Friday, 8 June 2018

Bellringers and grave-diggers in the Atkins/Haines family....

Image result for gravedigging victorian england

Most of the following information is a repeat of that which has been previously posted but it came up recently on a discussion site from someone living in South Africa who also has the Edwin Atkins connection. 

Without spending hours, if not days and weeks, going back through it all to see what is repeated, I thought it better to repost on the basis that repeating information, given how convoluted this process has been, is not a bad thing.

It seems some ancestors were undersextons, a role which involved gravedigging.

  1. a person who looks after a church and churchyard, typically acting as bell-ringer and gravedigger.

The information comes from the Rootschat site, from a member named Capetown.;u=250060;PHPSESSID=i44e737bqq4tpkges1f8d6v5q5

This was raised some time ago when an Edward/Edwin ATKINS was found in New South Wales convict Muster and later recorded as working at Yas Plains.

Edward ATKINS 1830 Florentia (on convict muster record but not transcribed to ship record) 24 y Gloucester, compared to
Edwin ATKINS 1830 Florentia (transcribed to ship record) 19 y from Yas Plains  etc etc

The Certificate of Freedom Report on Edwin/Edward ATKINS says he has 
dark grey eyes
sandy hair
a ruddy-freckled complextion
eyebrows meeting
5 ft 7.5 inches tall
HEA on his right inside wrist'
and appears to be a 

Just to-recap, Henry Edwin ATKINS christened at Cirencester 23 February 1812 
So, convict Edward Atkins has the initials HEA, another link to Henry Edwin Atkins.

Siblings:  **: Charles 1810: Rebecca 1811:  (parents: Joseph & Ann)

Joseph ATKINS married an Ann HAINES in 1809 - 

1841 census, Cheltenham
Ancestry: ALKINS)

Joseph - 50 Shoemaker
Ann - 50
David - 15
Marian (Mary Ann)
Eliza - 10*** Christened at Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire

Eliza, daughter of Joseph (Shoemaker) and Ann - born 28 February 1819 and christened 28 February 1830 aged 5 m -


This is the 1851 Census for Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire

Ancestry, spelt as ALBIN


Joseph - 67 - Shoemaker & 
Chelsea Pensioner, born Glos Cirencester
Anne - 65 - born Glos Cirencester
Mary A - 25 - daughter born Glos Cirencester
Eliza - 20 - daughter, born Birlingham (BIRMINGHAM, Worcestersh)

*** Will check for records on National Archives for Joseph ATKINS, Chelsea Pensioner)


The Gloucester Prison Records on Ancestry for Gloucestershire

describes Edwin ATKINS

Light brown hair
dark blue eyes
fair complexion
long face
6 small moles on his forehead
6 small moles on right cheek
a small mole near right armpit
3 small moles left arm
2 moles on his back
3 moles on the back of his neck
read and write
blacksmith, Height 5' 7"

(The man also on the same charge was William WALKER aged 42, also from Cubberley, he had dark sandy hair and was 5-6")


New South Wales Australia Convict Indents

Civil Gloucester: 
7 April 1830
Arrival Sydney Cove,: 17 December 1830



Gloucestershire, England, Prison Records,

Against the following Sentence of death has been recorded

Edwin ATKINS, Civil Gloucester, 
7 April 1830
Checking on the National Archives and can be downloaded from FindmyPast

Joseph ATKINS, born Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Served in 66th Foot Regiment

Reference: WS 121/88/183

Served in 66th Foot Regiment, Discharged aged 20 after 5 years 2 months of service

Date: 1808
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
This is the 1851 Census for Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire

Ancestry, spelt as ALBIN


Joseph - 67 - Shoemaker & 
Chelsea Pensioner, born Glos Cirencester
Anne - 65 - born Glos Cirencester
Mary A - 25 - daughter born Glos Cirencester
Eliza - 20 - daughter, born Birlingham (BIRMINGHAM, Worcestersh)
Edwin/Edward :

My x Grandfather christened Edwin 1832 in Gloucestershire - also went by the name Edward.  We have  family members who were also in Cirencester at this time and in the 18th century.

Assume you have the Will of Thomas HAINES 21 February 1827, Cirencester, Labourer who mentions his late daughter Jane BROWN and his other daughters Hannah IVIN and Ann ATKINS - Grand-daughter Maria MORGAN (living with him)  and son James HAINES.

Thomas seems comfortably off, but as regards Ann ATKINS, .....  'and I further direct that the share of my said Daughter Ann ATKINS may be paid into her own hands by my Executors Indpendent of her husband for the time being, who shall not intermeddle, therewith, neither shall the same be subject to his Debts Control Interference or Engagement etc. etc.'

(Possibly Joseph & Ann ATKINS disappeared for a while up to Birmingham because of his debts etc)


Thomas HAINES (Under Sexton) buried at Cirencester 16 April 1827 aged 83

Jane HAINES - buried at Cirencester 29 March 1820 aged 77

Thomas HAINES married Jane HARBET - 2 November 1767, Cirencester


By Googling:  Thomas Haines, Labourer, Cirencester

under the heading:

Cirencester 1540-1945 July 2017 Draft Victoria County History

On page numbered 29

Under Vestry Clerk & Sexton

' STEVENS kept detailed from 1775 of money taken for burials and more intermittently for ringing of the church bells.  He paid a deputy THOMAS HAINES for jobs including dressing the church and cleaning the Chancel'

1841 Census, Cirencester, Cricklade Street

James HAINES - 70 Cordwainer
Mary HAINES - 66
Thomas BROWN - 82, Tailor

On the 1830 Pigots Directory for Gloucestershire (Cirencester)

James HAYNES, Boot & Shoe Maker : Dyer Street
Our family are on this directory in Dyer Street

? Joseph ATKINS may have worked for James

(and 11 Blacksmiths listed)

Still a shopping street today.
UK Poll Books and Electoral Register


James HAINES Jnr. Freehold Houses, Cricklade Street
Thomas HAINS - place of  Abode, Hatherop - Freehold House - Cricklade Street

1861 Census, Glos. Cirencester

James HAINES - Head 53 - Under Sexton - born Cirencester
Ann HAINES - daughter 21 - unmarried born Cirencester

James followed his Grandfather as Under Sexton at St Mary's Cirencester

Chancel arch

Photo: St. Mary's Church, Gloucestershire.

1841 Census, Dyer Ward : District 1


James - 35 Shoemaker
Ann - 33
William - 8
Emily - 5
Ann - 3

1851 Census, Cirencester (Ancestry listed as HARRIES)

James - Under Sexton
Elizabeth - wife
William - son
Emily - Milliner Apprentice
Ann -

(ages crossed through)

Held AtGloucestershire Archives
Alt Ref NoD1388/box9355/H2 part
TitleOffice copy of the will of Thomas Haines of Cirencester, Gloucestershire, grave digger of the parish, made on 21 February 1827 proved on 8 October 1827
DescriptionWitnesses: Jno Fowler, William Viner, Joseph Smith
NotesDescription created by a Cirencester project volunteer
Number of Docs[1 document]

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