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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Henry Tarrant – and why blogging works!

I thought Ari’s 5x great-grandfather, Henry Tarrant, was born in about 1793 in Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire.


Hurstbourne Tarrant

But that wasn’t quite right, as the story shows. As I start this blog post I don’t yet know who his parents were. There is a family story that perhaps his name wasn’t originally Tarrant, so there is a bit of a mystery that I’d like to solve.

The first record we have for him is his marriage, to Elizabeth Liddiard, on 5 Oct 1823.

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1916,

The marriage took place at St Michael’s in Aldbourne, Wiltshire, where both Henry and Elizabeth were living. (Aldbourne was used in the early 1970s as the setting for a series of Doctor Who.)


This particular minister seemed to use the words “young man” instead of bachelor. You can see that one of the witnesses was Daniel Liddiard, possibly the bride’s father or brother, and Henry and Elizabeth left a cross instead of signing their name.

This could be a photo of Henry, found on the family tree of a descendant.

Tarrant, Henry - Photo

The couple’s first child, Anne, was born later in 1823, and the baptism record shows Henry’s occupation as labourer:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813–1916,

The next child, John, was baptised in 1826, and Henry was still a labourer. Sadly, John died at only three weeks old. Mary was born the following year, then Eliza, James, Thomas and Henry.

In the 1841 census Henry can be seen at Spray Farm, in Ham, Wiltshire, working as a farmer. The box for “born in the same county” is ticked.

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1841 census,

“The estate known variously as Ham Spray farm, Spray farm, or the Spray originated in a copyhold farm built up in the north-east of the parish in the early 19th century, and in 1847, when it comprised 482 a., enfranchised by Winchester chapter for its tenant William Woodman (d. 1862). Woodman was apparently succeeded there by H. D. Woodman (d. 1915). Charles Wright bought the property in 1869. Ten years later his Ham Spray estate was offered for sale and apparently repurchased by H. D. Woodman. In the earlier 20th century Ham Spray House, from which the estate was worked in the 19th century, and the farm were in separate ownership.” (


By 1851 Henry is a farmer of 70 acres, at Upton, near Vernham Dean in Hampshire. Here he tells the enumerator that he was born at Minal, Wiltshire, and his age is fifty-five. This puts his year of birth as closer to 1796.

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1851 census,

By now they have had four more children, although one of the babies, Harriet, is actally a granddaughter, as shown on the next census.

If Henry was born in Minal, maybe we can now find his parents?

I can’t find any baptisms for Minal so I look it up on Genuki and discover that it’s actually Mildenhall, near Marlborough.

So now there is a baptism that fits, and it is unusual in the information if gives:

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Wiltshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812,

It is dated Christmas Day 1797 but comes at the end of 1796, before the new list of 1797 baptisms, so I think it is a mistake.


St John the Baptist, Minal. The font dates from 1816.

It notes that they were removed from Stitchcombe Mill to Mear Farm. Stitchcombe is part of the same parish. The (new) mill is now holiday cottages.


I have now found out more about Henry’s parents, but that will have to wait!

The 1861 census shows Henry and his family in Hurstbourne Tarrant, but it is not clear exactly where they were. Henry is now sixty-three and an agricultural labourer.

The 1871 census is the one that misled me, by giving Henry’s birthplace as Hurstbourne Tarrant. He is now a widower at Upton, living with his daughter Jane, granddaughter Lizzie Cripps (daughter of Mary), and granddaugher Elizabeth Tarrant (4 months).

Henry died at Upton on 3 March 1881, before that year’s census. The death certificate shows that he was a farm bailiff.

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He also left a will.

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England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858–1995

The will tells us that he leaves his granddaughter, Harriet Barnes, £5. He asks for all his money, household goods and linen to be equally divided between his eight children.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Henry:

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