of Bedfordshire

JOHN BARRATT  circa 1560 - 1644
John Barratt's occupation is not know but from his will he would appear to be a small farmer with cows, horses, orchards & meadowland.  He is well-enough off to have apprenticed at least two of his sons to a trade - George as a blacksmith and Robert as a weaver.

In 1602,some excitement must have been caused in the village, when "Henry Bradley so provoked the Rector that he did spurn his hat up and down the church and miscalled him."  It is likely that Henry Bradley was a non-conformist, possibly a Quaker and refused to take his hat off in church.

On 21st September 1613, John Barratt's eldest son John was married at Cranfield to Elizabeth Shelshye, probably the first of his children to marry.  Their first child, a daughter named Dorothy, was baptised on 23rd October 1614.  Marriages of his other children followed, George on 18th May 1620 to Joan Odell; Richard on 29th January 1621/2 to Mary Wheeler, Susan on 14th November 1622 to John Holcutt, Robert on 8th October 1627 to Ellen Mann.  All these marriages took place at Cranfield, and they and their families settled there.  There must have been much coming and going between the families. 

John Barratt's wife Margaret was buried at Cranfield on 7th November 1620.  He would now be in his sixties.  Another sad event was the death of his son, Jonas, at the age of 26.  He was buried on the 12th of August 1627,.  His youngest son, Henry, left the village and his whereabouts were unknown to the family.

In 1623, a survey of Cranfield was made.  A John Parratt was listed as having a house and orchard of 1 rod, 14 perches, but this is likely to be an error for Barratt, as there is no record for John Parratt at Cranfield. 

Sometime during 1634, John Barratt made his Will.  He would then have been about 74 years old.  He makes no mention of being in bad health and he lived for another 10 years.  He does not give his occupation but he seems to have been reasonably well-off.  He owned two houses.  One house is occupied by his eldest son, John, and this may be where he also lived.  This house has a milkhouse (used for making cheese and butter) and a buttery (used for brewing) with a piece of land belonging to it.  He left this house to his son, John.  the other house was rented to Thomas Brockis (?) and had barns, stables, kitchen (a separate building to the house) outhouses, orchards and gardens, this he left to his son, George.  He left his daughter, Susan Holcutt, his feather bed (a sign of wealth, humble people slept on mattresses stuffed with straw, if they were lucky), the best bolster, the biggest brass kettle (this was an open cooking pot with semi-circular handles fixed to both sides), and other lumber, she also received 15 pounds sterling.  His other sons were left money, Richard 20 pounds, Edward and Robert 15 pounds each, Henry 2 pounds, if he came to claim it, but if he was not still alive, the others were to share it.

John Barratt lived another 10 years, dying at the age of about 84 and was buried at Cranfield on 17th of October 1644.  He had lived through the reigns of Elizabeth the First, James I, and Charles I, and into the time of the English Civil War.