Pratt family from Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire

Noah Shepard Pratt 1766-1855

St. Andrew’s Church, Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire. Sarah was buried in the graveyard in January 1797.

The Pratt family were from Bedfordshire in the 1700s. It seems the earliest origins of the Pratt surname date from Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. The name is derived from the Old English word praett which means “a trick” or “cunning or astute”. Another origin is possibly France.

Noah, my 4x great grandfather, was born in 1766 the son of Michael Pratt and Hannah Sheppard, who married in 1757 at St. Mary, Bedford. I have not researched this family much but there were at least three children.

In January 1788 Noah married Sarah Hopkins also at St. Mary, Bedford. Their first child, Joshua, my 3x great grandfather, was born later that year in December. About 1783 the family moved, most probably for work, to Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire, which is now Cambridgeshire. Noah’s occupation was recorded as formerly a Wool Comber on his death certificate. Noah and Sarah had four children. In January 1797 Sarah died and was buried at St. Andrew, Kimbolton. In December 1797 he married Elizabeth Dixon, in the same church, and went on to have eight more children – twelve in total.

About 1800 Noah left Kimbolton and took the family back to Bedford to the Parish of St. Paul, where the rest of his children were born.

On 30 March 1810 Noah registered the births of his four eldest girls at the Non-Conformist Independent Meeting House in Bedford. He must have become confused as he registered his third daughter, Hannah, as being by his first wife Sarah when in fact she was the daughter of Elizabeth having been born 9 months after he married her. The family were Baptists and attended the same Meeting House that John Bunyan had preached in a hundred years beforehand. He was imprisoned in Bedford for 12 years and whilst there wrote “A Pilgrims Progress”.

I have not been able to find Noah in the 1841 census but he is recorded in the 1851 census living in an alms house at 46 Dame Alice Street with his daughter, Sara Page. Noah died in December 1855 of “natural decay”! He was 89. I have not been able to find a reliable record Elizabeth’s death.

Record of Noah Shepard Pratt’s marriage to Sarah Hopkins on 22 Jan 1788 as recorded in Pallot’s Marriage Index

Entries for four of the Pratt children in the Register of Births at the Non Conformist Church, Bedford, on 30th March 1810

Stained glass window commemorating the 300th Anniversary of the Bunyan Meeting, Bedford in 1950.

The Alms Houses, Dame Alice Street, Bedford. Noah lived at No. 46 in his later life.

Gravestone for Noah Pratt, who died in his 90th year, erected by the church and congregation assembling in Bunyan Meeting. He had been a member for 70 years.

Children of Noah Pratt:

With Sarah Hopkins:

Joshua Pratt  1788 – 1873

William Pratt  1790 –  ?

Susannah Pratt  1793 –  ?

Sarah Pratt  1795 –  ?

With Elizabeth Dixon:

Hannah Pratt  1798 – 1889

Martha Pratt  1800 –  ?

Mary Pratt  1803 –  ?

James Pratt  1804  –  ?

Michael Pratt  1806 –  ?

Elizabeth Pratt  1809 –  ?

Frances Pratt  1811 –  ?

Ruth Pratt 1813 – 1895


Legacy pages for Pratt family

Joshua Pratt 1788-1873

Joshua, my 3x great grandfather, was the eldest child of Noah Pratt and Sarah Hopkins. He was born in the parish of St. Mary in Bedford in 1788. In 1791 his birth was registered at the Independent Church at the Old Meeting House in Mill Lane, Bedford.

In 1809, at the age of 21, he married Rebekah Boys (Boyes) in Hardingstone, Northamptonshire, where she was born in 1790. This village is about 23 miles from Bedford and the entry in the church records shows Joshua as living in the parish as well. He most probably moved there for work which was shoe-making.

By the time their eldest child, Caroline, was born they were living in Sheep Street in Northampton. Over the next 25 years they had ten children in total – 6 boys and 4 girls. Joseph Pratt, my 2x great grandfather was the eldest son and he too was a shoemaker. Joshua’s youngest son, with Rebekah, was Jonathan who decided to become an artist and eventually was a recognised Victorian painter of repute with works being accepted by the Royal Academy. One of his paintings, “The Politician”, was of his father at work reading a newspaper. Shoe makers were literate before most craftsmen and were noted for their strong interest in politics.

Over this time Joshua and Rebekah lived in many places in the centre of Northampton. Then at the end of 1845 Rebekah became ill and eventually died in June 1847 of breast cancer.

A year later, at the age of 60, Joshua married Rachael Lilburn and they had three children. Rachael was born in 1825 so was considerably younger than him. All his life he remained a shoemaker or boot maker working from his own residence, as shoemakers did then. In 1873 he died, at the age of 85, of old age, as was stated on his death certificate.

This painting ‘The Politician’ was painted by Jonathan Pratt, the youngest son of Joshua Pratt and Rebekah Boys. [I believe it is a painting of his father, Joshua Pratt]

Register of the birth of Joshua Pratt on 16 November 1791 at the Nonconformist Independent Church in Bedford. He was born on 16 December 1788.

Record of entry of marriage in the church in Hardingstone, Northamptonshire, on 6 August 1809.

Entry of Joshua Pratt as a boot and shoe maker, when he lived in Bull Head Lane, in Melville & Co.’s Directory for Northampton 1861.

College Lane (Street) Meeting House 1714-1862

Joshua Pratt 1788-1873. Painted by his son Jonathan Pratt. Date unknown.

Children of Joshua Pratt:

With Rebekah Boys;

Caroline Pratt 1810 –  ?

Rebekah Pratt 1812 –  ?

Harriet Pratt 1819 –  ?

Joseph Pratt  1820 – 1889

Benjamin Pratt 1823 –  ?

Joshua Pratt  1825 –  ?

Josiah Pratt  1827 –  ?

Rebekah Pratt  1829 –  ?

David Pratt  1832 –  ?

Jonathan Pratt 1835 – 1911

With Rachael Lilburn;

Hannah Pratt  1851 –  ?

Emma Pratt 

Joshua Pratt  1857 –  ?


Legacy pages for Pratt family

Shoemaking by June Swann; Shire Publications Ltd.

Joseph Pratt 1820-1889

Joseph, the eldest son of Joshua Pratt and Rebekah Boys (Boyes), was born in the parish of St. Giles, Northampton. He was my great great grandfather.

He was not living at home when the 1841 census was taken. He may have been visiting friends or family on that night as I have not been able to find him in the census.

He does appear in the 1851 census living, in College Street, with his father and his step-mother who had a 3 week baby, Hannah. His occupation is recorded as a shoe and boot manufacturer then.

Four months later, in August of 1851, he married Elizabeth Kirby, daughter of William and Sarah Kirby, in the College Street Baptist Chapel, Northampton. Elizabeth was also born in Northampton and was described as a boot binder in the 1851 census.

In March 1852 their first child was born, a daughter they named Kate, and she was my great grandmother. At sometime after her birth the family moved to Coleshill in Warwickshire, where two more daughters were born – Elizabeth and Anne Louisa.

College Street, Northampton (in the centre of the map) showing the Baptist Chapel. This is also the street where the Pratt family were living in 1851.

Register of the birth of Joseph Pratt in 1820 at the College Street Baptist Church.

I do not know the reason for their moving there but it was most probably for work. The family moved back to Northampton before 1857 where their fourth daughter, Amy Eliza, was born.

By 1860 the family had moved again to Peckham, Surrey, where their first son, Frank Adolphus, was born. The 1861 census recorded them living at 7 Upper North Street, Camberwell, and Joseph was working as a leather cutter. Later in 1861 their last child, Adela, was born.

Certified Copy of the Entry of Marriage on 31 August 1851 for Joseph Pratt and Elizabeth Kirby. Copy obtained 9 May 1989.

The 1871 census showed that Joseph was unemployed but Elizabeth was working as a dressmaker. In 1881 Joseph was recorded as unable to work due to paralysis however he was able to be the informant of the births of two of his grandchildren in 1883 and 1884! By this time he and Elizabeth had moved in with their daughter, Kate, and her husband, Mortimer Daniel Skates.

In March 1889 Joseph died. He had a cerebral haemorrhage and was in a coma for 3 days. He also suffered from chronic Bright’s Disease for 5 years, which is chronic inflammation of the blood vessels of the kidney and it causes high blood pressure and heart disease. Elizabeth died less than two years later in January 1891 also of a cerebral haemorrhage, asthenia and coma.

Children of Joseph Pratt and Elizabeth Kirby:

Kate Pratt 1852 – 1895

Elizabeth Pratt 1855 –  ?

Anne Louisa Pratt 1857 – 1939

Amy Eliza Pratt  1857 – 1944

Frank Adolphus Pratt 1860 –  ?

Adela Pratt  1861 – 1953


Legacy pages for Pratt family