of Bedfordshire 

RICHARD GREEN 1778 - 1812  
Richard Green was born in the reign of George III in 1778.  Eight years previously in 1770 Captain Cook had discovered New South Wales, Australia and two years previously in 1776 the American War of Independence had begun.  Richard would have no idea that those two countries would play a significant part in the lives of two of his sons.  Richard was the son of Richard and Susannah Green and was baptised at Cardington, Bedfordshire on the 2nd of August 1778.

Cardington, St. Mary

His father was an agricultural labourer and Richard was only two when his father died.  His mother was left with five young children and had to seek parish relief.

In 1795, he was living in the next parish of Cople, when at the early age of 17 he married the 19 year old Mary Elderkin at her parish church of Risely on the 8th of December.  It appears likely that he added 4 years to his age and made out he was 21 and therefore of the age of consent.

The young couple moved to the village of Thurleigh to set up their home and their first child, Mary Ann, was baptised here on the 18th of September 1796.  Two more daughters followed, Ann, baptised the 3rd of June 1798 and Elizabeth, baptised on the 19th of January 1800.  Their first son, Charles, was baptised on the 29th of November 1801.

 In 1803 there were fears of an invasion by Napoleon and the constables for each parish were instructed to list the names of all men aged between 17 and 35.  Richard Green was listed as a labourer, 4th class, i.e. a married man with young children.  He was shown as a volunteer but so were all the other men so no doubt the Lord of the Manor had ordered them all to volunteer.

Cople (approx. 1905)

A second son, William, was baptised on the 8th of April 1804, then another daughter, Eleanor, on the 26th of June 1808.  Their last child, a third son, Benjamin, was baptised on the 27th of January 1811.

The following January Richard Green died and was buried at Thurleigh on the 12th of January 1812.  The entry in the Parish Register has the figures "38"  If Richard did add four years to his age at the time of his marriage, and if he had to maintain the extra four years during his life, then his age would be thought to be 38 when he died and it may be that the vicar was doubtful about it.  In fact he was only 34 when he died.