William Caseborne of Littleport and His Descendants, Part 2

My previous post explored the origins of the “Peterborough Casbons,” a line that I’ve traced back to William Caseborne, who died at Littleport, Cambridgeshire in 1699. A chart outlined the first five generations of the family line, beginning with William and his wife Alice. The line of descent from William through the fifth generation is as follows:
1. William Caseborn (married Alice _____) → 2. Thomas Caseborn (baptized 1695, married Ann Kendale) → 3. Thomas Casborn (baptized 1732, married Mary Diamond) →
4. Thomas Casborn (baptized 1776, married Ann Dolby) → 5. Thomas Casbon (born about 1807, married Jane Cooper).

The following chart picks up where the previous one left off, beginning with generation five.

Outline chart showing the fifth through ninth generations of William Caseborn’s descendants; numbers before each name denote the generation, with each generation represented by a different color (Littleport Bishop’s Transcripts; UK, General Register Office; assorted parish records) (Click on image to enlarge)

Although the chart begins with Thomas (born about 1807), I’ll start by going back to his father, Thomas Casborn (~1776­–1855). Thomas’s line includes the only descendants of William Caseborn (generation one, died in 1699) who carry the Casbon surname today.

Thomas departed from Littleport with his family sometime between 1808 (baptisms of his children Elizabeth and Thomas) and 1812 (baptism of his daughter Sarah), when he was residing at Bluntisham, Huntingdonshire, some 14 miles southwest of Littleport. Thomas was the first member of the family line known to have the occupation of gardener.

Detail from 1841 census of Needingworth, Huntingdonshire (now Cambridgeshire) showing Thomas’s occupation as “Gardener”; the letter “N” in the right-hand column denotes that Thomas and his wife, Ann (Dolby), were not born in Huntingdonshire (source: The National Archives via Ancestry)

Thomas’s last known residence was at Colne, Huntingdonshire (1851 census).[1] His death was registered at St. Ives (which includes Colne) in 1855.[2]

Thomas’s only male child was also named Thomas, born about 1807 at Littleport (baptized 1808).[3] He is at the head of the chart above. Thomas, also a gardener, is noteworthy as the first member of the family to live in Peterborough. I have written several posts about Thomas and his descendants. These can be accessed by clicking on “Peterborough” in the tag menu to the right of this post.

The Casbon surname would have died out in this family line were it not for just one of Thomas’s descendants. In the chart above, you will see that every member of the ninth generation was born to Charles Arthur Casbon (1880–1945) by one of his two wives. The family name did not continue through other family members due to a predominance of female offspring or absence of children born to any male offspring.

The line of descent from Thomas to Charles Arthur is as follows: 5. Thomas Casbon (born about 1807, married Jane Cooper) → 6. John Casbon (born about 1832, married Rebecca Ann Speechly) → 7. Thomas Casbon (born 1854, married Elizabeth Pettifor) → 8. Charles Arthur Casbon (born 1880, married first, Grace Parker; second, Eliza Kate Harvey; third, Ethel Wright).

Wedding portrait of Charles Arthur Casbon to his second wife, Eliza Kate Harvey, 1915; courtesy of Charles “Tony” Casbon

Charles broke with the family tradition and became a baker instead of a gardener. He served as a horse keeper (groom) for the Army Veterinary Corps and rose to the rank of Corporal during World War I.[4]

I have only limited information on Charles’s children, all of whom are now deceased. Joseph Arthur Casbon joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and achieved a high position within the church. Leslie David Casbon was headmaster of a British School in Ethiopia and started the British International School in Cairo, Egypt. He was awarded the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) and later the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.), the latter presented by the Queen during a state visit to Ethiopia.

Although the chart ends with the ninth generation, William Caseborne’s descendants now extend to at least thirteen generations, many of whom now have the Casbon surname.


[1] 1851 England census, Huntingdonshire, Colne, ED 13, p. 3, line 23; imaged at Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8978 : accessed 11 Jan 21) > Huntingdonshire >Holywell Cum Needingworth >ALL >District 13>image 3 of 17; citing The National Archives, HO 107/448.
[2] “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007,” database, FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2NLY-2KB : accessed 31 Dec 2014); citing General Register Office (Southport), vol. 3B/160.
[3] Church of England, Littleport Parish (Cambridgeshire), Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857; browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-892X-H3Y1 : accessed 13 Sep 2016) image 511 of 872.
[4] Discharge documents for Charles Arthur Casbon, service no. 3283, 12 Apr 1919; database and images, Findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbm%2fwo363-4%2f7266171%2f141%2f1926 : accessed 12 March 2017); citing The National Archives, series WO 363.

“Gay Girl,” the Story of Harry and Kate

This story doesn’t have a happy ending.

In my last post, introducing the “Chatteris Casbons,” I made brief mention of 13-year old Harry Casbon in the home of his grandmother, Emma Allpress, in 1881.[1]

Detail from 1881 census, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.(Click on image to enlarge)

After considerable effort, I found Harry in the 1871 census, also living with his grandmother Emma. The “considerable effort” comes from the fact that the census entry is among the most badly misspelled that I have ever seen.[2]

Detail from 1871 census, Chatteris (Click on image to enlarge)

This record was transcribed as “Emma Trep,” with daughter Emma, son John, grandson Henry Skele, and son Lester Seklen.” I interpret the spelling of Emma’s surname as “Press,” with the last two letters “fs” being the typical way to write “ss” at the time. The census enumerator has left off “All” from Allpress. How he got Skele and Seklen out of Casbon is a mystery. (Hint to fellow researchers: when a surname search fails to find someone, try searching again with pertinent facts but leave out the surname. In this case, a search for “Harry,” born 1866-1867 in York, residing in Chatteris, yielded the 1871 census for Henry Skele)

As in the 1881 census, “Henry’s” birthplace is listed as York. The names Harry and Henry tend to be used interchangeably in records. There is little doubt that Harry and Henry in these two records are the same person.

I wanted to know more about Harry. Since he was with his grandmother in both censuses, it seems likely that she was raising him. If so, why? Based on his age in both censuses, he would have been born in 1867 or 68. Who were his parents? Emma had three children from her first marriage to John Casbon (~1818­–1848): Lester (1841­–1921), Sarah Ann (1844­–?), and John (1846­–1931).[3]  I could not find a record of Harry (or Henry) born to any of them in the 1860s.

Harry’s birthplace only added to the mystery. York (in North Yorkshire) is some 113 miles away from Chatteris. None of my records placed any of Emma’s children in Yorkshire. On the other hand, my records are incomplete. Any of the three could have been in York in about 1867.

I needed to find some kind of records of Harry’s birth. An initial search told me that a birth was registered for Harry Casboine in York, 1867.[4] This was a promising lead. Then I was able to find Harry’s baptismal record.[5]

Detail from baptismal records, 1867, parish of Holy Trinity Micklegate, York, Yorkshire (Click on image to enlarge)

We can see that Harry Casbon was baptized on July 20, 1867. His mother’s name was Kate Casbon, single woman. No father’s name is given. Who was Kate Casbon? If Emma Allpress was Harry’s grandmother, then Kate must have been Emma’s daughter. But, there is no record of a daughter named Kate being born to John and Emma Casbon. The only daughter on record is Sarah Ann, who disappears from census records after 1861.

A search for Kate in census records turned up a startling discovery. I found this entry in the 1871 census of Bradford, Yorkshire.[6]

Detail from 1871 census, Bradford, Yorkshire (Click on image to enlarge)

We see Kate Casborne, living in the home of Clara Brandon on Wharf Street in Bradford, Yorkshire. Kate is 25 years old and unmarried. Her birthplace is recorded as Chatteris, Cambridgeshire. Clara Brandon’s occupation is “Gay Girl,” and Kate’s is written as “do,” meaning ditto. You’ll also notice that two men, “NK” – names not known – were present in the house. If you haven’t already guessed, Gay Girl was a euphemism for prostitute.[7]

Is she Harry’s mother and Emma’s daughter? This record would explain why Harry was born in York. In the 4 years between Harry’s birth and the 1871 census, his mother could have easily moved from York to Bradford, a distance of about 30 miles. Kate’s birthplace of Chatteris doesn’t quite make sense, because Emma’s children were born in Colne, and she didn’t move to Chatteris until sometime between 1851 and 1861. But Colne is quite close to Chatteris (about 6 miles), and Kate could have easily listed her “home town” instead of her birth town on the census. Kate’s age of 25 in the census would give her a birth year of 1845 or 1846. Why can’t I find birth records for her, in Colne, Chatteris, or anywhere else in England? Is Kate her real name?

My questions were answered a few days ago, when I received an email containing additional information about Harry. I had been unable to trace Harry in any census records beyond the 1881 census, so I looked for death records instead. An online search told me that the death of Henry Casburn, age 14, had been recorded in the North Witchford registration district in 1881.[8] The North Witchford district includes Chatteris, along with other nearby parishes. Was this our Harry? I ordered a copy of the actual death registration, and this is what arrived in my email.[9]

Death registration for Henry Casburn, 18 Jun 1881, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire (Click on image to enlarge)

This shows that Henry Casburn, 14 years old, died at Slade End, Chatteris, on June 18, 1881. Henry was the “son of Sarah Ann Casburn, domestic servant.” Cause of death was “Tabes Mesenterica.” The informant was “Emma Allpress Grandmother.” Although not shown, he died on his birthday.[10]

It all came together. Harry was Sarah Ann’s son, and Sarah Ann was Kate. Emma raised Harry because Sarah Ann/”Kate,” an unwed mother, was working the streets as a prostitute.

As satisfying as it is to solve the puzzle of Harry’s birth, the underlying story is a very sad reflection of the times. Why did this happen? Although we can’t know the exact reasons, we can make some reasonable guesses.

The Casbon/Allpress household must have been under constant financial strain. 23-year old Emma (Taylor) Casbon became a widow, with 3 small children, ages 2, 4, and 6, in 1848.[11] She married John Allpress, an agricultural labourer, in 1850.[12] By 1861, she had four new daughters, the oldest being 10 years old and already working as an agricultural labourer herself.[13] Emma’s husband ,John, was not in the house in 1861; he was working on a farm in Somersham, about 5 miles from Chatteris.[14] The household could probably not support the three older children from Emma’s first marriage. They were not in the home in 1861, and were presumably working elsewhere.

What happened to Sarah Ann? Her 1861 census entry only lists her as a “spinster” (an unmarried woman), and a visitor in another household.[15] She might have become a domestic servant – that was very common for lower class girls. But if she was working as a servant and became pregnant, she almost certainly would have been sacked, and left with few options. Like the servant Ethel Parks in Downton Abbey, her dire situation could have driven her to work as a prostitute.[16]

On the other hand, the scenario above might reflect a stereotypical view of Victorian life and morals, and may not be the only possibility. It’s also possible that Sarah Ann chose this life as a better alternative compared to the harsh working conditions of the time. One author writes, “In actuality, the seldom-voiced truth was that in comparison to other occupations, prostitution was a leisured and profitable trade, by which women improved their circumstances.”[17] There is simply not enough information to know what led to Sarah Ann’s situation.

I don’t know what ultimately happened to Sarah Ann. After the 1871 “Gay Girl” census, I have lost track of her. I haven’t been able to find definitive census, marriage, or death records. We can only hope that things went well for her.

But we already know that things didn’t go well for Harry. He died from tabes mesenterica,  or “tuberculosis of the mesenteric and retroperitoneal lymph nodes” (from Latin tabes, a wasting away).[18] “Until the latter part of the 19th century it was a diagnosis frequently employed to cover a group of cases in children characterized by malnutrition, swelling of the abdomen, and frequent copious stools.”[19] Tuberculosis was common and generally incurable in the 19th century. Whether Harry’s condition was tied to his living situation, or just bad luck, is impossible to say.

I don’t have a good way to wrap up this story, other than to say that life wasn’t easy for many in Our Casbon Journey. I hope by telling the story we can have a better understanding of our heritage and of the struggles endured by our ancestors.

[1] “1881 Census of England,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7572/CAMRG11_1686_1691-0638 : accessed 25 January 2018), Harry Casbon in household of Emma Allpress, Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, Bridge St. schedule 35; citing The National Archives RG 11/1689/35/7.
[2] “1871 Census of England,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7619/CAMRG10_1608_1610-0230 : accessed 25 January 2018), Emma Trep (age 48), Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, Slade End, schedule 52; citing The National Archives, RG 10/1609/34/8.
[3] Jon Casbon, “Chatteris,” 31 Jan 2018, Our Casbon Journey (https://casbonjourney.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/chatteris/ : accessed 4 February 2018).
[4] “England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2X3J-DZS : accessed 20 January 2018), Harry Casboine, 1867; from “England & Wales Births, 1837-2006,” database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing Birth Registration, York, Yorkshire, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.
[5] “Yorkshire Baptisms,” database with images, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fyorkshire%2f007569090%2f00240 : accessed 20 January 2018), image 109 of 117, Harry Casbon, 20 Jul 1867, Yorkshire, York, Holy Trinity Micklegate, p. 189, no. 1506; citing parish records; citing Borthwick Institute for Archives, University of York.
[6] “1871 England Census,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7619/WRYRG10_4460_4463-0520?pid=25975371 : accessed 20 January 2018), entry for Kate Casborne in household of Clara Brandon, Yorkshire, Bradford, Wharf St, schedule 133; citing The National Archives, RG 10/4462/83/23.
[7] “Ex-French Emperor in 1871 Census,” 21 Mar 2005, para. 10; online archive, BBC News (http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/4367997.stm : accessed 31 January 2018).
[8] “England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007”, database, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fd%2f1881%2f2%2faz%2f000054%2f281 : accessed 25 January 2018), Henry Casburn, 2d qtr, 1881, North Witchford, vol. 3B/840.
[9] England, death registration (photocopy) for Henry Casburn, died 18 Jun 1881; registered 18 Jun 1881, North Witchford district 9D/15/59, Chatteris sub-district, Cambridgeshire; General Registry Office, Southport.
[10] England, birth registration (photocopy) for Harry Casboine, born 18 Jun 1867; registered 20 Jul 1867, York registration district 9D/15/332, Micklegate sub-district, Yorkshire; General Register Office, Southport.
[11] “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007,” database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2NTN-CPR : accessed 4 January 2018), John Casborn, 1848, 1st quarter, St Ives, Huntingdonshire, vol. 14:178, line 148.
[12] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2CHM-XGY : 13 December 2014), Emma Caseby, 1850; from “England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005,” database, findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com : 2012); citing 1850, 2d qtr, vol. 14/ 303, St. Ives, Huntingdonshire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
[13] “1861 Census of England,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8767/camrg9_1038_1044-0896 : accessed 25 January 2018), Emma Allpress, Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, Slade End, schedule 51; citing The National Archives, RG 9/1043/34/8.
[14] “1861 Census of England,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8767/HUNRG9_974_977-0728 : accessed 20 January 2017), John Allpress in the household of Frederick Watson, Huntingdonshire, Somersham, Margett’s Farm, line 5, schedule 193; citing The National Archives, RG 9/ 977/40/35.
[15] “1861 Census of Engand, Wales & Scotland,” database with images, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1861%2f0012553059 : accessed 11 November 2016), entry for Sarah Ann Casborn in household of Martha Ann Moor, Cambridgeshire, Grantham, Spittlegate, Back Street, schedule no. 90; citing [The National Archives], RG 09/2351/90/17.
[16] Dr Brooke Magnanti, “Downton Abbey’s treatment of sex workers rings true today,” 5 Nov 2012, The Telegraph, html edition (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/9652123/Downton-Abbeys-treatment-of-sex-workers-rings-true-today.html : accessed 8 February 2018).
[17] Jan Marsh, “Sex & Sexuality in the 19th Century,” n.d., para. 6, The Victoria and Albert Museum (http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/s/sex-and-sexuality-19th-century/ : accessed 9 February 2018).
[18] Stedman’s Medical Dictionary Illustrated, 23d edition (Baltimore: William & Wilkins, 1976), 1399, “t. mesenter’ica.”
[19] Jerome R. Head, M.D., “Tuberculosis of the Mesenteric Lymph-Glands,” Annals of Surgery 83 (May 1926), 622-33; image copy, U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, PubMed Central (PMC) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1399041/ : accessed 9 February 2018).

Chatteris

CHATTERIS, a parish and market town in the hundred of North Witchford, in the county of Cambridge, 26 miles N.W. of Cambridge, and 7 S. of March. It is a station on the Ely and Peterborough railway, and is situated on the river Ouse. Alwina, wife of Athelstan, and niece of King Edgar, founded a convent of Benedictines about a.D. 980, which was in Henry VIII’s. reign wholly suppressed. The place is mentioned in Domesday Survey under the name of Cateriz, or Cetriz. Tho living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely, val. £1,500, in the patron. of W. Hawkins, Esq. The church, dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul, is a handsome edifice. … The town was made a market town in 1834; and a court-leet and petty sessions are held here. The Bishop of Ely is lord of the manor. A large number of Roman coins and curious relics have been found at various times, and not many years since part of the skeleton of an elephant.[1]
OS map 16 1903 Detail from Ordnance Survey of England and Wales, Sheet 16, 1:253,440, 1903. Chatteris is near the top of the map. This work incorporates historical material provided by the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth through their web site A Vision of Britain through Time (http://www.VisionofBritain.org.uk). (Click on image to enlarge)

Partial map of England showing approximate area encompassed by detail map, above; adapted from Google Maps™ (https://maps.google.com)

In my wanderings through various online archives, I discovered a number of Casbon entries from the parish of Chatteris. The name first appears in the 1851 census with an entry for Sarah Casbon, age 30, and her four children.[2] It turns out that this is a misspelling of their correct surname, Casburn, which appears in almost every other available record. The Casburn spelling is strongly associated with the parish of Burwell in Cambridgeshire. It turns out that Sarah’s husband, John Thomas Casburn, was born in Burwell.[3] He served as the butler to the principal landowner and member of Parliament for Chatteris.[4] I have not found any connection between the Casburns of Burwell and modern-day Casbons.

But then, the Casbon spelling pops up again in three separate entries in the 1881 England census.[5],[6],[7]

Details from 1881 England Census, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire (Click on images to enlarge)

These 3 entries show respectively: Lester (misspelled) Casbon and his family; Harry Casbon in the home of Emma Allpress; and Harriet Casbon and her children, Rosa, Mary A, Harriet and Arthur, in the home of Ann Weaton. We can see that Lester is listed as the head of his household. Harry is Emma Allpress’ grandson, and Harriet is Ann Weaton’s daughter. It will take some backtracking to show how they are related.

It starts with a man named John Casbon, who married Emma Taylor in 1841.[8] John was a cordwainer, or shoemaker.[9] John and Emma had three children: Lester, born in 1842;[10] Sarah Ann, in 1844;[11] and John, in 1846.[12] Later census records tell us that all three children were born in Colne, Huntingdonshire (see map above). John, the father’s, death at age 30, was registered in 1848.[13] I haven’t found any record of John’s birth or birthplace, so the trail goes cold there.

After John’s death, Emma married a man named John Allpress.[14] The expanded family appears in the 1851 census, living in Somersham, Huntingdonshire (see map above).[15]

Detail from 1851 census, Somersham, Huntingdonshire (Click on image to enlarge)

Lester, Sarah Ann, and John are all shown with their surname spelled Casbey.

Sometime before 1861, John and Emma Allpress moved from Somersham to Chatteris.[16] Emma’s sons, Lester and John, raised their families and remained in Chatteris the rest of their lives. Daughter Sarah Ann is lost to follow up after 1861, although I have an intriguing theory about her fate (teaser for a future post!).

Lester married Julia Ann Mould, a Chatteris native, in 1871.[17] Lester and Julia had the following children:

Elizabeth Ann, born 29 Jan 1872[18]
Charles William, born 1 Sep 1873[19]
Emma, born 14 August 1873[20]
Alfred Lester, born 1880, died 1880[21],[22]

Lester and his entire family are seen in the 1881 census entry, above. Lester died in the Chatteris area in 1925; his wife Julia had died one year earlier.[23]

John married Harriet Davis, also a Chatteris native, in 1868.[24] They had the following children:

Rose Ann, born 1868[25]
Mary, born 1871[26]
Harriet, born 1874[26]
Arthur, born 1878[27]
Harry, born 1882[28]
William, born 1887[29]

John’s wife, Harriet, is seen in the 1881 census, above. John’s whereabouts in the 1881 census are unknown, but he is present with the rest of the family in subsequent censuses. John and his wife Harriet both died (probably) in 1931.[30],[31]

To the best of my knowledge, none of the male descendants had children of their own, so there are no living Casbon-surname descendants of this branch of the family. However, there are likely many descendants from Lester and John’s married daughters. My father corresponded with a descendant of Rose Ann (Casbon) Foster, 20+ years ago. If any descendants are reading this post, I hope they will contact me.

Since I haven’t been able to trace the origins of Lester and John’s father, I don’t know whether or how this branch of the Casbon-surname family is connected to other branches of the family. Burwell is a potential point of origin, considering that many records use the Casburn spelling. There is also a strong geographic connection to the Peterborough Casbons. Thomas Casbon (~1776–1855), was living about 5 miles from Chatteris in 1812, and was living in Colne, Huntingdonshire (where Lester, John, and Sarah Ann were born in the 1840s) in 1851.[32],[33] His son, Thomas (1807–1863), lived in Warboys, about 5 miles from Colne, in 1841, before moving to Peterborough.[34] His wife, Jane, was born in Chatteris.[35] DNA testing would be necessary to determine whether the Chatteris and Peterborough branches are related.

The observant reader will note that I have not discussed Harry Casbon, shown in the 1881 census, above, with his grandmother Emma (Casbon) Allpress. He is not the son of either Lester or John. Who does that leave? I will save his story for a future post.

[1] Adapted from: N.E.S.A. Hamilton, ed., The National Gazeteer of Great Britain and Ireland; or, Topographical Dictionary of the British Isles (London: James S. Virtue, 1868), vol. 3: 541; online image, Hathi Trust Digital Library (https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112053400526;view=1up;seq=91 : accessed 28 January 2018).
[2] “1851 Census of England,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8860/CAMHO107_1765_1765-0640 : accessed 25 January 2018), Sarah Casbon (age 30), Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, Wenney(?) End, schedule 65; citing The National Archives, HO 107, HO 107, piece 1765/337, p. 17.
[3] “1861 Census of England,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8767/MDXRG9_44_46-0162?pid=231640 : accessed 26 January 2018), John Casburn in household of John Dunn Gardner, Middlesex, St George Hanover Square, schedule 152, 122 Park St; citing The National Archives, RG 9/45/76/30.
[4] “1861 Census of England,” Ancestry, John Casburn in household of John Dunn Gardner.
[5] 1881 Census of England, population schedule, database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7572/CAMRG11_1686_1691-0636 : accessed 25 January 2018), Lecester Casbon, Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, Bridge St, schedule 23; citing The National Archives, RG 11/1689/34/5.
[6] “1881 Census of England,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7572/CAMRG11_1686_1691-0638?pid=941225 : accessed 27 January 2018), Harriet Casbon in household of Ann Weaton, Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, Bridge St., schedule 36; citing The National Archives, RG 11/1689/35/7.
[7] 1881 Census of England, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7572/CAMRG11_1686_1691-0638 : accessed 25 January 2018), Harry Casbon in household of Emma Allpress, Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, Bridge St. schedule 35; citing The National Archives RG 11/1689/35/7.
[8] “England & Wales Marriages 1837-2008,” database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=bmd%2fm%2f1841%2f3%2faz%2f000083%2f018 : accessed 13 Feb 2017), John Casbon & Emma Taylor, 3d quarter, 1841, St. Ives, Huntingdonshire, vol. 14/263.
[9] “Cambridgeshire Marriages,”database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fm%2f324090846%2f1 : accessed 13 February 2017), John Casburn, father, in marriage of John Casburn & Harriet Davis, 19 Jul 1868, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire; citing transcription by Cambridge Family History Society.
[10] “Search the GRO [General Register Office] Online Index,” database, HM Passport Office (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp : accessed 3 January 2018), birth, search terms: “Casbon” (or similar) “1842 +/- 2 years,” Lester Carbon, S[ep] qtr, 1841, mother’s maiden name Taylor, St Ives Union, vol. 14/197.
[11] “Search the GRO Online Index,” HM Passport Office (accessed 24 Jan 2018),birth, search terms: “Casbon” (or similar) “1844 +/- 2 yrs,” Sarah Ann Caston, S qtr, 1844, mother’s maiden name Taylor, St Ives Union, vol. 14/8.
[12] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 24 January 2018),birth, search terms: “Casbon” “1846 +/- 2 yrs,” Casbon John, J[un] qtr, 1846, mother’s maiden name Taylor, St Ives Union, vol. 14/239.
[13] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 4 January 2018), death, search terms: “Casborn” “John” “1848,” Casborn, John (age 30), M[arch] quarter, 1848, St Ives, vol. 14:178.
[14] “England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915,” database, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/ : accessed 29 January 2018), search terms: “Emma” “Cas*” “1850,” Emma Caseby, 2nd qtr, 1850, St. Ives, Huntingdonshire; citing General Register Office, London.
[15] “1851 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” database with images, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1851%2f0007382478 : accessed 11 November 2016).
[16] 1861 Census of England, population schedule, database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8767/camrg9_1038_1044-0896 : accessed 25 January 2018), Emma Allpress, Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, Slade End, schedule 51; citing The National Archives, RG 9/1043/34/8.
[17] “Cambridgeshire Marriages,” database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fm%2f324090915%2f1 : accessed 13 February 2017), Lester Casburn (signs Casban) & Julia Ann Mould, 5 Jul 1871, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire.
[18] “Cambridgeshire Baptisms,” database/transcriptions, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fb%2f323316744%2f1 : accessed 30 January 2018), Elizabeth Ann Casburn, born 29 Jan 1872, baptized 25 Feb 1872, Chatteris, Cambridgeshire; citing transcriptions of parish records by Cambridge Family History Society.
[19] “Chatteris Baptisms 1600-1955,” database with transcriptions, accessed via “Ancestry Finder,” on Cambridgshire Family History Society (https://www.cfhs.org.uk/tokens/tokpub.cfm : accessed 30 January 2018), search terms: “Casburn” “Chatteris” “Chatteris Baptisms 1600-1955, additional search terms: “Charles” “1873,” Casburn, Charles William, b. 1 Sep 1873, baptized 17 Apr 1878; citing parish records. This is a subscription web site that provides transcriptions of parish records in exchange for tokens which can be purchased.
[20] “Chatteris Baptisms 1600-1955,” accessed via “Ancestry Finder,” on Cambridgshire Family History Society (https://www.cfhs.org.uk/tokens/tokpub.cfm : accessed 30 January 2018), search terms: “Casburn” “Chatteris” “Chatteris Baptisms 1600-1955, additional search terms: “Emma” “1878,” Casburn, Emma, b. 14 Aug 1877, baptized 17 Apr 1878.
[21] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 20 January 2018), birth, search terms: “Casburn” “male” “1880,” Casburn, Alfred Lester, D[ec] qtr, 1880, N. Witchford, vol. 3B/544.
[22] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 20 January 2018), death, search terms: “Casburn” “1880,” Casburn Alfred Lester D[ec] qtr, 1880, North Witchford, vol 3B/374.
[23] “Chatteris Burials 1600-1946,” accessed via “Ancestry Finder,” on Cambridgshire Family History Society (https://www.cfhs.org.uk/tokens/tokpub.cfm : accessed 31 January 2018), search terms: “Casbon” “Chatteris” “Chatteris Burials 1600-1946,” Casbon Julia Ann (age 74), 12 Feb 1924, and Casbon, Lester (age 84), 13 Aug 1925; citing transcriptions of parish records by Cambridge Family History Society.
[24] “Cambridgeshire Marriages,”database, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbprs%2fm%2f324090846%2f1 : accessed 13 February 2017), John Casburn & Harriet Davis, 19 Jul 1868, Chatteris.
[25] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 25 January 2018), birth, search terms: “Davis” “Rose” “female” “1868,” Davis, Rose Ann, M[ar] qtr, 1868, North Witchford, mother’s maiden name (blank).
[26] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 25 January 2018), birth, search terms: “Casbon” “female” “1872 +/- 2 yrs,” Casbon, Mary Ann, S[ep] qtr 1871 and Casbon, Harriet, M[ar] qtr 1874, North Witchford, mother’s maiden name Davis.
[27] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 25 January 2018), birth, search terms: “Casbon” “male” (mother’s maiden name)“Davis” “1876 +/- 2 yrs,” Casbon, Arthur, S[ep] qtr, 1878, North Witchford.
[28] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 25 January 2018), birth, search terms: “Casburn” “male” “1882 +/- 2 yrs,” Casburn, Harry, J[un] qtr, 1882, North Witchford, mother’s maiden name Davis.
[29] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 25 January 2018), birth, search terms: “Casburn” “male” “1886 +/- 2 yrs,” Casburn, William, M[ar] qtr, 1887, North Witchford, mother’s maiden name Davis.
[30] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 27 January 2018), death, search terms: “Casbon” “male” “1931,” John Casbon (age 88), M[ar] qtr, 1931, Peterborough, vol. 3B/286.
[31] “Search the GRO Online Index” (accessed 27 January 2018), death, search terms: “Casbon” “female” “1931,” Harriet Casbon (age 87), M[ar] qtr, 1931, Peterborough, vol. 3B/286.
[32] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JWMM-C8X : accessed 15 Dec 2016), Sarah Caseben, 1812, Bluntisham cum Earith, Huntingdonshire; citing , index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, FHL microfilm 1,040,598.
[33] “1851 Census of England,” population schedule, database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8860/HUNHO107_1749_1749-0468?pid=6187710 : accessed 31 January 2018), Thomas Casbon in household of William Harrop, Huntingdonshire, Colne, Church Lane, schedule 85; citing The National Archives, HO 107, piece 1749, folio 233, p. 20.
[34] “1841 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” database with images, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1841%2f0005809053 : accessed 31 March 2017), entry for Thomas Casbourn, Huntingdonshire, Warboys, Mill Green, line 1; citing [The National Archives], HO 107, piece 449, book 5, folio 25, p. 6.
[35] “1861 Census of Engand, Wales & Scotland,” database with images, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1861%2f0966%2f00574a&parentid=gbc%2f1861%2f0005725932&highlights=%22%22 : accessed 5 August 2016), entry for Jane Casbon in household of Thomas Casbon, Northamptonshire, Peterborough, Marquis Grandby, schedule 187; citing [The National Archives], enumeration district 12, RG 09, piece 966, folio 21, p. 35.

How doth your garden grow? Part 1

In the course of my web ‘wanderings’ I came across these two items.

Charley Casbon flower description 1871
Casbon florist ads Gardening Illustrated Vol X 1888

The first item is from a Washington, D.C. “Descriptive catalogue of new, rare and beautiful plants, dahlias, chrysanthemums, geraniums, fuchsias, carnations, verbenas, phloxes, &c. for spring, 1871.”[1] The Charley Casbon flower described is listed under “New Zonale and Nosegay Geraniums” that “comprise the very finest of their classes, sent out by the best growers in England and the Continent.”[2] Charley (or Charlie) Casbon is mentioned in a variety of English gardening journals published between 1870 and 1876.

The second item is a series of advertisements from “CASBON Florist” and “T. CASBON” from an 1888 gardening magazine.[3] Such ads are common, mainly in the 1880s, although references to “Messrs. Casbon & Son, Peterborough,” Nurserymen, can be found as early as 1866.[4] Clearly there was a well-established family business in Peterborough, an important city in Northamptonshire (since then it has become part of Cambridgeshire).

These two items will serve to introduce another family with the Casbon surname. I’ll call them the ‘Peterborough Casbons.’ As far as I can tell, there is no relation to my own family (the ‘Meldreth Casbons’). As can be seen, the Peterborough Casbons were a family of gardeners and florists. It’s tempting to believe that they were responsible for developing the Charley Casbon flower. I’m afraid I can’t say for sure, but later I’ll provide some evidence that supports the theory.

The Casbon name doesn’t appear in Peterborough until the 1850s. The family originated in Littleport, a large village near the cathedral city of Ely in Cambridgeshire. In Littleport, the surname is almost always spelled with an “r” before the “n” – Casborn, Casbourn, Caseborn, Casebourne, etc. Records of the family in Littleport go back to the early 1600s.


Use this interactive map to visit locations mentioned in this post

Generation 1. Thomas Casborn (1776-1855)

I’m numbering each generation, to make things simpler to follow. As you’ll see, each generation has a Thomas, and it’s easy to get them confused. I’ll start with this Thomas, because he was: 1) the one who left Littleport and started the journey that eventually led to Peterborough; and 2) the first member of the family known to be a professional gardener.

Thomas Casborn was born about 1776 in Littleport, and baptized in 1778, the son of Thomas (yes, another one!) and Mary (nee Diamond).[5] He married Ann Dolby in 1800[6] and had five children between the years 1800 and 1808. Two of the children, Mary and Thomas, died in early childhood, and as was the custom, the next girl and boy born after their deaths were given their names. The three surviving children were Mary (b. abt. 1802)[7], Thomas (b. abt. 1807),[8] and Elizabeth (b. abt. 1808)[9]

Sometime after 1808, Thomas left Littleport. The next record I have is the 1841 England and Wales Census. At that time, Thomas, his wife Ann, and daughter Elizabeth were all living in Needingworth, a small village in Huntingdonshire, about 20 miles southwest of Littleport.[10]

Thomas C b1776 1841 census Needingworth
1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census, Needingworth, Huntingdonshire (Click on image to enlarge)

This census is also noteworthy because it lists Thomas’ occupation as Gardener.

Ann died in 1843.[11] In 1851, Thomas is listed as “retired Gardener,” residing in Colne, about 3 miles from Needingworth.[12]

Thomas C b abt 1876 LIttleport 1851 census Colne
1851 England, Wales & Scotland Census, Colne, Huntingtonshire (Click on image to enlarge)

Thomas died in 1855.[13] I have no further confirmed records of daughters Mary or Elizabeth.

Generation 2. Thomas Casbourn (about 1807-1863)

Thomas, the son born in Littleport about 1807, also became a gardener. By 1841, he was married to Jane (surname unknown) and had three children: John (b. abt 1832), Sarah (b. abt. 1834), and Thomas (b. abt. 1840).[14] At that time Thomas and his family were living in Warboys, about 6 miles from his parents in Needingworth.

Thomas Casbourn b1806 1841 census Warboys
1841 England, Wales & Scotland Census, Warboys, Huntingtonshire (Click on image to enlarge)

By 1851, Thomas and his family had moved to Peterborough. His name is misspelled as Gasborn in the 1851 census.[15]

Thomas C b 1806 LIttleport 1851 census Peterborough
1851 England, Wales & Scotland Census, Peterborough, Northamptonshire (now Cambridgeshire)
(Click on image to enlarge)

This is the earliest record of the Casbon family in Peterborough. Thomas, Jane, and son Thomas also appear in the 1861 census, where he is listed as a “Nurseryman.”[16] The elder Thomas died 1863 in Peterborough.[17] Jane appears in the 1871 census, living with her daughter Sarah, now married to a man named Richard Baker.[18] Jane died in 1874.[19] Oddly, I have been unable to find any other record of Thomas the son, after the 1861 census.

With the move to Peterborough, the Casbon gardening business finally had a home. I leave you with this entry from this 1854 post office directory.[20]

Thomas C b1806 Littleport 1854 directory Peterborough
(Click on image to enlarge)

The next post will pick up where we left off, beginning with Generation 3.

[1] Saul, J. “Descriptive catalogue of new, rare and beautiful plants, dahlias, chrysanthemums, geraniums, fuchsias, carnations, verbenas, phloxes, &c. for spring, 1871.”Page 30.  Washington, D.C. Internet Archive https://archive.org/details/descriptivecatal18john [accessed 13 September 2016]
[2] Saul, J. “Descriptive catalogue…” Page 29. [accessed 13 September 2016]
[3] Gardening Illustrated, Vol. X No. 470, page 22. 10 March 1888. London. Google Books https://books.google.com/books?id=oilIAAAAYAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s [accessed 20 September 2016]
[4] “The Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette,” No.14, page 311, 7 April 1866. Google Books https://books.google.com/books?id=S7szAQAAMAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s. [accessed 20 September 2016]
[5] Church of England, “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.”FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-892X-HQHY?i=387&cat=976859 [accessed 20 September 2016].
[6] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.”FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-892X-HQDS?i=467&cat=976859 [accessed 13 September 2016].
[7] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.”FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-892X-HQ44?i=480&cat=976859 [accessed 13 September 2016].
[8] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.”FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-892X-H3Y1?i=510&cat=976859 [accessed 13 September 2016].
[9] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.”FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-892X-H3Y1?i=510&cat=976859 [accessed 13 September 2016].
[10] “1841 census of England, Wales & Scotland.” Findmypast http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1841%2f0448%2f0148&parentid=gbc%2f1841%2f0005795608&highlights=%22%22 [accessed 14 September 2016]
[11] “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007.” FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2JQ4-ZRJ [accessed 13 September 2016]
[12] “1851 census of England and Wales; digital image, FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SGR7-6LS [accessed 9 August 2016]
[13] “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007.” FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2NLY-2KB [accessed 20 September 2016]
[14]  “1841 England, Scotland and Wales census.” findmypast http://www.findmypast.com [accessed 3 August 2016]
[15] “1851 census of England, Wales & Scotland.” findmypast (http://www.findmypast.com [accessed 5 August 2016]
[16] “1861 England, Scotland and Wales census,” findmypast http://www.findmypast.com [accessed 5 August 2016]
[17] “National Burial Index for England & Wales.” findmypast http://www.findmypast.com [accessed 15 September 2016]
[18] “1871 census of England and Wales.” FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VFF9-6R7 [accessed 3 August 2016]
[19] “National Burial Index for England & Wales.” findmypast http://www.findmypast.com [accessed 15 September 2016]
[20] “”Post Office Directory of Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire; with Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Huntingdonshire.” [1854], p. 478. University of Leicester Special Collections Online http://specialcollections.le.ac.uk/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16445coll4/id/167099/rec/7 [accessed 13 Sep 2016]