Forebears: Cambridgeshire

My last post began an exploration into the early English origins of Our Casbon Journey. I presented data from parish (church) records from 1560 through 1699, showing where baptisms fitting a particular spelling pattern were reported throughout England. Baptisms in Cambridgeshire were recorded earlier and far outnumbered those of any other county. This post will examine Cambridgeshire baptisms in more detail.

Let me begin by explaining a little bit about England’s counties and parishes. Counties can be defined in several ways, but for the purposes of this discussion, they are considered historic administrative and geographic divisions that date back many centuries. The word shire is an older term for county and we frequently see it used as a suffix in the formal names of many English counties. Thus, Cambridgeshire means Cambridge County.

The historic counties of England; Cambridgeshire is highlighted in yellow; this image made use of data provided by the Historic County Borders Project ( (Click on image to enlarge)

Parishes were the basic geographic and administrative unit of the Church of England (and the Roman Catholic church before that). Parishes were associated with individual towns or villages, except in cities, where there could be multiple parishes. Parishes carried out both religious and basic governmental functions within their boundaries. They were responsible for tasks such as law enforcement, maintenance of roads and highways, and relief of the poor. In the nineteenth century, civil parishes were created to take over the secular responsibilities previously carried out by the ecclesiastical, or church-related, parishes. Both types of parish coexist today.

In 1538, during the time of Henry VIII, parishes were required for the first time to record every baptism, marriage, and burial that occurred within their boundaries. Before this, there had been no universal or systematic method for recording vital events. The earliest records were kept on paper and many of them have been lost. In 1558, Queen Elizabeth ordered that the records be written on parchment. These were more durable and more of these have survived. During the time of the English Civil War and Commonwealth, 1642–1660, many records were lost or destroyed. These gaps often make it difficult to trace family connections beyond the mid-to-late seventeenth century.

In Cambridgeshire, most parish records are available online, either as transcriptions or actual digital images (copied from microfilm). I have tried to find and save a copy of every record with the Casb___ spelling pattern that is available. As mentioned in the previous post, I found records of 255 baptisms that occurred in Cambridgeshire between 1560 and 1699. Let’s look at these in further detail.

The following map and table show the parishes where these baptisms are recorded. In addition to the name of the parish, the number of baptisms (in parentheses), earliest year of baptism, and predominant spelling(s) of the surname are provided.

Interactive Google map showing the parishes in Cambridgeshire where Casb___ baptisms are recorded. The red outline is the approximate county border during the 16th and 17th centuries. Click on a marker to see more details. See below for descriptions of color coding and different markers

Parish (# of baptisms)Earliest baptismPredominant Surname(s)
Babraham (2)1595Casbolt(e)
Balsham (1)1691Casbout
Barrington (4)1682Casbolt
Bartlow (1)1699Casebolt
Bottisham (4)1672Casbone
Burwell (52)1565Casburn, Caseb(o)urn(e), Cawsb(o)urn(e)
Cambridge (6)1613Casboll, Casbone, Casbolt
Ely (8)1622Casborn, Cas(e)bo(u)rn(e)
Fowlmere (21)1582Casbolt(e), Casbourne
Fulbourn (3)1661Casbon
Grantchester (2)1584Cas(e)bowle
Great Abington (4)1685Cas(e)bolt
Hildersham (6)1571Casbolt
Isleham (23)1567Cas(e)born(e)
Linton (57)1560Casbo(u)lt(e)
Little Wilbraham (4)1673Causbone
Littleport (3)1686Cas(e)bo(u)rne
Melbourn (34)1578Casbold(e), Cas(t)bolt, Catsbold
Orwell (1)1580Casbold
Stow cum Quy (2)1696Cazborn, Caseburn
Stuntney (1)1653Casborne
Thriplow (15)1575Cas(e)bo(u)lt
Wendy cum Shingay (1)1563Casbolde
A table showing parish (# of baptisms), year of earliest baptism, and predominant surnames

While summarizing this data, I noticed that there are regional differences in how the surname is spelled, and identified four distinct areas. The names always begin with the same Cas(e)b– pattern, but the ending is different in each area. These areas are depicted by the four marker colors on the map.

I’ve selected an “epicenter” for each area. This is the parish where the greatest number of—and usually the earliest—baptisms were recorded. The epicenters are represented on the map by the markers with stars.

Here are the four patterns and areas:

  • rn(e) ending: Casborn, Casbourn, Casborne, Casbourne, Casburn, etc. These are the predominant spellings in the parishes indicated by black markers. The parishes are: Burwell, Ely, Isleham, Littleport, Stow cum Quy, and Stuntney. All are located north of Cambridge city. Both the greatest numbers and earliest records of baptisms in this area come from Burwell, the epicenter. Burwell is unique in that Cas(e)b– is usually followed by urn or urne as opposed to orn(e) or ourn(e) in the rest of this area. The –urn spelling is still associated with Burwell today. There is even a Casburn Lane in Burwell!
Number 1, Casburn Lane, in Burwell; Google Street View image
  • lt(e) ending: Casbolt, Casboult, Casbolte, Casboulte, etc. These parishes are represented by the blue markers and are found in the southern and southeastern parts of the county. They are: Babraham, Balsham, Barrington, Bartlow, Fowlmere, Great Abington, Hildersham, Linton, and Thriplow. Linton is the epicenter, with both the most (57) and earliest (1560) baptisms. The Casbolt spelling is most often seen today.
  • ld(e) ending: Casbold(e) and Catsbold; represented by grey markers, the parishes are Melbourn, Orwell, and Wendy cum Shingay in southwestern Cambridgeshire. Although the earliest record is found in Wendy (1563), many more records (34) are found in Melbourn, so I have marked that parish as the epicenter. Surnames ending in –olt are also common in Melbourn. Melbourne is adjacent to the –olt area, so it’s not surprising that there should be overlap between the areas. Linguistically, –ld is much closer to –lt than either one is to –rn, so perhaps the surname in these two areas (-olt and –old) have a common origin.
  • on(e), –owle and –oll endings: Casbon, Casbone, Casbowle, and Casboll. These surnames, indicated by orange markers, occur in Bottisham, Cambridge, Fulbourn, Grantchester, and Little Wilbraham. The parishes are in the near vicinity or a bit east of Cambridge City, which I’ve named as the epicenter. In general the surname came to these parishes later than the other areas, so perhaps the name changed as people migrated. the –n and –l endings seem to be a mix of the northern and southern areas. This area also has the smallest number of baptisms—19 total.

What does all this mean? I can only guess. One possibility is that the surname developed independently in at least two parts of Cambridgeshire—the -rn(e) variant in the north and the -lt(e) and -ld(e) variant in the south. Or maybe there was one point of origin, long before church records came into being, and the spellings and pronunciation changed as descendants migrated to other parishes. I would dearly like to know. It would take a detailed Y-DNA study to find an answer.

Future posts will look focus on individual parishes in Cambridgeshire.

Forebears: England

fore·bear also for·bear  (fôrʹbâr′)
n. A person from whom one is descended; an ancestor.
(American Heritage Dictionary

Who were the Casbon/Casban/Casben forebears?

One thing the COVID pandemic has done is given me plenty of time for online research. I’ve been using this time lately to explore the origins of the Casbon surname in England.

I’ve traced my branch with reasonable certainty to William Casbolt, who married Martha Cauckett at Barrington, Cambridgeshire on 6 November 1692[1] and was buried there in 1714.[2] William’s son Thomas (~1693–1774) was the father of John Casborn (~1721–1796), who moved to Meldreth, Cambridgeshire as an apprentice cordwainer (shoemaker) in 1736 and established the family line there. I’ve also traced the Peterborough line to another William—William Caseborne of Littleport (d. 1699).

Although I’ve traced these two family lines into the late 1600s, the trail goes cold at that point. There are too many gaps in the available records and not enough information contained in those records to connect the families any further back in time.

Nevertheless, there is abundant evidence of families who were probably or possibly related to today’s Casbon, Casben, and Casban lines.

The modern spelling of Casbon, along with closely related surnames of Casbolt and Casburn, arose from a kind of primordial soup of names that had certain elements in common. They all started with the letters C and (almost always) a. These were followed by s and b, which were sometimes separated by an e. B was usually followed by o, ou, or u. The names ended with a limited set of letter combinations: lt, lte, ld, lde, rn, or rne or occasionally just n or ne. Thus, some of the most common variants were:

Casbolt, Casboult, Casboulte
Casebolt, Caseboult, Caseboulte
Casbold, Casbolde, Casebold
Casborn, Casbourn, Casbourne
Caseborn, Caseborne, Casebourne
Casburn, Casburne, Caseburn, Caseburne
Casbon, Casbone

Sometimes there are oddball spellings such as Casbal, Casbell or Casbelt. Many of these variants can be connected through genealogical records.

Why so many spellings? There are two main reasons. First, English spelling was not standardized at that time. Individuals spelled words whichever way seemed best to them. The second reason is that illiteracy was widespread. Most people, especially the working classes, could not write and therefore could not spell their own names. The names we see in older records were written by a select few, such as government officials, clerks, and clergy, who had some degree of literacy.

The spelling of surnames was especially variable because they weren’t common everyday words. Regional dialects might have also resulted in different pronunciations. When recording baptisms, marriages, and deaths, the clergy and church scribes had to puzzle out the best way to spell each name. In old church records, the spelling of a name often changes with changes in handwriting, indicating that a new person had started keeping the records.

Here are several examples of baptismal records showing variant spellings (and handwriting styles!)

An unusual spelling from Burwell, Cambridgeshire, 1565: 22 die July bapt Agnet Cawsbourne (FamilySearch) (Click on image to enlarge)
From Linton, Cambridgeshire, 1599: “Helen the daughter of Wm Casboult bap – 26 August” (FamilySearch) (Click on image to enlarge)
From Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, 1615: “Lott Casbone the sonne of William Casbone baptized the last December” (FamilySearch) (Click on image to enlarge)
From Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, 1631: “Mary daughter of Tho: Casbould – [baptized] 11 October” (FamilySearch) (Click on image to enlarge)
From Melbourn: “William the sonn of William & Ann Castbold, was baptized Januarie the 21th: 1669” (FamilySearch) (Click on image to enlarge)
From Littleport, Cambridgeshire, 1687: “William son of Wm & Alice Casborne bap’d Nov’r.-04” (FamilySearch) (Click on image to enlarge)
From Barrington, Cambridgeshire, 1693: “Thomas the sonn of Will Casbolt was baptized November 26th” (FamilySearch) (Click on image to enlarge)

Searching individual records for each different spelling would be a tedious task. Fortunately, most family history websites—Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast, etc.—allow searches using wildcards—special characters used to represent unknown characters or a sequence of characters in a search term. For example, a question mark “?” can be used to represent a single character and an asterisk “*” can be used to represent one or more characters. Therefore, a search for all the variant spellings above can be accomplished by using C*s?b* as the last name in a record search.

Screen shot of a search result using C*s?b* as the last name in FamilySearch (Click on image to enlarge)

Using this method, I searched online records in England for baptisms of possible Casbon ancestors between 1538 (the first year English parishes were required to keep records of baptisms, marriages, and burials) and 1699. I chose 1699 as the cutoff both to limit the number of records and because I’ve traced the modern lines back to the late 1600s.

This search yielded almost 350 individual baptisms throughout England with names that fit the general spelling patterns described above. The map and table below summarize the results, subdivided by English counties. Each shows the name of the county, the number of baptisms recorded, the predominant spelling variants, and the earliest occurrence of the surname.

Interactive Google map showing the counties (with county seat marked) where baptisms with early variants of the Casbon surname are recorded between 1560 and 1699; click on individual markers to see county name, number of baptisms (in parentheses), predominant surname variants, and earliest occurrence of the surname in that county

CountyPredominant SpellingsEarliest Occurrence
Bedfordshire (12)Ca[s/z]bolt, Cas(h)bolt1579
Bristol (3)Casborn1653
Cambridgeshire (255)Cas(e)bo(u)lt(e), Cas(e)bo(u)rn(e), Cas(e)burn(e)1560
Cheshire (1)Cusball1649
Durham (1)Caseboult1667
Essex (7)Casbo(a)te, Cas(t)bolt1569
Gloucestershire (20)Cosborn(e), Cosburn(e)1619
Hampshire (1)Cas(e)born, Causabon1639
Hertfordshire (17)Cas(e)bo(u)lt, Casebull, Caseball1670
Kent (18)Ca(u)sabon(e), Cas(e)born(e)1605
London (4)Cassabone, Causabon, Cosborne1652
Norfolk (4)Casburne, Cosbon1628
Somerset (2)Caseborn(e)1698
Suffolk (7)Casbo(u)rne1629
Sussex (1)Caseborne1667
Wiltshire (1)Cosburn1691
Yorkshire (1)Casseborne1658
A table showing the data represented in the map above: county (number of baptisms), predominant spellings, and earliest occurrence of the surname in parish records

What does this data tell me about these potential Casbon forebears? First, during this timespan, surnames with the C_s_b_, etc. spelling pattern were fairly widespread, especially in the southern and eastern counties of England. That said, Cambridgeshire accounted for far more of the baptisms—72 percent—than any other county. The percentage goes up to 85 percent if you include five counties bordering on Cambridgeshire—Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk. The earliest record (1560) also comes from Cambridgeshire. These findings suggest that the surname might have arisen in or near Cambridgeshire. The number of baptisms and geographical diversity suggest that the surname arose a long time—perhaps a few centuries—before parish records were being kept. Was there a common ancestor in the Cambridgeshire area? Or was there a common factor unique to the area that led multiple families to adopt a common surname?

It’s likely that the surname arose independently in some counties. I’m most certain of this in the county of Kent, where the name is likely of French origin, possibly brought by Huguenot refugees (more about this in a future post, perhaps). In Gloucestershire, the name is spelled with an initial o instead of a: Cosb___, with the earliest record in 1619. This variant might have arisen independently; or perhaps someone with the Casb___ spelling migrated from elsewhere, with the spelling and/or pronunciation changing in the process. Later dates of first occurrence might also indicate migration from another region.

It’s theoretically possible to test whether the families represented by these baptismal records are related using Y-DNA, which is passed through the paternal line. Doing so would require tracing the families forward and getting DNA samples from surviving male descendants. I have done partial Y-DNA testing on myself and have close matches with two individuals named Casbolt and Casebolt. This might mean that we have a common ancestor, but it would require more extensive (and expensive) testing to find out if and how closely we are related.

In future posts, I will focus on possible forebears in Cambridgeshire, first with a general overview, and then a parish-by-parish breakdown.

[1] Church of England, Barrington (Cambridgeshire), Bishop’s Transcripts, 1692; digitized as “Bishop’s transcripts for Barrington, 1599-1864,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 January 2019) >film # 007562691 >image 324 of 1174; citing FHL microfilm 1,818,360.
[2] Church of England, Barrington (Cambridgeshire), Bishop’s Transcripts, 1714; ( : accessed 29 December 2018) >film # 007562691 >image 390 of 1174.

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 ( : 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 : 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 ( : 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 ( : accessed 12 March 2017); citing The National Archives, series WO 363.

William Caseborne of Littleport and His Descendants, Part 1

Happy New Year from Our Casbon Journey!

The Casbon families living in present-day England come from two separate lineages. My line can be traced back to the vicinity of Meldreth, Cambridgeshire from the late 1600s to early 1700s. A separate line that I have labeled the “Peterborough Casbons”—because several generations settled and grew up in the vicinity of Peterborough, Northamptonshire in the mid-1800s—can be traced back to Littleport, a large village about five miles north of the cathedral city of Ely.

Interactive map showing relative locations of Littleport and Meldreth in Cambridgeshire (Google Maps)

In today’s post I will review the earliest known records of this line and trace the line forward to modern times.

The earliest records of the Casb___ surname in Littleport are of the marriage of “William Jhonson” to “Elsabeth Casburn” on 8 July 1612 and the burial of “Robert Casborne Widower” on 29 February 1620.[1] There is a 66‑year gap before another record appears, this being the baptism of “William son of Wm & Alice Casborne” on 4 November 1687.[2]

The baptismal record of “William, son of Wm & Alice Casborne” at Littleport, 4 November 1687 (FamilySearch, Littleport Bishop’s Transcripts) (Click on image to enlarge)

Because of the absence of details as well as gaps in the records, it is impossible to know whether or how William Casborne (also spelled Caseborne), the father, is related to Elsabeth or Robert from the earlier part of the century. However, a continuous line of descent can be traced from William to the present-day Peterborough Casbons.

The origins of William and Alice are not recorded. Given the timing of their son William’s birth, it is likely that they were married in 1686. However, the records for that year are missing.

The baptisms of four more children of William and Alice are recorded: Alice (1692), Thomas (1695), John and Mary (both baptized and buried in 1699).[3] William’s—the father—burial is recorded at Littleport’s St. George parish church on 5 September 1699.[4]

The first four generations of William’s known descendants are summarized in the chart below. Only the marriages of female descendants are shown, as the chart is intended to show the continuation of the family surname.

Outline descendant chart of William Caseborn of Littleport, Cambridgeshire; 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)

I can’t guarantee the accuracy of this chart. For example, Sarah Lee (line 16 of the chart) might have been married to William, baptized in 1716 (line 5) instead of William, baptized 1721 (line 15). However, no baptisms of children to William and Sarah are recorded, so a mistaken connection might be of little consequence. Researchers should review the records and draw their own conclusions.

From the chart, it appears that only Thomas, baptized 1776, and Ann, baptized 1778, had descendants beyond the fourth generation. However, it’s possible that some descendants departed from Littleport and continued their family lines elsewhere. For example, Abraham Casebourn, of Downham Market, Norfolk—only ten miles north of Littleport—had several children, born between roughly 1763 to 1775. He could well be the same Abraham who was baptized in Littleport in 1738, but there is insufficient documentation to prove a connection. It’s possible that he has living descendants today, although their surname must be something other than Casbon.

The line of descent from William to the present-day Casbons 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 (born about 1807, married Jane Cooper).

The next post will follow the line of descent from generation 5, Thomas (baptized 1807) through 9.

[1] “England Marriages, 1538–1973 “, database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021), Elisabeth Cas… in entry for Wm. Jhonson, 1612. “England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991”, database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 Jan 2021), Robert Casborne, 1620.
[2] England, Cambridgeshire, Bishop’s Transcripts for Littleport, 1599–1857 (with gaps); browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 Jan 21) >image 194 of 872; citing FHL film, item 1.
[3] England, Cambridgeshire, Bishop’s Transcripts for Littleport, 1599–1857 (with gaps); images 199, 201, and 213 of 872.
[4] England, Cambridgeshire, Bishop’s Transcripts for Littleport, 1599–1857 (with gaps); image 213 of 872.


The 19th century was a time of tremendous social and economic change in England. The industrial revolution and growth of the railroads created economic growth, new job opportunities, and shifted segments of the population from their traditional rural homelands to the cities.

How did this affect our English Casbon ancestors? We can gain some insight through the review of census data. Beginning in 1841, roughly the beginning of the Victoria era, census reports listed the place of residence and occupations of household members. When combined with genealogical data, these reports can provide insight into how the changes of the 19th century affected multiple generations of family members.   

Hence, today’s post is a bit of a “science project.” I have compiled the occupations and locations of Casbon family members from 1841 through 1891. These are separated into family groups which are further subdivided by generation.

In the early 1800s, there were two main family groups with the Casbon surname or its antecedents (such as Casbel, Casburn, etc.). One of these families arose in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, but over the course of a generation became based in Peterborough, Northamptonshire (now Cambridgeshire). I refer to these as the Peterborough Casbons. Their common ancestor was Thomas Casbon, born about 1776 in Littleport and died near St. Ives, Huntingdonshire in 1855.

The second group arose in the rural area south of Cambridge and became associated with the village of Meldreth. This family group was larger than the Peterborough Casbons and all were descended from Thomas Casbon, who was born at Meldreth in 1743 and died there in 1799. I have divided the Meldreth group into three subgroups, corresponding to the offspring of three of James’s sons. The first-generation members of each of these subgroups were first cousins to those in the other two groups.

A third family group named Casbon sprung up in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire in the mid-1800s. They were descended from John Casburn, who was born about 1818 and died in 1848 (but does not appear in the 1841 census). This family group lived predominantly in Chatteris throughout the 19th century and eventually died out in the mid 20th century due to the lack of male heirs. Because John’s children were born in the 1840s, their occupations were first listed in the 1871 census.

I have not been able to connect any of these three major family groups together through genealogy records.

For this project, I created a spreadsheet for each group or subgroup showing those family members whose occupations were recorded in the 1841–1891 censuses. The family members are separated by generation; their occupations and places of residence are listed by census year. Thus, it is possible to see how a given individual’s place of residence and occupation changed over subsequent census years. A brief analysis and commentary follow each spreadsheet.

Peterborough Group

(Click on image to enlarge) Extracted census data for four generations of Peterborough Casbons; direct descendants are listed underneath their parents in the next generation; a wife, Jane (Cooper), is listed underneath her husband; occupations are listed as found in the census; some additional information is listed to explain why census data is not given

What is most apparent in this group is the strong family tradition of gardening and related occupations across all four generations. The only exceptions to this tradition in the males are John Casbon (1863), who was listed as a grocer in 1891, and Charles Casbon (1866—see below).

The term “gardener” is a bit ambiguous in the census listings. In one sense, a gardener might be little more than a servant or labourer [British spelling intentional], employed by a landowner to tend his grounds. However, the term was also applied to self-employed men who ran commercial nurseries and sold bedding plants, trees, and shrubs to others. There is abundant evidence that Thomas (1807) and his descendants were the latter kind of gardener, but it is unknown how the term applied to Thomas (1776).

Of the women, two Sarahs (1834 and 1865), worked as domestic servants before getting married. Elizabeth (1861) worked as a dressmaker in 1881, but we know from other sources that she later served as a domestic servant.

Emily (Cantrill—1846) and her son Charles Casbon (1866) deserve special mention. Emily was either divorced or separated from her husband, Thomas, and moved to her parents’ home in London, along with their two children. I haven’t been able to find a description of her occupation, “hair draper,” but I suspect it is another term for hair stylist. Her move to London probably opened the door for her son, Charles, to have such a unique occupation—“Photographic Artist”—compared to the other men in this group.

Meldreth Group 1

(Click on image to enlarge) Extracted census data for three generations of Meldreth Group 1

Jane (1803) and William (1805) were both children of John and Martha (Wagstaff) Casbon. Jane was “crippled from birth” (1871 census) and listed as a “straw plaiter” in the 1851 census. William was an agricultural labourer for his entire life. His three sons left Meldreth, with two settling in parts of London and one settling a little further south in Croydon. John (1843) had a criminal record and worked as a labourer of one sort or another his entire life. I’m assuming that his occupation of gardener in 1881 refers to the working-class meaning of the term.

William’s sons Reuben (1847) and Samuel (1851) both spent some time working for railways. Their occupations reflect the diversity of jobs in urban locations compared what would have been available Meldreth. Although still members of the working class, Reuben and Samuel were probably able to maintain a higher standard of living than their father. Note Samuel’s first occupation as a coprolite digger. This reflects a short-term economic “boom” when coprolite was mined for fertilizer in the area surrounding Meldreth.

William’s female descendants all entered into various forms of domestic service, probably the most common employment for girls from working class families.

Meldreth Group 2

(Click on image to enlarge) Extracted census data for three generations of Meldreth Group 2

James (1806) was the son of James and Mary (Howse or Howes) Casbon. In some records he is referred to as James Howse or James Itchcock Casbon. He was born and raised in Meldreth. Unlike the other Meldreth families, he was a landowner. This put him in a higher social class than the other Meldreth Casbons and allowed him to serve on juries, and possibly to vote.

For reasons unknown to me (unless it was tied to his bankruptcy), James moved from Meldreth to Barley, Hertfordshire, a distance of about five miles, sometime between 1851 and 1854. His oldest son, Alfred Hitch (1828), became a tailor, as did Alfred’s two sons. It’s interesting that they were located in different cities for every census. James’s son John (1835) followed him in the farming and carrier tradition, while his son George (1836) became established in Barley as a wheelwright.

Two of his female descendants, Margaret (1873) and Julia (1866), became domestic servants. Two other female descendants, daughter Fanny (1846) and granddaughter Lavinia (1870) broke the domestic service tradition, with Fanny becoming the “superintendent” (perhaps housemistress) of a large apartment complex and Lavinia becoming a bookseller. Both later moved to Folkestone, where Fanny became the owner of a boarding house/vacation hotel [link]). Charlotte (Haines), the wife of Alfred H. (1828), must have supplemented the family income with her occupation as a straw bonnet cleaner.

Meldreth Group 3

(Click on image to enlarge) Extracted census data for three generations of Meldreth Group 3

This is my own ancestral group, consisting of three brothers, Thomas (1803), William (1806), and James (1813). A fourth brother, Joseph (born about 1811), died without male heirs. Thomas emigrated to the United States in 1846, so is only captured in the 1841 census as an agricultural labourer.

His brother William (1806) and William’s son William (1835) worked in Meldreth as agricultural labourers their entire lives, except that William junior seems to have “moved up” as a market gardener in 1891. William’s (1806) two grandsons left Meldreth. Walter (1856) eventually became a railway wagon examiner and William (1860) lived in various places with diverse jobs. Although listed as a baker in 1891, he later became the Superintendent of Catering for the House of Lords. William’s (1806) granddaughter, Priscilla (1862), was a domestic servant in 1881 and was living in Meldreth with no occupation listed in 1891.

James (1813) and his descendants in England were never able to rise above the class of (mostly agricultural) labourers, although George (1846), and possibly William (1836), served time as soldiers. Like his brother Thomas, James (1813) emigrated to the United States in 1870, leaving his adult children behind.

Chatteris Group

(Click on image to enlarge) Extracted census data for two generations of Chatteris Casbons

The two brothers in this group, Lester (1841) and John (1846), were agricultural labourers. Unusually, John’s daughter Rose (1868) was also listed as an agricultural labourer. The other two daughters, Lizzie (1872) and Harriet (1874) followed the traditional route for working-class women as domestic servants. Only Charles (1873) seems to have advanced a little in social standing as a saddler. The most unique occupation in this group was Sarah “Kate” (1844) who was listed as a “gay girl,” i.e., a prostitute.

General Observations

I have consolidated the occupational data for all of these family groups into a single chart.

(Click on image to enlarge) Consolidated occupational data from the 1841–1891 censuses for the Casbon family groups

During the study period four generations of the Peterborough group, three generations of the Meldreth subgroups, and two generations of the Chatteris group—a total of 55 individuals—had occupations recorded on the 1841–1891 censuses.

In general, there was very little upward social mobility. Descendants of working-class families tended to continue in working-class occupations, although in different categories (agriculture/industry/transportation for men and domestic service for women) and different locations. The Peterborough group and Meldreth Group 2 started out in a higher social class as gardeners and farmers (i.e., land owners), but their descendants tended to stay in about the same social class as tradesmen (tailor, wheelwright, grocer) of different kinds.

This lack of upward mobility is probably a reflection of the rigid class structure that persisted in England throughout the 19th and into the early 20th century. I’m a little surprised that more of the working-class descendants weren’t able to move up to what I would call lower-middle class occupations.

That said, the later generations were probably better off economically and materially than their predecessors. Overall, the economy improved throughout the century. Food was probably more plentiful, and furnishings less primitive compared to the lives of agricultural labourers in the early 19th century.

The growth of transportation and urbanization created new job opportunities and drove later generations into the cities. By 1891 there is a much greater diversity in occupations, especially for the men. This trend was most pronounced for the Meldreth group, many of whom ended up in or near London. As they migrated to the cities, their numbers dwindled in the home village. By 1891, only two households—William (1835) and John (1849)—were recorded in Meldreth or it’s sister village or Melbourn.

For working-class women, domestic service was one of the few sources of employment. Girls usually began working “in service” in their teens and continued until they were married. A few never married and continued in service their entire working lives. Even the daughters of a farmer/landowner and a tradesman, Margaret (1873) and Julia (1866), respectively, found employment in domestic service. There were three notable exceptions: Fanny (1846), Lavinia (1870), and Sarah “Kate” (1844). The first two of these became financially independent, while Kate’s fate is unknown.

It would be interesting to compare the occupations of the 19th century with those of the 20th. Many of the social barriers were greatly reduced or broken down altogether. The two world wars created tremendous social and economic disruptions. I’m certain we would see a great deal more diversity and upward mobility in occupations for men and women. Unfortunately, census data is only available for 1901 through 1921 in England, along with a census-like instrument known as the 1939 register. Such a study will have to wait, for now.

New Documents: William of Littleport (d. 1699)

Today’s post is simply an announcement that I have attached a new document showing the descendants of William Caseborne of Littleport, who died in 1699. William is the common ancestor of the family I have called the “Peterborough Casbons,” as that is where many of William’s descendants settled in the 19th century. You will find a link to this report in the Documents section of the blog.

I have written a number of posts about this branch of the family: “How doth your garden grow?,” “Pleasure Gardens and the Temperence Movement,” “Stepping Back: Thomas Casborn of Littleport (~1732-1780),” “Two Children Drowned,” “A Family Outing,” “Origins: The Earliest Ancestors from Littleport,” and “Financial Difficulties.”

The report is privatized, meaning I have attempted to block the identities and personal information of living people, who are simply listed as “Living”_[Last Name]. Family members may contact me through this blog if they would like a non-privatized version of the report.


Littleport, Cambridgeshire street scene; adapted from “Littleport Town Team,” Littleport Life

Financial Difficulties

We haven’t visited the Peterborough Casbons in a while, so let’s check in on them. For a refresher, this branch of the family arose in the area of Littleport, Cambridgeshire, and over the course of two generations, ended up in Peterborough sometime before 1851.[1] By 1870, the third generation of gardeners consisted of two brothers, John (1832–1885) and Thomas (1840–1887) Casbon.[2] Thomas was living in Peterborough, and John was in nearby Spalding.[3]

Apparently, John wasn’t doing as well as his brother, as evidenced by this article in The Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford Mercury of October 14, 1870.[4]

Newspaper image © The British Library Board; all rights reserved; with thanks to The British Newspaper Archive ( (Click on image to enlarge)

We don’t know what events preceded John’s bankruptcy. It seems from the tone of the article that the proceedings were somewhat amicable, with the creditors meeting in a hotel and agreeing to settle the affair “by arrangement” rather than through bankruptcy court. The fact that John’s brother Thomas was involved in the process also suggests to me that the creditors were willing to settle the matter in as friendly a manner as possible. Of course, being a fellow gardener, Thomas had the right expertise to assess the value of John’s business holdings and to ensure that fair prices were paid as those holdings were liquidated. John was also fortunate in that imprisonment for debt had been abolished in the United Kingdom in 1869.[5]

The bankruptcy explains why it was necessary for John’s business to be sold at auction in 1871.[6]

Newspaper image © The British Library Board; all rights reserved; with thanks to The British Newspaper Archive ( (Click on image to enlarge)

The auction would have been a pretty traumatic event for John, his wife Rebecca (Speechly) and their five children, especially as the household furnishings were sold off.

My curiosity got the best of me when I read that they were also selling one-half acre of “Mangel Wurzels.” I had to look this one up. A mangelwurzel or mangold wurzel is a large white, yellow or orange-yellow beet, used “as a fodder crop for feeding livestock.”[7]

By A. Currie & Company; Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Trade Catalog Collection [CC BY 2.0] ( or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (Click on image to enlarge)

Wikipedia also informs us that “the mangelwurzel has a history in England of being used for sport.”[8] Somehow this seems like a very British thing to do. Interested readers are highly encouraged to visit The Mangold Hurling Association webpage for further enlightenment.

Humor aside, John recovered from his financial woes. He moved back to Peterborough and established a new gardening business, as evidenced by these 1876 ads.[9],[10]

Newspaper image © The British Library Board; all rights reserved; with thanks to The British Newspaper Archive ( (Click on image to enlarge)

After John’s death on August 18, 1885, his estate was valued at £212 9s. 10d.[11] Today that would be equivalent to about £25,725.[12] He had been given a second chance, and made the best of it.

[1] Jon Casbon, “How doth your garden grow? Part 1,” Our Casbon Journey, 22 Sep 2016 ( : accessed 25 September 2017).
[2] Casbon, “How doth your garden grow? Part 2,” Our Casbon Journey, 27 Sep 2016 ( : accessed 25 September 2017).
[3] Casbon, “How doth your garden grow? Part 2,” Our Casbon Journey.
[4] “Peterborough Bankruptcy Court,” The Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford (England) Mercury, 14 Oct 1870, p. 5, col. 4; accessed through “British Newspapers,” database with images, findmypast ( : accessed 25 September 2017).
[5] “United Kingdom insolvency law,” Wikipedia ( : accessed 26 September 2017), rev. 14:27, 7 Sep 2017.
[6] “Sales by Auction,” The Lincoln, Rutland, and Stamford (England) Mercury, 8 Dec 1871, p. 1, col. 7, 4th listing; accessed through “British Newspapers,” database with images, findmypast ( : accessed 25 September 2017).
[7] “Mangelwurzel,” Wikipedia ( : accessed 25 September 2017), rev. 08:05, 9 Jul 2017.
[8] “Mangelwurzel,” Wikipedia.
[9] Advertisement, “Surplus Stock of Fruit Trees,” The Peterborough (England) Advertiser, and South Midland Times, 26 Feb 1876, p. 2, col. 3, 8th listing; accessed through “British Newspapers,” database with images, findmypast ( : accessed 25 September 2017).
[10] Advertisement, “Plants! Plants!! Novelties in Plants,” The Peterborough Advertiser, 3 Jun 1876, p. 2, col. 4, 29th listing; findmypast ( : accessed 25 September 2017).
[11] “Find a Will,” accessed as “Wills and Probate 1858-1996,” database, GOV.UK ( : accessed 26 September 2017), 2d page, John Casbon.
[12] “UK Inflation Calculator,” ( : accessed 26 September 2017).

Origins: The Earliest Ancestors from Littleport

Reader be forewarned! This is one of those strict genealogy posts – all names & dates – no interesting stories. I won’t be offended if you decide to pass on this one. With this post, I intend to summarize my research into the origins of what I have called the “Peterborough Casbons”, so named because the family eventually settled in that area, and members of the family remain there today.

In an earlier post (see “How doth your garden grow? Part 1”) I described how Thomas Casborn (~1776–1855) left Littleport, Cambridgeshire, and how his son Thomas (~1807–1863) settled in Peterborough, where he had a gardening business. Working backwards, I traced “1776 Thomas” back one generation to his father Thomas (see “Stepping Back: Thomas Casborn of Littleport (~1732-1780)”). Here is a diagram of the sequence I just described.

3 generations of descendants
3 generations of Casbons, from Littleport & Peterborough (Click on image to enlarge)

Now I’ll start with Thomas (~1732-1780)”) and work my way back. His baptismal record of October 15, 1832 shows that his parents were Thomas and Anne Caseborne.[1]

Detail from LIttleport (Cambridgeshire) parish register, Baptisms, 1732; “Thomas of Thomas & Anne Caseborne _ _ (October) 15” (Click on image to enlarge)

Who were Thomas & Anne? The Bishop’s Transcripts of 1720 show the marriage of Thomas Casebourne and Anne Kendale on October 6th.[2]

Detail from Bishop’s Transcripts, Littleport, Marriages 1820; “Thomas Casebourne & Anne Kendale October 6” (Click on image to enlarge)

Looking further back, there is a baptismal record for Thomas Casborne, son of William & Alice, May 29, 1695.[3] He is the most likely candidate for the Thomas who married Anne Kendale, and father of Thomas (b. ~1832). I have not found a baptismal record for Anne.

Besides Thomas, there are records of six other children born to Thomas and Anne: William (baptized 1721), Elizabeth (1722), Mary (1727), Abraham (1729, died 1734), another Mary (1734), and another Abraham (1739).[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] Anne’s death is recorded in 1750, and Thomas’s in 1751.[11],[12] You can also see that Thomas’s burial record gives his occupation as “Labourer”

Detail from Bishop’s Transcripts, Littleport, burials 1751; “Thomas Casborne, Labourer.—Sept:r 27” Note that his son William’s burial is the next entry, on October 13th (Click on image to enlarge)

Here is a family tree of Thomas and Anne (Kendale) Caseborne, showing their relationship to the Peterborough Casbons.

(Click on image to enlarge)

I’m able to trace this family back one more generation. As mentioned above, Thomas (baptized 1695) was the son of William and Alice. There are baptismal records for three other children born to William and Alice: William (baptized 1687), Alice (1592), and John (1699).[13],[14],[15] There may have been a fourth child, Mary, for whom there is a burial record on the same day as John in 1699, but no baptismal record.[16]

Who were William and Alice? I don’t know. I can’t find a marriage record for them, nor can I find a baptismal record for William. There are no baptisms, marriages or burials with the Casb___ surname recorded in Littleport between 1620 (burial of Robert Casborn, widower) and 1687 (baptism of William – see previous paragraph).[17]

Here is a family tree of William and Alice, the earliest generation I have been able to trace back from the Peterborough Casbons.

Wm d 1699 fam tree

Where did this family come from before William? It’s impossible for me to say. There are Casb(*) records in nearby Ely and Stuntney, but not enough information to make familial connections.

Detail of 1945 Ordnance Survey map showing Littleport and Ely (This work is based on data provided through and uses historical material which is copyright of the
Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth) (Click on image to enlarge)

I’ve said before that there is no evidence that the Peterborough Casbons, hence the Littleport Casborns, are related to my branch, the “Meldreth Casbons.” It’s still fascinating to me that the many variants of our surname are concentrated so heavily in the part of England known as East Anglia. Perhaps there was a common ancestor many generations before, or maybe there was just a common reason for so many people to have the same name (see “a term of reproach …”). Would DNA be able to help sort this out?

[1] LIttleport Parish (Cambridgeshire, England), Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 271) showing baptisms, 1732, Thomas Caseborne, 15 October; browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 September 2016); citing Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 2,206,070, (unnumbered) item 1.
[2] LIttleport Parish (Cambridgeshire), Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 253) showing marriages, 1720, Thomas Casebourne & Anne Kendale, 6 October.
[3] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 201), baptisms, 1695, Thomas Caseborn, 7 July.
[4] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 253), baptisms, 1720/21, William Casebourne, 9 March.
[5] LIttleport Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 256), baptisms, 1722, Elizabeth Casebourne, 16 December.
[6] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 263), baptisms, 1727, Mary Caseborne, 10 September.
[7] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 267), baptisms, 1729, Abraham Caseborne, 21 December.
[8] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 276), burials, 1734, Abraham Caseborne, 3 December.
[9] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 275), baptisms, 1734, Mary Caseborne, 2 August.
[10] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 281), baptisms, 1738/39, Abraham Caseborne, 14 February.
[11] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 305), burials, 1750, Ann Casborne, 20 May.
[12] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 307), burials, 1751, Thomas Casborne, 27 September.
[13] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 194), baptisms, 1687, William Casborne, 4 November.
[14] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 199), baptisms, 1692, Alice Casborne, 26 March.
[15] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 213), baptisms, 1699, John Casebourne, 14 May.
[16] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 213), burials, 1699, Mary Casebourne, 20 August.
[17] LIttleport, Bishop’s Transcripts 1599–1832, unnumbered page (image 47), burials, 1619/20, Robert Casborne, 29 February.

Stepping Back: Thomas Casborn of Littleport (~1732-1780)

In my post “Stepping back: Thomas Casbon, 1743-1799” I introduced the Genealogical Proof Standard and how it is applied when tracing one’s ancestry back in time. With this post I will step back one generation in the family I previously labeled “The Peterborough Casbons.”

This family originated in village of Littleport, about 6 miles north of Ely.

Map showing Littleport and Ely, Cambridgeshire

My series, “How doth your garden grow…” started with Thomas (1776-1855), a gardener, who left Littleport, and whose sons settled in Peterborough. I’ll use his baptismal record of 1778 to start the stepping back process. [1]

Ann Casborn daug.r of Tho.s & Mary _ _ _ _ _ _(July) 26
Tho.s Casborn son of Tho.s & Mary _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 26
Rebecca Casbonr daug.r of Tho.s & Mary _ _ _ _ _ _ 26
(Click on image to enlarge)

This record provides an unexpected bonus, since it also shows that two of Thomas’ sisters were baptized on the same day. This was a fairly common occurrence at the time. Unfortunately, it does not tell us when the children were born or in what order. My estimate that Thomas was born in 1776 is based on his reported age of 65 on the 1841 Census. [2]

This record gives us the names of Thomas’ parents as Thomas and Mary Casborn. Looking back a few years in the Bishop’s Transcripts, I found this marriage record. [3]

“Thomas Casborn of this Parish Single-man and Mary Diamond of the same Single-woman were married by Lycence June the Eleventh 1762” (Click on image to enlarge)

There is no conflicting information to resolve. This was the only Thomas living in Littleport at the time. Looking back further, I found this baptism record from 1732. [4]

“Thomas of Thomas & Anne Caseborne _ _ (October) 15” (Click on image to enlarge)

This lists Thomas’ parents as Thomas and Anne Caseborne. Again, there is no conflicting data, so this is most likely the same Thomas who married Mary Diamond in 1762.

We already know from the 1778 baptismal records that Thomas and Mary had children named Ann, Thomas, and Rebecca. A records search shows the baptisms of three other children: Thomas (baptized and buried in 1766); [5],[6] Elizabeth (baptized 1769); [7] and Sarah (baptized 1772). [8]

Based on this information, here is a simple family tree for Thomas and Mary.

Of their children, I have not been able to find any other records for the daughters Elizabeth, Sarah, or Rebecca. Ann, who was baptized in 1778, had a daughter Esther, apparently out of wedlock. Esther was baptized in 1798. [9] Ann later married a widower named Samuel Handly in 1806. [10]

I haven’t been able to find any other records for Mary Diamond. There are no baptismal records for her or any other Diamond family members in Littleport or nearby areas. Nor is there a death record for her as Mary Casborn.

Thomas, the father, was buried on December 27, 1780 in Littleport. [11] With the departure of his son Thomas, baptized in 1778, The Casbon/Casborn family name also departed from Littleport.

I will continue stepping back into the family history in Littleport with future posts.

[1] Church of England, Parish of LIttleport, “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.” FamilySearch [accessed 17 December 2016]
[2] “1841 Census of England, Wales & Scotland.” find my past [accessed 21 September 2016]
[3] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.” FamilySearch [accessed 20 September 2016]
[4] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.” FamilySearch [accessed 20 September 2016]
[5] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.” FamilySearch [accessed 20 September 2016]
[6] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.” FamilySearch [accessed 20 September 2016]
[7] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.” FamilySearch [accessed 20 September 2016]
[8] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.” FamilySearch [accessed 20 September 2016]
[9] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.” FamilySearch [accessed 20 September 2016]
[10] “Bishop’s transcripts for Littleport, 1599-1857.” FamilySearch [accessed 15 December 2016]
[11] “Cambridgeshire Burials”, findmypast [accessed 15 September 2016]

How doth your garden grow? Part 3

After a brief interlude, it’s time to resume and conclude this series on the Casbons of Peterborough.

Generation 4, Children of John Casbon (1832-1885): Thomas (1854 – 1910), Sarah (1855-1859) Mary (1860 – ?), Elizabeth (1861 – ?), John (1863 – 1925), and Sarah Jane (1865 – ?) Casbon

If you’re keeping track, Thomas, born 1854 in Peterborough, is the sixth Thomas I’ve mentioned in this series, beginning with Thomas Casborn (Generation “Zero”) of Littleport. His son Thomas (Generation 1) was the first gardener. Thomas (G1) had two sons (Generation 2) named Thomas: the first died in childhood; the second was the first to reside in Peterborough. His sons (Generation 3) were Thomas and John. The final Thomas (Generation 4) is John’s son.

5 Generations of Thomas Casbon
Diagram showing five generations of Thomas (Click on image to enlarge)

Thomas (Generation 4) was also a gardener, the final generation of gardeners in the family. He married Elizabeth Pettifor in Peterborough in 1876.[1] They probably lived briefly in Yorkshire, since their first child, Emily, was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in 1878.[2] In 1881 they were living on Green Lane in Peterborough[3] with Emily and their son Charles Arthur (also known as just “Arthur,” b. 1880 in Peterborough[4]).

Thomas and family were living in the village of Hemingfield, Yorkshire in 1891,[5] but returned to Peterborough, where they were again residing in 1901.[6] Elizabeth died there in 1906[7] and Thomas died in 1910.[8]

It seems that Thomas was an active member of the Methodist church, occasionally preaching in and around Peterborough.[9]

Stamford Mercury 7Jul1905 T Casbon Preaches Deeping St James
(Click on image to enlarge) Newspaper image © The British Library Board. All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive ( 

John (Generation 3) Casbon’s first daughter Sarah was born in Peterborough 1855.[10] She died in an accidental drowning in 1859.[11]

Mary Casbon, oldest daughter of John, was born 1860 in Peterborough. She was married to John Thomas Cornwall in 1880,[12] and had at least nine children.[13],[14] As of 1911, she and her family were still living in Peterborough. I have not located a record of her death.

Of John’s daughter Elizabeth, I have even less information. She was born 1861 in Peterborough. In the 1881 census she was either living or visiting at the household of her brother Thomas, and employed as a dressmaker.[15] She married either William Buxton or Albert Edward Swain in 1907.[16]

John’s son John, born 1863 in Peterborough, married Jane Rolfe in 1884.[17] They had three daughters: Edith, Lillian, and Nellie.[18] Edith was born in Rochdale, Lancashire,[19] so it seems likely they lived there for a time. In the 1891 census, John’s occupation was Grocer,[20] but from 1901 on he was listed as a cab proprietor.[21] John died 1925 in Peterborough,[22] and Jane died in 1947.[23]

John and Thomas C 1910 directory PeterboroughExcerpt from 1910 Peterborough city directory, showing Generation 4 brothers John and Thomas Casbon (Click on image to enlarge)

Finally, John’s daughter Sarah Jane was born 1865 in Peterborough.[24] She married Alfred Clark in Peterborough 1886.[25] They lived in Peterborough and had three children.[26]

Generation 4, Children of Thomas Casbon (1840-1887): Charles W (1866 – ?) and Edith Emily Casbon

Recall that Thomas Casbon (b.1840) married Emily Cantrill in 1865, and she filed for divorce in 1868. The children then grew up with their mother in London.

Charles W. Casbon was born in Peterborough in 1866.[27] He appears with his mother in the 1871 through 1891 censuses. In 1901 he is listed on the census as a visitor in the home of Marian Carter. His occupation is listed as Photographer’s Draughtsman. This is the last record I’ve been able to find of Charles.

Charles C b1866 Pboro 1901 census Hornsey
1901 Census for Hornsey, London, England. (Click on image to enlarge)

Edith Emily Casbon was born in Camden Town, a part of London, in 1868. Given the location, she was probably born after her mother separated from Thomas. She is recorded in the 1871 through 1891 censuses with her mother and brother. Edith married Paul Alexandre Taupenot in Tendring, Essex, 1897.[28] There is a separate marriage record for them in Paris, France, 1899.[29] Since I can find no further records of her in England, I suspect that she remained in France.

Edith Emily C b.1868 M Paul Taupenot Paris 1899 b
Marriage record of Paul Taupenot to Edith Emily Casbon
1899, Paris. (Click on image to enlarge)

This concludes the series on the Peterborough Casbons. It does not conclude their role in the Casbon Journey. They are the forebears of some of today’s Casbons. They may pop up from time to time in future posts, as may their descendants. If any of their descendants read this post, I hope they will leave a comment and hopefully fill in a few blanks.

[1] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005.” FamilySearch [accessed 28 September 2015]
[2] “England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008.” FamilySearch ( [accessed 28 September 2015]
[3] “1881 Census of England and Wales.” FamilySearch [accessed 2 August 2016]
[4] “England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008”, FamilySearch [accessed 28 September 2015]
[5] “1891 Census of England and Wales.” FamilySearch [accessed 2 August 2016]
[6] “1901 Census of England and Wales.” FamilySearch [accessed 2 August 2016]
[7] “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007.” FamilySearch [accessed 28 September 2015]
[8] “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007.” FamilySearch [accessed 2 August 2016]
[9] Stamford Mercury – Friday 07 July 1905. The British Newspaper Archive [accessed 29 September 2016]
[10] “England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008.” FamilySearch [accessed 26 September 2016]
[11] “Peterborough…Two Children Drowned.” The Cambridge Independent Press, Huntingdon, Wisbech, Ely, Bedford, Peterborough, & Lynn Gazette, 21 May 1859 The British Newspaper Archive [accessed 25 September 2016]
[12] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005.” FamilySearch [accessed 22 September 2016]
[13] “1901 Census of England and Wale.” FamilySearch [accessed 22 September 2016]
[14] “1911 England, Wales & Scotland Census.” findmypast [accessed 22 September 2016]
[15] “1881 Census of England and Wales.” FamilySearch [accessed 2 August 2016]
[16] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005.” FamilySearch [accessed 22 September 2016]
[17] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005.” FamilySearch [accessed 20 October 2015]
[18] “1901 Census of England and Wales.” FamilySearch [accessed 2 Aug 2016]
[19] “England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008.” FamilySearch [accessed 26 September 2016]
[20] “1891 Census of England and Wales.” FamilySearch [accessed 2 August 2016]
[21] “1901 Census of England and Wales.” FamilySearch [accessed 2 Aug 2016]
[22] “England & Wales, National Probate Calendar, 1858-1966”, Ancestry [accessed 10 August 2016]
[23] “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007.” FamilySearch [accessed 29 October 2015]
[24] “England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008.” FamilySearch [accessed 22 September 2016]
[25] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005.” FamilySearch [accessed 24 September 2016]
[26] “1901 Census of England and Wales.” FamilySearch [accessed 24 September 2016]
[27] “England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008.” FamilySearch [accessed 26 September 2016]
[28] “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005.” FamilySearch [accessed 27 September 2016]
[29] “Paris, France & Vicinity Marriage Banns, 1860-1902.” Ancestry [accessed 27 September 2016]