Bixley – Saint Wandregesilius Church (James Betts)

When I last visited this fire hit church the former churchyard was in a state of dereliction and most of the graves couldn’t be seen. Someone has done a splendid job of cutting down some of the undergrowth so that the graves can be seen, but it hasn’t ruined the tranquillity of the site.

I have a habit, which I should probably get out of, of looking at a grave stone and wondering about who that person was and what they used to do. It’s a little bit of a random hobby (I say hobby, I don’t do it very often) as there’s no real method of which graves seem interesting to me.

This is the grave of James Betts who died on 1 August 1877 at the age of 66 years old. Born in 1811 he was married to Elizabeth (born in 1813) and the gravestone notes that he was of the parish of Bixley.

There he is on the 1871 census, right at the bottom, a gardener who lived on the Loddon Road at Bixley. This doesn’t give a whole amount of useful information, but it becomes apparent there’s more on the next page….

And here are a few more details, his wife Elizabeth, and mention of his two sons, James who was born in 1849 and Henry who was born in 1850.

James died in 1877, but the 1881 census has his wife Elizabeth living at Hill Cottages in Bixley, which is just south of the Norwich Southern Bypass in what is now better known as Whitlingham. She’s living with Henry, who is also a gardener, and a female called Mary Betts who is listed as the daughter, but I’m assuming who is Henry’s wife. Also living there is Charles Betts, a nine year old boy who is Elizabeth’s grand-son.

That’s unfortunately it, no other obvious records exist for James Betts, and I can’t even locate him on some of the earlier censuses.