The Christophers of Cheselbourne in Dorset
John Christopher (1844-1923) and Ellen Channing (1855-1924)

Link to House of CHRISTOPHER Family Master File

© Researched & Family Pictures by Elizabeth Draper - compiled by Mike Russell OPC for Dorchester

St Martin's Church - Cheselbourne

© Picture Copyright Miss Steel and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

St Martins Church plays a very important part in the history of the Christopher Family. My own 5 times great grandfather William Trask Christopher was the very first Christopher to appear in the Parish Registers when he was baptised there on 12th July 1741 but it was his elder brother Joseph Christopher who married Ruth Bussell (1776-1857) in Cheselbourne on 10 October 1796 that accounts for the vast majority of descendants in the parish. The Christopher Family is very large and complicated by intermarriage and the repeated use of the same names, so I thought that I would start this account with a clear statement as to John Christophers paternal ancestry :-

John was the 4th child of William Bussell Christopher (1808-1848) & Elizabeth nee Arnold (1814-1863)

His grandparents were Joseph Christopher (1774) and Ruth Bussell (1776-1863)

His great grandparents were Simon Christopher (1730-1798) and Elizabeth Punch (1748-1787)

His 2x great grandparents were Joseph Christopher (b.1702) & Joan Hooper (1704-1781)

His 3x great grandparents were Humphrey Christopher (1665-1724) and Ann (d1756)

His 4x great grandparents were Humphrey Christopher (1627-1703) and Ann (Hannah) Scamell (1624-1668)

His 5x great grandparents were Robert Christopher (1597-1635) and Elizabeth Top (b.1600)

His 6x great grandparents were Charles Christopher (1569-1629) and Anna (1571-1627)

John Christopher (1844-1923)
Agricultural Labourer

John Christopher was baptised in St Martins Church in Cheselbourne on 29th November 1844 the 4th child of William Bussell Christopher (1808-1848) & Elizabeth nee Arnold (1814-1863). He was the 62nd Christopher to be baptised in the 12th century font shown in the picture to the left. He grew up in the village with his siblings but his father William died in August 1848 when he had still to reach the age of 4, so it's unlikely that he had much of a memory of him. His maternal grandmother Elizabeth Arnold nee Riggs (1776-1851) then aged 72 lived with them, and was officially designated as a Pauper so received a few shillings each week for her support from the Overseers of the Poor. With 5 children and her mother to support life must have been very hard for his mother and by the time of the April 1851 Census we find them all living in Cheselbourne. His mother (still only aged 37), his elder brothers, James (aged 12), and Willoughby (aged 11), are all shown as being employed as Farm Labourers whilst he and his sisters Emily and Edith are attending school.

Elizabeth's mother died later the same year and was buried in St Martin's graveyard on 22nd Dec 1851. John also therefore had to become an agricultural labourer from a very early age to help support the family and the 1861 Census shows his mother has also now been labeled as a Pauper and therefore in receipt of poor relief. When John was 18 on 18th March 1863 his mother died, still only 49 years old and joined his grandmother in St Martin's graveyard. What must have been particularly distressing for him was that only two years later, Emily his closest sibling, also died still only aged 22. This seems to have marked a low point for the family as they all gradually became more self sufficient and made their way in the world.

His elder brother James was the first to marry in 1859, followed by Willoughby in 1861. On 25th April 1868 his surviving younger sister Edith married in St Martin's church to Christopher Trash a native of Cheselbourne, and John acted as one of the two witnesses. After marriage they lived at Kingscombe a tiny hamlet half way between Cheselbourne and Piddletrenthide and in April 1871 John was living with them and their one year old daughter. John was to wait another 2 years until he was 28 to Marry Ellen Channing.

Ellen Channing (1855-1924)
Born Long Ash Farm - near Milton Abbas

Picture of Milton Abbas c1851 © Copyright RIBA British Architectural Library Drawings & Archives Collection: Long Ash Farm available to view on Google maps

Ellen Channing:
She was born in the first quarter of the year 1855 at Long Ash Farm which sits half way between Milton Abbas and Bingham's Melcombe in Dorset and in 1851 was described as being a farm of 300 acres. She was privately baptised and her baptism and place of residence recorded in the parish register of St James Church at Milton Abbas (2). The creation of Milton Abbas in the 18th century is quite interesting so I have provided this link to an account I wrote some years ago for OPC. Ellen was the 4th of 8 children of John Channing (1822-1889) and Caroline Roberts (1824-1903) and although she was born at Milton Abbas they soon moved with the family to Piddlehinton where her father worked at Muston Farm just south of the village. As a teenager she went into service in the parish of Moreton and she married John Channing there in St Nicholas and St Magnas Church on 11th Oct 1873. His brother-in-law Christopher Trash was one of the witnesses the other being Christopher's younger sister Fanny Trash

11th Oct 1873
Marriage of John Christopher to Ellen Channing

St Nicholas & St Magnus Church - Moreton
T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935) i.e. Lawrence of Arabia is buried in Moreton Graveyard

Pictures © Copyright Elizabeth Draper:
    The picture left above is of Ellen Channing when she was quite young around the age of 18 so taken c1873. That on the right shows Ellen's son Arthur Christopher , who was identified by his daughter Ethel Winifred Dunford nee Christopher (1907-1971) who said he is with 'Great Granny Christopher'. As Arthur's paternal grandma Elizabeth Christopher nee Arnold died in 1863 this has to be his maternal grandmother Caroline Christopher nee Roberts (1824-1903). Arthur looks to be aged about 3 or 4 years old so the photograph dates to about 1876/7. It was taken at Adam Gosney's studio in Alington Street in Dorchester and Kelly's Street directory for Dorchester shows he was still operating there in 1889. Adam Gosney (1844-1921) was born in Bradford Abbas and known to be operating there as a photographic artist from 1866. He soon moved however to Sherborne to live, running his business initially from Long Street and by 1881 from Half Moon Street with his wife Harriet. He never lived in Dorchester but as can be seen from the back of the photograph had studio's not only in Sherborne but also in Yeovil, Dorchester and Crewkerne. His wife Harriet acted as his assistant, looked after their house and studio in Sherborne, and brought up their daughter Kate who was born in the summer of 1870. The other businesses were almost certainly franchises with Adam visiting them in rotation to take photographs so he was probably only in Dorchester one day a week.
John and Ellen:
After marriage they moved to where John could get work, and we know he was living at Middle Farm in Cheselbourne circa 1874-1881; at Whitehall in Piddlehinton 1882/3, Cowleaze Little Piddle in April 1891; Godmanstone 1891-1892; Higher Kingston Stinsford 1893 c1895; Puddletown 1897-1901; Kingston Russell in 1905; and No.36 Winterbourne St Martin from 1906 until his death in 1923. John was buried there in St Martin's Church on 3rd March 1923 aged 78 years. Ellen aged 70 passed away the following year and joined him on 13th Dec 1924.

Their Children:-     [Note: © Copyright Pictures kindly provided by Elizabeth Draper:]
According to the 1911 Census John and Ellen had 14 children of which only 5 were still living. As the return was completed by Ellen unless she lost count we have to assume she was correct. I however can only trace 13 which includes the 5 survivors. I have listed the 13 known children below.
    (1) Emily Ellen Christopher (1874-1919) Baptised at St Martin's Church on 24th May 1874 as a teenager she worked as a domestic servant for a local farmer James Lovelace and his family in Piddlehinton.

    At the age of 23 on 11th October 1897 she gave birth in Puddletown to an illegitimate son she named Alfred Charles Christopher (1897-1988)

      Alfred was privately baptised on 5th November 1897 by Reverend Frederick Earle Freeman MA who had been Vicar of St Mary's Church in Puddletown since 1868. He was more or less brought up as just another child of John and Ellen's as his mother continued to live with them but as stated above had to work locally as a Domestic Servant. By 1906 they were all living at 32 Martinstown [i.e. Winterbourne St Martin] .

      During the First World War, after he reached the age of 18, he enlisted at Dorchester into the 2nd Dorset Regiment (Soldier 25692). He was then transferred to the 8th Battalion Hampshire Regiment (Soldier 41383). Unfortunately his service records do not appear to have survived but we know from his medal card and the official medal rolls that he was awarded the British War and Victory medals which suggests that he did not serve overseas and because of his age he may have joined late in the war. After the war he re-enlisted into the Royal Artillery (Soldier 726129) on 5th June 1920 with an annotation which states 'to complete 2 years service'. It is useful however as it confirms his age as being 22 years and 8 months and his birth as in Puddletown. As his mother died in 1919 he gives his next of kin as his grandmother Ellen Christopher who was still living at 32 Martinstown.

      He married Ivy Maud Martin the daughter of Henry Osborne Martin on 6th Feb 1932 at Wool in Dorset and lived at a remote farmhouse near Cranborne. He also served his country in the 2nd WW (Soldier 1658722) and the Territorial Army which he left due to age (57) in 1954. Alfred died at the age of 90 in Ringwood in Hampshire in April 1988.

    In the 1st quarter of 1903 Emily Ellen gave birth to an illegitimate daughter she named Dorothy Ellen Christopher whom she had baptised in St Mary's church in Maiden Newton on 7th April 1903 .

    By April 1911 she has returned with her 2 children to Winterbourne St Martin to live with her parents and on 22nd April 1914 Emily was a witness at the wedding of her younger sister Annie to Edward Vallance. The following year in the 4th quarter of 1915 she married Alfred Thomas Tucker. They lived in Winterbourne St Martin until her death at the age of 45, which is wrongly recorded as 37 at her burial, which took place at St Martin's church in the village on 3rd Feb 1919. Alfred remarried in the 1st quarter of 1922 to Elsie G Young.
    (2) Samuel Edward Christopher (1875-1950)

    Baptised at St Martin's church on 28th Nov 1875 Samuel lived with his parents and siblings on Middle Farm in Cheselbourne until the family moved to Piddlehinton in 1882. They lived at Cowleaze in Little Piddle where he was working as a shepherd before the age of 15. Within the family he was known as 'Ned' although he often signed himself simply as 'Edward Christopher'. As a young man he moved around Dorset with the family as his father found work on different farms. In June 1904 his sister Rose died unmarried aged 27 whilst he and his family were living in the Manor of Kingston Russell. This hamlet is situated adjacent to Long Bredy in Dorset under 8 miles west by north of Dorchester. The Manor house is said to have been for four centuries the seat of the Russell family but by 1870 it was a farm.

    Whilst working on the farm as a shepherd he met Alice Wills (1880-1966) who lived in nearby Long Bredy. Alice was the 2nd of at least ten children of William Thomas Wills (1854-1938) and Mary Jane Greening (1858-1934) and she had been baptised at St Peter's church in Long Bredy on 7th Nov 1880. Her father although baptised at Maiden Newton as William Thomas Wills also went by the name of William Henry Whittle Wills and his name is recorded as such on her marriage certificate. Alice had a younger sister Phoebe Gertrude Wills (1885-1970) who as shown in paragraph 10.7 below later married Samuel's brother Arthur Christopher. Her father lost his right hand in a threshing accident (Note:- Still need to search local newspapers at British Library)

    Samuel was 29 years old when he married Alice in St Peter's church in Long Bredy on 28th November 1904. The last of Alice's 9 siblings, Lily Freda Whittle Wills (1905-1922), was born the following year and baptised in the font at St Peter's on the 11th June. Unfortunately this was followed in January 1906 by the death of her 23 year old sister Rosina Annie Eliza Wills (1882-1906) by which time Alice was already 5 months pregnant with their first child. Samuel & Alice had 3 children (see below) and these are shown in the photograph left which was probably taken when they were living at West Knighton not long after the April 1911 Census when the three girls were aged:- Nellie 4 years 11 months; Dorothy 3 years 3 months and Kathleen 1 year 6 months. Samuel was 35 and Alice 30. Kathleen looks a bit older that 18 months so possibly taken late summer that year.

    By April 1914 they had moved to Winterbourne St Martin and by 1918 to live at 'Coryates' in Portesham in Dorset and were joined in 1920 for a time by Samuel's younger brother Arthur and his wife who was Alice's younger sister Phoebe. Samuel died here at the age of 74 in March 1950 followed by Alice at the age of 85. She was buried at Portesham on 7th March 1966.

        (2.1) Nellie May Christopher (1906-1992)

        Nellie was born on 11th May 1906 and her birth place is recorded in the 1911 Census as 'Haycrafts' in the Isle of Purbeck. 'Haycrafts' was a tiny hamlet to the south of Harman's Cross which itself lies about 4 miles west of Swanage. It is now reduced to a couple of farm cottages, a lane (Haycrafts Lane) and a quarry. Nellie married when she was 17 years old on Christmas Eve 1923 in St Peter's church in the parish of Portesham in Dorset to Allen Charles Harris (1901-1980). They had several children born in the Weymouth area that we know of, namely Bertram Charles Harris (1927-1996), and Harold Harris born in the 4th quarter of 1928, and a daughter Evaline (sic possibly spelt Evelyn ) born circa 1935. Allan died at the age of 79 in March 1980 when his death was recorded as having been in the district of Weymouth. Nellie also died there at the age of 85 in January 1992.

        (2.2) Dorothy Christopher (1908-1975)

        Dorothy was born in the thatched cottage shown in the picture above at West Knighton in Dorset on 19th January 1908. She is the shorter of the two girls leaning against their mother Alice in the doorway and was then aged about 3 and a half. Dorothy known within the family as 'Sis' married during the 4th quarter of 1924 in the district of Weymouth when she was still only 16 years old to Ernest J White and they had a son Ernest Edward White born in the district covered by Dorchester in September 1925. Dorothy died in the same area at the age of 67 in September 1975.

        (2.3) Kathleen Violet Christopher (1909-1997).

        Kathleen (Kit) was also born in the thatched cottage at West Knighton in Dorset on 6th Oct 1909 and is the youngest child leaning against her father Samuel in the picture above. Unlike her elder sisters she attained her age of maturity before marrying on 16th November 1931 to Henry (Harry) Edward Mills (1907-1963) at St Peter's church in Portesham which lies about 8 miles south west of Dorchester and only 2 miles from the coast. Henry (Harry) died in June 1963 at the relatively young age of 55 whilst Kathleen lived to be 88 passing away in November 1977.

    (3) Rose Christopher (1877-1904) Baptised at St Martins church on 13th May 1877 she grew up with her parents and siblings, initially at Middle Farm in Cheselbourne and from 1882 in Piddlehinton. In 1891 she migrated with them to Godmanstone and then Higher Kingstone in the parish of Stinsford. I cannot trace her as having entered service so she appears to have helped her mother run the family home until her marriage at the age of 22. Her Banns of marriage were read out in St Mary's church in Puddletown on the 19th and 26th March, and 2nd April 1899 and the following day she married Henry Robert Puckett (1869-1944) . Henry had been born about May 1869 and baptised at All Saints Church in Stoke Wake on 19th September 1869. He was the son of an agricultural labourer and carter by trade named James Trim Puckett and his wife Julia Ironside. His father seems to have been hired out each year to a different farm and so he traveled extensively being in Long Bredy in 1871; Winterbourne Abbas in 1876; Bovington 1880; Wool 1881/2; Owermoigne 1886; and Chaldon Herring in 1891.

    After marriage Henry worked on Southover farm in Tolpuddle where their only child Lily Louisa Puckett (1901-1956) was born in the 1st quarter of 1901. Unfortunately Rose died at Kingston Russell in Dorset still only 27 years old and was buried at Long Bredy on 15th June 1904. Henry remarried in Winterbourne Steepleton on 7th March 1905 to Alice Letitia Way (1881-1960) and they also a had daughter Gladys Puckett in 1906. Henry died at the age of 75 and was buried at Osmington on 19th Sep 1944. Alice lived to be 79 and died in Sep 1960.

    (4) Frank John Christopher (1879-1898) Baptised at Cheselbourne on 9th Feb 1879 he grew up with his siblings in the bosom of his family and reached the age of 20 before he died unmarried when the family was living in Puddletown He was buried at St Mary's church on 28th December 1898.

    (5) William Christopher (1880-1908) Born about November 1880 we have not been able to locate a baptism for him. His relatively short life followed a similar path to his elder brother Frank except he lived long enough for the family to have moved on from Puddletown to Maiden Newton in 1902, Kingston Russell by 1904 and finally Winterbourne St Martin where he died aged 27. He was buried in St Martin's church on 20th January 1898 as far as we know still a bachelor.

    (6) Robert Christopher (1882-1882) He tragically only lived for about 6 months. Born about May 1882 at Piddlehinton in Dorset he was buried there on 27th November the same year

    (7) Arthur Christopher (1883-1952)

    Arthur with his father's sheep dogs aged about 5 years (c1888) and later in the 1940's

    Arthur's birth Certificate shows that he was born where they lived on Whitehill Road in Puddletown on the 18th June 1883. Whitehill Road runs from Beacon Corner up to where the road divides into Coombe Road and New Street right by St Mary's Middle School. He was baptised on 2nd August 1883 at St Mary the Virgin Church in Piddlehinton. In April 1891 he was living with his parents at Cowleaze Little Piddle where his father worked as a shepherd and attending the local school. Like his elder brother Samuel he continued to live within the family unit probably working on the same farms as his father or within the immediate surrounding area. In April 1901 aged 17 for example he was working as a farm servant whilst the family lived in a cottage on the Moor at Puddletown. He remained close to his elder brother Samuel Edward throughout his life, so much so that when Samuel married Alice Wills in 1904 he met and later married her younger sister Phoebe.

      Phoebe Gertrude Wills (1885-1970) had been born on 17th November 1885 and like her sister Alice baptised on 13th December at St Peter's church in Long Bredy. As a teenager she went into service in Dorchester working in April 1901 when she was 15 years old as a domestic servant to a retired policeman called William Long and his family. She lived with them at No.3 South Street in the centre of Dorchester helping William's wife Sarah Ann look after the House and the younger of their 8 children. Interestingly William Long was by then employed by the Poor Law Union in Dorchester as a relieving officer and as such he would have received applications for relief and made payments when these were approved by the Board of Guardians and where appropriate issued orders to admit people to the workhouse there. Clearly a nice safe environment with a well off family for a 15 year old girl to work in.

    Their Banns of Marriage are recorded as having been read at Arthur's parish church of St Martin's in Winterbourne St Martin on Sunday 23rd and 30th June 1905 and probably also the 6th July 1905 although the resident vicar the Revd Kent omitted to complete the third registration. They married 2 days later on 9th July 1907 at her parish church of St Peter's in Long Bredy when Arthur was 24 and Phoebe 22. After marriage they lived in Winterbourne St Martin where their two children Ethel Winifred and Irene Phyllis were born.

    Ethel Winifred & Irene Phyllis Christopher (c1912)

      7.1 Ethel Winifred Christopher (1907-1971) Ethel was born on 28th December 1907 at Martinstown (Winterbourne St Martin) and baptised in St Martin's church on 23rd February 1908. She married at Portesham (3)presumably in St Peters Church on 25th Feb 1931 to a farmer Harold Richard Dunford. Harold had been born at Market Street in Abbotsbury on 17th June 1906, the son of a thatcher and Saddle Harness maker called Richard Robert William Dunford (1906-1976) and his wife Bessie nee Saunders (1866-1952). They had 4 children and Ethel died from cancer in September 1971 aged 63.

      7.2 Irene Phyllis Christopher (b.1909) Phyllis, as she was known throughout the family, was born at Martinstown on 17th February 1909. She had a son Leonard Arthur Christopher (1928-2007) born at Bournemouth on 26th October 1928 and married Leonard J Smith in the first quarter of 1934 by whom she had a son Dennis Smith in 1935. Phyllis died at the age of 70 in the district of Weymouth in May 1979.

    In January 1908 Arthur's bachelor brother William Christopher died and was buried at St Martin's on 20th still only aged 27. In the latter half of 1912 they moved to live in Osmington where they remained throughout the first world war during which his younger brother Eli was killed in Flanders. After the war in the second half of 1919 they moved again to reside at No. 3 New Buildings in the parish of Portesham which is where Arthur was probably buried as his death is recorded in the Weymouth district of Dorset in Dec 1952 when his age was given as being 69. Phoebe's residence at her death on 13th Dec 1970 at the age of 85 was recorded in the newspaper as being at 1 Castle Hill Cottages, Abbotsbury but her funeral was at 2.30pm on the 17th at Portesham church .

    (8) Eliza Christopher (1885-1902) She was born at Piddlehinton on 18th May 1885 and baptised at the local church of St Mary's on 2nd August. She grew up at Cowleaze in Little Piddle and remained with the family when they moved to live on the Moor at Puddletown. By the age of 15 she was working locally as a general domestic servant but died when she was 17 on November 1902 when she was buried at Maiden Newton on the 8th of that month.

    (9) Kate Christopher (1887-1897) Born about August 1887 at Piddlehinton she died at the age of 9 being buried at St Mary's church in Puddletown on 2nd July 1897

    (10) Jacob Christopher (1890-1891) Born in the first quarter of 1890 and baptised at St Mary's church in Piddlehinton on 6th April he died at the age of 11 months being buried there on 11th January 1891

    (11) Eli James Christopher (1891-1918)

    Eli was born about October 1891 at Godmanstone in Dorset and baptised there at the parish church of Holy Trinity on 25th October 1891. At the age of 19 in April 1901 he was still living with his family at Martinstown [i.e. Winterbourne St Martin] and working locally as a farm carter. Soon after that he obtained employment as a shepherd.

    During WW1 he was conscripted as a private on 15th Feb 1916 at Dorchester into the 8th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry (Soldier 5942) when he gave his age as being 25 years and 5 months and named his father as next of kin. His attestation papers also give a physical description which shows that he was 5 feet seven and three quarters inches tall (1.72mtr), he weighed 142 lbs (65kg) and had a chest measurement of 36 inches with a 2 inch expansion resulting in an assessment as 'good' overall physical condition. He was transferred to the 4th Battalion for training on 16th October (Regt No. 49806) who by that date were based at Seatram Harbour and part of the Tyne Garrison in Durham.

    He arrived in France on 11th January 1917 and was immediately posted to the 10th Battalion but the following day his orders were changed to the 14th. His medical records have survived and show that he was admitted to hospital several times. By the 8th of February he was already suffering from diarrhoea and admitted for treatment at the Wimereux hospital (near Calais) and by the 18th diagnosed with severe pyrexia (known by the troops as 'trench fever') and it was bad enough for him to be returned to England on the Hospital ship 'Canberra' and admitted to Napsbury Hospital near St Alban's. This was one of many Hospitals which had opened to deal with the huge influx of casualties from the front line in WW1. It started operations in September 1915 but Eli was first admitted on 27th February 1917 and by then the fever had abated somewhat but left him suffering from acute rheumatism brought on by the fever and conditions suffered in the trenches. He was in hospital for 50 days being released back to duty on 17th April 1917 but given a 10 day furlough to Martinstown.

    Having returned to duty on the 27th when he was posted to the 3rd Battalion for non combat duties having been graded as Ciii on leaving hospital. His next posting on 10th June was back to France with the 20th Battalion and a month later to the 22nd Battalion. On 25th September he was posted yet again to 6to the 19th Battalion and presumably upgraded for active duty. It was there that he was gassed and had to be again returned to England for treatment. This time he went to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital being admitted on the 9th November 1917 where he spent 15 days before being transferred to the Coonoor Auxiliary Hospital at Thorpe in Norwich for another 56 days to recuperate.

    Eli James Christopher (1891-1918)
    Coonoor Auxiliary Hospital at Thorpe in Norwich
    (Back row fifth from the left)

    Eli was discharged on 19th January 1918 to the Command Depot at Ripon with the Durham Light Infantry 3rd Reserves until 21st May when he left Ripon with the classification Aiii, and a note recommending light duties, and stating that he "is neurotic, has a febrile heart and has infected knee joints". He is discharged for employment meaning light duties, non combative. On the 19th June 1918 he embarked at Folkestone and landed at Boulogne in France. He was then posted to the 1/7th Durham Light Infantry Regt on 24th based at Etaples and joined the unit on the 27th.

    At this point in the war, Britain had defeated the German Spring Offensive and was gearing up for the 100 Days Offensive, which was hoped would push Germany back past the Hindenberg LIne. On 1tth July Eli James was sent to O/C Unit, to Base, and on the 26th July he joined the 1/9th Battalion in the Field. The Hundred Days Offensive began with the Battle of Amiens, 8 Aug 1918. The Fourth Army broke the German line south of the Somme, taking 330 guns and 17,000 prisoners, and killing 30,000 men. The Germans began to pull out of the salient and a fresh offensive by the Third Army at Albert began 21 August. By late August, the First Army had widened the attack further, with the second Battle of Arras. As the Germans were forced back, numerous battles took place along the Somme River and the Drocourt-Queant Line. It was probably during one of these many battles that Eli James was killed on 12th September 1918.

    He has no known grave, but is commemorated at the Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery burial at Haucourt, Department du Paris-de-Calis, Nord-Pas-de-Calis, France. He left a Will which is recorded under Soldiers Wills under the name James Christopher Soldier 49806 in the National Probate Calendar. His army records seem to show his beneficiaries as his mother Ellen who received his back pay and a war gratuity of £8.10s and his married younger sister Annie Vallance who received £5.

    (12) Annie Christopher (1893-1938) Born at Higher Kingston in the parish of Stinsford she was baptised at St Michael's church in the village on 12th November 1893. She moved with the family and at the age of 17 was living with them at Winterbourne St Martin and working locally as a general domestic servant. She married in the parish on 22nd April 1914 when she was aged 20 to Edward Selby Vallance (1888-1974) who was 26 and an agricultural carter from the parish of Charminster. Edward had been born at Tolpuddle in Dorset on 22nd June 1888 the son of Samuel Bushhead Vallance (1855-1914) and Mary Ann Atkins (1856-1917). His family had settled in Tolpuddle around the year 1883 and were still there in 1892 but by 1901 had moved to live at Moreton in Dorset and by 1911 Martinstown [i.e. Winterbourne St Martin] where Edward was working locally as a farm labourer and met Annie. They had a number of children in Dorset before moving to the Christchurch area in Hampshire where Annie died at the young age of 44 in September 1938. Edward lived to be 85 and died on 12th Feb 1974 at 2 Hawford Dene in Hampshire. Probate of his will and estate of £605 was granted on 29th March.

    (13) Lily Christopher (1894-1894) She was born at Higher Kingston Stinsford on 20th Dec 1894 & baptised at St Michael's church in the village on the 22nd but only lived for 9 days being buried there on 29th Dec 1894

Genealogical Notes:-      (by Mike Russell OPC for Dorchester & Fordington)

(1). Photographs by 'Billinghurst & Dovey' of Weymouth & Jersey. - This picture is of a member of the CHGRISTOPHER Family and was taken at their studio in Lower Bond Street in Weymouth.     Research Notes:-

    This company was actually a partnership between Thomas Henry Billinghurst and Walter Joseph Dovey and they gave their address on the back of their photographs as being 13 St Thomas Street in Weymouth and 121 High Street Ryde on the Isle of Wight. 'Billinghurst & Dovey' is listed in Kelly's Street Directory of 1889 for Weymouth at 13 St Thomas Street and was therefore operating as a partnership prior to that date.

    Thomas Henry Billinghurst (1861-1955) was born in Depford in Kent c1861 the son of Thomas Henry Billinghurst a bricklayer by his wife Fanny Cass. He married Maud Mary Wilton in his brides parish church of St Paul's at Kingston Hill in Surrey on 11th Jan 1885 when he gave his residence as Melcombe Regis and his occupation as that of Photographer. After marriage they settled in Uxbridge Middlesex where he raised a family 5 children 1886-1894. He traded under the name of 'Billinghurst & Smith' which was a partnership with Frederick George Smith and had premises at Kingston-upon-Thames; Hounslow and Weymouth. This partnership was official dissolved on 1st Jan 1887 and announced in the London Gazette on 4th Feb 1887. It also states that FG Smith would continue to trade at Kingston-upon-Thames whilst Thomas Henry Billinghurst would continue business at Hounslow and Weymouth.

    Walter Joseph Dovey is recorded as a photographer in the Melcombe Regis 1889 Jury List as living at West Terrace in Melcombe Regis and also in the April 1891 Census as living at 13 St Thomas Street within the civil parish of Melcombe Regis in the Borough of Weymouth. He is 26 years old, described as a Photographer and born in Westminster in London. With him is his 1st wife Laura Dovey (nee Payne) also aged 26 a native of St Helier in Jersey on the Channel Islands. Actually Walter was born in 1864 in St George Hanover Square in London the son of Joseph Dovey a confectioner by trade and his wife Mary Ann. In 1881 they were living at 4 Commercial Road in Melcombe Regis where Walter unmarried aged 17 was a cabinet maker. Laura was the daughter of Amice Payne (born c1814) a native of St Peters on Jersey (and a Merchant in Canada Fisharies) by his wife Emily. By 1881 Emily is widowed and Laura aged 16 unmarried and working as a milliner on Jersey. I have not been able to locate their marriage.

    The Partnership was officially dissolved on 31st December 1891 and announced in the London Gazette (issue 26290 page 3093) on 3rd May 1892. Walter's wife Laura died and was buried at Melcombe Regis on 15th December 1892. Walter remarried to Alice Maude Pearson in the 4th quarter of 1894 and continued to trade under his own name in Weymouth as he appears in the 1901 Census aged 36 still a photographer with his wife Alice a native of Boston in Lincolnshire and his 4 children all born in Weymouth. With them is his sister-in-law Clara Payne aged 30 born on Jersey St Heliers working as a photographers assistant. His business is also listed in Street directories such as Kellys for the year 1903. He was still at 13 St Thomas Street in Weymouth in the April 1911 Census and Electoral Registers up to 1915. Walter died 15 Dec 1922 at Boscombe Bournemouth.

    After the Partnership was dissolved in 1891 Thomas Henry Billinghurst continued to trade as a Photographer in London under his own name as T.H.Billinghurst Artistic Photographer of 56 St Andre's Uxbridge Middlesex

    A photographic artist Charles Carlisle age 32 from Windsor, Berks was listed as sole occupant of 121 High Street, Ryde in the 1891 census. He was recorded as an employer, but it is possible that up to the end of 1891 he was running the studio as a franchise of Billinghurst & Dovey. The net result of this investigation is that the picture is most likely to have been produced between 1887 and 1891. It shows a member of the CHRISTOPHER Family
(2) Birth of Ellen Channing (1855-1924) : The family only lived in Milton Abbas for a few years as her father was hired by different farms, probably at the annual hiring fair. They were living at Cattistock on 28th May 1852 when her elder brother Edmund William Channing was baptised there and in Piddlehinton by 1st quarter of 1860 when her younger sister Fanny was born. There is only one likely record recorded in GRO Births for an Ellen Channing - in the year 1855 1st qtr Blandford Dorset [ this district covers the parish of Milton Abbas] Ref 5a 255. There is also only one likely baptism :- at St James Church Milton Abbas {then often known as Abbey Milton) Entry 134 March 17th Private Baptism Ellen daughter of John and Catherine?? [should be Caroline] CHINNING [should be CHANNING] abode Long Ash [a farm] no occupation given Sponsors Ann Lovell Susan Vacher and John Rolls:

(3) Marriage of Ethel Winifred Christopher: GRO Marriages as Ethel W Christopher 1st quarter 1931 district of Weymouth Dorset Ref 5a 445 to Harold Richard Dunford ; Also CLDS Film 2427677 Harold Richard Dunford Male single born c1907 aged 24 father Richard Robert William Dunford married 25th Feb 1931 to Ethel Winifred Christopher aged 23 father Arthur Christopher

Fordington Page      OPC Page     Link to House of CHRISTOPHER Master File