John (3) Woodhurst

Home Page Root Page Census Records GRO Records Parish Records Names Directory

Brief biography

John (3) Woodhurst was born to parents William (13) Woodhurst and his wife Elizabeth and was christened on December 12th 1762 at Detling, Kent [IGI: Batch C042660].

On September 27th 1791 he married by Banns the daughter Mary of John Ferris at Eastling, which lies about 10 miles east of Detling and 16 miles west of Canterbury [Parish Register Marriages 1754-1812, CCA: Film U3/208/1/3]. The register spells their surnames as "Woodwards" and "Farris", respectively. The witnesses were John Bourton - whose connection is unknown - and William Drewrey. The latter was probably the William "Drewry" whom the 1841 Census finds living in Eastling Street aged "75" and occupied as a bricklayer.

Around 1809-10 he may have been living in Frindsbury, as his daughter Ann (4) claimed that as her birthplace in the 1851 Census.

He appears to have been in financial difficulties by the early 1820s. Numerous records of Poor Relief payments made on behalf of him, his wife, his children and other relatives appear from 1821 onwards in the Eastling Parish Overseers' Accounts. As an example, a payment of 3s-0d was approved in November 1834 at a time when his leg had been broken. This source cites their surname as Woodhouse throughout the 1820s, but mostly as Woodhurst from 1831 onwards. Some of the family were in a workhouse in May 1821 and were having their clothes and shoes paid for by the Overseers. These Eastling accounts, taken overall, provide some of the strongest evidence for the genealogical connections in this family.

The 1841 Census finds John (3) and Mary (with surname Woodhouse) living, with several other households, at Great House in Eastling. Both their ages were given as "75", and he was occupied as an agricultural labourer.

John (3) died in 1849. His death certificate [Death Index: Faversham 5 142, 1849 (Sept) - indexed as "Woodhouse"] states that he died in Eastling on August 21st 1849 and describes him as a labourer aged "84". This date is consistent with the fact that when his son William (3) - a brick-maker - remarried in October 1849 he described his father as a deceased brick-maker. The cause of death was certified as "dyspepsia 1 month, gastritis 1 week". The informant, in attendance at the death, was George Davis Shilling of Eastling; he may have been related to the Maria Shilling who on May 18th 1816 was married at Milton-next-Sittingbourne to a Thomas Hobbs, possibly a relative of Frances (nee Hobbs) who married John (3)'s son Edward (1) at Murston, just a mile or two from Milton. John (3) was buried as "John Wodehouse, 84 years" at Eastling on August 26th 1849 [Parish Register Burials 1813-1925, CCA: Film U3/208/1/5].

The 1851 Census finds Mary (with surname Woodhouse) living in Eastling, living on Parish Relief; the record gives her age as "84" and her birthplace as Wormshill, in precise agreement with her christening there in 1767. Lodging with her, and also living on Parish Relief, was another widow Elizabeth Smith aged "74" and born in Pluckley (about 8 miles south-south-west of Eastling). In 1841 this Elizabeth was apparently living at Pig Green in Eastling with a George Smith. She may have been related to John (3)'s family in some way.

Mary died in 1854. The death certificate [Death Index: Faversham 2a 353, 1854 (March)] states that she died at Eastling on February 15th 1854 and describes her simply as a widow "Mary Woodhouse" aged "87". The cause of death is cited as "accidentally burnt" and the informant was Thomas Thorpe Delasaux, the Coroner for Canterbury. The Coroner's inquest was reported in The Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers' Gazette on February 25th as follows:

"On Friday, Mr. Delasaux held an inquest at Eastling on the body of a poor old woman, named Mary Woodhouse, whose death had resulted from accidental burning. The wife of James Harris having her attention directed, ran to deceased's chamber, and found her surrounded with flames, which were extinguished as soon as possible, but not before much injury had been inflicted on the deceased, as to occasion her death next day. Her clothes had caught behind, when she was standing by the fire; and it was stated in evidence, that on several previous occasions a similar event had befallen her. Being 87 years of age, she was in a great degree helpless, which exposed her to such an accident. A verdict of "Accidental death" was returned."

She was buried as "Mary Wodehouse, 87 years" at Eastling on February 20th 1854 [Parish Register Burials 1813-1925, CCA: Film U3/208/1/5]. The Parish Register also notes that she had been "burnt to death".

His children by Mary Ferris

  1. perhaps ... John (9) Woodhurst
  2. William (3) Woodhurst
  3. probably ... Hannah (3) Woodhurst
  4. probably ... Elizabeth (6) Woodhurst
  5. Frances (3) Woodhurst
  6. Mary Ann (5) Woodhurst
  7. Edward (1) Woodhurst
  8. John (6) Woodhurst
  9. probably ... Thomas (2) Woodhurst
  10. Ann (4) Woodhurst
  11. and possibly others ...

The child listed above as John (9) was christened at Eastling on December 25th 1791 [Parish Register Baptisms 1558-1794, CCA: Film U3/208/1/1]. The register records him as "John, son of John and Mary Woodard", but the surname is given as "Woodward" in the corresponding Bishops' Transcripts. No further reference to him by the name John has yet been found. Moreover, no record has yet been found of the christening of William (3) who, according to census records, was also born at Eastling around 1791-92. It is highly likely that the above christening was actually that of William (3) and that he was misrecorded as John - it was a common error in early parish baptism registers for a child and a parent to be accidentally entered under the same forename. Otherwise, if John was a distinct child, he ought to have died some time prior to the birth of John (6). But no such death appears in the Eastling burial records of that period.

Thomas (2) is suspected to have been a child of John (3) and to have been the "Thos. Woodhouse" mentioned as receiving relief in several entries in the Eastling Parish Overseers' Accounts during the 1820s. Nothing more is known of him.