Posts Tagged ‘1850s’

Great Grandad’s workhouse.

August 27, 2015

I commented, yesterday, that my great grandfather had spent time in a workhouse and suggested that his was nothing like the one at Southwell.

In fact, when I check up I find it was probably not so different for I realise that by the time great grandfather was a resident, the union workhouse had been built. It looked like this. This picture dates from the buildings time as an old people’s home.

This picture comes from


My Great Grandfather, James was born in 1851 and he was just about 4 when his parents, older brother and younger sister ran out of money and had to go to the poor house. This is what the records show.

Uckfield Union Workhouse

Mayfield, Sussex

James Frost born 1827, Labourer – 47 days – 25.3.1855

Hannah Frost born 1831, Labourer – 47 days – 25.3.1855

George Frost born 1850 – 47 days – 25.3.1855

James Frost born 1851 – 47 days – 25.3.1855

Mary Frost born 1853 – 47 days – 25.3.1855

The stay may have seemed endless to young James and, no doubt to parents who would have been kept apart. But it was only 47 days. I wonder if James senior had an injury or illness and was unable to work. He had been an agricultural labourer before and was afterwards, living into the 1890s.

Anyway, and no doubt thankfully, he was able to return to a home somewhere and continue labouring. He and wife Hannah had nine more children and, as far as I know were never inmates again although their address in 1861 was ‘The Old Workhouse’ at Buxted.

October 1858 in Thornbury

February 7, 2015

This is an extract from The Times of 6th October 1858.


Let’s transcribe that.

Serious Case of cutting and wounding. – The usually quiet town of Thornbury, Gloucestershire was on Sunday last thrown into a state of great excitement by a rapidly spread report that a man named Joseph Gough, a labourer, had been seriously injured by being stabbed. The following are the circumstances:- Several families are living in a low court in the town, and, among others, the unfortunate man Gough who cohabits with the daughter of the man who inflicted the injury (he also living in the same court). The name of the prisoner is William Hollister, a widower, and it appears he had been drinking all the morning and on returning at dinner time in a state of intoxication he picked some quarrel with his daughter, and on Gough taking the woman’s part Hollister caught a knife off the dinner table and savagely plunged it into the poor fellow’s neck, inflicting a very dangerous wound, and severing several arteries from which the blood flowed in great quantities. Considerable alarm was felt by those who witnessed the occurrence, and the injured man ran in an almost frantic state to the residence of Mr. E. Long, surgeon who, deeming the case very serious, sent a message requesting the assistance of Mr, W Salmon, another surgeon, who at length succeeded in stopping the blood, and advised that he should be conveyed at once to the Bristol Royal Infirmary, which was accordingly done. Hollister was taken into custody soon afterwards, and was on Monday brought before the Thornbury magistrates, who, after hearing the subjoined evidence, remanded him for a week to see if Gough should survive. John Morgan of Thornbury aforesaid, parish constable, deposed, – I am one of the parish constables. I reside in the neighbourhood of William Hollister. On hearing what happened I went into his house yesterday between 1 and 2. I saw him apparently tipsy, and all over blood. I asked him how he came to do it. He said he (meaning Joseph Gough) struck me first. I then went over to the police-station to give information, and he was shortly afterwards removed in custody. I said to him if the man should die he would be very likely to be hung, and he replied, “Perhaps it would be a good job too.” Sarah Collins of Thornbury aforesaid, single woman, deposed, – I live in part of the same house Joseph Gough, the injured man, occupies, and who lives with the prisoner’s daughter. William Hollister lodges with them. My door is opposite theirs, a small passage only being between. Both doors were open when the occurrence took place, Aaron Gough, a brother to Joseph, who lives with me, was standing at the door of my apartment. Joseph Gough, William Hollister, and his daughter were in the other room. It was between 1 and 2 o’clock. I heard Joseph Gough say, “William, I think you ought to pay me something for your lodging, instead of going to get drunk.” He said, “You shall never sleep another night in this house until you do pay something; so take everything that belongs to you. There’s the door and you walk.” Prisoner refused to go, so Joseph Gough caught hold of him to put him out. There was a bit of a sill at the door, and the prisoner fell on his back against my door. He then had a knife in his hand. Joseph Gough attempted to put him out of the passage, when Hollister raised himself up and struck Gough with the knife behind the left ear. Joseph Gough put his hand to his head; the blood flowed very much and I caught him by the arm to prevent him falling. I told him to run for his life to the doctor or he would be a dead man. I followed him to Mr Vaughan’s the druggist and then he went to Mr Long. Aaron Gough took the knife out of William Hollister’s hand and threw it into an adjoining court. The knife now produced by Police-sergeant Rawle is the one used by Hollister upon the occurrence. Both Gough and Hollister are quiet men when sober, but the latter is extremely passionate when intoxicated. We have since heard that Gough is in a very dangerous state, and is also very weak from the immense quantity of blood lost.

Now Joseph Gough was my wife’s 3 greats uncle as, of course, was his brother Aaron. Another brother, George Gough was my wife’s great great grandfather.

We can tell you that Joseph did survive and married Ann Hollister on 11th September 1859. Their first child, Job Gough was born the following month. The couple had four children we know about.

Aaron Gough married Sarah Collins on 5th November 1860.

Older brother George, the direct ancestor, had married Edith Lanfear back in 1851. One of their 6 children was my wife’s great grandmother who lived to see her 100th birthday. She was alive when her uncle Joseph was stabbed but not old enough to have taken things in. Because of her longevity, my wife knew her and that seems to make a real link with this long ago stabbing incident.

Meet the Relative

August 13, 2013

Charles Mann

Charles Mann was actually an in-law. My Great Granny was Sarah Ann Crosby and she had a sister called Eliza who was born in 1854. These two were born in Butley in Suffolk. Great Granny, like nearly all of the Crosby family moved away and she made her home in Sussex, at Isfield, but Eliza married Charles Mann in Butley on 24th December 1885.

Charles came from Yoxford and was born in 1856. Yoxford is a few miles north of Butley and we can find young Charles there in 1861 with his parents – father was a farm worker – and younger siblings. By 1871, teenaged Charles was a shoemaker’s apprentice. He was learning the trade that supported him through his life. He was still living with his parents in Yoxford. Ten years on, in 1881, Charles was still with his parents, but by now, as a fully-fledged shoemaker, he’d have been adding to the family economy.

Quite why or when Charles moved to the Butley area, we don’t know – but we have the wedding date and from then on we find Charles, Eliza and a growing family in Butley. Actually, their first two children were born in Chillesford. Charles remained a shoemaker or bootmaker according to 1891, 1901 and 1911 census.

I have a photo of Charles working outside as he approached old age.


I think Charles died in 1931 and Eliza in 1932.

The little extra in the story came in 1887 when my great grandparents, living in Isfield Sussex, had a baby boy they called Charles Mann Stevens. He surely must have been named in honour of his uncle and it suggests that despite distance and poverty, the two families certainly maintained contact. Sadly, Charles Mann Stevens died in 1888, the year his cousin, Charles Mann was born in Butley to Charles and Eliza. What a shame these cousins never had a chance to meet.

A Hall Grave

July 10, 2013

There are some magical people working in county museum and records libraries. One chap, at the Cornwall records library in Truro, described in great detail a grave in Camborne Church. It was the grave of great great grandparents. Unfortunately, it is not in good condition. OK, that’s an understatement.


That’s the bottom of it. The top, in two pieces, lies flat on the ground.



Our ‘friend’ at the records library persuaded us to come back the following day. He said he’d bring a sketch of the grave.



What a magnificent chap – he has helped us on several occasions with difficult problems in our family history. Using all the bits, I made a digital reconstruction of the grave.


We know little of the people. Thomas died in 1851 before the census of that year so we only know he was born in Cornwall from the 1841 census. His wife, Grace, was a Miss Dunstone or Dunstan (spellings vary). They probably married in Grace’s home parish of Wendron – we have an unverified date of April 5th 1829. Grace lived until 1856 so we have 1851 information for her and we have pieced together a substantial family. Many of them, like many a Cornish miner, went abroad. Sadly, young Thomas perished on a voyage. We do not know if his ship foundered or if he fell ill on board.

Genealogy always throws up as many questions as answers. Is that what makes it such an absorbing and fun challenge?