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Ann Martin  Marriage no.1

At the tender age of 18 Ann Martin married the only slightly older nineteen year old William Henry Warner.  The miniature at left is obviously of a much wealthier couple.   However I think it portrays a spirit of youthful hopefulness at the prospect of a life together, which, of course, I hope they shared.  They were married in Old Church, St. Pancras - shown below.  It is said to be the oldest church in London although it has changed much over the centuries.   The marriage was on August 25th 1833.

St. Pancras, Marylebone and Southwark 1833-1852

But back to Ann and William.  The marriage was by banns, so not a really rushed job, but they were both underage, and the witnesses are ‘professionals’ in that their signatures appear on several other marriages on the same page of the parish register.  There seem to have been no relatives at the wedding.  Did this mean that the wedding was clandestine?  And why St. Pancras?  St Pancras is just a little due north of Fleet Market.  I do not know much about William but on the 1851 census he gives his birthplace as St. Pancras, so we must assume that this was why they married here.  Ann may well have left home by then anyway.  She may have been working as a servant, or more likely, considering her later life, as a dressmaker somewhere.  I have no idea how they met?  Indeed how did young people meet in those days?  Were they neighbours?  Did they simply meet on the street?  Friends in common?

Indeed there is no record that I can find of any other babies until 1842, four years after the death of little William and six years after his birth.  There may have been miscarriages of course, and there may simply be missing parish records.  But so far I have found no recrods anywhere else of other children.  It must have been a very sad time for the young couple - maybe they stopped trying - if this was possible in those times.  For in 1841 they have no children.  They are living in Chapel Street , Marylebone in the house of one Elizabeth Diamond, a dressmaker with a Louisa Warner, charwoman, aged 40.  Because the 1841 census returns do not state relationships, I have no idea what Louisa’s connection with William (now aged 27) is.  She is surely too young to be his mother, so maybe a sister or an aunt?  I also feel that Elizabeth Diamond has some other connection with the family - I have seen her name somewhere before, but in my usual inefficient way I have not recorded the connection - or potential connection.  Ann doesn’t have a profession next to her name, so maybe she kept house for everybody else.  Whoever these people are, William and Ann have been married for eight years or so, and are now in their twenties, but they have no living children. 

But then suddenly in 1852, when Henrietta was only two years old, and even Martha, the oldest, if still alive, was only ten, William Henry dies.  I have at last found his death - or rather his burial in Christ Church in Southwark but I have yet to get his death certificate so do not know why or how he died - an accident, a work-related illness, or just a disease contracted somewhere.   I must find out.

Ann was only in her mid thirties when her husband died.  She had been married for just under twenty years and at the point in her life when everything finally seemed to be working out - husband working, three small children - everything is suddenly snatched away and she is left destitute.  For destitute she would have been.  There were no government handouts to help - so what did she do?  I guess at times like this one turns to family, and indeed our next record of Ann is back on the other side of the river - this time in Hackney where she remarries.  What happened in the two years between the death of her first husband, and marriage to the second we can only guess at, as, frustratingly these years occur just after the 1851 census when all was well with the little family.  Let us assume she went home to mum - or at least to a family member - a sister perhaps - where she recommenced her work as a dressmaker/seamstress to provide for her three, maybe four daughters.

Their first child may or may not have been Clara, born on 21st June, 1834  (so not conceived before the marriage) at 84 Fetter Lane, Holborn.  (Fetter Lane is shown in the pictures below and at left.)   I only hesitate because the father’s profession in the christening record is given as a tallow chandler and all subsequent records have William’s profession as painter, sometimes painter and glazier.  But the father is William Henry Warner, not just William, so I am inclined to think that she is indeed  theirs and that William changed his profession, which is not, of course, unusual.  By 1841 she has disappeared and I can find no further trace of her so am assuming for now that she died - whether as a baby or small child I do not know.  How sad, but, also sadly, how unexceptional.

The sadness did not stop there however, for their next child, William Thomas born on April 20th 1836  died just over two years later.  He was not baptised until around the time he died, so perhaps the grieving parents were more cautious about baptism after the death of their first baby. 

During this period, William began his career as a painter and glazier - unofficially perhaps, as I can find no apprenticeship records.  The family also moved around the area a little - there are addresses in Marylebone, Holborn and St. Pancras.


And then their luck began to change.  In 1842 Martha Ann is born, followed by Charlotte in 1844, Mary Ann in 1845, Catherine Eliza (my great-grandmother) in 1848 and Henrietta in 1850.  All girls - this must have been disappointing for William.  Men seem to feel the lack of a son it seems to me, although they also adore their daughters.   But they survived, well not Charlotte who also tragically died at the age of 1 1/2 just about the same time as  her younger sister Mary Ann was born., and also Martha may not have survived beyond the age of nine, when she disappears from the records too..  Their survival, of course would bring a new set of problems - how to feed the ever enlarging family, although, for the times, it was not large - five, maybe only four daughters was not a large family.   Whilst they would not have been at the bottom of the economic ladder, they would also not have been terribly far up it.  At this time also they moved across the river to Borough and Walworth in the Southwark area of London.  A change of scene, a change in luck.  Perhaps this was their happiest, most content time.   The beautiful daguerrotype at left is not, alas, of my ancestors, but I hope it captures the spirit of who they were.  


Before marriage

Marriage no. 1

Marriage no.2

Old age

The children


Ann Martin

Thomas Martin

?Charlotte Swann

William Henry Warner

Catherine Eliza Warner


The Fleet River and Shoe Lane

Dressmakers and Seamstresses

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