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Of KIRKs and KIRKMANs
in Cauldwell


The following article has been submitted by researcher Tony Kirkman, who has long been trying to tie into his tree all the KIRKMANs born in Cauldwell, but one particular family had long proved elusive and difficult to identify.

Tony has finally solved this puzzle and has offered his findings in the hope of assisting other KIRK and KIRKMAN researchers.




For a long time I have been puzzled by certain KIRKMAN christenings in Cauldwell. What I knew for certain was that my own line in that location started with Robert Kirkman who was born in Belton in 1683.

Robert is my 4g great grandfather. He moved to Cauldwell in 1716 where he was a farmer. He had 6 children: Mary born 1713; Elizabeth b 1716; John b 1718 and died an infant; Robert b 1719; Catherine b 1725; and Samuel b 1730.

When Robert died in 1756, he left all his land and property to his eldest surviving son Robert as was the custom. Robert lived in Cauldwell until around 1790, and had 10 children all born in Cauldwell. His eldest son John, b 1757, took over the farm in Cauldwell and though he married, he had no children. He died in 1825 and is buried in St Giles Church graveyard along with his grandfather.

The Kirkmans were well known in Cauldwell with some 16 children all being christened at St Giles.

But there were some KIRKMANs who didn’t fit. Dorothy and Maria KIRKMAN were christened in 1787 and 1790, daughters of William and Hannah KIRKMAN. And then William KIRKMAN married Sarah, and had Daniel b 1813; Hannah b 1815; William b 1818, died 1820; Maria b 1821; John b 1823; and finally William b 1825. William KIRKMAN, a labourer, was buried in 1830, age 37 - therefore born abt 1793. I couldn’t find how these KIRKMANs fitted into my tree.

More puzzling was that I couldn’t find any of these KIRKMANs in the 1841 or 1851 (or later) censuses. Finally I resorted to using the most unusual Christian name (Daniel) with no surname to search in the 1841 census, and found Daniel KIRK (indexed as KICK!), age 26, a coal miner, along with brother William and sister Mary in the house of Henry CLAMP in Church Gresley. The 1851 Census confirmed the KIRK surname. This time Daniel KIRK, born in Cauldwell, age 36, is living with his mother Sarah CLAMP in Church Gresley. (Later, I found that after father William KIRKMAN died in 1830, his widow, Sarah, married Robert CLAMP in Cauldwell in 1832).

More searching identified William KIRK, age 28, coal miner, born in Cauldwell, with sister Frances, age 24, living on Gresley Common. The 1861 census confirmed the KIRK surname beyond reasonable doubt. Daniel KIRK age 47, coal miner, is living in the house of his mother, Jane CLAMP, in Copper Side, Church Gresley, with his brother John KIRK, a widower age 39, coal miner, and his 2 children Joseph and Sarah. Next door is William KIRK, age 33, coal miner, born in Cauldwell, and his family. Later censuses confirm the KIRK surname.

So why had the KIRKMAN surname become KIRK? I have heard of this “name shortening” before, but at much earlier dates than the nineteenth century. So I decided to start searching back in time to see if I could find any clues.

On the IGI I found the christening of a John KIRKMAN in Castle Gresley to parents Adam & Sarah in 1820. Adam was entirely new name for a KIRKMAN to me! So I followed that up in the 1841 and 1851 censuses as well, and lo and behold, Adam with wife Sarah and son John also were KIRKs. Then I checked for KIRKs in the IGI in Castle Gresley, and there are lots of them, including two Adam KIRKs, christened in 1803 and 1777.

So I then looked for the marriage of a William KIRK around 1780-90, as the father of Dorothy (KIRKMAN chr 5 Aug 1787 - parents William / Hannah), the earliest of the KIRKMANs recorded in the Stapenhill Parish Register, apart from “my” KIRKMANs. Lo and behold, up popped William KIRK m Hannah NEEDHAM 17 Oct 1785!

And then I checked for children named KIRK born to William / Hannah after 1785 in Church Gresley & Stapenhill, and there are none. But from the Stapenhill Parish Register, I have Dorothy KIRKMAN chr in Cauldwell in 1787, Maria KIRKMAN in 1790, both with parents William & Hannah. I also checked the Cauldwell PR online records on Blanche Charles' web page, which confirms the KIRKMANs, but no KIRKs!

So KIRKS in Castle Gresley became KIRKMANs in Cauldwell which then reverted to KIRKs once they left Cauldwell! Why? We will never know for sure, but we can speculate.

When the KIRKs arrived in Cauldwell, the "real" KIRKMANs were of course well known and no doubt well connected in the little village church as well. So it was possibly a simple entry error by the Cauldwell vicar, or perhaps when the scribe at Stapenhill who copied up the Cauldwell priest's "day book", just transcribed improperly. Or maybe the KIRKs thought they would do better if they used the KIRKMAN surname in Cauldwell.

In any event, when these Cauldwell born "KIRKMANs" were enumerated in the in 1841 (and later) registers, they gave their correct name as KIRK. The people so affected are:

The children of William KIRK and Hannah NEEDHAM:

Dorothy KIRKMAN chr 5 Aug 1787 in Cauldwell
Maria KIRKMAN chr 2 May 1790 in Cauldwell
William KIRKMAN buried June 1830 in Cauldwell age 37 (therefore born abt 1793). He married Sarah who subsequently married Robert CLAMP after William died.
Ann KIRKMAN born abt 1794 who married Isaac FISHER 18 July 1814
John KIRKMAN died 1806 in Cauldwell

And then the children of William KIRKMAN and Sarah (CLAMP):

Daniel KIRKMAN chr 3 Oct 1813 in Stapenhill, born Cauldwell
Hannah KIRKMAN chr 10 Sep 1815 in Church Gresley, who married Thomas WAGSTAFF 15 March 1834 in Rosliston
William KIRKMAN chr 22 Feb 1818 in Church Gresley, born Cauldwell
Maria KIRKMAN chr 1 April 1821 in Cauldwell
John KIRKMAN chr 18 May 1823 in Cauldwell, who married Frances born abt 1827 in Walsall, Staffordshire
William KIRKMAN chr 5 June 1825 in Cauldwell

I believe that all of the above are really of the KIRK surname.



about the KIRKMAN family.


© Copyright Tony Kirkman, 2006