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Robert Mollett 1783 or 4-1866  Marriage no.2 


Skinner Street and Stoke Newington


young couple.jpg

Yes, the painting above is a rather wealthier couple than Robert and Lucy, although they may have spruced themselves up for the wedding,  but it is rather beautiful and shows how I think of their relationship.  It was painted by Thomas Lawrence about 1825, so the right time anyway. Lucy was ten/eleven years younger than he - the exact opposite of the age difference in Robert's first marriage, and yet they seem to have been a devoted couple.  

When they married she was 23, he 34.  Still a young man in today's terms, perhaps not quite as much in theirs, but definitely not old.  

The American couple at left, from the same time may perhaps be nearer a less romantic truth.  But I do think there are little clues here and there that tell of a happy marriage.  It certainly lasted a long time - until Lucy's death in 1865.  Robert died just a year later.

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So who was Lucy Farr?

Once upon a time I fantasised that she was a young girl brought in to look after the children when their mother died and I do still wonder about this.  She would have been around  thirteen years old, so maybe indeed this is what happened.  Although if Robert sent his children away to school then she would not have been needed as much - well there were always school holidays and somebody must have been looking after house and home.  It was a big house in Skinner Street.  

Her parents, Isaac and Sarah owned a pub maybe two in the Shacklewell area, - possibly one or the other or both of the pubs shown here, as well as various other properties.  And indeed when Sarah died in 1837 she left various properties to Robert who was one of her executors, although it looks as if at least two of them were owned by him already.  

Interestingly though, having just followed up on some of Lucy's sisters, I found that when her sister Rebecca married in 1814, three years before her own marriage, one of the witnesses at the wedding was a Sophia Mollett, who seems to be Robert's niece by his brother James.  Which explains how she came to be a witness, although why her?  Maybe she was a friend of Lucy's.   Tantalisingly though there is another Sophia Mollett who is the daughter of William and Ann, but who William is I really do not know.  A bit of a mystery.

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hare shacklewell.jpg
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Robert and Lucy were married on January 8th, in the middle of winter, by Licence in the church of St. Sepulchre, which is Robert's church rather than Lucy's.  Maybe this is why they were married by Licence, as Lucy was certainly old enough (23) not to need her father's permission.  The Licence was obtained just the day before the wedding which would make it look like a hasty decision.  But surely not.  Judging from the fact that the witnesses at the wedding were Lucy's sister Rebecca and her husband and also, I think, one of her other sisters, Elizabeth, and also because of that other Mollett connection, I do not believe there was any family objection to the marriage.  Robert guaranteed payment of £200 as bond for the licence, which is a considerable sum of money in today's terms - AUD$27,284 (£11,486).  I was taken aback by this so looked into it further - and found this:


"The large sum of money to be forfeit was intended to underline the serious nature of the oath, and it should not be thought that the couple had these funds at their disposal. The second bondsman soon became a formality, any convenient person acting. Later the second bondsman was often completely fictitious, names like John Doe and Richard Row being used."  Family Search


Which is the case here - the second guarantor is John Doe.

I have looked at all the reasons for marrying by Licence and come to the conclusion that none really apply - maybe the difference in age between the two - Robert was 11 years older than Lucy, or the social snobbery - it was a bit of a status symbol to get married by Licence.  Lucy was not pregnant, unless she had a miscarriage or a stillbirth, as their first child was not born until 1819.

Whatever the reason for the Licence the two were married the next day in the church of St. Sepulchre which had been Robert's parish church since the birth of his first two boys.

Robert Mollett marriage bond.jpeg

And so at the young age of 23 Lucy found herself with an instant family of three young teenage boys.  (As an aside here, I know all of the paintings I use here are of far wealthier people on the whole, but then the tradesman class was not often painted.) What I am trying to illustrate here is what Lucy might have been faced with.  In a way it was not just Robert that she was marrying.  Maybe it was the reason she had no children of her own for a couple of years.  It would certainly have given her time to get to know them and to befriend them.  Which I am sure she did.  John - my direct ancestor, the second born twin and the only one of the three to have children of his own, gave his second daughter Lucy's name as her second name.  Surely this is a sign of some affection.  And two of Lucy's boys worked for their older brothers as well.

And then again maybe the boys were away at school in Basingstoke most of the time anyway, although the older twins would most likely be nearing the end of their school education.  I don't think children stayed at school much beyond fourteen back then.

Lucy may well have helped out in the shop as well.  With parents running pub she would most likely to have been used to working in that sort of way.  

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But then in 1819 she has a baby of her own - another boy Henry George.  And the boys keep coming - Isaac Farr in 1821 and Edward in 1825.  But then tragedy, for Edward died at the very young age of 15 months - just old enough to becoming a real personality.  But almost a year later, comes Lucy or Louisa and lastly after a slightly bigger gap than usual, Emily Ann born in 1828 who outlives them all.  

So Robert sort of has two families.  By the time his second family begins to appear, his first one are almost leaving home.  Or at least finding their own way.  John, my great great grandfather apprentices himself to his father in 1820 - at the age of 15, but he never finishes this.  I guess it was inevitable that they would try to carry on the family business through at least one child, and John was the one who tried.  But it was obviously not for him, and within ten years he has his own business as a Russia merchant, which grows to include his brother Robert and half-brother Isaac, as well as a Beckwith or two - his wife's family.  So by the time the last child, Emily Ann was born family gatherings might have looked a little like this one on the right, although probably in rather less opulent surroundings.  But then again maybe not.

The Mollett family had a big but close-knit family of friends and the same names crop up again and again in marriages and business partnerships.  John's brother William, for example eventually married Lucy's sister Martha, and from reading Lucy's mother's will it is obvious that Robert had become an indispensable part of the Farr family.

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By 1851 Robert had amassed enough money to have bought a second house in Stoke Newington - then a fairly prosperous north eastern suburb, famous for its dissident connections.  Their first house there was in Barrett Grove which is clearly shown on this map.  But by 1861 they had moved to Nelson Terrace, on Stoke Newington High Street.  The Farr family, and Robert's other properties were very close by in Shacklewell, as did his oldest son Robert - in the bottom right hand corner of the map, and the Smiths - business associates of John and soon to be part of the Mollett family, also lived in Stoke Newington.  It was a true family precinct.

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Throughout their married life there were visitors in the home, some of them were family - Lucy's sister Elizabeth, and the mysterious Emma Mollett.  Although I have been able to trace Emma's later life right up until her death, I have as yet (2020) been unable to establish her early one, but think that she must have been a fairly close relative - a niece perhaps.  And there were other visitors, maybe lodgers too. Robert had employees, who were living with him in Skinner Street and later still he had servants too.

And the business grew - whatever kind of business it was.

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The Railway Times - An article about the Dublin and Kilkenny Railway in which Robert's sons Henry George and John seem to have invested considerable sums of money.  As Henry was only 18 at the time it is likely that it was actually Robert who invested.  The date is 1837 and the article is on page 109 of the Railway Times.

National Archives Research Guide on Apprenticeships - where to find records of apprenticeships, plus access to some online records.



Marriage no.1

The between years

Marriage no. 2

Old age and death

The children (1)

The children (2)


Robert Mollett 1783 or 4 - 1866

Robert Mollett 1746 or 48 - 1816 or 1829

Temperance Boast/Bast/Bost/Base or 

Phoebe Sparden

Elizabeth Foster

Lucy Farr

John Mollett

Holborn and Skinner Street



Stoke Newington

Pastrycooks and confectioners

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