Sunday, 28 May 2017

Eleanor Lavinia Swadling nee Price 1838 - 1913

Eleanor Lavinia Price was born sometime during the month of July in 1838 and she was baptised at the Parish Church in Iffley on the 5th of August. Her parents were Richard Price and Charlotte Webb and they married in the same church just a few months earlier on the 26th March 1838. 

On the night of the 6th of June 1841, when the census was taken, Eleanor was not at home with her father, who was recorded as a milkman, her mother and her younger brother Joseph. She was recorded as Ellen and was a lodger at the house of her maternal grandparents Robert and Rebecca Webb. Her grandfather's occupation was recorded as a Baker. Over the years Eleanor would sometimes be recorded on documents as Eleanor and sometimes as Ellen.

By the time the 1851 census was taken there were four more children in the family. Richard, who was born in 1843. Julia, who was born in 1845, Robert, who was born in 1847 and Clara, who was born in 1849. The occupation of their father was now a Road Labourer.

Charlotte gave birth to another daughter, also called Charlotte, in early 1852 and she was baptised on the 14th of March. Sadly just three months later Charles Price died at the age of 35 years and he was buried on the 9th June 1852 in Iffley Parish Church graveyard.

Although Ellen Price married John Charles Swadling in 1857 in Oxford, she had returned to Iffley by 1861. Her widowed mother had married John Dorrell, a widower, in 1859 and John and Ellen are listed as living next door to her mother and stepfather on the 1861 census. John Dorrell  died in 1889 at the age of 78 and Charlotte Dorrell died in 1897 at the age of 82. They were both buried in the graveyard at Iffley Parish Church.

Ellen and John Charles were married for 36 years and during their marriage they had ten children. Sadly Henry, who was born in 1865, died when he was only eight weeks old and Ellen had tragically died at the age of four in 1874 when her clothes caught fire.

Before his death in 1894, John Charles attended the weddings of his three oldest children. Charles married Esther Jemima Gibbons in 1889. John Charles junior married Margaret Telfer in March 1891 and Harriett married John Biles in April 1891.

Ellen's son in law, John Biles, died in December 1897 at the age of 39 years and his widow Harriett returned to Oxford before the 1901 census was taken. The census stated that Eleanor L was living with her widowed daughter Harriett at 176 Howard Street in Cowley, Oxford. Also living there were Harriett's two children Eleanor L (Lavinia) and William J (John) and Eleanor's three youngest children, Clara, and her daughter Edith May, William and Mary Ann.

By 1911 William, aged 33, had moved to 37 East Avenue, Cowley Road in Oxford and his occupation was listed as a Porter at a Drapers. His youngest sister Mary Ann, aged 30, was also living with him and her occupation was listed as a  Charwoman at a Hotel. Both of them were still unmarried. John Biles, a nephew to William was also living there. He was 15 years old and employed as a Dental Apprentice.

The 1911 census required more information about the life of the household than in previous censuses. According to the Ancestry website "Information requests new to the 1911 census were the 'fertility census' and occupational questions. Fertility questions included how long the present marriage had lasted, the number of children born alive to the present marriage (including children no longer living in the household), and the number of children who had died. Ellen was also living with William and she stated that she was a 73 year old widow and she had been married for 53 years. In the columns related to her children she had written that a total of ten children were born alive. Four of her children were still living but sadly six of them had died prior to the census being taken. As Ellen said she was a widow, so no longer married, the Enumerator had crossed out the information about her children.So there was only one other of her children still alive but which one and what had happened to the other four?

I found the interment of John Biles on the recently updated England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800 - 2016 in the Ancestry website. He was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery on Church Cowley Road in Oxford on the 14th of December 1897 in grave 56 in section A1. The cemetery was opened in 1889 and covers an area of 11 acres and contains over 20,000 burials. The most unexpected piece of information written in the Register of Graves was that he was buried at a depth of 12 foot. His wife Harriett was also buried with him and she was interned on the 14th August 1907. So that would explain why John (William John) Biles was living with his uncle. His parents had both died but where was his sister Eleanor Lavinia? I searched the 1911 census and finally found her listed as Nellie Byles. She was working as a cook for George Stuart Gordon, a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford University and he was a lecturer in English Literature.

I searched for whereabouts of Ellen's other children and found the missing surviving sibling. It was Charles. He and his wife and two sons were living on Church Road, Sandford on Thames in Oxford. So what had happened to John Charles junior, James and Elizabeth? I searched the FreeBMD website and found out when they had died. Elizabeth died in 1904, John Charles junior died in 1907 and James died in 1911. I also found out that they were all buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Eleanor Lavinia Swadling died at the age of 75 years at the end of July 1913. She was buried with her daughter Elizabeth and son James at Rose Hill Cemetery on the 6th of August 1913.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

John Charles Swadling 1832 - 1894

I knew from the 1901 census and the marriage certificate of Clara Swadling that her parents were John Charles and Eleanor L Swadling and that her father had died before her marriage. I looked for a marriage for John Charles and Eleanor but I couldn't find one. So who were they?

I checked the 1891 census for the family but found that Clara, aged 15, had moved away from home and was working as a domestic servant at 18 George Street, Oxford for Benjamin R Bartlett, a Postal Receiver and Stationer, and his family. So was a five year old Clara at home with her parents in 1881? Yes she was. The family were living at 20 Friars Wharf in Oxford. John Charles Swadling was a 48 year old Gas Labourer and was born in Oxford. His wife Ellen was 43 and born in the village of Iffley in Oxfordshire. Clara had six siblings. John Charles, 22, an out of employ servant who was born in Oxford, Charles, 20, also a Gas Labourer who was born in Iffley, James, 13, and Elizabeth, 8, who were scholars and also born in Iffley and William, 3 and Mary Ann, 9 months, who had been born in Oxford.

So what had happened to Eleanor L. and who was Ellen? I checked records and found a marriage for John Charles Swadling to an Ellen Price in 1857.

So who was John Charles Swadling?

From checking parish registers and census returns I found that he was born in George Lane in 1832 and baptised on the 30th September at St. Mary Magdalene in Oxford. His parents were Charles Swadling, a labourer born in Hinksey in Berkshire around 1807 and Harriett Higgins, who was the daughter of John and Christian Higgins and born in the summer of 1811. Harriett was privately baptised on the 18th of August and received into the church on the 13th October. Charles and Harriett married in 1831 at Ebbe Parish Church in Oxford after attending church on three consecutive Sunday, the 6th, 13th and 20th of November to hear the banns read.

In 1841 John Charles was living in the district of St Thomas in Oxford with his parents and three younger sisters, Jane Elizabeth, Sarah and Christian. Another sister Mary Ann was born in 1842. Sadly by 1845 his mother and sisters Sarah, Christian and Mary Ann had all died.

On the 1851 census John and his father were visitors at the house of James Forward and his wife Elizabeth. His sister Jane Elizabeth was living with her aunt and uncle, John and Christian Higgins. Although I think that they were in fact her maternal grandparents. Jane Elizabeth married Henry Dean in 1854 and they raised a large family before her death in 1920 at the age of 78.

John Charles married Ellen Price on the 17th August 1857 in the Parish Church of Holy Trinity in Oxford. The witnesses on the marriage certificate were Jane Elizabeth and Henry Dean, the sister and brother-in-law of John Charles. Ellen's father was Richard Price and he was employed as a Gardener. I was able to solve the mystery of Eleanor and Ellen when I found an Eleanor Price on the 1851 census with her parents Richard and Charlotte. Eleanor Price was baptised on the 5th August 1838 in Iffley Parish Church in Oxford and her birth had been registered as Eleanor Lavina in the September quarter of 1838 In the Headington district which included the district of Iffley. Over the coming years she would sometimes be recorded on documents as Eleanor and sometimes as Ellen.

During the late summer of 1858 a son, John Charles junior, was born and baptised at St. Aldate Parish Church in Oxford on the 5th September. By the time the census was taken on the 7th April 1861, John Charles and Ellen had moved to the village of Iffley on the outskirts of Oxford. The census stated that another son, Charles was three months old. He had been baptised at Iffley parish Church a month earlier on the 10th March.

When the 1871 census was taken the family also included, Harriett aged 7, born in 1863, James aged 3, born in 1868 and Ellen aged seven months, born the previous autumn. Another son, Henry, had been born in 1865. He was baptised at Iffley parish Church on the 4th December but sadly died at the age of eight weeks and was buried in the churchyard on the 13th of December 1865. Another daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1873 and she was also baptised at Iffley parish Church on the 2nd of April. Between then and December 1874 John Charles moved his family back into Oxford.

Over the years I have searched a large variety of sources and collected a lot of information and facts about the Swadlings. A relatively new source are the articles from the British Newspapers 1710 - 1953 on Find My Past. The majority of these articles usually announced family events or reported legal issues. It was only when I began to write this blog that I realised that I had a copy of an article printed on Saturday the 2nd of January 1875 in the Oxford Journal that described the tragic death of Ellen Swadling. The daughter of John Charles and Ellen.

A Child Burnt To Death

On Tuesday a child, named Ellen Swadling of 51 Friars Wharf, set her clothes on fire during the temporary absence of her mother. She was taken to the Radcliffe Infirmary where death put an end to her sufferings on Thursday night. An inquest will be held this day (Saturday).

Poor Ellen was only four years old when she died and she was buried at Holy Trinity Parish Church in Oxford on Monday the 4th of January 1875. Just one week after setting her clothes on fire. I couldn't find any reference to the Inquest Verdict but I did find a similar account of an Inquest reported in November 1873. Two small children, one aged two and one nearly four had been left alone with an unprotected fire in the hearth while their mother went next door to a neighbour. The mother heard a scream and ran back home. Her two year old daughter's clothes were in flames. She and the neighbour extinguished the child's clothes but she was very badly burnt. Like Ellen, she was taken to the Radcliffe Infirmary where she died several days later. The Verdict was Accidental Death. She died from the injuries and shock. How awful for children to die in such a painful and distressing way.

On the 12th of March 1876 John Charles and Ellen returned to Holy Trinity Parish Church but this time it was for the baptism of their two month old daughter Clara, who had been born on the 21st January. They were now living at 20 Friars Wharf and John Charles was employed as a Labourer. John Charles was still a labourer when another son, William, was baptised on the 3rd March 1878. Ellen's child bearing days were finally over when her youngest child, Mary Ann was baptised alongside nine other babies on the 5th September 1880.

John Charles and Ellen were still living at 20 Friars Wharf in 1891 with three of their children, James 23, William 13 and Mary Ann 10. John Charles, Charles and Harriett were now married and Clara and Elizabeth were both in service in Oxford.

John Charles Swadling died at the beginning of January 1894 at the age of 61. He was buried in the graveyard of St Ebbe Parish Church on the 19th January. His abode at the time of his death was 4 Bridge Row, Pensons Gardens.