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Valentine Brinkley

Eric Trudgill    -    5 March 2016

Robert Brinkley, a traveller, married Elizabeth Tunstill in Ayot St Peter, Herts in 1792, and baptised five sons and four daughters 1790-1809 in a part of mid-Herts about 12 miles wide and 8 miles deep (all locations henceforth will be in Herts unless otherwise specified). Two of their sons had especially interesting families, not least because of the recurrence of the striking forename, Valentine.

Job (sometimes Joseph) Brinkley, son of Robert and Elizabeth baptised in Wheathampstead in 1792, married an Ann and christened the following children on pretty much his parentsí little patch in mid-Herts: James in Hertford St Stephen in 1813; Sidney in Welwyn in 1814, who married Maria Harris; Jonathan in Knebworth in 1816, who married Rachel Sudle in Cambridge St Andrew, Cambs in 1841; and Valentine in Redbourn in 1819, who married Mary Ann Beeton. To these we can probably add the James Brinkley who claimed heíd been born in Cambridgeshire about 1830, when travelling with Jonathan and Rachel Brinkley in the 1861 census, and who married a Caroline and had the Valentine Brinkley born in Ely, Cambs in 1874.

Jobís son Valentine Brinkley, baptised in 1819, and Mary Ann had five children born or baptised in Cambs: Anice christened in Impington in 1841, a short-lived Valentine junior christened in Barton in 1844, Sidney born about 1842, Urania (Reny) born in Cambridge RD in 1850, and Jane born in Barnwell about 1852. Valentine and Mary Ann also had seven children seemingly born in Norfolk: a short-lived Marrelly born about 1847; a second Valentine junior born in Grimstone about 1853, who married Elizabeth Reynolds Moore in Norfolk in 1876, and died in Yorkshire in 1878 aged 25; Mary Ann, Harriet and Plato born about 1855-59; Silvanus and Annis born respectively in 1861 and about 1864 (Silvanus marrying Margaret Simpson, and having a Valentine, born in Yorkshire in 1892, who married Annie Boyd). The three generations of Valentines in this section of the family and their siblings donít seem to be problematic.

William Brinkley, son of Robert and Elizabeth baptised in Knebworth in 1804, however, headed a family that is a bit tricky. He married Ann Shaw, daughter of Elijah and Sarah, in Hitchin in 1828, and christened the following children again on pretty much his parentsí little patch in mid-Herts: Francis in Knebworth in 1828; Valentine in Tewin 17/12/1839, who married Rhoda Scarrett, widow of Theophilus and daughter of William Smith; Betsy in Hertford St Andrew in 1843, but born 25/1/1842; and Rodney in Codicote in 1846, who married a Rosina. To these we can certainly add Walter Brinkley, born in Datchworth about 1838 or 1844 (he was 28 in 1867 at his wedding to Henrietta Haynes [Esther Loveridge daughter of Levi Loveridge and Catherine Haynes], and he was 26 four years later in the census).

Williamís son Valentine Brinkley, baptised in 1839, and Rhoda Scarrett had four children before Valentineís death in Edmonton RD in 1885 aged 46: Valentine junior, christened in Benington in 1877, who married a Rose and christened five children in Ardeley 1906-12; James christened in Edmonton St Paul, Mdx in 1879 (the Edmonton area was becoming for William and Ann Brinkleyís family as important a ďhomeĒ as its traditional base in mid-Herts); Edward born in Middlesex about 1881, who married Priscilla Penfold daughter of Richard and Jane; and Gentie christened in Ardeley in 1883, who married Solomon Coode in Hertford St Andrew in 1905.

Williamís son Walter Brinkley and Esther had three sons born between about 1862 and 1867: Walter junior born in Harpenden, Herts, who married Counselletta Scarrett daughter of Theophilus and Walter juniorís aunt by marriage, Rhoda; Rodney born in Datchworth, who married first Jane Penfold and later Selina Draper daughter of Henry Johnson; and Job born in Bedford, Beds, who married Lavinia Matthews. Walter and Esther later had three daughters between 1878 and about 1885: Hannah Mazella christened in Welwyn in 1879 but born 4/12/1878, who married in Edmonton RD in 1896; Lementina born in Wood Green, Mdx about 1883, and Louisa born in Hendon, Mdx about 1885. The decade-long gap between Job and Hannah Mazella can be partly filled, it seems, by the Sophia Alice affirmed by her descendants and probably born in Shenley in 1871 as the unnamed child of Walter Brinkley, chairmender, and Jane formerly Loveridge; and the decade-long gap can be further filled seemingly by the William and Ann Brinkley, named after Walter seniorís parents, who named children respectively Levi and Esther after Walter seniorís father-in-law and wife.

Williamís son Rodney Brinkley, baptised in 1846, and Rosina probably christened an Eliza Ann in Hertford All Saints in 1884 daughter of Rodney and Ranie hawker, though Rodney in the census doesnít give us much to work with.

Much of William and Annís family structure, then, seems fairly straightforward. But there are questions I havenít yet addressed. Who was the Valentine Brinkley, born in Potton, Beds about 1825, husband of Sarah, travelling in 1881 with Valentine and Rhoda? And who was the Joseph Brinkley, born in Herts about 1859, husband of Cinderella, travelling in 1881 with the two Valentines?

This third early Valentine, born about 1825, was surely the child of a third son of Robert and Elizabeth: perhaps of James (baptised in St Paulís Walden in 1794), who married Rebecca Cook in 1818, baptised an Elizabeth in Knebworth in 1824, travellers, was a broom maker in Tewin in the 1861 census, and was buried in Tewin in 1862; perhaps of Charles (baptised in St Paulís Walden in 1797), who may have been the chairmender, husband of Susan, christening James Brinkley in Edmonton All Saints in 1849; and perhaps even Jonathan (baptised in Watton at Stone in 1809) by an earlier partner than his principal wife, Aquilla Smith, baptised in 1816.

Similarly Joseph Brinkley (sometimes Job), husband of Cinderella Johnson, was surely the child of a son of William and Ann, perhaps of Francis baptised in 1828, perhaps of another, as yet unknown. Joseph, apart from travelling in 1881 with William and Annís Valentine, also christened a child jointly in S Acton, Mdx in 1888 with Walter junior son of William and Annís Walter; the child was named Rodney, like Walter and Estherís, after William and Annís Rodney, just as Walter and Estherís Rodney and Job were to follow Joseph in naming children Moses and Faimbridge. After Josephís death his son Moses, who married Rose Sheppard in Hertford St Andrew in 1903, was travelling in 1911 with Walter and Estherís Job.

Thereís surely a good case, then, for seeing Joseph as the child of a son of William and Ann. And thereís a good case too, I think, for giving him two brothers. One is the Edward Brinkley, husband of Amadine, who christened a child alongside Joseph and his cousin Walter junior in S Acton in 1888. Amadine was christened in 1857 daughter of Thomas and Maria Beldam, so Edward was probably born about 1857. The other prospective brother for Joseph is the Valentine Brinkley born in Bedford about 1867 (the same place and time as for Job Brinkley son of Walter and Esther, suggesting their fathers were travelling together). This Valentine married an Eliza, perhaps a Smith, and had a William born in Southgate, Mdx about four years after Edward and Amadine had had a William born there. He also sustained the family tradition by naming his first child, born in Edgware, Mdx about 1889, as yet another Valentine Brinkley.

Copyright © 2016 Eric Trudgill