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27 October, 2016

The Willetts of Colchester, Essex (and Daylight Saving) 2 of 2

I have split my current discussion of the Willetts of Colchester into two posts:

  1. (Previous Post) How I am related (through an adoptive line) to the William Willett of Daylight saving fame. He is my Great Great Uncle, so I need to trace back to his father (also William Willett) and thence to him.
  2. (This Post) Checking out the structure of the family at the beginning of the 19th Century (William Willett,  the elder’s ancestors). Hopefully this will provide a few hooks for those who think they are related to the Colchester Willetts.

This article is fairly long and detailed – a briefer post about Willett Antecedents summarises some of the relationships.


Willett Early Marriages
Willett Early Marriages, particularly showing where surnames recur

A) Tracing back from William Willett senior

Starting with the earliest ancestor noted in the previous post, we have William Willett (the elder, fourth from the right in the third row of the summary tree above), who is the father of the William Willett of daylight saving fame.

(I) Colchester St Leonard Register of Baptisms shows a William Willett in Colchester in 1837 – which is the year of birth reported in the Dictionary of National Biography and within a year of the year of birth implied from the 1881 and 1871 census records. (The 1881 Census also reports the parish of birth as St Leonard’s)

1837, No 946. May 3, William Son of Everard & Maria Willett of St Leonard, Victualler, E N Bull, Curate

Colchester St Leonard Baptisms (Essex Archives D/P 245/1/6)

(II) The 1851 Census shows William’s widowed mother as head of household at the Queen’s Head Inn, Hythe St, Colchester:

  • Head of Household: Maria Willett, 36 Innkeeper, b Colchester
  • Daughter: Sarah Willett, 21, b Colchester (a step-daughter – see later)
  • Son: John Willett, 18, Millwright (app), b Colchester
  • Son: William Willett, 15, Stone Mason (app), b Colchester
  • Daughter: Maria Willett, 12, Scholar b Colchester

(III) The 1841 Census shows a household in Back Lane (just round the corner from Hythe St) in Colchester. Everard and Maria Willett are my Great Great Great Grandparents.

  • Everard Willett, 37, b Essex (L Vitular)
  • Maria Willett, 40, b Essex
  • Sarah Willett, 10, b Essex
  • John Willett, 7, b Essex
  • William Willett, 4, b Essex
  • Maria Willett, 2 b Essex
  • Hannah Willett, 15 b Essex (is a niece – see later)

(IV) Parish Records (all at Colchester, St Leonard, D/P 245/1/6 – Essex Archives) for the children’s baptisms confirm parentage:

  1. Sarah Ann
    • No. 740, 1830 April  18[?] Sarah Ann dau of Everard and Sarah Willett, Ordinance Arms, St Leonard, Publican
    • (This record reveals that Everard was married to Sarah before he was married to Maria, and that the Sarah in the 1851 Census is a stepdaughter to Everard’s second wife Maria.)
  2. John
    • No 837, 1834 2 Feby John, Everard & Maria Willett of St Leonards, Innkeeper, H batho[?] Officiating Minister
  3. George
    • 1835 No. 893, May 4th George Son of, Everett & Maria Willett, St Leonard, Publican, E N Bull, Curate
    • Burial at Colchester, St Leonard (D/P 245/1/13 page 58):
      • 1835 No 462 George Willett of St Leonard Buried May 15th 5 months E S Bull, Curate)
  4. William
    • 1837, No 946, May 3, William Son of Everard & Maria Willett of St Leonard, Victualler, E N Bull, Curate
  5. Maria
    • 1839, No. 1031 Dec 2 Maria, Everard & Maria Willett of St Leonard, Innkeeper, F Curtis, Rector

(V) Essex Archives also holds the will of Everard Willett (D/ABW 137/1/104). It reveals:

  1. Last Will and Testament of Everard Willett late of the Hythe in Colchester in the County of Essex (Merchant)
  2. Will made Eighth day of May One thousand eight hundred and forty five
  3. William Beaumont of Colchester (Gentleman) and William Mills of Colchester (Merchant) were the witnesses
  4. Probate 6 August 1845
  5. “I do appoint my said Wife and my brother Joseph Willett of Greenstead Gardener Executrix and Executor”
  6. Beneficiaries:
    • “my Dear Wife Maria Willett”
      • “my household Furniture, Plate, Linen and China with the Coal Warehouse, Black-smiths Shop Lighters and Stable for her natural life”
      • Interest from investments until “the Children Come of Age and as they Come of Age to have to have their proportional shares to set them up in Business.”
    • after the Decease of my Dear Wife:
      • “equally divided between my Daughter Sarah Ann by my former Wife, my Son John Willett, my Son William Willett and my Daughter Maria by my present Wife”

This will confirms that Everard was married twice and that Sarah was his daughter by his first wife. It would also tend to strongly indicate that all children are accounted for. It also confirms that Joseph (Gardener of Greenstead) was his brother.

(VI) A Baptismal record for St Andrews (D/P 399/1/1) probably refers to Everard. (The 1841 census indicated that Everard was probably born in 1803/4 to Thomas and Sarah – my Great Great Great Great Grandparents.:

  • 1803, Evey Son of Thomas & Sarah Willett – Nov 6 C Hewitt, Rector
Modern Day Colchester - showing St Leonard's Church (Western Edge) and St Andrews's Church (North East Corner)
Modern Day Colchester (Eastern Edge)
showing St Leonard’s Church (Western Edge of map) and St Andrews’s Church (North East Corner of map) – about 750 m apart
Map from Family Search 1851 Jurisdictions Map based on modern day Google Maps

B) Establishing Thomas and Sarah Willett’s Family

(I) Other baptismal records for St Andrews, (Greenstead, just east of Colchester) show the probable members of this family.

  1. 1 Jan 1797, Joseph son of Thomas & Sarah Willett
  2. 4 Jan 1801, William son of Thomas & Sarah Willett
  3. 6 Nov 1803, Evey son of Thomas & Sarah Willett
  4. 26 May 1811, Sarah dr of Thomas & Sarah Willett (born March 7 1794) and John son of Thomas & Sarah Willett (born Apr 5 1806)

Why Sarah, born before Evey, was christened after him is not entirely clear.

(II) In 1836 at St Andrews (D/P 399/1/5 page 27 No 210) there was a burial (No. 210):

  • Thomas Willett of St Botolph May 24, 45 C Hewitt

45 years old would imply a birth around 1791. It is not clear who his parents were. It is possible he was a child of Thomas and Sarah.

This is as far back as I have currently gone. Further examination of Essex Archives on-line, I hope, will give me Thomas and Sarah’s marriage record and their baptismal records. Monumental Inscriptions (gravestones) may also help identify relationships.

There is a burial record (D/P 399/1/1) for a Thomas Willett at Greenstead – 25 May 1808. This is assumed to be the father of the above family.

Timeline for Thomas and Sarah Willett of Colchester and their (known) children and grandchildren
Timeline for Thomas and Sarah Willett of Colchester and their (known) children and grandchildren

C) Places where other relatives may fit

Willett Early Marriages
Willett Early Marriages, particularly showing where surnames recur
  1. Looking back “down” the family tree (towards the present) we can try to summarise the families of the above children.
    • Unfortunately, I have yet to find further details for the following: (the last three almost certainly children of Thomas and Sarah – Line 1 in the timeline above):
      • Thomas Willett* b~1791 other than his burial in 1836. (Line 2 in the timeline above) When memorial inscriptions become available, it may be possible to see if he is buried with relatives.
      • Sarah Willett* b 1794 (Line 3 in the timeline above)
      • William Willett* b~1801 (Line 12 in the timeline above)
      • John Willett* b 1806 (Line 18 in the timeline above)
    • Two families (children of Thomas Willett and Sarah) are already fairly well researched:
      • Joseph Willett (presumed to be Everard’s executor – see details of the will above) and his wife Susannah (Lines 4 to 11 in the timeline above) and their descendants are well documented, except for:
        • Joseph Willett* (Line 6 in the timeline above) is seen in the 1841 Census, but then is untraced.
        • William Willett* (Line 7 in the timeline above) died aged 23, and it is assumed he did not marry or have children. His grave may show if he had any relatives buried with him.
      • Everard Willett and his wives Sarah Mead (Lines 13 and 9 in the timeline above) and Maria (Lines 13 to 17 in the timeline above) and their descendants seem well documented.
  2. If we are looking for places where other relations may fit in, they might be descendants of the less researched people detailed above (marked *). In the timeline above they are the people who are not recorded as having a spouse except for John Willett (Line 10 in the above timeline) who seems to have died as an infant.
  3. The 1841 Census for Greenstead tends to indicate that we have identified all of Joseph Willett’s children. It shows:
    • At Greenstead Road, East Side, living alone (assumed to be Thomas’s widow)
      • Sarah Willett, 65, Laundress, b Essex
    • But next door to:
      • Josh Willett, 44, Gardener, b Essex ~1797
      • Josh Willett, 20, b Essex ~1821
      • William Willett, 15, b Essex ~1826
      • Everard Willett, 12, b Essex ~1829
      • Susanah Willett, 45, b Essex ~1797
      • Susanah Willett, 7, b Essex ~1834
    • Also close by were
      • John Cottis, 29, Dealer in Earthenware, b Essex ~1812
      • Sarah Cottis, 22, b Essex ~1819
      • George Cottis, 0, b Essex 1841
    • Marriage records show that John Cottis married Sarah Willett, daughter of Joseph Willett, Gardener.

Part 1 of this post detailed my relationship to William Willett (senior) son of Everard Willett and his second wife Maria. This couple appears in the 1841 Census for Colchester (see point A.III of this post).


  1. […] my post The Willetts of Colchester, Essex (and Daylight Saving) 2 of 2 I have detailed what I know of Thomas, his wife Sarah and his […]

    Pingback by Are We Related: Willetts of Colchester and Abingdon « Faulder Family Genealogy — 24 October, 2016 @ 1:26 pm

  2. […] (Next Post) Checking out the structure of the family at the beginning of the 19th Century – I know Everard Willett, William Willett senior’s father was married twice. […]

    Pingback by The Willetts of Colchester, Essex (and Daylight Saving) 1 of 2 « Faulder Family Genealogy — 27 October, 2016 @ 1:41 am

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