of Bedfordshire

JOHN BARRATT Circa 1588 - 1661 STEPHEN BARRATT 1616 - 1681

Many more burials took place in Cranfield in 1657 and 1658 than usual pointing to a possible epidemic, maybe plague.  This may have been the reason why John Barratt made his Will on the 10th of August 1657 "Beinge weake of bodie".  A contributing factor may have been the death of his brother, George, in April of that year.

In his Will, John Barratt left his wife, Elizabeth, his house in Town End, Cranfield and after her death it was to go to their son, Thomas.  Part of the building, which included the Smithy, was to go to their son Stephen Immediately after John's death.  John's daughter, Elizabeth Wheeler, was to have 3 and his other daughter, Dorothy Lawton, was to have 1/-.  This was probably because she had already received her inheritance and was left this amount as a token so that she would not be left out of the Will.  All his grandchildren alive at the time of his death were to have 12d.  At that time, there were probably 10 - Ann, Robert & Thomas Lawton, Mary, Stephen & Thomas Barratt (children of Stephen) Thomas & Marie Barratt (children of Thomas) & Samuel Wheeler.  His grand-daughter, Ann Lawton, was also to have a bed, table, 2 chairs, kettle & 2 posnets (small metal pots for boiling with a handle and 3 feet).  As the eldest grand-daughter, she was probably about 20 years old, and likely to marry soon and these would help her with setting up home.  the rest of his goods and chattels he left to his wife, Elizabeth. 

However, John Barratt recovered from whatever illness he had in 1657 and lived for another four years.

In 1658, many Huguenot refugees from Alencon and Valenciennes in Flanders settled in Cranfield and a pillow lace industry became established which played an important role in Cranfield's economic life for over 300 years. 

After the death of Cromwell in 1659, the Commonwealth was dissolved and on the 8th of May 1660, Charles II was proclaimed King.

After 46 years of married life, John's wife, Elizabeth, was buried at Cranfield on the 12th of July 1660.  She would have been nearly 70 years old. 

Nine months later, aged about 73, John Barratt was buried at Cranfield on the 15th of April 1661.  He is described as clerk in the Parish Register.

Stephen Barratt was born in the reign of James I at Cranfield in Bedfordshire .  He was the second child and eldest son of John Barratt and his wife, Elizabeth, nee Shelshye.  He was baptised at Cranfield Parish Church on the 6th of October 1616.  Another brother, Thomas, and a sister, Elizabeth, were born after him.

Stephen became a blacksmith.  His Uncle George was a blacksmith and so he probably served his apprenticeship with him.  He would have started his apprenticeship when he was 14 in 1630 and completed it in 1637 when he was 21.

In 1642 the Civil War started and because of the unrest there are often gaps in the Parish Registers.  This may be why the marriage of Stephen Barratt and his first wife, Ann, has not been found.  He did not get married in Cranfield as those registers are complete for the period.

In 1646, they were living in the parish of Maulden, Bedfordshire.  The River Flitt forms the southern boundary of the parish of Maulden (which Skeat takes to be a Mael or cross marking a dun) and the village lies on slightly rising ground disposed about the Shefford-Ampthill road A502, the church stands apart on a hillock.  Maulden Church, St. Mary the Virgin, was rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century, though there is genuine 14th century work in the lower part of the tower.  South of the church stands the stump of the old churchyard cross.  Both inns, the Anchor and the White Hart, are of respectable antiquity.

It was at Maulden that Stephen Barratt's first known child, a son, was born.  He was baptised Stephen after his father at Maulden Parish Church on the 9th of November 1646.  This child died in infancy.  Their next child, a daughter, was baptised Mary at Maulden on the 4th of January 1648/9.

Sometime after this, Stephen & Ann Barratt moved from Maulden back to Stephen's home village of Cranfield.  He may have gone back there to take over the blacksmith's business from his Uncle George, who was then 60 years of age and had no son to succeed him.

Stephen & Ann's third child was another daughter baptised as Susan at Cranfield on the 11th of July 1651.  This child died at the age of 2.5 years.