Hannah Whiting c.1835-1871

Parents: George Whiting and Rose Rowlinson (1)
Born: ?
Baptised: 13th September 1835 at St Mary's Church, Withersfield (1)
Married: Samuel Dockerill, 30, labourer, batchelor, of Horseheath, Cambs, son of Joseph Dockerill in 1855.(2)
Children: Susannah Dockerill b.1855 died in infancy, Catherine Julia Dockerill b.1857, Susannah Dockerill b.1860 and Harry William Dockerill b.1866
Died: September 1871 in Withersfield. Buried at St Mary's Church, Withersfield on 15th September 1871.(3,4)

Bio: Hannah was born around 1835 in Withersfield, and appears on the 1841 census there living with her parents and siblings.

She shows up on the 1851 census as a servant at Limberhurst Farm, Horseheath, in the household of Samuel Wakeling Basham, 47, a farmer of 250 acres. Horseheath is a village just to the west of Withersfield. Also living in the house was Samuel's wife Elizabeth, 45, whose maiden name was Paxman.

The Bashams had a son and daughter Frederick and Sarah, and a lodger William Wakeling Basham, 70, who was Samuel's father.

The Bashams were involved in a court appeal in 1862(5) which centered around Samuel's son, also called Samuel, who had married an Elizabeth Rowlinson in 1848, moved to Withersfield and had five children before deserting her and causing her to be a pauper. The issues surrounded the joint lease of the farm with Samuel and his father, and an order of removal for Elizabeth from Withersfield to Horseheath which would mean she was the responsibility of a different Poor Law Union.

Hannah's job at Limberhurst Farm could have come about as a result of a Rowlinson family connection. Her mother Rose may well have been related to Elizabeth, the wife of Samuel Basham junior.

Four years later, Hannah married Samuel Dockerill of Horseheath, who was the son of Joseph and Ann Dockerill. Banns were read at Horseheath on 25th February 1855.(6)

The couple must have moved to Withersfield soon after. They had a daughter Susannah who was baptised there on 29th July 1855, but she was to die aged 2 months.(1,7) A daughter called Catherine Julia was baptised at St Mary's Withersfield on 25th January 1857, but then their next child Susan was baptised at All Saints Church, Horseheath, on 22nd January 1860(6) implying they'd moved back there around this time.

We see them on the 1861 census in Horseheath living near to Limberhurst Farm, and indeed Samuel was most likely working on it as an agricultural labourer. Hannah is here, although her birthplace is incorrectly given as Horseheath. Daughters (Catherine) Julia, 5, and Susan, 1, are also present.

At some point in the next decade the family moved back to Withersfield because they have a son, Harry William, who was baptised there on 20th May 1866.(1)

The 1871 census sees Hannah and Samuel living at Hanchett Hall. Samuel is a labourer, and children Susan, a scholar, and Harry are both living with them.

Sadly Hannah was to die later that year, and was buried at Withersfield Church on 15th September 1871.(4,7)

Samuel is living at Hanchet End, Withersfield on the 1881 census. Strangely, he is listed as being married. No wife is present in the household. Daughter Susan and son Harry are living with him, and he has a son Frederick Samuel, who was born in 1877. Who was the mother? I can find no record of a marriage for Samuel in the years after Hannah's death in 1871.

We find Frederick being baptised on 9th June 1878 and he is entered as the illegitimate son of Susan.(1) Are we to presume Samuel is covering up for his daughter by pretending to the census-taker that the child is his, and that he's still married? This is the certainly the most preferable of a number of conclusions we could draw.

It seems Samuel's fortunes declined in the next few years because when he died in 1885 he was in the care of the Risbridge Union at the Workhouse in Kedington. He was buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 23rd May 1885.(7,8)


(1) Suffolk Baptism Index, SFHS, Clare Deanery 1813-1900.
(2) Marriage Register. 1st Quarter 1855, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 433
(3) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Withersfield, FL653/4/p3
(4) Death Register. 3rd Quarter 1871, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 275
(5) Suffolk Michaelmass Sessions, The Ipswich Journal, Saturday, 25th October 1862, issue 6442. C19th British Library Newspapers.
(6) Horseheath Parish Registers, 1553-1950, CFHS
(7) Suffolk Burial Index, SFHS, 1538-1900
(8) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1885, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 352