Chapter 4
Earliest known forebears of Elijah

Eli’s father, Charles, was the son of a John Titchener. John married Martha Martin in Bishopstone in May 1792 [T.2]. Martha was a Bishopstone girl, born there in 1772, and living her whole life there. She died in 1819. John survived her for another 13 years, living on in Bishopstone. He was not born in Bishopstone, however, and the Titchener record cannot be traced further back with complete certainty.

In the hope of finding the birth of John Titchener the records of 21 registers of Wiltshire villages in the neighbourhood of Bishopstone were searched at the Wiltshire County Records Office. In addition five Berkshire parish records were searched at the Berkshire County Records Office. These searches revealed only two John Titcheners born around 1768, which would have been the approximate year of birth of Martha Martin’s husband, estimated from the year of their marriage. Details of these searches are filed among papers on the Titcheners.

Both of these Johns are from Coleshill, a nearby village in Berkshire, where lived a nest of Titcheners at that time. One of these Johns is the son of William Titchener and Elizabeth Pike [T.1]. Elizabeth Pike was the second wife of William, and John was a late child of this marriage (“John IIC” in Tree T.1). The other John is the grandson of William through the only surviving child of his first wife, Elizabeth Webb [T.1]. That son, also named William, married Deborah Maul(e) (the spelling varies) in 1767, and they named their second son, born in 1769, John (“John IIIC” in Tree T.1). His uncle John (“John IIC”) was born in 1766.

William Titchener Senior (“William S’r (IC)” [T.1] was born in 1720, the seventh and penultimate child of Thomas Titchener and Deborah Willkins [T.1]. Thomas and Deborah married in Coleshill in 1703 and lived there thereafter. Thomas died in 1752, Deborah in 1753. Deborah was born in Coleshill in 1683, the daughter of a John Willkins [T.1], but Thomas evidently came from some other parish, there being no record of his birth in the Coleshill parish register.

The Coleshill parish records, searched back to 1630 for baptisms and marriages and to 1733 for burials, reveal no earlier mention of a Titchener than that of the marriage of Thomas to Deborah Willkins in 1703; unless one includes the baptism of a Mary Kitchrnrr on May 4, 1660. Mary does not reappear in the records.

Thomas and Deborah Titchener seem to have been humble folk. She at her death is described as “a poor ancient woman”, he simply as “an ancient man”. Their eldest child, Deborah Maul, died “a poor widow of old age”. John, their fourth child and second son, was described at his death as a labourer. Of the circumstances of the other children of Thomas and Deborah nothing is known; nor of those of the succeeding two generations. It seems likely that they were no better off than “our” Bishopstone Titcheners. They do not connect with William Titchener, the miller, mentioned in Parker’s book.

Of the parents of John Titchener’s wife, Martha Martin [T.2], I know no more than their names. They were William Martin and Hannah Mitchell. They married in Bishopstone in 1770, but there is no record of either of them being born in Bishopstone or dying there.