The Year is 1754 A.D. - John Fardon, Clock and Watchmaker of Deddington, Oxfordshire
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John Fardon, Clock and Watchmaker of Deddington

Dear Readers,

My name is John Fardon, Clock and Watchmaker of Deddington, Oxfordshire. I have been asked to describe what I can remember of the circumstances surrounding my marriage/s and the birth of my children, all of which is apparently a great mystery! My concerned descendant describes me as a 'Brickwall'!

I was born to John and Mary on 11th July 1736 and my birth was registered at the Quaker Banbury Monthly Meeting. My father died in 1743/4, (exact date unknown).

One history book states that I was 10 years old, but they are a couple of years out. My father left my mother well cared for and I don't think she remarried, though she may have done.

I think I would have started my apprenticeship in London when I was 14, hopefully finishing it at 21. [I understand a search is to be made soon for my Indenture].

Some of you may not know, but to put it into the words of Eve McLaughlin, a fellow correspondent who has shown an interest in me: "Normally, a lad still in apprenticeship was forbidden to marry (or commit fornication) until he had finished his indentures. The only exception was if the master gave a special permission (and not for frivolous reasons like pregnancy either)."

When I was 17 I took out a Licence and Bond dated 4th March 1754 (in Adderbury, Oxfordshire) to marry Ann NETHERCOTT. She may be the Ann NETHERCOTT who was baptised in 1736 in Long Compton which is just over the county boarder from the villages where all my relatives lived. On this Marriage Bond I "... being Sworn on the Holy Evangelists, alleged and made Oath as follows..." .. that we were both of the age of 21 and upwards. Now, of course that was a big fib. As Eve reminded me, as a Quaker I wasn't allowed to Swear an Oath. As already stated there is no trace of this marriage having taken place, although it may have happened in someone's house? Two years later the Quaker Men at the Monthly Meeting are trying to sort out the mess of my 'Marriage by Proxy'.

By 1760 I was carring out my trade as a Clockmaker in Deddington and one clock from that date is known. A clock I made in 1770 is in the Museum of History of Science, Oxford.

There are clues and hints that I was thrown out of the Quakers, but I was buried on 10th December 1786 in the Quaker Burial Ground at Adderbury.

After that history comes a huge problem for my poor descendant in the 21st century. None of my children appear to have been registered in the Banbury Monthly Meeting, nor is there trace of any of my infant children being baptised anywhere. However, three of my children were baptised in the Church of England at Deddington as adults. One, Thomas, (another well known clockmaker), was baptised aged 20 in 1777 just one week before he married at St. Mary's, Adderbury. [He had to marry again 6 months later?? but that is a puzzle for another day.] Two other children, were also baptised at Deddington aged over 21, both in 1781, although one of them, another John (another clockmaker), had married in Sts. Peter and Paul, Deddington in 1772 exactly 9 years to the day before he was baptised there! Another daughter, Ann married in Sts. Peter and Paul, but no trace of her baptism.

Now, if you are still with me we come to the greatest problem.

There was a Juliana FARDON for whom again there doesn't seem to be a recorded birth at Banbury Quaker Monthly Meeting or a baptism. In 1789 she married a Deddington man, Edward SOUTH at St. Giles', Oxford by Banns. In the parish registers they were described as "lodgers" in Oxford. (I understand that St. Giles' had a reputation as being a 'Runaways' church'?).

They spent their married life in Banbury, rearing one son who eventually trapsed off to South Australia in 1840. Juliana died at a rather young age in 1802 and is buried in Deddington, (no sign of a monumental inscription for Edward in Banbury or Deddington).

What would you do? Taking the above evidence or the lack of it, would you choose to think John was Juliana's father?

Answers please on a postcard or e-mail to Peter Fewson. Juliana is his 3rd x great grandmother and feels very responsible her.

Regards from Cornwall
Peter Fewson

Contributed by Peter Fewson
Previously published in RootsWeb Oxfordshire Mailing List