John (5) Woodhurst

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Brief biography

John (5) Woodhurst was born around 1825 to parents John (10) Woodhurst and his wife Sarah (nee) Morley. He was christened at Smeeth, Kent on June 12th 1825 [Smeeth Parish Register].

The 1841 Census finds him at age "15" in Aldington, Kent where he was working as a servant for Odian Cassingham, the holder of a 46-acre farm named Copperhurst.

The 1851 Census finds him at age "23" at 94, King Street in Ramsgate, working with several others as baker journeymen for a master baker John Joad. His birthplace is given here as Ashford, just five miles north-west of Smeeth.

He married Susannah White at Canterbury in 1853. The marriage certificate [Marriage Index: Canterbury 2a 798, 1853 (June)] states that they married on June 25th 1853 at St. Mildred's Parish Church, Canterbury. John is described as a bachelor of full age, occupied as a baker and residing at Queen Street, Ramsgate. Susannah is described as a spinster of full age, with no cited occupation and residing at Delasaux Square. He described his father as a farmer (who was probably just a farmer's labourer), and she described hers as a cow keeper named Thomas White. The witnesses were Richard Terrell (or Ferrell) and Rebecca Wood, whose connections are unknown. The Parish Marriage Register describes Thomas White as a dairyman.

Susannah was born in Smeeth around 1830, and her father Thomas was born around 1797 in Canterbury [UK Census 1881].

After marrying, John (5) continued living in Ramsgate for the rest of his life. He and Susannah produced three daughters - Susannah (2), Annie (3) and Bessie - and two sons Walter (2) and William Thomas who both died in infancy. Bessie and William Thomas were twins.

The 1861 Census finds him at age "35" at 8, Queen Street in Ramsgate, occupied as a baker. His birthplace is given as Smeeth. Also present was a servant Jane White, aged "15" and born in Canterbury, who may have been a niece of Susannah. It may be that John Joad had now retired or died and that John (5) had taken over the business, or perhaps he independently set up his own business.

The 1871 Census finds him living with his family at Nos. 22 and 24, Harbour Street in Ramsgate, occupied as a bread and biscuit baker.

The 1881 Census finds his family still living at 24, Harbour Street and still occupied as a baker. Here his birthplace is wrongly cited as Canterbury, about 15 miles north-east of Smeeth - perhaps he did not supply the details himself. With him were Bessie and Annie (3) - his other daughter Susannah (2) had by then already married and was living nearby at 51, Harbour Street. Also living with him was his wife's widowed father Thomas, then aged 84. The census officer accidentally transposed the names of Annie (3) and her mother when writing their details onto the record.

The British Library holds an example of one of John (5)'s advertisements dated April 27th 1883 for his business in Harbour Street, an image of which is shown below.

Susannah died in 1886. Her death certificate [Death Index: Hastings 2b 30, 1886 (Sept)] states that she died aged 56 on September 29th 1886 at 2, Whitefriars Road in Hastings. This was also the address cited for the informant, her son-in-law Edward Webb Ellis - the husband of her daughter Annie (3). She is described as 'wife of John Woodhurst, baker'. The cause of death was certified as 'diarrhoea 3 months, fracture humerus 8 days'. It is not clear just whose home No. 2, Whitefriars Road was in 1886, but it was not listed in that road in the 1891 Census - it may have been unoccupied or may have ceased to exist. By 1891 Edward and Annie (3) were living at No. 42.

The 1891 Census finds John (5) living at the George and Dragon Hotel at 31, Cavendish Street in Ramsgate. He had done well for himself as he was now the hotel keeper and so possibly its owner. Here his birthplace is at last cited correctly as Smeeth and his status as widowed. With him was Bessie, still unmarried and working as his assistant, and also his 14-year-old grandson Edwin Woodhurst Pullen, the son of Susannah (2) who had died a year previously.

John (5) died aged 66 the following year [Death Index: Thanet 2a 839, 1892 (March)].

His children by Susannah White

  1. Susannah (2) Woodhurst
  2. Annie (3) Woodhurst
  3. Walter (2) Woodhurst
  4. Bessie Woodhurst
  5. William Thomas Woodhurst