My great great great grandfather, on my mother’s side, was Sgt William Barren, who went to India early in the 19th century with the 69th Regiment. He married in India and settled there after his regiment went back to England. From his five children a great extended family grew in India, some of his descendants marrying into the Indian or Anglo-Indian community, and some with Englishmen.
William’s regiment was also known as the South Lincolnshire Regiment, levied for the war with France in 1756.1 It took part in several actions during the Napoleonic wars in the Mediterranean and the West Indies. The 1st battalion was sent to Madras and helped to put down the mutiny in Vellore. It was then sent to Mauritius, capturing the islands of Bourbon and France and then to Java. The second battalion was sent to Europe and took part in Waterloo in 1815 before also going to India.
When the regiment returned to England, William stayed behind in India, joining the Madras European Regiment.
William married Elizabeth, her surname not recorded possibly because she was Indian. It was the practice in the time of the East India Company that Indian women who married English soldiers took a European name and, if they were married by the church, went through a form of conversion to Christianity. Whether or not this was true of Elizabeth is now impossible to tell as there are no other records identifying her.
The couple had five children together. The eldest was Sarah, born in Cannanore in 1821, my great great grandmother. Then came William, born in Wallajabad in 1823, Mary Ann (who only survived 5 years) born in Kamptee in 1825, Thomas, who was born in 1828, also in Kamptee, and Alexander, born in Madras in 1830.
Sarah and Alexander had smallish families for the time but William had a large family of 10 children. William’s children went on to have many children of their own and so the Barren family proliferated in India. Alexander’s 6 children also stayed in India and had many children of their own but Sarah, who married my great great grandfather Jonathan Chadwick, only had two children who lived to adulthood. I have been unable to find any records of Thomas Barren and it is possible that he died without marrying.