Wednesday, 21 March 2007

John Cruse and Mary Rook

I have recently made contact with David Cruse who has been researching the Cruse family name for many years and has done a considerable amount of work on the Cruses of London, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Somerset. David has very kindly sent me outlines of the various trees which he has worked on.

David is descended from John Cruse and Mary Rook, who married on 30th April 1814 in Whitechapel, London. At the time of the marriage John was around 32 or 33 whereas Mary was only about 16 or 17. Mary was already a few weeks' pregnant and it's quite possible that the marriage took place without the permission of Mary's parents. After the marriage they returned to Mary's home parish of Bourn in Cambridgeshire. Their daughter Marian was baptised on Christmas Day 1814 at St Mary's, Bourn. Their son Edward was baptised one year later on 26th November 1815 in Bourn. Shortly thereafter John and Mary seem to have decided to return to London. We have records of two further children, Matilda, born about 1820 in St Luke's, Finsbury, and Thomas John Cruse, born about 1821 in St Luke's. By 1841 the family were living at James Street, Finsbury. John and his son Thomas were both working as carmen (drivers of horse-drawn vehicles for delivering goods and parcels) and Mary and her daughter Matilda were silk weavers. By 1851 they had moved to 15 Memel Street, Finsbury. John, now 70, was a labourer and Mary, 54, was a fruiterer. Their daughter Matilda, 31, was still living at home and was working as a silk winder. John died shortly after the 1851 census.

Normally it is a straightforward matter to trace a birth for those people who are included in the 1851 census. However, John Cruse has been somewhat more problematic. In 1851 he gave his place of birth simply as Berkshire, but in 1841, when living in Finsbury, he indicated that he was born "in the county". Working on the assumption that the 1851 census was more accurate David Cruse has spent many years researching the Cruses of Berkshire in an attempt to discover John's origins. In the course of his research he has assembled a large tree comprising most of the Cruses in Berkshire. The only likely candidate he has been able to find is John Cruse who was baptised on 23rd February 1783 in Lambourn, Berkshire, the son of Edward and Mary Cruse. John Cruse married Ann Young on 12th October 1806 in Lambourn. They had one son John, born in 1811. John's baptism is recorded in the Coleshill parish registers. Coleshill was then in Berkshire but is now part of Oxfordshire. John Crewes was privately baptised on 28th April 1811 and received into the church on 16th June 1811. There are no further Crewse/Cruse baptisms in Coleshill and no burials so we assume that John and Ann must have moved away from the parish shortly after the birth of their son. If this John Cruse did indeed marry Mary Rook in Whitechapel in 1814 then Ann must have died some time between 1811 and 1813. There are no matching burials in the Berkshire Burial Index, which now covers most of Berkshire, so it would appear that they left Berkshire and possibly moved to London. There is however no easy way to check the London burials so the proposed scenario will be very difficult to prove. Unfortunately the Whitechapel Marriage Register provided no clues as the vicar only recorded the names of the bride and groom and the date of the marriage. However, the fact that John was so much older than Mary does suggest that it was his second marriage.

Mary Rook has been much easier to trace. She was baptised on 26th February 1797 in Bourn, Cambridgeshire. She was the daughter of Thomas Rook and his second wife Sarah Adams, who married on 17th May 1796 in Bourn. By an astonishing coincidence, one of the witnesses at their wedding was Edward Bodger who is my husband's great-great-great-great-grandfather. Edward Bodger was a tailor, and the father of fourteen children. His son John Bodger (my husband's ancestor) was the head gamekeeper to the Earl de la Warr at Bourn Hall.


jean louise said...

I am also a descendant of john cruse and mary rook they are my grandfather was edward thomas cruse cousin in New Zealand wrote a piece on edward thomas cruse,some of the things she wrote were wrong,so could you please get me intouch withher.thank you.

jean louise said...

I forgot to leave my email

Debbie Kennett said...

Jean, I'll contact you by e-mail.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

hi do you have any information on edward and mary cruse - matilda is the one I am researching but any info on edward and mary appreciated

Debbie Kennett said...


I will e-mail you separately. I do have a Matilda Cruse in my database who was baptised in 1790 in Lambourn, Berkshire. She was the daughter of Edward Cruse and Mary Dash.

Best wishes