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The Oldham Family

Genealogy continued from the Wood family of Woodbridge and Melton

Birth years without day or month given are approximate -
these are either deduced from census records or are from submissions to the LDS.
BVRI = 2nd edition of British Vital Records Index (LDS) NBI = National Burial Register
Owing to Hardwick's Marriage Act of 1754, until 1837 all marriages (except of Quakers and Jews)
had to take place in the parish (established, Church of England) church.
So a marriage record alone in that period is no proof of religious allegiance.

Updated April 2015

The Oldham pages are in four parts, this page being the main area of for research into the origins of Joseph Oldham, first known member of the Oldham family; the main information on his children is on the second Oldham page.

The name of the family in the Middle Ages is locative, that is, based on the place-name of Oldham in Lancashire, now a large town adjoining Manchester. The most well-known person of that name was Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter who was born in Lancashire somewhere in the region now referred to as 'Greater Manchester'. His great respect for education led him to endow and erect Manchester Grammar School in 1515. He is commemorated today with the Oldham coat of arms which was adopted by the City of Manchester and by the Grammar School, with slight variations. Both of these can be seen online on the title pages of their websites and are worth viewing because a book plate with a rather individual variation was given (in a Bible) to a younger member of a younger branch of the Australia. The details and the context of the find are explained in Part 3, William's Family, detailing the 8th child of Joseph and Mary Oldham.

By the 19th century the bulk of available early records places the majority of people of the name in Cheshire - though that could be partly because Cheshire's BMD records are available online - and from there they fanned out in decreasing numbers southwards. There were few in Suffolk and all Joseph's surviving children moved away from that county. However, the main connections for the Oldham families found in Suffolk in the 18th and early 19th century seem to be divided between Liverpool, Leicester and London and centre on three families, those of :

1. William Oldham & his 3rd wife Ann Westley, of Leicester
2. John Oldham & Beliza Lambert of Melton
3. Joseph Oldham & Mary Wood of Melton [main line]

This list can be expanded with marriages to show some of the Leicester connections:
1. William Oldham's son Thomas Westley Oldham m. Lucretia Oldham, (daughter of John and Beliza above) in London; they lived at Frith House in Leicester
2. John Oldham & Beliza's son William Chapman Oldham d. in Barrow upon Soar, nr Leicester & daughter Lucretia d. in Frith House, Leicester, (which must be the same house, and where Searles also stayed)
3. Joseph Oldham's son Searles Wood Oldham married in Leicester in 1830 and Searles' daughter Lucretia married in Leicester in 1862; Searles was staying with the Leicester Oldhams in 1841..

Note - These addresses are quoted here exactly as given in the records. William was living at Frith House with his sister in both 1841 and 1851 but the address is then given as 'Extra Parochial of Sherman Ground' and 'Registration District of Barrow upon Soar'

Or looking at birthplaces: (numbers in brackets refer to the child's position in the family)
1. William's son Thomas Westley Oldham b. Leicester
2. John Oldham's sons & daughters :: (1) John, (5) William Chapman Oldham & (7) Thomas were born in Melton
(2) James (3) John (4) Beliza (6) Ann & (8) Lucretia were baptised in Lombard St, London
3. Joseph Oldham's children all b. in Melton but 3 of son William's 4 sons were baptised in Lombard St.

All the evidence seems to point to both William and John all being involved in either the linen or button businesses in Lombard St in the City of London. Both were also associated with gold in the use of braid and well as buttons and in the design of uniforms. Joseph's grandson, Nathaniel (b. 1817, son of William jun'r, a hat maker - perhaps using gold braid? - also baptised in Lombard St, worked for the Union Bank in the City and was sent out to Australia in 1839, where he eventually became an Estate Agent, Bank Manager and broker in Adelaide.

The Oldham Three

1. Descendants of Daniel Oldham of Leicester

At present there is no information available about Daniel himself, only the reference to him as father on the birth records of his children as listed in the IGI and all baptised in St Margaret's, Leicester.

1. James Oldham chr. 3 Aug 1732
2. Daniel Oldham chr. 31 Jan 1733 bur. 19 Oct 1734
3. Daniel Oldham chr. 9 Oct 1735
4. William Oldham chr. 18 Nov 1737 m. Ann Westley, 2 sons; d. 29 Mar 1814 Leicester
5. Hannah Oldham chr. 25 Jan 1739

It seems unlikely that there was yet another father named Daniel to explain the short gap between James and Daniel apparent in the dates. These are of course baptisms and may have taken place some time after the birth. William was baptised at St Margaret's Leicester

Family of William Oldham & Ann Westley

. William Oldham was well-known in Leicester as an architect and builder and was responsible for a number of halls, e.g. Braunstone Hall, and other large building projects. He was made a freeman of the city on 16 May 1763 and joined the Corporation about 1766. Ann Westley was his 3rd wife, daughter of Alderman John Westley of the town. Whether he had other children by his previous wives is unknown, but he and Ann had two sons:

1. Thomas Westley Oldham b.3 Nov 1770 chr 2 Dec 1770 St Martin's Leicester,, m. Lucretia Oldham, d. 30 Mar 1834 [IGI]
2. William Oldham b. 8 Mar 1773, chr. 15 Mar 1773 St Martin's, Leicester [IGI - C034662 - batch number given if looking for William, but no result given for searching by batch number!]

William sen'r died at his home, 25 High St in March 1814 and was buried 29 Mar 1814. His will was proved at Leicester in that same year. It is not known when his son William died (but must not be confused with 'William C.Oldham', i.e. William Chapman Oldham, brother-in-law, the only one present at Frith House in 1841. This William may have died at any time after 1773)

Thomas Westley Oldham & Lucretia Oldham

Thomas Westley Oldham m. 15 Jun 1815 St Michael, Crooked Lane, London, Lucretia Oldham, dau. of John Oldham & Beliza (nee Lambert - see below for that family). He was an Alderman of Leicester before becoming High Sheriff, and built Frith House in 1816 on the site of Sherman's Lodge which it's said his father acquired in about 1812-13. The estate was 240 acres.

This couple had two children in Leicester
i. Thomas Westley Oldham b. 3 Nov 1770 chr. 2 Dec 1770 St Martin's, Leicester, d. 30 Mar 1834 Frith House, Leicester
ii. William Oldham b. 8 Mar 1773, chr. 15 Mar 1773 St Martin's, Leicester

Thomas Westley Oldham J.P. is described in Parliamentary Papers as 'of Atherstone, Co.Warwick and the London Gazette reports his appointment as 'Cornet' in the local Corps. He must have acquired a property there during his father's lifetime but he moved back to Leicester about 1814 and bought Sherman's Lodge with its 240 acres of land about 2 miles NW of Leicester. On 15 June 1815 he married Lucretia Oldham at St Michael's, Crooked Lane in London, and in 1816 he built Frith House on the site of Sherman's Lodge.

Lucretia Oldham was the daughter of Mr John Oldham of Melton and Beliza Lambert (who was the daughter of the Rev.Thomas Lambert, Vicar of Melton in the 18th century). John and Beliza were married in Melton on 1 Feb 1772 (her father officiating of course). Full details next. below

Thomas died on 30 Mar 1834 at Frith House. In his Will he left everything to his wife. The Gentleman's Magazine of 30 March described him as a 'gentleman highly respected for his upright and consistent conduct. He served the office of High Sheriff in 1826.'

He and Lucretia had no children and she outlived him by 20 years, dying at Frith House in November 1854. In her will Lucretia left everything to her brother, William Chapman Oldham, the only one of the family of John Oldham and Beliza Lambert surviving.

William Chapman Oldham died in the Jun Q 1860 aged 83, never having married, and the house was sold in 1861. They were all 'independent' but neither Thomas's nor Lucretia's Will gives any clue about other Oldham connections.

The Lambert Family

The Rev Thomas Lambert, Rector of Melton, and his wife Anne appear frequently in the annals of the Wood family, both often being godparents to children of Richard Wood and Jane. Thomas was baptised on 6 Nov 1703 in Kendal, Westmorland and married Mrs Anne Carter, widow, on 27 Jul 1736 at St Andrew's Old Church, Melton. It is not known when Thomas sen'r became Rector, the earliest mention of a family baptism being 1757, but he was certainly in office for many years and was associated with the Wood family when they were still living in Woodbridge with their first two children. Thomas and Anne had six children, all baptised in Melton,

1. Thomas chr. 11 Jun 1737, 5. Anne chr. 7 Apr 1744,
2. Beliza chr. 17 Oct 1738, 6. Jonas chr. 25 May 1747
3. Thomas, chr. 26 Jan 1739, 7. Letitia chr. 1749.
4. James chr. 7 Mar 1741,  

James received his M.A. at Trinity College Cambridge, was ordained as a minister in the Church of England and remained in Cambridge, still being 'of Trinity College' in 1800. At the time of probate of his Will, dated 16 May 1823, he was described as 'Clerk, Fellow of Trinity College...'

A later Lambert adds an interesting footnote whether he was a member of the same family or not - an S.Lambert of Regent St, Middlesex described as a 'Gold Lace Man' who was granted a patent on 2 Jun 1832 for his 'improvement in throstle spindles for spinning and twisting silk, cotton, wool, flax and other fibrous substances.'


2. John Oldham & Beliza Lambert

Beliza Lambert was baptised on 17 Oct 1738 daughter of the Rev.Thomas Lambert and Anne (formerly Carter, formerly ??) 'Miss Beliza Lambert' was godmother to John Wood, youngest son - and heir - of Richard Wood and Jane (formerly Searles) in 1766

On 1 Feb 1772 in Melton Beliza Lambert 'of this Parish' married by License 'John Oldham 'of the Parish of St Edmund the King, London' .

  1. John Oldham bur. Melton 23 Jun 1771, 'an infant'
  2. James Lambert Oldham chr. 27 Nov 1772 St Edmund, Lombard St, London
  3. John Oldham b.1 Nov 1773 , chr. 10 Nov 1773 St Edmund, Lombard St, London
  4. Beliza Oldham b. 15 Feb 1775, chr. 19 Apr 1775 St Edmund, Lombard St, London, d.1828 Rickinghall Inferior
  5. William Chapman Oldham b. & chr 7 Jul 1776 at Melton
  6. Ann Oldham b. 23 Aug 1777, chr. 27 Aug 1777 St Edmund, Lombard St, London
  7. Thomas Oldham b. 7 Oct 1778 chr 13 Oct 1778 at Melton
  8. Lucretia Oldham b. 30 Nov 1779 chr. 1 Dec 1779 St Edmund, Lombard St, London

Notes on John and Beliza's children:

1. John was found on the mf in Ipswich Record Office with the following: "John, son of John Oldham of Lombard St, London and Beliza, an infant".

A directory of 1844 lists John Oldham & Son, tailors and linen drapers, on Lombard St. Very near there, at 3 Bucklersbury in 1808 was Thomas Oldham, linen merchant and the same address is listed as that of 'Oldham, Ravenhill & Co. in 1819. The P.O. Directory of 1819 also lists a William Oldham with a hardware and button warehouse in East Cheap which runs off Gracechurch St at the southern end where the Monument is now. Lombard St is off Gracechurch St on the other side, not far away. It was in Gracechurch St that Mary Catherine Fagalde claimed to have married Searles Wood, Mary Wood's brother. Moreover Searles' address according to his Will in 1809 was Lombard St.

4. Beliza Oldham, born in 1775, had a button and silk warehouse at 25 Lombard St. In her Will which she signed on 28 Feb 1826 (in the presence of 'F.Amys and H.Elizabeth Amys') she identified herself as 'Beliza Oldham of the Parish of Rickinghall Inferior in the County of Suffolk, Spinster.' She left all her property to her brother, William Chapman Oldham whom she named as Executor of the will. She appears to have been buried in Norfolk though which parish is not known at present. (Rickinghall is not far from Diss) The will was proved in London on 18th Nov 1828.

5.William Chapman Oldham was the principal legatee of his mother's will. (Chapman was probably he maiden name of his mother or grandmother) This is important as it makes quite clear that he is not to be confused with William Oldham, 14 years his junior, son of Joseph Oldham and Mary Wood (his possible cousin?), also in 1813, living in the same parish and possibly employed in the Lombard St workshop. (More details below)


Two more people in London listed in the 1808 Directory were linen-drapers - their names are of interest!
City of London ___Charles Chapman, linen-draper, 7 Marylebone St, Golden Sq. p.56
(related to William Chapman Oldham son of John & Beliza?)
___Thomas Oldham, linen merchant, 3 Barge Yard, Bucklersbury, p.212
(Bucklersbury is close to Lombard St)
not identified:
'William Lambert, an old man, bur. 13 Jan 1747' in Melton
Mrs Charlotte Lambert, godmother to Mary Wood in Melton in 1759
IGI for Melton - unknown family

John and Mary Lambert had two children in Melton:
________ John chr. 15 Dec 1746 and Letitia chr. 13 Dec 1749
Mary, wife of John Lambert was buried in Melton 31 Dec 1749
Letty, dau. of John Lambert & Elizabeth Graham, chr 15 Aug 1788 Melton


3. Joseph Oldham & Mary Wood

Joseph Oldham and Mary Wood had 15 children - their children are listed below but the main details are on the other Oldham pages, Part 2, and Part 3 with more on another Joseph, a grandson, on the new 'Oldham-Dorning' page,

I. Joseph Oldham m. Mary Wood on Wed. 27 Jun 1759 at St Andrew's Old Church, Melton. Joseph was born about 1750 and almost certainly not in Suffolk. Mary Wood was the daughter of Richard Wood and Jane (see the Wood Family pt 2 for details) . They had 15 children but several died in infancy and not all dates are known.
. This list is repeated on the next Oldham page but the links here go straight to the relevant notes.

  1. Richard Wood Oldham chr. 24 Nov 1779 m. (1) Elizabeth Johnston 27 Nov 1810 in Melton,
    (2) Maria Watson 28 Nov 1822 in Barham, SFK
  2. Nathanael Oldham chr. 10 Apr 1781 d. 7 Oct 1781 (IGI C062701)
  3. Beliza Oldham chr. 24 Mar 1782 d. Jun Q 1850 in Ipswich (unm.)
  4. Mary Ann Oldham chr. 13 Mar 1783
  5. John Oldham chr. 29 Nov 1784 d..22 Jun 1785 (IGI C062701)
  6. Joseph Oldham chr. 16 Jan 1786, m. Dorcas, d. 27 Apr 1858 in Cape Town SA ('1820 Settler')
  7. Harriot Oldham chr 11 Feb 1788 m William MacFarlane (various spellings) on 4 Mar 1816 in Melton
  8. William Oldham chr 28 Feb 1790 m. Louisa Carkeet
  9. John Oldham chr 11 Apr 1791 m. (1) Martha Thomas (2) Mary Voyce
  10. Searles Wood Oldham chr. 9 Jul 1793 m. Hannah Brooks 30 Sep 1830 in St Margaret's, Leicester
  11. Thomas Wesley Oldham b. 27 May 1795 chr 27 May 1795 ('1820 Settler')
  12. Lucretia Oldham chr 16 Oct 1797 d. 17 Nov 1803 (IGI C062701)
  13. Edwin Oldham b. abt 1799 d. 10 Mar 1859 in Cape Town SA ('1820 Settler')
  14. Alfred Oldham b. abt Dec1800 d. 8 Jun 1803 in Melton (aged 2 yrs, 6 mths)
  15. Charles Oldham chr 24 Mar 1803 d. 20 Dec 1803 (IGI C062701)

Joseph died in Wickham Market 26 Jan 1818 and was buried in Melton. Mary died in 1828. Both are recorded on the National Burial Index (NBI) Details of their children are now on a new Oldham page (2), along with details of Joseph's bankruptcy - and recovery - in 1808-9, but those relevant here are also mentioned in the notes to John and Beliza's children below .


A search for Searles Wood Oldham, son of Joseph, found him in June 1841 with William and Lucretia, not at home with his wife and children. The three of them, William Chapman Oldham 64, Lucretia 55 and Searles, 48, were at Frith House in Leicester, a large hall since demolished and the estate swallowed up by a large hospital and private housing estates, only the Frith name now being preserved. It would hardly be surprising to find Searles staying with cousins, not just there because they had the same surname!

Searles had married Hannah, his second wife, née Brooks, in Leicester on 30 Sep 1830, yet another 'odd' coincidence. Hannah was born in Jamaica but her family, judging by the number of Brooks who appear in the records, probably came from Leicester, which might explain how he met her initially. The 1841 census (for Liverpool as Hannah was still at home with the children) has 'land' against her name suggesting an income derive from estates, perhaps in Leicester?

7. Thomas is identified in Melton as the son of John and Beliza in the IGI, Batch no.C062701, along with the eldest John who did not live very long.. Thomas had also presumably died by 1800.

8. Lucretia is named in her mother's will. When and where she died is not known but she is not mentioned in her sister Beliza's Will, possibly because she married. In fact by 1841 she was a widow, her husband being Thomas Westley Oldham

Oddly enough Joseph also had a son Thomas but 'Wesley', not 'Westley', though of course both names may well have been pronounced as if the same, so a parish clerk's spelling in the baptismal record is not of great weight! Was the second Thomas [Wesley], born 1795 in Melton, Thomas [Westley]'s cousin? Even if not a first cousin it seems very likely that he was related.

It is not known when John Oldham senior died but it was certainly before 1800, 'Mrs' Beliza then being a widow. A Beliza Oldham had a Button and Silk Warehouse at 25 Lombard St. This must be Beliza (née Lambert), John's wife who made her first Will in 1800, followed by two Codicils which she signed but somehow managed to miss having witnessed. The first part of the Will duly signed and witnessed is dated 12 Jun 1800, the executors being [Mrs] Beliza's brother, the Rev. James Lambert of Trinity College Cambridge, John Morris Esq. of Feltham Hill Mdx and Charles Aldrich, linen draper,of New Bond St, Mdx. The executors were to receive all her property - freehold messuage or tenement or premises etc,
(the shop and house in Lombard St), in trust for her son William Chapman Oldham (who was then 24), to sell if he did not want to buy it. Apart from this property her two daughters were to receive £100 each, a Legacy left to her sometime previously and William was to receive 100 Guineas, all within six months of her decease. The Legacy for her daughters, Beliza and Lucretia, had been left to her by Bessy, late Countess of Rochford. but presumably never touched. It looks as though no other of her children had survived at this time! The usual safety precautions - how the money was to be disposed of if any of them died before their mother or the property was damaged by 'Fire or Roberry or Casualty' - are included at great length. The Trustees were to receive a legacy of £5 each as a token of her thanks.

Another Morris, Joseph, son of the Rector, also Joseph Morris, and later Rector himself at Feltham, Middlesex, married Searles' daughter Lucretia in that parish. With thanks to Elizabeth, a researcher into the clergy of the Morris family. (It seems likely that some of the Oldhams could have lived there for a time but is very difficult if not impossible to prove before 1841 and a census. But it was quite common for well-to-do families to have houses both in the country and in (or near) London.

Charles Aldrich of 47 New Bond St is listed in a 1794 Directory and again on the Post Office London Directory of 1808 p.7 as 'linen draper to His Majesty.' The witnesses who signed were Richard Wood of Melton, John Wood of Woodbridge and Mary Ann Wood, John's wife (née Baker)

The first codicil to Mrs Beliza's Will was written and signed by her on 10 May 1801. William Chapman Oldham was given first preference on the purchase of the house and property in Lombard St but his mother was giving the Executors the power to receive a mortgage from him so that if either of her daughters married they would receive their inheritance within six months, or if they didn't marry they would receive regular payments of interest at 5% p.a. every half year.

On 30 Sep 1808 Mrs Beliza 'revoked' the former Will (though again it was unsigned) replacing the executor Charles Aldrich with her son William Chapman Oldham. (Presumably Charles Aldrich had died) Subsequently when she died in 1813 these codicils had to be proved by affidavit. The paragraph containing this affidavit begins 'Appeared personally' followed by the names 'John Oldham of Fleet Street London Woollen Draper' and 'William Oldham of Lombard Street London Gold Lace Man' who 'made Oath that they knew and were well acquainted with Beliza Oldham formerly of Lombard Street in the Parish of St Edmund the King and Martyr and Saint Nicholas Acorn London but late of Shacklewell in the County of Middlesex widow deceased and with the manner and character of the Handwriting and Subscription having seen her write and also sign and subscribe her Name...' and so on. (Lombard St is within walking distance of Fleet St. From his shop in Fleet St. John would keep going east, up Ludgate Hill to St Paul's Cathedral, and not turning off left - north - until Cannon St and one of the narrow alleys that linked to Lombard St. Lombard St at the eastern end runs into Gracechurch St) These two, William and John can probably be identified with two sons of Joseph Oldham and Mary Wood, William born in 1790 so now 23 and John, just 14 months younger at 22.

Other Williams and Johns being related would hardly have just said they were 'acquainted' with her, but of course there could also be two other quite unconnected Oldhams involved. More information is still needed to make these positive identifications

Lombard St is still well-known for its bankers but it was also known for its goldsmiths - important of course to its gold-lace manufacturers!

William, son of Joseph, remained in London where he married and where his four sons were born, the eldest, Nathaniel being baptised in this same church of St Edmund four years later. His brother John settled in Wallingford, Berks as a tailor and woollen draper, and his allegiance by then was to the Baptists, becoming a regular preacher in Dorchester (on Thames) but he must have returned to London many times - either on business, perhaps to buy cloth, or in connection with the Baptists. His second marriage, to Mary Voyce in 1830 was at All Souls, Marylebone. The date of his first marriage is not known but his first son was born in 1817.

William Oldham is listed as a retired Hat maker in 1861. Gold lace was needed for uniforms - and hats - he could be the 'Gold Lace Man'.

(See more details of John on the 2nd Oldham page)


Oldham Part 1
Oldham Part 2
Joseph & Mary
Oldham Part 3
Oldham Part 4

Oldham Part 5
John & Martha

Bessy, Countess of Rochford 1699-1746

'Bessy' was the illegitimate daughter of the poet Richard Savage who succeeded his brother in 1712 to the title of Earl Rivers. Her mother was Mrs Colydon. Bessy herself married Frederick Nassau de Zuylestein, the Earl of Rochford. In 1742 Richard's title passed through the legitimate line to George James, Earl and then Marquis of Cholmondeley (pronounced 'Chumley'). Richard Savage as Earl lived for a time at Ealing Grove and left the house to his daughter Bessy; her son Richard Savage Nassau sold it in 1746. Frederick and Bessy had interests in several other properties and many of the relevant documents are listed with summaries on the A2A website. As 'Countess Rochford' Bessy was probably a 'member' of London society - the 'ton' as it was known. There is a portrait of her in the National Portrait Gallery which can be viewed online in black and white..

As can be clearly seen in most pictures of 18th and early 19th century dress, buttons were used on men's garments in profusion for decoration as much as for fastening, on pockets, on deep cuffs, on surtouts (overcoats), waistcoats and frocks (frock-coats). The buttons themselves were far from plain and are today collectors' items. Oddly enough covered buttons were forbidden by law, perhaps as a blanket way of banning the practice of using gold leaf. Beliza Oldham would be more likely to provide buttons for the Earl's clothes and silk and satin of several kinds, from paduasoy (corded silk) to sarcenent (fine, soft silk), plain or brocaded, for the Countess's elaborate dresses, petticoats and coats as ladies' garments had few buttons. She could also have hired the seamstresses to make up the garments. It was perhaps for this service that she received the legacy.