The Last Bartlett website

James Bartlett and Elizabeth (Betty) Taverner

My great-great-great-grandparents were James Bartlett and Elizabeth Taverner, who were married on 10th October 1798, in Somerton, Somerset [Note 1].

James and Elizabeth had six children:

  • Mary, baptised in Somerton on 8th February 1801
  • Robert, baptised in Somerton on 26th May 1802
  • John, baptised in Somerton on 17th October 1802
  • Sarah, baptised in Somerton on 10th March 1805. She married Thomas Buckland of North Perrott on 17th October 1825. The witnesses were Ann Taverner and Robert Bartlett. Sarah and Thomas had at least two children.
  • Samuel, baptised in Somerton on 10th June 1810 [Note 1]
  • James, my great-great-grandfather, born on Good Friday, 12th April 1816 in Somerton, Somerset.

Of the four sons, James was the only one to survive childhood. His life is described on the Reverend James Bartlett 1816 - 1881 page on this website.

James Bartlett 1762 or 1764 - 1859

James Bartlett was born in about 1762 or 1764 in Somerton, Somerset [Note 1]. He is described as "a poor but industrious husbandman who eked out a livelihood by working for gentry and gentleman farmers. Though poor himself many of his forebears had been respectable and comparatively wealthy members of South Somerset's agricultural community. It was only when he reached the grand old age of ninety that he inherited from one of his uncles a small plot of land three miles from his home in Somerton. " [Note 2].

James attended Somerton Parish Church and was "highly respected by his neighbours for his industry, honesty and integrity... an indulgent father who scarcely ever corrected his son" [Note 2].

James' burial record records his age as ninety-seven years old. He was buried at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Somerton on 27th August 1859. This suggests he was born in about 1762.

In the 1851 census James is aged 87 and living on West Street in Somerton and is the head of the household and a widower. If his age on the census record is correct, he was born in about 1764.

At the time of the census James was living with his daughter Sarah (aged 46, a washerwoman), her husband Thomas Buckland (aged 54, an agricultural labourer) and their children John (aged 15, a farmer's boy) and Thomas (aged 12, a farmer's boy). John and Thomas were both born in Somerton.

Elizabeth (Betty) Bartlett (née Tavener)

I don't yet know when Elizabeth was born or died, except that she died before the 1851 census, when James was a widower.

Elizabeth had previously been married to a farmer by the name of Haggett, and they had one child [Source]. (The marriage took place on 4th September 1794 and the couple are named as William Haggit and Betty Tavener.) [Note 1]

Elizabeth's family and relatives were tradesmen. She may have brought a little property into the marriage as there were complaints from some neighbours when James and Elizabeth's son, James, my great-great-grandfather, was given a year's free education at the Free School in Somerton.

Elizabeth is described as a "a kind and tender-hearted woman, greatly attached to the Wesleyan Methodists". She ensured that her son James was baptised in the Wesleyan chapel and taken to Methodist services as a small child. [Note 2]

Further Back In Time

Family legend has it that James Bartlett's ancestry can be traced back to a Timothy Bartlett, who owned land in Somerset at the time of the English Civil War. My great-grandfather, James Elijah, says that James' grandfather "was a staunch supporter of the Somerton Independent Meeting House, and a very good man." According to Dr. David Shorney, another ancestor was an Independent minister at Martock in Somerset [Note 2].


Note 1: Thanks to my friend Steve for finding out these dates for me.

Note 2: This information is from the article "The Makings of a Bible Christian Itinerant, James Bartlett, 1816-1881" by Dr. David Shorney, Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society, Volume 56, Part 1, February 2007, pp10 - 20. The full article is now available online.