Tinker, Tailor ….. Chairmaker ?
Tranter – Rixon – Sears – Messenger – Pearce – Bird
Stokenchurch – Lewknor – Sturridge – Beacons Bottom – Middlesex
Having established that my Gt Gt Grandfather, William Tranter (centagenarian), had parents James Tranter and Eleanor Tranter who married 25th December 1837 at Lewknor in Oxfordshire, the next question – who were they, and, were they related to each other.
To recap, James and Eleanor Tranter, lived at Stokenchurch Oxfordshire with their family until around 1857. Then they went to Kensington, Middlesex, where they had more children, lived and died. The descending family remained there for several generations.
Tranter is an Ango Saxon name, generally found in the West Country, and also large groups in West Midlands and Shropshire (often using similar forenames). Were these groups related?
I have also been told, it is a gypsy name but no evidence for that in this family as yet.
Research so far, has revealed large families, using the same common Christian names for their children. (Edward, Richard, James, Thomas, Henry and William, seem to appear in most families!). This makes sorting them complicated, as brothers or cousins, give their children the same names, at the same times, and in the same locations.
According to the marriage certificate, James was of ‘full age’, subsequent censuses give his year of birth as 1820, (in which case, he was not ‘of full age’ in 1837!) He was a chairmaker, before becoming a tallow chandler (candlemaker) on moving to Kensington.
His father, given on the marriage certificate was Thomas, also a Chairmaker.
Further research has thrown doubt on Thomas’ occupation. The most likely Thomas Tranter was born in Stokenchurch and baptised May 14th 1797, to Richard and Elizabeth Tranter. He married Susannah Rixon in 1819 at Stokenchurch. Baptism and census records give his occupation as tailor (taylor): The only suitable ‘James’ in Stokenchurch baptism records was;
‘James Rixon Tranter’ baptised 9th July 1820 to Thomas and Susannah (taylor). This all seems to fall into place, apart from the occupation.
In 1841, Thomas and Susannah Tranter, were living at Ibstone (approx 2 miles south of Stokenchurch). Both aged 40. Thomas a tailor. With children, Eden 15, Jane 15, Caroline 13, Ann 11, Edwin 10, Henry 7, Elizabeth 5, and Sarah 1. James had already left home by this time, and we cannot tie him to this family through census records.
The 1851 census causes confusion, as Thomas was not at home. In Stokenchurch, were Susannah aged 53, a Tailors wife, born at Stokenchurch. With her were children, Ann 22 chair bottomer, Edward 19 chairmaker, Henry 17 chairmaker, Elizabeth 15 chair bottomer, Sarah 11 lace maker, and visitor Henry Ross aged 4.
It appears that Henry Ross was a son of Eden (and wife Ann Ross). Both Eden and Ann died in 1848, buried, 6th and 9th June respectively. Daughters, Jane had married William Stone 1845, and Caroline married William Larner 1846.
So, where was Thomas Tranter in 1851?
A search for ‘Thomas Tranter’ born in Stokenchurch 1790-1810, bought up the following intriguing entry.
There were several other Thomas Tranters more locally, but they can be accounted for, or they do not fit what we know. So this must be our Thomas.
Thomas Tranter aged 46 (should be 54), was married, a traveller, chair manufacturer born Stokenchurch, and staying at the Hopper? Inn, Commercial Road, Hereford.
This is where the gypsy suggestion comes in, but there is no other evidence for this family being gypsies, and no apparent connection to the innkeepers family
In 1861, Thomas was with his family, as a tailor and Susannah a dressmaker (could this be that Susannah operated as a dressmaker, and Thomas took on tailoring , but also worked alongside his sons as a chairmaker, when required, It may have been that tailoring was seen as a better occupation than chairmaking, so Susannah preferred ‘Tailor’ and Thomas preferred ‘Chairmaker’!).
Thomas born Stokenchurch and Susannah born Studderidge, were both 63, living at Stokenchurch. Children Ann 23, chair bottomer, and Sarah 21, dressmaker. Also in the house, grandchildren Henry Tranter, 15, chair turner (probably the son of Eden), Ann Tranter 7, (born High Wycombe), and Edwin Tranter 5.
Susannah died 1870, and Thomas February 1871, so neither appear on the 1871 census.
I cannot categorically say that Thomas and Susannah Tranter, were my ancestors, but they seem to fit.
I have a number of Tranter DNA matches on ancestry with common ancestors James and Eleanor, as they were both Tranters, this would be expected.
However, I also have one match to Thomas and Susannah (through Thomas’ son/James’ brother Henry). This is another link to James father, but the link may also come through Eleanor (also Tranter, and descended from the same family). There was also intermarriage amongst the local families, so I must be aware that the DNA match may come from a different source. But it is certainly reasonable to assume, it is through Thomas and Susannah.
I have now received the death certificates for Susannah and Thomas. On the face of it, all they show, is what I already know, but there is one interesting point!
Susannah died January 15 January 1870, from ‘decay of nature’ at Stokenchurch aged 72. She was the wife of Thomas Tranter, TAILOR. And present at the death, was Ellen Newall.
Ellen Tranter (daughter of Thomas and Susannah), had married Alfred Newall 13 September 1845 at Stokenchurch, giving her father as Thomas Tranter, CHAIRMAKER on the marriage certificate.
NB Jane Tranter was one of the witnesses at the marriage (presumably H/Ellen’s sister, and also daughter of Thomas and Susannah.)
Susannah was buried at Stokenchurch 24th January 1870.
Thomas Tranter died 9th February 1871, aged 73 at Stokenchurch from ‘decay of nature – paralysis’.
Present at the death, Sarah Tranter, presumed to be his daughter born 1840, unmarried. Thomas’ occupation was given as CHAIRMAKER. He was buried at Stokenchurch .. February 1871.
The previous ‘Tranter’ burial in the registers, being Susannah.
There do not appear any other Thomas and Susannah Tranters, in Stokenchurch, born at the right time, to account for these death certificates. It seems reasonable to assume, they are my ancestors.
Children of Thomas & Susannah Tranter
and can they offer any clues?
James Rixon bapt.at Stokenchurch 9th July 1820. my ancestor. Given his mother’s surname, as a second name.
Eden 1821-1848 Some confusion over this child, as there is no baptism for him in Stokenchurch. But he may be the same person as Edward baptised 1823, who does not appear again. Eden entered with the family in 1841, aged 15. He married Ann Ross, and had a child Henry 1847. Both Eden and Ann died within a couple of days each other 1848 (aged 27).
Hellen (Ellen) bapt. 23 December 1822 Stokenchurch. Married Alfred Newall 13th September 1845, her father -Thomas, chairmaker. In 1851, she was living at Bacons Bottom (family connection), with 2 children, Elizabeth and 5mth son named Eden. She was present at the death of her mother Susannah 1870. With family 1841.
Edward bapt. 25 May 1823 at Stokenchurch. Not mentioned again, but maybe because Edward and Eden, were one and the same (above).
Jane bapt. 3rd April 1825 Stokenchurch. Married William Stone 1845.With family 1841.
Caroline bapt 15 April 1827 Stokenchurch. married William Larner 19 December 1846, father Thomas Tranter, chairmaker. With family 1841.
Ann bapt 29 November 1828 Stokenchurch. With family 1841, 1851, 1861.
Edward bapt. 6th January 1833 Stokenchurch. With family 1841, 1851.
Henry bapt. 30th March 1834 Stokenchurch. With family 1841, 1851.
Elizabeth Hannah bapt.10 July 1836 Stokenchurch. Father given as Publican? (I think the vicar muddled this occupation with Thomas and Lucy Tranter, a publican/ victualler, who also appears in the records at this time). With family 1841, 1851.
Sarah bapt. 5th April 1840 at Stokenchurch, born at Ibstone.Thomas occupation CHAIRMAKER. This entry is very helpful, as James and Eleanor/ Ellen, baptised their second child Richard on the same day. Sarah with family 1841, 1851, 1861.
As an aside, I decided to have a look through the Ibstone parish registers, as Thomas, Susannah and family were living there in 1841.
I found the following-
Thomas Edwin baptised privately 2nd February 1843, at Ibstone to Thomas and Susannah (CHAIRMAKER). I have just realised that this child, although he only appears to have lived a few days, may hold the key.
I had noted his burial at Stokenchurch, living at Ibstone 5th February 1843. ‘An infant’. As I had no other evidence at the time, I left him out of the family, but Thomas and Susannah appear to have been the only Tranters at Ibstone at that time, according to 1841 census. Thomas Edwin appears to have been the last child, he was baptised privately at Ibstone (presumably in a rush and probably not expected to live). And buried three days later at Stokenchurch, their family church.
I had wondered why none of the boys were given the name Thomas (after their father, and maternal Grandfather). Now I have found one. Perhaps he would have been known as Edwin to save confusion.
I will now assume that Thomas bapt. 14 May 1797 at Stokenchurch, was James’ father. It appears Thomas, was the 4th of 8 children.
Thomas’ parents were Richard and Elizabeth, and using Stokenchurch parish records I see that Richard married Elizabeth Pearce, 15 November 1789.
Richard was baptised 15 December 1761 to Edward, and was the 5th of 7 children. He died 1834, and buried 9th July aged 73.
Edward was baptised 30th July 1727 to Richard, he was the oldest of four children and left a Will.
The will is rather difficult to decipher, but the pertinent information as follows –
The will made 23rd January 1805, signed by an ‘x’ Witnesses, John White and Thomas Page. Buried 3rd March 1805 at Stokenchurch. Proved in London 30th March 1809.
- I give to my son Thomas Tranter the cottage he now lives in, and all belonging thereto.
- I also give to my son Richard Tranter, the adjoining cottage which Thomas (Ives?) now lives in, and all belonging thereto.
- I also give to my daughter Hannah (Ably?) to her and her heirs the cottage she now lives in, and all (premises) thereto belonging and not to be given to any (?) out of the family
- I also give to my daughter Elizabeth (Butler) that part which she now lives in, and all the premises thereto belonging. and not to be given to anyone out of the family
- I give to my four children that is to say, Thomas, Richard, Hannah and Elizabeth, all my goods……to be equally divided between them.
- I appoint my son Thomas Tranter my executor.
Edward was baptised 30th July 1727 (father Richard, mother Sarah Piggott, were married at Lewknor 24th October 1726).
Richard father of Edward, appears to have been the Tranter patriarch in Stokenchurch. The transcribed parish registers, begin in 1707, another family group, seems to have died out, leaving all Tranter descendants from Richard, and (second?) wife Sarah Piggott.
Children of Richard Tranter and Sarah Piggott
Edward 1727, Richard 1728, John 1732-56, and Maria 1734.
Although Stokenchurch and the wider Oxfordshire area were on the main road from the West to London, attracting passing travellers, some may have stayed, but on the whole, the population of Stokenchurch was local, and the families often intermarried.
Edward was married to Mary Austin (marriage found with help of other researchers) at Aston Rowant in 1752. There is no mention of wife Mary in Edwards will, so she must have died prior to 1805. Presumably the ‘Mary Tranter’ buried at Stokenchurch 26th February 1802.
Edward Tranter was buried 3 March 1805.
Edward and Mary Tranter had the following children baptised at Stokenchurch –
Thomas 1752, Jonathan 1754, Edward 1756, Mary 1759, Richard 1761, Hannah 1763, Elizabeth 1766. It is presumed that Jonathan, Edward and Mary died, as there is no mention in the will.
Thomas was baptised 26 August 1752, and married Elizabeth (Betty) Messenger on 2nd April 1774. He left a Will, and was buried at Stokenchurch 19 December 1823 aged 71.
Children of Thomas Tranter & Betty Messenger
Ann 1775, William 1778, Mary 1780, Thomas 1784, Richard 1787, Eleanor 1789, Lucy 1795
Pertinent points of the will
- Thomas Tranter of Barrow Bottom, Oxfordshire.
- To my Son Richard Tranter all and every of my real and personal estate and estates whatsoever situate at Barrow Bottom aforesaid or elsewhere that I ??? and ? of to hold to him my said son Richard Tranter his ( heirs) and ? for ? and ? subject ? to ?
- and provision of my son Edward Tranter for his natural life permitting him my said son Edward to have a residence and dwelling in my cottage or tenement at Barrows Bottom now in my occupation
- and also to permit and suffer my daughter ?? ( Tranter?) to have a residence also in my said cottage or tenement during the term of her natural life ( only?)
- And my will is that my said son Richard Tranter shall pay all my just debts and funeral and ( testamentary?) expenses and shall pay (als????) principal ( money?) & (?) now out?? Unto and amongst all and every of my other children and their issue which shall be living at the time of the (? Death?) of my said son Edward Tranter equally share and share alike (?) issue taking the part and share of their father and (mother?) only (when?) shall be deceased at the deceased of my said son Edward Tranter ( & Richard?????) his heirs executors or advisors shall not be answerable or (accountable?) for (most?) of my money or interest than shall be received by (him them?)
- appoint this my said son Richard Tranter solo executor of this my last will and testament ( re ?) and ?
- This 22nd of November 1822
- The mark of Thomas Tranter
- In the presence of us – Richard Tranter of Stokenchurch, William Sears of Hostlers Green Stokenchurch, Chas Phillips of Lewknor Oxfordshire
- Proved at London 25th February 1824 by the oath of Richard Tranter the son and sole executor
His oldest son Richard was baptised 7 October 1787 and married Sarah Sears 1808, and these were the parents of Eleanor
Eleanor Tranter married James Tranter and was a ‘minor’ at marriage, with census records giving her year of birth as 1820, and sometimes her age is given greater than James’.
On marriage certificate, her father was Richard a ‘woodman’.
There appear to be quite a number of other researchers of this Tranter family from Stokenchurch. It may be that several of the researchers have copied the information from other family trees.
With the liklihood of James and Eleanor being related, DNA research will probably help, and there are number of ‘matches’ to me in this line. This may prove a useful tool.
I joined the Oxfordshire Family History Society. (Following county border reorganisation, Stokenchurch is now in Buckinghamshire), and purchased the transcribed records. It appears that Eleanor’s descent is a little easier to follow than James’, which is more elusive. There is also a suggestion of Gypsy links.
Children of James and Eleanor
Susan 1838 – Born Lewknor Oxfordshire, Lacemaker. In 1841 aged 3, not with her parents, but with Richard a woodman, and Sarah Tranter, at Sturridge Common. As we know from the marriage record, Eleanor’s father was Richard, a ‘woodman’, and both James and Eleanor lived at Sturridge. So we can presume that Susan is with her grandparents, and that Eleanor’s mother was ‘Sarah’. Perhaps even though aged only three, young Susan and ‘Mary’ Tranter (a cousin?) also in the household, were being taught lacemaking by their grandmother, which seems to have been a female family occupation.
Unable to find GRO reference for her birth.
In 1851, Susan was with her family, and must have moved with them to Kensington. In 1857, she married William Webb in Camden, (also born at Stokenchurch).
Susan may have been named after her paternal Grandmother Susanna Rixen.
- Richard 1840 Born Lewknor Oxfordshire presumably named after Eleanor’s father.
- Sarah 1842, born Stokenchurch. (Named after Eleanor’s mother?).
- Thomas 1844, born Stokenchurch. (Named after James’s father?).
These four children appear to follow traditional naming patterns.
- Henry 1846, Born Lewknor Oxfordshire
- William 1848, born Stokenchurch.
- Georgiana 1852, born Stokenchurch
- Eleanor 1857 born Kensington, Middx. (Name after her mother?).
- Alfred James 1860 born Kensington, Middx. (Named ‘James’ after his father?).
A search in the 1851 census for Richard and Sarah Tranter, brings up some interesting information.
The 1851 census shows Richard aged 64, as a widower (therefore Sarah must have died 1841-1851, according to the GRO, the death of a Sarah Tranter aged 65 (1782), was registered at Wycombe in 1847).
Richard had three very young children with him, said to be his own.
David, 2 yrs, (baptised 7th May 1848 as David Bird to mother Jane, living at Stutteridge Lewknor).
Moses, 1yr (baptised May 27th 1849 to Jane Bird of Stutteridge, ‘supposed father Richard Tranter’),
Ann, 3 months (this was infact a son Aaron, baptised 26th January 1851 to ‘Jane and Richard Tranter’, a woodman, of Stutteridge).
Also in the household was Jane Bird aged 25, a ‘visitor’, lacemaker born (Ibstone Bucks ?).
Searches, reveal that later in the year, Richard Tranter married Jane Bird at Lewknor on 10th September. Further searches detailed the baptisms of the three children.
The Marriage entry shows Richard aged 60 a widower, and Jane 29, that they both lived at Stutteridge, and that Richards father was Thomas Tranter a labourer. Jane’s father was James Bird, and witnesses, ? Messenger and Sarah Tranter.
By 1861, they were living at Stokenchurch. Richard was 73, Jane 39, and their family had grown to include Jonathan aged 8 and Eva 6.
Birth dates for Richard Tranter, according to sources
1841 aged 50.1791,
1851 aged 64. 1787,
1861 aged 73. 1792,
Marriage 1851 aged 60. 1791
Death certificate Feb.1864 aged 76. 1788/9
according to other researchers
Eleanor Tranter c1820
(Parents – Richard Tranter c1787 and Sarah Rixen
(Grand Parents – Thomas Tranter c1752 and Elizabeth Messenger).
(Gt. Grand Parents – Edward Tranter 1727 and Mary Austin).
James Tranter c1820
(Parents) – Thomas Tranter c1797 and Susannah Rixen.
(Grand Parents) – Richard Tranter c1761 and Elizabeth Pearce.
(Gt. Grand Parents)- Edward Tranter 1727 and Mary Austin.
Which would make James and Eleanor 2nd cousins.
Descent of Tranter (and other), wives in my ancestry
Elizabeth (Betty) Messenger
To be continued…
Angela Weatherill September 2023