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Robert Obadiah Hurst


Robert Obadiah Hurst

BIRTH 1828 • Nursling, Hampshire, England
DEATH APR 1903 • South Stoneham, Hampshire, England

2nd Great Grandfather, according to my Ancestry Tree. He is also a common ancestor with multiple DNA matches.



Ancestry Synopsis

When Robert Obadiah Hurst was born in 1828 in Nursling, Hampshire, his father, Richard, was 27 and his mother, Mary, was 27. He married Elizabeth Day on 31 August 1850 in Millbrook, Hampshire. They had ten children in 24 years. He died in April 1903 in South Stoneham, Hampshire, having lived a long life of 75 years.

Hurst was a relatively common name with a wide dispersion across England as shown on this Ancestry page.


A record in the Hampshire Genealogy Society reveals that Obadiah baptised 7 Sept 1828, son to Richard and Mary Anne in the Parish of Nursling.

A transcript of that record is available at FindMyPast 

Transcript of Baptism Parish Record of Obadiah Hurst
First name(s) Obadiah   Parish Nursling
Last name Hurst   County Hampshire
Birth year 1828   Country England
Baptism day 7   Notes Labourer
Baptism month Sep      
Baptism year 1828      
Baptism year date 7 September 1828   Record set Hampshire Baptisms
Son or daughter Son   Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records
Father's first name(s) Richard   Subcategory Parish Baptisms
Mother's first name(s) Mary Anne   Collections from England, Great Britain


Throughout his life, he seems to have used names interchangeably, including Obadiah, Robert, and Robert Obadiah. He seems to have been baptised Obadiah Hurst, and as there was no general Registry at the time, I should logically take this has both his given name at the Title of this article. However, that would possibly lose readers looking for Robert Hurst.

Period Timeline


Period Timeline

To get some sense of the period into which Obadiah was born into, and lived through, we could look at a timeline from his record on TNG.

Robert Obadiah Hurst Timeline 1

The screenshot above gives an idea of the look of the data in the timeline from his record on TNG.

Below is the beginning of the associated list.

 Date  Event(s)
  • 25 Oct 1828—25 Oct 1828: St Katharine Docks in London opened (designed by Thomas Telford)
  • 1829—1829: London Metropolitan Police Force formed, nicknamed 'Bobbies' after Sir Robert Peel
  • 1829—1829: Louis Braille invents his system of finger-reading for the blind
  • 10 Jun 1829—10 Jun 1829: First Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race
  • 6 Oct 1829—6 Oct 1829: George Stephenson's Rocket wins the Rainhill trials (it was the only one to complete the trial!)
  • 1830—1830: Uprisings and agitation across Europe: the Netherlands are split into Holland and Belgium
  • Jul 1830—Jul 1830: Revolution in France, fall of Charles X and the Bourbons ? Louis Philippe (the Citizen King) on the throne
  • 15 Sep 1830—15 Sep 1830: George Stephenson's Liverpool & Manchester Railway opened by the Duke of Wellington ? first mail carried by rail, and first death on the railway as William Huskisson, a leading politician, is run over!
  • 1831—1831: A list of all parish registers dating prior to 1813 compiled
  • 1 Jun 1831—1 Jun 1831: James Clark Ross discovers the North Magnetic Pole
  • 1 Aug 1831—1 Aug 1831: 'New' London Bridge opens (replaced 1973) ? old bridge (which had existed for over 600 years) then demolished
  • 1832—1832: Electoral Registers introduced
  • 1832—1832: Electric telegraph invented by Morse
  • 7 Jun 1832—7 Jun 1832: Reform Bill passed ? Representation of the People Act
  • Jan 1833—Jan 1833: Britain invades the Falkland Islands
  • 29 Aug 1833—29 Aug 1833: Factory Act forbids employment of children below age of 9
  • 1834—1834: Babbage invents forerunner of the computer
  • 18 Mar 1834—18 Mar 1834: 'Tolpuddle Martyrs' transported (to Australia) for Trades Union activities
  • 1 May 1834—1 May 1834: Slavery abolished in British possessions
  • 1835—1835: Christmas becomes a national holiday
  • 1835—1835: First railway boom period starts in Britain construction of Great Western Railway
  • 1836—1836: First Potato famine in Ireland
  • 1836—1836: Tithe Commutation Act 1836
  • 30 Jan 1836—30 Jan 1836: Telford's Menai Straits Bridge opened ? considered the world's first modern suspension bridge
  • 25 Feb 1836—25 Feb 1836: Samuel Colt patented the 'revolver'
  • 6 Mar 1836—6 Mar 1836: The Alamo falls to Mexican troops - death of Davy Crockett
  • Jul 1836—Jul 1836: Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
10  1837 
  • 1837—1837: Pitman introduces his shorthand system
  • 1837—1837: P&O Founded
  • 20 Jun 1837—20 Jun 1837: William IV dies - accession of Queen Victoria (to 1901)
  • 1 Jul 1837—1 Jul 1837: Compulsory registration of Births, Marriages & Deaths in England & Wales - Registration Districts were formed covering several parishes; initially they had the same boundaries as the Poor Law boundaries set up in 1834
  • 13 Jul 1837—13 Jul 1837: Queen Victoria moves into the first Buckingham Palace
  • 20 Jul 1837—20 Jul 1837: Euston Railway station opens - first in London
11  1838 
  • 28 Jun 1838—28 Jun 1838: Coronation of Queen Victoria at Westminster Abbey
12  1839 
  • 1839—1839: First Opium War between Britain and China (to 1842) - Britain captures Hong Kong
  • 1839—1839: Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick MacMillan refines the primitive bicycle adding a mechanical crank drive to the rear wheel, thus creating the first true 'bicycle' in the modern Sense
  • 1839—1839: Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber
  • 1839—1841: Tithe Survey
    Tithe Survey for the Tithe Commutation Act 1836.
  • 1839—1851: Tithe Agreements
    Tithe agreements for the Tithe Commutation Act 1836
13  1840 
  • 1840—1840: Population Act relating to taking of censuses in Britain
  • 1840—1840: Last convicts landed in NSW (some say 1842 or 1849, but these probably landed elsewhere)
  • 10 Jan 1840—10 Jan 1840: Uniform Penny Postage introduced nationally
14  1841 
  • 1841—1841: Thomas Cook starts package tours
  • 10 Feb 1841—10 Feb 1841: Penny Red replaces Penny Black postage stamp
  • 6 Jun 1841—6 Jun 1841: June 6: First full census in Britain in which all names were recorded (Population 18.5M)

 This is only a short list, with the remainder in the timeline from Obadiah's record on TNG.

There are a lot of significant elements just in this small extract, including things that are central to those engaged in Family History.

I have added Bold to some of them for emphasis.

One of the items, the 18 Mar 1834: 'Tolpuddle Martyrs' transported (to Australia) for Trades Union activities, impacted another part of my family, living in the vicinity of Tolpuddle. Tolpuddle is a village in Dorset, just 8 miles from Dorchester, and about 25 miles from Broadwindsor, both centers for our Dorset relatives. 

Below is an article I wrote about Tolpuddle earlier.

The Tolpuddle Martyrs

The Pomeroys of Broadwindsor, it will be of no surprise, lived it the small village of Broadwindsor and the surrounding hundreds and hamlets, in Dorset. It was a rural community not far from the border with Devon. A mere 5 miles in a vaguely South Westerly direction. Today Beaminster is bigger and lies about 2.5 miles East. Dorchester, the county town is only twenty miles away, a 6-7hr walk. Tolpuddle is another rural community, only another six miles East, a days walk in total.

John Pomeroy was born on 31 December 1808 in Broadwindsor, Dorset, his father, George, was 29 and his mother, Frances, was 30. He married Mary Ann Bowditch on 8 September 1830 in his hometown. His father George passed away in December 1831 in Broadwindsor. By 1834 John's family had grown with the birth of a Son and a Daughter. 

Also in 1834, just a days walk away, according to the Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum, farm workers in west Dorset formed a trade union. Unions were lawful and growing fast but six leaders of the union were arrested and sentenced to seven years’ transportation for taking an oath of secrecy.

An extract from the museum website.

As the sun rose on 24th February 1834, Dorset farm labourer George Loveless set off to work, saying goodbye to his wife Betsy and their three children. They were not to meet alone again for three years, for as he left his cottage in the rural village of Tolpuddle, the 37-year-old was served with a warrant for his arrest.
Loveless and five fellow workers – his brother James, James Hammett, James Brine, Thomas Standfield and Thomas's son John – were charged with having taken an illegal oath. But their real crime in the eyes of the establishment was to have formed a trade union to protest about their meagre pay of six shillings a week – the equivalent of 30p in today's money and the third wage cut in as many years.

With the bloody French Revolution and the wrecking of the Swing Rebellion fresh in the minds of the British establishment, landowners were determined to stamp out any form of organised protests. So when the local squire and landowner, James Frampton, caught wind of a group of his workers forming a union, he sought to stamp it out.

Workers met either under the sycamore tree in the village or in the upper room of Thomas Standfield's cottage. Members swore of an oath of secrecy – and it was this act that led to the men's arrest and subsequent sentence of seven years' transportation.

In prison, George Loveless scribbled some words: “We raise the watchword, liberty. We will, we will, we will be free!" This rallying call underlined the Martyrs’ determination and has since served to inspire generations of people to fight against injustice and oppression.

It is something of a surprise  that someone from a rural background was literate, but that is an aside. It is very imaginable that the deprivations which gave rise to the Tolpuddle Martyrs were also afflicting John Pomeroy and those around him. A wage of 30p a week, which using the Measuring Worth Calculator equates to labour earnings of that income is £249.40 a week (2016), about half of the UK average earnings (2016) and well below the persistent poverty level. Life would have been very difficult as an agricultural labourer, especially with a growing family.






I imagine that similar difficulties would apply to Obadiah's family, as we shall see later that they were also an agricultural based family in a rural community.


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