Ronald Basil Girdler
THE GIRDLER GENEALOGY
The earliest date that I have so far found in my direct GIRDLER lineage is 1621, when William Girdler married Margaret Crooke at Hurley (Berkshire) Parish Church. In my wide searches of the parish records of Berkshire and N. E. Hampshire, the parishes in which the name GIRDLER has been found have increased with time as a result of migration from parish to parish. During this period, they spread from two parishes in the area (Swallowfield and Odiham) to 15 parishes. Although I have so far been unable to discover where William Girdler was born, it was certainly not in Hurley as previous records in this parish show no evidence of any Girdlers prior to 1621. It could possibly have been in Swallowfield or Odiham, or perhaps from over the county border in Oxfordshire or Buckinghamshire.
Margaret Crooke (wife of William Girdler) was the daughter of Lawrence and Margery Crooke. She was born in Hurley and was baptized in Hurley Parish Church on 15th February 1595. She had two younger brothers -
Lawrence Crooke died in 1636 and was buried at Hurley Parish Church on 8th March of that year, A copy of his will was obtained from the Bodleian Library in Oxford, in which he left most of his estate to his wife and sons, but bequeathed to "Margaret Girdler, my daughter, four pounds of lawful money of England, one half to be paid the first year after my wife's decease and the other half the second year after her decease". The will is shown in Figure 6, and includes a detailed inventory of his belongings, including items such as "one hog of bacon, five small puter dishes and sault seller, one boarded bedstead, three flocks of bees, one hayfer, four bushells of maulte, one ould mare, one kettle, one skillet" and many other miscellaneous items. William and Margaret Girdler lived in Hurley and had 7 children, four sons and three daughters, all baptized at Hurley Parish Church, These were John (b. 22nd Sept. 1622), Mary (b. 20th Nov. 1624), Joanne (b. 17th June 1627), William (b. 4th Dec. 1631), Richard (b. 8th May 1636), Thomas (b. 8th Apr. 1638) and Elizabeth (b. 24th Sept. 1643), There was no record of William's (the father's) death, but there was a burial record for "the widdow Girdler" on 14th August 1661. Presumably William Girdler died before this date but was not buried at Hurley Parish Church.
It is interesting to note that during the Civil War between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians from 1640-
Of the children, no further information was found about John, Mary, William or Elizabeth, except that John paid the Hearth Tax for 2 hearths in 1663, indicating that he had a reasonably large house at that time, Joanne gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, Maria, who was baptized on 13th March 1652. Richard married Elizabeth White at Hurley Parish Church on 2nd July 1666 and they had 5 children -
The other son, Thomas, married Mary Gunnell at Hurley Parish Church on 10th August 1671. They had 5 children -
As seen above, Thomas Girdler's son, John, was baptized on 2nd April 1682. From a comprehensive study of all Girdlers in the E. half of Berkshire and surrounding counties, the next positive record fitting in with a John Girdler born around 1682 is in Eversley parish, which is just over the county boundary on the N. edge of Hampshire next to Finchampstead and Swallowfield, Berkshire. The records in the Eversley parish register read as follows: -
Mary, ye daughter of John Girdler baptized April ye 1st 1707. Mary, ye daughter of Mary Girdler (alias Cowdrey) b. Apr ye 1st 1707.
An extensive search has failed to find any record of a marriage between John Girdler and Mary Cowdrey and it seems probable from the above record that they were living together and that Mary was his "common law" wife, Mary Cowdrey was the daughter of John and Mary Cowdrey of Eversley and was baptized at Eversley Parish Church on 2nd April 1682, From 1707 onwards, John and Mary appear to have led a very itinerant life. They first returned temporarily to Hurley parish, where their daughter Mary died (only 1 month old) and was buried at Hurley on 11th May 1707. They then travelled steadily southwards presumably in search of work.
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