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.