THE first members of the Codgbrook family to live in Rushden were John and his new wife Ann (nee MAYS). They were married at Wymington on
27th November 1684. Almost one year later, on 7th November 1685, twin children William and Ann were baptised at St Mary's, Rushden. In 1688 another son, John, was baptised, and absolutely no more is known of the father John. Many years' research has failed to find where John came from or where he went.

1 believe that this paucity of information on John may well be due to the family's long association with the Baptist church, indeed John may well have known Bunyan on his visits to Rushden. As many will know, members of the Baptist church are usually baptised between the ages of 18 and 25, and unfortunately records do not exist of early conversion and baptisms. There was another Codgbrook family in Wollaston in the early 18th century and we know from George Bayes' book on Rushden Baptist church, "These Years Have Told", that Frances Codgbrook (known as ‘Frank’) was a church member in 1735.
Frances was buried at Wollaston in 1737. One other family is evidenced nearby from the marriage of Joseph at Foxton, Leics, in 1715 where the register states that he came from Irchester. So far these three families, with their unusual family name, remain unconnected.

The Rushden branch settled in the town and appeared to prosper. William, the elder son who lived for his full seventy years in the town, married Rebecca Wiles (who was also born in Rushden) rather curiously at Holcot, the other side of Wellingborough. The Wiles family were from Yelden. This couple had four children all of whom lived into adulthood. One son called Wiles Codgbrook baptised in 1726 did not marry but the other three did: William to Eleanor Sheffield, Mary to Thomas Denton and John to Ann Smith. This John married in 1762 had a daughter baptised in 1763 and both he and his daughter died that same year. In his will he left his watch to his brother's son Wiles. John's widow Ann then married William Achurch in 1769.

The William who married Eleanor also lived all his full seventy years in Rushden and it is shown in the 1777 militia lists for the county that he was a farmer. I also have a copy of an insurance policy dated 1786, which also shows him to have been a farmer. The policy mentions household goods in the dwelling of Wilde (presumably a tenant of William's). It also mentions a dwelling house and tenement, two barns and a stable adjoining Mrs. Taps yard. It also adds that all the properties were thatched and in Rushden. The value put on the goods and property was £200, and as ever the small print says: -N.B. The Society not to be answerable for any loss or damage by fire that may happen by hay or corn being stacked too wet or green." Where this farm was located I don't know but we can see from the book on Rushden by David Hall and Ruth Harding that the Tapp land was near the Newton Road cemetery and that Thomas Wylde occupied a property, these are based on the 1778 Enclosure map. Strange that William Codgbrook whose family had farmed in the town for quite some time has not got a mention?

Manorial records in 1746 and 1748 both mention that William Codgbrook was a tenant of a tenement in Crab Street and a close called Lime Kiln or Lankill Close, and a pightle called Hellwelt, and 82 acres. Land tax records in 1785 show William Codgbrook as a tenant of Miss Tapp as well as owning a small tenement of his own. This continues until 1795 (he died in 1799) when his son Wiles (the one with his uncle's watch) takes over the tenancy and the tenement. In 1810 Wiles now owned both properties and had his cousin Wiles Denton as a tenant. Wiles' son William (the carrier and farmer, see next paragraph) takes over the properties in 1815 until the records cease in 1829.

William and Eleanor had four children all of whom, except one, died in their infancy. The survivor was yet another Wiles (he wanted his uncle's watch). He was baptised at St Mary's in 1758 and baptised again at the Little Street Baptist chapel in 1779. Wiles also farmed, He married Hannah Knighton from Raunds in 1782 at Stanwick. Even though Hannah had been baptised in Raunds in 1763 she was baptised at the Little Street chapel in 1795, after all her eight children had been born. The first six children were baptised at St Mary's and the eldest surviving three children were baptised in the Little Street chapel, 1806, 1810 and 1812. Wiles and Hannah were buried at the chapel in 1815 and 1823. One child died in her infancy but the others, three boys and four girls, all married. The girls married into the Marriott, Groome, Baker and Bryant families. The eldest son William lived in Rushden until his death in 1846 and traded as a carrier. William formed a partnership with his cousin Henry Knighton but, at the age of 41, the partnership was dissolved as recorded in the London Gazette in 1825. The announcement says that Henry Knighton and William Codgbrook were "common carriers and farmers of Rushden". It asks that those who owed money to the partnership pay their debts and any who had claims on the partnership to deliver the particulars.

The three sons had between them twenty two children - ten of whom were boys. The middle son Thomas stayed on in Rushden. He married twice, firstly to Sarah Gross, and secondly to Mary nee Darnell. Thomas had eleven children, and all but one, Jarnes, moved away. Even James lived in
London between 1860 and 1865, returning to Rushden for the birth of his second daughter in 1866. In the 1881 census the family were living in Cambridge Terrace where James and all three of his children are employed in the boot and shoe trade. His one son William married Mary Tomlin of Higham Ferrers and their son Charles Arthur Wiles was born at Rushden in 1887. Arthur, as he preferred to be known, was a bright young man and started work at the Rushden gas works. He was ambitious and studied at the Wellingborough Institute and passed his exams with credits. He was promoted, and then went to work in Nuneaton and then on to Berkhampstead to manage the gas works there. From evidence I have seen he invented certain gadgets associated with his business and may have patented some of these. Arthur was married to Hilda Brawn in 1915 in the Independent Wesleyan Chapel in Rushden. Arthur and Hilda had one daughter, and her son still lives in Rushden. He is the great great great great great great great grandson of the original John Codgbrook.

Wiles' and Hannah's youngest son called Wiles was born in 1794. For this Wiles the significant turning point in his life was an event involving his maternal grandfather Mr. Thomas Knighton. His gravestone in Raunds' churchyard states:- "Thomas Knighton, who suddenly departed this life 20th October 1806 as he was going to hear the gospel preached at the Methodist chapel at Riseley, in the 84th year of his life". Thomas's will, dated August of that year, names his eldest son Henry as the main beneficiary and goes on to mention ten other children, including Hannah Codgbrook. The will was proved
2nd December 1806 and, on the 29th December, 'Uncle' Henry paid a £30 premium for his nephew Wiles Codgbrook to serve an apprenticeship in Northampton under James Abel, a bookbinder and stationer. Having served his term Wiles married Elizabeth Smith in 1815, and did not apply for his acceptance as a freeman of Northampton until 1824, presumably when he could afford the additional fee.

In 1971 I met Gladys Codgbrook in Wellingborough. She had been married to Herbert who had died in 1965. She told me how he used to walk to
Wales in search for work. Once he set out from Wellingborough in a 2s. 11 d. Pair of patent Icather shoes and arrived in London with the shoes worn out. He signed on as a stoker on the Titanic but forgot to join her before she sailed on the fateful journey. He sailed over the Titanic's grave a week later. Never lucky he had an accident on board the ship and spent nine months in the hospital in Bristol. Herbert had an older brother Walter who was a leader of one of the shoe factory strikes in the 1926 Great Strike. Afterwards, when things had cooled down, Walter couldn't face the ire of the employers and emigrated with his wife, son and daughter to Australia. The son's widow still lives there today.

The name Wiles continues today with the birth of Robert Wiles in 1983. So, with a gap of just twenty one years, there has been a Wiles Codgbrook alive since 1726.

If anyone has any other information regarding this family, however trivial it might seem, 1 would appreciate a note so that I might add this to my files for the eventual story, which should be written.

The name Codgbrook is no longer known in the town, but hopefully this article will ensure that it will be remembered as being long associated with the town's history.

Derek Allen