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Dawson “Foakett” (1753-1837)

Amy’s paternal great grandfather

This surname is very difficult to research. I have kept the spelling of names as given in the parish registers and other sources. 

According to his age at his death, Dawson was born in 1753. He married Mary Atkinson on 8th October 1783 in Holy Trinity, King’s Court, York, when his occupation was stated as a soldier in the 15th Regiment of Light Dragoons.

Mary was the daughter of William Atkinson, translator, and Mary Browne and was baptised on 14 January 1768 in Holy Trinity, King’s Court in York. Her parents had married on the 25th January 1767 in the same church.

Another descendant of Dawson has told me that he served in the regiment from 1770 to 1789.

With the way in which the regiment travelled around the country so much, it may be impossible to ever find out where Dawson came from, and moreover what the original surname was, without a trip to the National Archives to study the surviving documents for the regiment.

Tracking where the regiment went is partly possible through using old newspapers. From these, it appears that the regiment was in the Wimbledon area during 1770, after which they were sent to York, so he may have enlisted in either place. Not long after they married, the regiment must have set off for Norfolk.

On the 1st of November 1783, the Norfolk Chronicle reported that “On Monday a troop of the 15th regt. of Light Dragoons, commanded by Gen. ELLIOTT, marched into Lynn, for winter quarters, in order to assist the Revenue Officers against the smugglers, who are arrived to the most daring height ever remembered.

St Nicholas Blakeney FTF Places of Worship © tasdev

And on November 15th 1783, the Chronicle reported that “On Saturday night last the Excise Officers from Lynn, assisted by a party of Gen. ELLIOTT’s Light Dragoons, seized at Thornham 89 half-ankers of rum, geneva, and brandy, which they conveyed to the Excise Office there on Sunday morning. And on Wednesday evening the Excise Officers, assisted by the Dragoons as above, carried to the Excise Office there, 36 half-ankers of geneva which they seized the preceding night at Hunstanton.”

On December 13th 1783, “On Sunday last the Excise Officers, assisted by a party of Gen. ELLIOTT’s Light Dragoons, quartered in Lynn, seized at Hunstanton, 109 tubs of geneva, etc. which was secreted in the sands. They conveyed it safe to the Excise Office the same evening. And on Monday a party of the same regiment brought to the Excise Office there a cart and two horses with a small quantity of tea.”

The dragoons were active along the Norfolk coast between 1783 and 1785: “During this period, the regiment frequently furnished a number of detached parties along the coasts, to aid the officers of the revenue in the prevention of smuggling, which proved a particularly harassing service.“ Historical record of the fifteenth, or the king’s regiment of light dragoons. By Richard Cannon.

For more information on where the regiment were during Dawson’s time with them, see “On the trail of the regiment” (to come later) .

Extract from the parish register of St Nicholas, Blakeney for 1784.

Dawson and Mary’s first child was baptised Ann Folgate on the 31st of August, 1784 at St. Nicholas’s church in  Blakeney, Norfolk.

“Lord Harcourt’s Dragoons have the Sussex duty. Chichester is to be their headquarters.”
World – June 1789.

Dawson and Mary settled in Chichester where all their other children were baptised.

All Saints, Chichester

Louisa FALKITT (1790- ) was baptised on 26 October 1790 in All Saints, Chichester, Sussex. Her daughter was baptised as Julianna FAUCKETT on the 19th September 1808 at Saint Pancras, Chichester. She married James Hope BRUNTON on 14 June 1813 in Chichester by Licence. The witnesses were John and Ann Reed.

William FALGATE (1793- ) was baptised on 5 June 1793 in All Saints.

Samuel FOLKETT (1795-1879) was baptised on 14 June 1795 in All Saints. He was variously a constable, house agent and shoemaker. Samuel married Frances Ancell of Lavant on the 26th October 1812 at Saint Mary’s, Portsea and they had 12 children. Their eldest son, John was baptised in Chichester in 1815.

Samuel appeared in the census in 1841 in St Pancras, Chichester with his family.  He appeared in the census in 1851 lodging in High Street, Winchester, Hampshire listed as a married constable while Frances was in St Pancras. He was presumably only there for a short time, as the West Sussex Record Office lists a Letter from the Duke of Richmond’s tenants living in St. Pancras, Chichester, complaining about Samuel Folkett, dated 28th February 1852. In 1861 and 1871, he was still in St Pancras, though his children had mostly left the city by 1871. He was buried on 27 December 1879 in Chichester.

John FOLKET (1801-1804) was baptised on 29 July 1801 at St Peter the Great and was buried on 31 May 1804 in Chichester.

Robert FOLKET (1802- ) was baptised on 18 April 1804 at St Peter the Great, father transcribed as Tounsom Folket.

Infant FOLKET ( -1806) died in 1806.  He/she was buried on 31 December 1806 in Chichester.

Mary was buried on 2 February 1826 at St Peter the Great  and Dawson FORGET married Katherine FITZPATRICK on 20 April 1829 in the same church.

Dawson and Catherine had one child:

Edward FOCKITT (1828- ) was baptised on 2 September 1828 in St Peter the Great. His parents were living in Somerstown and Dawson was a labourer.

The workhouse chapel, Broyle Road

Dawson FOLGAT died of decay of nature on 22 September 1837 in Chichester, Sussex. The informant was John Reed, tailor, son-in-law, of West Street. The Registrar was James CHEESMAN. His occupation then was given as a publican. He was buried on 27 September 1837 from the Poor House, according to the parish register for St Peter the Great.

Edward was living opposite the barracks next to Summersdale in Chichester with his mother and her new husband, John Eames, on the 6th June 1841. The next building listed is Old Broyle Farm. Catherine and John had been married on the 9th May 1841 at St Marys, Portsea. Catherine and John were living at New Broyle, Chichester in 1851, but Edward does not appear there with them.

An Emma FALKETT born in 1780 was buried at St Pancras in Chichester on 20th January 1822. I have found no connection with the rest of the family …… of course, she could even be a child by a former marriage.

A Mary FALKETT (-1797) was buried on 5 December 1797 at All Saints, Chichester. No age is given. I haven’t found any references yet for her baptism, so where she was born is a mystery, maybe in the 6 year gap between Ann being baptised in Norfolk and Louisa in Chichester – if of course she is actually one of their children!!

Their oldest daughter, Ann, married John Reed in Chichester.  See John Reed (1762-1799).


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