One of my fifth great grandfathers was Thomas Plaisted (1777 – 1832), who lived with his wife and family at Deptford, a dockyard district on the south bank of the Thames. Plaisted was the proprietor of a wine bar in Woolwich, five miles to the east. (When I last wrote about this, at “Plaisteds Wine Bar”, I was under the impression that his wine shop was in Deptford.)

Until recently much of what was known about Thomas Plaisted was based on Arthur Plaisted’s 1939 “The Plaisted Family of North Wilts“. In 2016, however, a new edition formatted by Claire Plaisted was published. She notes that Arthur Plaisted’s work on the Australasian branch of the family is unreliable. It should be pointed out, of course, that Arthur Plaisted was writing in the 1930s, without our easy on-line access to records and without the benefit of digitisation and machine text-searching.

When my fourth great grandfather John Plaisted died in 1858 in Melbourne, Victoria, his death certificate gave his parents as Thomas Plaisted and Lydia Plaisted née Wilks. Using the Australian system of birth, death, and marriage records, I have been able to trace my Plaisted relatives back to Thomas Plaisted – owner of the wine bar – and his wife Lydia.

On 10 June 1797 Thomas Plaisted married Lydia Wilks (Wilkes) at St Bride’s Church Fleet Street by banns. The witnesses were William Winstandly and W Finch.

Their son John was baptised on 27 April 1800 at St George the Martyr, Southwark, with seven other infants. The baptism record states that he was born on 7 April.

Two children of Thomas and Lydia had previously been baptised at the same church. Both were called Thomas, the first baptised 12 August 1798 and the second on 10 March 1799. The first Thomas died in December 1798 and was buried on 14 December at St George the Martyr. The second Thomas died about June 1799 and was buried on 2 June, also at St George the Martyr. Both infants were stated to be from New Colley Borough, perhaps near Colley Borough, a place mentioned in 1845 in the London Gazette in connection with the London-Brighton railway.

The next child whose baptism record I have seen is Tabitha, born in 1806. It seems unlikely that there were no other children born between 1800 and 1806, and I suspect their baptism records have not yet been digitised. I have found two possible burials. On 18 January 1803, Joseph from New Colley Borough, son of Thomas, was buried at St George the Martyr. On 28 March 1805, Lydia from New Colley Borough, daughter of Thomas, was buried at St George the Martyr.

While reviewing the records associated with my Plaisted forebears I discovered that the younger children of Thomas Plaisted and his wife Lydia Plaisted née Wilkes were baptised at the Ebenezer Chapel and the Plaisted family seem to have become Dissenters. Tabitha, Elizabeth and Thomas Wilks were all baptised on 8 April 1813. Lydia was baptised not long after her birth on 10 April 1814 and Ebenezer was baptised in April 1817.

Deptford Ebenezer Chapel

View of Ebenezer Chapel, an Independent Chapel that was situated on King Street in New Town, Deptford. 1840 Unknown artist. Retrieved from British Library.

On 17 June 1817 the births of these youngest 5 children were registered at Dr Williams Library:

  • Tabitha, born 25 August 1806
  • Elizabeth, born 7 March 1809
  • Thomas Wilkes, born 21 July 1811
  • Lydia, born 9 February 1814
  • Benjamin Ebenezer, born 31 January 1817

All the children were born in the Broadway parish of St Pauls Deptford.

Dr Williams’s Library was founded in 1729. Amongst its aims was that, for a small fee, it kept a central registry of births mainly (but not solely) within non-conformist families, to avoid the necessity of having to have a child baptised in the established Church of England.

John Plaisted, my fourth great grandfather, was not baptised at the Ebenezer Chapel and I have found no evidence that he was a Dissenter.

Deptford showing Ebenezer Chapel 1862

from an 1862 map of Deptford – orange arrows show the location of Broadway and the Ebenezer Chapel. Retrieved from

The Plaisted Family” has Thomas Plaisted born in Newnham-on-Severn, Gloucestershire. While it is not impossible that Thomas Plaisted moved from Gloucestershire to London, I think it is more likely that Thomas was the child of John Plaisted and Ann, born in Shoreditch on 14 October 1777 and baptised at St Leonard Shoreditch on 11 November 1777. I haven’t yet been able to verify this.

Arthur Plaisted gives Thomas’s death as 1860. In fact Thomas’s will was proved in 1832; Thomas died on 30 May one day after signing his will and was buried on 4 June at the Independent burial ground Deptford, High Street, formerly Butt Lane.

AtoZ map D

Map shows Deptford (D), Woolwich (W), St George the Martyr Southwark (So), St Bride’s Church Fleet Street (F), St Leonard Shoreditch (Sh)

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