The history of the Barcham Family is described in detail in The Barchams of Edingthorpe by Christopher Farrow and Judith Constantine. The book is based on Chris Farrow's genealogical research. It traces the history of the Barcham Family from 1600 to the present day. It includes information about the places where the Barchams lived, their occupations, their homes, and the historical events that shaped their lives, as well as genealogical details about individual family members. Illustrated with maps and many old photographs, it is a fascinating story about a family who, over the centuries, have been weavers, farmers, mariners, shipbuilders and ship owners, blacksmiths, millers, grocers, innkeepers, veterinaries, and schoolteachers in Norfolk and elsewhere. Some sailed all over the world in fast clippers trading in the Far East, while others prospected for gold in Australia and New Zealand. In the 20th century a Barcham was Captain of the P&O passenger liner SS Arcadia, others served their countries in two world wars and a post-war Barcham climbed in the Himalayas with Sir Edmund Hillary. The following paragraphs are a brief resumé of the family's history.
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An earlier publication, first printed in 1857 by Thomas Barcham of Reading,
entitled Historical and Biographical Notices of the Barcham Family has
been reprinted and is also available from the Barcham Family Publisher.
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The Norfolk Barchams
It is thought that the Barchams came originally from The Netherlands, because of religious persecution, and that they chose to settle in Norfolk using their skills as weavers. The earliest known member of the family is John Bawchen, who lived and farmed at Honing. John died in 1610. The spelling of the name varied until 1717, when Barcham became standard. These early Barchams were weavers. Later they became farmers, and it was when William Barcham Senior (1694-1748) married Mary Bacon in 1713 that he acquired what was to become the Edingthorpe family farm. Their eldest son, William Barcham Junior (1717-1782), inherited the farm. He married Sarah Dyball on 12 May 1743 and they had eight children. Three of their sons, William, John and Benjamin, each have sixth- and seventh-generation descendants living today in the United Kingdom and around the world.
John Barcham (1749-1828) lived and farmed the land at Church Farm, Edingthorpe. He was a deacon and benefactor of the Baptist Chapel at Meeting House Hill, Worstead, and his wife, Elizabeth (née Helsdon) (1752-1845), was 'a Christian of a most dedicated character and devotional spirit' (see drawing). They had 12 children, one of whom, Asher Barcham (1786-1845), donated a clock to the new chapel, built in 1829, which is still in working order today. Their youngest daughter, Naomi, married John Rix Blakely, who was pastor of the chapel from about 1832 to 1836. Ezra Barcham (1792-1870), their youngest son, was the farmers' leader in the agricultural revolt of 1830, when he had an altercation about the tithes he was paying to the rector of All Saints', Edingthorpe. This led to his appearance in July 1831 at the Norfolk Assizes. Ezra married Elizabeth Thompson and they had 12 children.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, descendants of William and Sarah Barcham dispersed to various town and villages in North Norfolk and further afield. Benjamin Barcham (1758-1839), the seventh child of William and Sarah, was a farmer at Lower Sheringham. He married Mary Banfather (1759-1845) in 1780. They had eight children who married into the Anthony, Fuller, Pegg, Sunman, Storey and Thursby families. They and their descendants lived in Sheringham, Aylmerton, Blakeney, Holt, Swardeston and Norwich. Ezra Barcham's descendants lived in Paston, Burlingham, Catfield, Stalham, Southrepps and Norwich. This branch married into the Burton, Dawson, Fuller and Greensmith families. Ezra's third son, Robert Barcham (1821-1888), married his cousin Louisa Fuller (1821-1908) in 1845. He was a veterinary surgeon and farmer in Paston. They had 12 children, two of whom, Samuel Barcham and Thomas Barcham, were vets at North Walsham. Thomas owned Barcham's Farm, Edingthorpe Green.
William Barcham (1744-1782), the eldest son of William and Sarah Barcham of Edingthorpe, moved to Great Yarmouth about 1764. William may have died at sea. It was his son, Captain William Barcham, who founded the seafaring dynasty that continued through to World War II. William had a very large family: six children by his first wife Judith Dyboll, and 12 by his second wife Elizabeth Lacy. William was a master mariner. Judith sometimes accompanied him on his voyages. In 1801 her fourth child, Marmorice Caramania, was born at sea off the coast of Turkey (see photo). The family moved to Mundesley before 1845 where William was a land agent. Some Barchams were shipbuilders in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft, others were ship owners and/or master mariners who lived in Cromer, Mundesley and Sheringham and sailed all over the world in fast clippers trading in the Far East.
The London Barchams
William Ayres Barcham (1794-1841), master mariner, son of Judith (née Dyboll) and William Barcham of Great Yarmouth, went to London early in the 19th century. William married Anne Edwards (1807-1877) who came from the Scilly Isles. They lived at 9 Havering Street, Stepney and had seven children, three of whom were mariners. Their eldest son, William Edwards Barcham (1821-1910), established a large family in Upper Clapton, North London, while their fourth child, Henry Barcham (1833-1910), emigrated to Australia in 1854. Their youngest daughter, Fanny Elizabeth Barcham (1840-1921), became a teacher and married her cousin, William Edwards Williams (1832-1905), and they made their first home in Arbour Square, Stepney. Sidney Barcham (1855-1934), eldest son of William Edwards Barcham, became a master mariner (see photo). He was master of P&O's Arcadia from 1909 to 1915. Sidney's younger brothers, Herbert Clarence Barcham (1863-1939), and Richard Edwards Barcham (1861-1939) were also master mariners.
James Barcham (b. 1825), son of Mabel (née Harland) and Neal Raven Barcham of Sherringham, was also a mariner when he married Susan Ann James at St Mary's Parish Church, Bermondsey in 1850, at the same church where William Ayres Barcham was married 25 years earlier. They were living at 4 Ann Terrace, Limehouse, when their son, John Connor James was born in 1856; in the 1881 Census of Middlesex he was a stevedore living at 71 Wellesley Street, Mile End.
Robert Sunman Barcham (b. 1822), son of Maria (née Sunman) and Barcham Barcham of Lower Sherringham, moved to London after 1857. Robert and his second wife Elizabeth (née Hellis) were living at 285 Manchester Street, Poplar in 1881, where he was a shopkeeper. Their son Barcham Barcham (b. 1856) was a general dealer living at 289 Manchester Street, Poplar, in 1881. Barcham Barcham married Eliza Ann Hadlow at St Mary's Parish Church, Whitechapel, in 1878.
Founding Families in Australia
Henry Barcham (1833-1910) founded the first branch in Australia when he married Jane Richards at Portland, Victoria, in 1854. Henry was second mate on the Nestor and Jane was one of a large family of immigrants on board. The Nestor was sunk in Portland harbour and the captain, second mate and ship's carpenter were arrested, tried and acquitted of scuttling the ship. However, it was the newly appointed second mate who was charged, not Henry, because a few days earlier he had been dismissed as he had married Jane.
Jedidiah Benjamin Pegg Barcham (1845-1928) emigrated to Australia about 1875 where he married Frances Swinfield in 1876 at Waterloo, NSW.
James Norman Barcham (1871-1959), Henry Barcham's nephew, emigrated first to New Zealand, aboard the RMS Ophir, arriving in New Plymouth on 23 February 1894 (see photo). James then went to Melbourne where he married Eleanor Rachel Philips in 1895, starting the second branch. James was a pharmacist who owned chemist shops in Victoria. James and Eleanor lived in Portland, Victoria.
Richard Edwards Barcham (1861-1939) lived in Brisbane between 1894 and 1899, where he married Mary and had six children, some of whose descendants live in Queensland at present.
Neal Barcham (b. 1861), a great-grandson of Benjamin Barcham of Sherringham, emigrated with his family aboard the SS Miltiades in 1911. He and his wife, Alice, settled in Blackburn, Melbourne.
Founding Families in New Zealand
Richard Barcham Shalders (b. 1824), son of Phoebe (née Barcham) and Jacob Shalders, and grandson of Elizabeth (née Helsdon) and John Barcham (see above) emigrated with his wife Eliza aboard the Katherine Stewart Forbes, to Auckland, New Zealand in 1852. He was the founder of the first YMCA in New Zealand (see photo).
Sidney Barcham (1836-1882) sailed on the South Australia from Hobsons Bay [Melbourne] to Port Chalmers [Dunedin] on 12 December 1865, and settled in Otago. He had a store in Dunedin.
Herbert Shalders, son of Anne and John Shalders of Southampton, emigrated to New Zealand aboard the SS Florida in 1884 at the age of 18. He settled in the Whangarei area, and married Mary Jane Allender.
Robert Barcham (1867-1960), son of Martha (née Smith) and William Edwards Barcham, emigrated in 1888 on the SS Kaikura. In 1901 he married Emma Martha Chandler at Palmerston North. Robert was a photographer in Wellington and Hastings (see photo).
In 1888, Robert William Barcham (1859-1913), son of Robert Barcham of Cromer, his wife Constance (née de la Mare) and their son, Philip de la Mare, sailed to New Zealand on the Coptic. They settled in Wellington.
Dorothy Edith (née Barcham) (1893-1927) and Arthur Carson Adair emigrated to New Zealand shortly after they married in 1918. Dorothy was the daughter of Edith Emilie (née Pattle) and Herbert Clarence Barcham. Dorothy's brother, Sidney Herbert Barcham (1897-1980), also emigrated to New Zealand, where he married his cousin, Edna Melva Pattle, in 1925. Sidney was an orchardist in South Island.
Emigrations to Canada and the United States
Frank George Barcham (1870-1945), the unmarried youngest son of Samuel Barcham of Catfield and his first wife Elizabeth died at Courtney, British Columbia.
Fred Barcham (1879-1907), eldest son of Samuel Barcham and his second wife Alice Hannah Bull of Lingwood, married Amy Roberts. They emigrated to Canada in about 1904. Their son, Reginald Norman Barcham (1905-2002) was an athlete.
Two grandsons of Louisa (née Fuller) and Robert Barcham of Paston emigrated to the USA in about 1910. They were the youngest sons of Sarah Emma (née Barcham) and Robert Greensmith Dawson of Catfield: Arthur Dawson (1888-1948); William Dawson (b. 1890).
Members of the Barcham family continued to emigrate until the 1960s, some taking advantage of assisted passages, attracted by job opportunities and the prospect of a better life. Others chose to live overseas following marriage.
The Barcham Family in Wartime
The first half of the 20th century was dominated by two world wars, separated by only 20 years. Two whole generations of Barchams were affected by war, and scarcely any family remained unscathed. The loss of life in World War I was on a scale unknown hitherto, and the Barcham family, like many others, suffered tragedy, disability and hardship.
In World War I three of William Henry Barcham’s sons, Robert Henry (Harry) Barcham (1888-1971), William Benjamin Clarence (Bill) Barcham (1893-1932) and Percy Gray Barcham (1895-1954) served in the Australian army. At one time during the war, all three brothers were in London at the same time, just for a few days. They had a photo taken, even at that time realizing that it was a historic moment, and that they might never see each other again.
Philip de la Mare Barcham (1886-1937) and his brother Louis Sandford Barcham (1894-1979) served in the New Zealand Army. Louis and Philip were grandsons of Robert Barcham of Mundesley. Louis was posted to the second battalion of the Wellington Infantry Regiment. On 4 November 1918 his battalion was engaged in the battle for Fort le Quesnoy. They stormed the Valenciennes Gate and later continued the ‘mopping up’ of the town. In all 771 prisoners were rounded up in addition to the 532 captured earlier in the action. The New Zealand casualties were 43 killed and 351 wounded. Louis was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Arthur Valentine Fuller (1889-1971) and his brothers Benjamin Barcham Fuller (1896-1918) and Alfred Reginald Fuller (1898-1987) were sons of Anna Maria Pointer and Alfred Barcham Fuller, and grandsons of Anne (née Bartrum) and Benjamin Fuller of Bayfield, Norfolk. Arthur and Benjamin enlisted in the Royal Suffolk Regiment. Benjamin, a private aged 22, was killed in action on 11 August 1918, three months before the Armistice, and was buried at the war cemetery at Levantine, Pas de Calais. His name is inscribed on the war memorial at St Andrew Ilketshall, Suffolk. Alfred (known as Reggie) served in the Royal Naval Division and was wounded at Passchendaele in October 1917.
Frank Barcham (1892-1916) was the son of Ellen Jane (née Thirtle) and Robert Barcham, and grandson of Louisa (née Fuller) and Robert Barcham of Paston. Frank, a private in the Royal Fusiliers, was killed in action on 26 July 1916, aged 23, and his name is engraved on the Thiepval memorial, which lists more than 72,000 from the Somme battles who have no known grave.
Emma Florence (née Pattle) and William Barcham of London had three sons, all of whom saw action in World War I. William Henry (Willie) Barcham (1888-1932) emigrated to Canada, where he joined the first Canadian contingent to leave Canada for France in August 1914. Willie’s two brothers, Richard Norman (Norman) Barcham (1890-1964) and Herbert Stanley Barcham (1896-1952) both enlisted for the 15th London Regiment in 1914. Norman was a stretcher bearer on the front line in 1917 when he was severely wounded and had a leg amputated. Herbert survived the war without major injury, but he suffered from chest complaints and may have been gassed in France (see photo).
In World War II the stoicism of ordinary people, who carried on with their daily lives, in spite of bombardment, rationing and heartache, has become legendary. Some Barchams were called up and for the first time women served in the armed forces, while others contributed to the war effort in civilian life. The wartime service of Barchams from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, together with some wartime stories, are recorded in The Barchams of Edingthorpe.
Updates to the family history will be posted on Barcham Family News as more information comes to light. The second edition of The Barchams of Edingthorpe, to be published in 2004, will be updated.