John Starling Jr 1807 - 1876 Print
John Starling Jr 1807 - 1876

John married Mary Dawes on 4th February 1848 in St Mary Magdalene.

Mary had previously been married to John Fordham, a marriage which produced two children, Richard Wilson Fordham born about 1836 and Elizabeth Fordham born about 1837. Richard would eventually settle in Staffordshire, working from being a Miner, to a Blast Furnace Tester, ending up as a Grocer and Seedsman, whilst the last sight I have of Elizabeth is in 1861 when she is working as a Servant at Vicarage Hall, Great Staughton. After John Fordham's death in 1843, Mary bears a child called Susan, in 1847.

On the 1851 census, John, Mary and children, Richard, Elizabeth, Susan and John are living on Hilton Green. John is shown as a labourer.
In 1853 the family grows by the addition of another child, Edward.
On 3rd April, 1854, there is an entry for John Starling in the England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892. He was found guilty of Larceny and received 1 months sentencing. There is nothing on the register to confirm that this is my ancestor's brother, however, on 3rd January, 1859, the following records are on file in the Huntingdonshire Records Office, which I know to be him: John Starling 53, Labourer, Able to neither read nor write; Killing a sheep, property of William Theed, at Hilton. 3 years' penal servitude. It therefore looks like, Great Great Great Grand Uncle John had a bit of previous...

It was recorded that the crime was discovered during a morning head count, when it was found that a sheep had gone missing from the flock by young Master See. He and the Shepherd searched the fields and found a bloodied fleece discarded on the ground. A trail of blood led down the road, and when the police constable spoke to villagers, one recalled seeing a man with a sheep's carcass being carried on his back. It didn't take long to find the trail ended at John Starling's cottage, and the carcass itself pushed down between a bed and the wall in the small room. In court he testified that he'd killed the sheep to feed his family who were starving.

John's 3 years of hard labour was carried out at Dartmoor Prison in Devon with him being recorded as a Prisoner/Labourer on the 1861 census. The task carried out by these prisoners was generally breaking rocks.

Mary and the remaining children are shown by their initials in Hemingford Grey Workhouse for the census, and Mary died there two years later in 1863. Susan Starling was last noted on this census and I have no idea what happened to her after that. John Starling appears to have followed his half brother, Richard, up to Staffordshire, appearing there on the 1871 and 1881 census as firstly, a "Coal Miner and Grocer", and then just a "Coal Miner". By 1891 and 1901 he is living in Coppenhall Monks, Cheshire, where he was a "Forge Labourer (Smith)" and "Railway Forge Labourer (Padd)" respectively. By 1911 he is in Nantwich, Cheshire, where he presumably died. Edward Starling, too, went to Staffordshire, in 1871 being shown as a "Blast Furnaceman". I lose sight of him after this.

John Starling, meanwhile, having served his time, returns from Devon to Hilton and by 1871 is living with his older brother, James, on The Green. John died in May 1876.
Last Updated on Sunday, 23 August 2009 10:45