Over many years I have been pleased to assist people with their family history research relating to Walton-on-the-Naze.

Genealogists now do most of their research online and a search for old Walton residents invariably leads to these Walton Tales and my Walton Photo Archive.

Back in November, I wrote about one such enquiry which has resulted in not only making friends both here and in USA, but also gaining a lot of new knowledge about our town. Melanie Carter of Weeley Heath has sent me a super piece of her family history researched by her second cousin, Carole Cowgill, which I reprint below with a view to it perhaps being of interest to anyone else researching any of these families. I will be pleased to assist in putting any family researchers in contact with Melanie.

imageThe Carter family were prominent in Walton in the 19th century, owning the North Street bakery and also operating bathing machines on East Beach.

   The North Street Bakery                     Stephen Carter’s bathing machines on East Beach

This is the document I received:


William Carter 1809-1894 and Sarah James 1809-1880

William Carter was born in 1809 in Great Oakley, third son of Thomas and Sarah Carter. He was baptised there on 25/6/1809. He and his three brothers followed their father and became master bakers.

William established a bakery at 4 North Street, Walton le Soken, in the early 1830s, just as the town was starting to be developed as a seaside resort. (The business was probably purchased from J. Pyman, baker late of Walton with the Soken, and previously miller of Gt. Oakley, according to the local newspaper, who became insolvent in Feb 1833.) The first pier in Walton was built in 1830, and many of the town’s hotels and businesses were established at that time. William married Sarah James in Walton le Soken on 7/11/1833. She was the youngest daughter of Thomas and Mary James, butchers in Walton le Soken.

William and Sarah had 10 children, all born in Walton le Soken (which later became Walton on the Naze) – two of the children died in infancy: The children’s dates of birth were noted in William and Sarah’s bible:

  • Sarah (born 14/8/1834 – bap 18/8/1834; died 3/10/1834 – buried 8/10/1834)
  • Jane (born 30/8/1835 – bap 26/9/1835)
  • William (born 27/11/1836 – bap 8/1/1837)
  • Thomas (born 16/12/1838 – bap 13/1/1839)
  • Sarah (born 19/5/1840 – bap 14/6/1840; died 16/40/1841 – buried 21/10/1841)
  • Stephen James (born 17/12/1841 – bap 23/1/1842)
  • Jonathan Edward (born 23/2/1843 – bap 6/1/1845)
  • Anna (born 16/11/1844 – bap 6/1/1845)
  • Arthur Charles (born 10/11/1847 – baptism not found)
  • Elvina Mary (born 25/4/1849 – bap 2/11/1851)

In the 1841 census, William was a baker living in North Street, Walton, with wife Sarah and three children.

In 1851, William and Sarah were at the bakery with seven children. By 1861, William and Sarah were in their 50s, still at the bakery with their three daughters and a 12-year old errand boy. image


William developed a bathing machines business at the East beach in Walton on the Naze from 1863, run by son Stephen. (pictured right and below with his dog ‘Nep’)



Steamers brought day trippers from London, Margate and Gt. Yarmouth, docking at the pier. Walton had been revitalised in the 1860s by Peter Bruff, a civil engineer who brought the railway to the town in 1867, and was responsible for developing the south side of the town


In the 1871 census, William and Sarah still lived at the North Street bakery with daughter Anna, 26, shop assistant, and grandson John Yerbury, aged 4 (oldest daughter Jane’s son). Son Arthur, 23, a journeyman baker, was living next door.

William’s wife, Sarah, died on 4/7/1880, aged 74. By the 1881 census, William was a retired baker, living at North Street with youngest son Arthur, 33, who was now a master baker and had taken over the bakery from his father. William’s unmarried daughter, Anna, 36, was also living there, as well as a female servant and a 14 year old boy help.

William had a letter published in the Essex Standard on 8/2/1888, complaining about the state of the paths and roads in Walton, and that the council commissioners didn’t actually live in the town and didn’t work for the ratepayers’ best interests.

The 1891 census showed William, Arthur and Anna still at North Street bakery – Arthur Carter, 43, unmarried, was a master baker, living with his father William, 81, retired master baker, and sister Anna, 46, housekeeper. A 25 year old shop assistant, Phillis Harris, was boarding with them.

William Carter died at Walton on the Naze on 12/5/1894, aged 85.

According to his great grandson Harold, William Carter was stacked in money and a wonderful man.

In his will, William left daughter Anna the house and bake office in North Street, then in the occupation of his son Arthur, together with the furniture, plate, linen and pictures. Son Thomas was left two houses in North Street (the proceeds to be left eventually to Thomas’s son Thomas); son Stephen (pictured below with his pal Billy Steer) was left the 12 bathing machinesimage he used in his business and £60.

Son Jonathan was left three cottages, stables and a cart shed in North Street (to be sold on Jonathan’s death and the proceeds split equally between Jonathan’s sons Edgar and Arthur – Edgar’s son Harold eventually inherited the three cottages, after uncle Arthur’s half was left to him); daughter Elvina Mary (wife of George Polley, pictured below with her brother Stephen Carter) was left some freehold land in Station Road and a life insurance policy of £100.imageThere was no mention in the will of sons William and Arthur or daughter Jane. Presumably, they had already been provided for in William’s lifetime. Jane’s husband, John Yerbury, had died aged 36 in 1874, and it is quite likely that her father had helped her financially at that time. William had bought Valley Farm, Thorpe le Soken for son William in the 1860s. Son Arthur had already been left the bakery business at North Street, Walton on the Naze.


Recently a further relationship to the Carter family has been brought to my attention. Both Robert Creswell imagewho was the owner of various wagons and also ran a horse drawn ‘bus’ service to Colchester, and Jonathan Parsons Potter the town’s butcher are connected. Considering that Walton in the mid 1800s was a small village with a very small population it is understandable that so many of the families were inter-connected.

             Robert Creswell (above) leading one of his wagons with what
             appears to be the complete population on board for a day trip

I researched my own family tree many years ago before the advent of home computers. I spent many happy hours pawing over the original church records, but maybe I should now take a new look at the Frost family with the aid of the Internet.

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