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Robert Holland

Eric Trudgill    -    1 December 2013

Robert and Ann Holland were named as the parents of six children christened in Leicestershire 1798-1818: Elizabeth, Robert and John in the S West, respectively in Frolesworth in 1798,Barwell in 1800 (travellers), and Sharnford in 1806; Frederick and William in the S East, in Medbourne in 1813 and 1815 (brazier of Grimscote, Northants); and Eliza in the N East, in Syston in 1818 (travelling tinker).

To these six we can safely add (in the gap 1806-1813 between John and Frederick) the Ann and Joseph Holland christened in Church Brampton, Northants in 1808 and 1811, each “a traveller’s child”, the parents unnamed: the Joseph here, from his census birth-data and self-description at a daughter’s baptism in 1836 as “tinker of Chapel Brampton, Northants”, was the one who married Sinfi Sherriff in 1829, with Patience Hodgkins, wife of the John Holland christened in 1806 as witness. I think we can also add to Robert and Ann’s children (in the gap 1800-1806 between Robert junior and John) the Thomas Holland, born possibly in Kings Norton or Gaulby, Leics about 1802, who married Sarah, daughter of John and Dinah Booth: the gypsiologists were told he was a brother of the Robert christened in 1800, and it’s strikinghis first three sons were a Thomas, a Robert, and a John, the latter christened, like Robert and Ann’s John, in Sharnford. And I think we can further add (before Elizabeth in 1798) the Edward and Benjamin Holland who married two Hodgkins sisters within a week in Stanwick, Northants in 1813: Edward’s wedding was witnessed by a Robert Holland; and Edward had a son marry Patience, widow of the John Holland christened in 1806, while Benjamin (whose wedding was witnessed by Edward Holland) had a daughter marry a son of the Robert Holland christened in 1800.

Robert Holland, husband of Ann, was probably the tinman who married Elizabeth Smith in Breedon on the Hill, Leics in 1791; perhaps the bride was Elizabeth Ann, or perhaps Robert took a second wife Gypsy style (for what it’s worth the gypsiologists believed the mother of the Robert christened in 1800 was a Smith). And Robert, husband of Ann, was probably a brother of Richard Holland, husband of Sarah, and the Mary Holland who married Thomas Smith, Absalom’s brother, belatedly in 1813, since the three of them shared territory and time as well as surname: Richard christened daughters in Weston cum Welland, Northants in 1790 and Gt Easton, Leics in 1792, both places very close to Medbourne, where Robert christened Frederick and William, while Mary christened a son in Sharnford in 1792, where Robert christened John, and another in Gt Easton in 1798. Mary, moreover, had a son, Humphrey Smith, who seems to have led his cousin, the Benjamin Holland married in 1813, into christening a daughter Amboretta in Pytchley, Northants 17 days after he did exactly the same; Humphrey was also arrested in 1851 with his cousin, Adam Smith son of Absalom, and an untraced Jonah Holland, perhaps another cousin, perhaps a son of Robert and Ann, born like Thomas in the gap 1800-1808. It’s also possible that the father of Robert senior, Richard and Mary was the Edward Holland christened, not very far from S West Leics, in Berkswell, Warwickshire in 1746, son of Edward and Elizabeth vagrants.

Here’s what I know about Robert Holland’s children, what I assume from circumstantial evidence as well as what is incontestable:

Edward Holland married Rosanna Hodgkins in Stanwick, Northants in 1813, and had the following children: James, christened in Kilsby, Northants in 1814 (travelling brazier); Elizabeth, christened in Gilmorton, Leics in 1816 (itinerant pedlar); Job, Jonas, Marianne and Rosanna, christened in Bishop Tachbrook, Wks in 1824 (tinker), 1827, 1829 and 1832. Of these Job, like his father, married a Rosanna, and christened at least six children in Worcestershire and two in Gloucestershire 1847-71, and Jonas married yet another Rosanna, had at least five children 1853-66, basing himself in Staffordshire, and ended up marrying his widowed Aunt Patience, 20 years his senior.

Benjamin Holland married Sarah Hodgkins in Stanwick in 1813(his witness being Edward Holland), and had the following children: Sarah, born in Sutton Bassett, Northants about 1815, who married John Sherriff in Arnesby, Leics in 1832 with Benjamin Holland as witness, and had at least eleven children by him (they were probably cousins, since each had a Hodgkins mother); Priscilla, christened in Aston Cantlow, Wks in 1817; Noah, christened in Cold Ashby, Northants in 1820 (brazier of Laughton, Leics), who married Spisanna Smith, and had at least six children by her, including two daughters named after his siblings, Priscilla and Amboretta; Ann, christened in Ratby, Leics in 1822 (brazier of Laughton); Amboretta, christened in Pytchley, Northants in 1825, who married her cousin, Moses Holland son of Robert (see below); Hercules, christened in Loughborough, Leics in 1827, who married Tabitha/Debitha Butler, and had at least nine children, mostly in Worcestershire; and Henry, christened in Clifton, Wks in 1836 (traveller).

Elizabeth Holland married Tobias Clayton, christened in 1797 son of James and Elizabeth, in Loughborough in 1817, and had the following Clayton children: Ann, born in Warwickshire about 1820; Benjamin, christened in Ab Kettleby, Leics in 1824; Louisa, born in Warwickshire perhaps about 1827, who married her cousin, Frederick Clayton, and had at least six children; and Amadine, christened in Cossington, Leics in 1829, Esther in Shipston, Worcs in 1832, Elizabeth in Billesdon, Leics in 1834, Drusilla in Twyford, Leics in 1836, and Rosanna in Barlestone, Leics in 1841.

Robert Holland junior married Argetta/Margaret/Harriet Smith, christened in 1798 daughter of Absalom and Elizabeth, in Glooston, Leics in 1819, and they had the following children (the children’s claimed age in the census often at odds with the birth-date of their first child): Lavinia, christened in Markfield, Leics in 1820 (travelling brazier of Barwell), who married Thomas Smith and had eight children, mostly in Lincolnshire; Moses, born in Leicestershire about 1822, who married Amboretta/Amelia daughter of Benjamin Holland and Sarah Hodgkins, and had at least eight children, one of them registered as son of Amelia Hoskins; Ann, christened in Uppingham, Rutland in 1824 (traveller); Elizabeth, christened in Knossington, Leics in 1826 (gypsy of Barwell); Benjamin, born in Northamptonshire about 1828, who married Sibirani Smith, and had nine children in Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire; William, christened in Asfordby, Leics in 1832, who married a Fanny, and had a couple of children in Leicestershire; Joseph, who claimed birth in Barwell (like his brothers, Moses and William) about 1834, and had at least seven children in Leicestershire by a Leah; Argetty, christened in S Luffenham, Rutland in 1837, who married Samuel Smith and had at least four children in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire; and perhaps a Thomas, born in Leicestershire about 1840, who married an Ann and christened a Benjamin Holland in a parish much used by the family of Benjamin and Sibirani.

Thomas Holland married Sarah Clayton, christened in 1803 illegitimate daughter of Sarah (by her Gypsy-style husband, John Booth). They had the following children: Viramenta, christened in Waltham, Leics in 1825, who married Napthali Smith and had at least ten children, mostly in Leicestershire; Thomas, christened in Whatton, Notts in 1827, who married an Eliza and had a Napthali; Fanny, christened in Stanton on the Wold, Notts in 1829; Robert, christened in Ashby Folville, Leics in 1832, who married Selina/Caroline Smith and had at least eight children, mostly in Leicestershire; Barzena, christened in S Kilworth, Leics in 1835, who married Job Clayton and had at least nine children by him; John, christened in Sharnford, Leics in 1836, who married Clara Smith and had at least six children, christened in a mixture of C of E, RC and Non-Conformist churches; Elizabeth, christened twice, in Willoughby, Notts in 1839 and in S Luffenham, Rutland in 1842; Ann, christened jointly with Elizabeth in 1842; and Absalom, christened in Whitwick, Leics in 1844 and buried there seven days later.

John Holland married Patience Hodgkins, christened in 1807 daughter of Thomas and Jane, and had the following children: Jane, born about 1824, who married James Sherriff and had at least ten children, almost all of them in Warwickshire; John, born in Warwickshire about 1826, who married a Sarah and had half a dozen children, probably all in Warwickshire; William, christened in Kelmarsh, Northants in 1828, who married an Emma and had a couple of children in Staffs ; twins, I suspect short-lived ones, Henry and Jacob, christened in Lowick, Northants in 1833; Patience, christened in Clifton, Wks in 1835; Jacob, christened in Holcot, Northants in1837; Hezekiah, christened as a Hodgkins in Fillongley, Wks in 1839; Isaac, christened as a Hodgkins in Halesowen, Worcs in 1842; and Henry, christened in Walsall, Staffs in 1845.

Joseph Holland married Sinfi/Sophia Sherriff (christened in 1813 daughter of Job and Ann) in Enderby, Leics in 1829, and had the following children: Ann, christened in Enderby in 1830 (brazier); Sarah, christened in Wolston, Wks in 1832 (travelling tinkers); Elizabeth, christened in Barwell, Leics in 1836 (tinker of Chapel Brampton, Northants); Benjamin, christened in Sapcote, Leics in 1842 (tinker); Gracienne (presumably a gypsified Teresa Ann or Christiana), christened in Stockingford, Wks in 1844 (tinker); and Thomas, christened in Baxterley, Wks in 1846.

Frederick Holland seems to have married an Ann, and christened an Eliza in Frolesworth, Leicsin1840 (tinker, grinder, chair bottomer). Subsequently “aged 43” he married Selina Clayton (christened in 1824 daughter of Brington and Maria) in Ibstock, Leics in 1853, and had Moses, christened in Ravenstone, Leics in 1855, who married Eliza Booth/Clayton daughter of William and Isabella, and had at least four children, three in Leicestershire and one in Derbyshire; Susanna, born in Mountsorrel, Leics about 1861; and Frederick, christened in Nailstone, Leics in 1863.

About Robert and Ann Holland’s Ann, William and Eliza I know nothing beyond their baptisms. For more information about the Robert Holland baptised in 1800 see my article in the Dec 2013 issue of Romany Routes.

Copyright © 2013 Eric Trudgill