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

Showing posts with label Bromley-by-Bow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bromley-by-Bow. Show all posts

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Morris Glede and Sarah Thorn

St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © John Salmon -

Morris Glede (or Gleed) b. 1783, married Sarah Thorn b. 1793, at St Dunstan and All SaintsStepney on 14 Sep 1812. Both of them were then listed as from the Hamlet of Ratcliff, a sub-district, in Stepney and Limehouse parishes. The marriage was solemnised in the presence of [unreadable] and Ann Gleed. 

Records exist for the following children: 
  1. William Gleed, bap. 20 Feb 1814 at St Dunstan and All Saints
  2. Esther Gleed, bap. 12 Nov 1829 at St Dunstan and All Saints
  3. Morris Gleed, born c. 1833
In 1841, Morris Gleed (58), wife Sarah (48), daughter Esther (17) and son Morris (8) were living in Edmonton. Morris Gleed died, aged 58, in 1843, in Edmonton. And in 1851, Sarah Gleed (58), widow, laundress, born in Bromley, Middlesex (Bromley-by-Bow), was living back in Mile End Old Town, with son Morris (18) a dock labourer. I've been unable to identify Sarah's death.

Marriage of Morris Glede and Sarah Thorn

Saturday, 19 December 2020

The Matchgirls at Bryant & May's factory in Bow

Former Bryant and May factory on Fairfield Road, Bow, was the setting of the 'London matchgirls strike of 1888'. Most of the buildings have been converted into housing - creating the Bow Quarter Estate. Photo © David Anstiss (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Ellen Wilton, (b. 1857), younger sister of my 2nd great-grandmother, Elizabeth Wilton (b.1847), had an awful start in life and nothing improved after it. Their father, Richard Wilton, having died in 1858, in 1861, the sisters were inmates in the Great Dunmow Union Workhouse. After their mother remarried, they moved to London, but she was widowed again and, we find Ellen and her mother, Catherine Eldred, in 1881, living in Powis Road, Bromley, Poplar

Ellen (24) and Susan Robison (21), a boarder living in their household, are listed as Match Makers, while lodger, James Howard (18) is listed as a Match Maker (Fusee). (A "Lodger" pays for use of a room only. A "Boarder" pays for a room and meals.) Living little more than half a mile from the Bryant & May's factory in Bow, it is probably reasonable to assume that this was where they were all employed, where the conditions were reported to be so awful that Ellen may well have reminisced fondly about her time in the workhouse. 

Matchgirl strikers, several showing early symptoms of phosphorus necrosis. Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
White Slavery in London

At the Bryant and May matchmaking factory in Bow, conditions were especially bad for the workers. 

"The match girls worked from 6.30am (or 8am in winter) until 6pm, with just two breaks, standing all the time. “A typical case”, wrote Besant, “is that of a girl of 16, a piece worker; she earns 4s a week ..." (Worth around £26 in 2020).

"Conditions were appalling for the 1,400 women and girls who worked at Bryant and May's match factory in Bow, East London. Low pay for a 14-hour day was cut even more if you talked or went to the toilet, and 'phossy jaw' - a horrible bone cancer caused by the cheap type of phosphorus in the matches - was common." 
"If you handled white phosphorus or came into contact with it too much, then it caused serious damage to your health and you ended up with a terrible condition known as ‘Phossy Jaw’ – where you would get severe toothache followed by swelling of the gums. Abscesses would then form on the jaw-bone, and the facial bones would glow a greeny white in the dark. If untreated then ‘Phossy Jaw’ would develop into brain damage and ultimately multiple organ failure."
As a result of these appalling conditions, the London Matchgirls Strike of 1888 started in the factory, which led to the establishment of the first British trade union for women. Having checked the records, I know that my 2x great-grand aunt was not involved in the Matchgirls Strike in 1888, but reading about it gives an insight into what she must have endured. She could have been involved in an earlier, unsuccessful, strike in 1881. We don't know how long she worked as a Match Maker or at what point between 1871 and 1881 she and her mother had moved to London. There is a potentially relevant record of a death of an Ellen Wilton, in St George in the East, in 1882, so maybe she had already become a victim of these dreadful circumstances. There is now a blue plaque.

Having read that Quakers, William Bryant and Frances May, established Bryant and May and, knowing that Ellen's mother's first marriage to Richard Wilton had been celebrated at the Quaker Meeting House in Great Dunmow, it both saddens and angers me to think that it may have been through these circles that the family learned of - and worse, trusted - this 'opportunity'.

At around the same time, in the 1870's, Ellen's sister Elizabeth and her husband, James Hockley (a pair of my 2nd great-grandparents), also moved south from Great Dunmow. Their son, Charles Stephen Hockley was born in Bromley-by-BowPoplar, Middlesex, in 1874. It's not possible to tell who led, or if they all moved down together, but for Ellen and her coworkers, it can hardly have seemed like the streets of London were paved with gold.


  1. Britain: The Matchgirls strike - from a spark to a blaze
  2. Bryant & May ‘Flaming Fusee’ matches for cigars and pipes, London, England, 1861-1895
  3. Bryant and May Match Factory, Bow, Greater London
  4. The ‘Bryant & May Match Factory’ in Bow & the ‘Match Girl’ strike of 1888
  5. Setting the workers alight: the East End Match Girls' Strike
  6. Bryant and May Strike Bow East London
  7. The Match Workers Strike Fund Register
  8. Match Workers Strike, Bow 1888
  9. Match Girls Strike - The British Library

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Richard Wilton and Catherine Byatt

Quaker Meeting House (1835), New Street, Great Dunmow

Among a flurry of research prior to our recent trip, I'd ordered a copy of the marriage certificate for, Richard Wilton, son of Stephen Wilton and Elizabeth Hankin, and Catherine Byatt, daughter of John Byatt and Jane Stokes. The certificate tells us that the marriage took place at the Independent Meeting House (Quaker Meeting House), New Street, Great Dunmow, on 25 Mar 1843, according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Protestant Dissenters. Witnesses to the marriage were Joseph Wilton [1] and Maria Staines [2].

At the time of their marriage, Catherine Byatt was listed as a minor - she would have been 19, having been baptised in Little Canfield, on 4 Apr 1824. 

Richard Wilton appears on the 1841 census in the High Street, Great Dunmow. He is described as a harness maker (as he is on the marriage certificate) and as being born outside the parish. He was baptised, on 20 Mar 1811, in Royston, Hertfordshire, which makes Richard 32 at the time of his marriage to the 19 year old Catherine. In these circumstances, I might expect him to have been a widower, but haven't found any record of a previous marriage for him. 

Richard and Catherine had at least 7 children, for some of whom we find civil registrations, but not baptisms, as Quakers do not practice baptism:
  1. Ann Wilton, born 1844 (died 27 Apr 1850, aged 6, buried 2 May 1850)
  2. Elizabeth Wilton b. 6 Aug 1847
  3. Richard Wilton, born 1848 (on 1881 census) (died 1889, aged 41)
  4. Walter Wilton, born in the 4th quarter of 1850 (died 1852)
  5. Martha Wilton, born in the 1st quarter of 1853 (died 1854)
  6. William Wilton, born in the 2nd quarter of 1855 (died 1858)
  7. Ellen Wilton, born in the 2nd quarter of 1857 (died 1882)
Richard Wilton, Harness maker (journeyman), died on 3 Mar 1858, from Phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis). He was 46.

George Wilton, born in the Dunmow Union (Workhouse) on 3 Feb 1860, birth certificate says his mother's name was Caroline Wilton, no father listed, but I cannot find a Caroline Wilton in the area at any time. On later census returns George was listed as Catherine's new husband - John Eldred's - step-son, so George appears to have been Catherine's 'mystery' illegitimate son.

In 1861, the widowed Catherine (surname transcribed as Wilson), was living with her brother, William Byatt, in Little Canfield. George Wilton, aged 1, was listed as nephew to the head of the household. While, the 13 year old Elizabeth and her 4 year old sister, Ellen (listed as being 6), were that year, listed as inmates in the Great Dunmow Union Workhouse.

Catherine remarried to John Eldred, widower, on 27 Sep 1862 in Great Dunmow. Various records of the marriage list her previous surname as either Walton or Wilson, however, the 1871 census record for the family, living in Braintree Road, Great Dunmow, with John Eldred as the head, clearly lists Ellen and George Wilton as step-daughter and step-son. Catherine appeared to have lost 5 years in age to become younger than her new husband. 

Widowed again - there was a death of a John Eldred (49) in West Ham in 1876, which I believe relates -  on the 1881 Census, she appears as Catherine Eldridge, living at 23, Powis Road, Bromley, Poplar, London and is described as a Dressmaker, although supplements her income by taking in lodgers. 

So far, I've not found a death for Catherine, but with so many incorrect names given throughout her life, it's not easy to guess what it might be listed under. There's also the chance, of course, that she remarried once again and therefore this is under yet another totally new name.
[1] Joseph Wilton, who witnessed the marriage, is Richard's younger brother, a Tailor And Clothier in High Street, Great Dunmow. 

[2] Maria Staines (then 17), was the daughter of Thomas Staines and Sally Hockley and sister of Richard's other brother, Henry's 1st wife, Sarah Staines and of his 2nd wife, Ann Staines. 

A bride was typically assisted by one or two female attendants. The number tended to increase if the bride was of higher society. These women helped the bride in various ways – penning invitations, getting dressed – and one was designated the official witness for the parish registry. She could be married or unmarried. The term “bridesmaid” or more commonly “bridemaid” without the S, was in use since the 1500s. [Source]

[3] Catherine's mother, Jane Byatt (née Stokes) was the daughter of Robert Stokes and Susan (or Susanna) Judd. Meanwhile, William Hockley's (of The Chequers Inn) second wife, Sarah Stokes appears to have been the daughter of William and Mary Stokes. Both were from Little Canfield. Since they weren't sisters, in such a small hamlet, it's probably reasonably safe to assume they were cousins. 

These pages are notes on work in progress, so expect changes as further research is done. Follow That Page can monitor changes.