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.
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.
Thomas’s last known residence was at Colne, Huntingdonshire (1851 census). His death was registered at St. Ives (which includes Colne) in 1855.
Thomas’s only male child was also named Thomas, born about 1807 at Littleport (baptized 1808). 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).
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.
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.
 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.  “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.  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.  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.
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. 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.
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). William’s—the father—burial is recorded at Littleport’s St. George parish church on 5 September 1699.
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.
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.
 “England Marriages, 1538–1973 “, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NN1M-D9F : accessed 3 Jan 2021), Elisabeth Cas… in entry for Wm. Jhonson, 1612. “England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JZCR-8NB : accessed 3 Jan 2021), Robert Casborne, 1620.  England, Cambridgeshire, Bishop’s Transcripts for Littleport, 1599–1857 (with gaps); browsable images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/004034506?cat=976859 : accessed 4 Jan 21) >image 194 of 872; citing FHL film, item 1.  England, Cambridgeshire, Bishop’s Transcripts for Littleport, 1599–1857 (with gaps); images 199, 201, and 213 of 872.  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.
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).
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
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
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
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.
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.
I have consolidated the occupational data for all of these family groups into a single chart.
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.
This is my ninth post in the Guild of One-name Studies (GOONS) blog challenge 2020.
A post by fellow GOONS member Vivienne Dunstan was the inspiration for today’s post. She reported on a photograph she found on eBay that showed someone with her surname of interest. I was curious whether I could do the same so I logged into eBay and typed in “Casbon.” The search mainly turned up a few books (not mine!) and marketing items such as t-shirts with “Casbon” printed on them. However, one item of particular interest turned up—a photograph taken by Charles Casbon of Hornsey, London, England. The owner of the photograph was kind enough to let me use the images.
The little girls are cute, but I was interested in the photographer, not his subjects. We see that Chas. Casbon was a professional photographer with a studio located at 6 Alexandra Road, Hornsey. The picture on the back of the card depicts a camera on a stand in front of a screen. The information given about the photograph on the eBay site says that the original size is 4 by 2.5 inches.
A website dedicated to London photographers says that Charles Casbon had his studio on Alexandra Road from 1888 to 1892, while another source says he was located there until 1896. Thus we can date the photograph to this range of dates.
This kind of photograph is known as a carte de visité. They consisted of small photographs mounted on card stock measuring about 4 by 2.5 inches, and usually containing printed information about the photographers on the back. Cartes de visité were immensely popular in the late 1800s and early 20th century. People collected and kept them in albums.
Charles Wheeley Casbon received brief mention in an earlier blog post about his father, Thomas, who was suspected of jumping into the Thames in an unsuccessful suicide attempt. (See also “Lost Man, Found”) Charles was descended from the “Peterborough Casbons,” a family that settled in the vicinity of Peterborough, Northamptonshire, in the mid 1800s. I have never been able to connect this family to my own. The earlier generations, including Charles’s father, were all gardeners (see “How doth your garden grow?“). Charles was probably the namesake for the “Charley Casbon” flower I discovered in an 1871 Washington, D.C., gardening catalog a few years ago.
Charles was born in Peterborough on 18 June 1866. His given name on the Peterborough St. Mary’s parish baptismal register was Charles Thomas Casbon.
His mother, Emily (Cantrill) filed for divorce when Charles was 2 years old, and it appears that he lived with her after the divorce. Her dislike of her former husband must have been intense, because at some point Charles’s middle name was changed from Thomas to Wheeley, the middle name of Emily’s father, Samuel W. Cantrill.
Charles, his mother, and his sister were enumerated at Samuel’s residence for the 1871 and 1881 censuses. In the 1891 census, we find Charles as the head of household, residing at
6 Alexandra Rd. in Hornsey, a district in North London. This is the same address as that given for his studio. His occupation is recorded as “photographic artist.” His mother and sister are also in the household, along with a visitor, a boarder, and one servant.
In the 1901 census, he is listed as a visitor in a different Hornsey household; his occupation is given as “photographer’s draughtsman.” This seems like a step down from having his own studio.
I haven’t found Charles in the 1911 census, but he does appear in 1910 and 1912 London city directories, still living in Hornsey, but now living at Rathcoole Gardens (road). It is unknown whether he was still in the photography business at the time. The only other record I have is a copy of a French death certificate from Levallois-Perret, a suburb of Paris, showing that Charles had been residing in Paris. He died at the age of 63 on 6 August 1930. The death certificate includes the word “artiste,” so this probably explains what he was doing in France.
There is no record of a marriage or of children being fathered by Charles; therefore no descendants to preserve his memory.
PhotoLondon website (https://www.photolondon.org.uk/). Photographers of Great Britain & Ireland website (http://www.victorianphotographers.co.uk/).  Richard Davies, “The First Great Photography Craze: Cartes de Visites,” 14 Mar 2019, PetaPixel (https://petapixel.com/2019/03/14/the-first-great-photography-craze-cartes-de-visites/ : accessed 4 Feb 2020).  “Casbon vs. Casbon,” Court Minutes, Her Majesty’s Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, no. 787 JS; image copy, “England & Wales., Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1915”, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/2465/ : accessed 19 Feb 2017); citing The National Archives; Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, later Supreme Court of Judicature: Divorce and Matrimonial Causes Files; Class: J 77; Piece: 84; Item: 787.  Peterborough (Northamptonshire) parish register, baptisms 1866, no. 494; image copy, “Northamptonshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912”, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/9200/).  1891 England census, Hornsey, Edmonton, Middlesex; image copy, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/6598/); citing The National Archives, RG 12, piece 1059, folio 130, p. 51.  “UK, Foreign and Overseas Registers of British Subjects, 1628-1969,” image copy, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1993 : accessed 18 September 2018) ; citing The National Archives, RG 32/16.
My last two posts profiled two individuals who entered into domestic service as a ladies-maid and footman, respectively. Before I leave the topic altogether, I want to pay tribute to many other Casbon family members who worked as domestic servants. I’ve combed through my files to find those Casbon relatives who were listed as servants on census or other records. It turns out there were quite a few! I know precious few details about most of them, but collectively, I think their stories are worth the telling.
All of the servants featured in today’s post are women. This should come as no great surprise. Employment opportunities for women during this time frame (mid 1800s to early 1900s) were limited, and domestic service was one of the most common occupations for working-class women. In 1911, although the numbers were already declining, twenty-eight percent of working women in England were employed in domestic service.
Men constituted a much lower percentage of the domestic service workforce. Men had access to a much greater variety of trades and occupations.“Most of those employed in domestic service in Victorian times were women, outnumbering men at over 20 to one by 1880.” There was a tax on male servants, so they tended to be employed in larger, wealthier households. The majority of female servants worked in middle-class households; where having at least one servant was considered essential.
Here are the Casbon women I’ve discovered who were domestic servants at one time or another. They are presented in roughly chronological birth order and grouped by families.
Mary Ann, Edith, Jane and Martha Casbon
I’ve listed these four together because they were the daughters of William (1805–1807) and Ann (Clark, ~1812–1869) Casbon, of Meldreth, Cambridgeshire. William was an agricultural labourer with a large family.
Mary Ann was born about 1831 in Meldreth. in the 1851 census, we find her listed as the only servant in the household of John Campkin, a “Grocer & Draper” living in Melbourn. By 1861 Mary Ann was working as a cook in a London public house. I haven’t located her in the 1871 census. In 1875, at the age of forty-four, she married a widower named Joseph Sparrow. She had no children. Her date of death is unknown, but occurred after 1891.
Edith was baptized at Meldreth in 1835. In 1851, sixteen-year-old Edith was working as a “house servant” in the home of Elizabeth Bell, a widow in Whaddon, Cambridgeshire, with a farm of 166 acres (quite large for that time). There were also two male servants in the household, a horse keeper and a shepherd. She married William Catley in 1860, and together they had seven children. She died in 1916 and was buried in Melbourn.
Jane was baptized in 1840 at Meldreth. In 1861 she was living at home but listed as “Servant,” so she was presumably working elsewhere. In 1871, she was listed as “House Keeper,” again in her father’s household, so it is unclear whether she was keeping his or someone else’s house. She married John Camp in 1881 and had two children. She died in 1904, age sixty-four.
Martha, who was twenty-four years younger than her sister Mary Ann, spent most of her life as a domestic servant in London. In 1871, Martha was listed as “Housemaid” along with one other female servant (the cook) in the household of a civil engineer. In 1881 she was the sole servant in a small household consisting of a Scottish woolen merchant and his sister. She was again the sole servant in 1891, this time to a chemist and his wife. In 1901 she was the lone servant for a Presbyterian minister and his wife. The last record we have of Martha as a servant is in 1911 (the last year census records are available). At that time fifty-six-year-old Martha was serving as the cook in a household with three other servants. Their master and mistress were a retired draper and his wife. Quite a few servants for two people! Martha never married. Sometime before 1839, she retired to Melbourn, Cambridgeshire (the sister village to Meldreth). She died in Cambridge in 1947 and was buried in Melbourn.
Sarah was the daughter of Thomas (~1807–1863) and Jane (Cooper, ~1803–1874) Casbon. Thomas was the patriarch of the “Peterborough Casbons.” Sarah was born about 1834 in Somersham, Huntingdonshire. In 1851, she was the only servant for a widow and her daughter in Chatteris. She married Richard Baker in 1857 and had at least eight children. She died in 1904, age sixty-nine.
Priscilla was the daughter of William (~1835–1896) and Sarah (West, ~1823–1905) Casbon of Meldreth. William was an agricultural labourer and Priscilla his only daughter. She was born in 1862. In the 1881 census, she was employed as the only servant for a banker’s clerk and his wife in Cambridge. In 1891 she was living with her parents at home, with no occupation listed.
Priscilla’s story has an interesting twist. When she was thirty-four, in 1896, she married a seventy-seven-year-old widowed gentleman named Charles Banks. He was definitely a “sugar daddy.” He never had children. When he died in 1904, his estate was valued at
£12, 232, divided between Priscilla and two other beneficiaries. There is evidence that she remarried a man named John Wilson in 1908 and was still alive in 1939, but I’m not certain this is her. I would love to know more about her story!
Julia Frances Casbon
Julia was born in 1866, the daughter of George S (~1836–1914) and Sarah (Pryor, ~1831–1903) Casbon. George was a wheelwright in Barley, Hertfordshire, and originally from Meldreth. In the 1891 census, we find Julia working as one of three female servants in the household of a retired Army officer in Kensington, London. She married Henry Brassington, a bootmaker, in 1899. They had two sons. Julia was ninety-nine years old when she died in 1965.
Kate was the daughter of John (1843–1927) and Mary Anne (Hall, ~1840–1880) Casban. She was born in 1874. In 1891, at the age of seventeen, she was one of two female servants employed by a single unmarried woman. She married Frederick Gunn in 1898 and had two children. I haven’t been able to pin down the date of her death.
Margaret Alice Casban
Born at Melbourn in 1875, the daughter of Samuel Clark (1851–1922) and Lydia (Harrup, ~1853–1924) Casban, “Alice,” like her cousin Kate, was already working as a servant in 1891. She was one of two servants, the other a footman, working for the proprietor of a pub. She married Thomas William Francis in 1898 and had seven children. Date of her death is uncertain.
Olive Louise, Maud Emily, Hilda Mary, and Elsie Lydia Casbon
These four sisters were the daughters of George (1846–1897) and Sarah (Pearse, ~1847–1912) Casbon. George was originally from Meldreth but settled in nearby Fowlmere where he was a farm labourer. The family was probably quite poor. Sarah, the mother, went to work as a charwoman after George’s death. The daughters would have had few other options than going into domestic service as soon as they reached a suitable age. A striking feature of this family is that all four daughters died at an early age. I don’t know the cause of death for any of them.
Olive Louise, the oldest, was born in 1884. by 1901, she was the sole servant for a tea buyer and his family, living in Croydon. In 1911, she was one of two servants, the other the cook, for a much larger family, also in Croydon. She married Thomas De Rinzy in 1911 and bore him a son that same year.  Olive died in 1916, thirty-two years old.
Maud Emily was born in 1885. In 1901 at age fifteen, she was working as a kitchen maid in Melbourn, and in 1911 she was the cook for a London single woman. She died later that year at the age of twenty-six.
Hilda Mary was born in 1887. In 1911 she was living with her mother in Fowlmere, but occupation was listed as “General (Domestic),” which suggests that she was doing service work outside of the home. By 1914, she was working as a domestic servant in Surrey. We know this because of the fact that she gave birth to a son in June 1914. The birth certificate states that she was “a Domestic Servant of 140 Beckenham Road Penge.”
An unwanted pregnancy was possibly the worst-case scenario for an unmarried female servant. If she became pregnant, she could be “immediately turned out of the house without a character to join the ranks of the unemployed.”
I have handwritten notes from a relative stating that Hilda abandoned her son at the Croydon Infirmary, and that he was later taken in by the Mission of Good Hope, a well-known organization that placed children for adoption. This fills in some blanks in another story, that of how young George came to be placed with Dr. Barnardo’s Homes and then sent to Canada as a sort-of indentured servant.
I don’t know what became of Hilda after the birth, except for her death, at age thirty-three, in 1921.
The youngest sister, Elsie Lydia, was born in 1890. She was the sole domestic servant at the White Ribbon Temperance Hotel located in Cambridge, 1911. I presume that Elsie later found a position in Kensington, London, because that is where here death was registered in 1919. She was thirty years old.
The stories of these thirteen women are in many ways typical for female domestic servants of their era. With the exception of Martha, they did not work as servants for the greater part of their lives. Most of them started work in their teens and continued until they found husbands and had families of their own. They generally worked in smaller middle-class homes with one or two servants. Other than the four daughters of George and Sarah (Pearse) Casbon, they generally lived “normal” lifespans.
This is far from an adequate description of their lives, since it is based largely on “snapshots” taken every ten years with the census. Nevertheless, their stories provide insights into our shared heritage and deserve to be told.
 “Women and Work in the 19th Century,” Striking Women (http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/19th-and-early-20th-century : accessed 27 January 2019).  “Who Were the Servants?” My Learning (https://www.mylearning.org/stories/the-victorian-servant/280 : accessed 27 January 2019).  Kate Clark, “Women and Domestic Service in Victorian Society,” The History Press (https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/women-and-domestic-service-in-victorian-society/ : accessed 27 January 2019).  “The Rise of the Middle Classes,” Victorian England: Life of the Working and Middle Classes (https://valmcbeath.com/victorian-era-middle-classes/#.XE3gilxKiUk : accessed 27 January 2019).  “File: John Finnie. Maids of All Work, 1864-65 (higher colour).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Finnie._Maids_of_All_Work,_1864-65_(higher_colour).jpg : accessed 27 January 2019).  1841 England census, Cambridgeshire, Meldreth, ED 19, p. 9, High St., Mary Ann (age 10) in household of William Casbon; imaged as “1841 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8978 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Meldreth >District 19 >image 6 of 9; The National Archives (TNA), HO 107/63/19.  1851 England census, Cambridgeshire, Melbourn, ED 11b, p. 3, schedule 8, Church Lane, Mary Casbon in household of John Campkin; imaged as “1851 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8860 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Melbourn >11b >image 4 of 25; TNA, HO 107/1708/177.  1861 England census, Middlesex, Islington, ED 36, p. 27, schedule 153, Mary Ann Cusbin in household of Richd Munford; imaged as “1861 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8767 : accessed 19 November 2018), Middlesex >Islington >Islington East >District 36 >image 28 of 84; TNA, RG 9/16/55.  Church of England, Parish of St. Lukes Finsbury (Middlesex), Marriage Records, 1871-6, p. 245, no. 489, Joseph Sparrow & Mary Ann Casbon, 26 Dec 1875; imaged as “London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1623 : accessed 10 Aug 2016), Islington >St Luke, Finsbury >1867-1881 >image 494 of 747; London Metropolitan Archives, record no. p76/luk/058.  1891 England census, London, Hackney, ED 23b, p. 31, schedule 47, 33 Benyon Rd, Mary A Sparrow (indexed as “Spawn”); imaged as “1891 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 29 October 2018), London >Hackney >West Hackney >District 23b >image 32 of 34; TNA RG12/190/98.  Church of England, Meldreth (Cambridgeshire), Register of Baptisms, 1813-77,. 44, no. 345, Edith Casburn, 29 Mar 1835; imaged as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,”FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017), image 219 of 699; FHL film 1,040,542, item 5.  1851 England census, Cambridgeshire, Whaddon, ED 4, p. 15, schedule 43, Edith Casbon in household of Elizabeth Bell; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8860 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Whaddon >4 >image 16 of 23; TNA, HO 107/1708/34.  Meldreth, Register of Marriages, 1837-75, p. 50, no. 99, William Catley & Edith Casbon, 13 Oct 1860; imaged as “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 29 August 2017), image 397 of 699; FHL film 1,040,542, item 9.  “Index of Cambridgeshire Parish Records,” database/transcriptions, Cambridge Family History Society, Edith Catley, bu. 22 May 1916 at Melbourn; print copy in author’s personal collection.  Meldreth, Register of Baptisms, 1813-77, p. 54, no. 429, Jane Casbon, 29 Nov 1840; FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/search/film/007567609?cat=210742 : accessed 28 April 2017), image 224 of 699.  1861 England census, Cambridgeshire, Meldreth, ED 15, schedule 133; J Carston in household of William Caston; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8767 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Meldreth >District 15 >image 25 of 32; TNA, RG 9/815/64.  1871 England census, Meldreth, enumeration district (ED) 15, p. 21, schedule 125, High St., Jane Casbon in household of William Casbon; “1871 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7619 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Meldreth >District 15 >image 22 of 32; TNA, RG 10/1363/25.  “England & Wales Marriages 1837-2008”, database, findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/england-and-wales-marriages-1837-2005 : accessed 30 March 2017), John Camp, 1st qtr, 1881, Royston, vol. 3A/323; General Register Office (GRO), Southport.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” HM Passport Office (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp : accessed 27 January 2019), deaths, Jane Camp, J[un] qtr, 1904, Royston, vol. 3A/299.  1871 England census, Kent, Lewisham, ED 4, p. 61, schedule 214, Martha Casbon (indexed “Carbor” in household of John H Greener (indexed “Greeno”); Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7619 : accessed 19 March 2018), Kent >Lewisham >Lee >District 4 >image 62 of 80; TNA, RG 10/763/89.  1881 England census, London, Hammersmith, ED 28, pp. 41-2, schedule 186, 100 Godolphin Rd., Martha Casbon in household of John Weir; “1881 England Census,” Ancestry ((https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7619 : accessed 19 March 2018), London >Hammersmith >St Paul Hammersmith >District 28 >image 42 of 68; TNA, RG 11/60/143.  1891 England census, London, Lambeth, ED 20, p. 4, schedule 20, 156 Clapham Rd., Martha Casbon in the household of Frederick Glew; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 27 January 2019), London >Lambeth >Kennington First >District 20 >image 5 of 45; TNA, RG 12/400/96.  1901 England census, London, Hammersmith, ED 3, p. 90, schedule620, 214 Goldhawk Rd., Martha Casbon in household of Henry Miller; “1901 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7814 : accessed 20 March 2018; TNA, RG 13/: accessed 20 March 2018; TNA, RG 13/9/124.  1911 England census, London, Lambeth, ED 10, schedule 109, 76 Tulse Hill SW, Martha Casbon in household of Thomas Drake; “1911 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 27 January 2019), London >Lambeth >Norwood >10 >image 220 of 421; TNA, RG 14/2109.  1939 Register, Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire, ED TBKV, schedule 34, High St., Martha Casbon, “1939 England and Wales Register,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=61596 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >South Cambridgeshire RD >TBKV >image 5 of 9; TNA, RG 191.63261,  “Melbourn Burials 1739–1950,” p. 73, Martha Casbon, 19 Jan 1947; transcriptions, Cambridge Family History Society, Melbourn burials, Martha Casbon, bu. 22 May 1916 at Melbourn; print copy in author’s personal collection.  1851 England census, Cambridgeshire, Chatteris, ED 3e, p. 1, schedule 1, Park Rd., Sarah Casborn in household of Ann Curtis; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8860 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgshire >Chatteris >3e >image 2 of 48; TNA, HO 107/1765/371.  Ibid.  Church of England, Peterborough (Northamptonshire), St. John Parish, Marriages, 1855–1866, p. 76, no. 152, Richard Baker & Sarah Casbon, 22 Jun 1857; imaged as “Northamptonshire, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1912,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=9199 : accessed 19 January 2018), Peterborough, St John >Parish Registers >1855-1859 >image 41 of 66; Northamptonshire Record Office, Northampton.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Sarah Baker, M[ar] qtr, 1904, Peterborough, vol. 3B/146.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Priscilla Banks, D[ec] qtr, 1862, Royston, vol. 3A/227.  1881 England Census, Cambridgeshire, Cambridge, ED 2, p. 14, schedule 59, 8 Parker St., Priscilla Casbon in household of Edmund Wilson; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7572 : accessed 26 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Cambridge >St. Andrew the Great >District 2 >image 15 of 48; TNA, RG 11/1669/43.  1891 England census, Cambridgeshire, Meldreth, ED 13, p. 18, schedule 134, Witcroft Rd., Priscilla Casbon in household of William Casbon; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 27 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Meldreth >District 13 >image 19 of 27; TNA, RG 12/1104/68.  “England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8913 : accessed 24 April 2018), Priscilla Casbon, 3d qtr, 1896, Bedford, vol. 3B/732; GRO, London.  “Find A Will,” Gov.UK (https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Calendar#calendar : accessed 27 January 2019), Wills and Probate 1858–1996, search terms: “banks” “1904.”  1891 England census, London, Kensington, ED 17, p. 30, schedule 157, 40 Evelyn Gardens, Julia F Casbon in the household of Thomas Fraser; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 27 January 2019), London >Kensington >Brompton >District 17 >image 31 of 51; TNA, RG 12/32/73.  Church of England, Barley (Hertfordshire), Marriage registers, p. 136, no. 271, Henry Brassington & Julia Frances Casbon, 19 Sep 1899; “Hertfordshire Banns & Marriages,” findmypast (https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/hertfordshire-banns-and-marriages : accessed 14 October 2017).  “England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007”, FamilySearch, (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVCK-W896 : accessed 4 September 2014), Julia F Brassington, 1965, 4th qtr, Harrow, vol. 5B/961/153; citing GRO, Southport.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Kate Casban, M[ar] atr, 1874, Edmonton, vol. 3A: 203.  1891 England Census, Middlesex, Edmonton, ED 1, p. 49, schedule 284, Langhedge House, Kate Casban in household of Maria Rowley; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 28 January 2019), Middlesex >Edmonton >District 01 >image 50 of 54; TNA, RG 14/1081/27.  Church of England, London, Edmonton, St James, Marriages 1851-1917, p. 159, no. 318, Frederick Gunn & Kate Casban, 9 Apr 1898; “London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1623 : accessed 22 March 2017), Enfield >St James, Upper Edmonton >1851-1917 >image 206 of 506; London Metropolitan Archives.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Margaret Casbon, D[ec] qtr, 1875, Royston, vol. 3A/320.  1891 England Census, Surrey, Croydon, ED 34, p. 9, schedule 48, 25 Wellesley Rd., Alice Casbar in household of George E Wheeler; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6598 : accessed 28 January 2019), Surrey >Croydon >District 34 >image 10 of 89; TNA RG 14/591/44.  Ibid.  “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:269S-X5P : accessed 13 December 2014), Margaret Alice Casban, 2d qtr, 1898, Croydon, vol. 2A/529/38; GRO, Southport.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Olive Louise Casbon, J[un] qtr, 1884, Royston, vol. 3A/444.  1901 England census, Surrey, Croydon, ED 81, p. 8, schedule 45, Olive L Casson in household of John Percy Lewis; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7814 : accessed 26 January 2019), Surrey >Croydon >District 81 >image 9 of 55; TNA, RG 13/648/8.  1911 England Census, Surrey, Croydon, ED 18, schedule 63, 18 Avenue Rd, Norwood S.E., Olive Louise Casbon in household of Reuben Glasgow Kestin; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 20 March 2018), Surrey >Croydon >North Croydon >18 >image 126 of 699; TNA, RG 14/3385.  “England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005,” FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:267B-M1S : accessed 14 November 2015), Olive L Casbon, 2d qtr, 1911, Croydon, vol, 2A/631/105.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Thomas Jessop Cavendish De Rinzy, D[ec] qtr, 1911, Croydon, vol. 2A/644.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Olive Louise De Rinzy, D[ec] qtr, 1916, Croydon, vol. 2A/473.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Maud Emily Casbon, D[ec] qtr, 1885, Royston, vol. 3A/471.  1901 England census, Cambridgeshire, Melbourn, enumeration district 9, p. 9, schedule 44, Maud Carton in household of Albert Spencer; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7814 : accessed 28 January 2019), Cambridgeshire >Melbourn >District 09 >image 10 of 27; TNA, RG 13/1296/9.  1911 England Census, Surrey, Penge, ED 2, schedule 138, Maude Emily Casbon in household of Adele Maude Everest; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 20 March 201), Surrey >Penge >02 >image 276 of 809; TNA, RG 14/3406.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Maud Emily Casbon, D[ec] qtr, 1911, Croydon, vol. 2A/408.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Hilda Mary Casbon, D[ec] qtr, 1887, Royston, vol. 3A/466.  1911 England Census, Cambridgeshire, Fowlmere, ED 5, schedule 26, Hilda Casbon in household of Sarah Casbon; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 28 January 2019), Hertfordshire >Fowlmere >05 >image 52 of 265; TNA, RG 14/7557.  England, birth certificate (PDF copy) for George Casbon, born 11 Jun 1914; registered June quarter, Croydon district 2A/618, West Croydon Sub-district, Surrey; General Register Office, Southport.  Tessa Arlen, “The Redoubtable Edwardian Housemaid and a Life of Service,” Tessa Arlen Mysteries from the early 1900s (http://www.tessaarlen.com/redoubtable-housmaid-life-belowstairs/ : accessed 28 January 2019).  “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Hilda Casbon, J[un] qtr, 1921, Croydon, vol. 2A/312.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” births, Elsie Lydia Casbon, S[ep] qtr, 1890, Royston, vol. 3A/490.  1911 England Census, Cambridgeshire,Cambridge, ED 7, schedule 135, 160-1 East Rd, Elsie Lydia Caslon in household of George W Sheet; Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2352 : accessed 20 March 2018), Cambridgeshire >Cambridge >St Andrew the Less >07 >image 274 of 313; TNA, RG 14/9107.  “Search the GRO Online Index,” deaths, Elsie Casbon, J[un] qtr, 1919, Kensington, vol. 1A/217.
The title for today’s post comes from the July 22, 1887 London Morning Post.
We see that “E Casbon” is seeking a position as a “Maid to One or Two Ladies.” She is twenty-five years old, has experience as a dressmaker, belongs to the Church of England, and has “good references.” She is living at 22 Mansfield Street, Portland Place, London.
Who was E Casbon? Her age tells that she was born in 1861 or 1862. There is only one woman with that name who was born in that time frame: Elizabeth, daughter of John (1832–1885) and Rebecca (Speechly, ~1823–1886) Casbon of Peterborough. We’ve met her father, John, before. He was in the third generation of gardeners who eventually settled in Peterborough. John suffered through bankruptcy proceedings in 1870-71, but was eventually able to recover financially.
Elizabeth was one of John and Rebecca’s five children who survived into adulthood. Little information is available about her life. We find her in the 1881 census, either living with or visiting her older brother Thomas in Peterborough.
We see that Elizabeth is unmarried, nineteen years old, and employed as a dressmaker.
Dressmaking was a very common occupation for women at the time. It’s likely that Elizabeth had completed a two-year apprenticeship. She might have worked from home or worked in a shop. She probably used a sewing machine, but would have had to do much of the work by hand. Dressmakers could make a decent living, but often faced long hours and difficult working conditions. For more information about dressmaking in Victorian England, I refer you to an excellent blog post, “D is for Dressmaker,” by Amanda Wilkinson.
Despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to find Elizabeth in the 1891 and 1901 England censuses. That’s where the “Situations Required” ad helps out. We know from the advertisement that she had been working as a servant, probably a lady’s maid, at the house on Mansfield Street. She must have started her employment there some time after the 1881 census was taken.
What can we find out about the residence on Mansfield Street? The 1881 census helps us out. It turns out that 22 Mansfield Street was occupied by a wealthy gentleman named Charles J.T. Hambro, whose father founded one of the United Kingdom’s largest investment banks. The family’s main home was at Milton Abbey, in Dorset, so the Mansfield Street residence would have been their London home. Charles J.T. Hambro held the offices of Deputy Lieutenant and Justice of the Peace for Dorset, and was a Member of Parliament from 1868 to 1874 and again from 1886 until his death in 1891.
When the 1881 census was taken, the household on Mansfield Street was occupied by Charles Hambro, his wife Susan, daughter Agneta, and eleven servants, consisting of a cook, two kitchen maids, two housemaids, two lady’s maids, one butler, two footmen and one page. That is an impressive number of servants, and indicates the Hambros’ significant wealth and position in society.
How is it that Elizabeth left her employment as a dressmaker in Peterborough to become a lady’s maid in London? That is unknown. Elizabeth must have thought there were better opportunities for her in domestic service compared to her previous occupation, and London certainly offered a greater number of potential employers. She might have started in a lower maid’s position before being promoted to the position of lady’s maid. Being new to the job, she probably served one of the daughters of the house. Her dressmaking experience would have been a great asset, as it was considered a prerequisite for lady’s maid duties.
What were those duties? Anyone who has watched Downton Abbey will have some idea of what was involved, thanks to the trials and tribulations of Anna Bates, Lady Mary’s long-suffering personal maid.
In the hierarchy of female servants, the lady’s maid was the second highest in rank, after the housekeeper. Her position was unique in that she had a much closer relationship to her mistress than the other servants. A partial list of her duties is given in The Duties of Servants (1890).
To bring up the hot-water for her mistress in the morning and at various times of the day as required.
To bring her an early cup of tea.
To prepare her things for dressing.
To assist her in dressing.
To put her room in order after dressing.
To put out her things for walking, riding, and driving, both in the morning and afternoon.
To assist her in taking off her out-door attire.
To put in readiness all that her mistress may require for dressing in the evening.
To assist her to dress for dinner.
To put everything in order in her mistress’s room before leaving it.
To sit up for her, and to assist her to undress on her return, and to carefully put away her jewels and everything connected with her toilette.
To keep her mistress’s wardrobe in thorough repair, and to do all the dressmaking and millinery required of her.
To wash the lace and fine linen of her mistress.
She was essentially at the beck and call of her mistress, in order to look after her every need.
Because of her proximity to the lady of the house, it was vitally important that she be circumspect in her behavior, and perhaps most importantly, maintain strict confidentiality concerning her mistress’s activities and conversation. “She ought, therefore, to possess the qualifications of propriety and polite behaviour; and her conduct should be uniformly influenced by correct principles, and strict regard to religious and moral obligations.”
In turn, lady’s maids received perks not available to other servants. They were likely to receive their mistresses’ cast-off clothing, which they could alter to fit themselves or sell to others. They might receive commissions from tradespeople who did business with their mistresses. They had opportunities to travel, when their mistresses went abroad or were guests in other households.
This tells us quite a bit about Elizabeth’s responsibilities after coming to London, and perhaps something about her character as well. She was probably somewhat better educated than the other female servants and was able to conduct herself in a manner fitting of the position. The fact that she had “good references” tells us that she performed her duties satisfactorily.
We don’t know why she left her employment with the Hambro family in 1887, although it seems to have been under favorable circumstances. Perhaps one of the daughters was no longer living at home, or the family was downsizing the London home and no longer needed as many servants.
We do know that Elizabeth was successful at finding new employment, given that she placed this advertisement in 1890.
The fact that she had “2 ½ years’ good character” tells us that she must have been hired soon after the previous (1887) advertisement was placed. Note also that she was now living in Millfield, Peterborough, her home town. This suggests that her employment had already ended.
We don’t know what happened for the next seventeen years of her life, since she doesn’t seem to appear in the 1891 and 1901 censuses. The next record I have of Elizabeth is for her marriage in 1907 to William Buxton, a widower from Doncaster. As of 1926, William and Elizabeth were still living in Doncaster. I haven’t been able to pin down their death dates.
Elizabeth’s story, though incomplete, is interesting because it reflects the experiences of many women in late Victorian England. As dressmaker and domestic servant, she worked in two of the most common occupations (along with factory work) of her era. Though typical, it probably wasn’t an easy life. As with so many of our family stories, I wish I could know more.
 “Situations Wanted,” The (London, England) Morning Post, 22 Jul 1887, p. 7, col. 8; online image, British Newspaper Archive (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ : accessed 4 September 2017).  1871 England Census, Northamptonshire, Peterborough, district 33, p. 5, schedule 28, Elizabeth Casbon in household of Thomas Casbon ; imaged as “1881 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7572 : accessed 17 January 2019), Northamptonshire >Peterborough >District 33 >image 7 of 23; citing The National Archives, RG 11/1595.  Sally Mitchell, Daily Life in Victorian England (Westport, Connecticut: The Greenwood Press, 1996), p. 62.  “Charles J.T. Hambro,” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_J._T._Hambro : accessed 18 January 2019), rev. 19 Oct 18, 08:28.  Ibid.  1881 England Census, London, Marylebone, Cavendish Square. District 8, p. 22, schedule 68, Charles Hambro; imaged as “1881 England Census,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7572 : accessed 17 January 2019), London >Marylebone >Cavendish Square > District 8 >image 23 of 47; citing The National Archives, RG 11/140/57.  Isabella M Beeton, Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management: a Guide to Cookery in All Branches, “new” ed., (London: Ward, Lock & Co., 1907), p. 1773; online image, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/mrsbeetonshouse00beetuoft : accessed 14 January 2019).  Pamela Horn, The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Servant (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1975), p. 55.  Ibid. The Duties of Servants: a Practical Guide to the Routine of Domestic Service (London: Frederick Warne & Co., 1890), pp. 99–100; online image, Internet Archive (https://archive.org/details/b2152810x : accessed 18 January 2019).  The Family Manual and Servants’ Guide, 9th ed. (London: S.D. Ewins, 1859), p. 97; online image, Google Books (https://books.google.com/books?id=gkACAAAAQAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s : accessed 14 January 2019).  Lucy Lethbridge, Servants: A Downstairs HIstory of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2013), p. 78.  Ibid.  Ibid.  Horn, The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Servant, p. 57.  “Want Places,” The (London, England) Morning Post, 4 Jun 1890, p. 11, col. 3; online image, British Newspaper Archive (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ : accessed 4 September 2017).  Church of England, Peterborough (Northamptonshire), St Paul’s, Register of Marriages, vol. 2 (1905–1921), p. 30, no. 60, William Buxton & Elizabeth Casbon, 19 May 1907; imaged as “Northamptonshire, England, Church of England Marriages, 1754-1912,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=9199 : accessed 18 January 2019), Peterborough, St Paul >Parish Registers >1905-1912 >image 18 of 54; citing Northamptonshire Record Office; Northampton.  Yorkshire (West Riding), Autumn Register 1926, Doncaster Parliamentary Division, Polling District L, St. James Ward, p. 31, nos. 1750-1, 6 Roberts Rd., William & Elizabeth Buxton; imaged as “West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3057 : accessed 18 January 2019), Doncaster >1926 >image 666 of 773; citing West Yorkshire Archive Service, Leeds.  Mitchell, Daily Life in Victorian England, p. 62.
You may recall that Thomas was fished out of the Thames in Greenwich and admitted to the Greenwich Union after an apparent suicide attempt in 1871. Thomas was estranged from his wife, who had filed for divorce in 1868. Possibly distraught over his failed marriage, his plunge into the Thames was also fueled by excessive alcohol.
Thomas disappeared from public records after that incident, and in 1900, his son, Charles Wheeley Casbon, was granted the right to administer his estate under the presumption that Thomas had died “in or since May 1887.” In other words, there was no evidence that Thomas had been seen or heard from in the previous thirteen years.
My interest in Thomas was re-awakened about two weeks ago when I was idly browsing through a database of deaths in Victoria, Australia. The record showed that a man named Thomas Casbon, age 50, died in Brighton, Victoria, in 1889.
Was this the same Thomas? The age was just about right – our Thomas was born in early 1840. I decided to look in other Australia databases to see if I could gather any additional information. I found him again, living in Ryde, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, in 1887.
Notably, his occupation was listed as nurseryman. This is a key piece of evidence, since Thomas of Peterborough was also a nurseryman. He was the third generation of Peterborough gardeners, about whom I have written previously. Given this clue along with the fact that there is no evidence of Thomas remaining in England, we can be reasonably certain that the Australian Thomas was our man from Peterborough.
Further searching shows that he appears in the 1888 directory at the same address. He does not appear in a directory any earlier than 1887 or later than 1888. This supports the idea that he was the man who died in 1889.
In addition to the directories above, he appears in a different kind of record. In October 1886 he was jailed for seven days in Darlinghurst Gaol, Sydney, for drunkenness. He was jailed again for the same offense in January 1887. It seems that Thomas did not have a healthy relationship with alcohol.
There is also a police report of a “Silver English lever hunting watch” being stolen from Thomas Casbin in March 1886. It’s likely this is also our Thomas. If so, this is the earliest record I have found of him in Australia.
I searched through various passenger lists prior to 1887 but could not find any entries for Thomas, so we don’t know when he departed England or arrived in Australia.
There are still many unanswered questions. Where was Thomas between 1871 and 1886? When and why did he leave England? What was he doing in Brighton, Victoria (almost 450 miles from Ryde) when he died and how did he die? (I could get an answer to this last question if I paid $24.50 for a copy of the death certificate, but my curiosity doesn’t run that deep!)
Map showing locations of Ryde, New South Wales and Brighton, Victoria; Google Maps™
(scroll to zoom)
One thing is evident: Thomas’ estranged family had lost touch with him by May 1887. Did they know he had gone to Australia? Did he break off communication or did they?Something seems to have gone wrong in Thomas’ life. He was a troubled man, and perhaps not a very nice one.
The last record I have of Thomas other than his death is a report of an unclaimed letter addressed to him in Ashfield, another suburb of Sydney. The letter was waiting for him in the Sydney General Post Office as of January 15, 1889. It was sent from within the colony. The contents of the letter, like much of his life, remains a mystery.
 “Greenwich,” The (London) Standard, 12 April 1871, p. 7, col. 5; online image, The British Newspaper Archive (https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/BL/0000183/18710412/053/0007 : accessed 24 September 2016).  “England & Wales, Civil Divorce Records, 1858-1916,” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/2465/40243_612057_1776-00000 : accessed 24 February 2018), wife’s petition, Emily Casbon, 1868; citing The National Archives, J77/84/787, Kew.  “Greenwich,” The (London) Standard, 12 April 1871, p. 7, col. 5.  United Kingdom, Calendar of Wills and Administrations 1900, n.p., Casbon, Thomas, “in or since May 1887”; “Find a will,” searchable database, Gov.UK (https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills : accessed 20 September 2018).  “Australia, Victoria Death Index, 1836-1985,” database, MyHeritage Library Edition (accessible through participating libraries: 10 September 2018), Thomas Casbon, 1880, Brighton; citing The Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria.  “Sands Directories: Sydney and New South Wales, Australia, 1858-1933,” database with images, Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1164 : accessed 10 September 2018), 1887 >C >image 4 of 22, p. 523, col. 3, Casbon, Thomas, nurseryman, Parramatta rd, Ryde; citing W. & F. Pascoe Pty, Ltd, Balgowlah.  Jon Casbon, “How doth your garden grow? Part 2,” Our Casbon Journey, 27 September 2016 (https://casbonjourney.wordpress.com/2016/09/27/how-doth-your-garden-grow-part-2/ ).  New South Wales, Australia, Darlinghurst, (Gaol) Entrance Book, 1886, 11 Oct, no. 9751, Thomas Casbon; imaged as “New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1783 : accessed10 September 2018), Entrance Book >Darlinghurst >1886 >image 249 of 387; citing State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood.  New South Wales, Australia, Darlinghurst, (Gaol) Entrance Book, 1887, 10 Jan, no. 293, Thomas Casbon; imaged as “New South Wales, Australia, Gaol Description and Entrance Books, 1818-1930,” Ancestry (cited previously), Entrance Book >Darlinghurst >1887 >image 18 of 391.  New South Wales, Police Gazette and Weekly Record of Crime, 1886, no. 11 (17 March), p. 82 (“Watches and Jewellery, &c. Reported Stolen”), 10 Mar, Thomas Casbin; imaged as “New South Wales, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1854-1930,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1942 : accessed 10 September 2018), 1886 >image 61 of 227; citing State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood.  New South Wales, Australia, Supplement to the New South Wales Government Gazette, 1889, no. 146 (9 March), p. 1883, no. 151, Thos. Casbon, Ashfield; imaged as “New South Wales, Australia, Government Gazettes, 1853-1899,” Ancestry (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2172 : 10 September 2018), 1889 >January-March >image 1909 of 2503; citing State Records Authority of New South Wales, Kingswood.
Thanks to contributor Charles “Tony” Casbon in Peterborough, UK, for this portrait of his paternal grandparents’ wedding.
Charles Arthur Casbon (1880–1945) was the son of Thomas (1854–1910) and Elizabeth (Pettifor, 1856–1906) Casbon. Charles and his family were descended from the Littleport/Peterborough line of the Casbon surname. This was his second marriage. The first, to Grace Parker in 1903, ended with Grace’s death in 1912. In the 1911 census, Charles was working as a baker in Bourne, Lincolnshire, about 15 miles north of his birthplace of Peterborough.
Eliza was born in Manthorpe, Lincolnshire in late 1888, the daughter of Joseph and Eliza (Coddington) Harvey. She was listed as a servant, working in Peterborough, in the 1911 census.
Their marriage was registered in Bourne. The Bourne registration district includes a number of neighboring villages, so I don’t know the exact location. The photograph suggests a rural setting, but it might not have been taken at the same location as the wedding ceremony. It looks like they are standing on hay bales. Could this be a studio photo with a rural backdrop?
They are probably wearing their best clothing. It’s simplicity of design reflects their working-class status as well as the austerity of World War I, which had begun a year earlier.
We met Charles and Eliza earlier, in the post “A Family Outing.” Although they had six children together, the marriage was ended prematurely by Eliza’s death in 1932. She was only forty-three.
This piece appeared in The (London) Standard of April 12, 1871.
Charges of Attempted Suicide. – Thomas Casbon, a young man, describing himself as a nurseryman at Peterborough, was charged with attempting to commit suicide by throwing himself into the River Thames opposite Greenwich Hospital. From the evidence of Police-serjeant 16 R, it appeared that on Saturday afternoon, between four and five o’clock, he found the prisoner near the Ship Tavern, Greenwich, water running from the leggings of his trousers, he having just been rescued from the river by a waterman, after jumping into it at high water. The prisoner was stupefied and benumbed by cold, and was conveyed to the Greenwich Union, where he was stripped and rubbed with warm cloth, and had remained there until that morning, when he was taken into custody and charged. On recovering consciousness the prisoner said he had looked at the river before plunging in, thinking he could swim across it. The Prisoner, who appeared in a very weak condition, said, in reply to the charge, that he had no intention whatever of taking his own life. He had come by an excursion train from Peterborough to visit the Crystal Palace on Good Friday, and had there lost a friend who was with him. Owing to broken rest in attending to business previously and excitement occasioned by taking too much drink, he supposed he must have awoke on Saturday morning, wherever he slept, and wandered to Greenwich, not knowing where he was or what he was doing. Mr. Maude inquired of the prisoner whether he had on any previous occasion become so suddenly bereft of reason, and also whether he had sufficient means to get back to Peterborough. The Prisoner replied that his mind had never before been so affected. He had not sufficient money to pay his fare to Peterborough, but he had property of value about him sufficient to obtain it, and he was most anxious to get home. Mr. Maude said he would take the prisoner’s assurance that he had no intention to drown himself, and ordered his discharge, but he advised him in future to abstain from too much intoxicating liquor.
This story obviously describes a disturbing incident in the life of Thomas Casbon. Who was Thomas? The story describes him as a young man and a nurseryman from Peterborough. There were two men named Thomas Casbon who might have fit this description in 1871; one was born in 1840 and the other in 1854. Fortunately, additional records pertaining to this incident exist – the admission and discharge register from the Greenwich Union, where Thomas was taken after being pulled out of the Thames.,
These records tell the same story as the news article, in abbreviated format. We can see that he was admitted on Saturday, April 8th at 4:50 p.m. His age is recorded as 32. He was admitted from G[reenwich] parish. The order to admit him was given by someone named Master. The Cause of Admission is Attempt to Drown Supposed Insane. His religious persuasion is Church [of England]. The remarks state that he was Brought by Police 16R from Dr. Forsyth. The discharge record only tells us that he was discharged on Tuesday, April 11th, one day before the news article appeared.
Thomas was married to Emily Cantrill, of London, in 1865. They had two children: Charles T, born in 1866, and Edith Emily, born in 1868., Emily filed for divorce. alleging cruelty, in 1868. Thomas was ordered to pay alimony and the judge ordered that the case be tried before a jury. I don’t know if the trial ever took place of if the divorce was finalized, but it is clear that the marriage was over. In the 1871 census, Emily and the two children were living with her parents in London. Could the “broken rest in attending to business,” referred to in the newspaper article, have had something to do with his divorce? Might his “excitement occasioned by taking too much drink” have been the aftermath of an unsuccessful encounter with his estranged wife and children? Obviously, this is speculation on my part, but I think it could explain the events that followed.
Going back to the article, there are interesting tidbits of information that would have been common knowledge to the readers of the newspaper, but might be unfamiliar to us today.
First, we see from the title and other content that Thomas was brought up on charges of attempted suicide. The fact is, suicide was considered a crime in England until 1961. Those who attempted suicide could be prosecuted and imprisoned. Under old English laws, a suicide victim would be buried at a crossroads (not in a church yard), and their property declared forfeited to the crown. However, prosecutions were rare, and juries frequently brought in a verdict of “temporary insanity” as a means of avoiding punishment., Rather than considering him insane, it appears that the judge took Thomas’ word that he had not intended to kill himself.
I thought it was interesting that the police sergeant was referred to by the number “16R.” It turns out that this was his collar number, with the “R” designating the Greenwich police division.,
A number of places are mentioned in the article. These include the River Thames, the Greenwich Hospital, the Ship Tavern, and the Greenwich Union. I’ve marked some of these on an old map of London (you’ll need to click on it to see it clearly).
Since the story says Thomas threw “himself into the River Thames opposite Greenwich Hospital,” I’ve marked the north side of the Thames with a star, across from the “Royal Hospital,” shown on the map. The Thames must have been very cold in early April. The Ship Tavern, where the police sergeant found Thomas, is circled, just west of the hospital. The tavern was well known because it was the site of many “whitebait ministerial dinners” held at the end of Parliamentary sessions.
The Greenwich Union, where Thomas was admitted for three days, was a large institution, supported by local taxes, to house the poor, infirm, and elderly. This was located about 8/10ths of a mile east of the Ship Tavern. Thomas was probably admitted to the infirmary, which included wards for the insane.
Thomas related that he had come to London to visit the Crystal Palace. This location would have been well-known to every Londoner. The Crystal Palace was originally built in Hyde Park to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. The structure contained “the greatest area of glass ever seen in a building, and astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that did not require interior lights.” After the exhibition, the Crystal Palace was relocated to Sydenham Hill in South London, where it became a major attraction, featuring fountains, exhibits, entertainment, an amusement park, and sporting events. It was finally destroyed by fire in 1936.
Crystal Palace was located some five miles southwest of where Thomas was found in Greenwich. This makes me wonder how he got from there to the bank of the Thames opposite the Royal Hospital. It seems unlikely that he could have done this in his drunken state, so I suspect that the business he had attended to before he started drinking took place on the north side of the Thames.
What happened to Thomas after this incident? I’m afraid that is a mystery. It turns out that the 1871 newspaper article is the last mention of Thomas being alive that I have been able to locate. His name does not appear in Peterborough directories of 1876 or 1877. He is absent from the 1881 or later censuses (by coincidence, the 1871 census was taken just a few days before his trip to London). His death is not registered.
The only record I have been able to find is the National Calendar of Probates from 1900. This states that Thomas Casbon “of the Cathedral-precincts Peterborough nurseryman died in or since May 1887” (my emphasis), and names his son, Charles Wheeley Casbon, as administrator of the estate. His estate was valued at 67 pounds, 3 shillings – a paltry sum. The fact that an exact date of death is not given and that Thomas’ estate was not probated until 13 years after the presumed year of his death is unusual, and leads me to believe that his whereabouts were known until May 1887; but then he either disappeared without a trace, or his body was not found until a later date. Interestingly, his wife, Emily, is listed as married in the 1881 census, and widowed in 1891.,
Maybe one of his descendants, if there are any, knows the rest of the story. I would love to hear it!
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.
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)
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. 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. He served as the butler to the principal landowner and member of Parliament for Chatteris. 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.,,
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. John was a cordwainer, or shoemaker. John and Emma had three children: Lester, born in 1842; Sarah Ann, in 1844; and John, in 1846. 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. 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. The expanded family appears in the 1851 census, living in Somersham, Huntingdonshire (see map above).
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. 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. Lester and Julia had the following children:
Elizabeth Ann, born 29 Jan 1872
Charles William, born 1 Sep 1873
Emma, born 14 August 1873
Alfred Lester, born 1880, died 1880,
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.
John married Harriet Davis, also a Chatteris native, in 1868. They had the following children:
Rose Ann, born 1868
Mary, born 1871
Harriet, born 1874
Arthur, born 1878
Harry, born 1882
William, born 1887
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.,
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., His son, Thomas (1807–1863), lived in Warboys, about 5 miles from Colne, in 1841, before moving to Peterborough. His wife, Jane, was born in Chatteris. 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.
 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).  “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.  “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.  “1861 Census of England,” Ancestry, John Casburn in household of John Dunn Gardner.  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.  “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.  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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “1851 Census of England, Wales & Scotland,” database with images, findmypast (http://search.findmypast.com/record?id=gbc%2f1851%2f0007382478 : accessed 11 November 2016).  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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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).  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.  “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.