Richard Forder

Martham Schoolmaster

Forder sarcophagus.

Richard Forder was born on 5th December 1794 in Rollesby. His parents were William Forder & Hannah Crow. When he was 17, he married Sarah Smith on 25th December 1811 at Ludham where Sarah came from. They had the following children:

  • Sarah Forder who was born on 27th Jun 1812 at Rollesby She was baptised at St Mary’s, Martham but died aged only three in 1815 in Martham.
  • Richard Crow Forder was born in 1815 in Martham. His middle name came from his grandmother’s maiden name. He was baptised at St Mary’s and died aged only 20 months in 1816 in Martham.
  • Sarah Smith Forder was born about 1818 in Martham. Her middle name came from her mother. She died in 1841 in Martham aged 21.
  • Eleanor Forder was born about 1819. She died in June 1826 at Martham aged seven.

Sadly, Richard’s wife Sarah also died on 29th May 1825 and is buried in the sarcophagus shown above in St Mary’s graveyard section E, plot I1.

Modern photo of what was the Free School

Eight years later Richard married again, this time to Mary Steward on 4th April 1833 at St Mary’s by which time he had become the school master at the Free School in Martham. Various records show that he was actually employed as the school master between 1815–1844*.  Richard & Mary had the following children:

  • Ann Mary Forder who was born on 6th March 1834 at Martham and was baptised at St Mary’s. She died in 1838 at Martham aged 4.
  • Elizabeth Steward Forder was born in 1835 in Martham and unlike many of Richard’s other children lived a full life until she died in 1906 at Blofield. Before that she married Benjamin Rising Purdy on 29th Dec 1857 at St Mary’s on 29th December 1857.


Richard was listed in the 1841 census with Mary when they were living at the Free  School where he stayed until his death in 1846. He was buried on 6th April that year with his first wife Sarah. His second wife, Mary, continued to live at the School House until at least 1851 but by 1871 had moved to Repps Road and was living on a pension.

* Electoral Register: Bet. 1832–1836 at Free School, Martham (master of the Free School, his salary was obtained from land owned and let by the Trustees of the school). Electoral Register: Bet. 1840–1841 in Martham. Electoral Register: 1844 in Free School, Martham, occupier of Free School.

The Forder sarcophagus is at plot I1.

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