Robert & Hephzibah Bishop
of Cley-next-the-Sea

Robert Bishop
Robert Bishop

Robert Benjamin Bishop, a son of William and Frances, was born in Cley-next-the-sea, Norfolk, on 28 August 1858.

Hephzibah Bishop
Hephzibah Bishop

Hephzibah Gooch Cornwell, the illegitimate daughter of William Gooch and Elizabeth Cornwell was born in Glandford on 1 June 1861.

Robert married Hephzibah in Cley-next-the-sea on 21 November 1878. His sister Florence Bishop was a witness at the marriage. Robert and Hephzibah appear to have had 12 children:

Mary Ann Beatrice

Q4 1879

William Benjamin

1 Jan 1881

bap. 6 Feb 1881

Florence Elizabeth

Q2 1882

bap. 20 Aug 1882


2 Apr 1884

Margery Julia

13 Dec 1885

bap. 25 Mar 1886


23 Dec 1887

bap. 12 Feb 1888

Anna Maria

27 Oct 1889

bap. 24 Nov 1889

Lucy May

30 May 1892

bap. 11 Jul 1892

Robert Ramm

26 Mar 1895

bap. 24 Apr 1895

Martha (Pat)

1 Jan 1899

bap. 19 Feb 1899

Clement Edward

9 Feb 1901

bap. 17 Mar 1901

Irene Edna 

15 Nov 1902

bap. 20 Dec 1902

Robert worked for most of his life as an agricultural labourer and later as a fisherman, and for many years lived in what is now called Hill Top House, on Cley Hill. In 1881 he was shown living at Hill Side, and in 1901 at Hill Top. After retiring he became the first warden of the Cley Marshes bird reserve from 1926 until 1937.

At Hilltop - 1939
Robert, Hephzibah, unknown, Syd Hunnisett (grandson), unknown
outside Hill Top in June 1939 - photo tinted by Syd Hunnisett

Robert died on 19 August 1941 and Hephzibah on 29 November 1941.

Of their children:

  • Mary was never shown with her parents at any census. In 1881 she was with Robert’s married sister, Anna Lewis, and incorrectly recorded as her daughter, Mary A B Lewis. In 1891 she was still with Francis and Anna Lewis but this time shown as their niece, Beatrice Bishop. In 1901 she was recorded as a waitress in Islington, but she has not been traced after that.

  • William was a labourer and later a fisherman. On 3 April 1902 he married Sarah Ann Barnard in Cley. Sarah already had a son, Herbert Wall Barnard, born in 1897 and said to be William's, who was brought up by an uncle, Ellis Barnard. William and Sarah's acknowledged children were:

    Ellis William

    Q4 1901


    Ernest Frederick

    16 Oct 1903

    bapt. 6 Dec 1903 Cley

    Phyllis M

    Q1 1909


    Magnus Benjamin

    Q4 1911


    William Francis

    Q1 1914


    Dorothy E

    Q2 1917


    Ernest was baptised in Cley but the family later moved to Blakeney, where they were living in Temple Place in 1911.

    • Herbert Barnard married Rose Oram in 1920 and had a son Ellis.

    • Ellis Bishop married Helen Oldfield in 1927 and they had 4 children.

    • Magnus married Marjorie Pearsons and they had 2 daughters, Lorna and Judith.

    • William, or Billy Bishop as he was known was born in Blakeney in about 1914. He married Joyce Ellen Brett in Cley in 1937 and they lived in Cley where he followed in his grandfather’s footsteps to become the warden of the Norfolk Naturalist Trust bird reserve from 1937 until 1978 when his son Bernard took over as warden. They had four children, Ann, David, Jeffrey and Bernard. During his retirement Billy lived in a house called Avocet and wrote a book, 'Cley Marsh and it's birds'. He died in 1986.

    • Dorothy married William Allen in 1936 and they had five children.

  • Florence went into service and in 1901 she was a housemaid in St Marylebone, London. She married a bookbinder, Fred Rogers in 1911, lived in Tottenham and had three children:

    Gladys M

    Q1 1913


    Frederick C

    Q1 1915


    Violet G

    Q3 1916


    • Gladys lived in Eastbourne

    • Violet married a farmer in Norfolk.

  • Edith went into service and in 1901 was a housemaid in Ware, Hertfordshire. Later she was in Eastbourne, Sussex, where she married Jonathan Caleb Hunnisett.

  • Marjorie married William Laws in 1921 and lived on a farm at Guist. They had two children:

    Sydney H 

    Q3 1922


    Robert W

    Q4 1926


  • Gertrude married Albert Trebble in 1907 and in 1911 they were living in Muswell Hill where Albert worked as an assistant butcher. Later Albert ran a small chain of butchers and lived near Alexandra Palace. Their children were:

    Irene Louisa

    Q3 1908


    Phyllis Marjorie

    Q2 1910

    Barnet (died 1917 aged 6)

    Albert L

    Q3 1913


    Harold J

    Q2 1919

    Edmonton (died 1936 aged 17)

    Gertrude Grace

    Q1 1921


    • Irene married Howard Pickett in 1929 and they had 4 children; Nita, Joyce, Kenneth and Norman.

    • Albert married Joyce Holden in 1938 and ran one of his father's butcher's shops. They appear to have had 4 children; Rosemary, Edward, Jill and Jack.

    • Gertrude was always known as Grace. She married Arthur Moore in 1945 and they had two children; Hilary and Geoffrey. She then appears to have married George West in 1952 and had a further son, Richard.

  • Annie, like her sister Edith, was in service in Eastbourne and married a local man, Fred Pitcher, in 1914. They had four sons:

    Frederick E

    Q2 1914


    George R

    Q1 1920


    Victor R

    Q3 1923


    Alan A C

    Q3 1930


    Fred became manager of a local dairy and later ran a grocery store in Seaside, Eastbourne. The store was on the corner of Alma Road, which no longer exists, and next to what is now 212 Seaside (268 before the renumbering).

    Fred died in 1965 and Annie in 1976.

    • Fred married Josephine Dryden in 1938 and had three children, Jane, John and Frederick.

    • George married Olive Stain in 1939 and they had a daughter, Valerie. During WWII George was a signalman with 9/11th Indian Division Signals and was believed killed in action. However he was actually captured by the Japanese and held at Taihoku #6 (Taipei) on Formosa (Taiwan) until the end of the war. He subsequently married Brenda Hunt.

    • Victor married Patricia Kelly in 1946 and had two children; Tony and Jacqueline.

    • Alan married Violet Summerhayes in 1954 but they divorced and he married Jean Coghill with whom he had two children.

  • Lucy married a policeman and they emigrated to Canada.

  • Robert lived in or near Cley and married Hilda May Piggott on 2 July 1921. They are known to have had three children born in Cley:

    William Robert

    13 Feb 1923


    12 Nov 1929


    20 Oct 1931

  • Martha, always known as Pat, completed her education in Bolton staying with friends of the family (the Cornwells ?). She married Walter Stapleton in 1922, lived in Yaxham and they had two children:

    Mabel Dorothy

    Q3 1922


    Ronald W

    Q3 1927


    Walter died in 1976 and Pat later moved to Norwich to be nearer to her son, Ron, and her daughter, Dorothy. Pat was still living in Sprowton, Norwich, when we visited her in 1992, but died the following year, aged 94.

  • Clement appears to have married Mary Masterson in 1929 and had at 3 children:

    Clement R

    Q4 1931

    St Albans

    Maureen E

    Q3 1934


    John B

    Q3 1936

    St Albans

  • Irene married Walter Wordingham in 1923 and they had at least 3 children:

    Pearl M

    Q1 1925


    Eileen E

    Q4 1926


    Leonard W

    Q4 1933