Last week I mentioned that I’d been sent confirmation of the first marriage of John Londors of Barking, my great-great-great-grandfather, by Phyllis Wells, who has in her possession what appears to be a Londors family Bible. Now Phyllis has kindly sent me copies of two of the pages from the Bible, which I reproduce below.

According to Phyllis, the inside cover of the book bears the words ‘Sarah Jeffery her book 1790’. Neither of us have any idea who Sarah Jeffery is, so that’s another focus for future research.

The first page of the book seems to include writing in two different hands. In the first hand is the date ‘July 15 1785’, which is then repeated, followed by the name ‘John Landors’ (or possibly ‘Landers’ or even ‘Landery’), and then the date ‘1799’. I suspect that the first date is my 3 x great grandfather’s date of birth. We know from later census records that he was born in Woodford in about 1786, so this date would be a good match.

It’s possible that this first entry was written by John himself. It looks like the work of an inexperienced writer, and we know that John was probably illiterate or semi-literate: he signed the certificate of his second marriage, to Mary Anne Schofield in 1826, with an ‘x’. There is something of a question mark over the record of his first marriage to Elizabeth Eliza Plane, where it seems that he may have written his full name. The ‘J’ and ‘L’ here are just about consistent with that entry, though the ‘d’ is rather different.

If 1799 is the actual date when this first entry was written, then John would have been fourteen at the time. Perhaps this is the date when he took possession of the Bible, possibly from Sarah Jeffery – his mother? (On second thoughts, John’s mother would have used her married name, some variant of Londors, in 1790, so Sarah must be someone else.)

This first page from the Bible also includes the following in a second, more accomplished hand:

John Landery

his Book

May 21 1815

Barking Essex

Elizabeth Eliza Landery

Born 18th December


Does the last part of this entry indicate that it was written by Elizabeth herself, perhaps on the first date mentioned? She married John on 2 April 1815, so this would have been written a few weeks after her marriage, perhaps after taking (joint?) possession of the book. If it was written by John, perhaps his writing had improved since his youth.

At all events, this feels more like a title page, in which the book’s owners enter basic information about themselves, rather than a formal record of family history. The second page, however, does seem more like an attempt to provide this kind of information for posterity. It’s a list of the birth dates of the children of John Londors, and all the entries appear to be written by the same hand. Since they are all from his second marriage to Mary Anne Schofield, we know that the list cannot have been written by Elizabeth. It’s possible the writer is John, but since the hand is slightly different from the first entry on the previous page, I wonder if the information was added by the children’s mother, Mary? By this time, the spelling of the family surname has stabilised as ‘Londors’.

Knowing the exact dates of birth for the next Londors generation – including my great-great grandfather John Schofield Londors – will be a great help in tracking down the details of their baptisms.