Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Charles Stone and Emma Middleton

Woodgates, Lower Washfield, Tiverton, their address in 1901

Charles Stone, 8th child of Henry Stone and Mary Ridgeway, married Emma Middleton, 4th and only surviving child, daughter of Jane Middleton. Charles and Emma (or Emily as she later preferred) were my great-grandparents.

Emma was born on 6 Aug 1862 and baptised on 5 Oct 1865 in West Anstey, Devon and Charles was born in Ashbrittle, Somerset on 8 Apr 1869. In 1871, Emma (8) was a boarder in the household of William Short at Molland, where her mother was employed as Housekeeper. The one year old Charles was then with his parents in Ashbrittle and was still at home with his parents in 1881, at Lauds Mills, Uplowman. Emma by then would have been 18, but I've not found where she was living and working at that time.

Mid Devon : West Spurway Farm
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Lewis Clarke - geograph.org.uk/p/3998369

In 1891, Emma Middleton (26) was working as a Domestic Servant for William Heywood (27), Farmer (son of Robert Heywood of Spurway Barton), at West Spurway Farm, West Mildon, Oakford, Devon. While Emma's son, William Henry Middleton, born in 1889, was living with his grandmother and her husband, Jane and John Howe, in Stoodleigh. Charles Stone (20), was Farm Servant to William Gale (69), at Courtney Farm, Washfield, Devon. 

Interior of St Peter's Church, Tiverton, Devon
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Derek Voller - geograph.org.uk/p/3683165
This church is famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) in that upon its organ, seen left of picture, was played for the very first time, the tune that was destined to send shivers up the spine of many a strong man. It was of course ... (intake of breath) "The Wedding March". On June 2nd 1847, at a wedding ceremony here, Felix Mendelssohn's composition ushered the bride and groom out of the church as man and wife. The couple were, I believe, friends of the composer.

At some point, their paths must have crossed, because Charles Stone and Emily Middleton married on 29 Oct 1896 at St Peter’s Church Tiverton

No idea why she chose to change her name from Emma to Emily (fashion, perhaps?) Emma (Emily) certainly wasn't trying to hide her son William Henry's illegitimate status, but might have been trying to play down her own, because Emma (Emily) "invented" a father called William Middleton for the marriage certificate. As we know Middleton was not only hers, but also her mother's maiden name, that couldn't be her father's name. Emma (Emily) had an older brother and an uncle William Middleton, both of whom she had never met as they died as infants, whose name she was clearly borrowing.

Well, I say she wasn't trying to hide William Henry's true origins, but clearly someone must have come up with a story later, because my father was under the mistaken impression that William Henry Middleton, his "Uncle Bill", was the product of Emily's "first marriage". Of course there was no such alliance.

Emma (Emily) claimed to be 32 at the time of her marriage: she was 34. Charles was 26. They both gave their address as 111 Chapel Street, which was the address of Charles' younger sister, Lucy Jane and her husband, William Bridle, who were the two witnesses to the marriage. 

The couple added four more children: 

  1. Charley Stone born 6 Jun 1898 at 1 Silver Street, Tiverton, and baptised on 20 Jul 1898 at St Peter’s Church Tiverton, son of Charles and Emma.
  2. Albert Stone born 18 Jan 1900
  3. Emily Stone born 2 May 1901
  4. Harry Stone born 18 Nov 1902
In 1901, Charles (30), Agricultural Labourer, and Emily (33 - the gap between fiction and reality is getting bigger) were living at Woodgates, in Lower Washfield, with their two sons, Charley (2) and Albert (Bert) (1).

Charles and Emma with their children:
Charley (rear right), Albert (rear left),
Emily, (front right) and Harry (front left)
Then in 1911, we find them in Hayne Lane, Bolham. Charles (40) is then a Carter on Farm. Emily has lost another couple of years to reach 41 (actually 49) and they've added another two children: Emily and Harry.

The photo (right) was taken at the side of the house at 4 Hayne Lane, Bolham. 

These cottages were originally built for the workers on the Knightshayes Estate - Home Farm, Knightshayes is at the end of Hayne Lane - for whom Charles then worked. I imagine the image was probably taken for the bosses to show their loyal servants with their lovely new accommodations. Pity people didn't do happy in photos then! 
4 Hayne Lane, Bolham in 2016

Charles Stone died on 13 Jun 1930, aged 61. Emily Stone died 2 Jun 1936.

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