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Ann Martin  The children

Ann Martin +

William Henry Warner

Ann seems to have had seven children of her own, and may have briefly been stepmother to one or two more, but on the present evidence it would seem that only four girls survived into adulthood.   The painting at the top of the page, which I have chosen to illustrate this family is by Edvard Munch and therefore is dated some fifty years or so later than Ann’s little family, and yet it shows them as they might have been.  I have done my best to find out about them all but I really do not know a lot and I have no photos - the pictures I have chosed are, hopefully representative of them, and express what I feel about them.  And I guess the main thing I have got out of investigating this little family is that they were a close little group of women, doubtless brought together by the hardship of losing the father, husband and breadwinner at an early age for all of them.   If you know more, do let me know by email for I would be very interested.

Clara 1834 - before 1841
regency young man_edited.jpg

Clara is the only child about whom I am uncertain as to her parentage.  Well I am 95% sure that she is the first child of Ann and William Henry Warner, born some ten months after their marriage.  The only reason for doubt is the father’s occupation - tallow chandler - which is different to his subsequent career as a painter and glazier.  I know very little about Clara.  She was born on June 21st 1834 in Fetter Lane, Holborn and christened twenty three days later on July 14 at St Andrew’s Holborn.  I cannot find a burial, but I think that she must have died before 1841 because there is no further reference to her.  Yet another first child who dies.  How sad.  I do not know where the name comes from.  Maybe it is William’s mother’s name.

According to one of Martha Ann’s two baptismal records, she was born on March 10th 1842.  She was first christened, at just six days old in Old Church, St. Pancras.  This is very soon after the birth, so one wonders whether, in fact she was sick and expected to die.   But she didn’t for she is baptised again, with her sisters Mary Ann and Catherine in 1849 in Christ Church in Southwark, and the record clearly states her birthdate as 1842.  She may have been included in the triple baptism, just so she didn’t feel left out perhaps.  She appears with the family in the 1851 census and then disappears.  Initially I thought that she probably died.  However, in putting together this page, I decided to look into it further and found that she married, at the rather young age of 16 (even though she says she is of full age), in 1858, one John Charles Jones - a hatter.  I am absolutely sure that this is her because the father’s name and occupation is correct, the address is that of her mother at the time, and one of the witnesses is James Hopkins who was, by now her stepfather.  Or is it her young stepbrother James, for this James Hopkins cannot sign his name, which is very intriguing because James Hopkins was, and mostly saw himself as, a schoolmaster.  Surely one could not be a schoolmaster - even if your subject was maths without being able to write and anyway he did sign his own marriage record.   Maybe he had injured his hand?

But that is James’ story not Martha’s.  Intriguing though, isn’t it that when you look at all the ‘side’ characters in an ancestor’s life you sometimes find other tantalising little bits of information that impact the life of the direct ancestor.


With a surname like Jones It is not that easy to find children, and the first I have found were born after 1864.  There must surely have been earlier chidlren.  Six years between marriage and the first child is an awful long time for that period.  One of the reasons I cannot find these children may be that the Jones’ moved north sometime soon after their marriage.  I think they must have moved around a bit, because I eventually found them in 1861 three years after their marriage, in Newcastle-on-Tyne with no children, and then the first child that i do have a record of, Hannah, born in 1864, was born in Leicester.  Where they were in between I have no idea.  I wonder why they went north.  You really cannot get much further north than Newcastle from London.  What were they escaping?  Her husband was also a Londoner, but maybe his family came from there.  Who knows.   Were they doing a young person’s tour of England?  Was it choice or necssity that drove them?  Whether they had children there I also do not know.  But by 1868 they are back in London - south of the river in Southwark, where two more children - Henrietta, born 1868 and Henry William born 1870 added to the little family, although there seem to be no more after this. even though they were still very young.  So you would have to wonder, but it is just oo hard with a name like Jones.  If there were more, one can only assume that they died because they do not show up in any censuses.


Martha always has an occupation listed in the census records - laundress in 1861 and various hatter assistant kind of jobs thereafter, so she obviously made a contribution to the family fortunes.  Maybe the fact that there were so few children enabled her to do this.  They moved around the Camberwell area, the children gradually left home (or died) and eventually in 1897 her husband died too.  When Martha herself died I do not know - the most likely death is in 1908 in the Parish of St. Giles, but I cannot find her with any certainty in the 1901 census.  So a bit of a mystery.  Another ordinary life that wasn’t really ordinary.

This was to be Ann’s only son, proudly named for his father (and maybe his father’s father) and Ann’s father.  He was not christened as an infant.  Maybe his parents had lost faith - both in the church and in the ability of children to survive.  And sadly they were right.  On June 10th 1838 William Thomas is baptised at Old Church, St. Pancras and just over a fortnight later on June 26th, he is buried at St. Giles in the Fields - another church in the same area, though why the churches are different I do not know.  The parents may well have been in shock for some time, for there seem to be no more children until 1842, although there may have been miscarriages in between  The lovely daguerrotype is of a father and his two small children - Clara may not have lived this long, and these people are a bit more highly born.

William Thomas 1836-1838
Martha Ann 1842-1908

And then back to tragedy for Ann.  Another little girl - this one named for her mother, is born, christened a short time after her birth and dies at the age of 17 months.  Just developing a personality and becoming a real person.  How sad.

Mary Ann is one of those ancestors on the periphery who, we have recently discovered, actually played a more central role in the family history than we had previously realised.  She was born in June 1846 less than a year after the death of her sister Charlotte.  Her mother would not have been pregnant when Charlotte died however.  Let us hope that her birth would have restored the spirits of Ann and William, for she was only the second child to survive.  Martha was their only surviving child.  Nevertheless there was only a three year gap between the two little girls so no doubt they became close.


Until her marriage in 1874 to Benjamin Brittle, her life story was much the same as Martha’s - helping her mother with her sewing business at a very early age and then working for her stepfather in his clothes business.  She would only have been seven when her father died and only nine when her mother remarried, so would probably have thought of James Hopkins as her father more than her real father, particularly as the family seems to have worked together as well as living together.  The family was close - as we shall see.  Benjamin Brittle was a blacksmith and Mary Ann was older than her sisters when she married - 27 as opposed to in her teens.  Does this make her the most responsible member of the family I wonder?  


The couple had eight children, but of these, it looks as if only four survived into adulthood and of these, two died in young adulthood - Benjamin in World War 1 and Maud of I know not what but at the far too young age of 29,  So a fairly sad life as a mother,  which very possibly explains how Mary Ann seems to have brought up the two probably illegitimate children of my grandmother Maude Beatrice Magee (her niece), Violet and Harry.  For the full story as we know it read Maude’s story from the time her marriage begins to break down.  


In brief though, this is how Mary Ann’s story impacts on that of my grandmother.  In 1913 Violet was born to Maude and in 1914 Harry was born.  Now the birth certificates state that their father was Maude’s husband Gerald Mollett, but, in fact in 1915, Gerald makes a will that does not mention either his wife or these two children and he also seems to move back home to his mother, at least temporarily.   We must therefore assume that their father is somebody different.  One candidate might be Mary Ann’s grown son, and Maude’s cousin, Benjamin, but we really do not know and I do not think there is any way of finding out who their father was now.  Whoever he was, Violet and Harry were brought up in the Brittle household in Tanner’s Hill, Deptford and took the surname, Brittle.  Violet believed her father to be Benjamin, although he does not seem to have married and was, in fact killed in World War One, so she would probably have little or no memory of him.  This would also have been yet another tragedy for Mary Ann - her only surviving son cruelly taken away in a pointless war.  Indeed it must be many times worse to have an adult child die than a baby or a young child - although maybe not.  We are fortunate that these tragedies do not happen so frequently these days.  The final tragedy for Mary Ann was the death of her daughter Maud Henrietta, who died at the age of 29 - I do not know why.   The only positive would be that Mary Ann would have the understanding of her sisters and her mother to help her through.  


So Violet and Harry (Mollett), now known as Violet and Harry Brittle and apparently completely ignorant of their parentage, would have grown up, nurtured by two people they thought were their grandparents, and also by their supposed aunt Mary Ann.  This was the period when Mary Ann and her mother Ann operated the wardrobe business in Tanner’s Hill, so as the children grew, they probably helped out.  


In 1871 Mary Ann had been living with Ann and James at 15 Clarence Place in Deptford, and it seems that Ann and James moved out, leaving the house to Mary Ann and Benjamin after their marriage, for this is the first address we have for them.  But then the family moved to Tanner’s Hill in Deptford, where they lived for many many years - from somewhere between 1881 and 1891 until after Mary Ann’s death in 1927 - for Mary Ann’s daughter Mary Ann and Violet and Harry carried on living there after her death.   And after the death of James Hopkins, Ann came to live down the road, and work with her in the famiy business so it was a tight-knit little group.  


Mary Ann’s husband died in 1919, but she had the good fortune to have her daughter living with her and the children Violet and Harry too.  Her daughter never married and took over the mothering role - which she may well have mostly performed anyway.


In 1927 at the age of 80 Mary Ann died.

Charlotte 1844-1845
Mary Ann 1846-1927
Catherine Eliza 1848-1933

My great-grandmother.  Her story is coming soon..

Henrietta 1850-1906

The baby of the family was only two when her father died, so she would have had no memory of him I’m sure.   She married, at the age of 24 one George Edward Baber.  Although he has an occupation written on the marriage record, I cannot decipher it, and since he doesn’t appear in any of the subsequent census records I can find for Henrietta, I have no idea what he did for a living.  


The records for Henrietta’s life, are, in fact, somewhat frustrating in that the census record for 1881 is missing for all of them, in 1901 she describes herself as a widow and yet her death record implies that she is still married to George.  The 1891 census record shows her with three children - two boys and a girl, but I do not know much about them.  In one census record she is a charwoman, in another a tailoress - a skill she no doubt acquired at an early age.   From her 1901 census record though, we discover that her sister Mary Ann’s daughter Maud is still alive for she is living (or staying) with her.  Prior to finding this record I had assumed that Maud had died as a child as she disappears from her mother’s census records.


Possibly her husband had a job that took him away from home - maybe he was a sailor or in the army - maybe the marriage was not a happy one and maybe he left home.  I cannot tell at the moment, and, as she is not a direct ancestor I have not followed her trail very diligently.  The only other thing I can say about her is that she seemd to live most of her adult life in Greenwich, which is just next door to Deptford where her mother and sister Mary Ann lived.


What I did find was that, like her stepfather James Hopkins, she died in the Greenwich Union Infirmary at the relatively early age of 56 of morbus cordis - which apparently is a catch all phrase meaning heart disease, or even more generally, natural causes.


I have no idea really whether she was a woman abandoned by her husband - but the picture I have chosen is surely representative of many women of that time.  Maybe Henrietta too.  I hope not.


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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