The Drings of Warboys The Ellington Branch

By Dr Colin M Dring

Ellington is a village in Huntingdonshire, some 10 miles from Warboys and adjacent to Brampton. The parish registers for Ellington survive from 1608 but there are no Dring entries until the burial of a Mary Dring in 1802. I have, working from the typewritten transcript at HRO, managed to fit almost all the Ellington entries into one line of descent.

OLIVER DRING was baptised at Warboys 25 Aug 1770, the son of Oliver & Eleanor (née Johnson) Dring. He was married by license at Brampton 28 May 1798 to Mary TRAVELL and their first son William was baptised there 29 Apr 1799. The marriage license (seen only so far in the index) states that Oliver was a bachelor farmer of Brampton and that Mary was a spinster of Brampton; she was under age, 19, so the consent of her father George was recorded. The bondsman for the license was a William Parser, a butcher of Brampton. Witnesses to the marriage were George Travell, Thomas Hennesy & Catherine Smith.
In 1802 Oliver was described in his mother’s will as a farmer of Warboys but in 1826 he was referred to in his father’s will as a farmer of Ellington.
Oliver’s wife, Mary DRING, was buried at Ellington 3 May 1812. The parish register simply records the burial of Mary DRING but John Flint visited Ellington in 1971 and photographed a grave with the inscription, "Sacred to the memory of Mary, wife of Oliver Dring, who departed this life the 29 of April 1812 in the 31 year of her life."
Oliver married for a second at time at Ellington 5 Jun 1818 to Elizabeth WRIGHT. The license (from the index) describes Oliver as a widowed farmer of Ellington and Elizabeth as a spinster of Ellington; the bondsmen was Robert Peace, a baker of Brampton. This Elizabeth, Oliver’s second wife, was buried at Ellington aged 59 on 14 Jan 1831; there were no children from this second marriage. Oliver himself was buried at Ellington aged 63 on 1 Jul 1832.
John Flint also photographed Oliver’s grave and reports that the inscription reads, "Sacred to the memory of Oliver Dring who died June 28 1832 age 63 years. Old Lord turn not thy face away, where mercy doth abound. Mercy, good Lord. Mercy I ask to heal my deadly wound.". Below this is written, "Also to the memory of Elizabeth his last wife who died January 9 1831 (John read this as 1851 but it must be 1831) aged 59.". Elizabeth had died before Oliver but it seems that the headstone was not erected until after Oliver’s death.
There is one oddity but I don’t think that it alters the above pattern. The parish register transcript gives, for Oliver’s second marriage:
5 Jun 1818 Oliver DRING & Elizabeth WRIGHT by license with consent of parents; witnesses Jos Strangward, Sarah Strangward & John Andrews. This does not mention that Oliver was a widower but the license does. Why was the consent of parents mentioned when it would seem certain that Elizabeth was not under age? If she was 59 when she died in 1831, then she would have been about 46 when she married in 1818. I have checked her age at death in the Bishop’s Transcripts (which the Record Office provides rather than the registers) and she was definitely 59. I have not checked the original marriage entry; it may be that the transcriber made a muddle.


All, except Mary, recorded at baptism as children of Oliver & Mary.
1. WILLIAM Baptised at Brampton 29 Apr 1799. He was married at Ellington 18 Oct 1820 to Ann MEASURES. He was described in the registers as a farmer. He was buried at Ellington 1 Sep 1847 aged 48 and his widow Ann was buried there 7 Nov 1884 aged 88. In 1881 Ann had been living on the Spaldwick Road in Ellington, alone except for one servant; her birthplace was given as Ellington. William and Ann’s children detailed below follow the link:SEE BELOW.

2. MARY The burial of a Mary Dring, no details given, occurs at Ellington 30 Jan 1802. I would assume that she was a daughter of Oliver & Mary and that she had been baptised elsewhere.

3. ELIZABETH Baptised Ellington 10 Feb 1802. Married Ellington 14 Jul 1819 to William FLINT of Clapham, Northants. John Flint is William’s great great grandson. John reports that Elizabeth died in childbirth and was buried 18 Aug 1824 at Clapton, Northants.

4. OLIVER Baptised Ellington 10 Oct 1804. NO MORE YET KNOWN.

5. MARIA Baptised Ellington 1 Jun 1807. She had an illegitimate son, Samuel, in 1828 but she then married at Ellington 4 Feb 1829 Thomas FLINT, a bachelor farmer of Brampton. Witnesses were William DRING, presumably her brother and Lucy DRING. Where does Lucy fit in? Could she have been another sister whose baptism has been missed? The marriage license does not (from the index) give any extra information. John Flint reports that this Thomas FLINT was the brother of the William FLINT who married Elizabeth and that Thomas had been baptised 5 Aug 1807 at Broughton, Hunts. Maria’s son: SAMUEL DRING Baptised at Ellington 21 Sep 1828 "son of Maria DRING, illegitimate". NO MORE YET KNOWN. It may well be that he was known as a FLINT and, indeed, Thomas FLINT may well have been his father.

6. JOHNSON Baptised Ellington 1 Jun 1807. Married Ellington 14 Nov 1832 to Martha ELDERTON. She was a minor and the marriage license states that she was 20 and had the consent of her father Richard. Johnson was a farmer when he married but the admon of 1884 describes him then as an innkeeper. He died 18 Mar 1877 (the admon says 1876 in error) and was buried at Ellington 21 Mar 1877; the register records that he was aged 70 and, oddly, states also that he was the son of Oliver. His widow Martha was buried at Ellington 6 Oct 1898 aged 86; the register records that she was then living at Spaldwick. The 1881 census shows her as a widow of 68, a retired innkeeper, living alone at the "back of church" in Ellington. I haven’t found any children for Johnson & Martha.

7. MARY ANN Baptised Ellington 30 Sep 1808. Married Ellington 12 Oct 1832 to Robert WILKINSON, a farmer of Graffham.

8. HENRY Baptised Ellington 7 Jun 1811. NO MORE KNOWN but there is an 1865 baptism for a William, son of Henry & Eliza, William being described as a farmer’s son. This may fit.

9. JOHN Baptised Ellington 3 May 1812 but buried there 15 May 1812.


1. JOHN Baptised Ellington 31 Dec 1820. Described in the register as a natural child; he had clearly been conceived before his parents married and it may be that he had been born before the marriage. He was buried at Ellington 20 Apr 1870; his age was given then as 50 so he may well have been born quite some months before his parents’ marriage. He married Emma (marriage not yet found) who was buried at Ellington 1 Jul 1904 aged 71; she had been living at St Neots and had died on 28 Jun – I haven’t yet found her on the 1881 census. I have only found one child for John & Emma: HERBERT HEATHCOTE Baptised Ellington 13 Apr 1862; buried there 12 Jul 1875 age 13

2. MARY Baptised Ellington 10 Jun 1822. Married there 3 Jan 1849 to William FLACK, a publican of Spaldwick.

3. WILLIAM Baptised Ellington 6 Jun 1825. He did well in life – SEE BELOW.

4. HENRY Baptised Ellington 13 Apr 1834; buried there 11 Jul 1834 aged 20 weeks.

5. HENRY JOHNSON Baptised Ellington 24 Dec 1837; buried there 4 Mar 1863 aged 25.

The 1841 census for Ellington shows William, a farmer aged 40 (ages rounded in this census) with Ann 40, Mary 15, William 15 and Henry 3, all born in the county. John, the eldest son, was not present and had probably already left home.

He was baptised at Ellington 6 Jun 1825. The 1851 census shows him living at Wickhambrook in Suffolk as an unmarried dispenser aged 25; his birthplace was given as Northampton but I am sure that this is our William. His first child was born in Wickhambrook in the Sep quarter of 1852. The 1881 census shows that his wife’s name was Emma and that she had been born in Islington so this links us firmly to the marriage registered in the Islington district in the Sep 1851 quarter. The 1881 census shows William living in Lambeth as a retired chemist but he and his wife had moved back to St Neots by 1904. Emma was buried at Ellington, aged 71, on 1 Jul 1904 (died 28 Jun) and William was buried aged 80, also at Ellington, 22 Mar 1905 (died 17 Mar), both being described as of St Neots. The Huntingdon Post for 25 Mar 1905 described him as formerly a chemist of St Neots. His will was valued at the then very large sum of £11,559; it was proved by his sons William Ernest, a surgeon, and John, an engineer. (Will details from index only as yet.)
William and Emma had 3, possibly 4, children:

WILIAM ERNEST Born Wickhambrook 1852. He became a medical practitioner and in 1881 was living at Boughton under Bleam in Kent as a general practitioner with his wife Catherine (age 26, born at Stonehouse in Devon), a daughter Hilda Kate age 2 and an unnamed infant daughter of 3 weeks, both born at Boughton. . There was a marriage registered in the March quarter of 1878 for a William Ernest Dring in the Kensington district of London – probably our man. He was still appearing in the Medical Register in 1933 when his address was given as Elmstead, Tenterden, Kent. He had been registered in England 24 Nov 1876 and his qualifications were LRCP Edin 1876, MRCS Eng 1876, LSA Lond 1876. Checking the Medical Directories will give more information than appears in the Medical Register. The death of a William E Dring was registered in the September quarter of 1942 in the Ashford district in Kent; the age was registered as 90 which fits. My memory tells me that he was the only Dring (until Eric from Derbyshire in the 1990s) ever to be granted a coat of arms; he was I seem to remember described as a surgeon of Buckhurst Hill at this time. (Must check my old notes for this one day but cannot at present lay my hands on them; from memory I think that my source was Fairbairns (?) Book of Crests (?) – would anyone care to look up this reference in the copy at the Society of Genealogists?)

JOHN Living with his parents in Lambeth for the 1881 census, unmarried, aged 25, born St Neots, and described as a chemist. In 1897 he was of 57 Chancery Lane in London. He was described as a cycle manufacturer in 1898 and as an engineer in 1905. This must be the John who was buried at Ellington aged 70 on 20 Jan 1926 (died 16 Jan); he was then of Riverdone, Way Road, Weybridge. It must likewise be his widow, Harriet, who was buried at Ellington aged 63 on 7 Dec 1929 (died 4 Dec); she was then of Chasewood, Weybridge U.D.

HERBERT JOHNSON Living with his parents in 1881 as a medical student aged 21, born St Neots. Later married Martha Isabella. Died 5 Oct 1897 at 1 West View, Seaford, Sussex. His will was valued at £647 and was proved by his brothers William Ernest and John.


These notes have been based largely on the transcript of the Ellington registers that is available at HRO and which cover C 1608-1895, M 1608-1719 & 1727-1956, and B 1608-1722 & 1727-1967. ALL THE DRINGS fit neatly into the above pattern EXCEPT for the baptism 16 Apr 1865 of William, the son of Henry & Eliza, Henry being a framer’s son.

Dr C M Dring


Revised 7.9.0