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Jane Elizabeth Beckwith



Hebrew meaning ‘Jehovah has favoured’.  The feminine form of John which apparently comes to us via the old French form - Jehane.  An all-time favourite name.  This Jane, however, was most likely named after her mother, Jane Pittard.


Jan, Jana, Janet, Janis


you wouldn’t abbreviate Jane would you?  Janey?



Hebrew meaning ‘God is satisfaction’ or ‘God is satisfied’.  Obviously our top queen name and John the Baptist;s mother too.


Elisabeth, Elspeth, Isabelle


Liz, Lizzie, Bess, Bessie, Betty, Eliza

I have the impression of Jane Elizabeth Beckwith being the power behind the throne - the epitome of the saying that “behind every great man is a great woman”.  Whilst not being exactly great, her husband John must have been remarkable, and I have the impression (wholly derived from my imagination I must confess), that his wife was a remarkable lady too.  I am indebted to Philip Mollett for the beautiful photograph of the lady herself.  I think she looks kind but strong.


Like most middle-class women of her time, Jane’s primary role was as mother and wife/housekeeper.  Women’s emancipation was a long way off, but I think she would have had a degree of power within the household, and maybe had some influence on her husband, who seems to have spent as much time as possible with her and his family.  They believed in education, and if not directly involved, were friendly with and related to various radicals.


A plain name, coincidentally the feminine form of her husband’s name.  I’m sure her story is typical of the nouveau riche of nineteenth century London.

Jane Elizabeth Beckwith

b 20 August 1805 St John, Clerkenwell

c 15 September 1805 St James, Clerkenwell

m John Mollett 24 December, 1830

d 11 November 1888 13 Northbrook Road, Lee, Kent

bu 16 November 1888 Norwood Cemetery, Lambeth



Jane (1832-1920)

John William (1834-?)

Mary Anne Fanny (1836-?)

Harry Pittard (1837-1840)

Lewis Charles (1838-1863)

Katherine Lucy (1840-1915)

Edward Alexander (1842-1900)

Jessie Gertrude (1844-1882)

Arthur Robert (1844-1922)

Frederick Herbert (1846-1911)

William Henri Colchester (1848-1903)




Baptism image

Marriage to John Mollett - image

Beckwith family bible references, courtesy of Dawn Sorenson

Death certificate

Census records for 1841-1881

Carolina Mollett’s account of her sister Wilhelmina’s life

The portrait I had previously chosen to represent Jane, is of an unknown ‘lady with gold earrings’, by an unknown artist of the nineteenth century British school.  I am quite pleased to see that she doesn’t look so very different from the lady herself. 

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