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Privacy:   None of the information in these notes is less than a century old.  For more recent details of our family, feel free to ask me direct.

Tree:  A pedigree of the individuals in these notes is also viewable in tree form, here.

Revision:   The text on this page was last revised in August 2018.


notes by P John Partington


WILLIAM CATER  (bef. 1660 - 1690)

The first trace of our Cater family so far found is a Hertfordshire farming family who moved from Little Munden to Great Munden in the second half of the seventeenth century.  Of them the earliest definitely identified ancestor of ours is William.  We know from his will (see appendix below) that he had a son William, perhaps  from a firs marriage, and then six further children – John, Thomas, George, Robert, Anne and Jane (for details see page 1 below), and died in 1690, being buried on 19 July.

THE CHILDREN OF WILLIAM   (bef. 1660 - 1690)

We know that by the time of his death William’s son William was independent of his father (see appendix below).

William’s son John married Dionis Ireland at Great Munden on 27 February 1700/1 and had two children, William, born in 1702 and Ann in 1704 (details below, page 1).  John was a yeoman farmer, tenant of High Trees, one of the three principal farms in Great Munden, and as such did his turn in parish office (churchwarden and overseer of the poor).  John Cater died at High Trees in 1733 and was buried on 16 April at St Nicholas, Great Munden.  Dionis died in 1742 and was also buried there.

William also had children Thomas, George, Robert, Anne and Jane.


THE CHILDREN OF JOHN  (bef. 1685 - 1733)

John’s son William was born in 1702, being baptized on 7 September.  He married Mary Rayment on 26 January at Bengeo, Hertfordshire, and had six children:  Mary baptized in 1727, Dionis in 1729, Anne in 1731, William in 1734, John in 1736 and another Anne in 1741 (details below, page 2).  Like his father he was a yeoman farmer, tenant of High Trees.  He died in 1768.

John’s daughter Ann was baptized at Great Munden, Hertfordshire, on 16 May 1704.  Nothing further is yet known of her.



William’s first child, Mary, was baptized at Great Munden on 29 December 1727.  She married Thomas Camfield on 1 June 1758 and had six children, all baptised in Stapleford, Herts – Mary in 1760, Elizabeth in 1761, Thomas in 1762, John in 1764 and Benjamin & William in 1766.

 William’s second child, Dionis was born in 1729 and baptized in Great Munden on 2 September.  She married William Warwick at Great Munden on 20 November 1755 and had six children, including Mary, born in 1757.  Nothing further is yet known of her.

William’s third child, Anne, was baptized on 26 August 1731.  She died in 1733, being buried at St Nicholas’.

William’s fourth child, William, was baptized in Great Munden on 23 April 1734.  In 1761 he married Judith Moore.  William and Judith had five children:  Judith baptized in 1763, William in 1766, Ann in 1769, John in 1771 and Mary in 1774.  Judith died in 1792 and John in 1821.

William’s fifth child, John, was born on 10 May 1736.  He appears to have left High Trees and Great Munden before he was eighteen as he does not appear in the Militia Lists.  But he was mentioned when his uncle Joseph Rayment made his will in 1763 and was presumably alive at that date.

William’s sixth child, Anne, was baptized on 20 October 1741.  Nothing further is known of her.


William’s first child, Judith, was baptized in 1763.  She never married and seems to have been his housekeeper or carer after he retired from farming.   She died in 1842.

William’s second child, also William, was baptized in 1766.  A “farmer of Chelsen in the parish of Bengeo.”, he married Sarah Mickley at Aspenden in Hertfordshire in 1799.  They had five children – Sarah, Charles Mickley, Jane, Thomas, and Mary Ann.  William was a wealthy man.  He retired from farming in about 1803 and moved with his unmarried daughter Judith to Watton-at-Stone, a village not far from Great Munden.  In his will he described himself as “late of the parish of Great Munden in the County of Hertford Farmer and of the parish of Watton Stone in the said County Gentleman”.  He died on 8 July 1821 and Sarah in 1839, both being buried in Great Munden.

William’s third child, Ann, was baptized in 1769.  She married John Cooper and died in 1838.

William’s fourth child, John, was baptized in 1771.  He married Ann Adams and died in 1827.

William’s fifth child, Mary, was baptized in 1774.  She married Thomas Hill in 1803 and had four children, three of whom appear to have died in infancy.  Thomas, a pawnbroker in Clerkenwell Street in London, died in 1819;  Mary died in 1857.



An extract from the Little Munden parish website gives further details of our ancestor William (d. 1690):

On 19 July 1690, William Cater “of Great Munden” was buried in the churchyard at Little Munden.  He had made his Will on 15 July and on 23 July, as was then required, two of his neighbours compiled a valuation and inventory of his property.  The Will does not specify where he was living when he died but it was almost certainly High Trees.  The inventory shows that it was a substantial property with at least ten rooms and several outbuildings and and William’s son John was undoubtedly in occupation of High Trees early in the eighteenth century.  The Caters came to dominate Great Munden.  By the late 19th Century, after a change of surname to Cooper, following inheritance by a son-in-law, the family were occupying High Trees, Mundenbury, Brockholds and Parsonage Farm.  The vestry (ie the parish council) by then consisted just of the Rector and three members of the Cooper family.

William’s Will was a last minute affair:  He signed by mark, indicating physical frailty, even though it can be assumed that, as a wealthy yeoman farmer, he could read and write ...  The Will is internally incomplete and inconsistent.  It looks to me as if some lines were accidentally left out when the final version for signature was written.  Nevertheless, it shows that he had a son, William, probably by a first marriage, who was by 1690 independent of his father.  He also had four sons (John, Thomas, George and Robert) and two daughters (Anne and Jane) by his widow.  John, evidently the senior son, and his mother were named as his executors and duly swore probate at the Huntingdon Archdeaconry Court.  Apart from his household goods, which went to his widow, he divided his moveable property equally among the six children.  Interestingly. the Will specified that Thomas’s share was to be paid by his executors one year after William’s death, George’s share one year later and so on until Jane’s share five years later.  This undoubtedly reflected anticipated problems of cash flow.

The Inventory ... has a number of interesting features.  No books, not even a Bible, are inventoried.  If this was typical of yeomen farmers at that time it may explain the eccentric spelling.  ...

There is a curious absence of cooking and eating utensils.  I doubt whether William and his household ate off pewter, except on special occasions.  And the kitchen would be the last place where I would have expected to find a chamber pot, or indeed a fowling piece.  It may be that cooking and eating utensils were included in the “lumber” found in several rooms.  Table cloths and napkins were, however, plentiful. 

William had less than 10 in his purse when he died and no financial investments.  This may not be surprising.  Most rents and other major purchases and payments were at the quarter days.  At the time of his death the June quarter day had passed and by the Michaelmas quarter day the harvest would be in.  Whilst some of the farmstuffs appearing in the Inventory may have been for his household’s consumption, most presumably would have been sold.

The Will does not specify or point to burial at Little Munden.  My research suggests that the Caters were a Little Munden family who moved (in quite a big way) to Great Munden in the latter part of the 17th century.  If so, William was taken “home” to be buried.  That quite often happened at that time when people had moved from parish to parish.

[A detailed inventory follows]

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