John Kirby, born about 1790 in Rochford, Essex

For related information see List, Place Index and Wills Index


Yet to be summarised.

Parents and family

The only evidence for John's parents is his Christening which gives them as John KIRBY and Judith. As John had the same name as his father, it is reasonable to assume that his parents were likely to have been married fairly soon before he was born and in a similar location. Marriages of a John KIRBY and a Judith are rare, the marriage of John KIRBY and Judith KENNETT in Rochford, Essex on 1 Oct 1789 being the only candidate whilst also in the right place and about the right date. Given John jnr's christening date the timing of the marriage appears to have been necessitated by Judith's pregnancy (or only formalised following it, which was sometimes the practice). 


On the 1851 Census John KIRBY gave his age as 61 and his place of birth as Rochford, Essex. 
A John KIRBY was christened at St Andrew's Church, Rochford on 9 May 1790 by John and Judith KIRBY. 

Childhood and education

His parents were not well off,  for in 1805 they underwent a Poor Law examination. 


His employment prior to marriage is unknown.

Marriage to Elizabeth Lee

On 12 Dec 1811 he married Elizabeth LEE in North Benfleet, Essex, and moved to that village. At that time he was a labourer. Elizabeth appears to have born him three children.

On 13 Sep 1812 his daughter Martha (1812-1812) was born, she was christened on 15 Sep 1812 (from a fellow researcher who gave no location).

On 11 Nov1814 his daughter Elizabeth was born (from a fellow researcher who gave no location).

At some point before 1815 his son John KIRBY was born at North Benfleet, Essex (from Census data). He was Christened at North Benfleet on 29 Oct 1814.

Marriage to Sarah Wolf

On 1 Dec 1816 John married again, this time to Sarah WOLF (born in Little Wakering). They married in South Ockendon, a village some distance further west.

Between 1822 & 1823 there are a few more glimpses of the family. John's mother was buried in Downham and a fellow researcher has suggested two children were christened there, William, born 1823 in Downham, and Sarah, born 1824. However I currently have no supporting evidence for this.


The location of his burial is currently the only firm evidence that the Shoebury John KIRBY had strong ties with North Benfleet, Essex. However, John's son John, married Sarah SULLINGS.

About 1826 his daughter Elizabeth KIRBY was born in South Shoebury, Essex, she later married William WALL. William reported John KIRBY's death (see below). 
About 1827 his son James KIRBY was born in South Shoebury, Essex.

The 1841 census shows John and his wife Sarah at Well House in South Shoebury. At which time the family unit comprised:
Here, as elsewhere, the 1841 Census does not show family relationships and rounds ages over 20 to a multiple of five years. In the next premesis listed there is a William WALL. He appears single and is aged either 10 or 18 (the latter seems probable as he is occupied as an Ag Lab). On the previous page, listed under Cook's Farm, South Shoebury there is a James KIRBY, aged 40, ag lab and born in county who is on his own.

On 17 Nov 1843 his daughter Elizabeth married William WALL. At that time she gave her father's occupation as Labourer.

White's Directory of 1848 states that South Shoebury was only occupied by '164 souls' and also that 'The poor parishioners have an old building called Well House, with a garden, let for 6.18s., but the donor is unknown.'

On the 1851 Census he was still at Well House
Later they moved to the vacinity of Shore House, South Shoebury, Essex, possibly the house itself (1861 census).
On the 1871 Census John is still listed at Shore House, South Shoebury, Essex.
It was quite an achievement to still be an agricultural labourer at the age of 81!

Shore House is still there although it has been demolished and re-built at least twice since John & Sarah's time. At one point it was a garage, and in its current guise it is a comfortably appointed gastro-pub. 
The shorehouseThe shorehouse sign

The management inform me that all that they know to date from the original establishment are the cellars and the tunnel by which the beer was brought in from barges. However, some of the central walls (the bits holding up the greenish brown roof) may still be original (to judge from a picture of about 1900-1910 in the catalogue of Footsteps Photos).

Last Will and Testament



John died on 24 August 1877 in Shoebury. The death was registered in registered in the Shoeburyness sub district of Great Wakering, Essex. The details on the registration are: Age 87, name John KIRBY, Shoeburyness [=South Shoebury].  Occupation Farm Labourer. Cause of death: Old age, Natural decay, certified by E Milburn M. R. C. S. Ed. Reported by William WALL, Son in Law, Jman Lab  North Shoeburyness, who made his mark.


John KIRBY was buried on 4th September 1877 in North Benfleet, Essex. 

Descendants and notable relations

Any transcripts and images on this page are Copyright R I Kirby 2008 unless stated otherwise.