In my last post I talked about how the surname Wafforne had become very interesting to me in my research into my husband Paul’s family tree. That post detailed the line going back from Paul’s maternal grandfather’s mother – Mary Ann Brightwell Rawlins to the link to the Wafforne family through her grandmother Julia.
Julia Wafforne was Paul’s 3x great grandmother, born in 1848 in Leicester the daughter of William Wafforne born in Leicester in 1824. William in turn was the son of another William Wafforne b. 1786 – my first post had told William’s story from his marriage to Sarah Ann Burr in 1806 and some information about their children and what became of William and Sarah. This post will focus on William’s line going further back.
William Wafforne was born on 22nd November 1786 in Market Harborough, Leicestershire and was baptised at the Independant Chapel there a month later. His parents were William Wafforne and Ann Green who had married earlier that year on the 16th February at Market Harborough. William was noted as being from Lutterworth while Ann was from Market Harborough. Their marriage was reported in the local paper with Ann being described as “an agreeable young lady with a handsome fortune.”
A month later William advertised in the same paper for his business in Lutterworth.
William and Ann had a son Thomas around 1788 although I have not found a baptism for him.
I then went on to find a record of a widow Ann Wafforne getting married in Market Harborough on 26th December 1791 to an Ebenezer Cooke. Three of the witnesses to the marriage were related to Ann – her brother George Green, and her married sister Susannah Hughes and her husband John Hughes. So what had happened to William Wafforne? I couldn’t find a burial for him in any nearby parishes but did find a burial for a Thomas Wafforne on 29th July 1790 at the Independent Chapel in Market Harborough aged 27 – giving a year of birth around 1763. It is possible the clerk made an error in the register calling him Thomas rather than William, as there are no other possible entries and this would fit well with Ann being a widow in 1791 to marry again.
Ann and Ebenezer had two children, George b. 1793 and Ann b. 1794 but it appears that Ann may have died sometime after having her daughter as there is another marriage for Ebenezer Cook(e) in 1805 to a Mary Gregory in Leicester. It doesn’t state if he was a widower or a bachelor. He and Mary had two children, William b. 1808 and Mary b. 1812 – Mary was baptised later in 1820 and her baptism entry gives her father’s occupation as Tailor. It looks like Ebenezer died in Leicester in 1843.
The History of Market-Harborough, in Leicestershire, and It’s Vicinity dated 1808 mentions a Mr Wafforne who is renting a house on the estate in Thorpe Lubbenham (Lubenham) – this may relate to William or possibly his brother Thomas.
I haven’t found any details of any wills for either William Wafforne or his widow Ann, and it isn’t clear who raised their two sons William and Thomas, but Thomas married Frances Linnett in Heyford, Northamptonshire in 1810 and was a Tailor like his brother. He and Frances had nine children, William b. 1810, Ann b. 1813, Dinah b. 1819, Frances b. 1822, Frederick b. 1824, George b. 1828, Charlotte b. 1830, Lavinia b. 1832 and Henry b. 1837. Thomas and his family lived in Nottinghamshire and he died there in 1865.
I had a bit of a time trying to find out more about William Wafforne who had married Ann Green, the marriage entry stated he was of Lutterworth but of course that didn’t mean he was born there. There was a congregation of people named Wafforn in Welton in Northamptonshire and I had found an apprenticeship entry for a William Wafforn in nearby Sawbridge in 1773 with duties being paid for his apprenticeship to John Williams – a Tailor. I then found a baptism in nearby Daventry, Northamptonshire on 10th March 1762 for a William Wafforn – spurious son of Grace. So William was an illegitimate child, however Grace wasn’t some young unmarried mother, she was a widow aged about 36. There was a reference to a settlement certificate for Grace and her son William settling in Welton later in 1762.
Grace Wafforn(e) was born Grace Crow in 1726/7 in North Kilworth, Leicestershire the daughter of William Crow and Ann Thornton. She married John Wafforn on 15th October 1753 in Towester, Northamptonshire. John was born in Welton in 1731 the son of a Joshua and Elizabeth Wafforn. He and Grace had two children together while living in Welton, Ann b. 1754 d. 1756 and Frances b. 1757. John was buried just five months after his daughter Frances was born on 6th May 1757.
It isn’t clear who William’s father was – but he most definitely wasn’t the son of John Wafforn(e) so therefore he has no biological connection to the Wafforn(e) name.
William’s widowed mother Grace went on to remarry several years later on 13th February 1773 in Daventry to another widower Thomas Cook when William was 11 years old. Thomas had been married twice before, first marrying Elizabeth Hunt in 1755 with whom he had five children, James b. 1755, Mary b. 1756 d. 1759, Elizabeth b. 1758, Ursula b. 1759 and Thomas b. 1760. Elizabeth died in January 1761 and Thomas married again just six months later to Margaret Price. She died six years later and they did not have any children together.
Grace’s son William was a witness at his stepsister Ursula’s marriage in 1780. His stepfather Thomas was buried in 1803 in Daventry and his occupation is noted as being a Coal Carrier. His mother Grace was buried in Daventry on 22nd April 1807 aged 78.
It is interesting how a young man who was the illegitimate son of a widow ended up being seemingly reaching quite a higher status by the time he married aged 24. Presumably his work as a Tailor had been relatively profitable by that point, and he did well with his marriage to Ann if her “handsome fortune” was as good as it sounded. Also his two sons seemed to also do well for themselves, despite being orphaned sometime between 1794 and 1805.
It did though seem that the fortunes of the Wafforne family declined during the 1850s with William Wafforne having died in 1853 upon seeking a new life in New Orleans, his son William and his family suffering tragedy after tragedy with the loss of four children in three years, culminating in the death of William himself in 1858. To his widow Maria being a single parent to their remaining three children for several years before marrying again, only to lose that husband four years later. To her daughter Julia and her own losses as a mother and becoming the surrogate mother to her own granddaughter – orphaned at just six years old.
I still find the surname Wafforn(e) interesting and at some point may still research further down John Wafforne’s family tree to see what else I can discover about the name, even though my husband sadly has no biological connection to the surname. Do you have any similar name fascinations – even if they are no connection to your research?