The Ladies make a point…….

I really like the fact that both these two make a point about how to treat refugees….. Just so you know who they are, Alan O’Bryen, Lady O’B’s son marries Lady RP’s grandaughter

Lady O'Bryen
Lady O’B

Letter from the Mayoress of Hampstead September 1914

From The Tablet Page 18, 12th September 1914

ST. DOMINIC’S, HAVERSTOCK HILL: BELGIAN REFUGEES.— The St. Dominic’s Parish Magazine publishes the following letter from the Mayoress of Hampstead (Mrs. E. O’Bryen) on behalf of Belgian Refugees in the district : “I appeal to the inhabitants of Hampstead for the Belgian Refugees, who consist mainly of women and children, and who are arriving here in hundreds almost daily. After the gallant resistance that Belgium has offered, with the result that their country is overrun by the German army, it is only right that we here in England, who are luckily exempt from this scourge of invasion, should do something to help these people who have lost their homes and all they possess. They are arriving absolutely penniless, and in most cases with only the clothes they stand up in. The War Refugees Committee have asked me (i.e., the Mayoress) to make a Refugee centre in Hampstead, and I shall be glad to hear of any lady or gentleman willing to offer a home to one or more Refugees, and would ask them to apply personally to me here at the Town Hall, Haverstock Hill, giving me particulars as to the numbers and sexes of the Refugees they would be willing to accommodate. Those who are unable to help in this way would be giving great assistance by sending any clothes, new or old, for the use of these Refugees, either to me here (at the Town Hall), marked : ‘For the Belgian Refugees,” or direct to the general receiving office, 39, St. George’s Road, S.W.”

Lady RP’s Appeal for Montenegrin Families 1912

From The Tablet Page 28, 19th October 1912

Lady RP
Lady Roper Parkington


SIR,—May I appeal through your columns for help on behalf of the families of the brave Montenegrins who are fighting in the present sad war? They are so very poor that all contributions will be welcome, either in the form of money or provisions, such as tinned food, &c. ; blankets or woollen clothing especially will be acceptable, their mountain climate being extremely severe in the winter.

I will undertake to forward any goods which your readers may be kind enough to send me. Cheques should be crossed ” Union of London and Smith’s Bank,” and large parcels should be addressed, carriage paid, to Lady Roper Parkington, Montenegrin Consulate, 24, Crutched Friars, E.C.

Yours faithfully,

MARIE LOUISE PARKINGTON. 58, Green Street, Park Lane, W.,

October 16, 1912.

A Table of Kindred and Affinity from the Book of Common Prayer

I’ve stuck this in because there seems to be quite a lot of family marrying family. I think canon law is broadly similar in the Catholic Church, but this came to hand first.

Book of Common Prayer 1551

The Book of Common Prayer 


A man may not marry his:

  • Mother
  • Daughter
  • Father’s mother
  • Mother’s mother
  • Son’s daughter
  • Daughter’s daughter
  • Sister
  • Father’s daughter
  • Mother’s daughter
  • Wife’s mother
  • Wife’s daughter
  • Father’s wife
  • Son’s wife
  • Father’s father’s wife
  • Mother’s father’s wife
  • Wife’s father’s mother
  • Wife’s mother’s mother
  • Wife’s son’s daughter
  • Wife’s daughter’s daughter
  • Son’s son’s wife
  • Daughter’s son’s wife
  • Father’s sister
  • Mother’s sister
  • Brother’s daughter
  • Sister’s daughter

A woman may not marry her:

  • Father
  • Son
  • Father’s father
  • Mother’s father
  • Son’s son
  • Daughter’s son
  • Brother
  • Father’s son
  • Mother’s son
  • Husband’s father
  • Husband’s son
  • Mother’s husband
  • Daughter’s husband
  • Father’s mother’s husband
  • Mother’s mother’s husband
  • Husband’s father’s father
  • Husband’s mother’s father
  • Husband’s son’s son
  • Husband’s daughter’s son
  • Son’s daughter’s husband
  • Daughter’s daughter’s husband
  • Father’s brother
  • Mother’s brother
  • Brother’s son
  • Sister’s son

Theft from William Purssell – August 1849.

Old bailey
Courtroom No 1, Old Bailey

Case number: 1520. ALEXANDER DAVIDSON stealing 1 firkin, and 125lbs. weight of butter, value 5l. 10s.; the goods of William Purssell, his master.

MR. PAYNE conducted the Prosecution. 

WILLIAM PURSSELL . I am a biscuit-baker, of Cornhill; the prisoner was in my employ on 23d May—he had the charge of all the goods that came in—I have been shown a firkin of butter by the policeman; it was mine, and had my mark on it; I had not sold it—the prisoner had no authority to part with it—it was to be used in my business—his salary was 1l. 5s. per week—he left about one o’clock on 23d May, and I received this note from him—(read—”Mr. Purssell,—I have been taken so ill, and so suddenly, that I expect I shall have to go to the hospital; should I recover, you will hear from me. A. D.”—I did not see him again for about two months, when he was in custody.

Copy of a print of Purssell’s kitchen in Cornhill in 1840


SAMUEL HARBOTTLE (City-policeman, 584). On 23d May, between eleven and twelve o’clock, I was in King William-street, and saw Morley with a firkin of butter—I spoke to him, and he pointed out a woman behind him—she got away while I was taking the firkin off his shoulder—I took it to the prosecutor—the prisoner was afterwards taken in York; I do not know when—I went to his house in Swan-court, in the Borough—I made inquiries at the hospitals, but could not find him.

HENRY MORLEY . I was stopped by the policeman in King William-street, with the firkin of butter—I got it from the prisoner at Mr. Purcell’s, in Cornhill—I was to follow a woman with it, who was outside the door, and take it where she pointed out—she went away, and I never saw her afterwards.

Prisoner’s Defence. I never saw this man; I was ill.

Newgate-prison-exercise-yard. Gustave Dore 1872

GUILTY . Aged 30.— Confined Nine Months.

(There was another indictment against the prisoner.)

It’s not clear where he was imprisoned, but Newgate prison was next door to the Bailey until 1902.

All courtesy

Reference Number: t18490820-1520. 

Roger Purssell 1783 – 1861 and Charlotte Peachey 1789 – 1886

St Anne Limehouse

Roger Purssell 1783 – 1861 married Charlotte Peachey 1789 – 1886 in 1810 at St Anne’s Church in Limehouse.

They are Lady O’B’s grandparents.

Charlotte was born on the 19th January 1791 in Limehouse, and christened at St Anne’s church on the 13th February that year. Her Parents are listed as William and Frances Peachey.  

Roger was also born in Limehouse, and christened at St Anne’s church on 31 Jul 1783; his parents were Roger and Grace Purssell.

Roger seems to have died in the spring of 1861 in Mile End, aged 77. Charlotte died as late as 1886 in Romford aged 96.

Roger was sufficiently prosperous to be listed in the electoral roll in 1802, as the owner occupier of a freehold house in Limehouse. The 1802 election was the first to be held after the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The new Parliament was summoned to meet on 31 August 1802.

I suspect further research will prove him to be quite a substantial property owner in London and the East End.

According to a copy of the entries in a family bible they had the following children.

  • Entries from 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)

As with quite a few family documents, it is useful but not entirely accurate. Charlotte’s dates are slightly wrong, and initially it led me to assume that only Alfred, and Frances had survived to adulthood. In fact all, but the elder John Roger, and Edmund did, and I’ll come back to them in other posts

Roger and Charlotte can first be traced to London in 1851 living in a shared house in Mile End at 1 Saville Place (Mile End Old Town, Trinity parish, Tower Hamlets)with Mary Grace, a 66 year old widow from Limerick, and two of her grandsons who are teenagers. Roger Purssell is 67, and listed as a retired baker born in Limehouse.  Charlotte aged 61 also gives her place of birth as Limehouse.

The neighbours include a beer seller next door at no.2, a greengrocer and his wife, and a jailor at no.3. and a blacksmith/bell hanger at no 5.

There is no trace of them in the 1861 census, and Roger certainly died that year, so may well have died before the census was taken on the 7th April. Charlotte reappears in 1871 at 350 Mile End Road, as an 81 year old widow living on independent means, with a  16 year old servant girl, Mary Isacs.

By 1871, Alfred has re-married, to Ellen Ware, in Exeter in 1865, as a 34 year old widower with a daughter. Charlotte Purssell Jnr has died in London in 1869 at Alf’s house. James is in New York. William is dead. Joe is in Australia. There is no entry for John Roger Purssell in either the 1871, or 1881 censuses, and he appears to have also gone to Australia, though he returns by 1891. 

It is mildly curious that she isn’t living in Alfred’s house in 49 Finsbury Square, but then again, as he has five children under the age of six living at home, and two housemaids, two nurses, and a cook living there perhaps she just wanted to live somewhere quieter in the East End.