Explorer 297

Explorer Map 297 – Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley


My research into the various branches of my family tree


Stories from my Geocaching adventures


Weekends Away in Sunny Hunstanton

Wharfedale Plus

The adventures of the Waffle-Ale group

Home » Genealogy

James Bettis 1825 – 1872

Submitted by on Monday, 7 December 20095 Comments
James Bettis 1825 – 1872

My Great Great Grandfather was James Bettis who was born in 1825. (I have seen some family trees that have his birth date as 4/11/1825 and another that has him down as James Edmund Bettis, though I have seen no documents or records to concur (or disagree) with either) He was born in Stanford Rivers, lived all his adult life in Ivy Chimneys Lane, worked as an Agricultural Labourer, and died in 1872 in hospital at the Epping Union Workhouse.

The first census record we have already seen in the post about his son William

1871 Census – Ivy Chimneys Lane, Theydon Bois

James Bettis Head 47 Ag Lab Stanford Rivers
Emma Bettis Wife 46 Matching
Mary Ann Bettis Daur 21 Theydon Garnon
Arthur Bettis Son 19 Ag Lab Theydon Garnon
Henry Bettis Son 16 Ag Lab Theydon Garnon
Eliza Bettis Daur 12 Theydon Garnon
William Bettis Son 10 Theydon Bois
John Bettis Son 6 Theydon Bois
Sarah Bettis Daur 4 Theydon Bois
Rosetta Bettis Daur 3 Theydon Bois

1861 Census – Ivy Chimneys Lane, Theydon Bois

James Bettis Head 37 Ag Lab Stanford Rivers
Emma Hudgell Mistress 36 Matching
James Hudgell Son 14 Theydon Garnon
Mary Ann Hudgell Daur 11 Theydon Garnon
Arthur Hudgell Son 9 Theydon Garnon
Henry Hudgell Son 6 Theydon Garnon
Eliza Hudgell Daur 3 Theydon Garnon

1851 Census – Ivy Chimneys Lane, Theydon Bois

James Bettis Head 27 Labourer Stanford Rivers
Emma Hudgell Lodger 26 Matching
James Hudgell Son 4 Theydon Garnon
Mary Ann Hudgell Daur 11 mo Theydon Garnon

So… the obvious things of note are the Lodger / Mistress / Wife status of Emma and the change of surname of the children.
Emma Hudgell is listed as a Widow in 1851, but in 1861 she is listed as married, these apparent anomalies are all answered on Pam Hudgill’s website www.hudgill.com where she details what she found in her research on her ancestors. Briefly it is thus
Emma Hudgell was born Emma Radley, married Thomas Hudgill in September 1841. In 1844 Thomas Hudgill was found guilty of obtaining money by deception and was sentenced to be transported to Australia for 7 years. He died on the journey to Australia, but Emma probably wouldn’t have known that.
Emma then took up with James Bettis, and there is no reason to think that all her children were other than James’ – calling your first born after the father was common, so James, born in 1847, would fit with this – Though James did keep the Hudgell name all his life.
After having 9 Children (one daughter, Matilda born 1862, died as an infant) James and Emma did eventually get married, on 4th April 1868

1868 Emma Hudgell-James Bettis marriage

The children (other than James) then took the Bettis name. On the 1871 census the youngest child Rosetta is listed as James and Emma’s Daughter, but it is pretty certain that she was born the illegitimate daughter of the then 18 year old MaryAnn.

It’s a little strange that the birthplace of the older children is listed as Theydon Garnon, when they lived in Theydon Bois. One possible explanation is that the local hospital, the “Workhouse of the Epping Poor Law Union” (opened 1838, later St Margaret’s Hospital Epping) was on the outskirts of Epping, in the Parish of Theydon Garnon, about a mile and a half away from Ivy Chimneys Road.

Stanford Rivers is a small agricultural hamlet, and has hardly changed at all since the 1881 map (apart from the digging of a pond and the building of a couple of modern big barns

Stanford Rivers in 1881

Stanford Rivers today


There are people that say this record from the 1841 census also relates to this James Bettis, however I think it is unlikely as the census comes from East Tilbury which is 22 miles away from Stanford Rivers, there is the age which is wrong, 14 when he’d be 16 in 1841, the spelling of the name I can excuse as whoever this James was he wouldn’t be able to read or write so Bettis / Bettus is pretty close, and finally there is just no obvious reason why James would be in East Tilbury and then go back to Theydon Bois which is only 5 miles from Stanford Rivers.


There is another line of Bettis’s that come from the Stanford Le Hope –  Horndon on the Hill area of Essex, only 3 miles from East Tilbury, James Bettis was born there in 1828 – I think this James is the one on the Tilbury East Census and ‘my’ James Bettis doesn’t appear on the 1841 Census


  • Pamela Bishop said:

    Thank you for acknowledging my work and website

  • John O'Sullivan said:

    Well I guess we must be cousins of sorts..
    My Great Great Great Great Grandfater was William Bettis – brother of James son of John Bettis and Mary Ray – born in 1823 in Stanford Rivers or High Ongar. He apparently married an Anne?? who was the mother of my GGG Grandmother Mary Anne Bettis – and then got caught stealing a sheap and was deported to Tasmania. From there he moved to New Zealand and died in 1904. Am very interested in High Ongar and where it is relatively to Stanford Rivers and have some more information going back to John Bettis born circa 1700 who married Ann Brainwood (John Bettis is James and Williams Great Great Grandfather).
    Kind Regards
    John O’Sullivan

  • caroline bettis said:

    hi there ,ive been tracing my family tree and most of them go way back to high ongar essex.my great great granfather was james bettis married a martha bettis ,i think somewhere along the line james and anne are also my ancestors i know ive come across one of my relatives marrying a brainwood and also further on one of them married someone with the surname knight they was quite a affluent family in high ongar kind regards caroline.

  • Dawn Page said:

    Thank you for a wonderful site. I thought you may be interested to know a little about James and Emma’s son William.

    William (b. 1861, d. 1927) married Sarah Eleanor Laws (1888). Their children were:

    William James Bettis (b. 1889, d. 1965)
    Eleanor Many Bettis (b. 1892, d. 1982)
    Minnie Bettis (b. 1900, d. 1917)

    Eleanor Mary Bettis married John Bettis (cousin) in 1913

    Eleanor and John had:

    Eric John Laws Bettis (1914-2008 – lived in Australis from 1964)
    Gwendoline Ivy Eleanor Bettis (b. 1917, d. 1999)
    Bertha Minnie Bettis (b.

    Eric Bettis married Winifred Humphrys and had 1 child (living)

    Gwendoline Bettis (b. married Frank William Bettis (1st cousins) They had no natural children but adopted 3 children.

    Bertha Bettis married Arthur Albert Page

    They had 3 children, one of whom is my Husband, David.

    Hope this may be of interest to you.

  • Toni said:

    Re: James Bettis b1825 son of John Bettis & Mary Ray.

    This family are to be found on 1841 census in Epping at the address
    Weald Gullett, North Weald Bassett. James is shown as aged 15.

    Hope this helps someone on here.

      NOTE from Philip

    I too have come across this branch of the Bettis family (look on the 1841 census for James Mitter – the Bettis name has been misread !)
    I have my doubts about this being the right branch of the family as there are Birth records that show that John Bettis and Mary Ray were from Ongar and had a family there, including a son James born in 1825…
    I have pieced together records which I interpret to show that ‘my’ James Bettis was the son of James Bettis (b 1793) and Sarah Turner, and that James Bettis (1793) was the son of James Bettis (b 1749) and Jane Halls… James (1749) and Jane also had a son John Bettis (b 1797), who married Mary Ray (or Wray – lots of Wray’s around on the 1841 census) and had a son James Bettis in 1825 – who was a cousin to ‘my’ James
    With so many James’s and John’s in the family, a surname that is not always written or read properly and incomplete records the family tree is open to various interpretations

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.