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Robert Mollett 1783 or 4-1866  The children (1)

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There was a gap of thirteen years between the birth of the last child of Robert's first marriage and the first child of his second.  So they can be viewed as completely separate families.

And yet it seems that they were all united as Molletts and children of the one family. particularly the boys, all of whom worked closely together.

The second family had one infant death, and the first family too may well have had a stillborn or very young baby die, taking its mother with them.  

From the time the children were born there were more official records created and preserved, hence we can find out more about them.  Here is what I know., but if you do know more, do get in touch.  Send me an email.

Family no. 1

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Robert Mollett 1783 or 4-1866  + Elizabeth Foster

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John 1804-1869
Robert 1804-1876

Robert was the first-born twin, and the twins were the first children of Robert  and his first wife Elizabeth Foster, who, on current knowledge, seems to have been 30 when she married the 21 year old Robert.   We know that Robert junior was the first born twin because in his will Robert senior refers to him as his oldest son. and appoints him as his executor.

Robert, like John, was most probably educated at the school of Hatton Hill Academy in Bagshot.  I have no idea what he did immediately after leaving school - no apprenticeship records have been forthcoming.  Indeed there is a big gap in our knowledge of Robert until after his marriage, when he is found working with his brother John, who became a Russia broker and agent for the St. Petersburg branch of the Steiglitz Bank.  I can only assume that he worked with him from an early age, although since the company seems to have been run by John, the younger twin he may well have been doing other things before finally throwing in his lot with John.

In 1838 at the age of 34 he married Elizabeth Greeves who was 42.  Not that he was exactly a spring chicken.   A witness at the marriage was William Mollett Gurney whom we later discover was living in the same house - 6 Strahan Place in Canonbury with his wife and children.  It also subsequently turns out that his wife was Elizabeth's sister  and the son of Robert the pastry cook's sister Mary (I think).  Hence the Mollett as a middle name.

My great-grandfather.  His story can be found here.

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I mention the Gurneys because William Mollett's children remained with Robert and Elizabeth - and beyond Elizabeth in the case of one of them, after the death of their mother.  In a sense Robert and Elizabeth adopted them.  So much so that Esther Mollett Gurney - the daughter, who did not marry, was the executor of Robert's will.

Around 1860 Robert must have stopped working for his brother and set up his own business as a colonial broker - importing goods from the near and far east, and he continued in this role until his death.  His offices were in 21 Mincing Lane, which I think is the home of the London Commercial Sale Rooms.

Robert and Elizabeth were married for a long time, just short of thirty years in fact, but with no children of their own.  Well they had three Gurneys to look after.  Maybe this was because of Elizabeth's age, maybe they just didn't want children and let's not forget, that it was quite soon after their marriage that they found themselves the guardians of the Gurneys.

Initially they lived in Canonbury, then Shacklewell and Stoke Newington a couple of doors down from Robert's father.  And whilst here Elizabeth died at the age of 66 in 1867.

Then somehow or other Robert met Mary Bromley.  May was the widow of a vicar from the Isle of Wight, and it is possible that Robert met her whilst visiting his brother William who lived there.  Be that as it may they settled in Addiscombe which is near Croydon  until Robert's death in 1876.  I think Esther would still have been living with them.  Certainly just before his marriage he was living with Esther, his 'baby' sister Emily Anne and another Esther Mollett Greeves - so much confusion with this family!

So a busy life, with two wives, a successful career in international business and a generous nature which allowed him to take a whole new family into his home and his life.

William 1806-1868
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I don't think William caused the death of his mother, I think she died just three years after his birth, but he would never have known her.  He was born on New Year's Eve, 1804, and christened almost a month later in the church of St. Sepulchre like his older twin brothers.  Who looked after this little three year-old when his mother died,  I wonder whilst his father slaved away building his business?  He would have been 12 by the time his father married Lucy Farr  so probably away in Bagshot at school with his brothers by then.

William is the baby of this particular little family, and also as a non-twin he may have felt left out at times.  Certainly in later life he seems to have carved out his own career rather then joining John's family business.

Growing up, after Robert's marriage, and maybe even before, the Mollett and Farr families were pretty closeI think.  This partly comes from Lucy's mother's will and all the references that she makes to Robert, but also from the fact that the next thing we know about William is that in 1838 he marries Lucy's younger sister Martha.  Born in 1801 she is a five years older than William but I guess that's not a huge difference.  They were married by licence in the same year as his older brother Robert, although 9 months later.  Originally I had thought that William had been married before, but I now see that this was another William Mollett - possibly related, but currently unknown to me.

At the time of the marriage and for quite a few years William was working in the bank of Curries and Co. in Cornhill - almost opposite the Royal Exchange.  Indeed in the year of his marriage he probably witnessed the fire that burnt down the second iteration of the Exchange.   On the marriage record it states that William was living in Cornhill at the time - at the bank itself maybe?

By 1841 though he was living in Shacklewell Place where his wife was living on marriage, so maybe he was living there all along.  I think he continued working at Curries until well into the 1840s for I have found references to this in a court case his brother John and his bank were involved in, and also from the fact that in 1843 he was elected manager of the Provident Clerk's Association and declined to continue in that role in 1845.  In both instances the fact that he was of Curries & Co. was mentioned.  Curries itself ceased to exist in the 1850s and eventually became part of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

But by 1851 he and his wife had moved to Newport on the Isle of Wight as manager of the National Provincial Bank there - and there he remained until his death in 1868 at the age of 61.  Martha died two years later.  He left around £1000 - almost AUD $149,000 or £63,000, so quite a lot of money.  They were comfortably off.

But no children.  One assumes this was not deliberate in that day and age, so rather sad.  A quiet life, not quite as connected to the rest of the family as others it would appear.

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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

Robert Mollett 1783 or 4 - 1866


Marriage no.1

The between years

Marriage no. 2

The children (2)

Three boys - twins and a younger sibling, who for all sorts of reasons must have found it difficult.  

They all turned out to be upstanding and successful members of society.  When I first began my family history adventure I thought people in the finance industry would be boring, boring, boring, but not so.  These three are interesting men in their mildly ordinary ways.  A sad childhood saved by a loving father - I truly do think he was - and an equally loving step-mother.  She must have been.  Why else name one of your children after her?

But what of their half brothers and sisters - how did they fit into the story?

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