BARBER, Tring, 1750-1851

September 2001




William Barber (bill-barber @t of Southampton wrote to the Rector at Tring, who has asked me to respond. Bill says he is trying to find out information about my ancestor Walding Barber who was buried in your cemetery on 24th March 1803 (listed in National Burial Index). Also is there any way of knowing if anyone was buried with him. Would you have copies of the church magazine that might mention him around this date please. I have his death and marriage but who he was and his trade elude me.

It is not clear whether you have yet checked microfilms of the original registers (possibly at you local LDS Family History Centre - see familysearch for address) but I know that (at least in the early 1800s) they reflect the fact that the parish of Tring consists of the town of Tring, and a rural area which included the hamlets of Wilstone and Long Marston. As such there is likely to be information in the registers which is not covered by the indexes.

A quick check of familysearch, coupled with the information you provide, suggests caution - as perhaps there was more than one Walden/Walding Barber. The index shows that there was an "adult christening" at Tring of Walden Barber, son of Thomas Barber, on 21st September, 1769, and four children of Walden Barber were christened at Tring:

Hannah Barber: 1st May 1785: Mother Mary
Elizabeth & Sarah Barber: 10th April, 1791: Mother Ann
Thomas Barber: 18th October 1795: Mother Mary

Did Walden Barber marry Mary, who died, and he married Ann, who died and he married another Mary - or were there two Walden Barber? (see Right Name, Wrong Body?) Or did he marry a Mary Ann? As you will have realised the National Burial Index only covers the period 1800 to 1850 so the microfilm of the burial register needs checking for burials in the 1780-1800 period.

Virtually all the stones from the Tring Parish Church graveyard were removed many years ago to allow the grass to be mown, and as far as I know the only reasonably comprehensive record was that made by Gerrish in about 1900 - available at HALS or on microfilm at LDS Family History Centre, and probably elsewhere. I don't know exactly when the Tring Parish Magazine came into existence but almost certainly it started around 100 years too late to be of relevance. As far as I am aware the concept of a parish magazine was a late Victorian idea, as they would only have been sensible after the improvements of education of the masses during the 19th century.

There are two contemporary documents that are available on microfilm (and at HALS) which may mention Walden Barber. They are the Overseers Accounts for 1779-1787 which could mention him if he was getting poor relief - or supplied goods to the overseers - or even was an overseer himself. There are also the poor rate assessment from 1797-1835. HALS almost certainly has other manuscript material, such as the land tax returns, but you would  need to contact them. 

A final comment. Many Barbers are recorded in the 1851 census transcript. Thomas Barber baptised in 1795 may be the Thomas Barber (canal labourer, 55, born Tring) who was living at Wilstone Hill, Tring, with his wife Ann (straw plaiter, 52, born Tring). However he could also have been the Thomas Barber (canvas weaver, 54, born Tring) living in Duckmore Lane, Tring, with his wife Lucy (52, born Tring) with three Tring-born children born in Tring, Lucy (straw plaiter, 17), Ester (straw plaiter, 9) and Henry (dumb, 14). Bearing in mind the social structures at the time (see All things bright and beautiful) it is likely that Walden was also from the labouring classes - and so that 18th century records mentioning him could be few and far between - and he would have been unlikely to have a "permanent" grave marker.

William Barber has responded: Thanks for the reply you gave me re Walding Barber. You are correct that I need to be careful with Walden/Walding/Wallding/Walldin could it be that with a country dialect that it was copied down incorrect?.

Marriage 1740 Tring       Thomas Barber to Sarah Walldin
An adult christening for Walden in Tring 1769 (Father Thomas, no mother)

The 'Walldin' and Mary COULD be the same as 'Walden' and Mary. If Thomas was christened late then Mary could have died and 'Walden' married an Ann and had the other 2 children .

Earlier information from Chesham Bucks:
Marriage of Walding Barber and Mary Glenister 27/10/1774 at Chesham with children

Mary  Born 17/3/1775 Christened 7/5/1775 at Chesham
William   Christened  1782 at Chesham
John Born about 1781 Christened  1782   Chesham
                lock keeper at Marsworth, my ancestor


The Tring Mary/Ann entries I referred to earlier are almost certainly relevant but the change in wife's name is a puzzle with various possible explanations and it unlikely to be resolved without a detailed study of all available surviving records - and possibly not then. The Walldin, Walding, Walden, etc. spelling variations are normal at a time when most people were illiterate and there was no such thing as a "correct" spelling of their names.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.