Selected Biographies from Earlier Generations

Great Great Grandparents

Caroline Earl
Caroline's is a sad story. She was born in 1825 in Eastdean, Sussex, into the family of labourer William Earl and his wife Caroline (Collingham) who had seven children in all. In 1845 Caroline gave birth to a daughter, Frances Caroline; the father, if known, was not named. Caroline duly registered her daughter’s birth and had her baptised as Frances Caroline in the parish church of Eastdean. Just two years later, aged 23, Caroline died from consumption in the nearby village of West Firle; she was buried in her home village of Eastdean.
Charles Day

Charles Day was born in Cambridge and, by the time he married Eliza Turner in Barnwell, Cambridge in 1829, he was already a practising stonemason. When he died in 1888, his death certificate refers to him as “mason of West Ham”. The first three of his eight children, Marianne, Elizabeth and William, were born in Cambridge where Charles evidently found sufficient opportunity to ply his trade. The next two, Sarah and Martha, were born in Westminster, London, during the 1840s, where Charles worked on the Houses of Parliament, the largest Gothic edifice in the world. Charles’s next engagement was in North Wales as a foreman of masons at the construction of the Britannia Bridge between 1845 and 1850. Daughter Caroline was born in 1847 in Bangor, son Charles in 1848 in Holyhead, Anglesey. By 1851 Charles and Eliza, with the addition of their last child Alfred born in London en route from Wales to Suffolk, were established in Claydon, Suffolk. The construction of the Mid Suffolk Light Railway required the services of a large number of masons to build tunnels, bridges and stations, particularly large and ornate examples being at Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Needham Market. By 1861 Charles was in Dover where construction of the harbour took place between 1854 and 1864.

By 1871 Charles and Eliza are back in London where they remain for the rest of their lives, Eliza dying in 1877 and Charles in 1888. In his last years, Charles lived with daughter Caroline who married George Hallandal in Stepney in 1870.

John Hammett Elizabeth Hanan
c1821-c1875 1813-1893

John Hammett and Elizabeth Hanan were Irish, and their only child, Mary Eliza Hammett, was born in Youghal, near Cork, in 1852.
John Hammett was born in Bandon, to the south-west of Cork; his first marriage produced two daughters, Elizabeth and Maria, both born in Youghal; but his wife, Dorothea then died, aged 30, in 1848. John, who worked variously as a cordwainer (shoemaker), Clerk of the Chapel of Ease (sexton) and, in England, as a Customs Officer, subsequently married Elizabeth Hanan. The family had moved to London by the time of the 1871 census.

Elizabeth Hanan was born in Youghal in 1813. She settled with her husband and daughter in Stepney, London, where she remained until her death in 1893, aged 77. Following her daughter’s marriage to Charles Day, Elizabeth, known as Bessy, was largely responsible for the upbringing of her granddaughter, Ada Louisa Day, who was regularly listed on census returns as living with her grandparents until her marriage in 1895 to Charles Edward Slaven. Elizabeth had a brother, Joseph, a seaman, and an unmarried sister, Ann, who lived with her intermittently.

Mary Ann Simmonds

Mary Ann Simmonds was the fourth child, and only daughter, of Joseph Simmonds and Elizabeth DeLasaux. A shoebinder, Mary Ann married shoemaker William Ellis in 1834 at St Peter Canterbury; they had five children in St Paul, Canterbury; including Mary Jane Ellis, born 1837, who married John Morris in 1863.

By 1851 William and Mary Ann with their family had moved to Wincheap Street, Canterbury St Mildred, where they remained for more than 30 years. How did this situation come about? The answer lies in another entry from the 1851 census which lists a Mary Ann DeLasaux, 65 and unmarried, as a ‘Proprietor of Houses’ also living in Wincheap Street. Mary Ann DeLasaux was Mary Ann Simmonds’ aunt and daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth DeLasaux; she was a very wealthy spinster. Mary Ann Simmonds was a principal beneficiary under her aunt’s will, proved 1854, inheriting no less than four properties in Wincheap Street, her aunt’s personal effects, and the residue of her estate not otherwise assigned. The DeLasaux family fortune was built up by generations of Huguenot silk weavers and merchants who fled religious persecution in France and established themselves in East London and Canterbury. Mary Ann DeLasaux’s father, Thomas DeLasaux Esquire, alderman of the City of Canterbury and mayor of Canterbury in 1791, was himself the son of Peter DeLasaux and Elizabeth Duthoit, Peter being a gentleman of Canterbury who became a Freeman of the City in 1761.

Great Great Great Grandparents

William Aldis

William was the fifth child of Edward Aldis, Schoolmaster of Stratton St Mary, and his wife, Mary Ringar. In 1783 William married Susanna Thirkettle with whom he had six children, all of whom survived, before his early death in 1793, aged 32. Susanna remained a widow for some 50 years before her burial in 1845 in her 90th year. The tombstone of William and Susanna survives in Stratton St Mary churchyard amongst the Aldis group to the south of the church containing, among others, the stone for William’s parents, Edward and Mary. It reads:

William Aldis died 30 July 1793 aged 32 years
Susanna his wife who died 15 April 1845 in her 90th year.
Susannah Morris

Susannah was baptised Susan Drury (or Drewry), daughter of Thomas and Mary, the 5th of November 1758 in Boughton under Blean. As a 23-year old spinster of All Saints, Canterbury, she married by banns Edward Farley of Hackington on the 17th of October 1782. The banns were read in the bride’s parish, while the ceremony was conducted in that of the groom; he signed the register, she made her mark. Two daughters were born of the union, Sarah Farley at Sturry in 1783 and Mary Anne at Chartham in 1785.

Almost exactly 10 years after her first marriage Susannah Farley, widow of the parish of Petham, married by banns Jeremiah Pipe, bachelor of Minster but resident of Petham, on the 20th of May 1792 in Petham. Both bride and groom signed the register. An infant, Mary Pipe, was buried in Petham on the 26th of October 1793.

On the 30th of November 1793 widow Susannah Pipe and bachelor John Morris, both residents of Petham, were married by banns in Petham. It seems to have been a case of third time lucky for Susannah: her marriage to John lasted until her death, aged 73, in Petham in 1831; John survived her by only 3 years, dying in 1834 at a recorded age of 65. John and Susannah had four children, Elizabeth born 1794, Thomas in 1796, Fanny in 1799, and John in 1802.

Mary Ann DeLasaux

Mary Ann DeLasaux was the wealthy spinster aunt of Mary Ann Simmonds who married William Ellis in 1834 and the sister of her niece’s mother, Elizabeth DeLasaux, who married Joseph Simmonds in 1808.

Mary Ann, baptised the 4th of December 1785 by Thomas and Elizabeth DeLasaux of Canterbury, never married; her extensive will, written in 1843 with a codicil added in 1854, was proved in 1854. Her principal beneficiaries were her brother, Thomas Thorpe DeLasaux and his heirs, and her nephews and nieces, the children of her deceased sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law Joseph Simmonds. Under her aunt’s will, Mary Ann Simmonds inherited her personal residence at Wincheap Green, St Mildred, Canterbury, together with other properties there, and the residue of the estate not otherwise assigned. Mary Ann was also gifted her aunt’s clothes, jewellery, furniture, linen, plate and so on together with horses, stables and livery. The 1854 codicil directed that Mary Ann’s personal property, originally gifted to her niece Mary Ann, should go to the eldest son, Thomas Pauli DeLasaux, of her brother Thomas Thorpe on the latter’s death.

So Mary Ann Simmonds was left comfortably provided for by her aunt, and it is hardly surprising that she and William remained at the same address in Wincheap Street for the rest of their lives.