With Christmas fast approaching, I thought it would be interesting to see whether, in addition to Christmas Chaplin, there were any other villagers in days gone by with the name ‘Christmas’ – either as a first name or a family name.
I have not discovered any family with the surname ‘Christmas’, but if you know otherwise, please contact me.
However, I found three other individuals with the first name ‘Christmas’ who once lived in Great Ellingham – Christmas Lincoln, Christmas Barnard and Christmas Larke. At least one of them, Christmas Barnard, was born on Christmas Day.
The youngest of seven known children of Alfred and Deborah Lincoln, Christmas Lincoln was born in Bow Street, Great Ellingham on the 6th October, 1888.
Named after his Grandfather
With his birth being in October, Christmas was unlikely to have been named after the festive period. It was more likely that he was named after his paternal grandfather, Christmas Chaplin.
Home in Bow Street
The 1891 census captures two year old Christmas Lincoln with his parents and two siblings at Stone House in Bow Street.
In 1901, 12 year old Christmas is still living with his parents in Bow Street.
Ten years later in 1911, this Lincoln family is still in Bow Street. However, 22 year old farm labourer Christmas Lincoln is now the ‘breadwinner’ of the family and not his father, 66 year old Alfred Lincoln. For the three years before the census, Alfred Lincoln suffered with his mental health. The census describes Alfred as ‘feeble minded since 63’.
Marriage to Hetty Lane
When Christmas was 31 he married 26 year old Hetty Lane. I do not know exactly where the marriage took place. However, the marriage was registered in the Wayland District between April and June 1920.
Born in Wreningham on the 15th February, 1894, Hetty was the daughter of William and Ethel Lane who, in 1901, lived in Church Street, Great Ellingham.
At the time of the 1911 census, Hetty worked as a general servant at the home of farmer Alfred W A Clarke at Portwood Farm, Great Ellingham.
Hetty Lincoln is remembered on the tombstone of her father, William Lane, in the churchyard at Great Ellingham
Bush Green Farm
By 1939, Christmas and Hetty Lincoln were at Bush Green Farm. Hetty died aged 50 on October 30th, 1944. Christmas Lincoln died on the 29th June, 1958.
Born on Christmas Day
The son of labourer Henry Barnard and his wife Elizabeth of Wicklewood, Christmas Barnard was born on Christmas Day 1844 in Wicklewood. Around six months later, he was baptised in the Parish Church of Wicklewood on June 22nd, 1845.
The 1851 census captures six year old Christmas Barnard with his parents and three siblings in Stalling Common, Great Ellingham. 37 year old Henry Barnard is working as a brickmaker – perhaps at the nearby brick kiln in Hingham Road.
Ten years later, the 1861 census finds the Barnard family in Long Street. At 15, Christmas is working as an agricultural labourer. His father, Henry Barnard, is still working as a brickmaker.
Marriage in Kent
Within a few years, Christmas Barnard left Great Ellingham.
He married Catherine Ann Cheeseman on the 28th December, 1868, at Minster, Sheppey, Kent. By that time, Christmas was a Police Constable.
The 1871 census finds 27 year old Police Constable Christmas Barnard with his 20 year old wife Catherine and their two year old daughter, Catherine, living at the Police Quarters in Chatham, Kent.
Christmas and Catherine Barnard had seven children – Catherine Elizabeth Ann in 1869, Christmas Stephen Henry in 1871, Edward Charles Jesse 1873, Ada Caroline Emma 1874, Ernest Arthur Percy in 1876, Ada Edith in 1878 and Edward John in 1879. Sadly, three of the children died in infancy – Edward Charles Jesse in 1874, Ada Caroline Emma in 1875 and Edward John in 1879.
Death at the age of 36
Tragically by the time of the next census, Christmas Barnard was dead at the age of 36. His death was registered between January and March 1880 in the Wandsworth District of London.
The 1881 census finds 30 year old widow, Catherine Barnard, with her four surviving children – Elizabeth (Catherine) 11, Christmas 10, Ernest 4 and three year old Ada, at her father’s home in Clapham.
A son of wheelwright William Larke and his wife Sarah (née Short), Christmas Larke was baptised in the Parish Church at Great Ellingham on the 26th January, 1834. Unfortunately, the entry in the baptism register does not provide Christmas’s date of birth. Accordingly, I do not know whether he was born the previous year on Christmas Day.
William Larke married Sarah Short on the 13th May, 1829 in Sarah’s birthplace of Honingham. Both William and Sarah were living in Honingham at the time of their marriage.
The marriage was by licence and not following the traditional reading of banns. Perhaps William and Sarah were in a hurry to marry? Perhaps they wanted to keep the marriage quiet?
Inside the Parish Church of Attleborough
As it happens Sarah Larke was pregnant when the marriage took place. She gave birth to William just months (if not weeks) after the wedding. William was baptised in St Mary’s Church, Attleborough on the 30th August, 1829.
Inside the Church of St James Great Ellingham. Postcard BCV
William and Sarah Larke came to Great Ellingham before 1831. Their son Henry was baptised in St James’s Church on October 27th, 1831. Christmas was baptised around 2½ years later in the same church.
Move to Norwich
Christmas was only three years old when his family moved to Norwich. Accordingly, he likely remembered very little about his early childhood in Great Ellingham. Indeed, he may not have even known that he was born in the village.
The only census which gives Christmas’s correct place of birth (albeit that it is recorded as ‘Ellingham’), is the 1851 census. At that time, Christmas was still single and living ‘at home’. Accordingly, it is more than likely that his mother provided the enumerator with the details of the members of her household.
Following the move to Norwich, the 1841 census captures William and Sarah Larke with children William 11, Henry 9, Christmas 7 and Caroline 4 at Betts Buildings in the Parish of Heigham. William is working as a coach maker.
In 1851, the census finds 53 year old Sarah Larke as the head of the Larke household at Church Alley, King Street, Norwich. Sarah is said to be married. However, William Larke is not listed with the family on census night.
With Sarah is three of her children, Henry 19, Christmas 17 and 14 year old Caroline. Henry is working as a pattern maker and Christmas is employed as an errand boy.
By 1861, Christmas married Elizabeth Jex. Their marriage was registered in the Norwich District between October and December 1858.
The 1861 census shows 26 year old general labourer Christmas Larke with his 25 year old wife Elizabeth in Cockey Lane, King Street, Norwich. Although having two children – Sarah aged 4 and one year old Elizabeth – Elizabeth Larke is working as a shoe binder. 4 year old Sarah was born to Elizabeth before her marriage to Christmas Larke.
Ten years later, Christmas and Elizabeth Larke are still living in Cockey Lane. Following the birth of their daughter Elizabeth in 1859, the couple had further children – Christmas born in 1861, Henry Richard 1864, Hannah 1865, Richard 1868 who sadly died within a few months (if not weeks) of his birth and Richard George born in 1869.
Christmas is working as a labourer for a stone mason.
By 1881, Christmas Larke moved his family to the Norwich Parish of St Margarets. In addition, Elizabeth Larke had given birth to two further children – Emily in 1872 and Harriet in 1874.
The census captures 50 year old stone cutter Christmas Larke and his wife 45 year old shoe binder wife Elizabeth at 9 Church Alley. Their sons 19 year old Christmas and 17 year old Henry are working as coal porters. Their 15 year old daughter Hannah is employed as a paper box maker. The couple’s younger children – Richard 10, Emily 8 and six year old Harriet, are all attending school.
Before the 1891 census, Christmas and Elizabeth moved home again. This census finds them at 5 Jays Yard in the Heigham Parish of Norwich. Now 59, Christmas Larke is described as a stone sawyer. Elizabeth does not appear to be working. The couple’s two youngest children are living with them, and they are both in employment – 19 year old Emily is working as a tailoress and Harriet as a paper box maker.
The 1901 census captures the couple living alone at 1 Dolphin Yard in the Parish of St Martin at Oak, Norwich. 69 year old Christmas Larke is working as a stone mason’s sawyer. Elizabeth Larke is now aged 61.
Death of Christmas Larke
Great Ellingham born Christmas Larke died at 1 Dolphin Yard, St Martin at Oak on the 22nd June, 1905. At 71, he was still working as a stone sawyer.
Christmas Barnard was one of five children registered with the first name ‘Christmas’ between January and March 1845 in England & Wales.
Three other children were registered with the first name ‘Christmas’ in the same year – one between April and June and two between October and December.
The previous year saw a similar number of registrations of children with the first name ‘Christmas’.
Christmas Lincoln was the only child registered with the first name ‘Christmas’ between October and December 1888 (again in England & Wales).
However, earlier in the year between January and March there were 14 children registered with the first name ‘Christmas’. These registrations would have included any children actually born on Christmas Day the previous year i.e. 1887.
In addition, there were three registrations of children with the first name ‘Christmas’ between April and June 1888.
There were marginally more children registered with the first name ‘Christmas’ the following year. 18 between January and March 1889 (again, these would have included those children born during the latter part of December 1888), four between April and June, and three between October and December.
Other Festive Names
Using the General Register Office (GRO) Index available on FreeBMD website (and we should bear in mind any omissions or errors), I looked for some other interesting festive names. This is what I discovered:
A male child was registered with the name Christmas Holly Aldous in the Norwich District between January and March 1889.
Christmas Angel Emmanuel Liffen (also male) was registered in the Great Yarmouth District between January and March 1896.
Mistletoe Ellis was registered in the Aston District between October and December 1906 and Mistletoe Spencer registered between January and March 1910. Both infants were females.
One male infant was registered with the first name December between September 1837 and December 1901: December Dixon was registered between January and March 1878 in the Pontefract District. This infant was most probably a December baby.
Moving forward, two other children (both girls) were registered with the name December between 1901 and 1950: December Boswell was registered in the Chorlton District between January and March 1904, and the birth of December Sheriff was registered in the same district between April and June 1920.
Given that the registrations appear in the same district and that the registration of ‘December Sheriff’ provides the mother’s maiden name of ‘Boswell’, I am confident that there is a family link between these two registrations. Further, whilst is it likely that December Boswell was born in December, it is unlikely that December Sheriff was a December baby.
1841 census HO107/787/6
1851 census HO107/1823/117. HO107/1814/26
1861 census RG9/1237/94, RG9/1215/7
1871 census RG10/909/19, RG10/1814/8
1881 census RG11/637/33, RG11/1948/83
1891 census RG12/1549/72, RG12/1530/31
1901 census RG13/1867/72, RG13/1834/92
1911 census RG14/11473/32, RG14/11473/4
GRO Index. https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro Also accessed via FreeBMD website https://www.freebmd.org.uk
1939 England & Wales Register. The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/6590H. Viewed via https://www.ancestry.co.uk. Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2018.
Christmas Charles Lincoln. Probate. 8 May 1959. Norwich. Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England. Viewed via https://www.ancestry.co.uk. Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Wicklewood Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD 130. Viewed via https://www.ancestry.co.uk.
Marriage Christmas Barnard and Catherine Ann Cheeseman. 28 Dec 1868 Minster in Sheppey, Kent. Father: Henry Barnard. Kent Archives Office; Maidstone, Kent, England; England, Kent, Parish Registers, 1538-1911. Viewed via https://www.ancestry.co.uk Ancestry.com. Kent, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1538-1914 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2018.
Transcript of Norwich Death Returns 1904-1905. Norfok Family History Society. https://www.norfolkfhs.org.uk
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD 609. Also available at https://www.familysearch.org
Attleborough Parish Registers. Archdeacon’s & Bishop’s Transcripts. Norfolk Record Office PD 438. Viewed via https://www.ancestry.co.uk
Honingham Parish Registers. Archdeacon’s & Bishop’s Transcripts. Norfolk Record Office PD. 446. Viewed via https://www.ancestry.co.uk