Curling Families DoverMy Curling Tree

The Pier District Dover Pier Map Early 18C.jpg
The pier district round the docks was once a heavily populated area.
It was a mass of narrow lanes with many homes, businesses and drinking establishments.
An Inventory for Elizabeth Curling 1667 lists “One small Tenement with the Appurtences Situate at the Peere in Dover”

The first records of Curling families in Dover, Kent are found in the early 17C. They probably arrived from Thanet where there was a large group who had been in that district for over one hundred years. These families had daughters so the name was not perpetuated by their descendents in Dover.

The arrival of James and Elizabeth Curling about 1750 and John and Ann Curling about 10 years later appears to be the first population to flourish and increase the family presence in Dover.

The difficulty with these families was to discover their origins and to see how they fit together. Parish records from around Kent, apprenticeship records, property records and Wills proved very helpful in this respect.

James, who married Elizabeth Premble in Dover 1749 was a Cordwainer. He had been apprenticed to John Fagg of Dover in 1740 by his mother Catherine Curling. This led to a family in Swingfield. Edward Curling and Catherine Roper were married there in 1717 and they had 3 sons, John, James and Edward. Their father, a cordwainer, died quite young in 1738 and his birth has never been found. All the sons were Cordwainers. James′ son James does not appear to have married in Dover and there are no further mentions of him in records. Edward moved to Dover and married there. Their youngest daughter Catherine died unmarried in 1844 and her Will naming many of her nieces and nephews was invaluable in piecing this family together.

Edward and Catherine′s eldest son John married and stayed in Swingfield but his son John became a carpenter and married Ann Hopkins in Elmstead 1768. They had a large family initially in villages nearby but eventually they too arrived in Dover. Of their 11 children only 4 appear to have survived to adulthood. James, Sarah, Ann and Richard.

John Curling died in 1807 and his Will was also very important in linking the families correctly.

Will of John Curling of Dover 1807

Written 1795 proved 1807
John Curling Carpenter Brother by law Thomas Pilcher to be executor Wife Ann Sons James and Richard Daughters Sarah and Ann Good friend Humphrey Emptage of Dover, cabinet maker to be “guardian” of his younger children Richard and Ann Land in Elmsted and Stowting occupied by Thomas Pilcher and by John Hopkins his wife′s father Land and property in Dover and Shepherdswell Witnesses Susanna Benjamin, Robert Benjamin and Robert Westfield
The will establishes John′s wife was Ann Hopkins daughter of John. The marriage record shows John Curling of Wye married Ann Hopkins at Elmstead on 15 Aug 1768. It also gives his Brother-in-Law as Thomas Pilcher. This establishes that he was a brother to Elizabeth Curling and a son of John Snr of Swingfield.

This will also lists property in various villages. Shepherdswell (where he died) is interesting because it may have come down the family from his father and wife Elizabeth Paramour. Her origins have not been definately established but there was: Elizabeth Paramour bp.24.12.1721 d/o Thomas and Katherine Paramour Shepherdswell. Perhaps she brought the property to her marriage and it was susequently inherited by the eldest son.

John and Ann′s eldest son James married Mary Mantle of Deal in Dover 1799. Their daughter Mary Ann married William Lewis 1830 and that is my link to the Curling family. Her brother continued the name in Dover as other families arrived from different origins. James died in Dover 1839.

With Thanks to Clive Boyce, LucyAnn Curling and Stephen Curling for additional information on these families.

Curling Families DoverMy Curling Tree

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Last updated April 2019
Web Page by Les Haigh. Email: (les.haigh at

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