GIDDINGS/KIDMAN, The Holt, St Pauls Walden, 18/19th century

February 2001

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St Pauls Walden

PLEASE NOTE: When this question was asked the amount of information available online was very restricted and the only census available (on a CD) was the 1881 census. The answer given below should be carefully checked using the additional information now readily available online.

Richard Giddens (rgid125138 @t aol.com) of Derbyshire is trying to trace the origins of John GIDDINGS, who married Elizabeth (marriage details not yet found) and baptised children in Kimpton from 1726 (parish registers). He was tenant farmer of The Holt, St Pauls Walden from at least 1758 (original of tenancy agreement seen at HALS). The IGI shows a John GIDDINGS bap 1704 in Barton-le-Clay (Beds), which is not far away, but I have no evidence that this is the correct person. There seems to be no trace of his birth or marriage in the parish registers or IGI in the villages surrounding Kimpton.

Descendants were labourers at The Holt farm until about 1875. (BMD certificates, censuses IGI etc). The spelling of the name changes indiscriminately from GIDDINGS to GIDDINS and GIDDENS throughout the period. Would appreciate any info about the farm (I have a copy of the OS map about 1880 from old-maps.co.uk) and any relatives/descendants.

The family has links to many others in the St Pauls Walden/Kimpton area and I will willingly share such info as I have. My own branch of the family moved to St Michaels, St Albans about 1865 and subsequently to Cambridgeshire.

While the John Giddings of Barton-le-Clay could be the person you are looking for, so could the John Giddins who was born on 26 February 1702 and baptised on 5 March 1702 at Saint Andrews, Hertford. He was the son of Thomas and Mary Giddins. [Source British VRI]. In terms of distance there is nothing to choose between them. There may well be others who have not yet been indexed - or for whom there is no surviving record of a baptism. Situations such as those described in Right Name, Wrong Body will had occurred in the early 18th century but are harder to untangle because the surviving records are usually less helpful. Absolute proof may be difficult - and the approach should be to try an eliminate candidates. The pattern of Christian names in the family can be a useful guide to a probably close relationship and often the easiest way is simply to eliminate candidates. For instance, if you check the Barton-le-Clay burial registers you might find that the John Giddings born in 1704 was buried later the same year - in which case he is no-one's ancestor. (You will be surprised how many people end up with family trees involving ancestors which died in infancy because of a failure to check the registers!) You may also decide that the John Giddins born in 1702 at Hertford was the Jno. Geddins who married Martha Parish on 3 December 1736 at nearby Broxbourne.

By the way, have you checked the Allen card index at HALS for the marriage around 1725?

I note that your Giddings associations with The Holt ended in about 1875, and wonder if their leaving the farm was connected with the death of one of my Burchmore cousin relatives, Alfred James Kidman, who would have been employing your ancestor. Alfred was born in Luton on 28th July 1831 and was recorded as a farmer's son in Kimpton in the 1861 census. He married Emma How at St Pancras on 11 March 1868 and on 25th December 1868 his elder son James William Kidman was born at St Pauls Walden. Further Kidman children, all born at St Pauls Walden, were Mary How (18 March 1870, died 1881), Elizabeth Burchmore (15 May 1871) and George Alfred John (4 June 1872). The 1870 Post Office Directory shows him as a farmer at The Holt, and the 1871 census records that he was farming 438 acres with 14 men and 7 boys. He died at Camberwell House, Camberwell, on 12 December 1875 and was buried at Kimpton, where his tombstone say he was from "The Holt". The family left the farm, his widow giving the address of Alma Villa, Harpenden, in April 1876. By the 1881 census she was living at The Laurels, Harpenden, where she took high quality boarders - a silk merchant, a shipper and a philosopher (scientific pursuits) - the latter perhaps being a scientist with a Ph.D. working for John Bennet Lawes at the research laboratories at Rothamsted, Harpenden. Emma continued to live at The Laurels until her death in 1916.

September 2001

Doug Giddings (dsgiddings @t yahoo.co.uk) writes: I am descended from the Giddings of Orwell, Cambs and was born in Watford. I subsequently lived in St Albans before moving to Letchworth. I am currently working for BAESYSTEMS in Saudi Arabia but I will be on leave in UK next week. We had relatives who were in Clophill, Beds in 1871, and think there may possibly be some link with the St Pauls Walden Giddings. Therefore we need to link up with Richard Giddens of Derbyshire to compare notes and see if we have any common ground. We are having a Giddings meet at Orwell on 30th September.

Richard Giddens (rgid125138 @t aol.com) provided an update saying Thanks for your comments re the owners/ tenants of The Holt. HALS has a large bundle of deeds relating to the property and it bears out your notes regarding the Kidman family.

Further to the origins of John GIDDINGS:- Doug GIDDINGS, appears to be descended from William GIDDINGS (born 1701), the brother of John GIDDINGS born in Barton-le-Clay (1704). This line extends throughout Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire and also is being researched by Susan GIDDINGS from Australia and Camilla von Massenbach. Susan has a downloadable gedcom on her rootsweb site.

January 2006

Maureen Presland (maurichprezzy @t aol.com) writes: John Giddins who married Elizabeth and was born in 1704 was my relation. He was my Gt. gt.gt.gt.gt. grandfather. My great great grandmother was also Elizabeth and her name was Giddins and lived in Hemel Hempstead. If any more information is needed please let me know.

January 2007

Doug Giddings (dsgiddings @t yahoo.co.uk) wrote: John Giddings who married Elizabeth was probably the son of Thomas (shepherd, buried 1709) & Alice Bland (marr.1700). John was baptised at Barton Le Clay in 1704. A John Giddings, born 1703/4 did die in 1704 but another was born in 1704 and was most certainly alive when his uncle William died in 1729. William, shepherd of Barton, Bedfordshire left a will (Ref: APB/W 1729/31. Beds R.O.). He bequeathed 136-15s to William, John & Thomas, the sons of my deceased brother Thomas, also to their mother Ales Giddings [Bland]. He also bequeathed to one Sarah Francis, one middling sort of sheep!

I am descended from John's elder brother William (marr. Elizabeth
Pearles) through the Orwell Giddings.