St Mary’s, which had served the village for centuries, was oddly enough one of two churches that stood just a few yards from each other. St Margaret’s occupied a neighboring spot, but it was already falling into ruins. Today, only the tower of St Margaret’s survives, completely covered in ivy.

James married Elizabeth Dyball in 1836. Five years later in the census of 1841, he and Elizabeth were already the parents of three children, ages 4, 2 and 5 months. James’ elder sister Ann was living with them. James appears on every census from 1841 through to the beginning of the next century, so it’s possible to get a reasonably clear picture of his family through the years. Mostly, he described himself as an agricultural laborer - an occupation through which it was becoming increasingly difficult to sustain a family. Twice in public records James was more specific, referring to his job either as a “vermin destroyer” or a “bird destroyer.” In any event, the farms around Antingham - low, gently rising hills skirted with woods - were his daily place of work. At age 65, his wife Elizabeth was helping the couple’s income by taking in laundry.

James fathered nine children, including a boy also called James who died at five years old. It was the last two sons, however - another James and Lewis - who broke with the agricultural tradition of centuries and tried their hands at the coal mines of northern England. James Sr. lived to the great age of 92, but his wife, Elizabeth, a few years his junior, managed to outlive him. She died in 1907.

James Dix and Elizabeth Dyball
  Antingham, Norfolk, England
James Dix: 
Born 1812 Antingham, Norfolk, England
Elizabeth Dyball: 
Born 1818 Roughton, Norfolk, England

Elizabeth Dix - Born 1837 Norfolk
Ann Dix - Born 1839 Antingham, Norfolk
Ellen Dix - Born 1841 Antingham, Norfolk
George Dix - Born 1842 Antingham, Norfolk
James Dix - Born 1845 Antingham, Norfolk
Sarah Dix - Born 1847 Antingham, Norfolk
Mary Ann Dix - Born 1849 Antingham, Norfolk
James Dix - Born 1851 Antingham, Norfolk
Lewis Dix - Born 1853 Antingham, Norfolkdix_lewis_and_mary_1853.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0

Of the six children of Matthew and Martha Dix, the last son, James, is the one whose children and descendants are most thoroughly described on this website. James lived on farms all his long life, at times catching the birds and rodents that fed on the farmers’ crops. His rural life coincided with times of dramatic change in the fortunes of those living on the land in England. He died at the age of 92. 

James Dix was the last of the children of Matthew and Martha Dix, and like the others was christened at the parish church of St Mary, in the village of Antingham, near the northern coast of Norfolk. It was 1812, the year that marked the major turning point in Napoleon’s war in Europe. For the rustic villages of Norfolk, the long war had brought food shortages and high prices, and there would be far-reaching consequences for English farming in the years ahead.

Above: St. Mary’s, Antingham, the place of worship for the James Dix family.

Right: Inside St Mary’s parish church.

Above: Typical farmland surrounding Antingham today. It was in these fields that the Dix farm laborers earned their living. But farming in England was undergoing dramatic changes.

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For details of the family tree of Matthew Dix and Martha Thornton, click on the WorldConnect icon below. This will open a window for these individuals in the Otterson-Berry family tree at, a free site.