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Thursday, 3 June 2010

Richard Hamlyn Gidley of New Zealand

The death of Richard Hamlyn Gidley was reported as follows in the Ashburton [NZ] Guardian, 22 July 1913:
"Palmerston North July 21
Richard Howlin [sic] Gidley, 40 years of age from Devon, committed suicide at Pamerston North in a family hotel by shooting himself in the mouth with a revolver. Papers on the deceased indicated that he had recently arrived from Home. He had realised on some property there, but no money was found on the body. He had a wife and 2 children in England. No cause is assigned for the deed. Today at the inquest a verdict of "Suicide" was returned."
Richard Hamlyn Gidley was the eighth and last child of George Wills Gidley and Elizabeth Hamlyn. George was born in Chagford, but became a reasonably prosperous farmer in Whitchurch, Tavistock and Lamerton, Devon. He died in 1912, the previous year. Doubtless this was the meaning of the phrase "realised on some property there", as George's estate was valued at over £575. Richard had married in 1902 Alice Ann Hodge, a widow, who in 1901 was an innkeeper at the Cattle Market Inn in Tavistock. They had two daughters. In 1911 the family was living at Trebarwith, Glanville Road, Tavistock, where Richard, who had previously worked on his father's farm, was a farm bailiff.
Richard's will was proved in Palmerston North in September 1913. He was described as a labourer.
Alice Ann Gidley remained in Devon with her two daughters. She died in 1927 in the Exeter area, where her older daughter Kathleen also married. The younger daughter, Vera, I have not been able to trace after 1911.

Friday, 16 April 2010

The family of William and Ruth Gidley of Marylebone

Whether William Gidley who married Ruth Ames was the foundling child or not (see previous posting), his death in 1842 left the family destitute, as papers in the London Metropolitan Archives show.
I have found five children of the marriage, although the only boy, George, the oldest, who was baptised in St John's, Lambeth, died 17 months later when the family had moved to Marylebone. The four girls, Mary Ann, Grace, Emma and Susannah, followed in quick succession, and were all baptised together on 13 June 1841 in Christ Church, Marylebone. Their mother Ruth described herself in 1841 as being a British subject born in Spain, but in 1851 her birthplace had changed to "North Walson, Norfolk". In 1841 William was a servant, living in Little Carlisle Street, Marylebone. When their daughter Emma married in 1862 she gave her father's occupation as "stockbroker's apprentice". Disaster struck on 18th July 1845 when William died of dropsy in the Middlesex Hospital, and only a month later Ruth Gidley found herself undergoing a settlement examination at the Police Court in Marylebone, on August 20th 1842. She had obviously approached the parish of St Marylebone for parish relief, and the Board of Guardians were keen to offload the family to another parish.
The examination ran as follows: "Ruth Gidley of Little Carlisle Street, aged 37 years, her daughters Mary Ann Gidley aged 5 years, Grace Gidley aged 4 years, Emma Gidley aged 3 years, and Susannah Gidley aged 2 years. That she married William Gidley in St Martin in the Fields 8 September 1833, and that he died on 18th July last. That in 1832, then a single man, he hired himself as a yearly servant to Mr Carrick of Southgate, Edmonton at yearly wages of £30, that he served one whole year, and boarded and slept in the house of the said master, and did no act since to acquire a subsequent settlement."
The judgement was that "Ruth Gidley and her four lawful children had intruded and have lately become chargeable to St Marylebone and that they should therefore be removed to Edmonton as their last legal settlement".
The parish of Edmonton felt themselves aggrieved about this offloading of responsibility, and it seems odd to us nowadays that the fate of a whole family should hang on the basis of one year's work by a dead person, which took place ten years previously, before his children were born, and even before his marriage. Presumably none of the surviving family had even been to Edmonton, where it was proposed to dump them. The parish of Edmonton gave notice of appeal and requested a hearing at the next Quarter Sessions in January, but failed to provide any evidence and made no enquiries. The clerk to the Board of Guardians of St Marylebone requested information from Edmonton by return of post, but that is where the file at the London Metropolitan Archives ends. Presumably the family was taken to Edmonton, where there would be no support network awaiting them.
By 1848 Ruth Gidley had returned to London where she married Robert Derrick Smith, a gas labourer. There the whole family was found in 1851, and her second husband had taken on the family. The three younger girls were still at school, and Mary Ann was a dressmaker. By 1861 Ruth was a monthly nurse, away from home about her duties; in 1871 she was now widowed for the second time. Of the girls, Mary Ann married in 1884 at the age of about 48, Grace in 1861 (after which she vanishes), and Emma in 1862 to the presumed father of her illegitimate child aged 2. The fate of Susanna (or Susan) is not known. I can find no reference to her after 1871, when she was a needlewoman, living with her mother in St Pancras. The oldest, Mary Ann, was in the St George's Hanover Square Workhouse in Mayfair by 1891, already widowed, and in 1901 was living in St Pancras, "kept by friends". She probably died in St Pancras in 1908.

William Gidley christened 1794 in the Foundling Hospital

William Gidley appears in the IGI, christened in the Foundling Hospital Church, St Pancras on February 18th 1794. I've just spent a morning in the London Metropolitan Archives investigating him. It was an interesting search, although not strictly necessary to the One Name Study in the end, as what I didn't know was that all the foundlings' names were changed on baptism. William wasn't, strictly speaking, a Gidley at all.
From the Petitions Books for the relevant year, I discovered that the petitioner was his mother, Martha Hillyard. By the time he was admitted in February 1794, as child number 18168, he was 14 weeks old, and was immediately "sent to nurse". I didn't check the nursery books for exactly where he was sent, but Chertsey, Dorking, Harlow, and Odiham were all places where the foundlings were taken. Martha Hillyard's petition to the general Committee was a sad and familiar story. It ran as follows, "Martha Hillyard was delivered of a male child about 11 weeks ago, and was obliged to quit a very reputable family where she was a servant. By her indiscretion she has disobliged the few friends she had, and was left to herself. Expenses attending her lying-in and confinement have nearly caused her to expend the small sum of money she has saved in servitude and is therefore unable to provide for her child's sustenance, and she should be sorry and grieved to see it suffer on that account."
Martha left no token with the child, as a few mothers did - I saw a small piece of paper with a Latin motto and a symbol attached to one child's record, and another where a silver threepence had been attached. I tried to find out what happened to Martha after William had gone, but it wasn't easy. The IGI provided a possible Martha Hillyard or Hillierd, baptised in 1774 at St Michael, Crooked Lane in the City of London, but a likely marriage for a Martha Hillyard on the IGI turned out to be for another Martha Hillyard born, according to the 1851 census, in Sutton Courtenay, Berks. Either or neither of them could be the correct Martha. Ancestry's London burials' index didn't turn up a likely Martha Hillyard either, but deaths before 1813 haven't been indexed yet, and the London marriages' index came up with a Martha Hillyard, who didn't quite fit the bill, as she was a widow.
As for William Gidley - what happened to him? The Foundling Hospital apprenticeship registers record he was apprenticed on 10 December 1806 to John Mackenzie of Welwyn, Herts. to be instructed in the household business, though this was a standard phrase, and I haven't found yet what the Mackenzie business was. The William Gidley who died on 18 July 1842 in the Middlesex Hospital is of an age to be William the Foundling. (However, there was another William of similar age, baptised in 1793 in St James' Westminster to John and Elizabeth Gidley, and this could also be the William who died in 1842.) The occupation of the William who died in 1842 was a servant, therefore he was the same William who had married Ruth Ames and had 4 daughters (1841 census - Little Carlisle St, Marylebone, William, servant, born in Middlesex, aged 47). There are no other likely deaths that I can see, but if this was the same William the Foundling, then he seems to have left no descendants in the male line.
I also investigated the family of William and Ruth, and this will be my next posting.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The Gidley Arms
Situated on the B3137 south of Meshaw, Devon, at Gidley Cross, is the old house once known as the Gidley Arms, now called Gidley House. The owner has been investigating its history, and has provided some interesting information on it:
"Between the years of 1826 (when it was built) and about 1960, it was a pub and known as the Gidley Arms Inn. I believe it was named by the owner, Robert Preston of Leigh House, Chumleigh, after his Gidley relatives. In his will he states that his great grandfather Gidley was buried at Winkleigh. He clearly thought a lot of the Gidley family as he used their name for this building. However he must have fallen out with them later, as in his will dated 1843 he attached a codicil in which he cut all Gidley relatives out of his will as follows: “As I have been most unjustly deprived of the family pictures of the Gidleys, I recall and cancel the recommendations in favour of that family by way of advice not of trust…”.
The old pub sign, which was fixed above the door of the pub and is present in a photograph dated 1907 but not easily visible, has now long been destroyed."

Many thanks to the current owner of the house for the above information, and to Pete Gidley for the photograph.