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Jeremiah Lee

Eric Trudgill    -    31 July 2016

An Anne Lee was baptised in Farningham, Kent in January 1743 daughter of Jeremiah Lee and Anne Smith (strangers). A Divers Lee was baptised in S Bersted, West Sussex on Christmas Day in 1774 son of Jeremiah and Anne (no further information, but Divers baptised one of his own sons in 1800 as a travellerís child from Basted, Sussex). In the 31 year gap between the baptisms of Anne and Divers Iíve found only two other children of Jeremiah and Anne: a Lazarus Lee, baptised in Langley Marish, Bucks in 1754 (a travellerís child) and a William Lee baptised in Boxley, Kent in 1757.

Itís possible the gap between Anne and Divers wasnít quite as wide as it looks: Divers may have been baptised late (or for a second time) to secure the presents from priest or church members that not uncommonly went with a Christmas Day christening. Just the same, Gypsy women often married very young and did go on bearing children for upwards of thirty years; and since Gypsy men also often married young, Divers would not have been unusual if he was less than twenty when he married in September 1794.

Still, we clearly need more than four children for Jeremiah and Anne, and itís possible we should add to them the Jeremiah Lee, husband of Brittany, who baptised a Clementina in High Wycombe, Bucks in 1774 and a William in Hitcham, Bucks in 1776, and even add the John Lee, husband of Tish, who baptised a Joanna in Fingest, Bucks in 1782 and presumably an Amelia (I think) in West Wycombe, Bucks in 1785 daughter of James and Tish. Langley Marish, where Jeremiah baptised Lazarus, isnít far from High Wycombe, Hitcham, Fingest and West Wycombe.

Itís possible too we can give Jeremiah, father of Divers, a brother in the Dives Lee, husband of Mary, who baptised a Thomas in Selling, Kent in 1743 (of Rochester) and an Elizabeth in Wye, Kent in 1757 (gypsies): Rochester isnít far from Boxley, where Jeremiah baptised William. But really, with Jeremiahís siblings as with his children, weíre clutching at straws until more family members are discovered in the records.

What we do know is that Jeremiahís Lazarus married Eleanor Button in Salehurst, Sussex in 1776, and that they baptised four children: Prudence in Dartford Holy Trinity, Kent in 1777, Sophia in Wadhurst, Sussex in 1780, Israel in Wateringbury, Kent in 1783 (vagrants), and Nathaniel in Chevening, Kent in 1789. Israel married a Charlotte and christened a Lazarus in Betchworth, Surrey twice, in December 1824 (son of a chimney sweep, not fully baptised) and in April 1824 (son of a sweep). And Lazarus married an Ellen, had an Israel and a Henry born in Woodchurch, Kent about 1847-49, and was buried in Benenden, Kent in 1878 aged 55 of Cranbrook Union.

What we also know is that Jeremiahís Divers married Mary Wright in Chartham, Kent in 1794, and that he baptised four sons in Kent one after another: Joseph Lee in Appledore in 1797 (vagrants), William in Aldington in 1800 (travellerís child from Basted, Sussex), James in Strood in 1803, and Stephen in Luddenham in 1805.

William Lee, baptised in 1800, I think married Sarah Drawbridge [baptised base born daughter of Mary in Salehurst, Sussex in 1810] in Salehurst in 1826. They had a William born about 1827, a Joseph christened in Steyning, Sussex in 1830, and a James, John, Henry, Mary Ann, Emily and Ellen all born in Sussex between about 1832 and 1848.

And Stephen Lee, baptised in 1805, married an Elizabeth and christened the following children: John in Bishops Waltham, Hants in 1831, Henry in Betchworth, Surrey in 1834, William in Speldham, Kent in 1840, James in South Bersted in 1843 (chimney sweep), Dorcas in Ashurst, Kent in 1845 (tinman) who married George Gander in Rusthall, Kent in 1866, Job in Speldham in 1850, and Absolom in Bexley, Kent in 1852; there was also a Sampson born about 1848.

Copyright © 2016 Eric Trudgill