Kathy's Page - Part 1

I was born in Dartford Hospital, raised in the Erith/Northend, now living in New Zealand. Researching my Family History from the other side of the world, I met in ‘Cyberspace’, some interesting fellow genies with Erith connections. I decided to retain the emails for personal interest, but then decided these stories should be told, and maybe they could help other researchers, especially those who have never seen Erith, and searched in cyberspace.

With family permission, I am now able to pass these stories on through the Erith Museum website. Hopefully some will be published later, along with my family history, so these are for-runners for the future.

I hope you will enjoy reading them, as much as I have enjoyed collecting them.

Kathleen M Lawson.


For more information on the Lawson Family name



Many thanks to Brian Bamford of Australia, for sharing the stories of his Family History.

JOHN "THOMAS" BAMFORD married SUSAN FLANAGAN, his 2nd wife on the 2nd July 1902. He a 50-year-old widower from Gloucester, and Susan, a 30-year-old spinster from Ireland.

Thomas died in 1923, Susan in 1951, then living at Park Rd Dartford, Kent.

Of their 7 children, 2 were born while living at ‘Oakdene’, 10 Mill Road, Northumberland Heath, in neighbouring Erith. The 4th child, JOHN KEVIN FLANAGAN BAMFORD born 3rd March 1905, and the 5th, MAURICE CHARLES TITAN BAMFORD, born 6th February 1907.




Kathy's Page - Part 2

Over the last few months, I have accumulated interesting data on many families who were once connected with ERITH and surrounding areas. Many had ‘strayed’ to ERITH from other parts of the UK, and many who could not settle, or find suitable employment locally, ‘strayed’ even further when they emigrated.

The majority it seems went to the United States, others to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and a few to South Africa.

In the mid 1800s, many families moved from the rural mid North to live around the Thames, where work was easier to find, and agricultural labourers, became general labourers in areas surrounding the main cities. Many others of course went into industry, and with so many factories in ERITH, we find this is the link with many of our ancestors. Brick making, one of the occupations for labourers moving to ERITH in the 1880s, though I was unaware while growing up in the 1950 and 60s, that all those stretches of waste land around North End, were once the quarries and brickworks employing so many. Mustn’t forget the orchards, and hints of a Nursery.

One month, (as I intend to add stories every month), I will cover a family who strayed to ERITH, from East Anglia or further North, so that the story of migration within the UK, and the reasons why, becomes clear.

Also from Wales and Scotland came many families including my own. It was my mum who was of Welsh decent, and her family settled in Belvedere, and later Arthur St, Northend, on the boundary of ERITH & CRAYFORD.

From all around the world, I am in contact with many researchers and genealogists , seeking their roots or connections with ERITH.

It is these researchers who have taught me a lot about the region I grew up in, because they knew what their ancestors occupations were and recorded on certificates, and gradually I developed a better idea of the town I saw change from a busy town with a community, to a ghost town during the sixties and seventies.

I am searching for suitable maps, that will help those who have never visited ERITH and the surrounding districts. Not maps as we think of maps today, but simple ones, that record houses, farms, brickworks etc, and I am very grateful for those still living locally, who have helped with this task. Special thanks to Bernie and his family, who send photos and info for my research.

I will name everyone who has helped in the project, later.

If any are related to the families we have included in these pages, please contact me, and I will put you in touch with the researchers also interested in your family. At present I am working with those researching the family of HANDS, DANIELS, POWELL,TROTMAN, ALLAN,MILES, POWER, WHEATLEY,PARSONS, THOMAS, MAYBURY, MARTIN , DAVIES and CASTLETON and their related families. I’ll add other names next month.

Erith Surnames - A list of who is researching which names

There has also been lots of short stories that I will include one month, rather than focusing on one family. Today I leave you with the poem of the River Thames, that made so many towns like ERITH, so important to many families locally.


THE RIVER’S TALE. Prehistoric Rudyard Kipling.

Twenty bridges from Tower to Kew….

(Twenty bridges or twenty- two)—

Wanted to know what the River knew,

For they were young, and the Thames was old

And this is the tale that the River told:-

"I walk my beat before London Town,

Five hours up and seven down.

Up I go till I end my run

At Tide-end-Town, which is Teddington.

Down I come with the mud in my hands

And plaster it over the Maplin Sands.

But I’d have you know that these waters of mine

Was once a branch of the River Rhine,

When hundreds of miles to the east I went

And England was joined by the Continent.

"I remember the bat-winged lizard -birds,

The age of Ice and the mammoth herds,

And the giant tigers that stalked them down

Through Regent’s Park into Camden Town.

And I remember like yesterday

The earliest Cockney who came my way,

When he pushed through the forest that lined the Strand,

With paint on his face and a club in his hand.

He was death to feather and fin and fur.

He trapped my beavers at Westminster.

He netted my salmon, he hunted my deer,

He killed my heron off Lambeth Pier.

His fought his neighbour with axes and swords,

Flint or bronze, at my upper fords,

While down at Greenwich, for slaves and tin,

The tall Phoenician ships stole in,

And North Sea war-boats, painted and gay,

Flashed like dragon-flies, ERITH way;

And Norseman and Negro and Gaul and Greek

Drank with the Britons in Barking Creek,

And life was gay, and the world was new,

And I was a mile from Kew!

But the Romans came with a heavy hand,

And bridged and roaded and ruled the land,

And the Roman left and the Danes blew in—and that’s where your history books begin.



The Thames is important to many people, for different reasons, but for those raised along its banks, I hope this poem has special meaning.




The last family THE BAMFORDS, who appeared on my pages were from Northumberland Heath, so are the family that follows, THE CASELTON or CASTLETON FAMILY, of Colyers Lane, Erith township, Northend and Slades Green.

The link comes from the farm/orchard and Holly House on the east side of Colyers Lane, Northend. Nr Normandy Road today.

This story below is really a small section of THE FAMILY TREE, submitted by John Stuart Young of Australia, a descendant of the Castletons, now worldwide . I intend expand the stories later, and add other branches of the Family Tree.

If you have any questions, please contact me on the e.mail given, although the museum will also have my snail mail address in New Zealand.



1st Generation.

The First generation William Castleton was born 1801 in Footscray Kent. He was christened on 5th July 1801 at Northcray Kent, and died on 30th June 1876 in ERITH Kent, and was buried at St Paulinus, Crayford.

This is " Our ERITH connection".

Information was submitted by John Stuart Young, in Australia, though I understand some members of the family are still living locally in ERITH DISTRICT.

Both John and I would like to hear from anyone who has additional information, and those who can help with the link of Holly House, or those who know of Venner Farm.



On the 1851 Census, William aged 50, farming 116 acres. his wife Sarah aged 64, and his 35 year old stepdaughter Ann Smith, were living at 26 Barnes Cray Rd, Crayford.

I would imagine Ann was married, but we have no details yet of her husband, surname Smith.

The 1861 census shows William and Sarah with their grandson William aged 14, living at North End, farming 30 acres, and employing 3 men.

By the following census 1871, William was living at 10 Barnes Cray Rd, Crayford,

aged 70, Occ., Farmer living at Venner Farm, with a house keeper, Mary Clanton aged 64.


Although born Castleton, he married as Caselton, and now appears in records as Caselton. This could however be a mistake, that followed him through life.

At the time of his death aged 77, he was living at Lessness Cottages Bexley Rd, Lessness Heath Erith.

The informant of his death was his son Thomas*, who he left 7000 pounds to.

His death certificate states that he had paralysis on his left side for 6 years, and died of bronchitis with gradual decay of old age.

His death was recorded at Dartford, Kent.

William was buried in the same grave as his wife Sarah who had died 30th June 1865 aged 77 years. Both were buried at St Paulinus Crayford, which was the cemetery for the area at that time.

Their grave is near to the main entrance, and close to the wall.


Those with * by their names will be followed through this month, from census and parish records or by family recollections.

One branch of the family are here in New Zealand, and I have included them, and research is on going, for the later story.


The Children of WILLIAM AND SARAH.

2nd Generation

William and Sarah Caselton had four children.

  1. William Caselton born 1822 who died 1849.
  2. Sophia Caselton born 1824
  3. Thomas* Caselton born 1828 died 1904
  4. George Caselton born May 1830 died 1831

buried on 16th January 1831 in St Paulinus Church, Crayford.


William had married Elizabeth Jarvis 24th December 1846 at Crayford.

Sophia married first in 1844, her 2nd husband was George Wells whom she married ,11th March 1851 at St Paulinus Church .

Thomas* married Mary Ann Joseph, 9th Sept., 1849 at St Marys Lambeth.




The 1851 Census

17 North End Rd Crayford.

Thomas* Caselton

aged 22

Head of household


born Crayford Kent.

Maryann Caselton

aged 21



born Lambeth Surrey

Thomas Caselton

aged 7months



born Crayford Kent.


1871 Census. At 10 Barnes Cray Rd Crayford Kent.

Thomas* Caselton

40 yrs



born Crayford





born Lambeth Surrey



Farmers Son


born Crayford Kent

Mary Ann




born Crayford Kent





born Camberwell Surrey





born Crayford Kent





born Crayford Kent.





born Crayford Kent.


1881 Census

Thomas * was a visitor at

North End Crayford.

The head of property was a

Joseph P Harris


a Beerhouse Keeper


born in Essex England





born City of London Middx.

Thomas Caselton




born Crayford Kent.


1891 Census

Thomas* Caselton was a lodger, living apart from his wife Mary Ann, at

30 Slade Green Road Crayford.


1901 Census.

Living now at 3 Castle Terrace Crayford, Thomas * Caselton aged 75 living on own means.

He died 7th May 1904 and was buried at St Paulinus Church Crayford Kent.

Mary Ann who Thomas* married on the 9/9/1849 was daughter of Jacob Edward Joseph and his wife Hannah, of 24 Kerrow St, Stoke Newington Surrey.

At the time of his marriage, Thomas* was living at 14 Portland St.

Mary Ann Caselton, now living apart from Thomas*, is shown on the census, living at COLYERS LANE, at the eastern boundary of Erith where it changes to Crayford.

1881 Census

6 Colyers Lane Crayford Kent.

Mary Ann Caselton 50 Head Hosier and Market Gardener born Lambeth Surrey.

13 acres employs 2 boys.

1.Amelia H





2. Leonard



Pupil Teacher

Crayford Kent

3. Culmer G




Crayford Kent

4. Edwin




Crayford Kent

5. Horace J




Crayford Kent

1891 Census

6 Colyers Lane Crayford Kent

Mary Ann Caselton


Head of House

Market Gardener

born Walworth Surrey.




Market Gardener

born Camberwell Surrey.




Market Gardener

born Crayford Kent.


Mary Ann , wife of Thomas* owned in the late 1800, an orchard at Colyers Lane and Greengrocers at 2 Market Buildings Erith.

So although no longer living with her husband, she and the children continued to work hard, and build up the business.

Horace has shows for the first time on the 1881, aged 10 . The 1871 Census had shown the youngest in the family was Edwin, aged 3 yrs.

THOMAS* and Mary Ann had 10 children, two named Mary Ann, although some records show the spelling at Marrianne, though this could be a mistake of the recorder.

As I mentioned earlier it is impossible to follow a detailed life story of all the family, but I included genealogy of some of the siblings.




THOMAS* & MARY ANN CASELTON and their family of 10 children.

1. Thomas born 1850 died 1938

2. Mary Ann born 1851 , died 1853

3. William Charles **born 1854 died 1931

4. Rosina Emily born 1855 died 1859

5. Mary Ann*** born 1858

6. Amelia Harriet born 1860 died 1942

7. Leonard Joseph born 1864 died 1938

8. Culmer George**** born 1865 died 1956

9. Edwin born 1867 died 1954

10. Horace James born 1871 died 1956.

I continue with those marked *.




William 3rd child of Thomas and Mary Caselton , born in 1854, and was christened 26th February 1854 in St Paulinus Church, Crayford Kent.

He died on March 9th 1931 in Paeroa NZ, and was buried on 11th March in Paeroa Cemetery NZ



WILLIAM, had married Matilda Edith Dye on the 19th January 1872 at St Saviours London. They later emigrated to New Zealand.

They travelled together, William, his pregnant wife Matilda, and their first born son William Arthur Caselton, on HMS ALUMBAGH.


William Arthur Caselton had been born on the 27th June 1873, and christened at St Paulinus Crayford, two days later on the 29th .

HORACE JAMES , born on HMS ALUMBAGH, was registered in New Zealand .

William **, Matilda, William and Horace arrived in NZ ., 18th AUGUST 1875.

William and Matilda had nine children. (8 sons and 1 daughter).

1. William Arthur born 1873 Eng.

2. Horace James Alumbagh born 1874. (Born on board Alumbagh, registered in NZ)

3. Wynne Henry 1879 NZ

4. E.J.born 1881 NZ

5. Louis Edwin born 1881 NZ

6. Percival Harold born 1883 NZ

7. Eldred Octavius born 1885

8. Wilfred Septimus born 1884

9. Laurence Charles born 1889.

William** worked first as a teacher, then a farmer at Frankton and nearby Hamilton, the city south of Auckland , which is NZ major city, though Wellington, on the lowest point of North Island, is New Zealand capital city.

He later became the editor of "The Waikato Times", followed by Chief Clerk at the Defence Office during the Boar War, retiring on a pension until his death in 1931 at Paeroa.



Mr William Charles Castleton who died at Kerepeehi on March 9th, at the age of 78 years was born in Crayford Kent England in 1853. The family to which he belonged had been for several generations large gardeners, supplying Covent Garden Markets London. Mr Castleton sailed for New Zealand in the ship Alumbagh and arrived in Auckland in 1875, and for a short time was employed at Mason’s Nursery Gardens. He afterwards joined the Education Department and became an assistant teacher at Newton East Primary School , later taking charge of Hunua in 1878. He was transferred to Maungatawhirl Valley School and then went to Pokeno.

He resigned from teaching from the teaching profession to take up farming and fruit growing at Frankton and Hamilton, and later managing editor of the "Te Aroha News"


Afterwards he was appointed to reorganise the Parliamentary Library at Wellington. He possessed a remarkable knowledge of English literature and was facile writer of graceful verse. At the beginning of the Boar War, Mr Castleton was appointed Chief Clerk and Paymaster in the Defence Office in Auckland, and held that position until the close of the Great War, he then retired on superannuation.

Mr Castleton is survived by eight sons and one daughter, Mrs E.J. Williams of Kerepeehi.

The sons are Messrs Willaim Arthur Castleton, of Mount Albert (Auckland) born in England;Horace J.A. Castleton of Manunui, born on board the Alumbagh. L.E. Castleton of Birkenhead (Auckland), P.H. Castleton of Rotorua, W.S. Castleton of Warkworth (Northland), E.O. Castleton of Vancouver, L.C.Castleton of Birkdale (Auckland). There are 28 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.


You will note that on New Zealand, the family used the spelling of Castleton, which was the original spelling.


Voyage of ALUNBAGH.

Ship 1137 Tons

Captain Lowe

Surgeon Superintendent " Dr Warren.

Sailed from London on 9th May 1875 arrived Auckland August 18th 1875.



One of the early charters of the New Zealand Shipping Company , before it had it’s own fleet, was the fine ship Alumbagh, a vessel of 1137 tons which brought over 400 passengers to Auckland, sailing from London on May 9th, in command Captain Lowe.

She crossed the Equator on the 10th June, rounded the Cape on the 16th July, sighted Three Kings ( Island of the North Cape of NZ) on the 13th , and arrived in Auckland on the 17th August.

Two severe gales were encountered during the passage, the first on the 27/8th May, when the ship suffered considerable damage. The second occurred shortly after rounding the Cape, and heavy weather continued until the New Zealand coast was sighted on the 13th August.

The immigrants arriving on the Alumbagh consisted of 283 English, 109 Irish, 13 Scots and 9 Welsh nationality.

During the voyage there were 16 deaths, mostly children.

On the 24th June the Alumbagh passed an abandoned ship that had evidently burnt out, as the name was illegible.



Mary Ann*** was the 5th child of Thomas and Mary Ann, and the second child of theirs to carry the name Mary Ann. Their 2nd child has also been Mary Ann, was born 1851, and died in 1853, and buried at St Paulinus Church Crayford on 20th March 1853.

Mary Ann Caselton born 1858, she was christened 31 October at St Paulinus Crayford.

On the 31st July 1879, Mary Ann married William Henry Payton, at St Paulinus Crayford.

William Henry Payton, aged 24 years, was a schoolmaster.

Witnesses were Thomas Caselton and Amelia Harriet Caselton, both of Crayford.

1881 Census.

2 Avenue Rd Erith Kent.

William Henry Payton




born Abington Berkshire

Mary Ann Payton




born Crayford Kent


11 months



born Erith Kent.


1901 Census

Gillemsford Nr Sudbury West Suffolk

Boarding School Gemsford.

William Henry Payton



Elementary School Master

born Alvington Berkshire.

Mary A




Crayford Kent

Alice M



Student in Training College

Erith Kent

Emily A





Henry L




Gemsford Suffolk

Culmer G






As both Alice and Emily were born at Erith, it appears that the family moved to Gemsford 1885/6. The Four children were Alice, Emily, Henry and Culmer.



Culmer*** 8th child of Thomas and Mary Ann Caselton, had been born 1865 in Crayford, Kent. He was christened at St Paulinus Church, Crayford. Both his birth and marriage were registered at Dartford. This could mean that that also married at St Paulinus, Crayford, near the family homes.

His wife Rosa Muriel Mile, who he married in 1899, had been born in Westerfield, Suffolk.


Culmer George Caselton born 1865, was christened at St Paulinus Crayford , on the 29th December 1864. (At some time in his life, he was Station Master at Claygate North Surrey).

On the 1901 we have Culmer aged 36 years, and an enumerator of the 1901 Census including 2 addresses for his family.



Culmer Y Caselton 36yrs Head of household Market Gardener

(employer working at home).


Rosa N

29 yrs



born Westerfield Suffolk


1 yrs



born Erith Kent

Amelia H

40 yrs


Florist Assistant

born Camberwell London.

ROSA, wife of Culmer died in 1905 , aged 32yrs, at Dartford, of Consumption.

Culmer did not marry again after the death of Rosa.

CULMER and Rosa had 2 children.

1. Frederick Culmer Caselton born 1899

2. Gladys Amelia Caselton born 1901 Dartford Kent..


Edwin Caselton married Martha Louisa Hughes, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Hughes from Flint Wales.They settled in Slade Green, and Martha was very active in the community.


Edwin was the 9th child of Thomas and Mary Ann, Horace the 10th.



In the 1901 Census, Edwin was living with his wife Martha at

2 Market Buildings Erith.

Edwin Castleton



Fruiter and Florist

born Crayford Kent.

Martha do




Dublin Flint Wales.





Erith Kent





Crayford Kent















Erith Kent.


I hope others with an interest in ERITH enjoy reading about the Castleton Family, who’s story will be continued.

Kathy Lawson fawrdane@paradise.net.nz