The Mathesons in 1871 and 1891

I have already recorded Sir James and Dame Mary Jane at Lews Castle in 1861 and her presence there again in 1881. However, in 1871 they were at their London home and she is found there again in 1891.

That home was 13 Cleveland Row and British History Online gives a thorough description: Cleveland Row

The building called ‘Stornoway House’, which can be clearly seen on the plans in the document, was the Matheson residence from 1844 until 1896.

It has a large bay-window that looks the few hundred feet across the corner of Green Park to a rather well-known residence – Buckingham Palace…

Countess of Dunmore in 1871

I have had great difficulty in finding more records of the family but, when I recalled that the 7th Earl of Dunmore had married Lady Gertrude Coke (5 Jul 1847-28 Nov 1943) on 5 Apr 1866, I thought it just possible that she might make an appearance at Holkam Hall:

The Earl of Leicester, Head, Widower, Temporarily Absent
Lady Winifred Coke, 23, Daughter
Lady Mildred Coke, 17, Daughter
Countess of Dunmore, 23, Daughter, Visitor
Lady Evelyn Murray, 3, Granddaughter
Lady Muriel Murray, 1 Granddaughter

There were another thirty-one staff in the household, and that is before we include those in the Stables, the Gardener’s House, the Vinery, the Garden Cottage and the two Lodges, who add another twenty-six to the total!

Back in Rodel, Farm Grieve Angus Kerr has married House Maid Lexy Morrison whilst John Robson Macdonald continues as Factor to the 7th Earl’s South Harris Estate, the North Harris one having been sold some 4 years earlier. Stocking Knitting has taken-off in Strond and St Clement’s Church is undergoing restoration

All this a world-away from Holkam Hall, although it, too, is sited on a beautiful part of Britain’s coast:
Coincidentally, Angus Kerr’s ‘1st Cousin 3 times removed’, my Dad, is buried within a couple of miles of Holkam Hall…

Alexander Edward Murray, 6th Earl of Dunmore in 1841

1 Grafton Street, Mayfair, London
Earl of Dunmore, 34
Countess of Dunmore, 28
Lady C Murray, 4
Lady G Murray, 2
Viscount Fincastle, 1

There are 17 more people (11 women and 6 men) and their specific roles are not recorded but two of the women, like the Earl himself, were born in Scotland.

Alexander (1 June 1804 – 15 July 1845) was the son of George Murray, 5th Earl of Dunmore but the figure on the census is clearly ’34’. The census was taken on the night of the 6th June 1841, just five days after the Earl’s 37th birthday!

On 27 September 1836, he had married Lady Catherine Herbert (31 October 1814-12 February 1886), daughter of the 11th Earl of Pembroke.

Lady C Murray was Susan Catherine Mary Murray (1837-27 April 1915)
Lady G Murray was Constance Euphemia Woronzow Murray (1838-16 March 1922)
Viscount Fincastle was Charles Adolphus Murray, 7th Earl of Dunmore (24 March 1841–27 August 1907)

It is quite nice to have this one glimpse of the family together for, of course, Alexander died just four years later leaving the countess to act as ‘Tutor’ running the 4 year-old 6th Earl’s affairs, including those on Harris…

Charles Murray, 7th Earl of Dunmore in 1881

We find the Murray family at 109 Cromwell Road, Kensington, London. The household comprises:

Earl of Dunmore, 40,Peer of the Realm,  b. London, Middlesex
Countess of Dunmore, 33, b. Holkham, Norfolk
Lady Emily Murray, 13, b. Edinburgh
Lady Muriel Murray, 11, b. London, Middlesex
Lady Grace Murray, 8, b. Dunmore
Lady Alexandra Murray, 3, b. London, Middlesex

Frederica Chapman, 20, Governess, b. London, Middlesex
Annie Giles, 41, Lady’s Maid, b. Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire
Esther Murrow, 25, Nurse, b. Wells, Somerset
Margaret Baptie, 18, Nurserymaid, b. Carberry, Musselburgh
Rebecca Turner, 20, Nurserymaid, b. Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire

Elizabeth James, 45, Housemaid, b. St Dennis, Cornwall
Edith Black, 22, Houemaid, b. Chilin, Kent
Marion Morrison, 24, Cook, b. Strond, Harris
Jane Laurence, 21, Kitchen Maid, b. Chelsea, Middlesex
Richard Fisher, 38, Butler, b. North Berwick
Lewis Kinder, 17, Page, b. London, Middlesex

I hadn’t realised that this Earl had married a grand-daughter of Thomas Coke (pronounced ‘cook’!) of Holkham, 1st Earl of Leicester, who was an agricultural reformer best known for his work with cattle, sheep and pigs. He is perhaps not quite as famous as the earlier ‘Turnip’ Townshend who’s estate at Raynham is a few miles inland from Holkham and who introduced the four-field sytem of crop rotation to Britain.

However, what stands-out the most in this list, after one has noted that it takes eleven servants to support the six members of the family, is the presence of a lass from Strond in Harris. Marion Morrison, at the young age of twenty-four,  is in that powerful and well-respected role of Cook!

There are two Marion Morrison candidates but the most likely one  is the daughter of Donald Morrison, a Fisherman, and his wife Mary who in 1851, prior to Marion’s birth, were one of the 44 families at Port Esgein.

Her story of how she came to become Cook to the family of the owner of her island home, and living in a house almost as tall as the hills behind the house she was born in, is one that would wonderful to be told.

Oh, and she is one of the very few people  that I have found in the all the censuses of England whose birthplace is given as ‘Harris’, let-alone, ‘Strond’!

One Man and His Pub

The Man
This is a tale from my Mother’s family and the ‘action’ takes place in Maidstone, Kent where James Bushnell was born in 1829. His parents were Joseph Bushnell, an Ironmonger from Lambeth in London, and Elizabeth Weekes who came from (I think!) a farming background in East Sussex.

James, like all the men in this family, learned the trade of the Smith (both Black and White) and lived and worked at the family’s Ironmongery Shop in Week Street in the centre of Maidstone which is where the 22 year-old was in 1851.
(Their neighbour was a Hatter & Glover whose daughter married one of James’ three brothers, but that is incidental to this story save for it being the union from which I am descended)

The Pub
The Market House Inn sits on the North side of Earl Street and was earlier known as The Coal Barge Inn. In Pigot’s 1840 Directory it appears at 14, Earl Street with John Furminger landlord. Pigots 1840

A modern-day image and description can be found on the English Heritage site here: Market House Inn

A decade later, at the time of the 1851 census, the Licensed victualler is one Charles Homer, a 36 year-old hailing from Lambeth in London and he is recorded there too in an 1855 Directory.

The Man AND The Pub
In the last-quarter of 1852 James Bushnell married Jane Usmar. Her father was a Licensed Victualler and in 1851 she was living with her brother who ran the ‘Rose and Crown’ in Maidstone High Street. Having married-into this particular pub-running dynasty, it comes as no great surprise to find Melville’s Directory of 1858 listing the landlord of the Market House as one James Bushnell.

What the directory does not tell us is that with James were his wife Jane and their two daughters, aged 4 and 3, plus their infant son. A couple of years later their world was shattered when, in May/Jun 1860, Jane Usmar died. She was just 35 years old. By September of that same year, James’ Mother was also dead and it must have been particularly devastating for his children to have lost both their mother and one of their grandmothers within a few months of each other.

Thus it was that the census next year listed the inhabitants of the Market House as:

James Bushnell, 32, Licensed Victualler, Widower, 32
Elizabeth Bushnell, 7, Daughter
Frederick Bushnell, 4, Son
Ann Jukes, 18, Barmaid
William Harding, Ostler

James’ other daughter, 6 year-old Alice, was at his father’s house but whether this was by chance or an ongoing arrangement following the trauma of the previous year I cannot be certain.

In the final-quarter of 1861 James Bushnell married 25 year-old Frances Jackson, daughter of a deceased Engineer and his Milliner wife and hailing from…Lambeth in London. Seven years later, her sister, Rosanna, married James’ brother, Joseph in what was to prove to be not the last marital link between these two particular families.

Kelly’s Directories of 1862 and 1867 each record James manning the pumps in the pub and, coincidentally, it is in each of those years that Frances bears him another child, bringing his tally to five.

However, as if fate hadn’t been cruel enough to James already, in Jan/Mar 1868 the 32 year-old Frances was taken from him. Her children were only 1 and 4 years old.

Thus it was that the 1871 census, as that of the previous decade, showed sadness at the Market House:

James Bushnell, 42, Licensed Victualler
Elizabeth Bushnell, 17, Daughter
Clara Bushnell, 7, Daughter
James A Bushnell,3,  Son
Martha Maston, 51, Housekeeper

Alice was, again, ‘abroad’ but this time on the Weeks’ family farm in Sussex whilst her younger brother was ‘AWOL’ but thankfully reappears in rude health in future records! James’ sister, Elizabeth, had married a Thomas Weekes and it was with them that Alice was staying. (It is to be assumed that this Thomas Weekes was of the same Sussex family as his wife’s Mother but I have not explored that particular web in detail.)

In the final-quarter of 1871 James Bushnell married Maria Jackson, the sister of his previous wife. This was not only his third marriage but also the third marriage between a Bushnell ‘boy’ and a Jackson ‘girl’ of the same families.

Kelly’s Directory of 1874 includes the, almost inevitable, record of James in charge of pub and seven years later in 1881 the occupants are:

James Bushnell, 52, Licensed Victualler
Maria Bushnell, 44, Wife
Frederick Usmar Bushnell, 24, Son, Compositor (Printer)
Alice Bushnell, 22, Daughter, Assistant
Clara Ellen Bushnell, 17, Daughter, Assistant
James Arthur Bushnell, 13, Son
Elizabeth Weekes, 53, Visitor, Farmers Wife
Elizabeth Jackson, 55, Visitor

With the exception of James’ eldest child, daughter Elizabeth, this was the whole family living and, in most cases, working together. The two ‘Visitors’ are of note as Elizabeth Weekes was James’ sister and Elizabeth Jackson was Maria’s. In fact this record is one of those that is particularly helpful in helping to solve the three-dimensional jigsaw-puzzle of people, places and times that we call genealogy.

Another tragedy was to strike James and Maria for, although they had had no children together, his daughter, and her step-daughter and niece, Clara Ellen died in 1890 at the age of 27.

The Post Office Directory of 1891 lists James for the final time and the census of that year provides:

James Bushnell, 62, Licensed Victualler
Maria, 53, Wife
Arthur, 23, Son, General Assistant
Emily Harris, 27, Domestic Servant
Ellen Fuller, 19, Domestic Servant

By 1901, James and Maria had retired after his having been the landlord for at least 33 years and those who followed at the Market House according to the Post Office directory were:

1903 Charles Dann
1913 William James Rendell
1918 Frederick W Pearce
1922 Fredk W Pearce
1930 Wm Patrick
1938 Mrs Ellen Hamilton

A total of five different people in a period of 35 years.

And of the four remaining children, for whom the one constant in their lives appears to have been their father and his pub?

Arthur James became an Upholsterer’s Assistant,.
Frederick Usmar (who was given his second name only following the death of his mother, Jane Usmar) became a Jobbing Printer, married and had at least seven children.
Of the two girl’s, Elizabeth and Alice, I have yet to find any further record…

Note: Some of the relationships between people, places and events that I have described have only come to light in the process of writing this narrative – the facts were to hand but it was only in the weaving of the tale that they showed themselves to me.

An Unintended Consequence of Victorian Apprenticeships

One interesting and unusual aspect of Victorian life was how young men were trained in particular skilled occupations.

The son of a blacksmith, for example, (sometimes even if following in his father’s footsteps) would be taken under the wing of another craftsman for his apprenticeship. Literally ‘under the wing’ because the lad would not only work with his mentor but actually become part of the household.

(Anyone who has been ‘taught’ to drive by a parent will be able to empathise with the benefit of being apprenticed outside the family!)

Often these apprenticeships would take the form of a reciprocal arrangement whereby the families exchanged sons and, sometimes, this would result in an even closer tie between the two families if there happened to be a daughter ‘available’ and a marriage ensued.

Daughters, if they did not meet a match as a by-product of these apprenticeships, would almost certainly go into domestic service. This was the predominant form of female employment until WWI spurred the process, albeit hesitatingly, of allowing women into the wider workplace.

Domestic Servants were often the daughters of friends or relatives in what appears to have been a similar system to that in place for the male apprentices.

They, too, might make a match with a member of the hosting household, more usually a fellow employee, and thus it was that Victorian society (which was far more geographically mobile than is often assumed) aided the dispersion and social mobility of (skilled working-class/aspiring lower-middle class) families, a fact attested to by comparison of the locations of surnames over time.

A Victorian Gamekeeping ‘Dynasty’

My great, great grandfather, George Ashby, was born circa 1813 in Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire. Even today, it is a sleepy, ‘unspoilt’, one-pub village, accessible solely by single-track roads yet lying only a few miles from the busy town of Welwyn and the A1(M). One thing that has changed is that the humble, ancient cottage that George was born in (which I identified by walking in the footsteps of the Census enumerator) would probably cost a cool three, four or five-hundred-thousand pounds today…

By 1841 George had moved to Kent and was married to Jane Wood with whom he produced no less than eight children between the years 1836 and 1860. Their four sons were Joseph, William, Charles, and Alfred Edwin.

The 1841 Census shows that there were several Gamekeeping Ashby’s still living in this part of Hertfordshire and, given that this was a profession that was handed-down the generations, I am quite certain that they were related to George, either as brothers or as cousins.

Having moved to Kent, where his wife was born, George spent the next 50+ years living and working at several locations but all within a small geographical area and on one, or at most two, estates.

1841 Park Barns near The Hermitage, Larkfield, Aylesford, Kent.
There were two other Gamekeepers and a Bailiff, amongst others, in residence and, as Jane was elsewhere, perhaps they were engaged upon a hunt at the time?

1851 Hermitage Woods, Aylesford, Kent.
George, Jane and their five children are recorded living here. Although the precise location remains unknown it appears to be part of the same Preston Hall Estate of Edward Ladd Betts where George was working a decade earlier.

Edward Betts was a railway engineer who’s first project was the Dutton Viaduct which he undertook with George Stephenson. Preston Hall became a hospital and is at the centre of the Royal British Legion Village

1861 Tyland, Boxley, Kent.
The family has grown by one but perhaps the most significant addition is that George’s eldest son Joseph, aged 24, is now also a Gamekeeper. They are living in a semi-detached house with the farmer (probably a tenant of the estate) as their neighbour. You imagine my surprise when, upon visiting Tyland Barn (HQ of the Kent Wildlife Trust) earlier this year, I was shown the very house that my great grandmother (then aged 3) was living in! Tyland was part of the Cobtree Estate owned by the Tyrwhitt-Drake family.

1871 Cobtree, Sandling, Boxley, Kent.
Only George, Jane and my great grandmother Kate are listed at this address which is a mile or so South of Tyland and now home to The Museum Of Kent Life. This open-air museum is a collection of Kent buildings that have been rescued from destruction and rebuilt. It owes its existence to the generosity of the last of the Tyrwhitt-Drake family who bequethed the whole of his estate to the people of Maidstone.

Son Joseph, now aged 33, is a Gamekeeper in Blyth, Nottinghamshire.
Charles, aged 23, is a Gamekeeper lodging in Wateringbury, Kent. The Head of the household he lodged with was also a Gamekeeper. Sadly, William had died in 1867 at the age of 22 so I have no written evidence that he was ever a Gamekeeper but the chances are that he was!

1881 Cobtree, Sandling, Boxley, Kent.
The widower George has with him his Gamekeeping son Joseph (and his wife) together with George’s 21 year-old son Alfred Edwin who now is also a gamekeeper. Charles, George’s second son, is still a Gamekeeper but now living at Larkhouse Cottage, Hempstead, Essex.

1891 Cobtree Cottage, Nr Tyland, Kent.
George is still a Gamekeeper at the ripe old age of 79 and with him is his sister-in-law Esther and a boarder, Arthur G Jeffrey, who is also a Gamekeeper but some 60 years younger than George.

Joseph, aged 50, is a Gamekeeper living in Moreton Green, Moreton Cum Alcumlow, Cheshire.

1901 Mill House, Sandling, Boxley, Kent.
George is listed as a Gamekeeper Retired but the word ‘Retired’ is crossed-out and the word ‘GameK’ has been added so maybe the old man was still practising the art?

Joseph is now a retired Gamekeeper living in Congleton, Cheshire. I can find no record of him having any children and, as Charles became a publican in Long Melford, Suffolk, and, as Alfred Edwin died in 1883, I think that this was probably the end of this particular Gamekeeping line.

1904 The Old Mill House, Sandling, Boxley, Kent.
At the age of 92, George, after a minimum of half-a-century of Gamekeeping, and having spawned at least three Gamekeeping sons, is laid to rest.