Turning once more to Rousham

I have turned once more to Rousham. 

From 1770, when William Perrin married Sarah House at Chastleton, until his son John died in 1847, two generations were settled at Rousham; a period of nearly 80 years that spanned the introduction in 1837 of the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths and in 1841 of the first census. Although John was the last Perrin by name to live at Rousham, his youngest daughter Sarah, who had married the local shepherd Charles Day in 1847, lived there until she died in 1874.

The parish records are frustrating. The Oxfordshire Family History Society earlier this year made its digital images of the registers available to Ancestry. Unfortunately, these only are complete only up to 1813. Thereafter, the baptism and burial registers have not been released by the church, so only the marriage register is available after 1813. We shall have to rely on the OFHS Parish Register transcripts on CD. 

There are puzzles in the record. The two burials of a William Perrin, one in 1794 the other in 1809; father and son certainly, but which is which? The two burials of an Ann Perrin, one in 1827 and the other in 1829: sisters-in-law, most probably, the former Ann Perrin (nee Woolgrove), wife of William and Sarah’s son John, the latter his sister. 

There are children and grandchildren of William and Sarah of whom there is no further record, who perhaps moved away from Rousham to find work; there are tragically early deaths; and more frequently, there are the usual coincidences of names and dates that point to their stories – surprisingly little is solid ground.

Yet it might be possible to piece together something of the changing life of the family. One imagines a family house on the Rousham estate where, following William’s death, whether in 1794 or 1809, his widow Sarah continued to live with their children. As they came of age, some must have left Rousham for work, finding none on the estate. By 1824, when Sarah herself died, perhaps only Ann and her brother John, with his wife Ann and their family, remained in the family home. Then, by 1829, as one imagines it, with the death of his sister Ann, John and his children are left in the family home. By 1841, only John, with his grown up children William and Sarah, are still at Rousham. And William was soon to leave home to join the Royal Marines.

They lived through a time of massive changes; the enclosures of the late eighteenth century; the introduction of new Poor Laws; the huge European upheavals of the Peninsular and Napeolonic wars and of Waterloo; the food shortages after the wars and the introduction of the Corn Laws that regulated the price of bread; which then led to the ‘Captain Swing’ riots across southern England in 1832; of the extension of the franchise in 1834 and, perhaps as news filtered back from William, of the battle in the south Atlantic to stop the slave trade to South America. By the end of this period, Victoria was on the throne, and when William returned from sea with the Marines in 1850, he became a Police Constable, one of the first “Peelers”. 


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