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This Chapter looks at the Martin family, which appears in my family tree as the maiden name of my grandma Norah Martin who married Arthur Tarling. There is a story told by my Nan’s sister, Charlotte Amelia Martin to Shirley Gardiner that a maid brought her two Martin sons to England from France and that the father was a Baron.

The chronicles of England, though sometimes shrouded by the mists of time, reveal the early records of the name Martin as a Norman surname, which ranks as one of the oldest. The history of the name is interwoven into the colourful fabric as an intrinsic part of the history of Britain.

Careful research by professional analysts using such ancient manuscripts as the Doomsday Book (compiled in 1086 by William the Conqueror), the Ragman Rolls, the Wace poem the Honor Roll of the Battel Abbey, the Curia Regis, Pipe Rolls, the Falaise Roll, tax records, baptism records, family genealogies, and local parish and church records, show the first record of the name Martin was found in Leicestershire. Here they were seated from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 AD

Many alternate spellings of the name were found. They were typically linked to a common root, usually one of the Norman nobles at the Battle of Hastings. Martin is found as an English, French, Scottish, Irish, German, Czech, Flemish, Dutch, Danish, and Norwegian Patronymic surname -- derived from the ancient Latin given name Martinus, derived from Mars/Martis, the Roman god of fertility and war. A fourth-century saint had the name, and those early saints made for a lot of namesakes. Variations are Marten, Martyn, Martine, Lamartine, and Martijn among others. Scribes recorded and spelled the name as it sounded. It was not unlikely that a person would be born with one spelling, married with another, and buried with a headstone, which showed another. All three spellings related to the same person. Sometimes references for different spelling variations either came from a division of the family, or, had religious reasons, or sometimes patriotic reasons.

The family name Martin is believed to be descended originally from the Norman race. They were commonly believed to be of French origin but were, more accurately, of Viking origin. The Vikings landed in the Orkneys and Northern Scotland about the year 870 AD, under their Chief, Stirgud the Stout. Later, under their Jarl, Thorfinn Rollo, they invaded France about 940 AD The French King, Charles the Simple, after Rollo laid siege to Paris, finally conceded defeat and granted northern France to Rollo. Rollo became the first Duke of Normandy, the territory of the North Men. Duke William, who invaded and defeated England in 1066, was descended from the first Duke Rollo of Normandy.

Duke William took a census of most of England in 1086, and recorded it in the Doomsday Book. A family name capable of being traced back to this document, or to Hastings, was a signal honor for most families during the Middle Ages, and even to this day.

The surname Martin emerged as a notable English family name in the county of Leicester where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated as Lords of the manor and estates in that shire. They were originally from St. Martin in Normandy and arrived in England with the Conqueror. De Sancto Martino was granted lands in Leicestershire and held many manors in that shire. By the 12th century they had also branched south to Kent from the Isle of Wight and in the former county erected Leeds Castle. Meanwhile the main stem of the family was at Anstey Pastures in Leicestershire and also at Rotton House in the same county. Baron Martin was the scion of the family. They became very strong seafaring family represented by Admiral Sir Thomas Martin, Captain Matthew Martin and John Martin who sailed around the world with Sir Francis Drake; the latter was of the Kentish branch. They moved north into Scotland, following Earl David of Huntingdon who would become King of Scotland. Later, in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, England and Scotland were ravaged by religious and political conflict. The Monarchy, the Church and Parliament fought for supremacy. The unrest caused many to think of distant lands.

Settlers in Ireland became known as the "Adventurers for land in Ireland". They "undertook" to keep the Protestant faith, and were granted lands previously owned by the Irish. In Ireland they settled in Tyrone and the name frequently became MacMartin and Gilmartin.

The news of attractions of the New World spread like wildfire. Many sailed aboard the fleet of sailing ships known as the "White Sails".

In North America, migrants which could be considered kinsmen of the family name Martin, or variable spellings of that same family name included Christopher Martin and his wife arrived on the "Mayflower" in 1620. Joe Martin settled in Providence Rhode Island in 1635; Elizabeth, Francis, Henry, Jacob, James, John, Joseph, Margaret, Mary, Martin, Michael, Peter, Phillip, Richard, Samuel and Thomas Martin all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860. Perhaps the first settler was John Martin who settled in Virginia in 1606, 14 years before the "Mayflower". From the port of arrival many settlers joined the wagon trains westward. During the War of Independence some declared their loyalty to the Crown and moved northward to Canada and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.

Meanwhile, the family name was prominent in the social scene. There were many notables of this name, Martin:

Sir David Martin
Edwin Martin, American Diplomat
Archer Martin, British Chemist
Charles Martin, American Cartoonist
Mary Martin, Actress
William Martin, American Financier

In the process of researching this distinguished family name we also traced the most ancient grant of Coat of Arms from the branches, which developed their own Arms. The most ancient grant of Coat of Arms found was: Silver with a chevron between two seashells at the top and a red cross in base. The Crest was: A Talbot’s head. The ancient family Motto for this distinguished name was: "Sure and Steadfast". The source of the above information was:


The earliest records that I have for tmy Martin family go back to 1833 when William Martin married Harriot Foster, of Rickmansworth, at St Anne’s Church, in Soho London.

William Martin and Harriot Foster were married in London and subsequent records show that they populated the Islington area for a while.

So far 3 children from this marriage have been found. George Martin born June 1836, but died aged only 15 months on 8th September 1837, William Martin the second, born about 1833, in Rickmansworth, this is my great great grandfather. The record of his baptism is shown below.

George Martin Baptism

For some reason, on census night 6th June 1841 he is to be found with his grandparents, and not his mum and dad. No obvious reason for this, maybe they were just babysitting. Anyhow at present I do not know where William and Harriot are in 1841 but over time maybe I will come across them.

The Census records show the following:

Charles Foster 65
Elizabeth Foster 66
Mary Foster 35
George Foster 25
John Foster 9
William Martin 7

Charles was the 3rd child. He was born in the Lying-in Hospital on 16th November 1846. To have children in the Lying-in Hospital you have to be recommended and prove that you lived in the area. Some interesting documents have been acquired by Shirley Gardiner – the first shown below is an affidavit (written declaration under oath) signed by Harriot Martin, to confirm that she was who she claimed she was.


The above transcribes as follows:


Surrey to Wit: The Examination of Harriot Martin a Married Women, taken on oath this 21 Day of September 1846, before me, one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace in and for the said County of Surrey, pursuant to an Ad of Parliament made and passed in the Thirteenth Year of the Reign of King George the Third, intitled, "An Act for the better" Regulation of Lying-in-Hospitals, and other Places appropriated for the Charitable Reception of Pregnant Women; and also to provide for the Settlement of Bastard Children, born in such Hospitals or Places.

This Examinant upon her Oath, saith that she is the wife of William Martin now living as a servant with Hildyard Esq. near Newark in the county of Nottingham

Whose last legal Settlement has been gained in the Parish of Rickmansworth in the County of Hertford

By living as a yearly hired servant previously to the March of 1834 when a single man, for upwards of one year with the honourable Capt. Percy as at the yearly wages of twenty guineas

and that she was lawfully married to him in the name of Harriot Foster

in the Year 1833 at St Anne Church Westminster in the County of Middlesex, and at the lime of such Marriage. she was not the Wife of any other Person, no had her said Husband ( to this Examinant's knowledge or belief,) any other Wife.

Sworn the Day and Year first

above-mentioned, before me HARRIOT MARTIN

The document also shows previous and current employment of William Martin and that at present he was working away from home in Newark as a servant with Hildyard Esq. in Nottingham. Previously he was employed as a servant in Rickmansworth by Captain Percy, think this is what is shown but very difficult to work out. It could be Perry. On his sons marriage certificate of 1858 it shows that Williams profession was a Coachman, could it be that this was what he was employed as for Captain Percy and the Hildyard’s?

The next interesting find by Shirley was that of an outpatients record from one of the Lying-in Hospitals, where Harriot Martin gave birth to her second son, Charles.

These hospitals were principally intended for the "wives of poor industrious Tradesmen or distressed House-keepers" and the wives of soldiers and sailors. The large London teaching hospitals did not usually admit women for childbirth before the late 19th century, though their medical students and staff delivered women in their own homes.

This particular hospital was originally called the Westminster Lying in Hospital and was located in Westminster Bridge Road. In 1818 its names was changed to " The General Lying-In Hospital" and in 1828 it moved to its present location in York Road on the Surrey side of Westminster Bridge. It was instituted by subscription in the year 1765. The qualifications of governors are various. An annual subscription of three guineas entitles to recommend three in-patients, three outpatients at their own habitations, and any number for advice, and to vote at elections. A subscription of thirty guineas constitutes a governor for life, entitled to recommend yearly three in-patients, three at their own habitations, and any number for advice, and to vote at elections.

So as you can see from the above, to be admitted for advice or as a patient you had to be recommended by someone of some standing or wealth. Below is a copy of the said outpatients record where Harriot, 10th entry from the top, is recommended by Burnett or Burnell, I cannot quite make out the name, as you can see the quality is not very good. However on the same page, 3 entries above, it shows another mother-to-be, recommended by the Queen Dowager, Adelaide who had been married to the previous King, William IV until he died in 1837.

Lying in Hospital Records

The photo below shows the hospital as it stands in August 2002, it closed in 1971.

Lying-In Hospital

Lying in Hospitol Photo

From the entry above we can see the address of Harriot as 3 Wood Street, this was just North of the Thames and is now known as Great Peter Street. The Lying-in Hospital was on York Road just south of the Thames both can be seen on the map below. York Road is the large road in the top right hand section.

London Map

The document below shows, 2nd entry down, Harriot Martin delivered a boy.

Hospital Records

By 1851 Harriot and Charles are living in the Westminster area. On the night of the 1851 census Mother and son are not together but are close by. Mother is shown in Chester Street off Belgrave Square, and Charles is at 9a Little Chapel Street, just off Oxford Street.

11a Little Chapel Street, Westminster, London

John Bingham  Head 63 Breeches Maker
Elizabeth Bingham Wife 54
Charles Martin Nurses Child 4

6 Chester Street, Westminster, London
Harriet Martin Servant

The map below shows the respective locations, as it was then, Little Chapel Street no longer exists. Chester Street is in the bottom left had corner just of Grosvenor Place. Little Chapel Street is in the bottom right hand corner, the first main horizontal road.

Map of Little Chapel Street

The couple may have had more children but it is William the second we concentrate on for now, for it is his line that my ancestors came from. Sometime around 1858 William was living in Remington Road, Islington, the number on my copy of the marriage certificate is not clear but on Shirley Gardeners copy it clearly shows 48.

On 6th May 1858, in Islington, William married Sarah Harding, from Bury St Edmonds, daughter of James Harding, a bricklayer. They married at St Mary’s Church in Upper Street, below is a picture of the church.

St Mary Church

Sarah’s father is shown as James Harding I believe I have found him on the 1881 census, married to Mary Ann Harding. He is 80 and shown as a bricklayers labourer and Mary Ann is 76 are they are living at 1 Almshouses, Bury St Edmonds.

On the 11th march 1863 Sarah gave birth to my great grandfather, yet another William Martin, the third.

The couple had at least 7 other children – 4 girls and 3 boys. Charles born 1859, Harriot born 1861, George Martin born 1865, Jane Avis Martin (1) born 1866, Sarah Anne Martin born 1869, Jane Avis Martin (2) born 1871 and Harry Martin born 1874. These dates are taken from ages on 1881 census, so may not be totally accurate.

I do not know much about these children, apart from that the last 2 who were born in Outram Street, all the others were born in Copenhagen Street and that Jane Avis Martin (1) died on 15th March 1869 when she was only 2 years and 5 months old.

On the 1871 Census William, Sarah and family can be found at 70 Outram Street. He is a Railway porter aged 36, and there is a baby not christened which is Jane Avis number 2. She went onto marry John Thomas Kent, also from Islington. They are found on the 1901 census living as husband and wife at 58 Thornhill Square, on the night of the census Jane’s brother Harry is staying with them. John Thomas was said to be a clerk to an MP. Anyhow back to the 1871 census, below is not the census but a sheet showing the information which was recorded by Shirley Gardiner.

1851 Census

On the 1881 Census the family can be found to be still living at 70 Outram Street and by this time son Harry has arrived. Harry was mentioned earlier as staying with Sister Jane Avis (2) at the time of the 1901 census.

Household: 70 Outram Street
Film: RG11 Piece 0235 Folio 119 page 97

Name Relation Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation Disability
William MARTIN Head M Male 47 Buck...sworth, Hampshire, England Railway Porter (Other)
Sarah MARTIN Wife M Female 47 Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, England
Harriet MARTIN Dau U Female 20 Copenhagen St Islington
George MARTIN Son U Male 16 Copenhagen St Islington Railway Porter
William MARTIN Son U Male 18 Copenhagen St Islington Merchant Sailor (Seaman)
Annie MARTIN Dau Female 12 Copenhagen St Islington Scholar
Jane MARTIN Dau Female 10 Outram St Islington Scholar
Harry MARTIN Son Male 7 Outram St Islington Scholar

The birthplace of William is shown above as Buck…worth, Hampshire, which according to Shirley it could quite easily be from reading the copy, but we have found out subsequently that it should be Rickmansworth.

William, the third, married Charlotte Amelia Jones on 25th November 1883 at St Andrews Church in Islington.

On the Wedding Certificate it shows that prior to the Wedding he had resided at 70 Outram Street and was working as a Railway Porter and that Charlotte who was 18 was living at number 31 Beaconsfield Buildings. Beaconsfield Buildings, and Outram Street were just North of Kings Cross.

When they got married they rented a room in Clayton Street just off Caledonian Road, so not far from their two respective last addresses. I have in my possession a page from a rent book, copy below. This shows details of the room William and Charlotte rented at 28 Clayton Street, Caledonian Road, from 24th November 1883 to April 12th 1884.

Page from Rent Book

The house was owned by John Roberts who is in fact named as a witness on the marriage certificate along with William’s dad. I would guess that John Roberts was a very good friend of either William or Charlotte.

Clayton Street, no longer survives, the area around Caledonian Road has changed a lot since 1883 but I have found an old map which shows where the road was, as well as showing Outram Street, and the location of the Beaconsfield Buildings. As you will see, by clicking on the link below,  it is very close to Kings Cross station so there is a good chance he was a railway porter there.

Map of the Kings Cross Area

So a quick look at the Martin Family tree so far. 3 generations

William Martin Family Tree 3 Generations

William and Charlotte’s first child arrived on 23rd October 1884, Charlotte Amelia Martin born at 29g Beaconsfield Buildings, as mentioned earlier these are probably just to the north of Kings Cross but are not displayed on the map above.

Following Charlotte came another daughter Grace born around 1888 in Islington, followed by yet another girl Ada, 2 years later in 1890.

The 1891 census below shows the family now living at 48 Salisbury Road, Tottenham.

Household: 48 Salisbury Road, Tottenham
Film: RG12 Piece 1077 Folio 136 page 45

Name Rel Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
William MARTIN Head M Male 28 Islington, London Railway Wagon?
Charlotte MARTIN Wife M Female 25 Notting Hill, London
Charlotte MARTIN Daug U Female 6 Islington, London
Grace MARTIN Daug U Female 3 Islington, London
Ada MARTIN Daug U Female 9m Islington, London

The couple’s first son, William, arrived around 1893, followed 4 years later by another daughter Eva in 1897. Just around the turn of the century yet another daughter was born, this time named Annie. The 1901 Census shows that the family have moved from Tottenham and are now to be found at Colney Villa, Cromwell Road in Friern Barnet.

Household: Colney Villa, Friern Barnet
Film: RG13 Piece 1236

Name Rel Status Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
William MARTIN Head M Male 38 Islington, London General Labourer
Charlotte MARTIN Wife M Female 35 Padington, London
Charlotte MARTIN Daug U Female 16 Islington, London
Grace MARTIN Daug U Female 13 Islington, London
Ada MARTIN Daug U Female 11 Islington, London
William MARTIN Son U Male 8 Islington, London
Eva MARTIN Daug U Female 4 Friern Barnet
Anna MARTIN Daug U Female 1 Friern Barnet
William CRESSWELL Vistor Male 35 Ireland

The next child I have a record of is Charles Harry Martin born 4th October 1901 in Colney Villa, mentioned on the previous page. The family were to remain in this area for another 80 or so years. On Charles birth certificate William declares that he is now Fishmonger, although on the 1901 census he is a general labourer, so a change of employment for William between March and October 1901.

Another daughter Alice Muriel Martin, known in later years as Lal, is next born 9th August 1904 also at Cromwell Road. Then came my Nan Norah Martin, known as Molly, born 14th February 1907.

Nora Martin birth certificate 1907

Norah Martin Birth Certificate

Here is a picture of the family. My guess would be that it is just before the First World War. Starting from the left as we look at it on the back row : - Annie Sarah Martin, William Martin, ? (anyone know the baby?), Charlotte Jones, front row: - Charles Martin, Norah Martin, Alice Martin.

Martin Photo

If the above photo was before the First World War then it was taken prior to the post card below being written. It is from William to Charlotte, and was taken from Mel Gibbs website http://www.gibbs.fastfreenet.com/. There are a few others on there and all were supplied to Mel by Shirley Gardiner.

Post Card

As best as I can make out the card says; " Dear Charlotte, Just a card to let you know I am well & hope you are ????? well. Give my love to Ada & the Children. Cheer Up. I am ????? ??? W.Martin,"

It anyone can work out what the missing text is please email me

All of the children married. Here follows a brief account of each of them before moving on with my grandma Norah.

Charles Harry Martin – he was employed as an Engine Driver and married Winifred Emily Gould on 24th December 1922 at St Peter Le Poer Church in Friern Barnet. Charles passed away on 22nd March 1978 in Bedford at the age of 76. Below is a picture of Charles later in life. The wedding party is shown below, thanks to his daughter Shirley Gardiner, nee Martin.

Charles Martin Wedding Photo

Charles Martin Wedding List

Alice Muriel  known as Lal. She married Frederick George Bishop – known as Jakes – on 23rd December 1923, also at St Peter Le Poer Church. Alice passed away on 19th March 2001.

Annie Sarah Martin,  – known as Rune. This was because she was always singing a song called "Little Annie Runey", not sure of the spelling, when she was young. She married Bert Watts on 12th November 1922 again at St Peter Le Poer Church. Annie passed away quite young in 1940. Bert survived until 1984 when he passed away in Victoria, Australia. I am not sure whether he moved there after the death of Annie or whether she went with him.

Eva Martin, married Fred Holmes. They had 5 sons, and she passed away giving birth to the last of them, Ralph.

Ada Martin, also emigrated to Australia. She married Wallace Jones. Ada passed away in 1982.

Charlotte Amelia Martin – known as Millie, married Edmund Gibbs on 28th July 1901 at the Parish Church, Friern Barnet. She moved away to Bedford and this is where she passed away aged 84 on the 27th June 1969. 

William Martin – I think he married twice in his life. His occupation was a fire-fighter and he was at some time married to Elsie Huntley Whitney.

Grace Martin, married Jim Brown.

That is all I have for the children and so we are back to 1915.

William joined up to fight in the First World War. He entered the Theatre of Operations in France on 10th April 1915 as Corporal and was discharged on 13th December 1918. A picture of him in uniform is shown below, 

William Martin

These are his war medals.

war Medals

So to Christmas Day 1930, my grandma, Norah Martin, married Arthur Henry Price Tarling at St. Peter Le Poer Church in Friern Barnet.

Arthur was serving in the Army at the time. He had been posted abroad since the end of the First World War, but had returned home in December 1928 after which time he worked as a Butcher in the Middlesex regiment stationed at Mill Hill Barracks.

The Marriage Certificate shows that Nora Martin was residing at 34 Pembrooke Road which is very near to Cromwell Road. Was she there with her own family or was she lodging with someone else.

Details of their marriage have already been covered earlier under the Tarling pages. Following the death of Arthur in 1964, Nora survived another 24 years before passing away in Barnet Hospital on 4th March 1988 at the age of 81.

She had lived in Cromwell Road for many years on her own before she was moved out because of redevelopment in 1970’s. She was moved to 13 Coppies Grove in New Southgate and remained there until she passed away.

Her body is in New Southgate Cemetery off Brunswick Road and in the same grave as her husband.

We used to go over to stay during the school holidays and would often go to the local park and meet Dad who was working up the road for STC. I too would join the same company and again would spend most of my lunchtimes with my Nan who would always provide a great lunch, which often made the walk back up the hill a bit more difficult. I am a bit ashamed to mention but I sometimes got the bus, one stop up the hill.

In her coffin I placed the Teddy bear which I had had since a baby. The teddy originally belonged to my Uncle Tony and was getting a bit shabby, but I wanted it to be with her.

William Martin Descendants Chart