Caroline Clarke

Caroline Clarke (also known as Caroline Bailey, later as Caroline Howlett and Caroline Coe) was an illegitimate and the oldest of the nine children of Mary Clarke of Wattisfield and Botesdale in Suffolk, England.

Caroline Clarke with grandson c.1916
Above: Caroline Coe (formerly, Howlett, née Clark), with grandson c.1915. Photo: Andrew Martin.

By the time of the 1841 census, she was living with her brother, Edward Jarman Clarke, her step-father William Bailey and her step-siblings. Her mother was absent - serving a six month hard labour sentence at Ipswich County Gaol for cruelty and mistreatment of William Bailey's children from his first marriage.

Ten years later, she appears as a House Servant to Henry Flanders of Mildenhall Road, Littleport but her surname is given as 'Caroline Bailey'.

In 1855 she was living in Mildenhall and married Thomas Howlett. At the wedding, she gave the name 'Alfred Woods, deceased' as her father but I have been unable to locate an Alfred Woods who died between 1833 and 1855, who might have been her father.

After marrying Thomas in 1855, she gave birth to their only child, but two years later she found herself as a widow at the age of 24yrs with a 2yr old daughter. Fortunately, she married Robert Coe the following year and the couple went to live at '100 Feet Bank', Downham (1871) and later at 'Bates Drove' (1891), Littleport. They did not raise any further children.

In 1891 and in 1881, she gave her place of birth as 'Watchfield, Norfolk'. Prior to this in 1871, it's just noted as 'Suffolk' and in 1861 (where the Coe surname appears as 'Cole'), it is given as 'Backthen, Norfolk'. Caroline was actually born in Wattisfield - a parish in Suffolk near to Botesdale.

Caroline outlived her first husband by 60 years; and her daughter and her son-in-law by months. She pre-deceased her second husband by about 8 years.

Life Events


  • 15th February 1835 in Wattisfield, Suffolk, England.


  • 20th July 1835 at St. Margaret's Church, Wattisfield, Suffolk, England.


  • Thomas Howlett (1835-1858) on 25th May 1855 at St. Mary's Church, Mildenhall, Suffolk, England.
  • Robert Coe (1836-1924) on 22nd October 1859 at St. George's Church, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.


Census and Residence

  • 1841: 6yrs, Back Hills, Botesdale, Suffolk, England.
  • 1851: 17yrs, Mildenhall Road, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1861: 25yrs, Mildenhall Road, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1871: 35yrs, 100 Feet Bank, Little Downham, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1881: 47yrs, Burnt Chimney Drove, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1891: 57yrs, Bates Drove, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1901: 63yrs, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1911: 77yrs, Burnt Chimney Drove, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.


  • 1851: House Servant for Henry Flanders (Farmer)


  • 21st June 1917 in the presence of Mary Gilbert at Burnt Chimney Drove, Little Downham, Cambridgeshire, England, aged 83 years. Cause of death: "1. Old Age, 2. Exhaustion - certified".


  • Not yet known.



  • Illegitimate Line
  • Illegitimate Line
  • William Clarke (17??-18??)
  • Susanna Rolf (17??-18??)

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