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Joseph Beckwith

The portrait above is by Ary Scheffer (1795-1858), a Dutch artist and is entitled Reynolds the Engraver.  I don’t think it is anyone famous.  I chose it partly because engraving was one of our Joseph’s chosen professions and also because in many ways the face matches my imaginings of the man.  I see I think of him as old - which is partly because of the story of his two families.  Although we have some references to him in the Beckwith family bible - images of which I have been given, by Dawn Sorenson (with thanks), we do not, of course have any pictures.  


He has a lot of children as you can see from the list at right, but not all from the same mother.  The second half of the list virtually all have the surname or middle name Bartholomew, because he didn’t marry their mother, Ann Bartholomew until after the last one was born.  Moreover the first one was born well before his first wife died.  But more of that on the pages of his story. Suffice to say the Bartholomew Beckwiths are not mentioned in the family bible.


I say that he was an engraver, for that is what he most often describes himself as in the census records, but he was also a silversmith, so maybe he did his engraving on silver, rather than on a medium which would eventually produce a print.  Again I am indebted to another Beckwith ‘relative’, Priscilla Henderson for her researches into Joseph’s work.


But he also had a secondary career as a coffee house keeper - at a time when coffee houses were all the rage in London with many of them forming the basis of institutions such as the Baltic Exchange and Lloyds of London.  No doubt Joseph’s establishments were much more modest, but we have reason to believe that he was certainly involved in the intellectual life of London at the time.


And here’s a mind-boggling thought.  Joseph was born in 1776.  His youngest son died in 1939!  So here's the story of one our most fascinating ancestors.  Well I think so anyway.



Hebrew meaning ‘Jehovah has added a child’.  Well Joseph was Jesus’ earthly father and certainly the husband of Mary and our Joseph certainly added many children to the population of London in the early nineteenth century.


Guiseppe, Josef, Seph


Joe, Joey, Josh

Joseph Beckwith

b 11 November 1776 Lillypot Lane, St. Giles, Cripplegate

c 22 December 1776 St Mary Staining

m Jane Pittard 30 June 1830 St Mary’s Islington

m Ann Bartholomew 1854

d 3 December 1860 Huggin Lane and Alley, Wood St.

bu Highgate Cemetery



Joseph Henry (1801-1827)

Jane Elizabeth (1805-1888)

Henry Samuel (1809-1895)

Mary Ann (1811-1873)

George (1816-?)

Robert William (1819-1819)

Joseph Bartholomew (1834-?)

Ann Bartholomew (1835-?)

Jonas/Jonah (1836-1874)

Charles Bartholomew (1838-?)

Susan Bartholomew (1839-1839)

Alfred Bartholomew (1846-1847)

John (1847-1848)

George Bartholomew (1849-1849)

Robert Bartholomew (1851-?)

Louisa Bartholomew (1852-?)




Baptism image

Marriage to Jane Pittard - image

Beckwith family bible references, courtesy of Dawn Sorenson

Death certificate

Census for 1841, 1851

Baptisms of some of the children

Various directory entries

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