Posts Tagged ‘Suffolk’

The Hancock family of Oldcot (Staffordshire) and Ipswich, and the Charlie Chaplin connection

Posted on June 14th, 2016 by Paul Stainthorp

I’m piecing together the family of Benjamin Hancock (poss. 1780 – poss. 1814) and his wife Margaret (1782 – 1827) née probably Tunstall, of Oldcot, Wolstanton, Staffordshire, in the early 19th century, and three of their children who all ended up in Ipswich, Suffolk by the 1830s.

Their daughter Sophia is the great grandmother of the actor and filmmaker Charlie Chaplin (as described on the website of William Addams Reitwiesner); their son Thomas married into the same Chaplin family. Another daughter, Emma, ties in to my Corr family.

There are a lot of Hancock families in and around the parish of Wolstanton at this time, including several people called Benjamin Hancock.

The parish registers for this area from 1789-1812, available in Findmypast’s Staffordshire Collection, are pre-printed forms filled in by a single hand; some entries are very sparse and seem to be missing details.

Newchapel parish register

Example of the parish registers for the chapel of St James, Newchapel, on pre-printed forms, available in Findmypast’s Staffordshire Collection.

What I know…

My Hancock couple may have married in 1802, though I have no corroborating evidence that this is definitely their marriage:

  • 20th November 1802 – Benjamin Hancock, collier, mar. Margaret Tunstall at St Giles, Newcastle-under-Lyme – both resident in the parish of Stoke.1

I believe Benjamin and Margaret had at least five children:

  • Abt 1804 – Sophia Hancock born, poss. in Tunstall, Wolstanton, Staffs.2
  • 17th January 1808 – Margaret Anne Hancock, dau. of Benjamin and Margaret, bapt. St James, Newchapel – resident at Old[cot]. She died aged 15.
  • 18th March 1810 – Thos. Tunstall Hancock, son of Benjamin (mother’s name not given), bapt. St James, Newchapel – resident at Oldcot.
  • 24th May 1812 – Theophilus* Hancock, son of Benjamin and Margaret, bapt. St James, Newchapel – resident at Old[cot]. He died aged 4.
  • 22nd May 1814 – Emma Hancock, dau. of Benjamin, collier, and Margaret, bapt. St James, Newchapel – resident at Oldcot.3

(*Thomas Tunstall Hancock later called his first son “Theophilus” after his brother who died in childhood.)

There are also a couple of interesting earlier baptisms which have a different mother’s name:

  • 13th May 1804 – Sophia Hancock, dau. of Benjamin and Mary, bapt. St Lawrence, Biddulph.
  • 6th July 1806 – Margaret Hancock, dau. of Benjamin and Mary, bapt. St James, Newchapel – resident at Old[cot].3

The following burials seem to relate to this family:

  • 30th January 1814 – Benjamin Hancock, aged 34 (born abt 1780), son of John and Esther, bur. St James, Newchapel – resident at Oldcot.
  • 12th November 1816 – Theophilus Hancock, aged 4, son of Benjamin and Margaret, bur. St James, Newchapel – resident at Oldcot.
  • 10th April 1822 – Margaret Anne Hancock, aged 15, dau. of Benjamin and Margaret, bur. St James, Newchapel – resident at Oldcot.
  • 18th March 1827 – Margaret Hancock, aged 45 (born abt 1782), widow of Benjamin, bur. St James, Newchapel – resident at Oldcot.4

By the 1830s, the surviving Hancock children are all living in East Anglia and working as hawkers:

Charlie Chaplin circa 1916

Portrait of Charlie Chaplin as a young man, Hollywood, circa 1916 (public domain image).

  • 1st July 1833 – Thomas Tunstall Hancock mar. Phylorata Chaplin, St Mary-at-the-Quay, Ipswich, Suffolk.5
  • 1st April 1834 – Emma Handcock mar. licensed hawker Felix Corr, St Mary-at-the-Quay, Ipswich. The witnesses were Sophia Handcock and Shadrack Chaplin. Felix Corr died in 1838 of ‘decline’ aged just 32; Emma mar. Peter McDonald in 1839.6,7
  • 29th April 1834 – Sophia Hancock mar. Shadrach Chaplin, St Margaret, Ipswich.5 Shadrach is the great grandfather of Charlie Chaplin and the brother of Phylorata (above).
  • 1841 census – Thomas Hancock, hawker, Cox Lane, Ipswich.
  • 1841 census – Emma McDonald, hawker, Hythe, Maldon, Essex.
  • 1841 census – Sophia Chaplin, hawker’s wife, Gaol Lane, Ipswich.8
  • 1851 census – Thomas T. Hancock, hawker, Bond Street, Ipswich – born Wolstanton, Staffs.
  • 1851 census – Emma McDonald, hawker, Brickendon, Herts – born Goldenhill, Staffs.
  • 1851 census – Sophia Chaplin, brewer’s wife, Carr Street, Ipswich – born Tunstall, Staffs.2
  • 24 July 1868 – Sophia died at 1 Hatton Street, Marylebone, London.9

Research questions:

  1. Are the Benjamin and Margaret who married in Newcastle in 1802 the same Benjamin and Margaret who were the parents of Sophia, Thomas T., and Emma?
  2. Did the father Benjamin die in January 1814? On the baptism record of Emma Hancock in May the same year there is no mention of her father being deceased.
  3. Are the Sophia and Margaret baptised in 1804 and 1806 respectively also the children of Benjamin and Margaret, despite the mother’s name on the register being recorded as Mary, and despite the first baptism taking place in Biddulph rather than Newchapel (or Tunstall where ‘our’ Sophia was apparently born)?
  4. If they were, then what happened to the Margaret baptised in 1806?
  5. Why the mass move from Staffordshire to Ipswich by 1833-34, following their parents’ deaths?

Hancock sketch family tree

Sketch family tree of the Hancock family of Oldcot, Staffordshire and Ipswich.
The chart also includes my great grandfather Frank Corr who is not descended from the Hancocks.
Created using Microsoft Visio software. (Click on the image for a full-size version.)


References

  1. “Staffordshire Marriages” (digital images, Findmypast, http://search.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed 13 ‎October ‎2015; citing Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service).
  2. “1851 England Census” (digital images, Ancestry Library Edition, http://www.ancestrylibrary.com/ : accessed 7 ‎July ‎2015; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851, The National Archives, Kew).
  3. “Staffordshire Baptisms” (digital images, Findmypast, http://search.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed 19 ‎September ‎2015; citing Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service).
  4. “Staffordshire Burials” (digital images, Findmypast, http://search.findmypast.co.uk/ : accessed 17 ‎October ‎2015; citing Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Archive Service).
  5. “England Marriages, 1538–1973″ (database, FamilySearch, https://familysearch.org/ : accessed 14 June 2016; citing FHL microfilm 918,523).
  6. Parish of St Mary at the Quay, Ipswich, banns of marriage, Felix Corr and Emma Handcock, March 1834, p. 9, no. 44; photocopy supplied by Suffolk Record Office, 13 October 2015.
  7. Parish of St Mary at the Key [sic], bishop’s transcripts, Felix Corr and Emma Handcock, 1 [April] 1834, p. 54, no. 160; photocopy supplied by Suffolk Record Office, 13 October 2015.
  8. “1841 England Census” (digital images, Ancestry Library Edition, http://www.ancestrylibrary.com/ : accessed 7 ‎July ‎2015; citing Census Returns of England and Wales, 1841, The National Archives, Kew).
  9. Reitwiesner, William Addams, William Addams Reitwiesner Genealogical Services (http://www.wargs.com/ : accessed 13 October 2015), Wood, Michael J., “Ancestry of Charlie Chaplin”.

Paul Harland Stainthorp (paul@paulstainthorp.com). Version 1.2, updated 15th June 2016.