Lydia Whiting c.1780-1866

Parents: Daniel Whiting and Elizabeth Hilsdon (1,3)
Born: c.1780 in Haverhill.
Baptised: 1st October 1780 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. (1,3)
Married: James Halls, 17, of Shudy Camps on 27th November 1799 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. (1,4)
Children: Mary Halls Whiting b.1799, Sarah Halls b.1803 died in infancy, John Halls b.1805, Thomas Halls b.1808
Died: September 1866 in Shudy Camps. Buried on 12th September 1866 at St Mary's Church, Shudy Camps.(2,5)

Bio: Lydia was born c.1780 in Haverhill and baptised at St Mary's church on 1st October 1780.

There is a reference to the marriage of James Halls (otherwise known as Hall) and Lydia Whiting in both the parish baptismal registers and in Barnabas Webb's diary. The diary gives James' age as 17, and place of residence as Shudy Camps. Lydia's brother Daniel also married someone from Shudy Camps four years later and lived there for some time himself.

It looks as if Lydia's first child Mary was born before her marriage to James. There is a Mary Halls Whiting baptised at St Mary's on 26th December 1802, and the age of the child is given as 3 years.(3)

It seems that Lydia and James lived in Haverhill for a time after their marriage, because their children are born there.

Daughter Sarah Halls was born 27th October 1803, and baptised at St Mary's on 1st January 1804. Her mother is noted on the baptism index as being 'Ann'(3), but as the mothers maiden name is given as 'Whiting', and the burial of a Sarah Halls, aged 3, the daughter of Lydia and James, is recorded on the 4th June 1807(6) it seems reasonable to assume the mention of 'Ann' is a transcription error.

The parish register reveals they were living at Race Farm, Haverhill, at the time of son Thomas Halls baptism in 1806.

On the 1841 census we find James and Lydia living in Mill Green, Shudy Camps. Their children have now left home. James is working as an agricultural labourer. Their ages are both given as 55 which is a little innacurate from what we know. They are also both listed as not being born in the county that they were then residing in - in this case Cambridgeshire. So perhaps James was not born in Shudy Camps? This becomes clear on the next census in 1851 where we see them living in Church End, Shudy Camps, and James' birthplace is given as Helions Bumpstead. Lydia's birthplace is confirmed as Haverhill. They are both paupers, and their ages are given as 70 which is fairly accurate.

James died on 31st July 1860 in Shudy Camps(2), and was survived by Lydia who appears as a widow of 80 on the 1861 census in Mill Green, Shudy Camps. She is head of a household that included her grandson Charles Mynott, 27, who is unmarried, Sarah Mynott, 20, married, who is listed as daughter but is actually her granddaughter. On the next page of the census, but I think living in the same house, (on this census, double slashes seperated houses) are Thomas and Mary Mynott, 62 & 63, and their son Richard Mynott, 21. By looking at the parish registers for Shudy Camps we see that Mary Mynott was infact Lydia's daughter and that she had married Thomas Mynott on 7th November 1819 in Shudy Camps.(2) Charles, Sarah and Richard are all Lydia's grandchildren.

Lydia died in Shudy Camps in 1866 and was buried at St Mary's Church.(2) Her age was given as 85 which is accurate to within a year of her actual age as we know it. The GRO index does even better with 86.(5)

So, although we cannot be 100% certain that this Lydia is the same Lydia who was born to Daniel and Elizabeth, there is enough circumstantial evidence to convince me including her place of birth, age, and the fact that there is no other Lydia Whiting I know of around at a similar time in the area.

It would be interesting to know if James and Lydia had any more children other than Mary, Sarah, John and Thomas who are on the Suffolk Baptism Index. This is something that is hard to establish because at the time of the 1841 census any that they'd had had left home.


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/
(2) Cambridge Family History Society, Transcriptions of the Parish Registers of Shudy Camps. Baptisms, Marriages & Burials at St Mary's Church.
(3) SFHS. Suffolk Baptism Index. Clare Deanery 1754-1812.
(4) Barnabas Webb’s pocket-book, Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds. HA553/1
(5) Death Register. 3rd Quarter 1866, Linton District, Volume 3b Page 294
(6) SFHS. Suffolk Burial Index 1538-1900.