The Flower family of Cambridgeshire

My maternal Flower family has seen me reach back to my 8x Great Grandparents, William Flower and his second wife Phillipa Thorpe, when they married in 1715 at the parish church of St. Laurence in the fenland village of Wicken, in Cambridgeshire, England.

The couple do not appear in the Wicken register prior to this date, and therefore it is unclear as to where they came from.

Flower family in Wicken

The only other records in Cambridgeshire that I have found for a potential baptism for William Flower are at Fen Drayton in 1690 - which would make him the son of a Thomas and Ann Flower, but there is no certainty that these are the correct parents.

William Flower and his first wife Jane Diss had six children before Jane dies in 1728, leaving William with children ranging from 12 years down to just 1 year old. Less that 2 years later he re-married to Philippa Thorpe and the couple extend the family with another four children.

My most recent Flower ancestor was Frances Flower, who was the second 'Frances Flower' of William, and his first child with his second wife Philippa.

Frances became the second wife of Richard Bayley of Wicken.

Cholera strikes

After they married and bore children, the couple lived into their late 50s-early 60s before dying from 'coll' (as noted in the burial register for Wicken). 'Coll' may have been 'cholera' as there are eight 'coll' victims in 1785-1786 and five of these were in the Bayley family - suggesting a contagious disease, which 'Colick' is not.

Both Frances and her husband, her son Richard Bailey, daughter-in-law Anne Peacock, and married daughter Peggy Fuller, all died as a result of 'coll' within the space of five weeks.

Cholera is highly contagious, surviving many days in water, and in foods such as meat, milk or cheese. It is easily spread through sewage and the flies that feast upon it, and can also be spread by human contact.

Symptoms can include concurrent violent diarrhoea and sickness, which weakens the body through dehydration (leading to consumption of more water - potentially more contaminated water). It can be extremely painful, and causes the victim to fall into a coma and die.

There were outbreaks of Cholera in nearby city of Ely, and major epidemics continued to break out across Britain through-out the 19th century, killing tens of thousands of people each time.

Flower family connections

The Flower family are linked to a number of my ancestral families including: