John Casbon of Meldreth & Royston (~1779-1813)

I’ve been discussing the descendants of Thomas Casbon (~1743-1799) of Meldreth (see Stepping back: Thomas Casbon, 1743-1799). Thomas’ youngest child was John, baptized Casborne October 3, 1779 in Meldreth. [1] He was the third son named John, the first two having died in infancy.

John C baptism Meld 1779
Baptismal record for John Casborn, 1779, in Meldreth (Click on image to enlarge)

For review, here is a diagram of Thomas’ children

John C 2 generations
(Click on image to enlarge)

John married Martha Wagstaff December 29, 1802 in Meldreth. [2]

1802 John Casbon Martha Wagstaff M Meld
Marriage record of John Casbon and Martha Wagstaff, Meldreth, 1802 (Click on image to enlarge)

The record tells us that John and Martha were both single (i.e., not previously married), and they both belonged to the Meldreth parish. Also, John was able to sign his name. Martha signed with her “mark.”

Martha was baptized as Patty Wagstaffe 1775 in the little village of Cockayne Hatley in Bedfordshire, about 7 ½ miles west of Meldreth and just across the Cambridgeshire county line. [3] How I came to learn that Martha and Patty were the same person is an interesting and convoluted story that I’ll save for another day.

For reasons unknown, John and Martha did not remain in Meldreth. But they didn’t move far. Their first two children were born in the town of Royston, a sizeable crossroads and market town a few miles south of Meldreth, in Hertfordshire. These children were: Jane, baptized November 27, 1803, and William, baptized on Christmas Day, 1805. [4],[5] Edith, their third child, was baptized in the village of Whaddon, about 1 ¾ miles west of Meldreth. [6]

composite 3 baptisms
Composite image showing baptismal records for Jane, William, and Edith Casbon (Click on image to enlarge)

All three children lived well into adulthood and remained in the Meldreth area. Their stories are interesting enough to warrant their own posts.

John, however, did not live long after his children were born. He was buried at Meldreth December 3, 1813, leaving Martha a widow with three children. [7]

John C burial 1813
Burial record of John Casbail, Meldreth, 1813 (Click on image to enlarge)

Martha married Samuel Barns, a recent widower with his own children, July 24, 1815 in Meldreth. [8] Due to the high death rate and the necessity for both a breadwinner and someone to watch the children, remarriage was a common and practical method to restore two parents to broken families.

[1] Church of England, “Bishop’s transcripts for Meldreth, 1599-1862,” John Casborne baptism, 9 Oct 1779; browsable image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 December 2016), > image 244 of 899; citing Cambridge University Library, Cambridge.
[2] Church of England, “Parish registers for Meldreth, 1681-1877,” Marriages 1802, John Casbon & Martha Wagstaff, 29 Dec, FHL Microfilm 1,040,542.
[3] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 8 September 2016), Patty Wagstaffe, 26 Nov 1775, Cockayne Hatley, Bedfordshire; citing Family History Library microfilm 88,005.
[4] “Hertfordshire Baptisms,” images and transcriptions, findmypast ( : accessed 20 November 2016), Jane Casburn, 27 Nov 1803; citing Hertfordshire Record Office, Royston Parish Register, Baptisms 1662—1812, Marriages 1662—1754, Burials 1662–1678.
[5] “Hertfordshire Baptisms,” images and transcriptions, findmypast ( : accessed 20 November 2016), William Casburn, 25 Dec 1805; citing Hertfordshire Record Office, Royston Parish Register, Baptisms 1662—1812, Marriages 1662—1754, Burials 1662–1678.
[6] “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975”, database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 November 2016), Edith Casbourne, 09 Nov 1808; citing , reference ; Family History Library microfilm 990,297.
[7] “Bishop’s transcripts for Meldreth, 1599-1862,” browsable images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 May 2016), > image 438 of 899; citing Cambridge University Library, Cambridge.
[8] “England Marriages, 1538–1973,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 September 2015), Samuel Barns and Martha Casbon, 24 Jul 1815, Meldreth, Cambridgeshire; citing Family History Library microfilm 0990297 IT 6.

6 thoughts on “John Casbon of Meldreth & Royston (~1779-1813)

  1. Would it have been common to give three babies in a row the same name when the first two died? (My 21st century sensibility finds this a little hard to fathom, but maybe it was parents’ way of dealing with high infant mortality?)


    1. It was extremely common to give a child the same name as one who died. Probably less common for three in a row because it was less common for two to die consecutively, and for all three to be the same gender.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here’s some additional explanation:
        “Often considered repugnant to modern ears, a child’s untimely death meant the end of the honor bestowed upon someone. Since many children died in the 17th and 18th centuries, parents had no problem with re-using the name of a dead child for a subsequent birth. A family might, therefore, have several John or Jane children. Occasionally, the same name was given to more than one living child, but this was rare. The re-use of a name almost always meant that the first child with that name had died.” “British Naming Conventions”,FamilySearch


      2. Thank you so much for the informative link, Jon! The New England progenitor I’m researching emigrated from London in 1635, so I expect that British naming conventions apply to his early descendants. I’d say that a good 75% of the first three generations is named John, Jonathan, or Sarah!

        Liked by 1 person

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