We have this image of a rural England with generations of one family living in the same village for centuries. But from a study of Badsey and Wickhamford, this is not the case. If you lived in Badsey in the 16th century, your neighbours were most likely to be Pidgeon or Smyth, George or Grove. Over in Wickhamford, it was the Bookers or Bowkers and Honybornes who ruled the roost.
In an attempt to discover who lived in Badsey and Wickhamford in centuries gone by, a study has been made of the parish registers to find out who the main families were. From the 19th century, we also have census records to call upon. Out of a total of 62 surnames, there are only seven names – Badsey, Hall, Jones, Pethard, Smith, White, Wilson – which appear in the popularity charts for both Badsey and Wickhamford. It should be noted that the population of Wickhamford was much smaller than it is today which is why, for the 1500s, there is no name in tenth place as there were insufficient occurrences of an individual name.
As parish registers did not begin until 1538, inevitably there are gaps in our knowledge. And, particularly in the first century or so of recording information, there were some years when no entries were made at all and others where it is obvious that the register was made up-to-date at a later period by a scribe who was writing up from notes. As far as can be construed from the information available, here is a list of the top ten names for Badsey and Aldington by century. You will note that there was sometimes overlap between the parishes, but more often than not the names were quite different.
|BADSEY WITH ALDINGTON|
|1 PIGGIN/PIDGEON||1 SMITH/SMYTH||1 KNIGHT||1 KNIGHT||1 KNIGHT|
|SMITH/SMYTH||2 PIGGIN/PIDGEON||2 SMITH/SMYTH||2 HARTWELL||2 JELFS|
|3 ROBERTS||3 WHITE/WHYTE||3 SIMPSON||3 HARRIS||3 KEEN|
|4 GEORGE||4 HARWARD/HARWOOD||4 BYRD/BIRD||4 CRISP||4 HALL|
|5 GROVE||5 DARK/DARKE||WILSON||5 PETHARD||5 HARTWELL|
|6 WELLS||6 GROVE||6 JONES||6 JELFS||6 JONES|
|7 DARK/DARKE||7 BADSEY||7 GROVE||7 KEEN||7 CRANE|
|8 HARWARD/HARWOOD||8 BROOK/BROOKS||8 COTTON||8 JONES||8 PERKINS|
|9 BUGDEN||9 MARTIN||9 ROBERTS||9 HALL||9 STEWART|
|10 YARDLEY||10 ROBERTS||10 DAVIS/DAVIES||10 WATKINS||10 BARNARD|
|1 BOOKER/BOWKER||1 BOOKER/BOWKER||1 CLARK/CLARKE||1 HOWES||1 HALFORD|
|2 BYRT/BURT/BIRT||2 OLDACRE/OLDAKER||2 WIDDOWS/WIDOWS||2 SMITH/SMYTH||2 SMITH/SMYTH|
|3 HONYBORNE/HONIBORNE||3 BAYLIS/BAYLISS||3 BLISSARD/BLIZARD||3 TAYLOR||3 PETHARD|
|4 KINMAN||4 BLISSARD/BLIZARD||RICHARDSON||4 HALL||4 COX|
|5 SPOONER||5 HAWKES||5 STEPHENS||5 WINNETT||5 PITMAN|
|6 ORDWAY||6 WIDDOWS/WIDOWS||6 MASON||6 PETHARD||6 HERITAGE|
|7 WILSON||7 SMITH/SMYTH||SMITH/SMYTH||7 SEARS||TAYLOR|
|8 BADSEY||WHITE/WHYTE||8 OLDACRE/OLDAKER||8 TOMLINSON||8 SUTTON|
|9 MICKLETON||9 SPOONER||9 LANGSTON||9 FAULKNER/FALKNER||9 MASON|
|WILSON||WHITE/WHYTE||10 ROGERS||10 JONES|