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The History of Ashwell - the home of the Waldock Family

The connection between the WALDOCK family and the NEWMAN family was made when my grandmother, Eliza WALDOCK, married James GOVAN and their daughter, my mother, Davina Jane GOVAN married Sydney William NEWMAN.

Thomas WALDOCK
baptised - 6 Jul 1828 - died 27 November 1877
Mary Ann WALDOCK, née BURROUGHS
married 29 July 1847 died - 1859


Thomas Waldock was born in the village of Ashwell, Hertfordshire and baptised on 6th July 1828. He came from a long line of Waldocks in that village dating back to the early 1600s.

On 21st December 1841 Thomas Waldock was apprenticed for seven years to a tailor in the nearby village (although in another county) of Great Chishill, Essex.

In Great Chishill he met Mary Ann Burroughs and they were married on 29th July 1847. On their marriage certificate Thomas' father is given as another Thomas Waldock but in the space for Mary Anne's father there is a dash (although a Charles Burrows and a Joseph Burroughs signed as witnesses). This shows that her father was unknown and probably means that she was illegitimate. In the Mormon IGI I could only find one Mary Ann Burrows or Burroughs being born in Essex in 1829 which is the year I have estimated for our Mary Ann's birth. This was Mary Ann Prime Burrows, baptised in Anstey on 31st May 1829. Only her mother's name, Lydia Burrows, is given. The name "Prime" was probably the father's name. From further studies I can only assume that this Mary Ann Prime Burrows was indeed my great- grandmother for although she later dropped the `Prime' from her name she still had it in 1841 as shown in the census for that year. She was then living at the same address in Chishill as Thomas and Mary Ann Waldock were in the 1851 census. The spellings of the names Burrows and Burroughs at this time were interchangeable.


Heydon Road and the wind mill, Great Chishill,
places that would have been familiar to Thomas and Mary Ann Waldock.


On the 3rd November 1850 the first child of Thomas and Mary Ann Waldock was born. This was Eliza Ann, my grandmother. Two years after the birth of Eliza Ann another daughter, Salina, was born.

On 5th November 1853 Thomas and Mary Ann Waldock left Southampton in the "Truro" on an assisted passage for Australia. Eliza Ann was three years old and Salina six months. They arrived in Melbourne 31st January 1854 - almost three months later. My heart really goes out to these people with the hardships and cramped conditions they suffered in their long difficult journeys to Australia. What was it that made them go to Australia in the first place? Agriculture was going through a difficult time in England at that time and perhaps the tailor in the village was one of the first people to suffer when the farmers around the village could no longer afford new clothes.

Thomas and Mary Ann Waldock were the only ones of my ancestors to go to Australia on an assisted passage. All the others paid their own fare. To obtain an assisted passage, Thomas had to have employment when he arrived in Australia. According to information on the shipping list, employment as a labourer was offered for three months by a Mr Smanasta ? of Brighton, Victoria at a wage of 60 (per annum). The shipping list has other interesting pieces of information. The family's religion was listed as Wesleyan. Perhaps Eliza Ann changed to be Presbyterian after her marriage to James Govan. Both Thomas and Mary Ann could read and write. Thomas is named as a tailor. They were provided with rations while on the ship.

On his daughter (my grandmother), Eliza Ann's, marriage certificate Thomas was still named as a labourer so it seems he never managed to return to his trade of tailoring. I wonder what happened to his tailoring skills and the seven years apprenticeship which he had served to become a qualified tailor.

After their arrival in Australia Mary Ann and Thomas had two more children, Georgina born in 1856 and Edward born in 1858. Mary Ann died in 1859 not long after the birth of Edward. Eliza Ann would have been nine years old. Thomas married again, so Eliza Ann, like all my other grandparents, had a stepmother. From what my mother has said, Eliza Ann was apparently not as lucky with hers as James Govan was with his.

Thomas Waldock was not to live long either as he died in 1877 aged only 49 of pneumonia, vomiting and exhaustion. A sad unfulfilled life it would seem and not one of the successful emigrations to Australia.

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