Chapter 1 : The Fardons of Gloucestershire
(Note: figures in square brackets are chapter numbers)


This book traces the Fardons who were descended from the John Fardon who arrived in Gloucestershire at the end of the seventeenth century. From him have been identified some 600 descendants bearing the Fardon name, now spread throughout central and southern England and also farther afield in Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America.
A son of the first Fardon, James, had taken up residence in Temple Guiting in Gloucestershire by 1731, since when there were Fardons in and around the village up to the middle of the twentieth century. Two of his sons, John and Richard, had large families (a total of 23 children), which are the basis of the 23 Fardon branches dealt with herein as chapters 4 to 26, and listed at the end of this chapter.
Of the 23 family branches probably twelve were short-lived in terms of the family name. Six were headed by women who got married and whose offspring were of course not Fardons, and these are not considered after the first generation. Of the males three died in infancy, probably three did not marry. The descendants thus derive from the remaining eleven branches, most of them small or moderate in size. Some three-quarters of the descendants derive from just three branches (chapters 4, 6 and 18) within which there are some very large families.


Within the UK
The Gloucestershire Fardons seem to have remained in the general area of Temple Guiting and near villages until the beginning of the nineteenth century. But with the population explosion at around that time they began to move away, some to other towns and villages in north Gloucestershire (for example Temple Guiting, Ford, Kineton, Hawling, Sevenhampton, Stanway, Winchcombe, Toddington, Bourton on the Water, Bourton on the Hill, Moreton in Marsh, Cheltenham) and also farther afield, such as Stoneleigh and Warwick in Warwickshire and Bredon in Worcestershire. There were further migrations during the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly to London (two large families in north London and West Ham), Northampton, Nottingham, Coventry, Luton. Later, particularly during the twentieth century, there was a further expansion, so that Fardons from the Gloucestershire branch are now found in many areas of southern England and as far north as the Liverpool area. With all that, there are still Fardons in Gloucestershire representing the branches who never left the county.

At least twelve Fardons left for foreign lands - Australia, New Zealand and the United States, most of them in the nineteenth century, two of them after World War 2. Many produced families there and there are descendants today in these places. The first was Thomas Kinman, born to an unmarried mother and, it seems, brought up by her. He was in a regiment of the British Army which was posted to Australia, and was discharged there in about 1845. He remained there, married and had a family. Frederick, from the same family branch, emigrated to Australia some 3o years later and became a farmer; from him arose a vast number of descendants.
Two others went to live in Australia after World War 2, one of them on an assisted passage.
Two brothers, Frederick and John, emigrated to Ohio in the United states around 1850 to take up farming, and in the last two decades of the century four others followed them, to Ohio, New York and Wisconsin, three of them women.
Finally John and his wife emigrated to New Zealand in 1864.
In the following listing the figures in square brackets are, as always, the chapters of the narrative in which details can be found.

---- Australia
Thomas Kinman, soldier, was discharged (c1845) in Australia and stayed on, married there and produced a family. [4]
Frederick, builder, emigrated in 1876 and became a farmer. A large number of descendants [4]
Mary, between 1888 and 1923 [4], as a married woman
Frederick 1951 on an assisted passage [18]
Rex, car worker, 1964 [18]

---- USA
Frederick to Ohio c1850 [6]
John to Ohio c1850 [6]
Ellen Mary to Ohio 1881. Married in the US. [16]
James to New York c1889 [4].
Edith Annie to New York 1890, probably in service [18]
Myra to Wisconsin 1891 [4]

---- New Zealand
John, railway wagon builder, 1864 [12]


The Fardons as blacksmiths
The earlier Fardons were blacksmiths who took their trade throughout northern Gloucestershire and into the neighbouring counties of Warwickshire and Worcestershire.
The profession of the original John Fardon is not known. The documentation that we have suggests that he was well off and well connected, and literate enough to be appointed Constable of Hailes. Thereafter, at least from the third generation, the Fardons that settled in and around Temple Guiting were mainly blacksmiths, this being the profession of ten of the thirteen surviving sons of John and Richard, who lived in the neighbouring settlements of Temple Guiting and Ford. No doubt because of the limits to the number of vacancies for blacksmiths in these two villages Fardons moved away locally, and thus began the line of smiths that spread through northern Gloucestershire and to the neighbouring counties of Warwickshire and Worcestershire. During the nineteenth century Fardons were to be found as smiths at a number of villages in northern Gloucestershire; also farther afield in Warwickshire - Coventry, Warwick, Leamington, Kenilworth, Stoneleigh - and Bredon in Worcestershire. Later there would be a Fardon blacksmith in London, and later in Devon. And one used his skills as a smith in a factory in the West Midlands.
Three of the original blacksmith families are known to have done well, those in Bourton on the Hill in Gloucestershire and in Leamington and Stoneleigh in Warwickshire. All seemed to have built viable businesses which they passed on to their sons, at least two were property owners:

a. The Leamington family [9]
These were blacksmiths/whitesmiths and set up a business in the town which soon expanded to include such crafts as ironmongery, hot water engineering, gas fitting, bellhangering, as well as blacksmith/whitesmith. It seems to have prospered. The second generation Fardon became a property owner, of perhaps two houses, and the probate reports through the years showed increasing wealth up to the last known member of the family, a spinster, who died in 1934.

b . The Stoneleigh family [4]
One of the Stoneleigh family worked on the estate of Lord Leigh but also built up a business in Kenilworth. His soon took the art of the ornamental blacksmith to the highest degree, becoming a respected ornamental blacksmith, with examples of his work known in various places in England and in Europe. As with the Leamington family the business developed away from simple blacksmith work, and by the beginning of the twentieth century was advertised also as mechanical and heating engineers. Perhaps as an extension to this, in the early years of the twentieth century one of this family involved himself in the very new motor trade, trained with a motor manufacturer and later opened his own garage.

c. The Bourton on the Hill family
The family that set up a business in Bourton on the Hill was similarly successful, the family head becoming a property owner - of a pair of cottages bought from Lord Redesdale, the Lord of the Manor. There is no evidence that they developed the business beyond the traditional craft of a blacksmith, though it did continue to at least the middle of the twentieth century. But the family must have become a presence in the village. One son sat on the local school board, his wife and a daughter taught at the school, another son ran the village inn.

By far the greatest occupation opportunities in villages such as those found in north Gloucestershire was in agriculture, with the greater number of males working on farms. It is probably only by virtue of the family profession of blacksmith that few Fardons were in agriculture, at least in the beginning. However, the head of one of the Fardon branches [14] seems to have been an agricultural labourer from the start, and one or two others were briefly similarly involved as part of a range of activities.
Many of those who remained in Gloucestershire were later attracted, or drifted, into farming; one [6] gave up the traditional blacksmith occupation and moved to another village to take over the tenancy of a farm. By the turn of the 19th century and into the twentieth there were Fardons, both sons and married daughters on farms throughout the area between Cheltenham and Winchcombe. This covered the whole range of occupations, ranging from tenant farmers, through shepherds and stockmen to agricultural labourers. Many stayed for comparatively long periods in one place, others, particularly the labourers, tended to be more mobile.. This story is developed in Chapter 20.
Those that moved out of Gloucestershire tended to go to towns and cities and the subsequent generations took employment more typical of urban rather than country areas.

Other occupations
There were a few occupations other than blacksmith in the early days, but no consistent pattern emerges. There were examples of wheelwright, service as footman or butler, working in the licensed trade as innkeeper. The second generation of those who moved away from Gloucestershire sometimes tended towards the skills in their home towns, such as watchmaking in Nottingham, the cycle trade in Coventry and so forth. Others went into the service industry as a baker or butcher, or shopkeeper. In other words, an expanding range of jobs reflecting the spread of Fardons around the country and the increasing mobility of the twentieth century. Perhaps one of the most dramatic was the blacksmith in Coventry who threw everything up to become a preacher in the Salvation Army, spent several years in different places, and who reached a high position (commander) in the Army during his career.

Military service
Practically none of the Fardons chose a military career. One exception was Thomas Kinman [4] who signed on in the infantry probably in the 1820s, but he was not a "true" Fardon in the sense that he was the son of an unmarried mother and seems to have been brought up by his mother and away from the Fardon family. Another was John Edward [18] who signed up for a 12-year engagement with the Royal Navy at Plymouth on his sixteenth birthday in 1923.
Many served during the two world wars, of course, and there is ample documentation for the first, rather less for the second. In the first war some were volunteers, there seem to have been conscripted. There were casualties, including fatalities, in both wars.
Presumably all of those fit enough and of age will have served in the first war, except possibly those engaged in agriculture in at least Gloucestershire, for which there is no evidence of absence during those years and no military record. Many were volunteers, some within days of war being declared, one who was 16 years of age falsified his age to 19 so that he could be engaged. Most saw action in France, one in Egypt. Many returned with the Silver War Badge, indicating withdrawal from front line service through illness or wounds.
In the first war Arthur (Notts and Derbys) and Joshua died in action, this being the same Joshua who had falsified his age in order to volunteer. George Henry was released with a 100% invalidity pension and died some eighteen months after release.
Among those known or thought to have served in World War 1, and detailed in these pages (number in square brackets indicate the chapter) were:

name [chapter] regiment/corps comment
Arthur [18] Notts and Derbys died The Somme
Arthur [18] Royal Warwickshire
Bramwell [18] Bedfordshire
Charles Sidney [18] Coldstream Guards
Frances Emmanuel [4] Royal West Kent
George Henry [12] Royal Warks, then RE
James [6] Cheshire Regt
John E [18] Army Service Corps
Joshua [4] Royal West Kent died Cambrai
Oliver [18] Notts and Derby
Walter George [14] Army Service Corps
William [18] ASC

The records of those who served in World War 2 are less easy to obtain, and again it is assumed that all those fit enough and within the age limits volunteered or were conscripted. Two are known to have fallen in action. George Edmund Lees, son of Isabella [4] died in Italy in 1944; Ernest Charles [18] went down in HMS Bramble in 1942, torpedoed while on escort duty in northern waters. In addition Clifford Richard [18], who was a civilian fire-fighter at home, died in action in 1940 during the German aerial bombardment of Coventry.

The chapters 4 to 26 below cover the following branches of the Gloucestershire Fardons

The children of John

Chapt Name Occupation Location Early Descendants' Locations
4 James blacksmith Stoneleigh Stoneleigh, London, Australia
5 John unknown prob TGuiting
6 William blacksmith Kineton, Hawling Gloucs, WMidlands, USA
7 Sarah married Hawling
8 Mary married Cheltenham?
9 Henry blacksmith Leamington, Warks Leamington
10 Lucy married NGloucs?
11 Emmanuel died as baby
12 Joseph blacksmith Stanway Oldbury, New Zealand
13 Daniel blacksmith TGuiting, Stanway
14 George agric lab Kineton Ford, Winchcombe, Cheltenham
15 David died as baby?
16 Moses blacksmith TGuiting, Bredon, Worcs
The children of Richard
17 Richard blacksmith Toddington
18 John blacksmith Bourton/Hill Coventry, Nottingham, Warwick, Luton, Devon, Australia
19 James blacksmith ?
20 Isaac various (not blacksmith) Brockhampton Gloucs
21 Joshua unknown various
22 Sarah married NGloucs
23 Ann married ?Australia
24 William blacksmith Moreton/Marsh
25 Jane married Stanway
26 David died as baby

This document Last Updated 4 September 2007