What I love about genealogy is, it leads you down paths walked by not only your ancestors but many others incredible human beings.
Fairly often while researching our own heritage, I side step and research the partners, husbands, wife’s, in-laws and siblings and their families of our ancestors.
Some say there isn’t a need to research any others but your own direct lines, but I strongly disagree.
Thought researching sisters, brothers, in-laws etc, I have discovered family links that I would never have known if it wasn’t for side stepping.
I’ve also discover life stories that touch my soul so deeply that, they stay with me and consume my thoughts to the point of distraction, winning over a small piece of my heart.
Today I would love to share one of those fascinating human beings life story with you all.
Even though he has no real connection with my own ancestry, I feel this overwhelming pull to share his life with you.
His name is William Charles Williams and, he’s the Father In-Law of my Husband, Marks, 2nd Great Grandmother, Charlotte Feltham.
without further ado, I give you,
The Life of William Charles Williams.
Let’s travel back to the year 1807. The Monarch was George III. The Prime Minister was William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville (Coalition) (until 31 March) and then, William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland (Tory) (starting 31 March). Foreign Secretary was Charles Grey, Viscount Howick (until 25 March) and then George Canning (from 25 March).
It was the 3rd/4th Parliament – 3rd (until 29 April), 4th (starting 22 June).
Around forty people were killed in a crush attending a public hanging in London. The 1806 trials of John Holloway and Owen Haggerty at the Old Bailey for the slaying of John Cole Steele, a lavender nursery owner from London murdered in 1802, attracted much newspaper coverage and publicity. Both men were convicted of murder based on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of an accomplice, one Benjamin Hanfield, who claimed Holloway bludgeoned John Steele to death while the three were robbing him at Hounslow Heath.
Holloway and Haggerty were sentenced to be hanged at Newgate Prison alongside condemned murderer Elizabeth Godfrey (convicted of a fatal stabbing in a separate case), while Hanfield’s punishment of transportation for a theft was dismissed for his testimony. Due to the perceived injustice of Holloway and Haggerty being sentenced to death based on such evidence, many contemporaries believed the pair were innocent and the ensuing outrage attracted a massive and rambunctious crowd to the public execution at Newgate Prison. A crowd of around 40,000 had gathered in front of Newgate Prison near the Old Bailey on the morning of 23 February 1807 to witness Holloway and Haggerty’s execution. People from as far as Hounslowand Bagshot came to observe the sentences be carried out, clambering onto carts, lampposts, and window ledges to spectate. “Not only the space in front of the Old Bailey, but all the windows and the tops of houses adjoining, were crowded with spectators, and the avenues to the remotest point…” The crowd had been so thick at the north side of the Old Bailey that its movements were compared to ocean waves. Around 08:06–08:08, the executioner pulled the lever and the hatch beneath Holloway, Haggerty, and Godfrey was dropped. The overheated, impatient spectators surged forward towards the scaffolding to obtain better views of the executions. Observers from the corner of Green Arbor Lane were startled when the axletree of a wooden cart overloaded with people broke, collapsing the cart and knocking those on top of it to the ground. Subsequently, a pieman a few yards away dropped a large basket of merchandise in the uproar, falling while attempting to pick it up and tripping others who were then trampled with him. When the wooden cart collapsed, the spectators who had fallen off of it were crushed to death as the people behind the cart pushed forward to climb on top (either to watch the executions or escape the crush). The pressurised crowd pushed back against the cart, causing yet more carnage and possibly tripping the pieman who was just yards away. These dual accidents startling the disorganised crowd on the relatively narrow street resulted in dozens of people being killed and many others being injured. The scene lasted for over an hour as individuals slowly cleared out from the area, with a significant portion of the crowd remaining long after the executions were carried out. Once authorities had cleared out the remaining spectators there seemed to be around 100 injured or dead individuals lying in the street in front of Newgate Prison. Newspapers reported on death tolls between 20 and 30, but one contemporary account describes 34 dead and at least 15 serious injuries. The injured were taken to St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
The Slave Trade Act was passed in the House of Commons by an overwhelming majority. Although it did not abolish the practice of slavery, it did encourage British action to press other nation states to abolish their own slave trades.
In Salisbury on Monday, the 19th of January, 1807, there was a report printed in the, Salisbury and Winchester Journal, of a temperature variation of 32 degrees in 24 hours.
And on the 30th October 1807, in St Martin’s, Salisbury, William Charles Williams, was born to, Mr. John Williams, and, his wife, Mrs Elizabeth Williams nee Snelgrove.
St Martin’s parish, is the oldest parish in the city, being in existence before the foundation of New Salisbury. Until the formation of the other two medieval parishes it included not only the nucleus of parishioners around Milford Hill, but also all the scattered inhabitants on the bishop’s manor of Milford. After the division of city and suburbs into three parishes in 1269, St. Martin’s was bounded on the north by Milford Street, on the west by Brown Street and the east wall of the Close running down Exeter Street, and on the south by the Avon. Its eastern boundary was not defined until the 19th century, but was often taken to be the line of the ramparts, the road to the church, and the churchyard. The church itself stood just outside what later became the protective ditch of the city, first begun in the 13th century. In 1269 the parish included houses outside the eastern bars of the city in Milford and Winterbourne Ford, and also certain inhabitants who were said to have previously been parishioners of the hospital of St. Nicholas.
William Charles, was baptised on the 25th November 1807, at, St. Martin’s Church, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England
The Church of St. Martin, also known as, Sarum St Martin, is a Church of England parish church in Salisbury, Wiltshire. The church dates back to the 13th century and has a 13th-century chancel, a 14th-century tower with spire, and a 15th-century nave with aisles. From 1849 to 1850, the church building was restored by Thomas Henry Wyatt and David Brandon.
On 28 February 1952, the church was designated a grade I listed building.
Today the parish falls in the Traditional Anglo-Catholic tradition of the Church of England. As it rejects the ordination of women, the parish receives alternative episcopal oversight from the Bishop of Ebbsfleet.
The church wardens at the time of his baptism were, Edward Pearce John Webb.
Williams brother, Frederick John Williams, was born around the year 1821 in Wiltshire. (Information from the 1841 census). As yet I can not find a baptism for him.
I’m 99% sure he married a lady called, Elizabeth A ?, and, had a son called, William Henry Williams.
Jumping forward to the year 1834, the Monarch was William IV, The Prime Minister was Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (Whig) (until 16 July); William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (Whig) (starting 16 July, until 14 November); Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (Tory) (starting 14 November, until 10 December); Robert Peel (Conservative) (starting 10 December). The Foreign Secretary was Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (until 14 November) Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (starting 14 November). It was the 11th Parliament (until 29 December).
And William had fallen head over heels, with a lady named, Bethia Chalk, daughter of, Abrose Chalk and, Sarah Rannels.
He soon had a ring on her finger and were sat in the, Parish Church of St. Martins, hearing their marriage banns called.
Their banns were called on the 13th, the 20th and 27th April 1834.
Their Banns were also called at the Parish Church of Wilton, on the 13th, the 20th and 27th April 1834.
And on Wednesday, the 14th of May, 1834, the happy couple tied the knot and started the exciting adventure of marriage.
They wed at the Parish Church of Wilton.
Their witnesses were, Fredrick Hill and Sarah Chalke.
I can vividly picture the smiles on their faces and, the spring in their steps, as they walked hand in hand, back down the aisle, of the Parish Church of Wilton, Bethia, a little nervous about their up and coming nuptials.
It was not long until William and Bethia, were expecting their first child.
Their daughter, Mary Williams, was born around the year, 1835, in Salisbury and was baptised on the 16th August 1835, at St Martins, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
William gave his abode as, St Ann Street, and occupation as Shoe Maker.
St. Ann Street, was one of the earliest built up ways, leading directly from the Close to St. Martin’s church; it was known as St. Martin’s Street until the 16th century, and as Tanner or Tanner’s Street from then until the 18th century, when its modern name became current. The way out of the city lay along St. Ann Street and St. Martin’s Church Street, and then north of the church into the Southampton road. In 1611 the east end of St. Ann Street was closed by a row of houses, of which the present corner house of St. Martin’s Church Street may be a survivor. These houses still existed in 1781 but by 1800 part of the row had been demolished and the present Southampton Road, leading straight into St. Ann Street, cut through. Although mainly of the 18th century St. Ann Street contains some notable earlier buildings, these include the half-timbered post office and adjoining buildings (nos. 60–66), and the Jacobean façade of the Joiners’ Hall (nos. 56–58). Windover House (nos. 22–24) contains the roof of a medieval hall and solar range, but was considerably remodelled in the early 17th century and later. Surviving houses show that in the 18th century St. Ann Street must have been a fashionable address. Among many good examples from this period, nos. 8, 44–6, 49, 54, 68 and 82–4 may be mentioned, and nos. 34–8 are earlier timber-framed houses refronted in brick then. The street is still mainly residential.
Only a few short years later, William and Bethia, welcomed their second born, a daughter, into their family, their homes and theirs hearts.
They named her, Emily Williams.
Emily was born on Monday, the 22nd of January,1838, in Salisbury, Hampshire, England.
She was baptised at, St Martin’s, Salisbury, Wiltshire on Friday, the 23rd of February, 1838.
William gave his occupation as a, shoe-maker and their abode as, Culver Street, Salisbury.
I believe she went on to marry, Charles Adam Gildersleeves.
Culver Street was one of the original mediaeval streets of Salisbury. In the Middle Ages, it was part of Salisbury’s ‘red light district’. It is recorded that in 1452 the women scandalised the citizenry by neglecting to wear the striped hoods prescribed as their official dress and the City Fathers ordered them out of town.
Just one short year later, William and Bethia, were once again expecting.
Bethia, gave birth to their third child, a son, whom they named, Charles Williams.
Charles, was born in the, October to December quarter of, 1839, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
Jumping forward to the year 1841, Queen Victoria was on the throne. The Prime Minister was William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (Whig) (until 30 August) and then Robert Peel (Conservative) (starting 30 August). Foreign Secretary was Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (until 2 September ) and then George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen(starting 2 September). It was the 13th Parliament (until 23 June), and the 14th (starting 19 August).
The Penny Red postage stamp replaces the Penny Black.
Anglican clergyman Richard Sibthorp becomes the first Tractarian to be received into the Roman Catholic Church, by Nicholas Wiseman at St Mary’s College, Oscott (he reconverts two years later).
A fire at the Tower of London destroys its Grand Armoury and causes a quarter of a million pounds worth of damage.
London Library opened in Pall Mall. The Library initially rented cheap premises in 45 Pall Mall (above a former Georgian gambling den)
In 1845 the Library was moved to its present location in St James’s Square.
And the United Kingdom Census was held, the first to record names and approximate ages of every household member and to be administered nationally.
It shows, William Charles, was still residing in, Culver Street, St Martin’s, New Sarum, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, on Sunday the 6th June 1841, with his wife Bethia and children, Mary, Emily and Charles.
William was working as a, shoe Maker and his wife Bethia, was a, Silk Weaver. William Charles, parents, John and Elizabeth were also residing at, Culver Street.
Just 10 days after the 1841 Census, in Saint Martins, Salisbury, William and Bethia’s, worst nightmare, became reality, when their baby boy, Charles Williams, died at the wee age of, 1 year, 9 months, on Wednesday the 16th of June 1841.
Charles died from, inflammation of the lungs.
Susanna Snelgrove, a weaver, from, Culver Street, (possibly his great Grandmother) was present and registered his death on, Saturday, the 19th of June, 1841.
William and Bethia, laid Charles, to rest on, Sunday the 20th of June, 1841, at St. Martin, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
William and Bethia, must have found comfort in one another, as Bethia was soon expecting.
Bethia, gave birth, to her second son, on Friday, the 18th of February, 1842, in St Martin, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
They named him, Charles Williams.
William Charles, registered his birth on Tuesday, the 29th of March, 1842.
He gave his occupation as, Shoemaker and, his residence as, Barnards Street.
Charles, went on to marry, Charlotte Feltham, who you can read about here.
Just two short years later, Family friends and possibly neighbours, gather around Bethias bed as she gave birth to a son, whom they named, Joseph Williams.
Joseph, was born in the, January to March, quarter of the year, 1844, in the Salisbury district.
Joseph was not baptised until he was 7 years old.
It wasn’t long until William had Bethia, were in the family way again, and, in the April to June, quarter of 1849, in Salisbury, Bertha gave birth to a daughter, whom they called, Sarah Williams.
Sarah went on to marry widow Charles Day, on the 27th January 1873, at The parish Church of Fisherton Anger,
where they both worked as attendants at, Fisherton House Asylum.
William and Bethia, baptised Joseph, on Thursday, the 27th March, 1851, in a private baptism, when he was 7 years old, at St Martin’s Church, Salisbury, Wiltshire.
William, gave his occupation as ? (Mark and I just can’t work it out) and their residence as Trinity Street.
A few days later, the census was taken, on the eve of Sunday, the 30th of March, 1851. It shows, William Charles, living in Trinity Street, St Martin, Salisbury, Wiltshire, with his wife Bethia and their Childen, Emily, Sarah, Charles and Joseph.
William was working as a Shoe Marker and Bethia a Silk Weaver.
Sadly there was a reason for his baptism. Joseph, was poorly and heartbreakingly, he died on, Sunday, the 6th of April, 1851, at Trinity Street, Saint Martins, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
Joseph died from, meningitis and extreme debility.
William Charles, was in attendance and registered his death on Thursday, the 10th of April, 1851.
William and Bertha laid their son to rest on the 10 April 1851, at St Martins, Salisbury.
To loss one child is earth shattering but to loss another, is undescribable. How your heart ever heals is beyond my recognition.
My heart shatters, at the thought of his tiny coffin, being lowered into the ground. How they kept theirselves together and didn’t collapse to the floor, gibbering messes, I will never know. To bury your child is a fate worse than death.
I’m not sure how life was for William over the next ten years, but by the year, 1861, William Charles, had fallen on hard times, resulting in him taking up lodgings as a Inmate, in the, Crane Street Workhouse, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, (also known as Church House or Audley House.) on Sunday the 7th April 1861, with his Wife Bethia, and their daughter, Sarah, aged 12. William was working as a, Shoemaker and Bethia a Shoe Binder.
People ended-up in the workhouse for a variety of reasons. Usually, it was because they were too poor, old or ill to support themselves. This may have resulted from such things as a lack of work during periods of high unemployment, or someone having no family willing or able to provide care for them when they became elderly or sick. Unmarried pregnant women were often disowned by their families and the workhouse was the only place they could go during and after the birth of their child. Prior to the establishment of public mental asylums in the mid-nineteenth century (and in some cases even after that), the mentally ill and mentally handicapped poor were often consigned to the workhouse. Workhouses, though, were never prisons, and entry into them was generally a voluntary although often painful decision. It also carried with it a change in legal status — until 1918, receipt of poor relief meant a loss of the right to vote.
Admission into the workhouse first required an interview to establish the applicant’s circumstances. This was most often undertaken by a Relieving Officer who would visit each part of the union on a regular basis. However, the workhouse Master could also interview anyone in urgent need of relief.
Formal admission into the workhouse proper was authorised by the Board of Guardians at their weekly meetings, where an applicant could summoned to justify their application. This would no doubt have been an intimidating experience.
Prior to their formal admission into the main workhouse, new arrivals would be placed in a receiving or probationary ward. There the workhouse medical officer would examine them to check on their state of health. Those suffering from any infectious illness would be placed in a sick ward.
Each new arrival at the workhouse would go through a fairly involved admission procedure. After all the necessary paperwork had been completed, paupers were stripped, bathed, and issued with a workhouse uniform. Children (although not adults) could be required to have their hair cut. An inmate’s own clothes would be washed and disinfected and then put into store along with any other possessions they had and only returned to them when they left the workhouse.
Union workhouse inmates were strictly segregated into seven classes which initially comprised:
- Aged or infirm men.
- Able bodied men, and youths above 13.
- Youths and boys above seven years old and under 13.
- Aged or infirm women
- Able-bodied women and girls above 16.
- Girls above seven years old and under 16.
- Children under 7 seven years of age.
Husbands, wives and older children were separated as soon as they entered the workhouse and could be punished if they even tried to speak to one another.
Each class had its own area of the workhouse, with walls and doors arranged so that different classes never came into contact. The main exception to this was the dining-hall which also served as a chapel. Some dining-halls had partitions down the centre to segregate males and females although these had largely been removed by the 1870s.
From 1847, married couples over the age of sixty could request to share a separate bedroom, although little provision was made for such requests — it was often argued by Boards of Guardians that elderly couples generally preferred the separation.
Children under seven could be placed (if the Guardians thought fit) in the female wards and, from 1842, their mothers could have access to them “at all reasonable times”. Parents could also have an “interview” with their children “at some time in each day”. The daily routine for workhouse inmates prescribed by the Poor Law Commissioners in 1835 was as follows:
|Hour of Rising.||Interval for Breakfast.||Time for setting to Work.||Interval for Dinner.||Time for leaving off Work||Interval for Supper.||Time for going to Bed.|
|25 March to 29 September||6 o’clock.||From ½ past 6 to 7.||7 o’clock.||From 12 to 1.||6 o’clock.||6 to 7.||8.|
|29 September to 25 March||7 o’clock.||From ½ past 7 to 8|
Half an hour after the workhouse bell was rung for rising, the Master or Matron performed a roll-call in each section of the workhouse. The bell also announced meal breaks during which the rules required that “silence, order and decorum shall be maintained” although from 1842 the word “silence” was dropped.
Communal prayers were read before breakfast and after supper every day and ‘Divine Service’ performed every Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day. These were also the days when no work, except the necessary household work and cooking, was performed by the inmates.
The use of the time between 7pm and 8pm was unspecified and was no doubt often used as an informal recreation period. From the 1860s, most workhouses received donations of books and magazines for the inmates’ use. Workhouses also started to host occasional talks and musical entertainments, often performed by visiting groups such the one illustrated below by the “Delaware Minstrels” (a group of local bank clerks) at the Bethnal Green workhouse in 1867.
As for the food, The diet fed to workhouse inmates was often laid down in great detail. For example, the rules for the parish workhouse of St John at Hackney in the 1750s stipulated a daily allowance of:
7 Ounces of Meat when dressed, without Bones, to every grown Person,
2 Ounces of Butter,
4 Ounces of Cheese,
1 Pound of Bread,
3 Pints of Beer
Weak or “small” beer was widely consumed by both adults and children, both for its flavour and also as an alternative to water whose quality could be very variable. Many workhouses made their own beer and had a brewhouse specifically for this purpose. More often than not, meals followed a weekly rota, with meat featuring on only a limited number of “meat days”. The weekly menu at Hertford in 1729 comprised:
|BREAKFAST||Women: One pint of tea, with bread and butter.Men, boys and girls: Bread and gruel (of flour and oatmeal) excepting some old men, who are allowed a pint of tea, with bread and butter.|
|DINNER||Monday: Pease soup, herbs, &c. with bread; men and women a pint of table-beer; boys about half a pint.Tuesday: Beef and mutton puddings, with vegetables; the beer, &c., same as Monday.Wednesday: Boiled beef and mutton (sometimes pork with it), hard puddings, bread, vegetables, &c.; beer same as before.Thursday: Mutton and beef-suet puddings; beer same as before.Friday: Beef and mutton puddings, with vegetables; beer same as before.Saturday: Irish stew-meat, potatoes, herbs, &c.; beer same as before.Sunday: Boiled beef and mutton (sometimes pork with it), hard puddings, bread; vegetables, &c.; beer same as before.|
|SUPPER||Women: One pint of tea, with bread and butter or cheese.Men and boys: Bread and butter or cheese; men, one pint of beer or tea each; boys, about half a pint.Girls and small children: Bread and butter; drink, milk and water|
Workhouse inmates, at least those who were capable, were given a variety of work to perform, much of which was involved in running the workhouse. The women mostly did domestic jobs such as cleaning, or helping in the kitchen or laundry. Some workhouses had workshops for sewing, spinning and weaving or other local trades. Others had their own vegetable gardens where the inmates worked to provide food for the workhouse. Stone-breaking was a task often given to male inmates. It was physically demanding, the amount performed could be readily measured, and the results could be sold for road-mending.
Stone-breaking was also a favourite task to be given to vagrants staying overnight in the workhouse tramp wards. From the 1880s, these often had special cells where the men were detained until they had broken the required weight of stone into pieces small enough to fall through a grid to the outside.
Bone-crushing, where old bones were pounded into dust for use as fertilizer, was a hard and particularly unpleasant task. Its use was banned after a scandal in 1845 when it was discovered that inmates of Andover workhouse had been so hungry that they had resorted to eating the rotting scraps of flesh and marrow on the old bones they were crushing.
By the end of the nineteenth century a few unions however, such as Holborn, were attempting to provide ‘useful’ work for their inmates such as shoemaking, tailoring, bricklaying, painting, or plumbing.
No work, except necessary household work and cooking, was performed by inmates on Sunday, Good Friday, and Christmas Day.
While residing in a workhouse, paupers were not allowed out without permission. Short-term absence could be granted for various reasons, such as a parent attending their child’s baptism, or to visit a sick or dying relative. Able-bodied inmates could also be allowed out to seek work. Although there was often little to physically prevent a pauper from walking out of the workhouse, to do so without permission would result in a charge of the theft of union property — his workhouse uniform. Any pauper could, however, on giving “reasonable notice” — typically three hours — discharge himself from the workhouse. His clothes would then be fetched from the store and more administrative paperwork would need to be completed. In the case of a man with a family, the whole family would have to leave if he left.
Despite the lengthy admission and discharge procedures, some paupers treated the workhouse as a free lodging, leaving and departing as the fancy took them. It was not unknown for a pauper to discharge himself in the morning and then return demanding re-admission the same evening, possibly the worse for wear from drink.
A building on Crane Street in Salisbury operated as the Salisbury parish workhouse from 1634, where William was an Inmate.
In 1770, the Salisbury parishes of St Edmund, St Martin and St Thomas were incorporated under a local Act of Parliament. The Incorporation had powers to set up a Board of Guardians for the administration of poor relief and other local matters, and to operate a workhouse which it continued to do at Crane Street.
The northern part of the building was originally a private house dating back to the 15th century.
Evidence remains of a privy in the west range which discharged into what is now the Cathedral Close ditch which ran like a moat around the west and south edges of the site until being filled in after the diversion of the River Avon.
A further range was added at the south in 1728 which housed the workhouse, workshop with dormitories above.
Because of its local Act status, Salisbury was exempt from most of the provisions of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. The Incorporation continued in operation until 1869 when it was dissolved along with a number of similar bodies including the thirteen remaining Gilbert Unions. The city’s parishes then joined the surrounding Alderbury Poor law Union.
If life wasn’t hard enough already for William and his family, on Wednesday, the 14th of February, 1866, at Winchester Street, Salisbury, Williams Father, John Williams, a whipmaker, draw his last breath and left the earthy plans of life.
John was 85 years old.
He died from, Infirmity of age.
Mary Badcock, of Winchester Street, Salisbury, was present and registered his death on Thursday, the 15th of February, 1866, in Salisbury.
Life really wasn’t playing fair at all, as on, Saturday, the 20th of October, 1866, the unthinkable happened when, William and Bertha son, Charles Williams, Charlotte Felthams, husband, was accidentally crushed between the buffers of two railways carriages, while working as a, Railway Porter.
He later died as a result on the accident, at Salisbury Infirmary, Fisherton Anger, Britford, Alderbury, Wiltshire, England.
Charles was only 24 years old.
The informant of his death was R.M.Wilson, the coroner for New Sarum.
An inquest was held on the 22nd October 1866.
The Salisbury and Winchester Journal Newspaper, publish the below article on the 27th October 1866.
The Fatal Accident on the Railway.—On Monday last an inquest was held at the Infirmary, before Mr. Wilson, coroner, on view of the body of young man named Charles Williams, who had been fatally injured at the South-Western goods station.
27 October 1866 – Salisbury and Winchester Journal
And the Dorset County Express and Agricultural Gazette printed the below article on the 30th October 1866
And The Sherborne Mercury printed,
Jumping forward to the year 1871, Queen Victoria was still on the throne, William Ewart Gladstone (Liberal) was Prime Minster.
A tramp named Henry Smith, was sent to prison for two weeks for begging in Laverstock, Wiltshire.
A pig was found in Salisbury.
A lady named Lucy Edan, a pauper from Downton was sent to Salisbury Workhouse but was found found dead on arrival.
A nine year old boy named, Charles Carpenter, was charged with stealing a mare, a cart, and a set of harness. It’s sounds like he had a jolly old time until he was court and had to face the magistrate.
And the census was taken on the eve of, Sunday, the 2nd of April, 1871.
It shows that, William Charles and his wife Bethia, were residing at, Mists Rooms, Salisbury, St Edmunds, Alderbury, Wiltshire, England.
William was working as a, Shoe Maker and Bethia as a, Shoe Binder.
(I can’t seem to find the census on Ancestry but found it on Find My Past.)
Their place of birth has been changed to, Wiltshire and Somerset. I wonder if they were hiding from someone.
Yet again, more death followed.
Williams Mum, Elizabeth Williams nee Snelgrove, a Wool Weaver, passed away on Thursday, the 5th of September, 1872, at Pennyfarthing Street, Salisbury, aged 87.
She died from, Old Age.
Mary Ann Stanley, was present and registered her death on, Thursday, the 5th of September, 1872, in Alderbury.
Sadly more death followed.
On Tuesday, the 27th of November, 1877, at Milford Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, Williams, love, Bethia Williams nee Chalke, died at the age of 68.
Bethia, died from Natural decay Debility.
Their Daughter, Sarah Day nee Williams, of, Fisherton House, Salisbury, was present and registered her mothers death on, Wednesday, the 28th of November 1877, in Salisbury.
I wonder, if William was with her, when she passed on to better things. I sincerely hope he was at her bed side, their hands locked together in Eternal Love. Their eyes and souls connected as she draw her last earthly breath. That William was the last face she saw.
Over the next 4 years, life hadn’t improved for poor, William Charles, as the 1881 census shows he is residing at, Alderbury Union Workhouse, Britford, Milford, Alderbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, on Sunday, the 3rd of April, 1881, as a Pauper.
His occupation at the time of the census, was a, shoemaker.
Their are 6 other Williams, also residing at the Workhouse, Charles, Ellen, Angus, George, Charles and Alfred Williams. It’s uncertain at present if they are related.
The staff working at the time of the census were.
|William Robert WICKES||M||38||M||Officer||Head Of Institution Master||Richmond, Surrey|
|Emma WICKES||M||35||F||Wife Of Master||Wife Of Above Matron||Nuthurst, Sussex|
|Elizabeth MURTON||U||32||F||School Mistress||School Mistress||Kenninghall, Norfolk|
|Maria DAVIES||U||31||F||School Mistress||Assistant School Mistress||Llanvichangel Crucorney, Monmouth|
|Frederick HILLIER||M||44||M||Porter (Head)||Porter||Lavershock, Wiltshire|
|Elizabeth HILLIER||M||40||F||Portress (Wife)||Portress||Nunton, Wiltshire|
|Percy HILLIER||M||1||M||Son Of Porter Portress||Alderbury Union Workhouse Salisbury, Wiltshire|
|Charlotte EDWORTHY||W||48||F||Nurse||Nurse||Chawleigh, Devon|
|Frederick TALBOT||U||46||M||Other||Industrial Trainer|
Alderbury Poor Law Union officially came into existence on 12th October 1835. Its operation was overseen by an elected Board of Guardians, 27 in number, representing its 22 constituent parishes as listed below (figures in brackets indicate numbers of Guardians if more than one):
County of Wiltshire: Alderbury, Britford, Clarendon Park, Coombe Bissett, Downton (4), Fisherton Anger (2), East Grimstead, West Grimstead, West Harnham, Homington, Landford, Laverstoke [Laverstock] and Ford, Milford, Nunton and Bodenham, Odstock, Pitton and Farley, Salisbury, Standlinch [Standlynch], Startford-under-the-Castle, Toney Stratford [Stratford Toney], White Parish [Whiteparish] (2), Winterslow.
Later Additions: West Dean (from 1883), Earldoms (from 1836), East Harnham (from 1896), Langley Wood (from 1836), Morgan’s Vale and Woodfalls (from 1923), Redlynch (from 1896), New Sarum (from 1905), Old Sarum (from 1836). The former Salisbury Incorporation parishes of St Edmund, St Martin and St Thomas were also added in 1869.
The population falling within the Union at the 1831 census had been 13,227 with parishes ranging in size from Standlinch (population 31) to Downton (3,652). The average annual poor-rate expenditure for the period 1833-5 had been £10,672 or 16s.2d. per head of the population.
Alderbury Poor Law Union erected a workhouse on Coombe Road at Harnham to the south of Salisbury in 1836-7. It was designed by Edward Hunt who was also the architect of the Wilton Union workhouse. In 1836, the Poor Law Commissioners authorised an expenditure of £4,975 on the construction of the building which was to accommodate 280 inmates.
In 1866, the workhouse was visited by Poor Law Inspector Mr. W.H.T. Hawley. His report noted that:
Building.— The site is high, dry, and salubrious, and the accommodation is sufficient for the purposes of the union. There are two rooms which have lately been built for infectious wards, one for males, the other for females; they are at the back of the workhouse, and are communicated with by entrance from the garden. As very few infectious cases are admitted into the work-house, they have hitherto been found sufficient for the purpose. No infectious case is admitted into the body of the house. There are no separate sick wards for the male children, but there is one for the females. The ventilation and drainage are good, as is also the sanitary state of the house, and there is a sufficient supply of water.
Furniture.— Mattresses made of cocoa-nut fibre, and beds stuffed with chaff, are supplied to all the inmates. There is a washing trough in every ward.
Inmates.— The paupers are classified according to the order, and are divided into nine classes. The men wear coats, trousers, and waistcoats, of army cloth or fustian; the women, chambray and print cotton gowns, and all have the proper under clothing, stockings, &c. The men work at the pump, the will, gypsum pounding, and garden work. The women do the usual household work, and wash, and sew. The girls in the school are employed in needlework. The recreation for the boys is gymnastics, for the girls skipping ropes; and both schools walk out twice a Week, attended by the teacher.
Medical Attendance.— All medicines, except cod-liver oil and quinine, are supplied by the medical officer.
Nursing.— There is no paid nurse. The nursing is performed by the inmates, and I have heard no complaint of its insufficiency.
Chaplain.— There is a chaplain, who gives the services prescribed by the order. The inmates, who are not members of the Established Church, attend the workhouse chapel by their own wish, and ministers of their own persuasions visit them when they desire it. School.— The children are entirely separated from the other inmates. Both schools are under the charge of a schoolmistress.
Generally.— The only deficiency in this workhouse is a separate sick ward for boys; and a paid nurse ought to be appointed.
The union expanded in 1869 when it absorbed the parishes that had previously formed part of the Salisbury Incorporation.
The Alderbury Union workhouse was rebuilt in 1877-9 to a design by GB Nicholls. It had single-storey entrance blocks at the roadside to the north which would have contained the porter’s lodge, receiving wards and casual wards. The two-storey T-shaped main block behind had administrative offices at the centre, with separate male and female accommodation at each side, and kitchen ad dining-hall to the rear. An infirmary was erected to the west of the workhouse, and a further complex at the north-east which may have housed children. The site layout and location are shown on the 1881 map below:
Although called Alderbury Union Workhouse, it was actually in, East Harnham, on the Coombe Road. It was designed by Edward Hunt and built in 1836-1837 at a cost of £4,975.
It could accommodate up to 280 inmates at a time. Children were separated from the adults. There was no nurse to look after the sick; inmates were used for this task.
In the mid 1970’s it was demolished.
The only part that remains standing is the much altered workhouse chapel. This is now in full use by Harnham Free Church.
A housing estate called Ridings Mead now covers this area and further up into what were the grounds of the Common Cold Cure Unit.
Williams, life sadly came to an end, on Thursday, the 15th of December, 1881, at the Union Workhouse, Britford, Alderbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
William died from, Carcinoma the stomach. (Stomach cancer.)
W.R. Wicks, master of the, Britford, Union Worhouse, registered his death on the 17th December 1881.
At the time of Williams death, he was a 74 year old, shoemaker.
William was laid to rest, on Tuesday, the 20th of December, 1881, at St Edmonds, Sarum, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.
I’m not sure if he would have been buried in the church grounds, or in a cemetery nearby.
I can’t help but feel a little relieved, that Williams hard life is no longer putting him through the ringer.
Life can be very cruel and the only way peace can ever be possible, is to leave your body and let your soul be free.
Although death is one of the cruelest, for the family members left behind, death can also be a blessing.
My heart tells me, that William wouldn’t have been sad, that his life was ending, it would have been a blessing I’m sure, as his soul would be reunited with all those he had lost throughout his life. His soul would be reunited with his love, and he would be blessed to have his lost sons by his side once more.
I soulfully hope he finally from peace and that his soul now lights up our night skies, lighting the way for all his descendants and their families.
May he rest in peace.
William Charles Williams
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