of Bedfordshire

On the 9th of October 1651, Stephen Barratt's wife, Ann, was buried at Cranfield.  This may have been due to childbirth, as a daughter, Elizabeth, was buried on the 23rd.  There is, however, no record of any baptism.  This may have been done privately and not recorded in the register or she may have been an older child born before they moved to Maulden.

Stephen Barratt was left a widower at the age of 36 with two young daughters, Mary aged 3 and Susan aged 1, to bring up.  Susan died 18 months later and was buried on the 22nd of January 1653/4.

Stephen Barratt married his second wife, Joan, sometime between 1652-6 but no record of the marriage has been found so far.

Their first child was a son named Stephen.  At this time the Commonwealth Government had decreed that births, not baptisms, should be recorded in the Parish Registers and so the exact date of his birth is given - 13th of October 1656.

Their second child was born on the 29th of December 1658 but either died at birth or soon after as it had not been baptised when it was buried two days later on the 1st of January 1658/9.

Eighteen months later, in May 1660, Charles II was restored to the throne. 

Stephen Barratt's mother, Elizabeth, was buried at Cranfield on the 12th of July 1660.

Two months later, Stephen & Joan's third child, but Stephen's seventh, was baptised at Cranfield on the 23rd of September 1660.  He was named Thomas and was our 6 x great grandfather.


On the 15th of April 1661, Stephen's father, John Barratt, was buried at Cranfield.  In his will he left Stephen part of his house in Town End Cranfield.  This was the part at the North-East end, which contained the smithy.  Stephen's brother, Thomas, was left the main part of the house.

Stephen and Joan's next child was a daughter baptised at Cranfield on the 25th of November 1661 as Joan, after her mother.

On the 8th of April 1662, Stephen obtained Probate of his father's Will.  There had probably been some delay caused as John had named his wife, Elizabeth, as Executrix of his Will but she had died before him.  As their eldest son, Stephen would be the next of kin.

During the reign of Charles II several taxes were introduced in order to raise money.  One of these was the Hearth Tax, a tax on all fireplaces.  This tax was levied on occupiers not owners of the property as most taxes were.  In the return for Michaelmas (29th September) 1662, Stephen Barratt is shown as paying for 1 hearth.  The tax was 2/- a year for each hearth, usually paid in two installments, one on Lady Day (25th March) and the other at Michaelmas.  Most people would only have one fireplace which would be in the main room of the house where they cooked and lived.

On the 16th of January 1664/5, Stephen and Joan's next child, a son named John, was baptised at Cranfield.  Three months later they buried their daughter, Joan, aged 3 on the 2nd of June 1665 and three months after that their son John died at the age of six months and was buried on the 18th of September.

Their last child, another daughter, again called Joan, was baptised on the 25th November 1666.  This child only lived 18 months and was buried on the 8th May 1668.