The Purssells 1861 -1871

The decade between 1861 and 1871 seems to be a pivotal one for the family. There is a definite sense of some succeeding, whilst others do nothing like as well; and by the start of the 1870’s there appears to be almost a gulf between the two remaining branches of the family.

Mile End Road, E.1

Joe has already emigrated to Australia, and has married again, in 1860; though it is not clear whether his first wife is still alive in London. By 1860, he had gone bankrupt twice. He was first bankrupted in 1839, when his address was given as 33 Crown Row, Mile End Road, London, and had a brief spell in a debtor’s prison; he would have been 24.

He went bankrupt again in 1850, where he was described as a butcher & cowman, at 3 Wellington Street Bethnal Green. On the second occasion, William Purssell, his younger brother, appears to have stepped in and acts as his assignee – i.e, the person appointed to sort out his financial affairs.

Royal Exchange, Cornhill and Threadneedle St

John Roger has also gone bankrupt, probably in 1854. His slightly hubristic attempt to rival the established Purssell business in Cornhill, with his own business in Ludgate Hill, and Regent Street doesn’t seem to have worked, and by 1861, he is using the premises at 162 Regent Street as a photographer’s studio. Having said that, he is still describing himself as a confectioner in the census that year.  He emigrates to Australia sometime in the 1860’s, but returns by the end of the century. His wife Eliza calls herself a widow, in the 1871 census, when she was living at 19 Lincoln Street, Mile End with their five youngest children. She describes herself as a house-owner, so obviously had some money. At least four of their seven children seem to have emigrated to Australia as well. Crucially, JR’s youngest, and only, daughter remained in London; and it’s with her, and her family, that he lives with on his return. So at least one of the children knew their father was still alive.

By 1861, things have progressed on the business front as well.  James Purssell and his family moved to New York in 1857; he had originally been in partnership with William, dissolving the partnership in 1854, and then laterly in partnership with Alfred until 1857, with the move to New York, as shown from the notice in The London Gazette.

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership hereto-fore subsisting between us the undersigned, James Purssell and Alfred Purssell, as Biscuit Bakers and Confectioners,under the style or firm of James and Alfred Purssell, in Cornhill and Finch-lane, in the city of London, is this day dissolved by mutual consent.—Dated this 14th day of October, 1857.

So by 1861, Alfred was in sole control of the Purssell business in London. He is thirty years old, the father of a two year-old daughter, and a widower.

Alfred married Laura Rose Coles in the spring of 1857 at St George the Martyr, in Southwark. He was twenty six, and she was two years younger. Laura Rose was born in Blackheath on 19th March 1833. By the time they were married, Queen Victoria had been on the throne almost twenty years, but even so they were born during the reign of William IV.

Laura Rose and Alfred’s marriage was short-lived, she died on 22nd February 1860, aged just twenty seven, at 8, Highbury Crescent West in Islington, about half a mile away from the site of the old Highbury stadium. Rather touchingly, Alfred and Laura Mary were living in “Laura House” in Blackheath in the mid-1860’s.

Anyway, back to who is where in 1861.

Brighton Pavilion

Alfred, his daughter Laura Mary, and his eldest sister Charlotte, are all staying with William and Eliza Purssell at 18 James Place, Brighton.

William Purssell describes himself as a retired confectioner, aged forty four; and may well have retired as early as 1854 when he dissolved the partnership he had with James. Fifty year old Charlotte describes herself as a fund-holder, implying she, too, has retired, and Alfred describes himself as an employer of fifty heads. That is a 25% increase in staff numbers over the last ten years, so business is expanding.  

Also staying the night of the census, are three servants, a cook, housemaid, and a nurse; and twenty-eight year old William Jones, a manufacturer of artificial flowers from Plymouth, where he is employing fifteen people.

Regent Street, London, 1860
Regent Street, London, c.1860

Back in London at 10 Union Place, Newington, in Lambeth, John Roger is still calling himself a confectioner, dabbling in photography, and according to placing advertisements in The Times in March, and May that year for the photography business in Regents Street.

He is a thirty-six year old father of four sons, and the household also has two young female house servants. There is no trace of his nine year old son Edward, nor seven year old Albert after the 1861 census, though the younger two, Francis, and Charles are living with their mother ten years later, along with Arthur,Augustus, and Eliza.

Illawarra c.1885
Illawarra c.1885

All of Eliza’s traceable sons appear to have gone to Australia. Francis emigrated on the Illawarra, arriving in New South Wales on the 6th Aug 1883.

Charles George seems to have emigrated some time after 1881, and died in Australia. Arthur, also, appears to have emigrated; and Augustus appears to have emigrated, married, and died in Australia as well.

Virgo Fidelis convent norwood
Virgo Fidelis Convent, Norwood

By 1871,  Alfred has re-married, and had more children. Mother St George is in the convent in Norwood. Charlotte Purssell Jnr has died in London in 1869.  James is in New York. William is dead.  John Roger Purssell is presumed to be in Australia.

229 Mile End Road 1910
229 Mile End Road c.1910

And finally, their mother Charlotte Purcell is living in Mile End, at 350 Mile End Road, aged eighty-one, with Mary Isaacs, a sixteen year old servant girl; and her daughter-in-law, Eliza (William’s widow) is living at 2 Satin Road, Lambeth, also with a servant. In her case, nineteen year old Louisa Cox, from Banbury, in Oxfordshire.

The Fabulous Kitty Pope-Hennessey

Kitty Pope Hennessy

This is the start of the story of Kitty Pope-Hennessy. There’s way too much to put into one post, so this is the start of a series. It is tangential to the main families, but gives an interesting twist to the circles they move in, and also how inter-related they were.

Rostellan Castle


Kitty Pope-Hennessy married Edward Thackwell early in 1894 at Rostellan Castle in Cork. She was a forty-four year old widow, and he was twenty six. He was a year older than her eldest son who died young, and three, and seven, years older than his step-sons.

Kitty and Edward had almost certainly met at the wedding of his sister Catherine at Aghada Hall in 1891. She became a widow that year when John Pope-Hennessey died in October 1891. Lady Pope Hennessy’s wedding present to the bride was an Astrakhan wrap.

Edward was the only son of a second son, William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834–1910), who served in the Crimean War and in Egypt in 1882. All three of his uncles also served in the army, as did most of his cousins, but he certainly doesn’t join the army, and doesn’t appear to have worked much at all..

To paraphrase Mrs Merton ” So Edward, what attracted you to the wealthy neighbour with the castle?”

Edward’s grandfather had bought Agahada House in 1853, though by the time of the wedding, it had almost certainly been inherited by his uncle Joseph Edward Lucas Thackwell, and then passed on to Edward, and Katherine’s younger first cousin, Walter Joseph, (b. 1876).

The sale of the house was the end of John Roche‘s dream of creating a Roche dynasty, based on the male (Roche) sons of either of his nephews. The only male heirs John Roche had left after the death of James Joseph Roche in 1847 were John Roche O’Bryen, and his brothers.  Lieut.-Gen. Sir Joseph Thackwell, who bought the estate, was a veteran of  the Peninsular War, and Waterloo, as well as the First Anglo-Afghan War, and the First Anglo-Sikh War. Maria, his wife, was from the branch of the Roche family that owned Trabolgan House, which makes her a first cousin five times removed of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Sir John Pope Hennessy

Kitty’s husband, Sir John Pope-Hennessy had bought Rostellan Castle on his retirement from the Colonial Service.  It had been in the hands of the O’Brien/O’Bryens since 1645 until the death of the 3rd, and last, Marquess of Thomond in 1855, when it was bought by Dr T. A. Wise, followed by Sir John. The house was demolished in 1944. There is a description of the house by Samuel Lewis in 1837.

“Rostellan Castle, the seat of the Marquess of Thomond, is an elegant mansion on the margin of the harbour, over which it commands extensive and pleasing views, and in a highly cultivated and extensive demesne, comprehending one – third of the parish, and richly embellished with woods and plantations. The grounds are arranged with great taste, and for nearly two miles skirted by the waters of Rostellan bay, and diversified with the rural and picturesque houses of the farming steward, gardeners, and others connected with the management of the farm. The gardens are extensive and tastefully arranged; the flower gardens contain a fine selection of the choicest plants and flowers.“(A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837)

All three of the houses are within a five mile radius of each other on the south eastern edge of Cork harbour, though none have survived to the present day.  There are no clear apparent links between our O’Bryens and Roches to either of the Rostellan or Trabolgan families, apart from shared surnames, and any speculation is for another time.


Hanky Panky in Islington

This is about two of Emily Foreman’s uncles.

In Islington at 5 Hollingsworth St, North, in 1881, there is a very strange set-up. The house was shared between three households; there was Richard and Mary Parker, and their six sons, three teenage, three younger, the youngest being four.  It was also shared with the Sable family with two sons, and two daughters. The census return for the third household in the building is as follows.

  • George Foreman 61  head,   wheelwright,   wilts, warminster 
  • Carrie Foreman 45    wife                                surrey,lambeth
  • Albert Foreman 41    son      wheelwright,   somerset,bristol

There is a lot in this that is very curious.  The ages in this don’t appear to match up for it to be George Senior who should be 79, and was born in 1802 in Warminster and died in about 1870, and if it is George Junior he would be about 55, and not 61 years old. However they are right for Albert, and the professions, and places of birth are right.

But what is a lot stranger is the descriptions of  “Head, Wife, and Son”. George Junior was born in 1826 in Warminster, like his father who was 24  when Geo Jnr was born. Al was born fourteen years later in 1840, in Bristol. In all the other census returns, Albert is referred to as George Senior’s son,and given his position amongst the family, it seems incredibly unlikely he isn’t. As we can see from the dates of birth below, George Senior, and Eliza, have a child every couple of years or so, or even closer, for almost twenty years.

  • George Foreman Jnr. b. 1827
  • Walter Foreman b.1829
  • Seleana Foreman b. 1833
  • John Laverton Foreman b.1834
  • Richard Foreman b. 1835
  • Joseph Benjamin Foreman b. 1837
  • Albert Foreman b. 1840
  • Alfred E Foreman b.1844
  • Sophia A Foreman b. 1847

So, whilst it is technically possible that fourteen year old George becomes a father in Bristol in 1840, it does seem more than improbable. It seems even more improbable, to the point of absurdity, that he would end up with a son that he gets his parents to bring up as his younger brother.

So we’re faced with the next part of the puzzle, “Wife, and Son”. Why is Al listed as a son, rather than a brother? There is nothing odd in putting down brother in the box describing the relationship to the head of the household. In fact most obvious descriptions of the relationship are used at the time.  It could be an enumerator’s error, or it could be what they were told.

The following puzzle is Carrie Foreman; if she is George Junior’s wife, then she may be his second wife, and there is no trace of a marriage; or she is his only wife, and called herself Catherine initially, and over time changed to Carrie, and then Caroline.

George got married in the summer of 1864 to Catherine Fitzpatrick, somewhere in Westminster, when he was either 38 or 43, and she was ten years younger. They were living as husband and wife at 48 Borough Road, in Southwark in 1871; even then George is unclear about his age, and says he was five years older (50) than he actually was (45). Having said that, it may well answer the fact that he says he is also five years older than he actually was in 1881 as well. Catherine also gives her age as 40, rather than 35.

Catherine Fitzpatrick seems to have been born sometime between 1831 and 1835. Given the variety of ages that Catherine/Carrie/Caroline seems to gives in the census returns, they are probably the same person.

Caroline Foreman died in Lewisham on the 26th July 1905, and her age is recorded in the Parish register as 70. This would mean she was born in about 1835, which would mean her age in the 1881 census would be about right, and that it is the same woman. In 1891, she says she is 48, when she is in fact 55, and Albert also takes two years off his age, and says he is only 49. By 1901, Al is back to the correct age, but Carrie is still describing herself as three years younger. There’s nothing wrong with this Madonna has been doing it for years.

However this does all rather skirt around the head/husband – wife/sister-in-law- son/brother thing. By 1891, Al and Carrie are living as man and wife, and George has disappeared. Al and Carrie continue to call themselves husband and wife in the 1901 census, and presumably until his death in Poplar in 1902, and hers in Lewisham in 1905.

This raises the obvious question, when did Albert’s and Carrie’s relationship start? Al is probably four years younger than she is, and fourteen years younger than his eldest brother George.  Both men are working as wheelwrights, so it does make some sense that Al is sharing with his brother, and sister-in-law rather than with other members of the family. It also makes some sense for George having a younger man working alongside him, as it was tough physical work. Campbell’s The London Tradesman (1747) says the following

“The Wheelwright is employed in making wheels for all manner of Carriages; I mean the wooden work. This business requires more Labour than Ingenuity; a Boy of weakly Constitution can make no hand at this Trade. It is abundantly profitable to the Master and a Journeyman earns from 15 to 20s. per week. A Youth may be bound about Fifteen.

The Cart-Wheeler differs nothing from the Coach-Wheeler, but that he makes wheels for carts only and is not obliged to turn his work so neatly finished as the other.

A boy designed for this trade requires to be of strong robust Constitution and ought not to be bound till the age of 15 or 16, when his joints begin to knit and he has arrived at a moderate degree of strength. A Journeyman earns from 12 to 15s. a week.”

We don’t know from the 1881 census how many rooms there were in Hollingsworth Street, but it is unlikely they were living in more than a couple. In 1891, Al and Carrie were living in two room, in Bow, and ten years later they were in one room in Parnell Road. So I think we can safely assume they were living in very close proximity in Hollingsworth Street, if not actually on top of each other.

In his Life and Labour of the People in London Charles Booth mapped out poverty levels in London from 1886, and literally walked the streets to record it. Booth categorized each street as a different colour, and category from A. to H. ranging from occasional workers/semi-criminal to upper middle class/wealthy.  He describes Hollingsworth Street as a mixture of Light Blue, and Purple, or C,D.

Light Blue: Poor. 18s. to 21s. a week for a moderate family”

“Purple: Mixed. Some comfortable, others poor”

“C. Intermittent earning. 18s to 21s per week for a moderate family. The victims of competition and on them falls with particular severity the weight of recurrent depressions of trade. Labourers, poorer artisans and street sellers. This irregularity of employment may show itself in the week or in the year: stevedores and waterside porters may secure only one of two days’ work in a week, whereas labourers in the building trades may get only eight or nine months in a year.”

“D. Small regular earnings. poor, regular earnings. Factory, dock, and warehouse labourers, carmen, messengers and porters. Of the whole section none can be said to rise above poverty, nor are many to be classed as very poor. As a general rule they have a hard struggle to make ends meet, but they are, as a body, decent steady men, paying their way and bringing up their children respectably.”

Let’s assume that the Foreman household is at the upper end of the scale and are “decent steady men, paying their way” . It is still fascinating to speculate as to when Al and Carrie’s relationship started, and why they never bothered to get married. 

By 1891, they were living in two rooms at 12 Libra Road, Bow. Another shared house, with three families living there. The Barlass family live in four rooms. William Barlass is a fourty year old carpenter from Manchester, Annie Barlass was from Bristol, and the family seems to have started married life in Bristol with the three eldest children born there, before moving to London.They had five sons, and three daughters

Also there, in one room, are Mary Ragan, and her 15 year old nephew George Rolph, both born in the East End, in Hackney and Barking respectively. She’s a tailor, and dressmaker, and George is working as a messenger boy in the Port of London

By 1901, they are living in one room at 70 Parnell Road Bow, in another shared house with Ambrose Moyonowicz, his wife Mary, and their seven daughters, and one son. Ambrose is a woodworker. The Moyonowiczes are living in four rooms between them. Rather bizarrely, for someone with an eastern European surname like Moyonowicz, Ambrose says he was born in Swindon. Also in the house are 24 year old Thomas Marchant, his wife Maud, and their 6 month old baby, also called Maud. Tom is a line worker, and they are also in one room

Al dies two years later in Poplar aged 63, followed by Carrie two years after him at the age of 70.

Emily Foreman’s Uncles and Aunts

Emily Foreman is John Gray’s second wife, and John Laverton Foreman’s daughter

Wheelwright's workshop
Wheelwright’s workshop

Emily’s grandfather George Foreman Snr was born in 1802 in Warminster and died in about 1870. He was a wheelwright, so a skilled working man. Eliza Laverton was born two years later in 1804 in Shepton Mallet in Somerset, and they married in 1825. Eliza died in London in the autumn of 1860. They are my great great great grandparents. George and Eliza had nine children.

  • George Foreman Jnr. b. 1827
  • Walter Foreman b.1829
  • Seleana Foreman b. 1833
  • John Laverton Foreman b.1834
  • Richard Foreman b. 1835
  • Joseph Benjamin Foreman (Josh) b. 1837
  • Albert Foreman b. 1840
  • Alfred E Foreman b.1844
  • Sophia A Foreman b. 1847

The family were in Nelson Place Bristol by 1841, moved to Barnet by 1851, and then to Bermondsey by 1861. The majority of the boys are all wheelwrights at various times, in Albert’s case having been a gunner in the Royal Artillery.

By 1851 the family had moved to Nursery Row, Mimms Side, Barnet in Hertfordshire.  Where George Foreman Snr was working as a wheelwright, and George Jnr, then aged 24, as a coach wheelwright. 18 year old John was a labourer,  and Josh (Joseph) Foreman was a14 year old errand boy. Albert, Alfred, and Sophia were all at school.  There is no trace of Seleana, Richard, or Walter, though Walter re-surfaces again in 1871.

Royal Artillery Barracks,Woolwich 1900
Royal Artillery Barracks,Woolwich 1900

By 1861, they are all starting to move properly into adult life. Eliza  has  died in the autumn of 1860.  The Georges Senior and Junior  are living in Southwark with Alfred and Sophia. 22 year old Albert has joined the army, and is in Woolwich Barracks.

JLF is 27 years old, married with a child, Emily, and living at 17 White Place, Bermondsey with Catherine’s widowed 71 year old mother (GGG Granny). John has obviously learned a trade by then because he describes himself as a boilermaker working in Hammersmith. In 1851, he was listed as an 18 year old labourer, and the Georges Senior and Junior, are working as a wheelwright, and a blacksmith respectively. Alfred is a “moulder”, and 14 year old Sophia is working in the silk trade.

There doesn’t appear to be any trace of Walter, Richard, or Selena.

By 1871, JLF is still living in Bermondsey, but at 27 Mint Street, with 12 year old Emily, and her 9 year old brother George Laverton Foreman. Ellen Montgomery, Catherine’s mother is still living with them having reached 81. Ellen’s place of birth is still listed as Liverpool, but Catherine’s place of birth has changed from Liverpool in the 1861 census, to Dublin in 1871.

Alfred has joined the Navy, and is serving on HMS Barrosa, which is at the Singapore Straits Settlement on the night of the census. He is 27 that year, and John Laverton Foreman is ten years older.

However Walter has reappeared living in Spital Road, New Windsor in Berkshire. He is now 42 years old, married and describes himself as a coach maker master employing 2 men. His wife Mary is a year older than him.

Sophia has moved out and is lodging with a policeman, and his family. She is 24, and working as a machinist, and living at 38 Frances St, a couple of streets north of Waterloo station.

There is no trace of the Georges Senior and Junior, Joseph, Richard, Serena, or Albert.

The Turks Head, 711 Old Kent Road c.1880

1881 is when it all appears to get interesting. John is still living in Southwark, but now at 12 Darwin Street. He is a 48 year old widower living with his son George who is 19 and describes himself as a teacher (Unemployed) (Schoolmaster), and 22 year old Emily, who marries John Gray two years later on October 21st 1883 at St Philip’s Church Camberwell,when he is 63 and she is 25, and are both shown living at 746 Old Kent Road.

Meanwhile over in Islington at 5 Hollingworth St North, in 1881, there is a very strange household.  No 5. was shared  with Richard and Mary Parker, and their six sons, three teenage, three younger, the youngest being four.  It was also shared with the Sable family with two sons, and two daughters. The census return for the third household in the building is as follows

  • George Foreman 61  head,   wheelwright,   wilts, warminster 
  • Carrie Foreman 45    wife                                surrey,lambeth
  • Albert Foreman 41    son      wheelwright,   somerset,bristol

The ages in this don’t appear to match up for it to be George Senior who should be 79, and if it is George junior he would be about 54. However they are right for Albert, and the professions, and places of birth are right. I’ll come back to the curious household later. or see this post.

However by now, Walter is still in Spital Road in Windsor. This time in Grove Cottage, which may,or may not have been the same address as 1871. This time he lists himself as a wheelwright employing two boys, rather than a coach-maker as previously. Richard Foreman has resurfaced as well, this time at 25 Brownlow Rd, Shoreditch, where he and his wife Elizabeth are sharing their house with a twenty four year old lodger.

Saint George Church, Hanover Square

Back in London, Alfred has come out of the Navy, and is living  at 10 Short St, New Cut, Waterloo with his wife and two year old daughter. They are about two miles away from John, and about three from George and Albert. Thirty seven year old Alf is working as a provisions porter.  He married Emma Spittle four years previously, in the summer of 1877 at St George’s, Hanover Square.  Emma is a south London girl, born in Lambeth.  Her father, David Spittle is an engine fitter in Lambeth, and Sophia Foreman, Alf’s sister married her brother David Spittle Jnr on 4th June 1876  at St Clement, Barnsbury, Islington. He is 41, and she is 29, and an engine fitter like his father.

JLF , remarries in 1883, the same year his daughter Emily marries John Gray. JLF marries on the 11th  January, as a 47 year old widower to Eliza Sparrow, 39 at St Mary Magdalene, Southwark. Her parents are witnesses. his father’s profession is a wheelwright, and her father Elijah Sparrow is a gardener.  Both are living at 12 Darwin Street, which just off the Old Kent Road.

bisnc_postcardAlf, Emma, and Eleanor emigrate the same year, leaving London on 5th November 1883, and arrive at Cleveland Bay, Queensland, 16 miles south east of Brisbane, on New Year’s Day 1884.  They traveled via Suez, and Batavia, now Jakarta, in Indonesia,  and finally Brisbane, on the Goalpara, a 285ft long steam ship, with one funnel, and two masts (rigged for sail). It was brand new, having been built in Glasgow for British India Steam Navigation’s Queensland Royal Mail Service the same year. It was the only voyage the ship made on the route, transferring the following year to the Mail Service between India and Singapore.

Finally to close this chapter, John Laverton Foreman dies in the autumn of 1885 aged 52, somewhere in Camberwell. That same year George, John and Emily Gray’s eldest son is born, also in Camberwell, followed by Jesse two years later, Auntie Kitty born a year after him in 1888, and Walter, in 1890.

Would the real Lady RP please stand up?

Viewer feedback is the posts have been flagging. So a new one


Help are these all the same woman?

The first one is definately Lady Roper Parkington, the second is at the OB wedding in 1924,  and the third is from the Mayor’s garden party in 1914. Both of them are behind the Cardinal in the photo (also on the home page)

Lady JRP Large 1Lady RP?Garden party

Standish Barry of Leamlara

I’m not quite sure why this page is so popular, but it’s getting the most views this year.

Originally, it was simply included because  Henry Standish Barry was a guest at Frank Purssell’s wedding. This could be something as simple as they went to school together, or could be a family thing. Or it could be a bigger Catholic/Cork merchant  thing. So I’ll do some work. It turns out to be almost certainly a school thing. Henry and Frank were at Downside together.

If there are directions people want me to head, post a comment or use the (private) contact form. W. 

Leamlara House

This branch of the great Barry family had been in possession of the Leamlara property since the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in the reign of Henry II, when they accompanied Strongbow. The estates were confirmed to John Barry in 1636 by Charles I and again by Charles II to John’s son Garrett.

The latter’s son, David, married a daughter of Standish O’Grady, whose great-great-grandson was Garrett Standish Barry. Garrett Standish Barry was educated at Trinity College Dublin and was called to the Bar in 1811. Elected to the House of Commons for county Cork in 1832, Garrett was the first Catholic Member of Parliament elected after the Emancipation Act of 1829. He continued as M.P. until 1841. He was made High Sheriff of county Cork in 1830 and was also Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for the county.

During his term as an M.P. Daniel O’Connell stayed a few times at Leamlara House. In 1841, Garrett Standish Barry offered to resign his seat in Cork in favour of Daniel O’Connell, if the latter had failed to be elected in Dublin, and he duly did so. O’Connell was the M.P. for Cork County from 1841 until his death in 1847.  He died in 1864, without issue and was succeeded in the estate by his younger brother, Henry Standish, whose son and heir, Charles Standish, married in 1869 the Hon. Margaret Mary, daughter of Lieut-Colonel the Hon. Arthur Francis Southwell, and sister of the 4th Viscount Southwell, K.P.

henry-standish-barryCharles’s only son, Henry Joseph Arthur Robert Bruno Standish Barry, was born in 1873 and was the 24th and last Standish Barry to live at Leamlara. He was educated at Downside, Bath. Henry was Justice for the Peace in Cork County and married Eleanor Lilian Helene, daughter of Major-General C.B. Lucie Smith, Madras Civil Service. Henry had two daughters and one son, Charles Henry Joseph Garrett Standish was born in 1900.




Nell St. John MontagueMrs. Henry Standish Barry was a well known fortune teller in London under the name of Nell St. Montague and is said to have foretold the sinking of the Lusitania. She was killed in a road accident during the blitz in the Second World War. Henry’s son Charles died at the age of 18, so Henry was succeeded on his death in 1945 by his daughters who later sold the estate to the Irish Land Commission.

Hurrah hurrah, I’ve found another convict………..(sort of )

This one makes me smile, though I can’t imagine eight days in a Regency prison was much fun.

British Library

James Herbert is the father of the splendidly named Clementina Penn, and Esther Penn’s grandfather. In 1841, he was living in Ossulston Street, in St Pancras, beside the present-day British Library, with his wife Esther, and six daughters. He describes himself as a tea dealer. By 1851, he is in Phoenix Street, round the corner from Ossulton St,also in St Pancras, with seven of nine children – five girls, and two boys. His eldest daughter Frances, then aged 16 is staying two roads up in Aldenham Road. James is now calling himself a grocer, and gives his place of birth as Gibraltar. 

JAMES HERBERT was indicted for stealing, on the 10th of March 1836, 1 fish, value 3s., the goods of Coles Tester. and tried on 4th April 1836

St John Street c. 1900
St John Street c. 1900

COLES TESTER . I am a fishmonger, and live in St. John-street. (St. John Street is on the edge of Smithfield, and Camberwell, about a mile and a half away from St Pancras, or about half an hour’s walk.)  On the 10th of March, about nine o’clock, I was in my back room, and saw the prisoner walk up and down by the shop window two or three times

At last I saw him take a cod fish. worth 3s.(£203.50 in today’s values), off my board, and walk away with it—he went one hundred or two hundred or two hundred yards with it—I walked after him, and said, “What did you take that fish for?”—he said, “I took it thought a lark”—he was quite a stranger to me—I said, “You must take it back to my door, “and I gave him in charge.

Prisoner’s Defence. A little while before this, I was in the hospital with a broken leg—this was the first day I left off crutches—I happened to meet a few friends, and got intoxicated, and this occurred through playing and larking along the street—I had no idea of felony.

GUILTY. Aged 42.—Recommended to mercy.— Confined Eight Days.

Reference Number: t18360404-929

Hurrah hurrah, I’ve found a convict………..

This one gives me almost unadulterated joy. The only similar one was finding good old JROB mistreating his niece Pauline Roche in such a textbook Victorian villain manner that it would have been rejected by a publisher. If you haven’t seen it yet use the link on her name.

Robert Miles transportation 1818Robert Miles, born about 1798, was tried at the Old Bailey on the 6th of May 1818. He was found guilty of Larceny, and sentenced to seven years transportation. He was sent to New South Wales, on board the General Stuart leaving in July 1818. He was 20 years old, and according to the notes in the court register “an old offender”, so presumably it wasn’t a first offence. He is Esther Penn’s great-grandfather. He seems to have returned as soon as the sentence was up, and married in Tottenham in July 1826, eight years after the sentence.

So basically, he is a Norf London bad boy who got in a bit of bother with some laundry. Not quite the Dandy Highwayman……….or is he??

This is the court transcript from

Old baileyROBERT MILES was indicted for stealing, on the 23d of April , one trunk, value 2s.; 18 shirts, value 5l.; 21 cravats, value 20s.; 20 pair of stockings, value 23s.; 15 handkerchiefs, value 10s.; two night-caps, value 1s.; six shifts, value 2l.; four sheets, value 10s.; eight table-cloths, value 2l.; three pillow-cases, value 3s., and two towels, value 2s. , the goods of George Woodfall . A total of £ 12. 11s. Aproximately £15,140.00 in today’s money. 

So maybe bad boy Bobby was on to something. Anyway back to the trial.

SECOND COUNT, the same, only stating them to be the property of William Rance 

MARY BERRYMAN. I am laundress to Mr. George Woodfall , who lives at Shepperton. On the 23d of April I sent a box, containing the articles stated in the indictment, to town. I delivered it to Rance, to take to Great Dean’s-yard, Westminster.

WILLIAM RANCE. I am a carrier from Chertsey to London. I received the box from Berryman, and brought it safe to the White Horse, in Friday-street , on Thursday night, the 23d of April. I did not unload the waggon until next morning. I do not know what became of it.

CHARLES STARK . I am servant to Rance. About half-past nine o’clock at night, I got into the waggon at the White Horse, and fell over the box; it laid on the chaff that I wanted for the horses – I left it safe in the waggon.

JOHN TILLEY . I am a watchman of Whitechapel. On the 23d of April, about a quarter past ten o’clock at night, I came up with three men in French-street – each of them had a bundle; I attacked the last man, he dropped his bundle and escaped-the other two turned the corner. I sprang my rattle and pursued, calling Stop thief! I picked up another bundle at the corner of Halifax-street, the prisoner was taken in Halifax-street. He is not the man who escaped.

JOHN COKELEY. I am a watchman of Spitalfields, which joins Whitechapel. I heard the rattle sprung, went to the corner of Halifax-street, and saw the prisoner with a bundle; he laid it down on a step. I pursued, calling Stop thief! A man who stood at a door, stopped him – He did not run above ten yards, and was not out of my sight. I am sure he is the man.

JOHN WILSON . I am a carpenter. I came out, hearing the alarm, and heard some person running on the other side of the way; I crossed over, and collared the prisoner, the watchman came to my assistance. On going along Osborn-street he was rescued from us. I took him again, and am sure he is the man. I put him in the watch-house.

RICHARD PLUNKETT . I am a beadle. The prisoner and property were delivered to me at the watch-house.

Prisoner’s Defence. I was passing and the man caught me.

Robert Miles sentance 1818
Robert Miles sentence 6th May 1818

GUILTY . Aged 20.

Transported for Seven Years .

Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

Reference Number: t18180506-87

The children of Roger Purssell and Charlotte Peachey

Roger Purssell, 1783 – 1861 and Charlotte Peachey 1789 – 1886 had the following children according to a copy of the entries in a family bible.

  • Purssell letter006
    Copied entries in a Purssell family bible

    Charlotte 1811 -1812

  • John Roger 1812 -1821
  • Joseph 1815-
  • William 1816 -1821
  • James 1821 –
  • John Roger 1823 –
  • Edmund 1825 -1833
  • Frances Jane 1827 -1914 (Mother St George)
  • Alfred Purssell 1831 -1896?/97 (Grandpapa)

This didn’t prove to be as accurate as it appears. It certainly gives the impression that  Alfred and Frances are the only ones who survived into adult life which isn’t the case, and I think there are a few more children who died young, who may yet turn up

But the following is more accurate.

  • Charlotte 1811 -1869 in London
  • John Roger 1812 -1821
  • Joseph 1815- 1888 died in Victoria, Australia
  • William 1816 -1870 probably in Pangbourne, Berkshire
  • James 1821 – March 4, 1887 in New York City
  • John Roger 1823 – 1902 in London
  • Edmund 1825 -1833
  • France Jane 1827 -1914 (Mother St George) in Norwood
  • Alfred  1831 -1897 

The Purssells in 1851

By  1851 most of the family are bakers or confectioners, although Joe is a butcher. He is married, with two daughters and living at 3 Wellington Street, in Bethnal Green. Joe Purssell’s first wife is Mary Ann Forsbrey. They marry at St George’s the Martyr, Southwark on 1st October 1940. He is 25, and she is 23. Her father Joseph Forsbrey is a butcher.He and his first wife Mary Anne Foresbury may have had more children. But at that  point they had seven year old Mary Jane, and Priscilla Grace who died the following year, and is buried at Christ Church Spitalfields aged 3yrs 10 months. His son William is born in 1852, the same year Priscilla dies.

He emigrates to Australia sometime between 1852  and 1860 where marries Mary Ann Crook (1837–1893) in Australia in 1860. He is 45 she is 23.  It is also unclear whether Mary Ann 1 has died, or whether he has a bigamous marriage to Mary Ann 2. Joe and Mary Ann 2  have a daughter Martha who is born in 1860 and dies in 1861, and another daughter, Emma who is born in 1863 and dies in 1874, and Joseph Benjamin Purssell who is born and dies in 1865.

In the meantime Mary Jane, and William, Joe’s children from his first marriage  emigrate to Australia arriving in Melbourne on 29 Aug 1864. Mary Jane appears to stay in Australia, and dies in Williamstown, Victoria in 1927.

Charlotte is living at 118 Cheapside, and lists herself as a shopkeeper, though the 1856 London Post Office Directory calls her a biscuit baker. She is listed on the line below James and Alfred.

Purssell James and Alfred, biscuit bakers, 78 & 80 Cornhill, & 4 & 5 Finch Lane

Purssell Charlotte (Miss), biscuit baker, 119 Cheapside

Thirty five year old William is also married, to Eliza Newman, and living at 3 Lea Road (parish St Mary’s Leyton). The ages they give in the census, 40, and 37, are doubtful, but the rest of the details – his profession – confectioner, and place of birth- Limehouse, are right. Eliza is an Essex girl, born at Stanford Beeches.  William was in partnership with James, trading as William and James Purssell, in Cornhill.Wm & Jas Purssell

They dissolve the partnership in March 1854, probably when William decides to retire.

Twenty nine year old James is living above the premises in Cornhill, and the census return is for one building comprising 78 and 80 Cornhill, & 4 French Court. On the census return, James says he is employing thirty three men, four women, and two boys. He and his twenty one year old wife Eliza (nee West) are sharing the building with 4 house servants, 3 shopmen, 4 biscuit bakers, 4 porters, and a stock keeper.

James and family move to New York in 1859, where he set up a catering business on Broadway near Twenty-First Street.

John Roger is also living above the shop, but in his case 20 Ludgate Hill, just down from St Paul’s and advertising himself as

John R. Purssell & Comp., 20, Ludgate Hill, opposite the Old Bailey : French and Italian ices to-day. “French, English and Italian confectioners. Dinners, rout and ball suppers provided.”

“Soups and jellies, a large assortment of pastry, biscuits, cakes, &c. A large refreshment room for ladies and gentlemen.”

He had married Elizabeth Davies on January 11 1848 at St Pancras Church, with both of them shown as living in Euston Grove. By 1851, twenty six year old John had two sons, two year old John Junior, and one year old Alfred. Both the boys are listed as being born in the parish of St Martin’s Ludgate, so presumably at 20 Ludgate Hill. John says he is employing five men, and has two confectioner journeymen, and a waiter living at Ludgate Hill, along with two female household servants. It is a very young household, the oldest person is 27 year old Catherine Diddy who is one of the servants. The shop staff are a good London mix resembling a branch of Costa Coffee today with an east-ender, a French confectioner, and a German waiter.

Alfred, the youngest brother,(he’s 20) is also living above the shop at 10 Hart Lane in the City. 5 New London Street is also shown on the census return. He calls himself a confectioner & baker, and says he is the brother of the head of the household. I think we can safely assume that Hart Lane is John’s bakery. Alfred is sharing the house with Thomas Joyce and William Payne, both bread bakers, James Ridge a fifteen year old errand boy, and Hannah Pennal, a general servant from Hull.

Adding together the households at Ludgate Hill, and Hart Lane would give the correct number of employees for John’s business, and it makes sense to have them living in-house, and for a member of the family to be on each premises. It also makes sense for the youngest member of the family to be doing the hard work, and baking was a tough business.

According to A.N. Wilson in The Victorians, the baking life was a tough one. It only became worse during the London Season when bread orders increased. Eleven at night was the start of a baker’s day, when he made the dough. He was able to sleep on the job for a couple of hours while the bread rose, then had to do the rest of the physical tasks of preparing rolls and loaves. Kneading was sometimes done with feet, perhaps making for a less-than-clean product. The bakehouse was alarmingly hot as well, up to ninety degrees Fahrenheit. Some bakers had to deliver the bread they made, too. They only had five to ten hours off per day and all but none during the Season. Wilson says statistics show London bakers rarely lived past the age of forty-two. Wilson, A.N.,  The Victorians, 2011.

Finally, Frances Jane, the future Mother St George is living in the Convent of the Faithful Virgin, Norwood where she had been professed a nun at the age of 21 in 1848. In just over three years time, she will be with Florence Nightingale at the Crimean War.