Benjamin and Mary Cracknell (View Close family Tree)


The record for the 1841 Census shows the couple living in Thames Street Rotherhithe with a nine-year-old boy named Benjamin Cracknell.


The record of the 1851 Census shows this couple living at 12 Coburg Street Rotherhithe with two of their grandsons.


Benjamin is a retired customs officer aged 78 born in Essex. His wife Mary is aged 83 and is also recorded as being born in Essex.


I have no information where in Essex the couple were born or when they moved to the London area. Further I have no records to establish where in London they spent the bulk of their lives.


I have searched for a marriage of the couple and the only likely reference I have found is a marriage in 1898 in St Sepulchre in Holborn London. The marriage was between a Benjamin Cracknell and a Mary Raymond but this needs further research.


I have searched for children of Benjamin and Mary but cannot find any in Rotherhithe where we know they lived for the last few years of their lives.


There are baptisms records of children born to a Benjamin and Mary Cracknell in Stepney The details of the children are Benjamin born Aug 3rd 1799, James Thomas born November 8th 1802 both of whom were baptised on 5th December 1802 at St Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London. Thomas was born on 1st June 1809 and baptised December 25th.1810 also at St Mary Whitechapel.


So maybe Benjamin and Mary, were married North of the Thames, spent twelve years or so in Stepney London before moving South of the River to Rotherhithe.


Benjamin Cracknell was buried at St Mary Rotherhithe Church on the left on Nov 20th 1853. His address at the time of his death is given as Coburg Street Rotherhithe which is consistent with the 1851 census.


The aged of the deceased is given as 83 which bearing in mind that the death is late in the year and the census was in March 1851, is two years adrift of the 1851 census.


Mary Cracknell aged 84 wife of Benjamin of Coburg Street was buried on 2nd January 1853 at St. Mary Rotherhithe. Mary’s age is consistent with the 1851 census.


I cannot find Coburg Street on current maps of Surrey or on the 1851 map of the Rotherhithe area above. The National Archive records for the Rotherhithe

Registration District states that Coburg street was near Deptford Road. On modern Maps this appears to be called Lower Road.


Deptford Road is coloured yellow on this 1851 map running down the map from the “H” of “Rotherhithe”. So Benjamin who was a retired customs Officer was living near the docks on the South side of the Thames, in the stretch of the river between Tower Bridge and what is now The Docklands.


So, are the two children living with their grandparents the children of my 3 x great grandparents Benjamin Cracknell and Sarah Jane Rigg?


The details of the two grandchildren living with Benjamin and Mary Cracknell at the time of the 1851 census are Benjamin aged 19 and Thomas aged 16 and both boys were born in Rotherhithe Surrey.


If we look at the birth records of children of Benjamin Cracknell and Sarah Jane Rigg we find we have two brothers of the same name, the same place of birth and with birth dates consistent with the ages of the brothers living with their grandparents in 1851. So I believe that Benjamin Cracknell and Sarah Jane Rigg are the son and daughter in law of Benjamin and Mary Cracknell.


I believe that the boys are with their grandparents because both their parents are dead. On searching the local burial records, I have found that a Benjamin Cracknell died in 1834 aged 36. Benjamin was living Russell Street at the time of his death. Remembering that Russell Street is the road where Benjamin and Sarah’s boys were born a few years earlier I believe that this is the death of the boy’s father. Russell Street can be seen on the map above adjacent to the river at Limehouse Reach.


The 1841 Census supports this idea as we find Sarah Cracknell living with a child named Thomas aged 7 with no sign of a husband. Thomas’s age is consistent within a year of the expected age of the Thomas found living with his grandparents in 1851.Unfortunately the 1841 census did not record family relationships so it does not confirm either that Thomas is Sarah’s son or that Sarah is a widow.


Five years later it appears that Sarah Jane Cracknell a widow died in Rotherhithe Surrey aged 42. This is not exactly consistent with the age of the Sarah in the 1841 Census but I believe that this is the death of the boy’s mother, and therefore the reason that the unmarried boys are living with their grandparents at the time of the 1851 census.


It should also be noted that the Benjamin who died in 1834 aged 36 would have been born in 1798. The Benjamin born in Stepney to parents Benjamin and Mary was born in 1799. So, it looks as though the Benjamin Cracknell born in Stepney could well be the son of Benjamin and Mary.


For these reasons I am happy that Benjamin and Sarah are son and daughter-in-law of Benjamin and Mary. Making Benjamin and Mary my 4 x great grandparents.



The IGI records indicate that two more children were born to a couple named Benjamin and Mary and both were christened in Stepney Churches but not at the same church as the other children. The children were Charles born 18th October 1807 Baptised 15th February 1807 at St. Georges in the East Stepney. The second child was John born March 31st 1812 and baptised on 17th May 1812 at Spitalfields Christ Church Stepney. These children also show up in the death searches in the period 1800 to 1812 indicating that they probably both died young.