Samuel MADDER 1747-1835

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Samuel Madder (1747-1835) (OM001)

Brisley is asmall village in Norfolk, lying midway between East Dereham and Fakenham. Samuel Madder married Mary Barrett there on 4th December 1770. 

Samuel was probably a farm labourer, but by 1817 had become an owner of land as he was listed as eligible to vote in that year. (At this time only people who owned or rented land above a certain value were allowed to vote). They had a large family, most of whom survived to adulthood. However, with only one exception, they disappear from the village records. Mary died in January 1834, aged 83 and Samuel in December the following year. He was aged 87.

But why did the next generation of Madders leave the village?

In the late eighteenth century there was a decline in employment in the countryside. In a lot of places enclosure had caused an increase in the size of farms. This led to an increase in the numbers of farm labourers looking for work and therefore a decline in pay. It was not helped by an increase in population. The industrial revolution caused the development of agricultural technology and led to a decrease in the men needed. Similarly an increase in manufacturing in large towns led to the decline in “cottage industries”. Norfolk, as a mainly agricultural area, was particularly badly hit.

Many women went into service before they married. Men looked for work in the nearest large town or even London. After the French Revolution of 1789 and the rise of Napoleon the Army was an option. Some of these things happened to the children of Samuel and Mary.

Children of Samuel & Mary

Elizabeth (c. 20 Jan 1771) possibly married in 1809 in the nearby village of Tattersett.

Mary (c. 14 Mar 1772) married 1801 in Norwich. The witnesses were a John & Sarah Colls – cousins?

Samuel (c. 24 Dec 1775) Joined the Army. His daughter is the only grandchild baptised in Brisley. See Samuel (1775-)

Robert (born 30 Jan 1778 in Brisley, but not baptised until 1845 in East Dereham). In the 1851 he is a 74 year old pauper living in East Dereham. He was unmarried.

John (c. 26 Nov 1778) Married Phillis Colls at Fakenham in 1805. They had one daughter in 1808 who died at less than six months old. No more information – he may have joined the Army.

Thomas (born around 1782) Married Sarah Prior in 1814 in London. No proof that he was a son of Samuel & Mary but there is gap in the Madder baptisms in Brisley and his children were named Mark, John Thomas, Elizabeth, Samuel, Charles and Thomas Clement. He was a servant or mechanic in the Marylebone area of London and died at the age of 49. 

Charles (c. 5 Mar 1786) On 5th June 1805, at the age of sixteen, he joined the Army. He served for over fourteen years as a Private in the 24th Regiment of Dragoons, eleven of them in India. When he was discharged on the 8th June 1819 he was 5ft 7in tall with dark hair, hazel eyes and a fair complexion. His occupation was labourer. 

What happened to him after that is unknown. (There is a Charles Madder who married Jane Knott in London in 1826. He was a farmer/gardener/coachman and probably died about 1832. They had several children)

Clement (c. 23 Nov 1791) Apart from his baptism, there are no further records.

Mark (c.8 May 1791) Married Dinah Wildman in 1828 in London. When he died on 12th October 1833 he was a victualler of the Carlisle Arms in Soho. He left just under £300 (about £15,000 today) to his wife. They had no children.


Richard (c. 29 Sep 1793, b. 16 Dec 1793)