Towards the end of 1842 the Rector of Croydon wrote a frank account of his parishioners. This is what he had to say about some of these families.
He [Christopher] canít read, his wife can. They were married and their children christened in Croydon church. He works and sleeps at Mrs Casbournís. She [Ruth] is an abusive woman. The daughter Mary [Mary Ann] bears a most shocking character. She has been living with James Gates and has been ďaskedĒ in church, but the banns have run out. Samuel [son] was a carpenter, and a free-living man; has been ill with a cough and inflammation which has turned to dropsy. I have visited him during a most painful illness, which he bore with great patience, and seemed to show a humble penitent spirit.
[Later note added re Samuel:] Died 11th January 1843.
[Further note added later:] Mary Ann was married to James Gates 30th January 1843, and they live with the Old Gates. [Old Gates later crossed out and replaced by] Simpson, the late clerk.
Sarah Lyon -- canít read -- She is a carrier to Royston & Cambridge -- She herself has a tolerable character -- but all the rest of the family are very disreputable & wild -- all the children Christened in Croydon Church -- None of them attend Church -- or but rarely -- She does our carrying business. [The Rector noted their four children:]
1. Mary 19 canít read -- laid up with a bad leg
2. Robert 21
3. William 15 [William had a child by Elizabeth Yarrow in 1846]
4. Joseph 10 in the Sunday School [Joseph was baptised Josiah, but usually styled Joseph]
In the same house:
James Lyon 26 son of the above -- can read -- Nobody knows how he lives -- & Mary.
James is just returned from prison where he had been confined for poaching. [The Rector noted his two children:]
1. Levi 5, has been Christened
2. Emily 1, has not [been Christened]
[Note added later about James]: He has taken out a game certificate this year!!
[Note added much later]: sent again to prison in July 1847 for 1.1/2 year for carrying lead that had been stolen from Wimpole Mansion
In the same house:
Robert Lyon aged & infirm.
[Note added later about Robert]: ďdeadĒ [He died 7th April 1844]
The Rector also noted that their son Joseph (i.e. Josiah) was --
one of those ... big disorderly boys who had been used always to do as they pleased, before I came, & would not submit to discipline & usually disturbed the school ... and they were all ... dismissed for unruly behaviour during 1843.