Peasants to Puddles
My Family History - By Nicky Rowberry

The Lawrence Family

Elizabeth Lawrence was one of my 3 x great grandmothers. She was born in 1809 at Stretton Grandison, Herefordshire to Sarah Lawrence and for many years that was all I knew about her origins. Elizabeth went on to marry Thomas Green in 1825 and they had a large family in Westhide, but where her Lawrence ancestors came from was a mystery. There was no birth of a Sarah Lawrence in the same parish (Stretton Grandison) in which she'd given birth to Elizabeth, nor in any of the surrounding parishes. But I have recently worked out, with reasonable confidence, that Sarah was actually born in Much Marcle.

I believe Sarah Lawrence was the daughter of William Lawrence and Mary Bayliss who had married in Much Marcle in 1786. William & Mary had 3 children in Much Marcle (Sarah being the last of these born in 1790) before moving to Stretton Grandison in the early 1790s and having 5 more children. As Sarah Lawrence would obviously have moved with them, this puts her in Stretton Grandison and makes sense for her having an illegitimate child there when she was just 19 in 1809. Sarah went on to have 3 more illegitimate children in the Stretton Grandison/Stoke Edith area.

In 1841 Sarah was living in Ocle Pychard with her youngest child Emma, while another child, Eliza, was living with Sarah's sister Ann (now married to Robert Woodyatt) in Westhide. Her eldest daughter Elizabeth (now Elizabeth Green) was also living in Westhide by this time.

Sarah Lawrence never married and moved around the area working as a servant or housekeeper on various farms. Her daughter Eliza Ann Lawrence married Thomas Chamberlain in 1863 in Westhide. Although Eliza died a few years later, Thomas Chamberlain appears to have looked after his mother-in-law Sarah, as she is still living with him in the 1871 census in Westhide and he was the informant on the death certificate, when Sarah died in 1877 at the ripe old age of 87.

So far I've not managed to find out much about Sarah's parents, William & Mary Lawrence. Having spent the early part of their married life in Much Marcle and their latter years in Stretton Grandison. Mary was buried there in 1830 and William in 1832; they were both said to be living at Eggleton, perhaps with their son James who farmed there. Their ages at death suggest they were born around the late 1750s, but I've not found any likely baptisms yet.

The family tree below summarises what I know about the above generations of the Lawrence family. It is hopefully reasonably accurate, but if you spot any errors, or any relatives, please feel free to E-mail me

Please click on one of the red links on the tree to move to a different page.

If any of the above is of further interest, please feel free to contact me at:

Nicky Rowberry 2022

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Peasants to Puddles - My Family History. By Nicky Rowberry