Ann Kenward The Children
Ann Kenward + Charles Richard Smith
I suppose the two pictures I have chosen to illustrate Ann and Charles' family are somewhat romantic - but they give some idea of the size and economic status of the family. One child too many in the main picture - although you could say the one on her own represents the baby who died. And on the left the mysterious last daughter. So who were they and what did they do with their lives?
Wilhelmina Cecilia 1839-1855?
As with so many Victorian (and earlier of course) families, the first-born child did not survive. Wilhelmina was 2 1/2 in 1841 when Ann and Charles were visiting their Kenward relations in Lewes. By 1851 she has disappeared. I actually have not found her birth, but there she clearly is in the 1841census. Ann would have been only sixteen or seventeen when Wilhelmina was born. I suppose it is remotely possible that in 1851 the little girl was away at school - her younger sisters did this later on, but I am sure she died at some point because there is a later child also called Wilhelmina. I have found a death in 1855 of a Wilhelmina Cecilia in Brighton which may well be her. Her grandmother's middle name was Cecilia so maybe ...
Frederick Sundius 1841-1914
The son and heir was born in the same year as the census, but in London - and according to one census record, in Finsbury Square, and another in Dalston in the Hackney area of London. Yet another says Lewes, but most seem to indicate London somewhere. Which seems to confirm the theory of the Smiths simply visiting Lewes, not living there. The birth of a son would have been a cause for celebration. I do not know how he was educated, although educated he must have been. In both 1851 and 1861 he is living with his parents, and at the age of 19 in 1861 is working as a clerk - doubtless in his father’s business. Charles took his two older sons into his business as partners - and then on his retirement they took over. Reading between the lines of the entry in The Encyclopaedia of Brighton, it would seem that Frederick managed the finances, whilst Richard was CEO. Apparently, apart from being a partner in the milling business, Frederick was also a great participator in the local community. The long list of activities includes being a: Shoreham Harbour Trustee, Portslade Councillor, Overseer of the Poor at Portslade, Representative of Portslade on the East Sussex County Council. He also was instrumental in establishing the first public day school in Portslade and was a foundation manager of St. Nicolas’ School as well as being both a Freemason and a member of the Ancient Order of Foresters. A busy man.
The Encyclopeaedia also describes him as someone who “sported a droopy moustache and he habitually wore a wing collar.” Alas we have no photographs, so I hope that the portrait at left will be a suitable substitute.
He married relatively late in life. He was 30 when he married Emily Beatrice Knightley (who, however, was only 24). They lived mostly at 3 Courtenay Terrace, otherwise known as Courtenay House - I think the photograph at left is of Courtenay Terrace. It certainly looks suitably grand. The couple had five sons and two daughters all of whom had Sundius as part of their name and which led to some of the branches of this family now being known as Sundius Smith rather than plain old Smith. Well you can understand why. Three of the sons followed military careers but none of them seemed to have been involved in the family business. He died in 1914 just three months before his youngest son was killed in the war. His widow outlived him by many years, but then she was somewhat younger. Almost the entire family is buried in the family tomb at Hove Cemetery. A respectable and respected man.
Richard appears to be the son who really committed himself to the family business. Named for his grandfather, and interestingly with no middle names - just plain Richard - like his grandfather and great-grandfather before him. As a young man he was apparently quite athletic and a notable sculler, but an accident at the mill, aged 21 resulted in him losing his hand - well that’s what the Encyclopaedia says, though the photograph above - it is indeed a photograph of Richard - seems to suggest that he lost more than a hand. Even more tragically he later lost three fingers from his remaining hand. Apparently he wore a hook instead of his lost hand, which must have given him a certain notoriety, which was no doubt added to by the fact that he rode around on a tricycle. But one shouldn’t joke, as these would have been significant handicaps to overcome.
Richard became the managing director of the Britannia Mills, which, under his father’s, his and his son’s stewardship was one of the most innovative flour mills in the country. In his capacity as managing director he was a popular member of the London Corn Exchange and a prominent member of the community but in different ways to his brother. Although not a member of the Salvation Army he was a sympathiser and donated the site on which the Army built its Portslade Citadel.
His wife was called Mary Alice and was said to be the illegitimate offspring of a Scottish Earl and a Spanish dancer. Whether or not she was, I think her surname was Hunter and I think they were married in 1876 when Richard would have been 32. The marriage took place in the registration district of Hackney, so maybe Mary Alice had connections to either the family in Stoke Newington, or to Charles Richard’s early life in the Finsbury area. Whoever, she was, they seem to have had just four children - three girls and a boy, Douglas who went on to run the business, until it was sold in the 1930s. The family lived in Station Road, Portslade in a large house, which is no longer there - initially called Zion Lodge and later Merlin Lodge. Another very respectable, if somewhat more colourful man than his brother, Richard died in 1912 of heart failure. He too is buried in Hove Cemetery in the family vault.
My great-grandmother. Her story is told here. The photograph of Caroline is dated 1869. She would have been 29.
Barbara Henrietta Louisa 1847-1931
Mary Ann was possibly named for her step-grandmother, Mary Ann Clarke but until we know who Ann’s forbears were I really couldn’t say this for sure. There is a slightly longer gap between Mary Ann and her sister Barbara than between the other children but I have no idea whether there was another dead baby in between. Let us assume not. At the age of 11 she was away at school with Barbara, which seems a bit harsh, even though it wasn’t very far away. At least she was educated I guess.
Only slightly older than Barbara - at the age of 20 - she also married a clergyman - one Osmond Cookson - also somewhat older, though not quite as much older - a mere nine years in Osmond’s case. And let us assume that Osmond was to become a significant family member because his name crops up in my grandfather’s names - Gerald Osmond Hubert - the last son of Caroline Margaret. Mary Ann and Osmond married in 1870 and spent the next thirty years or so at vicarages around the country - Yorkshire, Hastings, Essex.
And then in 1903 we find her husband aged 62 in the company of one of his unmarried daughters on board the SS Suevic bound for Cape Town, South Africa. It seems that virtually all of the family followed, and that they finally settled in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), although it seems that Osmond died in Adelaide in South Australia at the grand old age of 84. But I do not know what happened to Mary Ann. Did she die before he went? The passenger list says that Osmond was married so one assumes she was still alive in 1903. Had he retired and decided to travel? Was he following one of the chidlren? Was he on a mission to spread the Christian message to the natives of darkest Africa? And those census records - in 1891 Mary Ann is the head of a household in Hastings with some daughters, whilst Osmond is in Yorkshire with son Percy. But then they are together again in 1901 in Essex. Did they separate? Did Mary Ann follow Osmond on another boat? Had she already left? I have found various references to what happened to the children - but have no idea what happened to Mary Ann. I cannot find a death - well there are three potential deaths in the 1920s of ladies with the right name and the right age roughly, in the north of England, but whether any of them are our Mary Ann I could not tell. Intriguing. If somebody knows the answers to these questions get in touch. Send an email.
Barbara is obviously named for her grandmother but I do not know where the Henrietta or Louisa come from. The middle one of a little group of three girls in the middle of the family. Indeed the family groups itself as two older brothers involved in the business, three girls, one solitary boy and then two more girls. Barbara is virtually the centre of the family. Unlike her older sister Caroline, who seems always to be at home with her mother, Barbara and her younger sister Mary Ann were sent away to school. Not very far away it is true - just in Brighton - but nevertheless they seem to have been at least weekly boarders there. Maybe they came home for weekends. I wonder why they were sent away. Once the fourth child (Barbara) was born, maybe it all became too much for Ann (now a grand old lady of 25) to manage.
Like her mother, Barbara married young, although not quite as young - she was nineteen. Her marriage was also obviously approved of, for it was celebrated by her half-uncle the Reverend Adam Clarke Smith. Her bridegroom was himself the vicar of Portslade and he was considerably older than Barbara - being 40 years old at the time. It sounds awful doesn’t it? They were married on May 15th 1866 in Littlehampton although I am not quite sure why the marriage was there. According to the 1911 census the couple had ten children, eight of whom survived. so they had many years of married life before them, hopefully happy ones. So Barbara was a vicar’s wife - performing all the duties that go with that role no doubt, but a comfortable life in comfortable vicarages with the help of servants. Her husband seems to have been the vicar of Portslade for a while, but was later vicar at Kimpton in Hampshire in the New Forest area. The family can be tracked quite easily, except that in 1901 Barbara is missing - I cannot find her, but she may turn up somewhere.
Her husband died in 1911 but Barbara lived on until 1931 when she died at the ripe old age of 84, still in Hampshire at Linstead Lodge, St. Leonard’s near Ringwood. I do not know if this is a house or a medical institution of some kind. She left a small amount of money to her daughter Winifred, who had doubtless been looking after her in her old age. 1847-1931 - huge changes took place in this era - from crinolines, to almost World War two, aeroplanes and liberated women.
Mary Ann 1850-?
Charles Mollett Sundius 1851-1903
Being a Mollett, I am intrigued by this son’s name. His sister Caroline married Gerald Osmond Hubert Mollett, but there was obviously a family connection before this. Why else give your son the name of Mollett? I suspect it must have something to do with Richard Smith the grandfather, who may well have known John Mollett (Gerald’s grandfather) through work. I have not found a more intimate family connection so far though.
And Charles became another vicar! This middle section of the family seem to have got religion in a big way. I think he went to Tonbridge Grammar School and from there he definitely went to Trinity College Cambridge from whence he graduated in theology - ultimately becoming, first a curate and then a vicar - with most of his years as vicar in the picturesque Yorkshire village of Lund. His wife, Belinda Mabel Campbell, unlike his sisters’ spouses, was the same age as him and had been born in India. They married the year after his graduation from Trinity College and they had just three children - all girls.
The only other things to be said about Charles are that by 1891 he was calling himself Charles Smith Sundius and had dropped the Mollett. This nomenclature continued until his death, although the Mollett may have crept back in on the death certificate - although not Smith as a surname. I suppose one can sympathise with the desire to have a different surname than Smith - and it certainly makes family history research easier, once one has realised the name has changed, but it is interesting that he should choose to do it. I wonder what prompted it. The change coincides with the move to Lund. Charles was relatively young when he died - only 51. He died intestate, which I think just means he didn’t have a will. There is a photograph of his gravestone on the web which has his name as Charles Mollett Sundius Sundius (he really doesn’t seem to have liked Smith) and a note that he was vicar of Lund for 13 years.
His widow, Belinda survived him by many years. She did not die until 1935 and by 1911 was living on her own means in Maida Hill in London. I assume one or more of the children lived nearby.
Jane Vizeille 1854-?
The middle name of Vizeille is from Jane’s grandfather’s second wife who had some connection with John Wesley, in whose family is the name Vizeille. I cannot quite remember the connection now. Whatever it is I guess the choice is making the point that the family is connected to Wesley.
Jane did not marry and since at least two of her census records have her with one or other of her married sisters, one can assume she became the classic maiden aunt. Very possibly she was much loved and sought after. It might not have been such a bad life to be a spinster aunt in those days. A bit like a grandparent in lots of ways - all the fun and none of the responsibility of motherhood, and certainly none of the perils of childbirth to navigate. The portrait by Gauguin above, that I have chosen to represent her, shows a woman who is comfortable in her own skin I think. I think it is called Woman seated in front of a still life by Cézanne. I cannot find her in the 1911 census. Did she go overseas? She died in Portslade in 1914 at the age of 59 - not that old.
Wilhelmina Aitkin 1857-1936
Wilhelmina was the name given to Ann and Charles’ first-born child. I do not know whether this Wilhelmina was named for her, or for the person who inspired the naming of that first lost baby - maybe Ann’s mother - or was it a feminised version of her father William’s name? And Aitkin - another surname used as a middle christian name. I do not know its origins. Again - maybe it is from Ann’s side of the family - or further back in the Smith family history.
All the early censuses of Wilhelmina’s life show her at home with the family, so maybe only Barbara and Mary Ann were actually sent away to school. Maybe the younger girls were educated at home - as doubtless the boys were sent away to school - most likely to Tonbridge Grammar as in Charles’ case.
Be that as it may, in 1882 Wilhelmina (or Minnie as she appears to have been called) married Moncrieff Parry Gosset in London. An aristocratic kind of name for a minor aristocrat I believe. Without going into his origins, it would appear that her husband was a mining engineer and a successful one at that. I say successful because, the various censuses show them living at various grand addresses (in 1911 they were in Onslow Square South Kensington in a house of 20 rooms), with a tribe of servants in attendance. The four children of the marriage (as declared on the 1911 census form) were mostly not at home whenever the census was taken though. Where were they? In 1891 Hugh and Gordon were visiting the Williams family (whoever they were - Moncrieff’s sister?). And in the same year the other two - Donald and Gladys - then aged 4 and 2 respectively were visiting their aunt Mary Ann with their grandmother Ann. Apparently their father travelled far and wide and often, but not with Wilhelmina. The trips were mostly to America and Central America, and the boys seem to have accompanied him from an early age, indeed they may have spent long periods in America as boys and young men. Absence may have made the heart grow fonder, for the couple still seemed to have been together at the end. Did Wilhelmina miss her children, or was she glad to be rid of them? She died in 1936, Moncrieff in 1930. So the last child may well have been the wealthiest one in the end. The couple in the photograph above are, I think representative of this couple.
Jane/Lorna/Diane Myra ?1866-?
Then there is the mysterious possible last child. All I have is the presence of this young lady in the 1891 census in the home of Mary Ann Cookson (who is Ann's daughter) and in the company of Ann. She is listed after Ann who is said to be a relative (actually Mary Ann's mother). Jane (or Lorna or Diane - it is very unclear) is described as daughter. But she cannot be the daughter of Mary Ann because she is twenty five years old and Mary Ann is only thirty two. So one can only assume that she is Ann’s daughter - because of her position on the list. This would make her birthdate 1866 - but I simply cannot find her birth. Unlike other members of the family her surname is given as Smith, but even under Sundius she cannot be found. The only other thing we know about her is that she was born in Brighton according to this census. Try as I may I cannot find her either before 1891 or after. No birth, no death, no marriage. I am mystified. But I can find out nothing else, so if you know something do tell - email us.
If she is a last daughter of Ann’s - is she that last love child - the surprise gift at the end of the childbearing years or is she the result of a transgression by Ann? I must admit I find this hard to believe - there is simply no evidence for it. So we must just assume that she is the late mistake. Or else, she is not Ann and Charles’ child at all, but somebody else’s.
It just goes to show though that even in the most seemingly ordinary lives - like Ann Kenward’s there can still be surprises and mysteries. I hope the lovely young lady in the portrait at right is suitably mysterious looking.