George CHRISTOPHER (1771 - 1843)
Agricultural Labourer of Dorset

(Surname variations encountered: Christophers, Christefors, Christever, Christover, Cristever)
©Compiled by Michael Russell OPC for Fordington October 2013- July 2014
Last updated May 2016

Link to House of CHRISTOPHER Master File

St Martins Church Cheselbourne    Where George Christopher was baptised on 10th April 1772
(© Michael Russell OPC Fordington 2008)

The Early Years - 1771-1796

George CHRISTOPHER is thought to have been born in 1771 (1). Certainly he was baptised in St Martin's Church in Cheselbourne on 10th April 1772 and this has already been covered in the account of the life of his father William Trask CHRISTOPHER (1741-1785) to which I have provided a link.

His father died of smallpox in Morden on 9th August 1785 when George was about 14 years old. Being an infectious disease, as soon as the symptoms became evident, the Overseers of the Poor for Morden acted to isolate the family. This was normally to an old cottage kept for that purpose outside the village. Moving about in search of work meant that their place of settlement was still Cheselbourne, and it is from the accounts of the Overseers there that we know what happened. George, his mother and four of his siblings were all inoculated against smallpox. By the 2nd week of November they were clearly considered to be safe as they were brought to Cheselbourne.

We know the family was still there in 1791 as they were beneficiaries under the gift of £20 left by the Rev Templeman and the Rev Freke to the poor of the parish of Cheselbourne. Elizabeth recorded as the Widow Christopher has 5 children with her one of which would have been George.

George's eldest sister Sarah Christopher (1762-1840) had married in Lytchett Minster in 1783 prior to the families fateful move to Morden and the death of their father William two years later. She married James Fancy who being an only child (2) was able to progress in life and soon became a farmer. This meant that Sarah lived in better circumstances than generally enjoyed by agricultural labourers in Dorset who struggled to survive at a bare subsistence level. Later events suggest that she continued to play an important part in the development of her siblings as both her younger brothers James and George were to settle close to where she lived suggesting perhaps that from time to time they worked on James Fancy's farm.

George was about 20 when he was with his mother in Cheselbourne in 1791. It is still even today a tiny village and work in the area would have been limited and the likely cause of his departure around that date. The next firm documentary evidence for George is his marriage in Wareham in 1797, which suggests that he arrived there via Lytchett Minster as Wareham is an important market town just 3 miles south of the village. George had been in Wareham with his parents and siblings many times before. His brother Henry for example was baptised at Lady St Mary's church in 1775 and his sister Betty was buried in the churchyard there in 1784 when he was a young boy of 13. Even at that age he would have been found some form of gainful employment to help supplement the family income, perhaps labouring in the nearby fields with is father.

Marriage to Jane DOREY (1775-1835) - Wareham Lady St Mary Church - 1797

George Christopher's Marriage Certificate - Witnessed by his mother

By whatever route he arrived, George met in Wareham Jane Dorey the 5th of 9 children of Lawrence and Mary Dorey (3) who were natives of West Lulworth situated just 8 miles south west of Wareham on the coast. Like George, Jane would have been drawn to her nearest market town in search of gainful employment. She was baptised at West Lulworth on 17th March 1773 making her 24 when she married George Christopher in Lady St Mary's church in Wareham on 22nd February 1797. The officiating minister at the ceremony was Rev John Morton Colson (1762-1837) the Rector of nearby Studland, presumably as the Rector of Lady St Mary, the Rev George Hooton Hyde was not available. Witnesses to the marriage were William Sanders the parish clerk and George's mother Betty Christopher(4).
Timeline 1797:- I have inserted a Timeline here as I wanted to better understand what lead up to George Christopher's decision in 1826 to move his whole family out of Dorset and change the way their family had been living for the last 230 years.

    To get there I decided it was necessary to discard virtually everything I know about the way we live today. Perhaps one of the biggest differences we would notice immediately is how quiet it was. Obviously there were no planes flying overhead and no airports, no cars, no trains nor even bicycles. This of itself meant that the rolling countryside, which was much more heavily wooded than now, was relatively unbroken as it stretched into the distance. The population was also a sixth of what it is today. Apart from a few Roman roads, such as that out of Dorchester, a small number of Turnpike Trusts emerged into use between 1730-1770, but these were used by traders moving goods as a toll had to be paid. It was to be many years before the ideas of Thomas Telford (1757–1834) and John Louden MacAdam (1756–1836), were to have any impact on the quality of our roads. True there were many twisting earth packed rural lanes and elsewhere in the country canal building was about to take off, but in Dorset they relied more on existing rivers and ships in Poole harbour to get about so the only reliable mode of transport on land would have been horses, and for the working class their feet, or at best a ride in a local hay wagon. It was not unusual to walk 20 miles in a day something few would contemplate today. Mail coaches made an appearance in 1784 and would have been present in Wareham by the time they married. The peel of bells which rang out from Lady St Mary’s church at their wedding was in fact the loudest noise that could be heard over distance which is why they were used to announce invasion or mark a major victory.

    Before the industrial revolution, workers on the land constituted the largest single class and like their parents and children both George and Jane were illiterate, there being no formal education for the working class of the sort that we would recognise today. As agricultural labourers the Christophers had for generations been used to the old open field system where they worked for the Lord of the Manor who provided a very basic cottage to live in and they held strips of land scattered among the larger open fields. They also held by custom of the manor haymaking and and grazing rights in the village meadow and the right to collect firewood. This led to a fairly stable agricultural system with families given the incentive of fending for themselves and maintaining their strips of land to feed their growing families. As time progressed several factors gradually placed this system under pressure. First understanding of agriculture advanced and these strips tended to be grouped together in one place, the large fields expanded into what had previously been common land and enclosed. As we progress into the 19th century threshing machines etc start to appear doing the work of many men and a reduction in the number employed on the farms. The greed of landowners over the next 30 years led to greater mechanisation and a reduction in wages paid to agricultural labourers which were already barely at subsistence level. In 1831 this to lead to the swing riots which started in Kent and spread across the south east into Dorset. Another factor was the gradual increase in the survival rate of children and George and Jane must have been doing something right as unusually only one of their thirteen children died in infancy.

    Apart from the countryside and way of life being radically different it is important to understand the concerns of the day as they affected George and his siblings. When George and Jane married it had been only eight years since the start of the French Revolution when the Bastille was stormed in Paris. Louis the XIV had been executed in 1793 when the reign of terror began under Robespierre and the French Government declared war on Britain.

    Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine de Beauharnais in 1794 and defeated Austria in 1796 leaving Britain isolated. If we look at the Times Newspaper for the day they married it has three accounts of the capture of French Privateers off the coast, concern over “ immense preparations for the invasion of England all along the coast from Breast to Dunkirk”. Also a scare on February 20th that enemy transports had been sighted off “Beachy Head” which occasioned 8 men of war from the Royal Navy to set sail from Plymouth. Closer to home on the Friday before they married a plot had been discovered by French prisoners of war held in Porchester Castle to escape. Porchester Castle overlooks Portsmouth Harbour and the tunnels they dug had nearly reached the outer walls when they were discovered. From “disappointment” the inmates rioted which meant “it was necessary to fire some ball into them” and during further riots on the Saturday a French sailor was shot dead. The biggest and most important National event however took place just 8 days before they were married when on 14th February 1797 Nelson gained fame for his exploits at the battle of St Vincent when the British Navy defeated the larger Franco-Spanish fleet and Nelson was promoted to Rear Admiral.

    Communication was also different particularly for the poor. The majority could not read so news of events in London and elsewhere was conveyed from the pulpit usually laced with the vicars own view. There was therefore a great deal of nervousness in Dorset with all this activity in the channel and it was not helped by mutinies in the British Navy at Spithead and Nore in the very year that George and Jane married. To top it all on 22nd August 1798 a force of 1,100 French Soldiers landed in County Mayo to support a major rebellion in Ireland and the Militias across the whole of the South of England including Wareham were mobilized. Each Parish had to supply able bodied men and raise extra rates to support the war effort for as long as there was an emergency.

The Irish Rebellion of 1798

From the 1798 Militia Return (5) for Lady St Mary Parish in Wareham we know that George Christopher was one of those listed as being fit and eligible to serve (when his height was recorded as being 5 feet 6 inches). Many of these returns have not survived so it's not clear whether he actually went to Ireland. They listed all males resident in the parish between the ages of 18 and 45 and were often copied from previous returns and then updated. Those with infirmities or large families to support (typically 2 or more children) were then excluded and the rest went into a ballot to draw out the numbers required from that parish.

The return itself is dated 19th November 1798 and George being fit and only recently married would have gone into the ballot each year. We know from the Times newspaper for 1st September 1798 that His Majesties Frigate Arethusa arrived at Portsmouth from the coast of France on the 30th August and immediately sailed for Southampton river to embark the Dorset and Devon Militias. Over 100,000 Militia men from the South of England were transported to Ireland but a decisive battle that September saw the surrender of the French army so the fighting was over by the time they arrived and they were employed in keeping the peace and rounding up insurgents. The Dorset Militia returned in 1799 but mobilization had shown up many of the current systems inadequacies. With fear of invasion from France still a major threat the size of the Militias were increased. With the advent of firearms it was realised that many of the privately owned weapons required different sizes of ammunition, which made provisioning impossible. It was therefore gradually reorganised and equipment standardised. The cavalry units were then known as Yeomanry to distinguish them from the infantry which were still called the Militia.
Raising a Family of 13 Children in Dorset (1798-1823)

George & Jane CHRISTOPHER raised a family of 13 children, as listed below, and this has helped us to trace the families movements around Dorset over the next 25 years. They remained in Wareham after marriage George working as an agricultural labourer in the fields surrounding the town. Mary was the first of their children to arrive, being baptised just 2 days short of a year after their marriage. She was baptized in the ancient ornate font shown in the first picture below. Their 2nd child William was also born in Wareham in Lady St Mary's Parish very late in 1800, but baptised in the church at Lytchett Minster on 7th December that year in the 16th century font shown below . George's sister Sarah Fancy who lived at Lytchett now had a family of 8 children so with the congregation and family members there was probably quite a crowd surrounding the font that day. No doubt they all ended up in the local pub “St Peters Finger” which is still there today only 100 yards from the church. It was where tenants and cottagers paid their dues to the Lord of the Manor each year on June 29th, a commemoration day of St Peter.

The first picture above (© 2003 Kenneth Allen) shows the font in Lady St Mary's Church Wareham and dates from about 1200. The middle picture (© 2008 Michael Russell FIPD) shows the 16th century font in Lytchett Minster Church (which was unfortunately rebuilt in 1833). Last picture (© 2008 Michael Russell FIPD) shows the font in St Mary's Church East Morden (rebuilt 1873)(6)

George & Jane remained in Lytchett Minster until about 1804/5 with another gathering at the font for the baptism of Ann in September 1803, but their 4th child Elizabeth was baptised in nearby Morden in May 1805. This was the year Britain watched in horror as Napoleon Bonaparte expanded the French Empire. In Europe the French control (either directly or through alliance) France, Portugal, Spain, modern-day Belgium and the Netherlands as well as large parts of Germany and Switzerland. Three months after Elizabeth's baptism Napoleon writes to his admirals "Come to the Channel. Bring our united fleet and England is ours. If you are only here for 24 hours, all will be over, and six centuries of shame and insult will be avenged". Napoleon has 2,000 boats and 90,000 men assembled along the coast of France ready for invasion so there was no other topic of conversation and every village had to once more contribute it's young men to the militia. Unfortunately Militia returns for this period do not seem to have survived so it's not clear whether George with 4 children would have been exempted. What followed on 21st October that year is now history with Nelson destroying the French Fleet at Trafalgar and lifting the very real threat of invasion.

From the birth of their children as shown below it seems they moved several times over the ensuing years between Morden and Lytchett Minster following the availability of work, with their 13th and last child Richard being born in Lytchett Minster in 1823 when Jane was 47 years old and at the end of her childbearing years. Their address was given as Bulbury Lytchett Minster when he was baptised in the above parish font on 23rd March 1823. As can be seen from the modern day map below Bulbury farm was just north of Slepe Farm which sat between Sherford and Organford Farms which are all referred at various times as where both George and his brother James and their families lived. Sherford for example was owned by the Lithgow's and is where James daughter Fanny Christopher lived after her marriage to Peter Lovell. These farms sat on the boundary between Lytchett Minster and Wareham so Organford is often referred to as being part of Wareham. George clearly worked on local farms as work became available which became increasing difficult as time progressed. In 1822 their eldest son William married Isabella Stickland in Lytchett Minster and started their own family. Their daughter Ann was also born at Bulbury and baptised at Lytchett on 20th Sep 1823 so it's clear even after marriage William was still living with his parents probably because they were working on the same farm and simply shared accommodation.

This proves to be quite useful in continuing to trace their movements as their 2nd child George Christopher was born at Kesworth within the parish of St Martin's Wareham where he was baptised on 23 Jan 1825 and this is the last reference we have of them before they left Dorset. Before we leave Dorset however a few words about their eldest daughter Mary. We are now quite close to the Swing Riots of 1831 and it's clear that life labouring on the local farms was undergoing a fundamental change with the family finding it increasingly difficult to survive. Whilst William was clearly still working with his father, Mary was sent out to find alternative employment at an early age and for young single woman at this time this usually meant being a domestic servant and that meant heading for sizable towns where the jobs were. I give more background below but suffice it to say she married in Sherborne in 1824 at the age of 26 and seems to have taken her 16 year old younger brother Lawrence under her wing as he marries and settles in the town as well.

Modern day map of Farms west of Lytchett Minster

The move from Dorset to London - 1826

So we can see the changes that almost certainly led George to look for something better for his immediate family and we know that in the first half of 1826 he took them all out of Dorset and settled in the environs of London. Here a demographic change was already underway and another about to hit it. The first was the expansion in London's population and the second the advent of Railways which I will come to later. In 1801 London's population is recorded by the first ever census as 959,600. By 1826 when they left Dorset it had already increased by 56% to over 1.5 million so George was not the only one heading for the capital. This influx of people created a great demand for fresh food, the vast majority of which had to be produced outside London and brought into the central markets for sale. Prices in London were higher than in the rural countryside so even agricultural labourers wages were slightly better but the real opportunity was the number and variety of jobs available compared to the declining standards in Dorset.
So who left Dorset in 1826?

From a variety of sources we can identify the following individuals, the only one we are unsure of is No.10 George Christopher:-
    1. George Christopher Head of the Family aged 45 years an agricultural labourer returned to Dorset c1836

    2. Jane Christopher nee Dorey his wife aged 40 years - she is buried in Isleworth in 1835

    3. William Christopher his son aged 26 years an agricultural labourer - they have 3 children born in Middlesex & returned to Dorset in 1831

    4. Isabella Christopher nee Stickland  Daughter-in-law age 28 wife of William above - they have 3 children born in Middlesex & returned to Dorset in 1831

    5. Mereb Stickland, Isabella’s illegitimate daughter aged 7 years - was with her parents & returned to Dorset in 1831

    6. Ann Christopher granddaughter aged 3 years - was with her parents & returned to Dorset in 1831

    7. George Christopher grandson aged 1 - was with her parents & returned to Dorset in 1831

    8. Ann Christopher daughter aged 23 years - married Henry Noble in Clerkenwell London in in 1827

    9. Elizabeth Christopher daughter aged 21 years - remained a spinster, worked for many years at Christ's Hospital Isleworth

    10. George Christopher? son aged 19 years - If still alive he is not in Dorset so may have gone to London with the rest of the family

    11. Sarah Christopher daughter age 17 years - married Richard Onley Chelsea 1829

    12. Thomas Christopher son age 16 years - married Rebecca Etherington in Heston in 1831

    13. Joseph Christopher son age 13 years - married Elizabeth Taylor in Hillingdon in 1838

    14. Henry Christopher son age 12 years - Married Elizabeth Hawkins in Isleworth c1837

    15. Eliza Christopher daughter age 8 years - Married James Spencer in Heston in 1836

    16. Richard Christopher son age 3 years - remained with his father and returned to Dorset c1836.
So how did they get there.
I have given some thought to how they might have traveled. Given that the reason they were leaving is because they were virtually destitute it seems unlikely that George would have been able to afford to pay for so many to travel by coach and it's a long way to walk with young children. There were no trains or railway lines anywhere in Britain in 1826. One small clue is that William and Isabella had their youngest child George baptised on 23rd January 1825 at Kesworth in the parish of St Martins Wareham and this is on the edge of Poole harbour. The likelihood is that they worked passage on a coastal trader from Wareham or Poole to London.

Arrival in London.
The family settled initially at Hayes a sub district of Uxbridge in Middlesex situated right next to the Grand Union Canal which had been dug through the south western corner of the parish in 1796. If the family arrived in London Docks via a coastal trader from Wareham it's easy to see how they could also have gained passage up the river and canal to Hayes. In 1814 over 1,000 acres of it's open fields had been enclosed and here sat many market gardens tasked with meeting the ever increasing demand for food from the growing population in the city centre. Being situated on the Grand union Canal it also had a cheap fast means of moving this produce down the Canal to where it meets the Thames at Kew Gardens and onto Westminster and Holborn up to the main trading market of Covent Garden.

This expansion in trade created an opportunity for London's businessmen and in 1828 The Whig Politician John Russell petitioned for a government bill “for the improvement and regulation of "Covent Garden Market”. The bill allowed the duke to knock down the Piazza’s ramshackle stalls, erect a proper market building and institute a regulated system of rents. The much improved and expanded market opened for business in May 1830 (see picture left).

We know the family was still living in the Hayes area throughout this period as William and Isabella continued to produce children, with the infamous Betsy Christopher being born at Hayes on 21st July 1826 and baptised in the parish church of St Mary the Virgin on 3rd Sep 1826. Betsy was followed by another daughter Jane Christopher also baptised there on 13th Jan 1828 and a son John Christopher baptised at St John the Baptists Church at Hillingdon situated only a couple of miles north-west of Hayes.

Whilst George and Jane's eldest son William was producing children, their other children soon started to find partners and also settled in the area. Ann was the first to marry in January 1829 to Henry Noble at Clerkenwell and they settled in Lambeth to raise a family. Sarah followed in 1829 marrying Richard Onley a native of Isleworth and by 1832 had settled in his parish to live. It is around this time that George and Jane also moved to live in Isleworth. The 18th century had seen much of the area around Isleworth covered in orchards but as the demand for food for London grew the land was increasingly converted into market gardens and this proved a fertile area for the Christophers to find work. Their son Thomas married in Heston in 1831 but lived in Isleworth after his marriage. In 1830 George's mother Elizabeth Christopher died back in Blandford with her body being returned to Morden for burial. The following year George's eldest son William and his family returned to Dorset to live at Lytchett Minster.

Death of George and Jane Christopher

In March 1835 Jane died and on the 17th March she was buried at All Saints Churchyard in Isleworth. Having worked hard all his life George is now 64 years old and perhaps not as fit as he used to be as he returns to Dorset to live with his eldest son William and his family. He takes with him only his youngest child Richard Christopher (1823-1885) who is 12 years old and in 1841 we find them all living together again at Foxhills in Lytchett Minster. In 1843 George is suffering from Jaundice and is taken into the Infirmary attached to the Poole Union Workhouse at Longfleet where he dies on 29th May. I have not so far been able to locate his burial.

Their 13 Children (1798-1823)

    (1) Mary Christopher (1798-1838 )(7) was baptised at Lady St Marys Church in Wareham on 25th February 1798. Apart from labouring in the fields the other main occupation for single women at this time was domestic service, and that usually meant seeking a job in one of the larger towns. Blandford was only about 7 miles away, easy walking distance, and there were other Christopher relatives living there. Indeed her grandmother was later to die in Blandford St Marys in 1830, so perhaps it was a natural place for a young girl to head to around that time, and from there go onto Sherborne. We know that she married John Crees (1797-1848) a widower and labourer later described as a road contractor by trade, in Sherborne Abbey in 1824. John was 30 He may well have been helping to maintain the road between Sherborne and Blandford as it was the main route through to Poole with it's all important harbour. In any event they settled after marriage to live in Sherborne and raised a family of 5 children (1825-1834) before moving to live in Marsden Magna in Somerset where Mary died in 1838. Mary having settled in Sherborne at an early date, did not therefore accompany her siblings to London in 1826 and it seems likely that her younger brother Lawrence joined her there. John remarried but died in 1848.
    (2) William Christopher (1800-1853)(8) was born in Wareham but baptised at the parish church in Lytchett Minster on 7th December 1800. An Agricultural labourer he married in Lytchett Minster in 1822 to Isabella Stickland (1798-1882) the illegitimate daughter of Jane Stickland (1775-1860) the second wife of his fathers brother James Christopher (1764-1847). She brought with her an illegitimate daughter with the unusual name of Mereb Stickland who was 4 months shy of being 3 years old at their marriage. They had two children of their own in Dorset before joining his father and siblings in their migration to London in 1826. Their 3rd child together, Betsy, was baptised in West Hayes Middlesex on the 21st July that year, followed by another daughter they named Jane in 1828 . William worked as a labourer (1826-1830) in the market gardens around West Hayes that supplied London before they moved to nearby Hillingdon where John was baptised in 1830. The following year however the whole family returned to live in Lytchett Minster right in the middle of the 1831 Swing Riots which were sweeping through the south of England from Kent into Dorset. I suspect this was to help James and Sarah Fancy run their farm during these difficult times. Their daughter Betsy was charged with infanticide in 1845, but only found guilty of concealing the birth of the child and sentenced to 2 years hard labour. William died in Lytchett Minster and was buried in the churchyard there in 1853. Isabella lived another 29 years after his death only moving to live with her married daughter Eliza Orford (1833-1913) shortly before her death in 1882.
    (3) Ann Christopher (1803-1863) (9) She was baptised in the parish church at Lytchett Minster on 4th September 1803 and after migration to London in 1826 married a journeyman engineer Henry Noble (1802-1871) at St James Church in Clerkenwell, Middlesex in 1827. Ann appears to have been literate signing her marriage certificate with a neat hand. They had 8 children all baptised in Lambeth Surrey and St Luke's, Middlesex but also lived at Red Lion Court in Spitlefields before settling at 16 Harp Alley in Shoe Lane in the parish of St Brides. Ann predeceased her husband and died from heart disease on 9th Oct 1863 when she was 60 years old. Being Non Conformists she was buried at Victoria Park Cemetery in Hackney joined there by her husband in 1871.
    (4) Elizabeth Christopher (1805-1875) She was baptised in the parish church of St Mary's in Morden on 5th May 1805 and migrated to London in 1826 with the Family but unlike her siblings remained a spinster all her life. She worked for over 35 years as the personal cook to William Gilpin Esq of Palewell Lodge in East Sheen. Apart from being a Gentleman and running a business as a clothier to the Army he was Treasurer of Christ's Hospital. By 1871 she was an inmate at the Hospital, possibly as the result of a stroke as she died in the Brentford Union Workhouse in Isleworth in 1875 from Paralysis. She left a modest estate of under £300 to Samuel Christopher(1813-1896) the son of her fathers brother James Christopher (1764-1847)
    (5) George Christopher (1807)? He was baptised in the parish church at Morden on 5th July 1807. After following many false trails over the last 20 years which eventually all led to other people of or using the same name, we are still left with only his baptism. I would have expected George to name a son after himself so I doubt that it is a clerical error, but it is very strange that out of all of their children Lawrence Christopher (listed below) whose birth was around 1807/8 has never been baptised. All the records that we have on Lawrence consistently show that he was born at Lower Lytchett (10) around 1807/8 and this makes me wonder whether George had a serious falling out with his father and left home changing his name from George to Lawrence. Lawrence is a very unusual name at this date in Dorset and would have been appropriate as it was his maternal grandfathers name and perhaps was used to show that he still had allegiance to his mother. Also Lawrence was the only son to follow a completely different trade of basket making and he appears to have struck out on his own and headed for his married eldest sister Mary, and settled with her in Sherborne rather then left with his parents when they went to Middlesex in 1826. Whilst speculative unless further documentation comes to light it is the only scenario that seems to fit.
    (6) Lawrence Christopher (1808-1871) (10) He does not appear to have been baptised (see 5 above) but consistently gave his birthplace as Lower Lytchett or Lytchett Matravers. Unlike his siblings who were agricultural labourers he became a basket maker and followed his elder sister Mary to Sherborne, possibly living with her for a while until he married Charlotte Bown (1802-1873) in the Abbey on 7th Oct 1829. Charlotte was the 7th of 9 children of a shoemaker John Bown by his wife Lucy Burnett, and Lawrence and Charlotte were married in the Abbey by the Rev John Parsons (1770-1854) . He had been curate at the Abbey for 5 years (1806-1811) until he was appointed as Rector of the nearby parish of Oborn. Sherborne however was a large parish with much more activity and he continued to help out the vicar the Rev William Gorton and when he died the following year he took over as Vicar of the Abbey. After marriage Lawrence & Charlotte settled at Cold Harbour right in the city center where Lawrence plied his trade for many years until his death from dropsy on 2nd August 1871. They raised a family of nine children in Sherborne giving rise to another branch of the family. Lawrence was buried 3 days later. Charlotte died when she was in her 70's being buried with him on 23rd Oct 1873.
    (7) Sarah Christopher (1809-1857) (11) She was baptised at St Marys church in Morden on 25th June 1809 and remained with her parents, being 17 when they all migrated to London. She was present at the wedding of her sister Ann in 1827 to Henry Noble acting as a witness. Sarah married at St Luke's Church in Chelsea at the age of 20 to Richard Onley (1808-1851) aged 21 on 17th May 1829. He was the 4th of 9 children of William Onley by his wife Elizabeth Easton and had been baptised in Isleworth in 1808. They had 9 children together, the first Thomas being born at St Luke's in 1830, before they returned to Isleworth to live where John (1832), Sarah (135), and Richard (1837) were added to the family. Although Richard is only ever described as a labourer they were living by 1839 at West Drayton in Middlesex a small village on the GWR line. This is the same year that most of the Christopher family dispersed from Isleworth and when all the railway line construction for the first sections of track came to an end, and I think that this is an indication that he too worked on the railways. At West Drayton Rachel, who only lived for a year, was baptised in 1839 before they finally settled in Chelsea and Henry (1842), Richard (1843), Ann (1846) and George (1849) made up the numbers. Sarah's husband Richard Onley died at the relatively young age of 43 whilst they were living at 5 Crump Yard in Chelsea. he was buried at St Luke's Church on 14th May 1851. Unfortunately Sarah suffered from Heart disease and soon followed passing away at the age of 45 on 20th April 1857.
    (8) Thomas Christopher (1811-1872) He was baptised in the parish church at Lytchett Minster on 14th April 1811 and remained with his parents, being 15 years old when they migrated to London. At the age of 20 on 4th April 1831 he married in the parish church at Heston in Middlesex to Rebecca Etherington (1811-1845) the daughter of an agricultural labourer Abraham Etherington (1771-1846) and his wife Sarah (nee Jones). Witnesses were her parents and his brother Joseph Christopher (1813-1867). Like his elder sister Sarah and his parents they settled in Isleworth to live with Thomas labouring in the nearby market gardens. Thomas had seven children with Rebecca, the first four all being born in Isleworth (See indented paragraph below for more information about them).

    His eldest daughter Elizabeth Christopher (1832-1881) went on to marry a labourer called William Le-Gray (1827-1891) who was of French descent. They raised a family of at least 7 children in Chelsea. Her three sibling, Joseph (1833-1838); Jane (1835-1838) and Eleanor (1837-1838) however did not fare so well. In 1838 the family moved to Scrattage in Heston, which is where Rebecca's parents lived, and tragically all three children died in the Smallpox epidemic of 1837-1840. This proved to be one of the worst epidemics of smallpox ever to afflict England and Wales, which claimed nearly 42,000 lives from July 1837 (when registration of deaths by cause began) through until December 1840. In London 6,449 fatalities were recorded with the majority of deaths occurring in 1838(13). Presumably they had not been inoculated, something still not generally available to the working classes despite his great grand-uncle Charles Christopher being inoculated by the overseers of the poor of Fordington in 1789 and his grandfather William dying from Smallpox in Morden in 1785. Joseph aged 4 years 9 months was the first to die at 11.30pm on 17th May 1838 followed by his 3 year old sister Jane half an hour later. Their younger 16 month old sister Eleanor lasted another 3 days passing away on 20th May. I have placed copies of their death certificates on ancestry.

    Another son James Christopher (1839-1905) was born at Scrattage in 1839 before Thomas moved to work on the Great Eastern Railway as a labourer. He followed his two younger brothers Joseph Christopher (1813-1865) who was employed there as a platelayer and Henry Christopher (1814-1865) my 3x great grandfather who was employed as a navigator (or navy - railway labourer). I will go into greater detail about the railway on my grandfathers biography but Royal Assent for the line was granted in 1836 and the first section of line from Mile End to Romford opened in 1839 and was laid to a 5 foot gauge. It was extended to Brentwood in July 1840. Thomas probably joined the construction team late in 1839 working on the next section of line being constructed. Thomas and Rebecca however lived at Wood Road in Great Ilford Thomas taking the line to work each day. As a consequence their next son also named Thomas Christopher (1841-1842) was born at Great Ilford on 30th Jan 1841. Although both his brothers continued to work on the line for many years Thomas Senior had left by June 1841 to become a brickmaker living at 12 Somerset Place in the parish of St Paul's Hammersmith. On the 26th Sep 1842 their 19 month old son Thomas died there, his cause of death curiously being given as 'teething and diarrhoea'. They remained in the parish with their 7th and last child, a girl, being born at Hammersmith on 14th March 1843. She was christened as Catherine Christopher (1843-1849) at St Paul's on 9th April and lived to the age of 6 when she died of Cholera. In 1844 Rebecca unfortunately developed cancer of the womb from which she died on 10th February 1845 by which time they had moved again to live at 6 Turks Row Chelsea. Of their seven children only Elizabeth and James survived into adulthood.

      Children of Thomas Christopher by his first wife Rebecca Etherington:-

      (8.1) Elizabeth Christopher (1832-1881) She was born on 3rd January 1832 and baptised by the Rev Henry Glossop Vicar of All Saints Church in Isleworth on the 29th of the same month. Having survived the Smallpox epidemic she moved with the family and in 1854 when she was 22 years old was living with them at 3 Manor Street in Chelsea. She married in St Judes Church in Chelsea on the 3rd July that year to a 26 year old labourer called William Thomas LeGray (1827-1891) . William was the third of seven known children of Charles and Catherine LeGray. Charles LeGray (1800-1857) was a cook by trade and was born in Paris in France but had emigrated to England by 1820. William Thomas was born on 11th August 1827 in Oxford Street in London and they had 7 children. Elizabeth died at the age of 49 at 19 Manor Gardens in Chelsea in the 2nd quarter of 1881. William lived another 10 years but gradually became destitute. He was taken into the infirmary of the Kensington and Chelsea Workhouse a number of times with his 2 youngest daughters being sent to Hammersmith School. He died in Chelsea in the the 4th quarter of 1891.

      (8.2) Joseph Christopher (1833-1838) Born at Isleworth on 31st Aug 1833 and baptised at All Saints church on 22nd September. He died in the Smallpox epidemic at Scattage at 11.30pm on 17th May 1838

      (8.3) Jane Christopher (1835-1838) Born at Isleworth on 3rd July 1835 and baptised at All Saints church on 26th July she was named after her grandmother Jane Christopher who had been buried at Isleworth on 17th March that year. She also died in the Smallpox epidemic at Scrattage an hour after her brother Joseph.

      (8.4) Eleanor Christopher (1837-1838) Born at Isleworth on 3rd February 1837 she was baptised at All Saints church on 26th of the same month. She also died in the Smallpox epidemic and died 3 days after her siblings, passing away on 20th May.

      (8.5) James Christopher (1839-1905) As stated above he was born on 30th April 1839 at Heston and baptised at Isleworth on 19th May that year. He survived the smallpox epidemic living into adulthood. As a young man he worked as a labourer but branched out on his own living locally at 7 Manor Street in Chelsea. Many of his relations also lived in this street. On 13th August 1864 he married Bridget Muldrick (1845-1873) who was then aged 19 and living at nearby Mermaid Yard. Bridget was of Irish descent the daughter of Michael & Mary Muldrick. Her father died in 1857, leaving his widow Mary, who originated from Limerick, having to take in washing to make ends meet. Prior to her marriage Bridget was still living with her mother at 13 Bolton Gardens in Chelsea and working as a domestic servant. She had two children with James. The first John Christopher (b.1865) was born on 13th June 1865 at 9 Mermaid Yard, Turks Row in Chelsea and survived to the age of 6 as he is in the April 1871 Census but there is no trace of him after that so I assume he died shortly thereafter. Their second child was Sarah Elizabeth Christopher (b. 1867). She was born in Chelsea and at the age of 17 married a bricklayer named William Kentfield at St Jude's Church in Chelsea on Christmas Eve 1885. Both Sarah and her husband William Kentfield were witnesses at the wedding of her step sister Elizabeth Ellen Christopher when she married Alfred Charles Slater at Christchurch in Battersea on 26th August 1894 but I have not been able to locate them in the 1891 census or anything else about her.

      Bridget died in the 3rd quarter of 1873 and the following year James with already living with another married lady by the name of Sophia Smith nee Proctor

      Sophia was the daughter of Jonas & Ellen Proctor and born about October 1838.Her parents and Sophia both consistently gave her place of birth as being 'Pimlico' a small area in central London within the City of Westminster. Formal Registration of Births however did not start until July 1837 and at first there was no penalty for non registration so not all births were recorded. I have not been able to locate her birth at the General Registry Office nor a baptism in any of the local churches. Census returns however are more helpful and she is with her parents aged 2 in the 1841 Census living at White Lion Street in Cheslea and at 64 George Strteet in Chelsea in 1851 aged 12. Her marriage to John Smith took place at St Jude's church in Chelsea when she was 18 on 18th May 1857. John Smith was aged 20 so they needed both parents consent to marry. Their residence was given as 11 Turk's Row in Chelsea although his occupation is recorded as being a 'traveller'. From other documentation we know that he was actually a hawker.

      (8.6) Thomas Christopher (1841-1842) Born at Great Ilford on 30th Jan 1841 he was baptised in the local church of St Mary's on the 28th February but died at the age of 18 months at 12 Somerset Place in Hammersmith on 26th September. He was buried at Hammersmith on the 2nd October 1842.

      (8.7) Catherine Christopher (1843-1849)children were (1) Elizabeth born 3rd Jan 1832 married William Thomas LeGray 1854 died St George Hanover Square 1881 (2) Joseph born 31st Aug 1833 died of smallpox 17 May 1838 (3) Jane born 3rd July 1835 died of smallpox 17th May 1838 (4) Eleanor born 3rd Feb 1837 died of smallpox 20 May 1838 (5) James born Heston 30th Apr 1839, married twice, had 2 children by each wife and died 1905 Fulham (6) Thomas born 30 Jan 1841 Great Ilford Romford, died 26 Sep 1842 St Paul's Hammersmith (7) Catherine born 14 Mar 1843 Hammersmith died 6 Sep 1849 Chelsea

    Thomas Christopher - after the death of his 1st wife in 1845 he continued to work as a brickmaker and by 1849 had met Sarah Ann Lovett (1817-1874) (nee Tilbrook) who had been married before but was by then separated from her husband.

      Sarah Ann Lovett was the daughter of James Tilbrook (1793-1848) by his wife Elizabeth Mary Partridge (1791-1868) and had been baptised in Newmarket in Suffolk on 18th July 1817. Sarah first married at St Martin in the Fields in Westminster on 1st July 1838, to a baker by trade, called Daniel Lovett (1814-1858) . Daniel was the son of a carpenter John Lovett who originated from Norfolk and Elizabeth his wife, a native of Berkshire. Sarah had two children by Daniel, but the first John Robert Lovett (1839-1839), only lived for 14 weeks having been born on 1st Sep 1839 at 4 Little Lodges Place in Kensington and buried at St Luke's Church in Chelsea on 6th Dec 1839. By 1841 they had moved to Queen St in London (situated in St George Hanover Square) and when the Census was taken on the 6th June her mother Elizabeth, who also lived in the square, was staying with them. Sarah's second child Sophia Lovett (1844-aft 1861) was born on 7th June 1844 at 21 Caroline Place in Chelsea and baptised at St Saviour's in Chelsea on 30th June that year.

      The following year, or possibly early in 1846, Sarah separated from her husband and took her young daughter Sophia with her to live with her mother. She was on hand when her father died there in 1848. It was difficult to get a divorce in those days so both parties found different partners and raised their own families. Daniel Lovett was the first to break ranks and settled down with a Mary Bottle (1824-1907) by whom he was to have seven children between 1847 and 1858(12). Their births were all registered with their fathers surname of 'Lovett' but when the two boys married they both added their mothers surname of Bottle as a middle name.

    By the late 1840's Sarah Ann had also followed suit, initially moving in with Thomas Christopher and living at Tower Hamlets and leaving Sophia with her mother. They lived from the outset as man and wife and Sarah soon gave birth to a son they named and registered as George Christopher (1850-1851) who was born on 2nd September and baptised at All Saints Church in Poplar on 8th Nov 1850. They were still living at 6 Mary Street in Poplar when the 1851 Census was taken, but had moved again to live at Forest Hill in Sydenham Kent by 5th July 1851 when unfortunately George died of Pneumonia. In the mid 1850's they moved again to live at Lee near Eltham in Kent.

    On 23rd April 1858 Sarah's husband Daniel Lovett died from a sudden attack of bronchitis at his home at 5 John Street West in Marylebone(12). As a result Sarah was now free to marry, which she quickly did on 27th July 1858 at the local parish church in Lee in Kent. At the age of 59 Thomas caught phthisis (T.B.) and 2 years later on 10th August 1872 he died at Eltham but was buried at St John the Baptists Church in Woolwich. Tragically Sarah must have nursed Thomas in his illness as she also caught T.B. and died 2 years later in the Lewisham Union Workhouse Infirmary on 29th Nov 1874, still only 58 years old.

    As we have seen in 1851 Sarah Ann's daughter Sophia Lovett (1844-aft 1861) was living with her grandmother Elizabeth Mary Tilbrook, but by 1861 she is recorded as 'Sophia Christopher' and living with Thomas and Sarah Ann at Lee in Kent. She was then aged 19, unmarried and working locally as a laundress. I have not been able to locate anything else about her as she is no longer living with her mother and step father in 1871. Thomas died in 1872 followed by her mother in 1874.
    (9) Joseph Christopher (1813-1867) He was baptised in St Marys church in Morden on 25th April 1813 and was 13 years old when they moved to live at West Hayes in 1826. For the next 10 years he worked in the market gardens and was present in Heston on 4th April 1831 when he was a witness at his elder brother Thomas Christopher's wedding to Rebecca Etherington. In 1836 he was among the first to seize the opportunity presented by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as he constructed the Great Western Railway (GWR) line as it ran through the fields just south of Heston, Hillingdon and Isleworth where the Christopher families lived. I am fairly sure he started as a navigator excavating the line, but by 1838 when the first 22 mile section of the GWR (which ran from Paddington to Maidenhead) was officially opened for business, he was already a platelayer. So there can be no doubt that he helped lay the original 7 foot broad gauge track of this famous railway line. In fact it was probably these higher wages that enabled him to marry with confidence the same year.
    On Christmas Eve 1838 he married Elizabeth the 17 year old daughter of George & Anne TAYLOR. Natives of Fulmer in Buckinghamshire her family moved to Hillingdon where her father was employed as a brickmaker. Not only was there a great demand for bricks in London but the new railway consumed vast quantities. A classic example is Maidenhead Railway Bridge which is still in use today. Designed by Brunel it was completed a year after Joseph & Elizabeth married in 1839, and carried the railway across the river Thames on two brick arches, each with a span of 128 feet. At the time it was the widest spanned and flattest bridge in the world. It was designed in this way to avoid interfering with the movement of barges which needed an uninterrupted towpath. With Hillingdon situated close to the newly opened line, it's tempting to think that George may have made some of the bricks used in the construction of the bridge, but at this late date we have no way of knowing. In the same month they married Brunel started construction of the world famous Box Junction further down the line between Chippenham and Bath. It was 1.83 miles long and by the time of it's completion in April 1841 have consumed some 30,000,000 bricks and the lives of over 100 navies.
    Joseph & Elizabeth had five children together. The first was David Taylor Christopher (b.1839) who was baptised at St Lawrence Church in Cowley in Hillingdon Parish on 29th Dec 1839. After labouring on the railways David became a blacksmith by trade and married in West Ham in 1865 to Jane Williams (1838-1892) the daughter of a carpenter and a native of Aberystwyth in Wales. She returned there to live and their son Richard Joseph Christopher married and had 11 children leaving many descendants, some of which still live in the town today (2014). Joseph was to remain in close contact with his younger brother Henry Christopher, my 3x great grandfather and about 1840 they both left the GWR to work on the new Eastern Counties Railway as it was built from London out through Hornchurch, Chelmsford, Colchester and onto Ipswich and Bury St Edmund's. In fact it's possible to trace the progress of construction of the line through the birth of their children which occurred at successive railway stations along the line. For much of this time he was a platelayer but by 1860 he had taught himself a trade becoming a trade or engine fitter on the Railway.

    Their second child Mary Taylor Christopher (1841-1867) was born at Hornchurch in Essex and later married a railway engine driver called George Mayne, but died of the young age of 26 leaving 3 children. Their third child Amelia Jane Christopher (1844-1929) was born at Colchester in Essex and later married a railway guard called Edward Platt and had 10 children. Their fourth child Alfred Christopher (1846-1883) also born at Colchester became a plasterer by trade and married Jane Spencer (184301929) raising a family of 5 children in West Ham. Their last child was Walter William Christopher (1852-1879) who was born at Ipswich and married in 1871 emigrating to Australia, but left no descendants.

    Sadly Joseph died at the age of 50 on 30th June 1867 from Phthisis ( i.e. a wasting disease of the lungs more commonly called Tuberculoses or T.B.) It seems likely that he caught it from his daughter Mary who passed away from the same disease 24 days earlier. Elizabeth soldiered on until she was 82 passing away in the Union Workhouse in Leytonstone. More information about Joseph is given in his brothers biography see link below.

    (10) Henry Christopher (Senior) (1814-1865) He was born circa 1814 and baptised in St Marys church in Morden on 2nd April 1815 with his cousin Reuben Christopher. Henry was my 3x great grandfather and his life is covered under a separate biography which can be accessed via this link.
    (11) Eliza Christopher (1818-1866) She was baptised in St Marys church in Morden on 26th April 1818 and moved with the family to live initially at Hayes in Middlesex in 1826 and Isleworth from about 1832. She caused some confusion because she married on 1st May 1836 to James SPECER under the name of Elizabeth CHRISTOPHER which is surprising considering her elder sister Elizabeth was still alive then. She was illiterate, signing her marriage and children's birth certificates with an "X", but I doubt the use of the name Elizabeth was a clerical error as she is recorded as Elizabeth in two census returns for 1841 and 1861 and two of her 8 children's birth certificates (Abel in 1849 and Thirza 1854) but on all other occasions she used Eliza Spencer. After marriage they lived in Isleworth with the Christopher family and when her brothers Henry and Joseph decided to go and work on the Eastern Counties Railway they went with them to Great Warley Hornchurch in Essex where her husband was employed as an excavator in 1841. By 1844 the Railway line had moved on and her husband found more lucrative employment labouring in the brickfield's living for a short period at Whitton in Middlesex before moving to Millwall the following year and working in Cubitts Brickfield's. Unfortunately Eliza caught TB and died at the age of 47 at 2 Basbury Yard, St Luke's in Chelsea on 23rd Feb 1866 being buried at St Mary's Battersea on the 28th. After her death James lived for a time with his daughter Eve and her husband and was a witness when she remarried in 1871.
    (12) John Christopher (1820-1821) Born around 20th March 1820 he was baptised in St Marys church in Morden on 30th April 1820. He moved with his parents to Lytchett Minster and died there in May 1821 being buried in the churchyard at Lytchett on 20th of that month aged of 14 months. He was the only child of George and Jane's thirteen children to die in infancy, which is quite a feat given the high infant mortality rate prevalent at this time.
    (13) Richard Christopher (1823-1885) He was born at Bulbury Lytchett Minster in Dorset and baptised in the parish church on 23rd March 1823. He left Dorset with the family in 1826 settling at West Hayes in Middlesex and moved with them to Isleworth about 1832. He returned with his father to Dorset after the death of his mother there in 1835, and they lived with his eldest brother William, his wife Isabella and their family at Foxhills in Lytchett Minster. We find them all still living together in the 1841 census where Richard is recorded as an Agricultural Labourer. Living next door is a family who emigrated to england from Holland, William Wheelbat with his wife Joanna and their daughter Elizabeth. The next farm to Foxhills is Organford and Richard gives this as his residence when he married Elizabeth Wheelbat (1818-1871) in Lytchett Minster Church on Christmas day 1841.

      Elizabeth's father William Wheelbat (1783-1855) was born in Holland about the year 1783 and came to England around the turn of the century with his younger brother Jacob Wheelbat (1790-1868) who is recorded in the 1861 Census as being born in Holland but a British Citizen. The surname is not English so this raises the question as to whether they were escaping persecution in Europe and were granted citizenship in exile. I have not been able to locate his first marriage but it was around the year 1808 and probably in Hampshire where most parish registers still have to be transcribed. All I know is that she was called 'Ann' and 15 years older than William. They had a son they named James Wheelbat (1809-1866) who was born about 1809 in Lymington in Hampshire. Ann was 41 years old when she gave birth and probably at the end of her child bearing years which probably accounts for why we cannot trace any later children from the marriage. They moved to Dorset where Ann died at the age of 48 being buried in the graveyard at Lady St Mary's Church in Wareham on 17th Nov 1816.

      Their son James was still only 7 years old when his mother died and William re-married to Joanna Foot (c1778-1856) at Lady St Mary's church on 9th March 1817. Elizabeth was born the following year being baptised at St Mary's on 15th Nov 1818. She was joined by a brother John Wheelbat (1820-1821) but he died in infancy. The family moved to live at Lytchett Minster next door to the Christophers and Elizabeth's half brother James married at Lytchett Minster Church to Elizabeth Grant on 28 Aug 1842. Elizabeth Grant already had an illegitimate daughter (Ellen Trent Grant) and Elizabeth soon gave birth to a son James (1843-1848) who died in infancy and a daughter Anne Elizabeth whom they had baptised at Poole on 22nd Aug 1845. Another daughter Ann Amelia (1847-1848) also died in infancy before the family emigrated to New South Wales in Australia arriving on the SS Emma Eugenia which departed from Poole and arrived in Australia on 12th June 1849. The passenger list shows it was carrying James (recorded as Willbath) age 40 his wife Elizabeth age 32 and 2 daughters Ellen age 10 and Ann Elizabeth age 3. Her half brother James had another 5 children born in Australia before James died at Maitland in New South Wales in March 1866.

      Before we leave William Wheelbat he is shown on the 1838 Land Apportionment Map for Lytchett Minster as the tenant of John Brown renting a house with a garden and a number of arable plots amounting to about 10 acres. William Wheelbat died at the age of 72 and was buried in Lytchett Minster churchyard on 20th July 1855. He was joined by his 2nd wife Joanna then aged 83 on 28th Sep1856.

    Richard and Elizabeth had nine children in Lytchett Minster between 1841 and 1859 living at Foxholes road. When Elizabeth's father died in 1855 he took over the agricultural holdings but by 1871 had moved locally to Forest Hill where he managed 19 acres. Elizabeth died at the age of 55 being buried in Lytchett Minster on 26th May 1871. Richard died on 6th jan 1885 leaving an estate of just £114. 12s. 6d. he was buried at Lytchett on 10th.

Genealogical Notes:-

(1). Because we have lost track of where his parents were between 1767 and 1771 it is difficult to be sure when he was actually born as opposed to being baptised and it has been the subject of much debate between several genealogists researching the family. His age at death in 1843 was given as 78 making him born around 1765. He died however in the Poole Union Workhouse, and the informant, a Mary Swadridge was unconnected with the family simply being another illiterate pauper, a servant who lived in the workhouse with her 2 children and she probably attended to him in the infirmary for which she would have received a small payment. George was also illiterate and probably ill when he entered the workhouse (he was working as an agricultural labourer in Lytchett Minster in 1841) so it is possible that she had to guess his age although 78 seems to be rather a precise guess. He is also listed in the first ever Census taken on 6th June 1841 where his age is registered as 70. These records however, unlike later Census returns, list ages in bands of 5 years so it indicates that he was born between 1767 and 1771. The return however was completed 2 years before his death and compiled from first hand knowledge as his eldest son; William Christopher supplied the information as head of the household to the enumerator. The third and possibly the most important piece of documentary evidence that we have is his baptism in Cheselbourne on 10th April 1772 so on balance it seems likely that he was born shortly before that, sometime in early 1771 as this would still be consistent with his age given in the Census. It's as well to remember that the population of England and Wales then amounted to a little over six and a half million people, a far cry from the sixty million of today and it is the first baptism of a George Christopher anywhere in Dorset that we can find. The next is not until 1806 and there is no other family of a William & Elizabeth bearing children at this time so even without tracking Christopher family changes in the location we can be sure we have the right lineage.

(2). After his father's death in June 1770 his mother gave birth to an illegitimate daughter she had baptised as Charity Fancy in Lytchett Minster on 28th July 1771. She remained a spinster and died at Lytchett being buried there on 1st Feb 1837.

(3). Lawrence DOREY (1742-1827) married Mary SNELLING (1743-1816) in her home parish of Winfrith Newburgh on 20th Dec 1765. Although Jane's parents had married in Winfrith Newburgh her father came from Corfe Castle having been baptized there on 21 Feb 1742 the 3rd child of a Henry & Elizabeth Dorey. His family had moved to West Lulworth around 1748 so they settled there after marriage. Mary Snelling was the 3rd child of John Snelling and Mary Still who had also married in Winfrith Newburgh in 1736. Mary Still’s ancestry has been traced and she was also baptized in Winfrith on 20 Apr 1714 the 3rd child of a Christopher Still and Mary Meech who had married there 6 Apr 1702 so Jane’s grandparents had been born in the late 1600’s. Lawrence and Mary had nine children all baptised at Holy Trinity Church in West Lulworth:- (1) Lawrence bap 20 Dec 1767 who was buried 20th July 1783 (2) John bap 24th Dec 1769 (3) Mary bap 29 Dec 1771 (4) Elizabeth bap 23 Jan 1774 (5) Jane bap 17 Mar 1776 (6) Joseph bap 6th May 1780 (7) Ann bap 1st Sep 1784 (8) Sarah bap 6th May 1787 and (9) Lawrence bap 30th Aug 1789.

(4). Betty is a colloquial form of Elizabeth and she was referred to as Betty in Poor law records in Cheselbourne

(5). From Anglo Saxon times there had been an obligation on every grown male to defend his country, or at least his county. From 1558 these men had been divided into ten groups. Those with an income of £5-£10 per year had to have a coat of plated armour, a steel cap, a longbow with arrows, and either a bill or a halberd. Men with an annual income of £10-£20 per year had to find the same but with a harquebus [type of early gun on tripod] instead of a bill or halberd, and a morion [helmet] instead of a cap. Additional Armour had to be supplied by the gentry, and the scale of requirements went right up to the men worth £1,000 per year or more. They were required to supply 16 horses, 80 suits of light armour, 40 pikes, 30 longbows, 20 bills or halberds, 20 harquebuses and 50 steel caps or helmets.

(6). St Marys Church East Morden was completely rebuilt in 1873 and British History online states that the "Font: in nave, is an octagonal bowl, formerly with paneled sides but re-cut, with moulded under edge, 12th-century, on modern stem and surrounding shafts". The picture above was taken by myself when I visited the church in 2008, but varies from current pictures such as those on Flickr.

(7). Mary Christopher (1798-1838 ) married John Crees (1797-1848) in Sherborne Abbey on 3rd Aug 1824. They had 5 children all baptised in the Abbey (1) Eleanor Crees (1825-1844) bap 17th Aug 1825 who died a spinster still only aged 19 (2) John Christopher Crees (1827-1900) bap 7th Mar 1827 who became a wheelwright and married Priscilla Coombs (1822-1911) and had 8 children born at Gillingham and Child Ockford in Dorset. (3) Matilda Crees (1829-1848) bap 5th Aug 1829 who also died a spinster when she was 19 (4) Eliza Crees (1831-Aft 1861) bap 21st Dec 1831 who became a cook and had moved to Kensington in London by 1861 (5) Charlotte Crees (1834-Aft 1861) bap 17th Jun 1834 who became a seamstress and was living at the Masons Arms in Stoke Sub Hamdon in Somerset by 1861. Mary unfortunately died still only aged 38 according to her death certificate [actually 40] at 4pm on March 10th 1838 at Marten Magna from an 'affection of the head'.

(8). William Christopher (1800-1853) gives his birth place as Wareham in the 1851 Census.

(9). Ann Christopher (1803-1863) who was literate married Henry Noble by Licence at St James Church in Clerkenwell on 29th Jan 1827 with her sister Sarah as one of the witnesses. They had 8 children (1) Elizabeth Jane bap 16 Sep 1827 (2) George bap 22 Mar 1829 & buried Victoria Park hackney 25 Sep 1859 (3) Rachel bap 5th Feb 1832 died 2nd qtr 1848 (4) Mildred Hannah bap 2nd Mar 1834 buried Golden Lane cemetery 15th Apr 1835 (5) Ann bap 5th feb 1836 (6) Thomas born 3rd qtr 1844 & buried Watford Hertfordshire 3rd qtr 1894 (7) John Henry born 2nd qtr 1846 (8) Rachel bap 9th Apr 1848.

(10). Lawrence Christopher (1808-1871) gives his place of birth as Lower Lytchett in 1851; Lytchett in 1861 and Lytchett Matravers in 1871. The only Christopher families producing children anywhere close to that area are George and Jane and George's brother James & Jane. Three of George and Jane's other children, Thomas baptised 14 Apr 1811 in Lytchett Minster, Joseph baptised 25 Apr 1813 in Morden but his residence given as Lytchett, and Eliza baptised in Morden 26 Apr 1818, all refer to Lower Lytchett in the 1851 or 1861 census returns as their birthplace. We also have the fact that George and Jane like most other people at that time named their children after parents etc. Mary was their 1st child and this was the name of Jane’s mother [Mary Snelling]. William, the next child, has the name of George’s father. The third girl is named Elizabeth after George’s mother [Elizabeth Dark] so it's not at all surprising to find a child named Lawrence after Jane’s father Lawrence Dorey. An added factor is that a Christian name of Lawrence was very unusual. As an example my Master file of Christopher’s in Dorset has 3,113 entries but there are only 5 for the name Lawrence these being his birth, his marriage, his death; his burial and an entry in Hunts Directory for 1851 which also refers to him as a basket maker in Sherborne.

(11). Sarah Christopher (1809-1857) Her husband Richard Onley (1808-1851) was born at Isleworth but baptised at St Mary the Virgin church at twickenham on 4th June 1808.

(12). Daniel Lovett (1814-1858) His 7 children were:- James Lovett (1847-1934); Richard Bottle Lovett (1850-1894); Henry Lovett (1852-1856); George Bottle Lovett (b1854) ; Louisa Lovett (1855-1856) ; Mary Jane Loivett (b1857) and John Lovett (b1858). His death at the GRO is recorded under Daniel LOVATT, district of Marylebone London Ref 1a 311. I have placed a copy on This gives his aged correctly as 44 and his trade as a journeyman baker. The informant was Mary Lovatt [i.e. Maty Bottle]

(13). "The Wordsworth Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence" by George C. Kohn ISBN 1-85326-7538

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