Born: Ditcheat and baptised 1 Jan 1745 in Castle Cary, Somerset
Parents: Isaac Oram 1705-1791 and Sarah Higgins ?-?
Siblings: George Oram 1734-?, Samuel Oram 1738-1801, Sarah Oram 1740-1812, Matthew Oram 1747-?, George Oram 1750-?, Jane Betty Oram 1752-?, David Oram 1757-1840
Married: on 11 Nov 1771 Elizabeth Clare 1747-1795 at Ditcheat, Somerset
Died: 1802 and buried in Ditcheat, Somerset
See map at the bottom of this page for places mentioned in the text
NB Under construction – needs checking
Isaac is the earliest member of our family mentioned in documents handed down to us. His name heads a list transcribed from the lost family bible of his grandson John Oram 1824-1907.
Isaac was the second son of Isaac Oram and his second wife Sarah Higgins who had married and lived in Ansford. Isaac was baptised on 1 January 1745 in Ansford BUT it was noted in the parish register that his ‘abode’ was Ditcheat. So Isaac and Sarah must have made the four kilometre move to Ditcheat, where Sarah had been living when she married Isaac, after their second child Sarah was born. Later John Oram 1800-1891, another of their grandsons called John, lived in Alhampton, a hamlet to the south of Ditcheat. It is not known if Isaac and Sarah moved straight to Alhampton or somewhere else within the parish of Ditcheat.
History of Ditcheat and the Oram family
Isaac and his family were not the first Orams to have lived in Ditcheat. Di Clements in her booklet on the village included:
By 1592 we know who is on the Muster Roll and has to be prepared to go and fight for his King. We even know what weapons they used. Amongst others there were John and Thomas Oram, archer and billman.
[though at that time “his King” would have been Queen Elizabeth 1 who reigned 1559-1603]
Di Clements’ other Oram reference is to a William Oram, a tenant in a house in 1780, who may have been related to Isaac or from a family already resident in Ditcheat.
Methodists: By the eighteenth century the Church of England had a rival; the brothers Wesley had preached many times in the area and made many converts including William Kingston. At first they had no Chapel in which to worship but used private houses which had to be licensed.
By 1780 the following house was in use “Part of the Dwelling house of Edward Arnold of Alhampton in Ditcheat (now in the possession of William Oram) is intended for the public worship of Almighty God as Protestant Dissenters.” This house is towards the top of Alhampton Lane. William signed this and his signature was witnessed by Benjamin and Joseph Bond. At the bottom: “Certified proper notice of the above was given. Dissenters are commonly called Methodists. Anyone making a disturbance is liable to prosecution.”
We have our own family oral tradition based on a letter written in 1935 by Alfred Oram, a great-grandson of Isaac 1745-1802:
“I was told (by my father) that the Orams had lived in that parish [ie Ditcheat] and were churchwardens continuously from pre-reformation times and the name, he said was to be found in the parish records of all those centuries.”
As more parish records come available we can test this assertion, but it is doubtful that we are direct descendants of John and Thomas, archer and billman. Likewise it is unlikely that there was always an Oram in the list of churchwardens, but worth investigating.
Isaac’s marriage to Elizabeth Clare in 1771
On 11 November 1771 Isaac married Elizabeth Clare whose family name starts to appears in the village records in the mid 1700s. Please see Elizabeth Clare’s entry for notes on her family. Isaac and Elizabeth has two sons, John born in 1772 and James born in 1774 who were both baptised in Ditcheat.
Isaac and the male members of his family were probably either market gardeners or agricultural labourers working on the many farms in the area. Helena Oram, who can also trace her roots back to the Ansford, reports that the oral tradition in her branch is that the family were market gardeners for many generations. Some of the girls may have worked in the silk mill that was established in Ditcheat by the end of the eighteenth century.
View Isaac b1705, Isaac b1745, John b1772, John 1801-1891 in a larger map
Birthplace of John Cox Oram 1866-1876, son Mary Oram and grandson John Oram 1800-1891
Sarah Oram b1833, daughter of John Oram 1800-1891 married William A Court. They lived with his elderly aunt in North Cadbury