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1742 - 2000
Bloxham in Oxfordshire, and Coventry, Warwickshire


I only know for sure the last 200 years or so of the history of my CAKEBREAD ancestors.

The earliest ones I know about were Plush Weavers in the village of Bloxham, near Banbury, in north Oxfordshire around the end of the 18th Century where there were a number of Cakebread families. Records of CAKEBREADs in that north Oxfordshire village commence around the early 1600s but baptism records seem to be almost non-existant until about 1780 although marriages and burials are available. The CAKEBREADs became leading members of the non-conformist movement and attended religious services in private houses. Although they did baptise at a young age, usually at birth, the records did not survive. By using marriage and burial records the approximate progression of the group of families can be seen but they cannnot be accurately defined.

Other early Oxfordshire CAKEBREAD were at Witney in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries and a few in Oxford itself. I suspect they had moved there from further south in Hertfordshire where available records of CAKEBREADs go back many more years than in Oxfordshire areas.

It seems fairly certain that my Cakebread ancestors are descended from the major nucleus of families in the Hertfordshire/Essex areas and moved tthe short distance north-westward to Oxfordshire and in particular to the town of Banbury.

I am reasonably confident that my family date back to James Cakebread and wife Ales who are the earliest Cakebreads at Bloxham as shown on currently available records, but I cannot prove any definite births from then until about 1780.

James was the only Cakebread name in Oxfordshire to appear on the Oxfordshire Protestion Returns in 1641/2. Although not conclusive, the legal requirement to sign this oath is a good indication there were no other adult males of this name in the county at that time.

It appears that the CAKEBREADs became leading members of the non-conformist movement and attended religious services in private houses. Although they did baptise children at a young age, usually at birth, the records did not survive. By using marriage and burial records the approximate progression of the group of families can be seen but they cannnot be accurately defined.

There was probably one, or maybe two, further generations in a single line but then (after 1737) either 2 or possibly 3 CAKEBREAD brothers had families. (John and Mary; James and Sarah; Thomas and Elizabeth)…the connections between them is not known. After about 1770 there were at least another 5 in (or nearby) Bloxham (probably descendants). From 1790 to 1810 the number expanded to at least 8.

By then marriages of Cakebreads had taken place in several nearby villages such Swalcliffe, Tadmarton, Epwell, Barford, Steeple Aston, and also just over the county borders at Brackley and Culworth, Northamptonshire and Harbury, Warwickshire.

Several of those couples settled in the villages where they were marrried and began several more generations or residents there. Some also moved into the nearby market town of Banbury.

There are some photographs of old houses which have survived in Bloxham village on the Bloxham Village History Club web-site .

Some descendants of Thomas Cakebread who married Catherine Hill at Culworth, Northampton stayed in the northern parts of Northamptonshire until at least 1910. They included Stone Masons and allied trades.

Plush weaving
By the middle of the 18th century Banbury had become noted for weaving plush, a kind of cloth used for upholstery, hats, and liveries. In Victorian times, the material was used as a furnishing fabric, especially after it had been embossed with a special machine. In the early 19th century plush weaving was a thriving industry in Banbury and surrounding villages, Shutford being the most famous. In 1807 1,000 handloom weavers and associate workers were employed in the Banbury area, many of them very poorly paid. The industry had its fair share of bad times and after 1850 the industry declined rapid.

There seem to be several generations of Plush Weavers in my Cakebread ancestry in Bloxham, later to be continued in Coventry. One of the group of Bloxham families mentioned earlier became involved in the stone trade either in Bloxham or in nearby villages in neighbouring Northamptonshire. Stone Masonry firms of the name exist to this day, specialising in grave headstones and the name appears on many gravestones around the southern Midlands.

Further on is an extensive list of names with links to where they occur.

Other names connected are: Nicholls (Coventry), Hunt, Smith, Walker, Brotherton, Wiggins, Perry, and Richards (all Oxfordshire).


About 1839 2 brothers, both struggling (and probably out of work) Plush Weavers, were both in the Banbury Workhouse with young families to raise. So William and Robert Cakebread, and younger single brother George, decided to move the 30 miles to Coventry where there was a flourishing weaving trade.

They would have walked or paid a small amount for a ride on a horse-drawn cart.

On arrival in Coventry William and Robert at first lived in the over-crowded, smelly central area of the city.

West Orchard, Coventry where William lived in1841

(By permission of

Later Robert moved 3 miles out to Foleshill to the north of Coventry but William moved to a better (slightly) locality within the central areas. They both settled and several of their descendant families still live in the area. Both families continued to earn their living in the linen trade. William and Robert continued as Plush Weavers right through the terrible hard times which the Coventry weavers went through. With the odd exception the rest of their families also worked doing menial jobs in the new weaving factories created after mechanisation of the weaving processes.

The 3rd brother, George, married and then moved on to West Bromwich north of Birmingham, where he died in 1885.
( I would particularly like to hear from any persons descended from the late 19th Century Cakebread families anywhere in the West Bromwich, Wolverhampton or north Birmingham areas.)

At about the time of the weaving depression one son of Robert, also named Robert, left his family in 1857 and emigrated to USA with his young wife Martha. After many years of hard work in the California mines they flourished and established the present CAKEBREAD community there. For more information of the Californian connection follow the link to 'The Name CAKEBREAD' on the menu.

If any descendants of the USA Robert find this web site they may read a bit more about the part of Coventry where Robert grew up by choosing the link to Bell Green in the left column.
They may be interested in the photograph of flooded Hall Green Road. In the very centre of that photograph the dark cluster of distant buildings mark the probable position of the Cakebread dwelling in old Hall Green.There they will also find a link to an old 1887 map on which the small cluster of houses which must have included the family home can be seen. Look for "Hall Green" and enlarge the map. Unfortunately now hardly any, if indeed any, of those houses now remain and the area has changed a lot, being very built up with houses. The roads and the little river are still the same but that is about all.

My thanks go to the late Vi Shallow, who was the "one-name study" specialist of the CAKEBREAD name until shortly before her death. Vi sadly passed away in June 2006 and no doubt is now getting down to more direct questions of her ancestors to sort out that "brick wall" ! The help Vi gave me via email over a long period was invaluable.


Surname Chr. Name Born Where Found Parents / Notes
Cakebread Alice 1855 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread Annie 1889 Chart Caleb / Eliza
Cakebread Annie Louise E. 1896 Chart Caleb (1872) / Frances
Cakebread Brian H.C   Chart Sidney / Lilian
Cakebread Brian Edward   Chart Charles / Ellen
Cakebread Caleb 1842 Family Tree William / Martha
Cakebread Caleb 1872 Chart Caleb / Eliza
Cakebread Caleb John 1902 Chart Caleb (1872) / Frances
Cakebread Caroline 1834 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread Charles 1871 USA Chart Robert / Martha
Cakebread Charles 1883 Chart Caleb / Eliza
Cakebread (Johnson) Clara Ann   Chart Wife of Henry William 1870
Cakebread (Tombs) Constance 1903 Chart Wife of Caleb John
Cakebread Constance B. 1924 Chart Caleb / Constance M.
Cakebread Dennis William 1938 Family Tree George Abraham / Elsie
Cakebread Edward Charles 1904 Chart George / Ellen
Cakebread (Nicholls) Eliza 1848 Family Tree Wife of Caleb
Cakebread Elizabeth 1786 Family Tree Roberts Wife
Cakebread Elizabeth 1832 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread Elizabeth 1841 Chart William / Martha
Cakebread Elizabeth 1865 USA Chart Robert / Martha
Cakebread Ellen 1912 Chart Caleb (1872) / Frances
Cakebread Ellen Elizabeth 1880 Family Tree Georges wife
Cakebread Ellen Florence 1901 Chart George / Ellen
Cakebread (Harrison) Elsie 1904 Family Tree Georges wife
Cakebread Elsie May 1895 Chart Henry William / Mary
Cakebread (Asplin) Emma   Chart Wife of Charles (1883)
Cakebread (Kirkman) Eva   Chart Wife of Thomas William 1904
Cakebread (Asplin) Frances   Chart Wife of Caleb (1872)
Cakebread George 1815 Chart Robert / Elizabeth
Cakebread George 1881 Family Tree Caleb / Eliza
Cakebread George Abraham 1902 Family Tree George / Ellen
Cakebread Gladys Mary 1900 Chart Henry (1868) / Sarah
Cakebread Hannah 1846 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread Hannah 1869 Chart John (1842) / Sarah
Cakebread Hannah Elizabeth 1851 Chart William / Martha
Cakebread Harriett 1828 Chart William / Martha
Cakebread Harriett 1853 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread Henry 1868 Chart Joshua / Harriett
Cakebread Henry William 1870 Chart John (1842) / Sarah
Cakebread Hilda M. L. 1925 Chart James 1897 / Martha
Cakebread Isabella 1843 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread James 1868 USA Chart Robert / Martha
Cakebread James 1874 Chart Caleb / Eliza
Cakebread James 1897 Chart James 1874 / Mary Green
Cakebread John 1805 Chart Robert / Elizabeth
Cakebread John 1837 Chart William / Martha
Cakebread John 1842 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread John 1848 Chart William / Martha
Cakebread John H. 1863 USA Chart Robert / Martha
Cakebread Joshua 1845 Chart William / Martha
Cakebread Lilian Maud 1892 Chart Henry William / Mary
Cakebread (Valance) Lilian   Chart Wife of Sidney Charles
Cakebread Marion   Chart William Henry / Vilda
Cakebread Martha 1808 Family Tree Wife of William
Cakebread Martha 1878 USA Chart Robert / Martha
Cakebread (Charley) Martha Hilda 1898 see father-in-law   
Cakebread Mary Ann 1861 USA Chart Robert / Martha
Cakebread Matilda 1850 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread Raymond   Chart Walter / Mary
Cakebread Robert 1776 Family Tree William's Father
Cakebread Robert 1808 Chart Robert / Elizabeth
Cakebread Robert 1838 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread Robert 1875 USA Chart Robert / Martha
Cakebread Robert S.   Chart Sidney / Lilian
Cakebread Ronald George 1931 Chart George Abraham / Elsie
Cakebread Sarah 1886 Chart Caleb / Eliza
Cakebread Sarah Anne 1848 Robert's notes Robert / Ann
Cakebread Sarah Jane 1872 Chart John (1842) / Sarah
Cakebread Sidney Charles 1907 Chart Charles / Emma
Cakebread Thomas 1880 Chart Caleb / Eliza
Cakebread Thomas William 1904 Chart Henry 1868 / Sarah
Cakebread (Perrins) Vilda   Chart Wife of William Henry 1905
Cakebread Walter Philip 1909 Chart Charles / Emma
Cakebread William 1810 Family Tree Robert / Elizabeth
Cakebread William 1833 Chart William / Martha
Cakebread William 1866 USA Chart Robert / Martha
Cakebread William 1871 Chart Caleb / Eliza
Cakebread William Henry 1905 Chart Charles / Emma

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