2nd Edition of The Cossticks Available Now

The Cossticks 1700-1900 2nd Edition available now

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2. Samuel Cosstick

Samuel Cosstick, the son of Thomas Cosstick and Mary Green, was born at Seaford and baptized there on 14 July 1792. He later travelled north from Sussex into neighbouring Surrey. How he travelled is unknown although there was a regular stage coach service between Brighton, Lewes and London which passed through Croydon. The rest of Samuel's family apparently remained at Seaford, although an Ann and Louisa Caustick, possibly the children of Samuel's sister, Rebecca, were buried at Croydon in 1823 and 1824 .

Marriage of Samuel Cosstick and Mary Weller 1818On 18 January 1818, aged twenty six, Samuel married Mary Weller, aged eighteen, at Kingston-upon-Thames, across the river from Hampton Court . Mary was from Horley in Surrey, Samuel from Seaford in Sussex. How they met and why they married at Kingston-upon-Thames remains a mystery. As Mary was aged only eighteen she would normally have required her parent’s consent, however this does not appear on the register of marriage and the witnesses were Henry Pierson and Anne Webb. After their marriage Samuel and Mary Cosstick went to live at Croydon.

Samuel’s brother, John Cosstick who was two years younger, also married in April 1818. It was at Seaford that he married Hannah Best on 14 April that year . Between 1818 and 1842 they had at least four daughters and six sons – Elizabeth, Edward, Susannah, Daniel, Thomas, William, Edwin, Ann, Emily and Walter. Many of the descendants of these children still live in Sussex and other parts of England, although some emigrated to Canada and Australia during the early twentieth century.

Samuel’s next younger brother, William Cosstick, who had been baptised at Seaford on 16 June 1798, also went to Croydon where he married Jane Thornton on 26 September 1825 . William and Jane had one daughter, Jane who was baptised at Croydon on 11 March 1827 . Jane Thornton died shortly afterwards and William soon went back to Seaford where he married Jane Hubbard on 5 September 1834. He was thirty-six, Jane Hubbard was twenty-two . William and Jane subsequently had four children, William, Thomas, Edward and Fanny Mary. Fanny married William Brooks in London in 1864 and the family later moved to Canada. Their descendants now live in Canada and the United States .

The daughter of William Cosstick and Jane Thornton, also named Jane, born 11 March 1827, married Frederick Roberts and emigrated to South Australia on board the Emigrant arriving in Adelaide on 24 October 1854.

The South Australian Register of Wednesday 25th October 1854 reported the arrival on Tuesday, October 24th of the ship Emigrant, 934 tons, Watson, Master, from London July 6th, the Downs July 7th and Southampton July 12th 1854, with 316 Government Emigrants. It was the 24th ship from England to S.A. with government passengers for 1854 ; 3 births and 2 deaths on the passage ; John Spencer, surgeon-superintendent. The Register also reported that:

Arrived from Southampton on the 24th October, having been 105 days at sea. The casualties during the voyage were three births and two deaths; 313 souls were landed in the Colony. In consequence of serious charges having been made against the master, the first mate, surgeon-superintendent, and the matron of the ship, the Immigration Board was engaged during four days in investigating the various complaints. The Immigration Board found that the chief mate had been improperly familiar with one of the young women, and that the matron had done all in her power to insult and annoy the surgeon-superintendent, and had endeavoured to undermine his authority during the whole course of the voyage. His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor was pleased so far to approve of the Report of the Board as to order the gratuities of first mate and of the matron to be withheld.

Frederick’s family also emigrated at the same time . The extended family consisted of William and Eliza Roberts and their daughter Eliza, and Robert and Angelina Roberts and sons William and Josiah.

Jane later died and Frederick remarried to Elizabeth Charlotte Chilman on 21 November 1861.

Mary Weller’s father, James Weller, who was an Artillery man, also moved to Croydon from Horley and was living with Samuel and Mary a few years later . There had been a barracks built at the town in 1794 and this later used as the headquarters of the 2nd Surrey Rifle Volunteers , although James Weller may have had nothing to do with the establishment.

Croydon, Surrey

Map of CroydonThe town of Croydon during the 1820s, although picturesque, did not have a reputation for its healthy atmosphere. In fact it gradually became worse and the sanitary state of Croydon in the first half of the nineteenth century was described “as bad as bad can be” . This was because the wells had become fouled and unfit for drinking or washing. The result of this was that the death rate in Croydon was greater than in any other town in Surrey. Having reached a state of crisis a local Board of Health was appointed and new artesian wells were sunk while those containing foul water were drained into the sewage farm that was established at Waddon.

But things got worse, and in 1853 the House of Commons established an Inquiry into the Prevalence of Disease at Croydon followed in 1854 by a separate Report on the State of the Works of Drainage and Sewerage at Croydon . The Croydon district had a very large number of springs supplying water, and during the early nineteenth century almost every house had its own well. This had been one of the main attractions of the area in the early days , but the problem was that almost every house also had its own cesspool not very far from the well. To compound this problem was the fact that the millpond on the Wandle River, not far from the church, had caused the ground water level to rise. One result of this was that waste in the cesspools could easily find its way into the supposedly clean drinking water. Another result was that graves at the church could only be dug about two feet deep before they filled with water .

The problem was further compounded by the fact that recent supposed improvements to the sewer system were inadequate for the quantity of waste to be discharged. Blockages and overflows were soon the order of the day.

By 1852 Croydon had a population of 16,000. In late 1852 an epidemic of diarrhea, dissentry and fever began. Within a few months there had been 1,800 cases of fever with sixty deaths, and a large number of cases of diarrhea and dissentry causing at least ten deaths .

An inquiry was set up and public hearings were held at the Croydon Town Hall on 25 February, 5 March and 10 March 1853. The majority of people complained of sewer blockages, bad smells, overflows, and sickness. The Reverend James Hamilton wrote to the inquiry complaining of the “most offensive odour” coming from the stream, especially in the evening . Irrigated fields belonging to Mr Waterman, half a mile to the north west of the town, were described as being “an open cesspool”.
The inquiry visited ninety-two houses, including those of G. and T. Weller. Both men had their houses connected to the new sewer system and both had experienced problems, including blockages and cases of fever in the house .

May of Croydon area early 1800sBut there must have been attractions to living in Croydon and it was there that Samuel and Mary Cosstick’s children were born between 1818 and 1846 . The first may have been Henry Cosstick, who was baptised as Henry Caustick on 5 August 1821 at the church of St John the Baptist in Croydon, although ages given on his marriage and death certificates, as well as at the time of he emigration to Australia suggest that he was born between September and December 1818 . As Samuel and Mary were married on 18 January 1818 we might assume that Henry was born closer to September than to December 1818. Their next child was James Edward Caustick who was baptized at the St John the Baptist on 15 August 1819 . He was followed by Ann Caustick baptized on 22 February 1823; Sarah Caustick on 24 October 1824; Mary Caustick on 5 March 1826; Elizabeth Cosstick, baptized on 2 March 1828; Joseph Costicks, baptized on 7 March 1830; William Cosstick, on 25 December 1831; George Caustic, 8 December 1833; Samuel Cosstick, 7 February 1836; John Costick, 26 August 1838; Charles Cosstick, baptized on 12 September 1841 and finally, Robert Cosstick, born on 5 January 1846 and baptized on 1 February 1846.

All of these children were baptized at the church of St John the Baptist in Croydon. This ancient church, which was destroyed by fire in 1867, originally stood in the wilderness of the Surrey Forest just to the west of the town. During the 1830s, when the Cossticks were regular visitors, it stood on the banks of a small stream, which gradually disappeared as the town expanded. When Samuel and Mary Cosstick first moved to Croydon the church of St John the Baptist was “a very beautiful and stately Gothic structure, far surpassing every other church in the whole county of Surrey”. There was once an ancient elm tree growing next to the church on the road to Waddon which had reputedly been planted to mark the grave of a Knight Templar.

Waddon Manor

Waddon Lodge 1868What work did Samuel Cosstick do? He could well have been a woodcutter like his ancestors in Sussex, for, stretching east and west from Croydon as far as the eye could see there had once been primeval forests which were gradually cut down to satisfy the demand for charcoal. Even by the late 1700s the town was still surrounded by densely forested hills .

But it seems that Samuel Cosstick was more of a farmer than a woodcutter, and in the 1851 Census, as well as in the baptism registers of his children, he listed his occupation as farm labourer or simply labourer. His daughter, Sarah, regarded him as a farmer at the time of his death in 1871 . But his eldest son, Henry, had different ideas and regarded his father’s occupation as being that of Bailiff . At the time of James Edward Cosstick’s marriage to Mary Ann Prier on 10 February 1844, James listed his father’s occupation as being that of a builder but it is not known whether this is an error or whether Samuel did consider a change of occupation for a brief time.

While Henry’s promotion of his father’s occupation to something beyond that a mere labourer may say more about Henry’s own ambition than about what his father actually did, it is worth considering the possibility that Samuel Cosstick was in fact a Bailiff at some time.

Coldharbour Farm in 1819What was a Bailiff? The Bailiff was a property manager and supervised agricultural production on the farm estate of a Manor. What was a Manor? It was more than just a big house, as many later readers might suppose. Manors were very large estates of hundreds of acres. The manorial system of land management goes back to the 12th century. The Lord of the Manor was the head, and represented the King. The tenants of the estate included both free tenants, who paid rent in money or kind, and the villeins, who also paid rent but had fewer rights than the free tenants. The administration of the manorial estate was usually left to the Bailiff and Reeve. The Reeve was something like a business manager. At times, in the case of an absentee landlord, the Manor House became the residence of the Bailiff .

Did Samuel Cosstick become Bailiff or manager on one of the large estates near Croydon? His son, Henry, perhaps with ambition, indicates that he did, although Samuel, perhaps with modesty, preferred to be known as a farm labourer.
There were a number of Manors near Croydon including White Horse Manor to the north, Haling Manor to the south, and Waddon Manor to the west. Among the more important houses in the district were Haling House, Waddon House, Waddon Lodge, and Coldharbour .

When Robert Cosstick was born in 1846 the family listed their address as Cold Harbour, Waddon , and at the time of the 1851 Census they were still listed as living at Cold Harbour. It seems probable that Samuel and Mary Cosstick had been living at Cold Harbour for many years.

Cold Harbour Farm

Map of Croydon and Duppas HillIt would appear that Cold Harbour Farm was part of Waddon Manor which was owned by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1818 . Neighbouring Haling was owned by Mr.W.P.Hamond, and White Horse Manor by Mr J.Cator. The name Waddon possibly originates from Woden, referring to the Saxon god .

There were a number of farms known as Coldharbour, or Cold Harbour, in Surrey at the beginning of the nineteenth century, but the 1851 Census description makes it clear that the Cossticks lived at Coldharbour near Waddon Manor just to the south west of Croydon.

Cold Harbour Farm bordered Duppas Hill, which rose from the southwest corner of the St John the Baptist churchyard. The Cossticks simply had to walk over the hill to the church. At that time the hill was open land, the top of which was reputedly once used for tournaments and tilting by knights .

Coldharbour Farm in 1876Today Cold Harbour Farm has disappeared under the expansion of suburban London, as have the estates of Haling, White Horse and Waddon. And yet there are reflections of their past existence in the names given to the streets of the Croydon.

The maps on these pages show the location of these estates and clearly indicate the gradual expansion of London since the beginning of the nineteenth century.

The Family of Samuel Cosstick and Mary Weller

At the time of the Census of 30 March 1851 Samuel and Mary Cosstick and four of their children were still living at Cold Harbour Farm. Samuel, then aged close to sixty, still listed himself as a farm labourer. His son William, aged 19 was a Groom. Samuel, aged 15, was also a farm labourer. John, aged 13, and Charles, 9, were at school. Mary Cosstick's father, James Weller then aged 82 and an Artillery Pensioner, was also living with them, his wife, Amey, having died some time earlier.

The eldest son, Henry Cosstick, married Sophia Edwell at All Souls Church, St Marylebone, in London on 9 April 1844 . Sophia, seven years older than Henry, was the daughter of John Edwell and Rebecca Stibbs, and was born in 1811 at Sutton Courtney, Berkshire . Henry was a servant at the time of his marriage, and an oilman at the time of his emigration to Victoria nine years later .

Marriage entry for Henry Cosstick and Sophia Edwell 1844These occupations suggest that he was employed by a fairly well off family as it was usual for male servants only to be employed by families in receipt of over £1,000 per year. The occupation of oilman refers to the daily task of trimming, refilling and cleaning the oil lamps of the house. In a large house there would be twenty or more of these lamps, which were not replaced by gas until after the middle of the century .

In 1851 Henry was probably still in London where his children, Henry and Ellen, were born in 1846 and 1848 .

The rest of this chapter is in the book.


Full references and sources are available for this information and are published in the book. Please email me if you would like source references.

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