The history of weddings

I have just completed the research for my latest talk on ‘The History of Weddings’. As I am sure that many of you will know, the paperwork has changed a fair bit over the years. Prior to the introduction of proper marriage registers, the local vicars could add as much (or little) detail as they liked. I am particularly taken by the mad old Vicar of Seasalter, who was very forthright in his description of two of his parishioners who chose to marry in 1744. The groom was described as a ‘young gape-mouthed lazy fellow’ whilst the bride was ‘an old toothless wriggling hagg’. Hopefully John Housden and Hannah Matthews were illiterate and never knew what had been written about them on their wedding day.

The Kent Family History Society

Great minds think alike; I have only just updated my website and I find that the KFHS has too! It has lots of useful information for anyone with Kent ancestry, and also includes details of upcoming talks at various local branches of the Society. I would thoroughly recommend Peter Ewart’s talk, ‘Some Mother’s Son’, all about a photograph album found in an antique shop and the story of the family whose photographs it included. A real tearjerker! Also don’t miss Lee Ault’s talk about ‘Rationed Fashion’, I have heard several of her talks, complete with many examples of clothing from the era, and they are always very engaging.

Happy New Year

I would like to wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year.

Perhaps you have been in touch with lots of family members over Christmas and talked about your family history? If you have unanswered questions about your family, why not get in touch with me and make 2018 the year you finally discover more about your ancestors!

Slept in a shed

This post is for anyone who feels that their house isn’t big enough, or their furnishings need updating, or is generally unhappy with where they live. I came across this entry in the 1871 census for Nonington yesterday:


‘Slept in Shed’ was the address for the Gatehouse family, with two young children, AND Mrs Gatehouse was pregnant AND they had a lodger! In a shed! Well done to the census enumerator though, good work.

Farage found Guilty of Theft at Old Bailey

A search in the Old Bailey court records ( shows that one Daniel Farage, a 15 year old apprentice, was found guilty of stealing two pairs of boots and 14 pairs of shoes at a trial on 11 September 1822. He was sentenced to a whipping for his crime. Daniel Farage was baptised on 23 August 1807 at Mitcham in Surrey. He was the son of Edward and Maria Farage, and appears to be the great-great-great uncle of a certain Nigel P. Farage.