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John Sherriff

Eric Trudgill    -    5 May 2013

John Sherriff was baptised in Bishops Itchington, Wks in 1763, son of Thomas Sherriff (almost certainly son of Isaac and Susanna) and Mary Butler, who had married in Alderminster, Wks in 1759 and were usually described as travellers when christening their children. He himself married Martha Alliss in Peatling Magna, Leics in 1783, and it’s possible between 1795 and 1801 he married a Mary and subsequently fathered, amongst others, the famous Isaac Sherriff who married Rebecca Biddle.

John and Martha christened the following children: Mary Sherriff, in Watford, Northants in 1782; John Sherriff junior in Priors Marston, Wks in 1784, who married Elizabeth Hodgkins (probably daughter of Thomas and Jane) in Hillmorton, Wks in 1812; Thomas Sherriff in Newbold, Wks in 1786 travellers; Martha Sherriff in Milton Ernest, Beds in 1791 gypsies, who married John Smith (son of William and Eleanor); and Joseph Sherriff in Byfield, Northants in 1795 travellers, who married Maria Colburn (daughter of William Colburn and Elizabeth Boswell) in Newnham, Northants in 1814. I know a little about Joseph (there isn’t much to know), more about John junior, and more still about Martha junior.

Joseph Sherriff died fairly soon after his marriage: in 1824 in Foleshill, Wks Maria Sherriff, widow, married the well-known Brington Clayton. The only children I’ve found for Joseph and Maria are Emily Sherriff, christened in Dunchurch, Wks in 1815 chimney sweep of Byfield, Northants, and Susannah Sherriff, christened in Bradden, Northants in 1818 (daughter of Joseph and Mary vagrants), who married Moses Smith, son of the famous Woodfine, and christened (all Smiths) Isaiah in Barby, Northants in 1836, Marina in S Luffenham, Rutland in 1838, Moses in Frolesworth, Leics in 1840, Sylvester in Church Gresley, Dby in 1845, Eliza in Weeford, Staffs in 1847, Delina in Ashover, Dby in 1850, Francis in Tamworth, Staffs in 1852, Harriet in Overseal, Leics in 1855, and Matilda in Whittington, Staffs in 1859(there was another child, Sidney, born in Derbyshire about 1842, who in his old age married Maria Sherriff, the twice widowed granddaughter of Brington and Maria).

John Sherriff junior and Elizabeth Hodgkins were in comparison with Joseph positively prolific, having eleven children: John christened in Cransley, Northants in 1814 gypsy tinker; Joseph and William in Clifton, Wks in 1816 and 1818 respectively; Josiah in Mowsley, Leics in 1821; Thomas in Bedworth, Wks in 1824; James in Priors Marston, Wks in 1826; Elizabeth in Burton Hastings, Wks in 1829; George, born in Bulkington, Wks about 1831; Riley, christened in Bedworth in 1834; and Martha and Isabella in Bulkington in 1837 and 1840 respectively. Of these Riley married Mary Thornton in Bulkington in 1863, and apparently had no issue; Isabella married Frederick Sanby in Welshpool, Montgomeryshire in 1864, and had a Thomas, Martha, John, Benjamin, George and Mary about 1864-78; whilst the John christened in 1814 and the Josiah (sometimes Jonas) christened in 1821 were as prolific as their parents.

The John Sherriff christened in 1814 married Sarah Holland,daughter of Benjamin Holland and Sarah Hodgkins, in Arnesley, Leics in 1832, and had the following children: Eleanor, born in Middleton, Northants about 1832; Carolina, christened in Walgrave, Northants in 1834, John in Market Bosworth, Leics in 1836, and presumably another Caroline in Exhall, Rutland in 1839; Craseanna (probably Christiana), born in Walsall, Staffs about 1840; Noah, christened in Coventry Holy Trinity, Wks in 1844 and buried in Coventry St Peter shortly after; Elizabeth, christened in Coventry Holy Trinity in 1847; Moses and Sarah Ann, born about 1849 and 1852; Jonas, christened in Foleshill, Wks in 1854 and buried in Coventry Cemetery in 1856; and Matilda, christened in Coventry Holy Trinity in 1857.

The Josiah/Jonas christened in 1821 married Jane Hodgkins, and had the following children: Elizabeth, christened in Willey, Wks in 1814; Sarah christened in Bedworth in 1845 and buried in Newbold a few months later; John, christened in Bulkington in 1847, and Thomas in Kettering St Peter, Northants in 1849; Amos, christened in Foleshill in 1852 and buried there in 1854; James, William and Emma, born in Wks 1854-58; Mary and Agnes, christened in Bulkington in1860 and 1866 respectively, and Elijah christened in Foleshill in-between, in 1863.

The other prolific child of John Sherriff and Martha Allis, Martha junior, had eight known children by John Smith, christened in Stewkley, Bucks in 1793 son of William and Eleanor travellers. Five were christened as Smiths, children of John and Martha, gypsy travellers: Thomas in Kyme, Lincs in 1812; William in Witham on the Hill, Lincs in 1814; John in Buckminster, Leics in 1818; Mary Ann in Londonthorpe, Lincs in 1825 (chimney sweeper of Wendover, Bucks); and Mark in Radmile, Leics in 1828 (chimney sweeper of Stukely, Bucks) But the other three were christened as Sherriffs, son or illegitimate son of Martha: Joseph in Knipton, Leics in 1821 (traveller); James in Barkestone, Leics in 1822 (with some travelling chimney sweepers); and Isaac in Ruskington, Lincs in 1830 (travelling woman). The baptismal surname here reflects the presence or absence of Martha’s husband,and you should note that as adults, in the census and when christening children, Thomas Smith and Mark Smith each called himself a Sherriff, and Isaac Sherriff called himself a Smith. With Gypsies it’s best to avoid excessively narrow one-name genealogical studies.

Of the eight children of John and Martha I’ve traced as yet no spouses or offspring for John or Mary Ann. But Thomas, son of John and Martha, married a Sophia and had the following children: William and Thomas, born about 1830 and 1833; James Sherriff christened in Tombland, Lincs in 1838, and a short-lived Sophia Sherriff in Hougham, Lincs in 1840; Martha, Maria and Silvester, born in GtGonerby, Lincs about 1842-49; and Mark Sherriff, christened in Norton, Dby in 1852. William, son of John and Martha, married a Mary and had the following children: John, William and Duranda Smith, christened respectively in CroxtonKerrial, Leics in 1834, Long Clawson, Leics in 1836, and Harmston, Lincs in 1839; Ellen, Mary Ann, Particker and Israel, born in Lincs about 1843-51; Amboretta and General Smith, christened respectively in Navenby, Lincs in 1852 and Wellingore, Lincs in 1854; and Flora and Diverus, born in GtGonerby about 1858-62. Joseph, son of John and Martha, wed a Sarah and had a Thomas, born about 1846, and Mark Weston Sherriff, christened in Gedling, Notts in 1850.

James, son of John and Martha, married Amboretta Smith, daughter of Humphrey and Mary, and christened, as Smiths,Keziah in Brent Broughton, Lincs in 1844, Emma in Long Bennington, Lincs in 1845, Martha in Kirton in Holland, Lincs in 1848, Isaac in Frolesworth, Leics in 1852, Eliza in Colly Weston, Northants in 1854, Harriet in GtGidding, Hunts in 1856, and James in Market Harborough, Leics in 1859 (to these we can perhaps add Riley Smith, born in Ryhall, Rutland about 1850). Mark, son of John and Martha, married Naomi Smith, daughter of Humphrey and Mary, in Bingham, Notts in 1848, and had William, born about 1849; Mary Ann and James Sherriff, christened in Barrowden, Rutland respectively in 1852 and 1854; Eliza Smith, christened in Bourne, Lincs in 1856; Isaac Sherriff, christened in Warmington, Northants in 1859; Ellen Smith, christened in Glandford Brigg, Lincs in 1861; Alfred and Mary, born about 1863-65; Emma Smith, christened in Melton Mowbray, Leics in 1867; and Mark, born in Newark, Notts about 1874. Finally Isaac, son of John and Martha, married Keziah Smith, daughter of Ezekiel Tenant and Beechenny in Bourne, Lincs in 1852, and had Edingale Smith, christened in Sutton St James, Lincs in 1854; Bartholomew Smith, christened in Swineshead, Lincs in 1856; and Frederick and Keziah, born in Gosberton, Lincs about 1858-62.

I’m grateful to Trevor Coleman for giving me some very useful Sherriff sightings several years ago, just when I needed them.

Copyright © 2013 Eric Trudgill