The villages collectively called 'the Deepings' straddle the river border between Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire just north of Peterborough. Because of boundary changes locations can appear in different counties at different times. Market Deeping and Deeping St. James are now one continuous urban area, while just across the River Welland is Deeping Gate. Families from here are the Smiths, Todds, Palmers and Bettles, the ancestors of my grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Smith.

The first Smith with some certainty is Joseph Smith, born in 1822 in London, and his wife, Harriet Palmer, born in Leicester in 1826.  Joseph moved about for his work as a chimney sweep as his first child, Mary Ann, was born in Deeping St James in 1845, where Joseph and Harriet were married in 1842; the next two children, Sophia and Sarah were born in Gloucester and then Philip Smith was born in Dudley in Worcestershire in 1854. By the birth of Harriet in 1856 Joseph and Harriet with the survivng children including Philip had settled back in Deeping St.James where they lived for the rest of their lives.

The 1842 marriage certificate of Joseph and Harriet show that their fathers were John Smith and Philip Palmer. Both these persons have unresolved questions about them. John Smith appears to have been born in Market Deeping but lived in Leicester which may explain why his son Joseph married a girl from Leicester but went to live in Market Deeping. How Joseph came to be born in London is not known. Harriet's mother was a widow at the first census and was in Leicester by 1841 when the family lived very near the Smiths.

More research is underway to explore the origins of the Smiths.

Philip married Ann Todd, when they were both 19, at Whitby, Yorks in the Registry Office; they seem to have been visiting Philip's uncle Philip Palmer.  It suggests a runaway marriage!

Phillip and Ann lived in Market Deeping after they were married; Ann died aged 35 in 1887 after 8 children!  Philip then married Ann Harvey who was employed as a cook by the local Baptist Minister, his youngest at that time was 5.  Ann died of cancer only 3 years later and in 1904 Philip married Clara Hack, from Leicester, also employed as a cook by the local Baptist Minister before her marriage.  She outlived Philip and was know as Grandma Smith by my mother.

Interestingly Philip's family dispersed in all directions, from Nottingham and Poole and also to Canada.  The Canada connection led to my mother's brother Hattie Galton also moving to Winnipeg, Canada where his descendants still reside.

In later life Philip became very attached to the Baptist church in Deeping St. James, recorded in his obituary in the local paper.  He made some kind of career change between 1891 and 1901; for most of his life he was recorded as being a labourer but by 1901 had become involved in a coal merchant business and then by 1911 he recorded himself as a farmer and general carter.

The Todds are an extensive family and seem to be centred on Stretton in Rutland originally and then members of the family moved south and east to the Deepings by the 1820's.  More work is required on this family. There is a descendant chart for those.

Ann Todd's mother was Elizabeth Bettles.  Her father came from Islip in Northamptonshire where there are many Bettles and some of these are now well researched.  Several sons of her brother, John Bettles, b. in 1823 went to Australia where the family remains and one daughter, Edith and her husband went to the USA where there are descendants.


The Smiths of the Deepings on the Lincolnshire/Northamptonshire border and the Todds and Bettles of Northampton.