Skip to content

Holbrook

The Holbrook  family may have originated in a village of that name in Dorset but they appear in several early records in various villages near to Chewton Mendip.
 The first record  found so far of a member of the family living in Chewton Mendip is dated 9th November 1729 when James Holbrook married Dinah Carter of Ston Easton.
The next record come from the poor law records when a Thomas Holbrook and his family were in receipt of poor relief because they were afflicted by smallpox in 1737. Thomas probably died because there are references to Widow Holbrook receiving support after that date.
 A Mary Holbrook married John Clavey ‘of Dowlin’ in Chewton Mendip on 19th March 1740-41. The Claveys and Dowlings were long-term residents of the village and all records point to the Holbrooks being poor people so John Clavey may have worked for the Dowling family who were more prosperous.
The poor law records shows it may have been a troubled marriage. The parish paid the considerable sum of £1 15 shillings in taking John Clavey to Bristol and several other places, probably for some form of trail or examination to determine his right of settlement in 1741. The normal amount paid by the parish for house rents for a year was one pound at the time. The parish spent a further 11s to John Clavey on the night before the wedding. The parish then paid John Dowling 5 shillings for the house rent of Wid Holbrook, presumably the widow of Thomas Holbrook, as confirmation that the Holbrooks were the tenants of the Dowling family. John Clavey ran away again and George Leman was paid to track him down and bring him back to justice. What he did is not specified but Wid Holbrook had to be accomidated in the Falcon Inn. There are further records detailing the xpenses paid to George Leman to track down Clavey, which he did, and the cost of bring back the goods of Mary Holcombe.
 Elizabeth or Betty Curtis married John Holbrook on 27th May 1742. This was probably a step up the social ladder because the Curtis family were fairly prosperous.
 This may have given their daughter Deborah ‘airs and graces’ beyond her station. She was baptised on the 5th May 1747. She was taken to court by the parish in 1767 because she refused to take up the ‘apprenticeship’ she was offered by the parish.
 The parish was obliged to provide work for the ‘deserving poor’ and children were sent to work at about the age of 10 or even younger. The poor children were supposed to earn a trade to so they could support themselves but often they were treated as subsidised labourers. The records do not show why the 20 year old Deboroah refused the work or what happened to her. It is possible that the family had just become destitute. It is also possible that there were two Deborah Holbrooks but Deborah was an unusual name for the time.
 Holbrooks continue to appear in the records of births deaths and marriages of Chewton Mendip  and the surrounding villages for the rest of the 18th century but they disappear from the records in the 19th century.
 George Holbrook was born about June 1819 in Chewton Mendip and left Plymouth in Oct 1854 on the ship Ithonia (or Oithona?) and landed at Portland, Victoria on New Years Day 1855. He married Martha Matilda Norris in 1853 in Walcott, Bath.  She was born about October 1824 in Corsham, Wiltshire. The population of Chewton Mendip reduced to about 50% of it peak gained in the early 19th century and George Holbrook is an example of one Chewton Mendip resident who emigrated to Australia.
Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: