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1838 - 1911


The earliest of Robert's CAKEBREAD ancestor's which I know about were Plush Weavers in the village of Bloxham, near Banbury, Oxfordshire in the English Cotswolds around the end of the 18th Century. I believe that earlier families had moved there from over the border in Buckinghamshire or from further south in Hertfordshire where records of CAKEBREADs go back many more years before those in the Banbury area.

At that time there were a number of Cakebread families in Bloxham and the nearby districts, but it is not possible to connect them due to missing records.
For fuller notes on your early Cakebread ancestry in Bloxham refer to ''My Cakebreads'''. (Click on 'My Family History Home Pages' on the left menu and then choose 'Names List' and then 'CAKEBREAD.)

Bloxham old cottages
Part of Bloxham today

Other Cakebreads in the Bloxham / Banbury area were involved in the stone trade in the same area.

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

Graphical Chart showing Ancestral Line


Father: also named Robert (1808). (this link will move you to another section ... click on 'The Name Cakebread' to return).

He was born in 1808 in Bloxham to Robert Cakebread and Elizabeth (nee Walker) and died in 1886 in Foleshill, near Coventry. He, his father and brothers were Plush Weavers, probably working in their own humble homes.
The trade was not good and in 1837 both Robert with his young family and his brother William were both Paupers living off charity in the terrible conditions of the Banbury Workhouse. About 1839, the 2 brothers Robert and William had had enough and with young families to raise, they decided to move the 30 miles to the City of Coventry, along with another single brother George. In Coventry at that time there was a flourishing weaving trade. They either walked or somehow raised or borrowed some money to hire a ride on a carrier's cart.

On arrival in Coventry William and Robert at first lived in the over-crowded, smelly central area of the city near the Gosford Gate, one of the original gates of the old walled city.

Old Gosford Street
Gosford Street

Within a couple of years Robert moved 3 miles out to Foleshill to the north of Coventry whilst William moved to a slightly better locality within the central areas. They both settled and several of their descendant families still live in the Coventry area. Both families continued to earn their living in the linen trade. William and Robert continued as Plush Weavers. Unfortunately in the1850s the Coventry weaving industry hit very bad times. Robert continued right through the terrible hard times which the Coventry weavers and their families went through. Possibly he and his brother were lucky in being specialist weavers of Plush material, as the major Coventry weaving industry was in the making of silk ribbons which really collapsed. With the odd exception the rest of Robert's family also worked doing menial jobs in the new weaving factories created after mechanisation of the weaving processes.

Censuses show that Robert lived in the districts of Alderman's Green and/or Hall Green, just clusters of a few houses adjoining the larger hamlets of Bell Green in the south and Longford in the west.(see link to Bell Green in the left panel for more notes about Robert's life in Coventry)

(A couple of interesting reports about the Foleshill weaving industry and the lawlessness of Foleshill in 1841 can be read by clicking on the link to Foleshill in the left panel).

The 3rd brother, George, who accompanied them to Coventry married and then moved on to West Bromwich north of Birmingham, where he died in 1885.

Mother: Ann, maiden name HAWTIN was born in Bloxham in about 1811 and died in 1886 (same QTR as Robert) in Foleshill. I haven't researched this name as it is not in my ancestry but I have come across people who have and hopefully still have their contact addresses.

Early British Census Entries for the Family

1841 Census: in Coventry, England.

The family soon after arrival in Coventry:
Address: Gosford Street ...... Census Place: Coventry

Name     Age   Occupation   Born
Robert CAKEBREAD 30 Plush Weaver Not in Warwickshire
Ann CAKEBREAD 30 Not in Warwickshire
Elizabeth CAKEBREAD 8 Not in Warwickshire
Caroline CAKEBREAD 7 Bloxham-Oxfordshire
Robert CAKEBREAD 2 Coventry-Warwickshire

1851 British Census Entries

Here is the relevant extract from the 1851 Census: in England.

The young Robert with his parents:
Address: Aldermans Green, ...... Census Place: Foleshill, Warwickshire

Name   Rel. Marr. Age   Occupation   Born
Robert CAKEBREAD Head M 42 Plush Weaver Bloxham-Oxfordshire
Ann CAKEBREAD Wife M 39 Bloxham-Oxfordshire
Elizabeth CAKEBREAD Daur U 18 Hand Loom Weaver Silk Bloxham-Oxfordshire
Robert CAKEBREAD Son U 12 Plush Weaver Bloxham-Oxfordshire
Isabella CAKEBREAD Daur U 8 Coventry-Warwickshire
John CAKEBREAD Son U 7 Foleshill-Warwickshire
Hannah CAKEBREAD Daur U 5   Foleshill-Warwickshire
Sarah Ann CAKEBREAD Daur U 3   Foleshill-Warwickshire
Matilda CAKEBREAD Daur U 10   Foleshill-Warwickshire

1861 British Census Entries

The family (young Robert has now emigrated).
Address: Hall Green, ...... Census Place: Foleshill, Warwickshire

( It is known if the family had here moved or if the 2 Censuses (1851 and 1861) merely interpreted the same place differently as a mile covers both Alderman's Green and Hall Green)

Name   Rel. Marr. Age   Occupation   Born
Robert CAKEBREAD Head M 52 Plush Weaver Bloxham-Oxfordshire
Ann CAKEBREAD Wife M 49 Cotton Filler Bloxham-Oxfordshire
Isabella CAKEBREAD Daur U 19 Silk Picker Coventry-Warwickshire
John CAKEBREAD Son U 17 Stoker in Coal Mine Foleshill-Warwickshire
Hannah CAKEBREAD Daur U 15 Silk Picker Foleshill-Warwickshire
Sarah CAKEBREAD Daur U 13 Shute Filler Foleshill-Warwickshire
Matilda CAKEBREAD Daur U 10 Shute Filler Foleshill-Warwickshire
Harriett CAKEBREAD Daur U 8   Foleshill-Warwickshire
Alice CAKEBREAD Daur U 5   Foleshill-Warwickshire

1871 British Census Entries

Address: 77 Hall Green, ...... Census Place: Foleshill, Warwickshire

Name      Rel. Marr. Age   Occupation   Born
Robert CAKEBREAD Head M 63 Plush Weaver Bloxham-Oxfordshire
Ann CAKEBREAD Wife M 59 * Bloxham-Oxfordshire
Isabella CAKEBREAD Daur U 28 * Coventry-Warwickshire
Sarah CAKEBREAD Daur U 22 * Foleshill-Warwickshire
Harriett CAKEBREAD Daur U 19 * Foleshill-Warwickshire
Daniel CAKEBREAD Grandson U 6   Foleshill-Warwickshire
* Unfortunately the occupations were not noted.

1881 British Census Entries

Address: Windmill Lane ...... Census Place: Foleshill, Warwickshire

Name    Rel. Marr. Age   Occupation   Born
Robert CAKEBREAD Head M 72 Silk Weaver * Bloyan-Oxfordshire **
Ann CAKEBREAD Wife M 69 Silk Weaver Bloyan-Oxfordshire **
Alice CAKEBREAD Daur U 25   Foleshill-Warwickshire

* Note apparent change.** No such place, so obviously an error.

And is this young Martha SMITH with her parents ?
1841 Census:

Address: Longford, Foleshill
Census Place: Foleshill Warwickshire

    Name Rel.   Marr. Age   Occupation   Born
James SMITH Head M 30 Coal Dealer Warwickshire
Caroline SMITH Wife M 30   Warwickshire
Hannah SMITH Daur U 10   Warwickshire
John SMITH Son U 8   Warwickshire
Ann SMITH Daur U 5   Warwickshire
Martha SMITH Daur U 2   Warwickshire

1851 Census:
Address: Longford, Foleshill
Census Place: Foleshill Warwickshire

    Name Rel.   Marr. Age   Occupation   Born
James SMITH Head W 66* Coal Dealer Longford-Warwickshire
Hannah SMITH Daur U 20 Weaver Ribbon Longford-Warwickshire
John SMITH Son U 17 Weaver Ribbon Longford-Warwickshire
Ann SMITH Daur U 13 Winder Silk Longford-Warwickshire
Martha SMITH Daur U 11 Filler Silk Longford-Warwickshire
Mary SMITH Daur U 9 Filler Silk Longford-Warwickshire

* This age is suspect as in 1841 he was 30 !

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Bloxham, Oxfordshire.

Bloxham has been a settlement for a great many years. There is recorded evidence of several Roman farm settlements including a burial ground, which date from the first to the fifth centuries. The name of the village derives from the Anglo Saxon ‘Blocc’s Ham’, i.e. home of Blocc, from the sixth century when the banks of the brook became a Saxon settlement. Later, from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries the village name mutated into Blockesham, Blocchesham and Blokesham, until in 1316 it is recorded as the now familiar Bloxham.

Bloxham, Oxfordshire
A scene in Bloxham
  Bloxham inn
An old Bloxham inn

Bloxham is situated in the Cotswolds, a rolling countryside of large open fields, stone road-side walls and picturesque villages . Although much larger now, it was also quite a large and important village in those days.

Bloxham village at that time was self-sufficient, having family units working in various trades : Stonemasons, Bakers/Millers, Sheep rearing Builders, Blacksmiths, Laundress's, Publicans, Saddlers, Shoemakers, Carpenters, Bonesetters, Tailors, Farmers, Undertakers, Butchers/knackers Yard. Our ancestors belonged to the "Cakebread Group" that were "Plush Weavers".

The Butcher's Arms; Hare & Hounds; Joiners Arm's (15th Century); The Hawk & Partridge; The Elephant & Castle; Red Lion (17th Century) The Drum & Monkey.

There was a brook running through the centre of the village where the washer-women washed the clothes in the water-hole. The poorer houses known as the "JIT" ran along side of the brook. Often the houses became flooded when there had been heavy rain.
There were some weaver cottages in Frog Lane. It is not known where our ancestors lived in the village. A few weaver cottages remain today, not as small hovels, but as "Yuppie homes".

Some Cakebreads, including our ancestors, for religious reasons became non-conformist in the mid-1600s (Protestant Dissenters Or Presbyterian). They would have been baptised by the local Presbyterian minister in a private house where services took place but unfortunately the records for a 100 year period have not survived. However you will find the marriages and deaths registered in the Parish Church of Bloxham, while at the same time they were attending non-conformist services in a house at the local village of Milton.

The lives of the villagers changed when the Industrial Revolution took place. The machines for the land, also for the weaving, broke the family life down. There was not so much need for manual labour. The younger members of the families went to the towns to gain work as did Robert and 2 of his brothers.

Coventry, Warwickshire

Coventry lies in the very centre of England in the County of Warwickshire which is known for its green leafy lanes. Although now a medium sized City it was a much smaller tightly developed City in the time of Robert's life there. The central areas consisted of very narrow streets with over-crowded, tightly-packed houses.

Bell Green , Hall Green, and Alderman's Green, Foleshill, Warwickshire

Situated about 3 miles north of the centre of Coventry were the hamlets of Bell Green, Hall Green, Alderman's Green and Longford (all now part of the Coventry sprawl). The area was mostly flat, poor quality farming countryside of small fields and many tall hedgerow trees but no woodlands. At Alderman's Green was the nearest coalmine which closed down many years ago. The main occupations in the 19th Century were coal mining, weaving from home (later in factories) and of course agricultural work.

If any descendants of Robert and Martha find this web site they may read a bit more about the part of Coventry where Robert grew up by choosing the links to Bell Green and Foleshill in the left column. On the Bell Green page you 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.

You may also be interested in the photograph below showing flooded Hall Green Road nearly a Century later. At that time none of the visible houses were there. In the very centre of the photograph the dark cluster of distant buildings marks the probable position of the Cakebread dwelling in old Hall Green. Unfortunately now hardly any, if indeed any, of those houses now remain and the area has changed a lot, being very built up with large housing estates. The roads and the little river (it is usually in the narrow strip to the right of the railings) are still the same but that is about all.

Lower half of Hall Green Road in the 1930s


Emigration to California

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