William Cox 1690 - 1768
Banburyshire Family History

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The family history starts, somewhat tenuously, in the 12th century church of St Mary Magdalene, Wardington with the baptism on the 6th December 1690 of an infant named William.

Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalen, Wardington

Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalen, Wardington

Coincidently this was the same day that a group of prominent London merchants delivered to the Bar of the House of Lords a document entitled 'Observations on the Bill against the Exportation of Gold and Silver, and melting down the Coin of the Realm'.[1] 1690 was also the year of the Battle of the Boyne in which William III's army defeated the ex-king, James II's, French army and returned him to exile in France.

The child's parents were named as William and Elizabeth Cox; they were not married in Wardington, Banbury or anywhere else in Oxfordshire. We do not know where either parent was born, or the mother's maiden name. Possibly they were from Northamptonshire.[2] They had two further children, Elizabeth (1692) and Mathew (1697), but in both instances the father's name was entered as Mathew. Whilst errors with the mothers name were common[3] this is the only instance of the father's name being entered incorrectly, possibly suggesting that he was not from Wardington and that he was not a regular church goer!

There are no further family records in Wardington and no death record for the mother, but we do have a plausible death record in Banbury for the father:

After a period of 38 years without any Cox marriages in Banbury, imagine the registrar's anguish when, like London buses, two turn up at once, both called William, both "gersey coombers", and both wanting to marry girls named Jane who were both born in Banbury:

Both couples were married within 13 months of each other:

Sensing the confusion to come, the registrar appears to have adopted the "Coxx" spelling for Jane Lamprey's husband and to have continued this convention through to their offspring. Between them they have 11 children (of which 7 died in infancy including twins buried on the same day), however, by 1729 the Cox / Coxx convention seems to have broken down as Elizabeth is baptised as a Cox in 1728 but buried as a Coxx in 1729.

The relevant births are:

The relevant deaths are:

If we assume that the 1722 death of William relates to one of the husbands then the 1721 William birth survives into the next generation and everything balances, but the 1722 death reads more like an infant mortality. Possibly the registrar made an error, but it is more likely that the death of one of the husbands and the birth of another William (circa 1723) were unrecorded.

From the Northamptonshire marriage index:
William COX Elizabeth LUCKE 1683 28-May Boughton C of E
Before 1738 the mother's name was rarely entered, and prior to 1753 all Banbury Cox mothers were entered as Mary or Ann, despite a much wider range of names being used for baptisms.
Were "Mary-Anns" the equivalent of Australian "Sheila's" today?

Contributed by Nicholas Cox
Email: cox_family(@)ntlworld.com
To contact Nicholas, copy and paste the address and remove the brackets around the @ - thank you.