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TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS SIXTEEN: Thomas and Rice Beldam

Eric Trudgill    -    30 August 2014

Thomas and Rice were both buried in Stokenchurch, Oxf, Thomas in 1839 aged 61, Rice in 1869 aged 93. Thomas was probably related to the Hannah Beldam who in Hitchin, Herts in 1786 married William Boswell, witnessed by the latter’s famous brother Lawrence. Rice, given her alleged birth in Herts about 1776 and her children’s and grandchildren’s forenames and marital connections, I’m quite sure, even without a baptismal record, we can pin down more precisely.

Thomas and Rice christened the following children: Providence and Meshach in Northolt, Mdx in 1797 and 1799; Thomas junior in Kingsey, Bucks in 1802; Hannah in Maidstone, Kent in 1805;Deziah (a son, perhaps a misrecorded Duriah) in St Leonards, Bucks in 1809; Sarah in Dover, Kent in 1811 and Caroline in Cholesbury, Bucks in 1821. To these we can clearly add the Lewis Beldam, born in Dover about 1818, who twice appeared in the census with Rice and his niece and her granddaughter, Providence, the latter a Hearn in 1851 and a Beldam in 1861.

Providence, named after Lewis’ oldest sister, was I strongly suspect a daughter, born about 1838, of Lewis’ next sister Hannah, who I’m sure married Norris Hearn (baptised in 1805 son of Norris and Abigail). I’m sure of this marriage, even without a wedding record, because Norris’ Hannah claimed to have been born in Maidstone, and gave two other daughters names associated with Rice Beldam’s family (Rice itself, the only instance I’ve found apart from Thomas’ wife, and Cinamenti, of which more later).Hannah’s husband Norris in fact had a couple of brothers, Solomon and Josiah, christened in 1799 and 1813, who, with help from Lewis Beldam’s brother-in-law, will lead us, I believe to Rice Beldam’s siblings and parents.

Lewis married Anna Maria Buckland, christened in 1807, a sister of the Roger Buckland who married Macey Hearn (christened in 1793 daughter of Royal and Sarah), and Lewis had by Anna Maria a Lewis junior, christened as a Beldam in 1847, who as a Buckland in 1869 married Leander Hearn daughter of Mark and Lucy, Lucy being a daughter of Macey Hearn by Roger Buckland. Hannah Beldam’s Hearn brothers-in-law, Solomon and Josiah, were respectively the second husband of Macey Hearn and the husband of Leandra Buckland, another daughter of Roger and Macey.

There are other connections between Thomas and Rice’s family and the Hearns: for example, Thomas Beldam junior (whose family I discuss in the current, Sept 2014, issue of Romany Routes) had a Mary who married Meshach Hearn son of Emmanuel (christened in 1807, yet another brother of Norris Hearn) in 1868 with Lewis Beldam junior as witness, and a Martha who married Onesiphorus Buckland, grandson of a Benjamin Hearn close to the Bedlam family. But all the Hearn connections seem to go back to Macey Hearn daughter of Royal and Sarah, and given that the only documented siblings for Macey are a Meshach and Providence, christened in Tring, Herts in 1772 and 1778, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Thomas Beldam’s wife Rice, born in Herts about 1776, whose first children were a Providence and a Meshach, was herself a Hearn, and a daughter of Royal and Sarah.

I can’t end without explaining my earlier reference to Onesiphorus Buckland’s grandfather Benjamin Hearn being close to the Bedlam family. Onesiphorus’ mother, Cinamenti, was christened aged three in 1828 daughter of Seguli Buckland, with Thomas Beldam and Penella Buckland as witnesses, and the fact that Cinamenti and her two sisters, Myrenny and Providence Buckland were buried in Stokenchurch like Thomas and Rice (and that Cinamenti christened Onesiphorus and two other children there as well) misled me into thinking Seguliwas a “spare” wife for one of the two Thomas Beldams (see my article on Seguli in July 2013). But the birth cert of Providence Hearn (born in W Wycombe in 1838 daughter of Benjamin Hearn and Segel formerly Buckland) and the baptism of her sister, Myrenny Hearn (in Turville, Bucks in 1837 daughter of Benjamin and Penella) suggest that Seguli’s co-wife was probably her sister, Penella Buckland), and that Thomas Beldam’s close connection with Benjamin and Seguli’s family was really through his wife, that is that Rice Hearn, daughter of Royal and Sarah, was probably Benjamin Hearn’s aunt and standing in, with her husband, for Benjamin’s parents.

I apologize for misleading you last year about Seguli’s husband. Any guesswork to get round gaps in the records has to be provisional until the data we’re missing turns up.

Copyright © 2014 Eric Trudgill