Welcome back to the life of Christian, now known as Christian Kemish nee Collins nee Luke.
Let’s have a recap of what we know about her life so Far.
Christian was born in Lockerley, Hampshire, England, in the year 1808 to Moses Luke, and Catherine Kitty Mason.
She was baptised at, The church of St. John The Evangelist, on Sunday the 12th of June 1808.
On Sunday the 18th July 1830, at The Church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire, Christian married George Collins. She gave birth to their daughter, Anne Collins, prematurely in 1830.
Christians husband George, was transported to Van Diemans Land Australia, for rioting in the Swing Riots. He never returned instead he wed, Mary McCaul, a convict women at Sorell.
Christian found comfort in the arms of, Mr. David Kemish and they married, maybe illegally on the 6th June 1843 at, St. Paul’s, The Parish Church of Fisherton Anger, Wiltshire.
We are all caught up. Let’s see what happened next to our very own bigamist Christian.
The Life of Christian Luke – 1808 – 1895 – Part 2.
The next event in Christians life is rather a sad one. The grim reaper never seems far from the door, and on the 16th October 1844, he claimed the life of Christians Father, Moses Luke, a Labourer, aged 88, in their home villige of, Lockerley, Romsey, Hampshire.
Moses died from, Old Age.
Susan Luke, my 3rd Great Grandmother, was present and registered his death on the 17th October 1844, in Romsey.
Having lived through the trauma of loosing my own Dad, I feel Christians pain and sorrow deeply. No matter a parents age or how good their life may have been, loosing them leaves a gapping hole in your being, one that can never be filled.
Our dads are the first man to love us, to kiss us goodnight. They love you wholeheeartedly, no matter our flaws and insecurities. They can never be replaced.
I do not know how close Christian and Moses were, if her law breaking had damaged their relationship? What I do know is, Christian must have been devastated and possibly over run with guilt at disappointing him. Guilt seems to always come hand in hand with grief, no matter the situation. The what ifs, play over and over in your mind. I do hope Christian didn’t have too many what if’s and that her road to healing, wouldn’t have caused her too much anguish.
Only 4 short days later, on the 20th of October, Christian and her family, friends and acquaintances, gathered around empty grave, in the grounds of their local church, the church of St. John The Evangelist, Lockerley, Hampshire, to say their final goodbyes.
Putting the sorrow out our minds for a moment, Moses life journey ended in the perfect place. He had been baptised in the St. John’s Church and many of his children were also baptised there. Now he would rest peacefully in the grounds of the place his relationship with the church, possibly God had begun.
Gone But Never Forgotten.
Romsey held elections for the Guardians of the poor. James Edney had been elected for the parish of Lockerley.
All innkeepers licenses were renewed in Romsey and Romsey Extra, apart from the Kings Arms in Lockerley, which was suspended in consequence of a complaint made against the Landlady, Mrs Morgan, by the police.
John Soffe an inhabitant of the village of Minesteed was murdered in Romsey, by John Eyres, John Kemish, Emma Leach and Mary Ann Sims.
There are lots more newspaper articles online, which go into a lot more detail, if you are interested.
I wonder if John Kemish was related to Christians, David?
And of course the 1851 census was taken on Sunday the 30th March, which shows, Christian was residing at Awbridge Common, Mitchelmersh, Romsey, Hampshire, England, with her husband David, her daughter Ann and Grandson, George Collins (Anne’s son).
David was working as a Woodman and Ann a, Match Faggot Maker.
After the census, on the 19 April 1851, the Hampshire Advertiser printed the below information about the increase and decrease in the population.
Lockerley had increased by 69.
Unfortunately for Christian, the Luke and Dunn family, Christians sister, Charlotte Dunn nee Luke, died on Friday the 2nd of January 1852, at Newton Lane, Romsey, Hampshire, England, when she was 44 years old.
She died from Anasasea.
Hester Handcock, was in attendance and registered her death on Saturday the 3rd January 1852, in the market town of Romsey, Hampshire.
I know death is the one guarantee in life it always makes me feel a little sad seeing these deaths certificates. Death is a huge part of all our lives unfortunatly, its never gets an easier does it. No matter the generations that pass, losing a loved ones and dealing with grief is always a personal battle and I’m sure Christian had her own demons to slay as she grieved for her sister.
You will not believe what happened next. 😱
Just over five and a half years later, Christian, sat in church besides a gentleman named, John Pitt, son of, Joseph Pitt and Elizabeth Pitt nee Moody and heard their marriage banns be called.
What, wait, she is already married to David Kemish and possibly still legally married to George Collins. What was she playing at?
No matter her marital status, Christian and Johns, banns were called on Sunday the 30th of August, Sunday the 6th of September and Sunday the 13th of September 1857, at St. Paul’s, The Parish Church Of Fisherton Anger, Fisherton Anger, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
Thats three times she sat in Church while she blatantly lied and broke the law. I’m surprised she wasn’t struck down by a bolt of lightning. ⚡️
The parish Church, St. Paul’s Church, replaced the Church of St. Clement, demolished in 1852, to serve the expanding population of this area. The foundation stone was laid in 1851 and the church consecrated in 1853. It was designed by T.H. Wyatt in the Early Decorated style and originally had a chancel, a nave of six bays, a south aisle, a west gallery, a south porch and a tower. The tower buttresses, some of the interior arches, piers, and the font were all brought from the demolished church of St. Clement’s. The new tower was made the same size as that of St. Clement’s to accommodate the bell frame timbers and the six bells from the old church. In 1876 a north aisle and a west porch were added.
The chancel walls were coloured in 1880 and in 1883 painted texts were placed over the arches. There was a restoration with various alterations in 1898 and a restoration of the chancel in 1910. Various monuments had been brought from St. Clement’s in 1852 and placed in the new church. The parish registers from 1654 (christenings and marriages) and 1653 (burials), other than those in current use, are held in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham.
They got married at, the same church their banns were called at, St. Paul’s, The Parish Church Of Fisherton Anger, Fisherton Anger, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, on Monday the 14th of September 1857.
Christian had once again said she was a spinster and gave their residence as, Fisherton Anger. (I still haven’t found any proof they were living there.)
John, gave his profession as Woodman and his father was named as, Joseph Pitt, a Woodman.
Christian didn’t give her father’s name.
You won’t believe this, their witnesses were no other than her, second husband, David Kemish and her Daughter Anne Collins. 😵
Christian and Ann signed with an X.
Christian was now officially a bigamist.
The lawbreakering didn’t stop there, as on the same day, Monday the 14th of September 1857, Christian 2nd Husband, David Kemish, also illegally married that day.
David married his stepdaughter, Christian‘s daughter, Ann Collins.
Shock horror 😱
David stated that he was a Bachelor and Ann a Spinster.
He gave his occupation as a, Travelling Hawker and his father‘s name is Benjamin Kemish, a Wood seller. Ann did not give her father‘s name.
David and Ann gave their residence as Fisherton Anger.
Their witnesses were Christian Kemish and John Pitt.
Christian and Ann signed with an X.
David and Ann’s, banns had also been called on the same days as Christian and John Pitt’s had been, on Sunday the 30th of August, Sunday the 6th of September and Sunday the 13th of September 1857, at St. Paul’s, The Parish Church Of Fisherton Anger, Fisherton Anger, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
I can just picture the four of them, sat in church, nervous that someone would discover that they were just about to break the law, but also pretty smug that they have got away with it so far.
How on Earth did they pull that off, especially as Christian and David had wed at the same location, back in 1843.
How had they gotten into this situation?
Who had suggested they become bigamists?
How did Christian feel about her daughter marrying her husband?
And the hundred dollar question is, Is Anne’s child, George Collins, David son?
I had to purchase George’s birth certificate to find out.
Unfortunately it was the wrong certificate, which I have put below incase it is helpful to someone.
After a more intensive search, I came across a birth record that at first glance I would normally dismiss, but too many things seemed to fit, like the year and location and no mothers maiden name was given, which normally means, its a birth out of wedlock.
I took the risk and ordered it just incase. I suspected it wouldn’t give me the name of the father, but at least I would have a date of birth for him, it may also confirm information on a future death certificate.
The birth certificate confirm, that Christians Grandson, George Collins was born on Tuesday the 17th of April 1849, at Mitchelmersh, Hampshire, England.
Ann had registered him under the name George Collence and herself as Ann Collence, not Collins.
No father had been named.
Ann registered his birth in Mitchelmersh, Romsey, Hampshire, on Saturday the 19th of May 1849.
Ann signed with an X.
Who was his Father? John Kemish or someone else? My gut tells me that George was Johns.
I think I will leave you there, to let you get your minds around, the shock horror, of Christian marrying illegally, not just once but twice. (Remember her first husband is living in Australia living a new life with his new wife.)
Was she so madly in love with Mr. John Pitt, she would risk everything?
Was her daughter Anne, also crazy in Love with her stepfather, that she would have possibly jeopardised her relationship with her mother and willing to break the law because love conquers all.
What had Ann’s Son George, thought about the rather uncanny situation. Was it a case of just wanting his mothers happiness or was he mad at her for breaking the law.
so many unanswerable questions.
Was George with them at the church, or left with family incase his presence rocked the boat?
I wish I had a time machine. How fantastic would that be.
Who would your first port of call be? Of course I would travel back in time to visit my Dad, before anyone else, how could I not, what I would give to see him again.
Genealogy wise, it would have to be a visit to my my Great, Great Granfather John Cornelius O’Connor, shortly followed by Jesse Townsend. They are my two hardest brickwalls to crack, but I definitely would have to visit, Christian Luke and many, many others.
What an Adventure that would be!!!
How silly that I’m excited at the thought of it. A girl can dream, can’t she.
Anyway until next time, stay true not blue.
Too-da-loo for now.
I have brought and paid for all certificates,
Please do not download or use them without my permission.
All you have to do is ask.