Updated 2nd April 2021
George CATCHPOLE (1758 -1821)
George’s birth place is unknown. George and Sarah Payne married 30th January 1781 at Bentley Suffolk. Sarah was baptised at Stutton, Suffolk 22 April 1759. Their children were born in Freston although there is no evidence of CATCHPOLEs in Freston prior to this period.
I have found at the Ipswich branch of the Ipswich Record Office (Ref FB 98/G1/494) “The examination of George CATCHPOLE residing in the parish of Tattingstone in the said county of Suffolk, Labourer. Who on his oath about four years ago let himself to one John BARLEY then of the parish of St Clements in the said borough of Ipswich, farmer for one year. That he served his said master all that year and during that time resided in the said parish of St Clement and that he hath done not anything since that time to gain settlement elsewhere. 29/1/1781”
This looks a strong possible to be my George CATCHPOLE, on the following grounds (a) He would have been about 19 when the above George was in service to John BARLEY. (b) No mention of wife/family suggests a young person. (c) Tattingstone is next to Freston, and later CATCHPOLEs lived in Tattingstone. (d) As yet no trace of a second George has been found. Finding our more about John BARLEY is a future option for filling in the detail. (e) It is exactly one day before his wedding.
George Catchpole received Poor Relief from the Parish of St. Clement in Ipswich in 1789-1790, even though the family was resident in Freston.
Children :- Sarah (1784), George (1786), John (1786), Charles (1789), Benjamin (1791), Edward (1795), Isaac (1798), James (1801) Henry (1802).
John Catchpole (1787-1848?)
John CATCHPOLE son of my George and Sarah CATCHPOLE is listed in the recently compiled National Archives (PRO) index of the War Office (WO) pension records. PRO document WO 97/28 tells us that John CATCHPOLE, labourer, was a private in Captain KEANES’ troop born in Freston, Suffolk, that he enlisted at the age of 18 years and served in the regiment for the space of ten years and eight days, but “in consequence” of a diseased liver which resulted from a bad fever in 1812 was discharged to pension. It also gives a description – twenty eight years old, five feet seven inches tall Brown hair, blue eyes and fresh complexion.
With information gleaned it was possible to try several other War Office sources. WO 120/20 (Chelsea Regimental Registers) lists John CATCHPOLE, age now given as 30, service as 10 1/ 12th years, at pension rate 9 pence. The complaint, where born and occupation are the same as before. In the Admission column it is marked “See Report”, “Dd 2.12.38”, “D.21.366” the meanings of which remain unclear, 2.12.38 looks like a death date but St Catherine’s lists no deaths for John CATCHPOLE in 1838/39.
Finally I have looked at the regiment’s pay lists also held at the National Archives Kew in class WO 12 to trace in more detail where he served. In this instance they show he was stationed at Ipswich Barracks and enlisted 25th July 1804. John received £13 8s as bounty for enlisting and £2 6s 1d worth of equipment, and the recruitment party received £1 18s for their efforts.
A John CATCHPOLE died at the Tattingstone Workhouse on 3rd July 1848 aged 66 which would a birth year of 1782 (compared to an expected 1786), and it is probable that this is John CATCHPOLE’s death.
Children :- None Known.
Benjamin Catchpole (1791-1871)
Born 1791 Freston Suffolk married Elizabeth PALMER (1794-1816) in 1813 at Harkstead remarried after Elizabeth’s death
Mary WRIGHT or RIGHT (1786-1874) in 1820 at Ipswich St Matthews.
Children :- Mary Ann (1814), Benjamin (1822), Charles (1825) Sarah (1827) Metelden/Matilda (1829).
Charles Catchpole (1825-?)
Chelmondiston Baptist Church’s birth register (National Archives RG4/1835;Suffolk County Record Office J419/2) which was assembled at the start of civil registration in 1837, records Charles’s birth in usual detail. Not only are his parents names and mothers maiden name given, but we are told Elizabeth BENNETT was the mid-wife and Sarah STANNING was the nurse in attendance at the birth. This implies that the CATCHPOLE family were regular attendees at the chapel.
Charles CATCHPOLE is listed on the Freston tithe assessment and his father Benjamin CATCHPOOL (sic) is listed on the Woolverstone tithe record (both approx. 1840). The Woolverstone tithe details are published in the book “Exploring the Past Through Place-Names : Woolverstone” by Sylvia Laverton and published by Paul Watkins, Stamford, ISBN 1 871615 78X.
Children :- Maria (1845), Charles (1846), Sarah Ann (1848), William (1849), Matilda (1851), Elizabeth (1853), Anna (1855), Walter (1858), Benjamin (1859), Charlotte (1864), Edith (1860), Ellen (1866), Frederick (1866) and Arthur (1869).
Benjamin Catchpole (1859-1907)
No trace of Benjamin’s birth certificate can be found, although through census and parish registers we can be confident that Benjamin was baptised at Harkstead Parish church 13th April 1858, son of Charles and Sarah Ann Catchpole. He is shown at Harkstead on the 1861, 1871 censuses aged 2 and 12 respectively. On the 1881 census he is listed as a Mariner at 12 Culloden Street, Bromplet, Poplar, London living with his sister and brother-in-law (Robert RANDALL).
Benjamin married Agnes Emma GILL daughter of Charles GILL 30th July 1882 in Poplar parish church.
Widowed by first wife, married Eliza Sparrow from Sutton Suffolk (though born in Shotley) where she was in service, on 19th November 1887 at St Nicholas Church Harwich. Profession given on marriage certificate as mariner, as on all the children’s baptisms. Addresses 1881 69 Church St, 1891-1893 1 Trinity Cottages, 1876 1 Alexander St, 1901 24 Hordle St.
Great Eastern Railway (GER) records in National Archives File Reference RAIL 227/488 record Benjamin’s career with the GER’s steam ships operating from Harwich. Benjamin served on SS Berlin (1895), SS Norwich (1896), SS Peterborough (1897), SS Vienna (1897), SS Amsterdam (1900), SS Berlin (1902).
Benjamin died 21st February 1907 when the Great Eastern Railway (GER) ship SS Berlin upon which Benjamin was a fireman (the coal shovelling type!), sunk off the Hook of Holland. Over a hundred people died and many of the crew lived in Harwich. A photograph of Benjamin appeared in the Daily Mirror on 22nd February 1907. Administration granted to Eliza CATCHPOLE (wife). Estate value £53. Witnessed by John SPARROW (Shotley) and Charles PRATCHETT (Maria St Harwich).
Benjamin’s death is recorded in a Register of Deaths at Sea (National Archives Reference BT 334/040). The details are as follows :- CATCHPOLE Benjamin Age 48 Occupation Fireman, British Subject, Residence Dovercourt. Drowned, lost with Vessel at Hook of Holland, 21st February 1907, Vessel Berlin, Vessel Official number 99454, Registered Harwich, Tonnage 586, References C&D 6a and LB 7/07. (Meaning of these references unclear (LB could mean letter book)).
Children :- Frederick (), Ethel Emma () , Frank (), Sidney (), Ivy Mable (), Arthur (), Irene (),William ()
Ethel Emma CATCHPOLE (1891-1969) b Harwich Essex m John CARTER (1891-1945)