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Family History: Henry Charles or William EVE

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Penny Holt    23 Apr 2008
Dear Kind People of Faversham,

I am working on my husband's EVE family history, who hale from the Faversham area for many generations.  I have run into a problem that I can't solve and I am hoping that someone with local historical knowledge may be able to help me.  Here it is.

I know Charles EVE was married to Sophia Harriett CARTER on 16 October 1869 at All Saints, Graveney, Kent.  (I have had a fair bit of success with the CARTER line, but as you will see, the EVEs are a different story!)

Charles EVE declares on his marriage certificate that his father is William EVE, a labourer. Charles' age is given only as 'full age' and no mention of whether his father is alive or dead. The witnesses are George John and Johanna MARSH.

On all censuses from 1871 through 1901, this same Charles EVE always reports his year of birth as 1842 and his birthplace as Boughton. The only variant on this is on the 1861 census where a Charles EVES is recorded as one of several servants at Goodnestone Court, his birthplace given as Goodnestone and year of birth as 1841. I could not find him with his parents on the 1851 census.

A search of the GRO Index brought up no Charles EVE for approximately 1842 in the appropriate area of Kent. It did, however, index two others:

  • Charles EVE born 13 May 1839 in Boughton to Henry Charles EVE and Mary Ann, formerly SMITH

  • Charles EVE born 6 June 1840 in Boughton to Henry EVE and Mary formerly SHILLING.

Parish Registers became even more confusing. Only two Charles EVEs came up, both from SS Peter & Paul, Boughton under Blean Bishop's Transcripts.

  • 4 August 1839, son of Henry Charles (Labourer) and Mary EVE formerly SHILLING residing at Boughton under Blean

  • 12 July 1840, son of Henry (Labourer) and Mary EVE, residing at Dunkirk.

The question is: Who was Charles EVE's father?

Any help would be truly appreciated.  Thank you.

BTW, this is an excellent website, befitting such a lovely area.  I was there last summer and loved every minute of it.

Penny Holt
in Canada

Janet mallion    29 Jul 2008
Hi Penny,

I have found Charles Eve on the 1851 census, living at Goodnestone Street,Goodnestone, Kent. He is with his Mother Mary who is a widow. Including 5 siblings; Charles is down as Chas Eve.

Richard Marsh    08 Jul 2008
Hello Penny

I can't help you with your query but I thought you might be interested to know that George John and Johanna MARSH are my great-grandparents.

They were married 11 April 1869 at Faversham, Kent and the witnesses were your Charles Eve and Maria Carter.

Both George and Johanna are aged 21 and Johanna is from Graveney and father is William Eve, a labourer, so I presume that Charles and Johanna are siblings.

Some time before the 1881 census George and Johanna moved their family to Lambeth in London where my grandfather George Thomas was born in 1883.

This is about all I know of the Eves but would be delighted if you could add anything to my tree.

Like you I have just returned from Kent walking in the footsteps and seeing where my ancestors lived but I didn't have quite so far to travel as I only live in Ipswich about 120 miles away.

Regards, Richard
Arthur Percival    04 May 2008
Dear Penny

And William Carter of Ospringe Place / House was seriously rich. Maybe he just made a 'good' marriage – assuming he did marry, of course.

How does the Carter line run? You can always send it to me at if you prefer.

Best wishes
Penny Holt    03 May 2008
Dear Arthur,

Thank you for this.  I have read Prof. Reay's book (Microhistories, etc.) and found it to be tremendously helpful.  I took your advice and emailed him.  He said he was willing to give this problem a go, so I sent him the details.  He is off scratching his head.  I don't expect a quick answer.  This is very puzzling.

This is generally a perplexing family.  Sophia Harriet CARTER who married mysterious Charles EVE was descended from the (not poor) but reasonably humble CARTER family, most of whom were shepherds.  However two of her first cousins once removed made it big.  These were Thomas CARTER of Dargate House (1812-1888) and his brother William CARTER of Ospringe House (1814-1889).  I'd love to know how that happened, considering almost everybody else in the area either stayed in the same economic condition or was downwardly mobile.

Hmmmm.  Another brainteaser.

Thanks again,

in Canada
Arthur Percival    23 Apr 2008

This is certainly very odd, and I'm afraid I can't help directly.

1) One possibility (perhaps rather remote) is that Charles Eves and Charles Eve were not the same person, and that when Charles Eve said he was born in Boughton he was born not in Boughton-under-Blean, near Graveney, but in one of the three other Kent Boughtons, viz Boughton Aluph, Boughton Malherbe and Boughton Monchelsea.

2) Another is that though he said he came from Boughton[-under-Blean] he actually came from Dunkirk, because part of what people call Boughton is (or was) actually in the parish of Dunkirk.   This wasn't created till 1840, and quite recently it has been absorbed (ecclesiastally but not civilly) into Boughton.

3) Another (specially if he did come from Dunkirk) is that he was never baptised.   What became the parish of Dunkirk was extra-parochial till 1840 and notorious as a lawless area, where anything went.

4) Another is that he didn't know his father's real name and invented 'William'.    He could have been the child of a single-parent family. Only as an illustration, an Emma Eve was living at Boughton Common (probably in Dunkirk) in the 1860s, with no male partner but three children, one of whom, aged 12, eked out the family living by working in the fields.

5) You could possibly see if Professor Barry Reay, at the University of Auckland, has anything which might help. He has researched the demography of the Boughton/Hernhill/Dunkirk area from 1800 to 1930. If you email me at I can let you have his email address, or you may be able to find it on the web.

6) One of the Eves (Samuel) was involved in the 1838 Courtenay Riots – maybe if he wasn't apocryphal William also was. For the Riots, see the Faversham website.   Again, Barry might know.

Best wishes

Arthur (for Faversham Society)
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