Answers to Questions


CHARGE, Little Hadham, circa 1800

(and later see below)

January, 2004



Little Hadham

Yvonne Barden (deceased 2004) of Forest Gate, London writes:  John Charge was my great, great grandfather. He lived in Little Hadham until his death in 1878. (I have his death certificate.) He married Joice Osborne b in 1823 and they had 9 children. (John & Joice's children, Mary b1824 d1824, William b1826 d1904,  John b1828, Martha b1830, Abraham b1832, Joyce b1836, Emma b1838, George b1840 d1903, James b1842) He was a farm labourer born in about 1799.

The first son b1826 William was my great grandfather. He married Martha Lamb in 1854 and they had 8 children and lived in the same area. Their son Amos was my grandfather and moved to London in 189I have found all these in the census (1841, 51, 61 and 71). 

I can't find any proof of John Charge's birth. There is a William Charge b 1765 that married Mary Beamont 1787. They had a William b1793, Mary b1796, Elizabeth b1801 and Sarah b1801.Do you think John could be one of his sons as William's father's name was John and he had an elder brother named John. .

The web page How can you be certain about ... is relevant here. 

You appear to have done all the right things and not go a definite result. Record survival is against you as John Charge was born in about 1799 while the Bishop's transcripts for Little Hadham have not survived before 1802. In addition the records for the Independent Chapel there only start in 1804. This means that if there is no entry in the register there is almost certainly no surviving record of his birth or baptism. As the family were farm labourers there is little chance of any wills, and many other records are likely to be ruled out. If the family were living in copyhold cottages there might be some information about the transfer of property in any surviving manorial records. 

In such cases one has to ask what are the possibilities and cautiously select the most probable, while keeping an open mind if new information comes up. It is not practical for me to double up looking at all the sources you have consulted, but the 1881 census is readily available and gives some clues.

Basically the 1881 census shows that people with the surname Charge who were born in Hertfordshire either come from Little Hadham (in the east of the county) or various places in the west of the county. Even better all the Little Hadham Charges appear to be descended from John (1799-1878). [The census might have shown that there were large numbers of unexplained people with the surname from the village.] There is considerable variations in Christian names which suggests one should be be wary of applying The Inheritance of Single Christian Names. too rigorously.

A quick glance at the IGI on familysearch for the 18th century supports the proposal that we a talking about a single family living in the village.

A good working proposal is that John (1799-1878) was grandson of John and Elizabeth Charge, who had the following children baptised at Little Hadham: Sarah (1761), John (1763), William (1765) and Elizabeth (1768). Obviously if John, Sarah or Elizabeth died before 1799 they cannot be the parent, and if Sarah and/or Elizabeth married before 1799 this eliminates them for a different reason.

A careful examination of the parish register might help to explain a missing entry for John. If the register is well-kept with no obvious gaps he probably was not baptised. However many registers have "gaps" in the record. In some cases it is because the page is damaged or the writing has faded to the point that it is unreadable. Anomalies can also occur when there is a change of minister and/or handwriting. The registers would have been kept in the parish chest - which could be double locked with each church warden having a different key. The minister would often not add baptism records at the time, but make a note and add the entries when the chest was next opened. If the minister died the entries for the baptisms he had recently carried out could be lost ...

February, 2004

Yvonne Barden followed up by asking: In the Militia Lists I found entered

1759 John Charge (servant to Edmund Sworder, Farmer)
1760  John Charge  (servant to Samuel Scott)
1761  John Charge   (Lab)
1762   "     "        "
1763  John Charge Jr  (Lab)
1764  John Charge     (Lab)        
1765   "     "        "
1783   "     "     (servant)
1785 William Charge              Been Drawn
1786 William Charge              Been Drawn

Is there any way I can find out more information about this?

As I am sure you know, this information comes from one of the many militia list booklets published by, and obtainable from, the Herts Family and Population History Society. At the beginning of each there is a brief introduction, and a list of the years for which the lists have survived. This list is important because gaps in the above listing may be due to missing lists.

In the above list the following is the most likely explanation:

John Charge was eligible for the militia between 1759 (the first surviving year?) and 1764. He stopped being recorded because  (a) he became too old, (b) because he left the village or died, (c) because he was called up for the militia or (d) the later militia lists are missing. The reference "Jr" for Junior probably indicates that there was another older John Charge in Little Hadham at the time. (This may have applied in all years but different people may have completed the list in slightly different ways.)

A different John Charge was in the village in 1783 (plus of course the earlier John Charge may have still been there - but was too old to be eligible.)

William Charge's name was drawn to serve on the militia. Once he had served he would no longer appear on the list.

In some cases it is possible to tie this information in with other records, such as parish registers, to build up a more complete picture of the people living in the village. In other cases all that it does is to show that some of the people in the village were not recorded in the parish registers - perhaps because they were non-conformists.

There is a web page on Militia Lists

December, 2004 & January 2005

Peter Fox (wonkiewidge @t writes: I have the answer to a question about John Charge posted by Yvonne Barden way back in January 2004.  [The British Vital Records Index shows that] John Charge was born in Little Hadham on 14th October 1798 and baptised 18th November the same year. His parents are listed as William and Mary. Subsequent research reveals Mary to be Mary Beaumont who married William on 13th October 1787.

He later writes: Interestingly the info you posted on the same topic, in relation to the 1881 census identified my ancestors (the Fox family). These were related to the Charges by marriage with the wife being the sister of the Charge you identified. I have been in contact with the woman who asked about the area and have managed to provide her with some additional information and will send her the Charge entry in the militia list.

May, 2004

Lesley Woods (lesleypwoods @t of Charsfield, Woodbridge, Suffolk writes: We are looking at the Charge family of Little Hadham, who are the ancestors of my father, James Hinkin, just turned 84. He is thrilled and fascinated to find that so much is known. Several generations of the Charge family lived in a dwelling known as 'Cradle End'. As a treat for Fathers' Day on 20 June I will take him to visit Little Hadham, and I was wondering if anyone could tell me whether 'Cradle End' is still standing in the village so I can show him?

Cradle End is a hamlet (rather than a single cottage) between the village of Little Hadham and Bishop's Stortford, and is marked on modern street maps. I have no personal knowledge of it but at the time of the 1881 census it contained 8 households (possibly each separate cottages) headed by 

  1. Joseph Matthews, 24, Farm Labourer
  2. William Fox, 30, Farm Labourer
  3. John Matthews, 53, Farm Labourer
  4. John Hale, 52, Farm Labourer
  5. Joseph Thorogood, 42, Farm Labourer
  6. Charles White, 63, Higgler
  7. Ann Brewer, widow, 70, Laundress
  8. William Charge, 56, Farm Labourer

With William Charge were his wife Martha (53), Amos (17, Farm Labourer), Ellen (14) and Ada (9). Assuming the census enumerator worked logically William Charge's cottage was the one furthest from Green Street (and Little Hadham village) and nearest to Hadham Park.

Amos is the grandfather of Yvonne who asked the original query.

August, 2005

Terry  Osborne (honkeytonk007 @t writes:  I have just begun to seek out my roots, and am spending far too many late nights at the PC. However, having found this particular site, and reading the information about Yvonne Barden's Great, Great, Great, Grandfather, John Charge, who was married to Joice Osborne,  I am directly related to Joice, as Isaac Osborne, her Father (married Joyce Watts 13/4/1803),  is the Brother of Jeremiah Osborne, my Great, Great, Great, Great, Grandfather. There were two other Brothers, Richard, b. 1786, and Thomas, b.1788. of which I know nothing at all at this stage. 

I have tried to send an e-mail to Yvonne, but yahoo will not accept it. Can you broker a return mail between her and me.

The only record I keep is the email address given on the page and it is impossible for me to keep up with all the changes of address unless people tell me - and indicate which pages of this web site are relevant. In this case a "google" search suggests a more recent address - but that appears corrupt - but may work.

January, 2008

Maurice Charge (mocharge @t of Standon writes: My Grandfather, Sidney Charge, was born at Cradle End on 11th Dec 1896 and was one of 7 children Thomas, William, Herbert, John, Edith and Joyce. I have records of the Charge family dating back to 1700, including copies of some marriage certificates. In each generation there was one child named John , and according to Family legend, there was a Grandfather clock passed down to each John, this tradition was broken by my Great grandfather (John), who sold it through an Auction house, and the story goes that it was bought by an Australian and was exported !

Lorraine Charge (mocharge @t added: Yvonne Barden has written about the Charge surname. My husband is John Charge's Great great grandson and I have been researching the family. The problem with finding his birth could be the same as I encountered with his son John. He goes as John through all the census etc but his birth is registered as Jonathan. Cradle End is still here, it's about a 10 minutes drive from where we live and lies off the A120 road. The family never moved far, only for a brief time they went to Enfield to work in the nurseries that were coming into the area, but moved back fairly quickly. 

I will be passing on your information to those who have earlier shown interest in the Charge family - but unfortunately I do not have Yvonne's current address.

I have also added a google map - showing the area as it is now.

View Larger Map

November 2010

Karen Gibson (cockneygibsons @t has continued  researching CHARGE, Little Hadham, circa 1800 following the death of her mother, Yvonne, in 2004. She has filled in some gaps and has information on the family after they moved to East London and West Ham.  I have notified the other interested in the family

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

Page Updated November 2010