Edward (1) Woodhurst

Home Page Root Page Census Records GRO Records Parish Records Names Directory

Brief biography

Edward (1) Woodhurst was born to parents John (3) Woodhurst and his wife Mary Ferris. He was christened at St. Dunstan, Canterbury on August 1st 1802 [Parish Register Baptisms 1743-1812, CCA: Film U3/141/1/4]. The record spells his father's surname as Woodhouse.

He is presumed to have spent much of his youth in Eastling where his parents were being supported by Poor Relief payments at least as far back as 1821. The earliest explicit mention of him in the Eastling Parish Overseers' Accounts occurs on January 15th 1823 when he received 2s-0d, the first of many similar sums received by him during January and February. His next appearance is on June 16th 1828 when a payment of 4s-0d was made for him to make a journey to Milton (known variously as Milton-next-Sittingbourne or Milton Regis).

His future wife was a widow Frances (nee Hobbs) Eagles. She was almost certainly born to parents Elisha Hobbs and his wife Sarah at Milton on October 2nd 1803 [IGI: Batch C024839]. She first married John Eagles, at Minster in the Isle of Sheppey, Kent on May 5th 1824 [IGI: Batch I005929]. John had been previously married but it appears that no children survived from that marriage. Frances produced two daughters by John - Frances Elizabeth born in 1825 and Jane Hannah in 1826, both baptised in Southwark. In 1827 John was executed outside Newgate prison. An account of his life and of his death can be read here.

It may have been at Milton that Edward (1) met Frances. They were married by Banns in Murston (about two miles north-east of Sittingbourne) on October 11th 1829. The Murston Parish Register describes him as a bachelor and her as a widow, both of that parish. The witnesses were Isabella Wraight and Thomas Wraight: their connections are unknown, but they were probably the parents of another Thomas Wraight who, in the 1841 Census for Love Lane in nearby Milton, was occupied as a brick maker aged 22.

The first child of Frances and Edward (1) was the unusually-named daughter Effield, christened at Milton in early 1830 [Parish Register]. The register describes her father's occupation at that time as a miller.

It is marginally possible that they produced another child Mary (2) around 1830, but no associated christening record for a child of that name has been found. A child of theirs married in 1851 who called herself "Mary" but who was almost certainly Effield using an assumed name.

Between November 1831 and March 1832 several payments were made on Edward (1)'s behalf from the Eastling Overseers. Although he was now living in Milton, Eastling Parish remained responsible for his Poor Relief assistance.

Another child Edwin was christened at Milton in mid-1832, the parish record of which describes Edward (1) as a brick maker. Further relief payments were made for him by Eastling between October 1832 and February 1833.

It appears that his family then moved about ten miles eastward to Preston Brents in Faversham. Here they produced a daughter Sarah Ann (1) around September 1834.

In early 1835 there was illness in the family - between January 18th and March 1st three relief payments were made by Eastling for Edward (1) and his "wife and 3 children". This count of 3 would have excluded Jane Hannah for whom Eastling was not responsible, so supporting the hypothesis that Mary (2) was actually Effield. Further relief payments were made on April 2nd and 6th of 1835. A few days later Sarah Ann (1) died, being buried on the 11th. At the beginning of 1836 another child Mark (1) was born. During this period Edward (1) was still working in brick-making, a major industry of Faversham.

In early January 1837 Edward (1) fell foul of the law, as evidenced by this brief newspaper report of a trial concluded "on Tuesday last" at the East Kent Quarter Sessions [The Kentish Gazette, Tuesday January 10th 1837, Page 3, Column D]:

"Edward Woodhurst, charged with stealing, at Sittingbourne, a quantity of sail-cloth and rope, the property of Edward Oshendon. Two months' hard labour."

As soon as Edward (1) had been gaoled, Frances and her children Jane Hannah, Effield, Edwin and Mark (1) must have been compelled out of hardship to seek relief at the Union Workhouse in Faversham, where they were all admitted on January 3rd [Faversham Union Workhouse Register of Admissions and Discharges, 1835-42, Schedule C, Form 15]. In the workhouse register their birthyears were recorded as 1804, 1827, 1830, 1833 and 1836, respectively. They were all cited as belonging to Eastling Parish, to which their residence at the workhouse was duly charged. The cause of their seeking relief was given as "Husband in Gaol for Felony". On January 14th, however, Jane Hannah was discharged by reason of "Not Belonging" (that is, not chargeable to Eastling). The register records that Mark (1) died in the workhouse on January 29th. The entire remaining family were discharged on March 1st, and on the next day Edward (1) - presumably just released from prison - was admitted. He was described as a labourer belonging to Eastling Parish and born in "1803". He was discharged from the workhouse on March 7th. The register further notes that the whole family were of the "Established Church". Their surname is spelt as Woodhouse in the register's admission column, but as Woodhurst in the discharge column.

They seem subsequently to have moved to London, as on July 9th 1837 they had their child William (7) christened in Hackney, although in census returns his birthplace was given as Milton.

The next - and apparently last - child was James (3), who was also born in London, in May 1839 in the Old Ford part of Bow-and-Bromley, near Poplar. It may be that Edward (1), like most brick makers of that time, was following work opportunities in the new brick fields that were constantly arising to meet the demands of London's expansion.

The 1841 Census finds Frances back in Kent and living in Water Lane at Milton with her surviving children, including Jane Hannah aged "15" from her former marriage. However, Edward (1) was not present in the household and has not yet been located at this time. In the census record James (3) is indicated as having been born in Kent rather than in London, but Frances and the census officer may not have been very assiduous in the recording of such details.

In 1842 James (3) died in Milton and was buried there.

On April 8th 1844 Frances and her children Effield, Edwin and William (7) were admitted to a workhouse in the Shoreditch Union, this apparently being the Shoreditch Infant Poor House located in Enfield [LMA: Admission & Discharge Records, Shoreditch Union : P91/LEN/1338]. On April 18th Frances made the following written statement in the course of a settlement examination:

18 April 1844
Frances Woodhurst late from Martha Street, Haggerstone
I am about 40 years of age. I was married to my husband Edward Woodhurst at the parish church of Murston near Sittingbourn[e] Kent about 15 years ago and by him have three children [of] lawful issue namely Effield a female aged 13 years and upwards, Edwin 12 years and upwards and William 7 years and upwards. I never knew my said husband to be an apprentice or yearly servant or to rent a house or to do any act to gain a settlement.

My husband's parents ... and ... Woodhurst are now residing at Eastling near Faversham in Kent and belong to and are now chargeable to the parish of Eastling.

About 7 years ago myself, my said husband and our 3 children were passed from the parish of Milton near Sittingbourne Kent to the said parish of Eastling, there was no dispute about the removal, we continued in the Union House at Faversham of which Union Eastling is a part, about 3 months.

My husband is gone to Denmark to make brick.

Frances and the three children were discharged from the above workhouse on May 1st 1844. Where they then resided is currently unknown.

In 1849 Edward (1) was in trouble with the law again. On November 6th, at the County Sessions held in Clerkenwell, he was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment for larceny [Home Office Criminal Registers: HO26 Piece 55 Page 260, 1849].

The 1851 Census finds Edward (1) and Frances with their two sons living in Greenwood near Hadley Gate in Enfield. He was occupied as a brick maker. His birthplace is given as Canterbury and hers as Milton.

On June 18th 1860 Edward (1) was in trouble yet again, this time at the Uxbridge Petty Sessions. He had left his employment with a brickmaker Mr Gurney Northolt, contrary to the terms of a prior signed agreement to work for the season "at so much per thousand bricks". He had left without any reasonable excuse, putting his master to great inconvenience and considerable loss. Edward (1) was sent to gaol for a fortnight. [South Bucks Free Press, South Oxfordshire Gazette, issue of June 23rd 1860]

The 1861 Census finds them living in High Road, Ponders End in Enfield. Edward (1) was still occupied as a brick maker. In the same property was the family of John (1) Warren, the husband of Edward (1)'s daughter Effield.

Frances died in 1864. Her death certificate [Death Index: Edmonton 3a 114, 1864 (June)] names her as "Fanny" Woodhurst and states that she died on May 28th 1864 at the Union Workhouse in Edmonton. She is described as aged 57 (but was probably 60) and the wife of a brick maker Edward Woodhurst. The cause of death was "cancer, many years" and the informant was L. Candwell, present at the death. She was buried at St. Mary Hornsey on June 6th [St. Mary Hornsey Burial Register]; the latter source states that she had been living at 20, Victoria Grove.

In September 1868 Edward (1) was a witness at an inquiry into the death of a woman who had been frequently and seriously assaulted by her co-habiting partner at 14, Woodlands Road in Dalston. Edward (1) lived in the same house and testified to hearing the noises from these assaults, the violence of which had often shaken him from his bed; on one such night he had got up and reported the matter at a police station [The Magnet, Agricultural, Commercial and Family Gazette, issue of September 14th 1868].

Intensive and repeated efforts to locate Edward (1) in the 1871 Census have not succeeded.

Edward (1) died in 1873. The death certificate [Death Index: Islington 1b 195, 1873 (June)] states that he was found dead in a field in Highbury Hill Park, Islington on May 12th 1873 and describes him as a brick maker aged 69 (he was actually 70). The cause of death, determined by post mortem, was fatty degeneration of the heart. The informant was Edwin Lankester, the Coroner for Central Middlesex, following an inquest on May 13th. The circumstances of the death are documented in the Coroner's Notes. One of the four Depositions recorded in those notes was made by Edward (1)'s son Edwin.

The Coroner's Notes state that Edward (1) had been living at No. 36 in Woodland Street, whose northern end joined Dalston Lane in Hackney and which ran between (and parallel to) Holly Street and Beechwood Road. It existed until at least the 1960s but has since vanished entirely (with its name) in the course of local redevelopment. Neither Edward (1) nor any seemingly related person was living anywhere in Woodland Street at the time of the 1871 Census.

His children by Frances (nee Hobbs) Eagles

  1. Effield Woodhurst - also known as Mary (2) or Esther (1) Woodhurst
  2. Edwin Woodhurst
  3. Sarah Ann (1) Woodhurst
  4. Mark (1) Woodhurst
  5. William (7) Woodhurst
  6. James (3) Woodhurst
  7. and possibly others ...

Frances' children by John Eagles

  1. Frances Elizabeth Eagles - born in 1825
  2. Jane Hannah Eagles - born in 1826

Frances Elizabeth Eagles

Frances Elizabeth was born on March 22nd 1825 and was christened at St. Saviour, Southwark on July 24th 1825 [St. Saviour Baptisms Register].

In 1840 she married James Coope [Marriage Index: Sheppey 5 549, 1840 (Dec)]. They have not been found in the 1841 Census.

The 1851 Census finds her, with three children - a daughter also named Frances Elizabeth and two sons William and Henry - in the High Street of Minster in the household of her uncle Joseph Gooding, a cow keeper who in 1818 had married her mother's sister Elizabeth (nee Hobbs); James was not present, presumably being at sea.

The 1861 Census finds her living with the three children at 187, High Street in Minster, described as the wife of a Royal Navy engineer; James was again not present.

The 1871 Census finds her living with James and two of the children at 17, South Hill Buildings in Stoke Damerel, Devonport; James was described as a chief engineer in the Royal Navy.

The 1881 Census finds them living with their daughter at 10, Densham Terrace in Plymouth, James now described as a retired chief engineer in the Royal Navy.

James died at Elburton Plymstock on April 15th 1890 aged "72" [Death Index: Plympton St. Mary 5b 146, 1890 (June)]. His Will was proved on May 21st 1890 by his executors, these being his daughter Frances Elizabeth and Henry James Barter, the BMD Registrar for Plymouth. It appears that he had been living in Plymstock while his wife continued living in Plymouth, so perhaps they had separated.

The 1891 Census finds his widow Frances Elizabeth and her still-unmarried daughter still living at 10, Densham Terrace in Plymouth, living on a Government pension.

The 1901 Census finds Frances Elizabeth and her daughter living at 88, North Road in Plymouth.

The 1911 Census finds Frances Elizabeth and her daughter back again at 10, Densham Terrace in Plymouth.

Frances Elizabeth (senior) died in 1912 aged "87" [Death Index: Plymouth 5b 350, 1912 (Dec)]. Her daughter died in 1924 aged "83" [Death Index: Plymouth 5b 304, 1924 (Dec)].

Jane Hannah Eagles

Jane Hannah was born in September 20th 1826 and was christened at St. Saviour, Southwark on November 19th 1826 [St. Saviour Baptisms Register, IGI: Batch C055183].

Jane Hannah's future husband was John "Thomas" Hill. He was probably the "John Hill" christened to parents Thomas Hill and Lucy at Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire in April 1814. The IGI has two christening records for him - one on April 3rd [Batch C026902] and the other specifically at St. Peter's Church on April 5th [Batch C025951]. He first married on May 29th 1838 at Gringley-on-the-Hill, Nottinghamshire to Elizabeth Spencer [IGI: Batch M015424 ; Marriage Index: East Retford 15 701, 1838 (June)]. The 1841 Census finds John living with Elizabeth and two sons Edward and Tom in Saxilby, Lincolnshire where he was occupied as a brick maker.

In 1845 John remarried to Jane Hannah. The marriage certificate [Marriage Index: Marylebone 1 212, 1845 (Dec)] names them fully and states that they married by Banns at St. Mary's in Marylebone on November 5th 1845. John is described as a labourer and - whether by mistake or by deliberation - as a bachelor, and Jane Hannah as a minor. Her father is named as "Thomas" Eagles, an error probably arising from her having no significant memory of him.

The 1851 Census finds them with three children living at Walkeringham, Nottinghamshire where John was occupied as a tile maker journeyman. Jane Hannah's birthplace is given as Borough (the ancient name for Southwark), London. The oldest child was Edward, now aged "12", from John's previous marriage. The youngest was Frances, born in Wisbeach (Wisbech), Cambridgeshire. Her birth reference is almost certainly [Birth Index: Wisbeach 14 173, 1849 (Dec)] and names her as Frances Effield Hill, evidently in memory of Jane Hannah's step-sister Effield Woodhurst. The 1861 Census finds the family living in Horkstow, Lincolnshire and John now occupied as a brick maker. The 1871 Census finds them living in Brickyard Cottage, Laneham in Nottinghamshire and John now occupied once more as a tile maker. The 1881 Census finds them living at Shaw Lock, Gringley-on-the-Hill in Nottinghamshire and John still occupied as a tile maker. The 1891 Census finds them living at 2, Park Street, Clee-with-Weelsby in Great Grimsby, Lincolnshire and John described as a retired tile maker aged "77". These census records consistently give his birthplace as Barton-upon-Humber.

John appears to have died in 1893 aged "79" [Death Index: Caistor 7a 394, 1893 (March)]. Clee-with-Weelsby lay within the Caistor registration district. Jane Hannah died in 1901 aged "73" [Death Index: Glanford Brigg 7a 435, 1901 (March)]. The Glanford Brigg registration district includes Horkstow where she had been living in 1861, and it may be that she had gone to live with one of her children after John died.