Looking for your Fontmell Antecedants


Our website articles are normally accompanied by pictures specially selected for their relevance to the text which they illustrate. But this text-only article is published in response to the widespread interest in family histories, in the hope that it will offer some assistance to those searching for information about the most numerous families in the second half of the 17th century.

FONTMELL’S PARISH RECORDS of baptisms, marriages and burials date from 1653. This is much later than some parishes, but earlier than many local ones. It is assumed that pre-1653 church records were either lost or destroyed during the Civil War. The first register contains entries under all three headings, and is often difficult to read. It is now only available for study on microfilm at the Dorset History Centre in Dorchester. But there are transcriptions of some of the material available at the DHC and various other organizations and individuals have attempted their own transcriptions. These may or may not be entirely reliable, and researchers are best advised to visit the DHC where that is feasible.

THIS IS NOT A COMPREHENSIVE LIST of every family living here during that momentous period. But what follows is a list of the 16 most common names of the period, drawn from the baptismal entries and identifying the married parents:
BOWDEN: Christopher & Mary; John & Frances; John & Anne, Nicholas & Susan; William & Cecily.
CARD(E): Martin & Grace; Nicholas & Edith; Robert & Elizabeth.
CHAMBERL(A)INE: Robert & Joan; James & Mary; Richard & Rose (or Rosa); John & Margaret.
COLE: William & Martha; William & Mary; Richard & Joan; John & Elizabeth; Robert & Mary; John & Catherine; Thomas & Jane; Richard & Mary. In the 1841 census there were 19 members of the Cole family in the village.
FELT(H)AM: Richard & Jane; George & Edith; David & Eleanor; John & Jane. In the 1841 census there were 23 members of the Feltham family in the village.
GRAY (or Grey): William & Mary; Walter & Eleanor; John & Charity.
HASKELL (or Hascoll): Thomas & Elizabeth; John & Elizabeth; Matthew & Constance; Thomas & Mary; Richard & Edith. In the 1851 census there were 6 members of the Haskell family in the village.
LAWRENCE: Charles & Ann; Charles & Ann Swetman; Robert & Elizabeth; Henry & Hannah. In the 1841 census there were 58 members of the Lawrence family in the village.
MONC(K)TON: John & Ibbett(?); Henry & Mary; Richard & Elizabeth. In the 1841 census there were 14 members of the Monckton family in the village.
MI(T)CHELL: Thomas & Martha; Robert & Margaret; William & Margaret; William & Marjora(y); Jacob & Avice (or Alice).
PLOWMAN: Richard & Christian; James & Mary; Thomas & Edith; Thomas & Constance; Robert & Dorothy; Robert & Elizabeth; William & Dorothy.
READ(E): Christopher & Elizabeth; William & Rebecca; Christopher & Mary; Christopher & Joan; Thomas & Joan; John & Joan. In the 1841 census there were 3 members of the Read family in the village.
STILL: William & Elizabeth; William & Alice; Richard & Martha; Richard & Mary; James & Elizabeth; William & Elizabeth; James & Joan, Robert & Mary; James & Mary; William & Joan; Joseph & Mary; Henry & Elizabeth; Joseph & Katherine. In the 1841 census there were 52 members of the Still family in the village.
SWETMAN: William & Edith; Edmond & Susanna; John & Jane.
VINCENT: Peter & Agnis; Thomas & Alice; William & Maren; Richard & Elizabeth; William & Eleanor; Richard & Frances; Peter & Agnes; Robert & Jane; Christopher & Ann; William & Dorothy; John & Ann; Peter & Angela; John & Martha.
WAREHAM (or Waram): John & Mary; John & Dorothy; Steven & Amy; Walter & Margaret; William & Martha; John & Margaret; William & Honor. In the 1841 census there were 25 members of the Wareham family in the village.

PLEASE LET US KNOW if you wish to comment on this list or to add material to it. There are several contacts researching the STILL and LAWRENCE families at present, and we can put you in touch with these or other groups if you provide your email address. We do not disclose postal addresses or telephone numbers.

Author: Ian Lawrence