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William Waterfield

Eric Trudgill    -    5 December 2015

William Waterfield was born, he said, in Thringstone, Leics about 1790, married a Charlotte born in Brigg, Lincs about 1793, and had the following children: Diana christened in Ely Holy Trinity, Cambs in 1811; Richard christened in Coleby, Lincs (not far from Brigg) in 1813, brazier; William born in Warboys, Hunts about 1821; James christened in Stow Longa, Hunts in 1823; Elizabeth christened in N Elmham, Nfk in 1826 brazier of Cambridge; Thomas born in Wells, Nfk about 1830; and Joseph christened in Cotton, Sfk in 1833. Of these William junior and Joseph, and their families, were a colourful presence in Norfolk (all citations in this article will involve Norfolk unless otherwise specified).

William Waterfield junior, son of William and Charlotte born about 1821, married Amy Woods in Norwich St Michael at Thorn in 1840, and had the following children: John born in N Tuddenham about 1839; Charlotte christened in Gt Massingham in 1842 tinker of Barnwell, who presumably died young; his own William, another Charlotte and Maria, christened respectively in Ringland in 1844 (travelling tinker of Cambridge), Rockland in 1847, and Scarning in 1849 (brazier and tinman of Thringstone); Napoleon (Pooley) born in Lt Cressingham about 1851 and Walter in Kings Lynn about 1855; Trianna christened in Bale in 1859 and buried in Cley next the Sea in 1862 aged four; and another Trianna christened in Hemingham in 1863 daughter of William Waterfield and Amy Woods.

Of these children William, baptised in 1844, married Maria Loveridge (daughter of William, hawker) in Aylsham in 1879, having had yet another William about 1871, and a Napoleon in 1873. Charlotte, baptised in 1847, married Benjamin Clements (son of Benjamin, traveller) in Kings Lynn St Margaret in 1868, but apparently didn’t have issue. And Napoleon, born about 1851, married Lavinia Loveridge, born in Bradford, Yks about 1856, daughter of Hookey, and before his death in Hunworth in 1889 (and burial in Dunton, where his father had been interred in 1874 and his sister Maria was to be in 1890) he and Lavinia had five children: Napoleon junior born in 1882, Adolphus born in Hunworth about 1884, Rodney born in Cley next the Sea about 1886, Sylvester (female) born in Harpley about 1888, and Letitia born in Gresham about 1890; of these Napoleon junior by an Elizabeth had yet another Napoleon, christened in Reepham in 1901, a Violet born in Lowestoft, Sfk about 1903, and an Alice Caroline christened in Hempton in 1908, and Sylvester married Frank Gee in 1909, and had an Ellen Lavinia May Gee amongst others.

Joseph Waterfield, son of William and Charlotte baptised in 1833, married twice. By his first wife, Mary Ann Wolford, he appears to have had four sons: a Joseph junior christened in 1854, who died young; a John (confusingly called James in the 1861 census); another Joseph junior, born in Gaywood about 1859; and a James born in Gaywood about 1863. Of these sons John by an Anna, had a John junior, born about 1872, who married Willoughby Field and had a Colin, Emmanuel, Violet, Emma and William; an Emmanuel, born in the Flegg RD in 1877, who married Beatrice Mendham, daughter of Elijah, in Docking in 1898, and had a Florence christened in Docking in 1899 and seven more children by 1911; an Elias born in Alby about 1880; an Ellen born in S Creake in 1887 (horse dealer of Fakenham); a Sinfie christened in Hempton in 1891; and a Walter born in Corpusty, his mother’s home village, about 1893. The James born about 1863 married twice: by an Emma he had Naomi, James and John, born in Gaywood between about 1884 and 1889; by a Mary Ann he had a Myni (female), Obadiah, Emmanuel, Sylvanus and Isaiah, all born between about 1891 and 1906 in Norfolk except Emmanuel, who was born in Beccles, Sfk.

After the death of his first wife Joseph Waterfield, christened in 1833, married Margaret Gray, christened in Stoke Ferry in 1844 daughter of Robert Gray and Sarah Harris. They had a Naomi, born in 1865 but christened, in E Rudham in 1878 (travelling tinker), only when she was dying (she was buried in E Rudham five days after her baptism). They had a Walter, Ambrose, William and Sylvanus, born between about 1867 and 1872; then Elias christened (as Thomas) in Thornage in 1874, Emmanuel and Agnes christened in E Rudham in 1878 with Naomi (Emmanuel born in 1876), and Jobi born about 1880; and finally Keomi, christened in Stibbard in 1884, and Arthur Gray Waterfield, christened in Sculthorpe in 1887, Joseph on both occasions described as a hawker of Norwich.

Of these children Walter married Alice Keome Reynolds (daughter of Charles, dealer) in Fakenham in 1894: they’d christened Margaret Alice in Alby in 1893, and now had Ebby Selina christened in Erpingham in 1895, Augusta Victoria in N Walsham in 1897 (horse dealer) and Frederick Charles in N Walsham in 1899, plus three more children allegedly born there. Sylvanus married Alice Sadler in 1899, and seems to have had only one child by her, Oswald about 1902. Elias married (son of George!) Alice Sadler daughter of Frederick in Heckford in 1902: they christened three children in Hempton, Olive Agnes Matilda and the short-lived Lily in 1905, Norah in 1906. Emmanuel married an Emily, and christened four children in Hempton in 1908, Prudie born about 1901, Manuel born about 1903, Reuben born about 1905, and Vina (female) born about 1907. Jobi married Ellen Sellers, daughter of Richard, in Swainthorpe in 1902, and had a Richard, Alice and Arthur by 1911. Keomi married Elias’ brother-in-law, Lazarus Pope, son of Frederick, in Aylsham in 1900. And Arthur married Ethel Smith in the Walsingham RD in 1910, having a Jessie in 1915 and an Arthur junior in1920.

The Waterfields were not one of the great Gypsy families, but Joseph, as he lay dying in 1903, may have taken some comfort in having had at least fifteen children, many of whom were keeping many of the old ways going.

Copyright © 2015 Eric Trudgill