|Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset used to be a fairly complicated part of the world to live in. Its inhabitants had to get used to the constant inundation from the Atlantic Ocean, storming its way up the Bristol Channel and along the coastlines of South Wales, North Devon and Somerset.
Population of the area came from the numerous invasions on our land, at one time the Somerset Levels providing a home to the "Somerset Lake Dwellers". Flooding took place in 1607 to a depth of 12 feet, going inland as far as Glastonbury, causing incalculable loss of life and property. In earlier times the county was completely covered by seawater, large mounds like Brent Knoll provided encampment outposts for the protection of the levels and their surrounding hillside villages.
Our family has been researched in this area from the middle of the 18th centry, but it is unlikely that we were there before that. We were mostly farmers and fishermen, living on the fortunes of the soil and water that the flooding and deforestation had brought over the years. Though our family has now mostly dispersed to other areas of the country, some going overseas, hopefully to find their fortune. Our first encounter is with one Arthur Cox when he was mentioned in the churchwarden's accounts of St Andrew's church at Burnham (then only known as such, the 'on-sea' was added in recent years). It is by virtue of these and other church records that we have a quite good impression of his life and that of his descendants. Where he came from or who his parents were, has yet to be discovered.
Our Cox family name has been linked through marriage to Jones, Court, Fry, Gilling, Rossiter, Wynn, Gardener, Dewfall, Cluett, Fiander, Hawkings, Say, Lukins, Wilkins, Ware, Bryant, Bartlett, Stone, Streeter, Coates and many more although these are only recent. We also have some Welsh connections as yet unidentified. Burnham is not our only family haunt, our memories also exist at Chedzoy, Bawdrip, Glastonbury, Highbridge, Huntspill, Bridgwater, Brent Knoll, East Brent, Edithmead, Woolavington, Bath, Mayford near Woking, Romford, Merstham, Redhill and Worth are amongst those with more ancient connections.
Probably the one fact of most interest and intrigue is the marriage of Richard Cox, The Sexton of St Andrew's church to Mary Kennedy. The ceremony may not have taken place at Burnham even though its parish registers record they were married by banns on 27 March 1787. There were no witnesses recorded although this is not significant by itself. The name of Kennedy does not appear anywhere else in the Burnham area at any time or place so far researched, in fact only one reference has been found, inside the parish church at Bawdrip where a memorial stone records the death of one Tristram Kennedy. This has yet to be researched.
Kennedy is an Irish name; Irish persons used the port of Combwich on the river Parrett, as an entry point for work on the Hop fields on the East Coast of England, during the 17th - 18th centuries. Irish beef cattle were also brought into the country through Combwich. One must consider this aspect as a distinct possibility, but where does one look and what does one look for?
Answers or suggestions please, NOT on a postcard! a nice e-mail will do, thanking you in anticipation.
|A Cox Family of Burnham-on-Sea Somerset ENGLAND
Updated September 6, 2000
Roy Louis Dewfall Cox
2, Thornleigh Road
Southampton, Hampshire SO19 9DH
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