"Each has his own tree of ancestors, but at the top of all sits Probably Arboreal." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, 26 April 2012

K is for Kipping

I didn’t have a choice about today’s K, because it’s the only one in my tree, but it’s fine because it’s a really good one – Kipping. It also takes in another couple of surnames as well – Hayward and Hedgecock, which I didn’t get to cover in my H.
The Kipping story starts with William Philip Hayward, the father of Victorine Hayward, my dad’s maternal grandmother. All I knew about William initially is that he was an alcoholic actor, somewhat older than his wife Mabel, and that he had died when Victorine was in her late-teens (in around 1930/31 we think).
When I first started on this branch of the family, William proved extremely difficult to track down. I found one census entry, 1901, for W. P. Hayward, actor, which gave his birthplace as ‘Brighton Hove’. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single potential birth entry, or any promising earlier census entries. I tried every variation I could think of on Hayward – Haywood, Heyward, Heywood, and more besides – and was utterly baffled by the whole thing. However, I had easily tracked down the marriage entry for William and Mabel, and so I ordered the certificate.
William Philip’s father’s name was given as William Kippin Hayward, and he was listed as a draper (deceased). So, I set about re-checking census entries armed with the new info, thinking that there must somewhere be a major error with William Philip’s date of birth, and this would set it right. Still no luck.
I assumed, of course, that the unusual ‘Kippin’ was a mother’s maiden name (and in this assumption I was to be eventually proved correct).
It was only when I turned to the 1911 census and by chance got the search criteria right that the correct entry presented itself. William P. Hedgcock (Sometimes spelt Hedgecock), actor, living with his father William K. Hedgcock, draper. The ages were correct, as was the place of birth for William Philip, and I was finally convinced that I had found the right record. Hayward, I assume, was William Philip’s stage name – it is only surprising, perhaps, that he should use it on his marriage certificate.
Anyway, once I had made this crucial leap, my Kippings turned out to be quite easy to track, and a fascinating bunch!
William Kippin Hedgcock was born in 1851, in Rochester, Kent, to parents Edwin Hedgcock and Emma Kipping, who had married the previous year. Obviously, I don’t want to talk too much about the Hedgecocks here, or this post will go on forever, so I’ll save them for another time.
Emma was born in 1828, in Hadlow, Kent, according to the 1851 census – which confusingly gives her the name ‘Emmer Williams’. This is because one member of the household is one Louisa Williams, housekeeper. In fact, in this census, Edwin, Emma and their newborn son are, rather helpfully, living with Emma’s father, Will Kipping (b. 1792), and her brother Charles Kipping (b. 1831-33).
By 1861, Emma and Edwin are living in Uxbridge with their children – all except William Kipping, who is unaccounted for on this census.
Further research initially revealed the existence of two sisters ­– Ann Kippin (b. 1826) and Maria Kipping (b. 1829) – living with Emma on the 1841 census, in a very small household that appears to be described as a ‘seminary’. It would seem that the three Kipping girls, then aged fifteen, twelve and eleven, are away from home for the purposes of their education. Tracking Ann and Maria, I found them in 1851 in the Barlow household in Croydon, where they are described as ‘nieces’. I have yet to identify where this relationship comes in.  By 1861, Ann is a boarder in the Carnell household, and Maria has married to an unknown spouse.
I then turned to look more closely at their father, Will Kipping. In 1841, his household includes daughters Sarah Kipping (b. abt 1825) and Caroline Kipping (b. abt 1820), a son George Kipping (b. abt 1820), housekeeper Louisa Williams, and Ann May, aged about sixty. Ann’s position in the household is not clear, but as she is the last person listed, below the housekeeper, I think she is most likely a servant or employee rather than a family member.
George marries in the early 1850s, to an unknown woman, and has three children: William Kipping (b. 1855), Francis Elizabeth Kipping (b. 1856) and Ellen Sophia Kipping (b. 1858). By 1861 he is widowed, and he himself dies in 1863. The children are, according to the probate record, left in the care of his father. What happens to them I haven’t yet established, though Ancestry seems to be suggesting plenty of records for all of them.
In 1861, Will’s household consists of housekeeper Louisa Williams; Charles Kipping and his wife Mary, and their two children Horace Kipping (b. 1858) and Charles Kipping (b. 1861), a previously unknown son of Will Fred Kipping (b. 1834), Sarah Carnell ­and her daughter, also Sarah, aged four. Sarah Carnell turns out to be Sarah Kipping, now the wife of Edward Carnell, in whose household Ann Kipping is residing on the same date.
It is as yet unclear what happens Caroline Kipping is after 1841. Nor do I know what happens to Fred Kipping after 1861.
Will Kipping, it appears, is a farmer and a rather prosperous one at that. In the 1840 Pigot’s Directory of Kent, he appears in a list of nobility, gentry and clergy in the Hadlow area, and on the 1851 census he describes himself as a ‘farmer of 160 acres, employing 15 labourers’. In 1861 he is a ‘retired famer’, yet on his death five years later he leaves ‘effects under £18,000’ – which the National Archives’ currency convertor tells me would have the same spending worth as £822,600 in 2005. This makes Will Kipping probably the wealthiest (known) person in my family ever!
In order to try and progress a little further with Will’s line, I began by searching for the baptisms of his children. This was partially successful, with some but not all baptisms identified. It revealed that Will’s spouse was also named Caroline. There is one very likely marriage, to Caroline Kettle, in Wateringbury, Kent, in 1816. Once again, there are possibly other, older children not yet identified, given that there’s potentially a four-year gap after their marriage before the birth of George.
Caroline Kipping née Kettle dies in 1832, which does raise the question of how she can possibly have given birth to son Fred Kipping in 1834. However, census ages are notoriously unreliable. One census suggests a date of birth of 1833 for their older son Charles, which is equally impossible. On the other hand, perhaps Caroline isn’t their mother. I didn’t find a baptism for either of these two boys, so I can’t yet prove that Will didn’t remarry, though if he did she must also have died by 1841.
Though the marriage didn’t give a name for Will’s parents, there is one very likely baptism for Will too – in May 1792 in Hadlow, to parents Thomas Kipping and Mary. There is scope to prove this as well, if I can find other baptisms of children to the same parents and then trace one of them forwards to Barlow family with whom two of Will’s daughters are living in 1851. (Unless of course the Barlow connection is on the Kettle side, in which case it will be equally useful on a different line!)
Intriguingly, there is also another connection that might be useful, and this time it is definitely on the Kipping line: one Thomas Kipping, solicitor, of New-Broad-Street, London. I initially found him as an executor of Edwin Hedgcock’s Will, and tentatively suggested that he might be another brother of Emma’s. When I later uncovered Will Kipping’s Will, however, Thomas Kipping, solicitor is executor of this will too, but this time is named as ‘nephew of the deceased’ – Thomas is the son of one of Will Kipping’s brothers (or potentially, but less likely, one of his sisters).
As you can see, my Kipping family is a perfect example of a typical family history ‘jigsaw puzzle’ – lots of pieces that all inter-connect to build up a picture of a remarkable, and seemingly quite close-knit, family – and these are the pieces still to find or place:
– Where is William Kipping Hedgcock in 1861?
– Who are the Barlows and how are they connected to the Kipping family?
– Who is the wife of George Kipping and what happens to his children after his death?
– What happens to Caroline Kipping after 1841?
– What happens to Ann Kipping and Fred Kipping after 1861?
– Does Maria Kipping marry Abraham Lee or Robert Bennett? What happens to her from 1860 ?
– Is Caroline Kettle the mother of Fred and Charles Kipping? If not, who is?
– Are there further children of Caroline Kettle and Will Kipping?
– Can I find out any more about earlier Kippings – Will’s parents?
– Can I find out more about the family of Thomas Kipping, Will’s nephew?
– To whom does Will Kipping leave his vast fortune after his death?
L x

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