A Brief History of my Pluck and Pluckrose Ancestors

This brief history is based on my researches of my own line but I have added other information wherever I have been able to do so. My direct ancestors are shown in red.

Origins in Ickleton

The story starts with William Pluckrose and his wife Ann in Ickleton, a small village in Cambridgeshire. I don't yet have any record of their births or their marriage but the parish records document the christening of six of their children between 1602 and 1614. These were Amable (1602), Johane (1604), William (1607), John (1609), Danyell (1612) and Thomas (1614). William died in 1648 and Ann in 1655.

The Ickleton line seems to have died out in 1669 when William, the son of John and Alice, died at the age of 33.

A Move to Linton

There were Pluckroses living in Linton from at least 1434 (John Plockerose was recorded as taking an oath there in 1434, and Etheldred Pluckrose was baptised there on 6 April 1574) and I believe that there are still Plucks living there today. The Ickleton and Linton Pluckroses would almost certainly have been in regular contact and Daniel, quite possibly, received help from relatives when he went to Linton.

Daniel and Francis had three children. Joane (bap. 12 Aug 1638, bur. 31 Aug 1638), John (bap. 1 Apr 1640) and Elizabeth (bap. 29 Sep 1642). Francis died about four months after the birth of Elizabeth and was buried on 19 February 1642/3. Daniel probably remarried within a short period, although I have not yet found a record of this event. My reason for believing this is that the Linton register records: "Ellen Pluckrose, wife of Daniell buried on 3 February 1663". It looks as though Daniel married a third time because there is an entry in the Ickleton register on 28 September 1665 recording the marriage of Daniel Pluckrose and Mary MARSHALL. I have not yet found a record of Daniel's death.

Daniel's only recorded son, John, married Margaret BADDY in Linton on 24 October 1665. John's surname is recorded as PLUCK, the first occasion on which that this name-change has occurred. I believe that John and Margaret had at least six children.

The children of John and Margaret

William. The parish register gives: "30 March 1662, baptised Will. son of John PLUCK and Margery". I can't yet prove that this Margery is the Margaret BADDY who married John a couple of years later (see above) but all the evidence points this way. It was some years after the marriage that further children began to appear: Stephen in 1671, Frances in 1673, Thomas in 1679, Elizabeth in 1682 and finally James in 1687. In all these cases the family name was recorded as PLUCKROSE.

A Move to Horseheath

William Pluck and Helen Wibrow had five children between 1693 and 1710. Some time between 1697 and 1701 they moved from Linton to Horseheath, a small village about five miles to the east of Linton.

William Snr died in 1729, his widow Helen in 1737, both in Horseheath.

A Move to Littlebury

William Pluck Jnr and Sarah Jordan had seven children between 1730 and 1741. They seem to have lived in Littlebury (just north of Saffron Walden) for all of their married life, William dying in 1765 and Sarah in 1782.

A Move to Saffron Walden

John Pluck and Ann Auger had two children, John and Thomas. To avoid confusion these two Johns will now be referred to as John Senior and John Junior. There is a third John in our story, but his 'naming' can wait.

John Jnr was married three times: on 15 November 1785 to Elizabeth COE, on 15 October 1806 to Mary AUGUR and on 10 February 1813 to Elizabeth WARD.

Thomas married Ann ELBOURN in Hildersham, Cambridgeshire, on 17 January 1791. Thomas and Ann had three children, all baptised in Saffron Walden: William (ca November 1791), Thomas (10 April 1796) and Lydia (10 October 1800). William married Sarah Ann WILMOTT, had 10 children, and founded the Kent branch of the Pluck family. It now seems likely that his brother Thomas also went to Kent.

John Snr's wife Ann, died in Saffron Walden in 1770. John remarried in 1777 - to Ann CHURCH. No record of his death has been found yet.

The Families of John Pluck Jnr

John Pluck and his first wife, Elizabeth Coe, had six children:

John Pluck and his second wife, Mary Augur, had no children. John and Mary were married on 15 October 1806 but the marriage didn't last for long; Mary was buried in Saffron Walden on 5 August 1812. John Pluck and his third wife, Elizabeth Ward, were married on 10 February 1813. Elizabeth was a widow. They had two children: Nehemiah born on 17 April 1814 and possibly George, born ca 1817 (there is still considerable doubt about George's true origins).

John died and was buried in Saffron Walden on 11 December 1834. He would have been aged 69. Elizabeth lived a few years longer. She was buried in Saffron Walden on 23 December 1845.

A Move to Braintree

The first members of this branch of the Pluck family to move to Braintree was probably Thomas, one of the sons of John and Elizabeth Coe. He married Jane ANDREWS at Bocking in 1821; Jane was born in nearby White Notley in 1800. Bocking is about a mile north of Braintree, White Notley is about three miles to the south east and Braintree is about fifteen miles from Saffron Walden. It is very likely that the young Thomas had gone there in search of work. Thomas and Jane raised eight children in Braintree between 1821 and 1839 so it is quite probable that when the young Nehemiah, Thomas' half-brother, came to look for work he went to the older Thomas for guidance.

Nehemiah married Elizabeth STUBBINGS in Braintree on 2 October 1840. They had two children: Nehemiah born on 13 August 1841 and Harriet, born on 4 June 1845. Elizabeth died of TB a few years later, on 17 February 1849.

Nehemiah remarried in the Braintree Register Office a few months later on 27 July 1849. His bride was Catharine RIX. They had a daughter, Eliza, born on 9 December 1849.

A Move to London

It must have been shortly after this that Nehemiah moved to London. He is recorded in the 1851 census as a bootmaker employing two men in Mile End Old Town. He pursued this occupation until his death in Limehouse, on 3 January 1890 aged 73.

A New Trade?

Nehemiah Jnr started his working life as a boot and shoemaker, also known as a cordwainer. His father, grandfather and great grandfather all followed the same trade, as did quite a few other members of the family. It is possible that the history of shoemaking extended back further than John Pluck Snr, but, if so, the records don't make any mention of it.

Nehemiah Jnr was married to Louisa MARCH and they had eleven children between 1871 and 1886, all born in Mile End Old Town. In 1872 Nehemiah joined the Post Office as a Letter Carrier, he would have been aged 31 at this time. His death certificate (13 September 1907) records that he was a pensioner, formerly a Sorter at the Post Office, so it was rather surprising to find him in the 1891 census, when only aged 49, described as a "bootmaker (neither employer or employed)". This would seem to be a rather early age to have retired from the Post Office. The full story only emerged when his pension record was located. This shows that he had been dismissed from the Post Office on 11 July 1890 for participation in the Postmans' Strike (a major event in the history of trades unions in the United Kingdom). He was reinstated on 30 January 1893.

Nehemiah and Louisa's marriage certificate proved to be very elusive. It was eventually tracked down by Pat Pluck, who found it in the indexes when searching for the marriage of Nehemiah and Louisa's eldest son, Arthur Nehemiah. They were married at the parish church of St Thomas, Stepney, on 12 February 1896. It seems strange that they bothered to get married this late in their relationship. A possible explanation is that Nehemiah was in the process of getting an early retirement from the Post Office on the grounds of ill health and, although his pension calculation didn't seem to take account of his marital status, it is likely that a widow seeking a pension would need to show that she was married to the pensioner.

Nehemiah's eldest daughter, Louisa, was my grandmother.

There are some photographs of Nehemiah Jnr and his family in the Gallery.

Derrick Porter
1 May 2002 (revised 19 October 2006)

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