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Isaac Axford and Hannah Lightfoot.

In September 1985 Notes and Queries published an article by B. Wood-Holt about Isaac Axford in which it was claimed that his parents were William and Hester Axford from Erlestoke. However, it is now known that their son, Isaac was born in 1742/3. He became an officer in the Bengal Infantry and died in India in 1769.(1)

Further research has identified the parents of Isaac who married the Quakeress, Hannah Lightfoot, as William Axford and his wife Susannah (Exton). The family were Baptists and William is recorded as being a witness for the licence of a new meeting house built in Bratton in 1734 where he subsequently became a Deacon.

Isaac's religion has been the subject of much speculation. Was he a Quaker or not? We can see that his immediate family were members of the Baptist church. Some of his other relations were Quakers. At some point Isaac must have been baptized into the Established Church because on 3 December 1759 he married Mary Bartlett in the Established Church in Erlestoke and he is buried in the churchyard of the Established Church of St Denys, Warminster. Several of their children were baptized and buried in the Established Church.

It has been discovered that an adult baptism took place on 24 May 1747 at St Martin, Ludgate, close to the grocer's shop where Isaac had recently begun his apprenticeship. His employer, John Barton was known to be an ardent church-goer. The name of the sixteen-year-old man is given as Isaac Sylvester Axford. There is no trace of this man in any other records. Is it possible that Isaac was baptized at the church giving himself the additional name of Sylvester which, as a Saint's name, might indicate his date of birth?


1 See 'List of the Officers of the Bengal Army, 1758-1834' by Major V. C. P. Hodson.

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Author:Mitchell, Sheila; Axford, W. Ian
Publication:Notes and Queries
Date:Sep 1, 1996
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