. Jeffery may well have turned out to be the model, devoted father who stood by his disabled son until his (Jeffery’s) death. Sadly, it would seem that after Jeffery’s death, no one was prepared or able to take on care of Richard and support him, so he ended up in the Union Workhouse in Newmarket. I can’t imagine that he would have fared very well there if he was a bit disabled. Richard lived for 15 years after Jeffery died.

Enough for Now....

........................................but I have started on the third generation of Kirtling Cricks. It’s hard to let go when you accidentally stumble across snippets like three Williams being born within four years of one another, two marrying a year apart, one to a 15 year old (10 his junior), who initially stays with her parents, while William lives separately with their baby; and which William is which?

More about that later – much later! 

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