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

Sunday, 2 May 2021

John Day and Ellen Wilton

View from Market Square in Hitchin, with St Mary's Church in the background
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Lucas - geograph.org.uk/p/989830

Ellen Wilton, daughter of Stephen Wilton and Elizabeth Hankin, married John Day in Royston, Hertfordshire, in 1842 and eventually went to live in Hitchin

They had six children: 
  1. Henry Wilton Day born 1843 in Buntingford, Hertfordshire
  2. Martha Hobbs Day born 2nd quarter of 1845 in Cambridgeshire
  3. Ellen Day born 3rd quarter of 1847 in Hitchin (died 1857, aged 9)
  4. Sarah Ann Day born Q1 of 1850 in Hitchin (died Q4 of 1850)
  5. John Alfred Day born 1852 in Henlow, Bedfordshire
  6. Arthur Stephen Day born 1855 born in Hitchin
John Day was a Cabinet Maker Journeyman and Ellen Day, a dressmaker. In 1851, they lived in Dead Street, Hitchin - later renamed Queen Street, but that didn't improve it fundamentally. It was compared to the worst slums of London. In 1919, the cottages in the Queen Street area were described:  
Some houses had earth floors. The windows and doors were small and in a few cases the only window downstairs opened to a passage where there was no light and very little air. The only bedroom was like a stable loft, reached by a decrepit stairs or a ladder. Tea chests served as tables and 5 or 6 children in one bed was not unusual.  It was very much survival of the fittest.

Living there in Dead Street in 1851 were, John Day (30), Ellen Day (32), Henry W (7), Martha H (5), Ellen (3), George Day (29), Tailor Master, brother and Caleb Burrows (15), lodger.

In 1861, John and Ellen Day were living in Church Yard, but that was the same squalid, underworld area, of which was said, "Although the area was central, the whole district was taboo for the rest of Hitchin’s inhabitants." Here we find John Day (41), Ellen Day (46), Henry Day (17), at that time a Butcher Journeyman, Alfred Day (9) and Arthur Day (6). Martha Day (14) was then a House Maid in the household of Frederick Gillum (27), Cabinet Maker, in Sun Street, Hitchin

A Martha Day, year of birth given as 1847, daughter of John and Ellen Day, was baptised on 17 Apr 1872, in Cambridge. 

Miraculously, in those circumstances, all three sons survived into adulthood.

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