Day, Mr Time Of

Sometimes, you’ll come across a name that’s a straight up pun, and the only mystery is what possessed Mr and Mrs Day to progress from “Hey we could call him Time of Day – ha!” To actually baptising and officially registering the name…

‘Time Of’ was born in 1833 in Hoo, Kent. Once again he is the only child in the family with an unusual name, his siblings being David, Henry, Caroline, Sarah, Maria, Charles, Harriet and Thomas.

In the 1841 census, the enumerator has decided to give him the more sensible(ish) name of ‘Thyme’, and he is 9 years old, living with his parents George, a Shepherd and Mary, along with his 6 siblings on Cockham Farm (You may need to choose background map OS 1900’s on the drop down menu top left of the map). His poor Mum is only 30, with 7 children all just 2 years apart!

By 1851 his father is a Bailiff, and Time Of is now the Shepherd. At this time Hoo is a relatively sparsely populated area, and the Day family seem to be quite prolific! His father George is not the only person acting as a Bailiff at this time, although Farm Bailiffs were more about running the farms and estates rather than evicting people and arresting them, although depending on the availability of local law enforcement and their standing in the local community it wouldn’t be unheard of.

I haven’t been able to find him in the 1861 census, I had a look through all the records for the area but he seems to have temporarily moved somewhere else. However his future wife, Martha Blackman, is living with her parents and 7 siblings in the “The Five Bells” public house.

He marries Martha in 1866, the marriage is registered in North Aylsebury, and in 1881 Time Of is now the licensed victualler of “The Bell Inn“, which it’s current website states (it’s now named the Fenn Bell Inn) was probably named for the bells that were used to guide people across the marshes in poor weather, ringing to enable travellers to find a safe way across without getting stuck in the mud. Martha’s Father’s pub was probably named for the same reasons.

The 1881 census shows them with no less than 15 lodgers, and Time Of’s nephew Thomas. Martha and Time Of never do have any children, and on the 7th December 1890 he dies at the Inn, leaving Martha around £60,000. It gets a little difficult to trace her after this, but I’m almost 100% certain she moves over the river to Balmoral Rd, in Gillingham, and in 1911 she has a companion in the way of her sister Ellen’s niece, Blanche Spree.

However, whilst looking on the Free BMD Index for Time Of’s death I was made aware of two other Time Of Days, one before and one after the one I have just written about.
The earlier Time Of was a Journeying Blacksmith also from Hoo (you can actually see their ‘Smithy’ on the link above for the Bell Inn, a little down Fen Street) so we can actually probably pass the blame for the original people to name their child after this partial idiom to his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth. Our Time Of was no doubt a relative named for this one.

The Later Time Of Day is born in 1899, he is born to Alice and Thomas Day, I believe the nephew who grows up with Time Of and Martha at the Inn, as the birth date matches and this Thomas is Inn Keeper of The Privateer, which was to close 3 years later in 1914.
The younger Time Of marries Jennie Barker in 1924, and they have two daughters.
It seems no one else decided to carry on this name – but of course, there’s still time…


The Old England Goodsons.

Was there ever a more patriotic, stalwart, dependable sounding name as this?
The first Old England I found was born in 1875 in Aston Clinton, a village sited at the crossing of two Roman roads, Akeman Street and Icknield Way, between Tring and Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire.

His parents were John and Mary, and when Old England was born John was working as a Straw dealer. Straw was actually a large part of the local economy in Aston Clinton, so much so that even the Postmaster was a Straw dealer on the side!

By the age of 15, Old is in St Bride’s in London, working as a Grocer’s assistant to Thomas Crook, who was from a village only a mile or two from his – presumably Old’s family knew Thomas before his move to London and Old decided he wanted to try living in the big city – however 10 years later we find him back living with his parents, his father now a Duck Breeder (presumably the famous Aylesbury Ducks) but himself still working as a Grocer, only this time on his own account.

1911 finds him with his widowed Father and a wife, Eliza Matilda (Stevens), they’ve been married 6 years but have no children.

1905 Married At the Church of Holy Cross, Hankerton, on the 30th ult. by the Vicar. Old England,
only son of Mr John Goodson, of Aston Clinton, to Eliza Matilda, daughter of Mr G
Stevens, of Hankerton.
Bucks Herald Saturday 4 February 1905

The are living in Green End Street, between Gingers Farm (The farmhouse still exists, but the Farm now seems to be Ginger’s Close) and The Partridge, which means it could well be this house, now known as Dormer Cottage. Old E. is now a Duck breeder and dealer. Sadly however Old E. dies later that year, in early September, leaving his wife around £24,000 in today’s money, aged just 36.

So, why ‘Old England’? Well his Grandfather was called England Goodson, and his Father and Grandfather before him were Old England as well, so although it seems the Old was temporarily dropped it is, by the time we come to this Old England, a family name. The original, presuming there are none before and it’s not just that the records no longer exist, is born in 1703 (the same year the Mount Gay distillery was founded, irrelevant but sort of interesting!) to Thomas and Mary Goodson, living in Halton, just a few miles from Aston Clinton.

One possibility of the origin is that on the 7th February 1703 (Old England is baptised on the 21st, and children were usually baptised within 3 weeks of birth at this time) the original negotiations for the Union of Scotland and England were temporarily thrown out, thus preserving the cultural ideology of Merry ‘Old England’. It might seem a little tenuous, but it was a subject many people felt strongly about (and still do!), and as the other children have relatively normal names (aside from the excellently named Aquilla) we can assume that this reason could be a strong contender.

Incidentally it was Aquilla’s son Francis who was the only other person to revive the name with his son, born circa. 1821. In 1841 Francis was a court Door and Office keeper for the courts, and Old England no. 2 is a police constable living  on Bow street (The Bow street runners come to mind). I came across an article of a constable Goodson breaking up a fight in a train station, however the first name was not given.

the black lion
The Black Lion c. 1820

Old England no.2 does not stay in this job however, he becomes the landlord/licensed victualler first of The White Horse in Covent Garden and then of the Black Lion on Church Street in the Chelsea borough. 

However he too dies young, just a year after moving to the Black Lion in 1858.

So now, we must say Adieu to Old England, Adieu! (sorry).

Africa Bastard b.1829

Africa Bastard is one of those names that certainly raises an eyebrow when you first come across it!

However the first thing to remember is that the surname would not once have had the exact same connotations it does now (although I rather like the idea that someone just kind of went “I’m illegitimate, so what?” and rolled with it, but alas not).

However it has rather more respectable origins; a surname that dates back to the Norman invasion, indeed William the conqueror was of course also known as William the Bastard, and recorded in the Domesday book is one ‘Robert Bastard of Devon’, not to mention the very respectable Bastard family who resided at Kitley, in Devon, for many centuries.

Next came the suppositions about his first name, perhaps he was in fact of African descent, or perhaps he’d been born overseas (I have come across a child named Ocean, the langitude and longitude co-ordinates of the ship at the time she was born was given as a birth place!) yet our Africa was born in Whitwell, a small hamlet just outside of Reepham, in Norfolk.

As is typical, Africa’s siblings all have very regular names, Samuel, James and William. It is perhaps a little strange that on the online baptism record only his Mother Margaret is mentioned, where his 3 siblings have their Father, James, on it as well. This could be a transcription error or just a different vicar’s way of doing things, and although there are 5 years between Africa and his next oldest sibling (2 years between the other 3), James snr is around until 1836, and Africa names him as his Father on his marriage certificates.

Aside from this, I am, for the first time, truly stumped. I have no idea what could have prompted them to name him Africa, the family seemingly had no connection, and Africa as a country had not been in the news much at the time. I can only come up with ideas of personal acquaintance, or fanciful romantic notions of far away lands!

Africa moves to London and first marries Sarah Ann Mercer in 1851. She dies a year later (most probably in childbirth) and he then marries a Louisa Griffin b.1830 in 1853. Such quick marriages were not uncommon especially when there’s a baby to look after!
Africa and Louisa also have a son in 1870 who is named for his father, and both of them are Tanners.

After the 1881 census when his wife Louisa is away visiting friends it gets a little difficult to track Africa snr (not least becasue the surname is transcribed as everything from Bostard to Bustano!). In 1891 he is boarding as a Tanner’s Labourer in East Peckham, many miles away from his wife residing in the Walsall, Staffordshire with their daughter Louisa, and her illegitimate child George Edward. By 1901 Louisa, George Edward and new child Arnold have the surname Williams, although I can’t find a marriage for Louisa and there’s no sign of the father on the census. Louisa Snr. is now calling herself a widow, although Africa does not actually die until 1902.

It seems there was a split around 1881-1891 and they did not reconcile, although in 1901 Louisa and her daughter and grandchildren are back in Norwood, Surrey, where as Africa dies in Walsall, so perhaps he did go to find them.

Africa junior also moves to Walsall, and as he is a Tanner, and Walsall’s primary trade was leather (in fact there is even a Leather museum there!)  this does make sense. He lived until the ripe old age of 91! However he did not continue the naming pattern and these two seem to be the only two Africa Bastards that have ever been, and, let’s face it, probably ever will be!


Swann Whiffin b. 5 July 1822

Swann Whiffin Daguerreotype

This photo of a very pensive looking Mr Swann Whiffin is currently part of the National Trust’s Fox Talbot Museum’s collection (previously mis-labelled as ‘Sroam Whiffin’).

However this Daguerreotype was originally kept by Susan Elizabeth Mallet in a specially made cloth bag. The couple had been engaged, then unengaged (disengaged?), then engaged again 10 years later, then, finally, they married in 1873, the year after Susan’s father died, when he was 50 and she 40! So it seems it was her father who opposed the ‘match’, such a shame that they had to wait so long, when it was to be so short lived.
It seems strange that he would be so opposed to a man in the same trade as himself on pecuniary grounds, as both Swann and John Mallett were Chronometer makers. I can only assume something happened to make her father oppose the marriage or that Susie’s father was particularly tyrannical when it came to marriage, as her only sister also remained unmarried. As their mother died when they were quite young; by 1841 Susan is away at school and her sister Henrietta is at home with their widowed father.  What makes it even stranger, however, is that Susan’s brother John marries Swann’s sister Margaret, albeit away from home in Kent where the Whiffin’s live. Perhaps it was this initial marriage that he was really against and Swann got tarred with his sister’s brush, so to speak!
There are no baptism records for the two girls online and as John is not an uncommon name I can’t be sure of their mother’s name and exact death date, but regardless his opposition to marriage could have been related to not wanting to lose either the surviving feminine part of his wife or the help around the house!

The explanation for Swann’s unusual first name is as follows –  Swann’s mother was Mary Ripsher born in Cambridge – her father was Swan Ripsher, and his mother was Sarah Swan. In the records for them only one ‘n’ is used, but he always used 2, and the transcriptions of the earlier records could be wrong as I haven’t seen the originals!

Poor Swann dies within a year of finally marrying Susan, and I was saddened to see he ended his days in Bethlem (Bedlam) hospital, dying almost a month to the day after his admission.
It states that he had been pledging money and dowries to relatives and friends, convinced he’d found the ‘four leafed clover’ (perhaps the reason Susan’s father had given WAS money) and was anxious and unhappy.
When reading through the records and the post mortem I noticed 2 things; this was his first ‘attack’, and the doctor had written his brain was ‘pale and bloodless’ in the autopsy. Now, at first that sounds like a bit of quack doctoring, but essentially he’d actually died of a heart attack, his arteries were clogged up, and there was a large amount of liquid in the chest, so to note this stood out.

So I investigated heart attacks and delusion, and up came interesting results. People on forums across the interwebs had been experiencing this with their own relatives  and were pointed towards a particular cause: an Anoxic Brain injury – where oxygen levels in the brain become so low brain damage occurs that can cause delusional and irrational behaviour, as well as depression and anxiety. It is not always permanent, but in this case, it seems Swann was too ill to have time to recover.
Although of course this is by no means certain, it seems a good bet to me, and is probably not something widely known at the time, or that poor Susan could have comforted herself with.

Something that was quite sweet that I came across during my research – was in 1861 he has a servant called Theresa Huxtable, and in 1871 she has one called Salome Huxtable – I haven’t looked into it but I like to think they kept in touch via related house servants, hehe! Although with married siblings they must have had other ways to communicate, you would hope!I hope to be able to see the photograph of Susan one day, I have a picture of her in my head, and would love to know if it matches the truth.

Another sad story perhaps, but in a way a beautiful tale of real, enduring love. Star crossed lovers who stayed true to each other their entire lives. and that doesn’t seem depressing at all! 🙂


Update 30/07/14
So, I have a photo of Susan! Here she is, looking typically stern here in a Victorian Photo kind of way, but they certainly would have made a handsome couple! And she looks like she would have had a mischievous smile… 🙂

Pleasure Butler (née Coales)

Firstly – stop thinking that! And don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean! (Although I’m sure we could all imagine the convenience of having one).

Anyways, Pleasure Butler was born Pleasure Coales in 1834, to Daniel and Jane. I think her name actually came, literally, from her parents pleasure at her arrival, as she came some 14 years after her next oldest sibling! Although some may see that more as a cause for Displeasure.

Pleasure marries one Thomas Butler on St Valentine’s day 1857, yet unfortunately, by 1861 she has already filed for a divorce. She cites cruelty – as she had 3 children in those 4 years (only one survives) and gives several dates, we can assume some of that violence happened whilst she was pregnant (this was later verified by her account in the newspaper). Adultery is also given as a reason, she names some 6 women, 2 of whom appear to be sisters(!).

Thomas replies to say he didn’t do any of it, and if he did she condoned it anyway…

Pleasure replies to say he she condoned his cruelty, that was revoked when he committed adultery, and if she condoned the adultery, that was revoked when he committed the acts of cruelty…

Thomas responds to merely say he takes issue with those statements.

This petition is then recommend to go to court, and is detailed in the Morning Standard in November 1861. You can look more closely by clicking on the image, but I haven’t put in the whole article. Essentially, a lot of Pleasure’s claims are refuted, but mostly by her husband’s sister, and a male doctor. However the relationship does seem a volatile one, the servants speak for her, and a woman named Hannah Davis alias Simmons DOES admit to having had sex with Thomas for money.

Pleasure Butler The Morning Post (London, England), Monday, November 18, 1861

This petition is not successful, I’ve found that often ‘messy’ ones like this are not – and it is not until another petition for divorce on the part of Pleasure in1878 that they finally separate. This time, on top of the previous claims of cruelty, It is claimed he wilfully gives her venereal disease in 1870, and during the years 1872 – 1877 (the years leading up to the second petition) he has co-habited with another woman, a previous servant named Anne Sanderson. This is verified by the 1881 census, when he is still living with her, and still calling her a ‘servant’ (and himself a widow!).

This time Thomas is ordered to pay all of Pleasure’s solicitors costs, alimony and for the youngest child to stay with her, the others being old enough to make up their own minds. (By this time she has sadly lost 6 children, one as stated in the article through suffocation in bed,  it’s not clear whether the violence within their marriage contributed to any of the children’s deaths, although this is alluded to in the divorce proceedings – I very much hope not).

I could not find Pleasure  in the 1861 census (oh the limitless puns) and the entire family is missing in 1871. Perhaps she deliberately did not fill it in, perhaps she was hiding from Thomas, perhaps she gave a different name, or perhaps it’s just one of the sets of records that have disappeared or been damaged over the years (like the 1851 Ousden one that means I’ll never know who my Gx2 Grandfather’s parents were grumble grumble). In 1891 all 3 daughters are living with Pleasure, but her son William is still missing.

Pleasure dies on March 1st 1911, leaving £21 19s 6d (Around £1.198, almost exactly what I would leave if I were to die now!)

I searched for her children in 1911 census and what I found actually made me ‘aaahh’ out loud. All 4 children (now aged 41 – 52) are living together in the house  their Mother lived in, (Lion House, lower square Isleworth, which seems to either no longer exist or it has been renamed) indicating the all lived together or William came to ‘look after’ the women once their mother died.

William is an Engineer, Alice is a Musician, Catherine and Alexandra Artists.

We don’t know whether or not they all remained unmarried so long through choice, perhaps Pleasure talked them out of marriage after her experiences, or perhaps they’d made their own minds up from what they’d witnessed growing up; but it’s nice to think that they all lived happily (I presume) together, doing nice relaxing things like painting and playing music. 🙂

However there is a marriage, quite a way away in Grimsby, for Alexandra and a man named Robert Pangbourn (unusual surname!) quite some time later in 1923. There may be a child another 11 years later, when Alexandra is in her mid-50’s, but without buying the birth certificate (Or finding Robert K. who could actually still be living!) I can’t be sure.

So at least we can hope one of her daughters found marital bliss! 🙂

Repentance Butter and Cross Crozier

Repentance Butter sounds like some sort of terrible spread you’re supposed to put on your Ryvita after indulging too much after Christmas, but is in fact the name of a young lady who started out life as Repentance Jackson Parker in 1887, born to James Parker and Mary Ann Crozier.

This may be cheating, as I usually use names that were given at birth, but there was another Repentance Butter before her, who, in 1757, buried an illegitimate (or baseborn as it says on the record) child named John. Showing that daughters will not always live up to the names given to them by their parents. (That may be a bit unfair, as she was called Repentance not Chastity! Actually Chastity was rarely used by the Puritans.) There are more ‘Repentances’ than you might think throughout the 19th Century, all women, of course *tuts*, although I s’pose it is one of the more feminine so-called Puritan names.

Repentance Parker’s siblings were called John, Mary, Thomas and Eliza, and without going into wild speculation at the possibility of her name reflecting a brief indiscretion on her Mother’s part, the only other connections I could find in the year of her birth is to – Repentance a short story by Russian author Leo Tolstoy first published in 1886. Even if her parents could not read or afford to but reading material (as a Blacksmith it would not have been necessary for her father to read) they still may have heard the word bandied about a bit more at the time. I also found it a tad unusual that ‘Jackson’ – Mary Ann’s mother’s surname, was used for one of the girls rather than the boys, as it’s reasonably masculine as names go.

Repentance dies in 1950, aged 63. As yet I can’t find any children for her and her husband.

I decided to go back a bit just in case she was named for an ancestor in the extended family, and came across her half brother, ‘Cross.’.

Cross is the illegitimate son of Mary Ann and on his marriage certificate of 1904 he doesn’t know his father’s name or profession. I had thought maybe the man’s surname had been Cross but it seems like something he would have known had that been the case, it also seemed strange that if he was the son of James Parker, who Mary Ann marries, he would have stated this also. I suppose really the most obvious reasoning behind his name is that Crosiers are carried by high ranking Catholics, such as Bishops, and are often decorated with the cross. Whether Mary Ann was herself a Catholic isn’t possible to determine!

He is listed in the paper as getting a ‘First’ in the junior section of the “Pupil Teacher’s English Literature class in 1890 – graduating with a second class degree (or whatever they would have called it?) a year later. In 1911 he is listed as a an Elementary school teacher, and has one child with his wife Maude Ada. Cross was born a few years after the 1870 Elementary education act, and so would have had access to what was probably at the time a relatively simple education. Well into the 1890’s, however, there was opposition against educating ‘lower classes’ for fear they would get above themselves and revolt, so for Cross to go from being the illegitimate son of a Blacksmith’s wife to School master is no small achievement, in my opinion!

Here he is:

cross crozier


He ends up leaving a very respectable sum when he dies in 1955 (£40,000 in today’s money), his wife outliving him by 15 years.


Photo Gilbert Scales

I will give you one guess as to what the occupation of Photo’s father was… (Clue; he was a photographer!)

Photo’s Parents (Augustus Edwin Scales and Sarah Georgina Welborn) Eloped to Gretna Green in 1854 when they were around 18 and 20 respectively, this is the first marriage I have ever just come across that was at Gretna – so very exciting! 🙂

In 1841 Augustus was in Surrey, in 1851 he was an Inn Keeper’s servant in Grantham, 90 miles from where Sarah was a House servant in Great Driffield, Yorkshire. It is only speculation as to how they met, but Sarah Welborn was rather ironically the illegitimate child of Elizabeth Welborn, who has died by 1841, when Sarah is living with a Marmaduke Smith who is a Shepherd. There is a Jan 1841 death for an Elizabeth Welborn in Grantham , if this is her perhaps they had family here, and they met when she was visiting, or if Augustus continued his move up through the country he could have met her in Yorkshire – I suppose we’ll never know (unless I spend hours more researching, but I don’ have the time at the moment :p).

As most households at this time would not have wanted a married female servant, this is the likely reason they decided to elope, or before they could be persuaded apart/separated. Perhaps the whole courtship had been conducted in secret, or perhaps it was just a couple of weeks of whirlwind passion..!

Augustus became a photographer at a time that would have been the ‘dawn’ of commercial photography, and obviously he was enamoured enough with his profession and the success he achieved to name his 7th child and 4th son ‘Photo’.

Sadly Sarah died in Dec 1867, aged just 31, and as a couple who had loved each other so much they eloped, and had a child a year for 3 years at one point, this must have been devastating for Augustus. The pregnancies may also have been the cause, as it seems she died in childbirth with their last child Herbert Roxby (who dies aged just 5), and being continuously pregnant for 3 years before hand would have put great stress on Sarah’s body, giving her no real time to recover after each birth.

By 1881, Photo is still living with his father, along with his brother Major, and by in 1891, Augustus is living with his daughter Rosalind,  and Photo is no where to be seen. However we find him again in 1901 calling himself by his middle name Gilbert, living with his wife and 4 children, Augustus, Sarah, and twins Ernest and Rosa.

If I was just going by census records this would all make perfect sense, the children get married, the father, who never remarried, goes to live with a daughter, (perhaps his favourite or perhaps the one who drew the short straw) and Photo is an unusual name and likely has just been mis-transcribed and will pop up as ‘Phil’ somewhere later. But then I came across this newspaper report From the York Herald December 1884: Photo Scales The York Herald Saturday, December 06, 1884

Somewhere between living with his father in 1881, and being married to his wife Edith in 1894, Photo was most probably living on the streets.

He pops up in the newspapers again as a witness to an assault in 1896. It doesn’t mention his wife here but as they are married we could assume they are living together in the lodging house prior to their move to Norfolk. He is here as Gilbert Scales, but as he went as Gilbert after his marriage, and no other Gilbert scales are born before 1900, we can safely say it’s him!

Photo Gilbert Scales

Photo dies quite soon after this  in 1904, then his family all emigrate to America, but not together, and although they head upstate once reaching New York, they don’t end up in the same places!

Augustus Edwin is first to go, in Oct 1911 from Liverpool to New York on the ship Celtic Celtic 1901                                        In 1920 he is shown as living with his cousin (from his mother’s side) Mary Wilkins in Hopewell, Ontario, New York. By 1930 he’s married to a lady named Frances in Detroit (Districts 0001-0250), Wayne, Michigan, with some sprogs to boot. He dies in Michingan in 1986 – at the very ripe old age of 96!

Sarah follows in March 1913.  The ship she was on, the Majestic, had been retired from White Star’s New York service and designated as a reserve ship because of the Titantic.                                                                                                                                                                                     When the Titanic met her fate in April, 1912, Majestic was pressed back into service, filling the hole in the transatlantic schedule. So to say Sarah may have been nervous about the journey would probably be an understatement! 1920 finds her as a servant to Philip and Margaretta Wickser in Buffalo Ward 25, Erie, New York. In 1933 she is married to Edwin J Hamister, and the 1940 census finds her not very far away in Buffalo Ward 24, her husband has been unemployed for 20 weeks but previously worked at the Customs bureau. She lives to be 82.

Earnest William Scales goes next – aged 15 on the Olympic (by all means the best way to travel across the Atlantic at the time, as it was a sister ship to the Titanic arriving in New York from Southampton on 06 May 1914.             By the 1920 census he’s living with the Brown family, occupation ‘hired man’ in Albion, Orleans. In 1930 he’s still lodging, unmarried, with Edith Chapman.

Photo’s wife, or widow, Edith does not emigrate until 1920, with her youngest son, Herbert and daughter Rose, now 17 and 20. They leave on the Cedric, a White Star Line ship, on 18 Feb 1920.                                                                                                                                                             On the 1930 census, Rose is listed as a servant to the Devine family, in Brighton, Monroe, NY. 1940 and she’s still unmarried, a lodger in Ward 12, Rochester, Monroe, listed as an unemployed Child Nurse for private families. However it shows she worked every week in the previous year and has only been unemployed for 6 weeks,

So there we are. Photo did not follow his father’s footsteps, and there seems to be a breakdown in the family at some point, but one silver lining is that his family managed to make it to the USA without travelling aboard the Titanic, and mostly lived to a good age 🙂