Wenham Barber

Wenham Barber was the second of the nine known children of carpenter Thomas Barber and the second of the two children he had with his first wife known only as Joane of Witcham, Cambridgeshire, England.

Wenham married Etheldreda Collin and the couple went on to have four children, and remained in Witcham.

Wenham inherited 5 acres of land upon his father's death in 1706. The land, which sits amongst fertile fenland, was called 'The Dams Heads' (see map location below) and sits northwest of Witcham. However, whilst his father left the land to Wenham, he also stipulated that Wenham's half-sister Winifred Courtrey (née Winifred Barber), should be able to 'peacefully and quietly to have hold and enjoy all such fenn grounds'. He goes on to say that should Wenham '..disturb or molest her or her heirs, then I give the aforesaid 5 acres hearby before given to my said son Wenham Barber unto Winifred Gawthorne my said daughter and her heirs forever'.

At first glance this might seem like a careful plot to solve half-sibling rivalry, but also it was a way for Thomas to provide an inheritance for his daughter because at this time, women were unable to hold land. By giving it to Wenham with the instruction that Winifred should do with/on it what she wishes, he's able to provide for her without risk of losing the land to Winifred's husband.

Winifred only lived for five more years after inheriting this right. Her oldest child - a daughter - (and therefore not an heir of land) was just 17 and her oldest son was just 7yrs old. A later Will, of Wenham's son (also Wenham Barber) in 1727 shows that the land passed back over to Wenham in the end.

Sixteen years after Wenham's death, his wife Etheldreda dies - at which point she is described as a 'widow and pauper' in the 1727 burial register for Witcham.

Life Events


  • circa 1660 at Witcham, Cambridgeshire, England.


  • 26th September 1675 at St. Martin's Church, Witcham, Cambridgeshire, England.


  • Etheldreda Collin (16??-1727) on 4th October 1681 at St. Martin's Church, Witcham, Cambridgeshire, England.


  • Etheldred Barber (1682-1717) married Edward Ewsden (16??-?)
  • Joanna Barber (1685-?)
  • Wenham Barber (1687-1728) married Martha Dixis (1686-1709), and later to Joan Smith (16??-1714), and to Mary (16??-1733)
  • Mary Barber (1689-1714) married Richard Bend (16??-1715)


  • During September 1711 at Witcham, Cambridgeshire, England, aged 36 years.


  • 10th September 1711 at St. Martin's Church, Witcham, Cambridgeshire, England.



  • Not yet known.
  • Not yet known.

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