Movement In and Out of the Parish
Family names in Elsfield in 1825
In Reay’s study of three villages in Kent, he found that between 1851 and 1881 as many as 45% of the inhabitants over the age of fifteen were born outside the parish. Was this the case in Elsfield?
One approach to tackling this question is to study the continuity of family names. An account of the families living in Elsfield in 1825 was compiled for the North estate and lists the adults, their children and the housing conditions.
Listed in the 1825 accounts were five farmers: John Butler, William Butler, Samuel Tagg, Richard Holley and John Gurdon.
There was also Mrs Oglander, whose name appears on the 1703 map of Elsfield. The Oglander family had therefore been living in Elsfield for more than a hundred years. She does not, however, appear in the 1841 census. Two others named separately from the general list of inhabitants were John Beckley, who had a fishery, and John Weyland, listed as “Esquire”.
Other villagers were:
|Name||Family||Age of children|
|Narroway||Man, wife and children||17, 13, 10, 8|
|Durham||Man, wife, children and grandchild||28, 20, 18, 12, 9, 4|
|Lock||Man, wife and children||22, 13, 12, 8|
|North||Man, wife and children||7, 4, 2, 1|
|J. Gurdon||Man, wife and children||4, 2, 1|
|W. Phillips||Man and wife|
|Gammon||Widower and children||20, 17, 12, 10, 8, 4|
|Taylor||Man, wife and children||13, 10, 7, 3|
|Clay||Man, wife and children||6, 2|
|Phillips||Widow and grown up daughter|
|Sneeth||Widow and children||20, 16, 14|
|Wakelin||Man, wife, father and children||6, 3, 1|
|Tolly||Man, wife and children||17, 14, 9, 6, 4|
|Gurdon||Man, wife and child||1 child|
|Skitmore||Man, wife and family|
|Humphries||Humphries, married son and wife|
|John Humphries, wife and children||20, 16, 13, 8|
|Ford||Widow and children||24, 16, 13, 8, 4|
|Munday||Widow, married son and daughter and children||8, 7, 5, 2|
|J. Clay||Man, wife and six children|
|R. Harris||Man, wife, grown daughter and grandchild||11|
|Heagher||Widow, married son and daughter and children||5, 2|
|Croton||Man, wife, married son and daughter|
|Richards||Mother, son and wife|
|Cross||Man, wife, married son and wife and child||1 child|
|Moby||Man and wife|
|J. Harris||Man and wife|
There are 29 families listed which with the number of other tenants, eight in all, including John Gurdon, whose name appears twice, once as a farmer and once in the list of villagers, makes a population of 37 families.
Of these names, those who lived in the village for the longest time are:
|Name||Last listed in census||Number of years in Elsfield|
|36 years in all|
|Tagg||The name dying out with Martin Tagg in 1865.|
Judging by this list, there certainly were some very long term residents. However, excluding the Crottons and the Tolleys, who moved in and out of the village, and which in itself shows that there was movement, if we take a man’s working life as being from the age of eighteen to about 70, 52 years, very few of these families lived here for longer than one man’s working life. We should remember however that children often started working as early as ten and that there was no such thing as a retirement age. Generally, if a person was able to work he or she did so. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to reckon a working life from eighteen since any work done before that age will have been as a contribution to the family income rather than as a wage which supported a family, and at the older end of a working life, it would be fairly rare for a man to be working full time to support a family, even though he again might contribute to the family income.
Given these caveats, only the Norths, the Taylors and the Wakelins lived in Elsfield longer than the 52 years originally stipulated, three out of the thirty-six families, roughly 8%. However, we have to take into account the fact that women, when they marry, lose their own surname. Harriet Gammon, for instance, married William Elston, and their daughter, Ethel May, married Herbert Allam. So the Gammon family, even when the name has disappeared from the census returns, is still represented up to the mid 1960s, when Ethel May died.