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Clement RANDELL 1761

In the absence of any new or contradictory evidence I have concluded that Thomas Randell was the son of Clement Randall and Sarah Porret. Despite extensive searching, only one Thomas Randell/Randle/Randall was born in north Norfolk around 1784 and he was the child of Clement and Sarah.
To cement the case a Settlement certificate issued at Sheringham in 9 April 1790 named 'Randel, Clement, his wife Sarah and children Thomas, James, William and Sarah'. Clements daughter Sarah was recorded as born 1790 in Sheringham. Sons Thomas, James and William were said to have a home parish as East Beckham, which is an indication of where they previously lived. In 1790 Clement was described as a labourer and his current residence was Sheringham.
Clement Randal was baptised 29 May, 1761 at St Mary the Virgin Church, Aldborough. He was seventh of nine children born to John and Elizabeth Randal. Despite all the children being baptised at the same church, the spelling of Randell alters randomly through the years. Clement also has a range of options and appears as Clemons, Clemmence, Clem, Clemens, & Clement. For ease I'm using Clement, unless quoting from a document.
In the eighteenth century spelling was far less predictable. In 1755 Dr Johnson produced the first English Dictionary in an attempt to standardise the language. Daniel Defoe resorted to using language translators whilst visiting the northern counties during his 'A tour thro' the whole island of Great Britain (1724–27)'. Very few people could read or write and a cleric would often take a wild punt at a name spoken in a broad regional accent.
If names created a problem, locations can exaggerate it. A perfect example is St Mary the Virgin Church, Aldborough which is not in present day Aldborough. It's actually well to the west on the road to Matlask. Even more confusingly the towers of both Alby and Thwaite churches are visible from Aldborough. Clearly in the days of old, when Clement was a boy, the entire area was a network of hamlets, cottages and isolated farms splashed across the landscape. This was after all pre-Industrial Revolution Britain, a period when effectively everybody in East Anglia worked in agriculture on small labour intensive farms.
Almost every location moving backwards down the family tree is within four kilometres of St Mary the Virgin Church. Almost certainly the Randells of this era lived on a farm somewhere nearby.
'Clemons Randal' married 'Sarah Porrit' 16 July 1783 in Matlaske. The register records the bride and groom as single and both 'of this parish'. 'Clemons' signed with his mark whilst Sarah appears to have written her own name. The wedding was witnesses by Gregory Pank and Stephen Bix. All the formalities were in place and Banns had been read on three occasions in July prior to the service. The wedding took place on a Tuesday, which seems surprisingly common in the days of old but Matlaske Parish Church was rushed off it's feet that year, hosting a total of six weddings. Six more than the year before.
After being documented in a 1790 Settlement Certificate, 'Clem Randell' is named in the 1821 National Census of which very little survives and even less identifies the residents by name.
Bodham, a village just off the Cromer/Holt road conducted a Census in 1821 which survives to this day. It identifies two households of Randalls as residents of the Bodham district. Clem Randall and his wife, who is not identified by name, are recorded as aged between 50 & 60 years. They have no children in their household.
The second Randall is James and his wife, also unnamed. They live with two children, an unnamed male aged between 15 and 20 and a slightly younger female. I assume the two younger people are Randall, but they are not identified leaving open the possibility that they are farm servants, grandchildren, lodgers etc.
A 1768 muster roll of Bodham, records no Randalls living in the immediate district but it does have a couple of Spooners and a Porret.
Clement Randall said to be of West Beckham, died aged 77 years and was buried 2 September 1834 at All Saints Church, Sheringham.
As far as I'm aware none of his descendants took the opportunity to name their son after him. I found this rather strange, but I was recently alerted to a possible explanation. Clemence/Clement is a very popular name in France because it's a Catholic name. There have been fourteen Pope Clements and unlucky number thirteen came to power around the same as Clement arrived on earth. By the time Clement & Sarah's children were having children of their own, Protestant England was at war with Catholic France.

ANCESTRY ~ William / John / Clement / Thomas


If the spelling of Randell has a few variations, the spelling of Porret opens up vast new horizons. Sarah had the good fortune to be blessed with a name, which no matter how it was pronounced, could acceptably be written as anything from Powditch to Porret.
Sarah Porrit/Porret (two spellings from the same document) married 'Clemons Randal' 16 July 1783 in Matlaske, said to be her home parish.
There is distinct possibility that Sarah was the daughter of William and Mary Pooritt/Powditch. It was normal practice to issue a settlement certificate after the birth of a child, as the Settlements determined which parish was responsible for the poor. In the event of a family needing assistance the parish on the certificate provided support, which ultimately came from the parishioners. Sarah, appears to have been given a settlement certificate in 1764 in Cley Next The Sea which states at the time the family were residents of Briston.
The Briston Parish register goes back to 1538 and is in poor condition but the writing of 1763 is remarkably clear. A Sarah Pooritt was born 16 October 1763 and baptised 23 October 1763 at All Saints Church, Briston the daughter of William & Mary Pooritt.
At least six other children born to, 'William and his wife Mary' appear in the Briston register over the next few years. During this period the name evolved through a series of changes. First entered as Pooritt, it becomes Potwich, then Powdich and finally consistently Powditch. The children after Sarah are, William - 6 July 1765, Thomas - 18 April 1767, Mary - 4 December 1768, a second Mary - 7 October 1771, a second William - 12 June 1773 and Martha - 21 September 1774.
I looked for a marriage to establish the identity of Mary, wife and mother but failed to find a record that even remotely matched. I then searched for a baptism for William and found only one suitable candidate, a William Porrett baptised 9 December 1739 at St Nicholas Church, Blakeney, the son yet another of William and Mary.
Sarah and Clement had a total of twelve children. The dates and places of birth seem to suggest that Clement was moving farm to farm over a relatively small area. There first two children, Clemence and Thomas are recorded in the register of Bessingham. There next two boys William and James were baptised at All Saints Church, Gresham. William born 12 January 1786 and James 9 February 1788. The remaining children are all recorded at All Saints Church in Upper Sheringham, Sarah - 2 April 1790, Mary - 18 March 1792, John - 15 March 1794, Martha - 25 February 1798, Amy - 16 February 1800, Phoebe - 18 February 1802 and their youngest son Robert, was born 13 January, 1804 in Sheringham. I'm also asserting Ann Randell born in 1806, possibly in West Beckham is the daughter of Sarah & Clement.
Sarah appears in the 1841 census and was found living in Bodham sharing a house with Jeremiah Laxen, his wife Amy and two children. Amy Laxon was Sarah and Clements daughter, 'Ameilia Randell' married Francis Duffield in 1823 in Holt. Francis Duffield, husband and father, had the misfortune to die in 1832 and the following year 1833, his widow Amy Duffield (nee Randell) married Jeremiah Laxon, himself a widower. Following Clements death, Sarah lived with her daughter.
According to her death certificate Sarah Randall died 25 September 1845, aged 81 years in Sheringham. The cause of death was recorded as 'Visitation of God from natural causes'. She was buried 28 September 1845 at All Saints Church, Sheringham where she was recorded as a resident of West Beckham.

Clement and Sarah had the following children:

Clemence Randall 1784, Bessingham
Thomas Randall 1784, Bessingham
William Randall 1786, Gresham
James Randall 1788, Gresham
Sarah Randall 1790, Sheringham
Mary Randall 1792, Sheringham
John Randall 1794, Sheringham
Martha Randall 1798, Sheringham
Amy Randall 1800, Sheringham
Phoebe Randall 1802, Sheringham
Robert Randall 1804, Sheringham
Ann Randall 1806, East Beckham

Hi, I would love to hear from you. I would be thrilled to receive any contributions or even corrections.
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