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
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
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
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
Further on is an extensive list of names
with links to where they occur.
connected are: Nicholls (Coventry), Hunt, Smith, Walker, Brotherton,
Wiggins, Perry, and Richards (all Oxfordshire).
ANCESTORS MOVE TO COVENTRY
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.