Susan Bradley, who was born in Buxhall in Suffolk in 1812, was the sister of my great grandfather John Bradley. On 12th January 1835 she married John Lewis in Buxhall and went away with him to Flowton in Suffolk to live as a Miller’s wife. By 1841 they have three children, John, Susannah and Elizabeth, and by 1851 they have added Anak, Thomas, Mary Ann, Jane and Helen. A fourth son Frederic was born in 1853, and in 1854 John Lewis died at the young age of 46. Susan however continued to run the mill with the help of her two sons, John and Thomas, as can be seen in the 1861 census where all three have the occupation Miller. Her daughter Jane suffered a near fatal accident at the mill on Wednesday 2nd February 1859. When playing with her brother she was hit on the head by one of the sails of the windmill “which was going at full speed at the time.” Suffering from concussion, a fractured jaw and the loss of two front teeth, and “bleeding profusely ... it was thought she could not survive.” But the ten-year-old was already recovering by the time the Ipswich Journal went to press the following Saturday. It was probably the sale of the Mill in 1867 that precipitated her move away from Suffolk, and the sale advertisement from the Ipswich Journal for the 2nd March that year shows just what a business she had been running. By 1871 all of John and Susan’s children had left Flowton: their daughter Mary Ann had died there in 1853, as had son John in 1869. Susannah who was working in Greenwich as a servant in 1861, married William Joseph Smith Austen in Chelsea in July 1868 when one of the witnesses was Eleanor Frances Sinden who was to marry Anak Lewis in Holborn in November that same year. Elizabeth Lewis who was working as a servant in Betchworth in Surrey in 1861 married William Elliott in 1863 and they went straight away to New Zealand. Thomas Lewis married Elizabeth Meakins in Suffolk in 1867, and moved to East Bergholt where he continued working as a miller. In 1871 Jane is working as a Housemaid in a small private girls’ school at 3 Lansdown Road in Lewisham; the head of the household is John Bennett, an accountant, while his wife is the schoolmistress. Helen, an unmarried dressmaker aged 21 is lodging in Westminster; she was to marry William Lionel Cumming in Streatham in 1878. Their mother Susan is living in Clapham with her son Frederic, she is described as a Domestic, while his occupation is Porter. In 1881 Susan is living at 57 Johnson Street, St George in the East, with her widowed son Thomas, who is a Journeyman Miller, and his sons Thomas and John who had been born in East Bergholt. She died here at the age of 68 in September that same year. Her son Anak also followed the trade of Miller. By 1861 he had left home and was lodging and working in Layham in Suffolk. On the 1st November 1868 he married Eleanor Frances Sinden at St Andrew, Holborn; in 1871 and 1881 they are living at 39 Hardinge Street in Stepney, and he is working as a Miller. Eleanor died on the 7th March 1883 at 52 Arlingford Road in Brixton from heart disease; her brother-in-law, Henry Armstrong of 141 Akerman Road, in attendance, was the informant. She was buried in the Brompton Cemetery in a common grave on the 12th March. Henry Armstrong was the husband of Anak’s sister Jane, who had suffered the near-fatal accident at the Flowton windmill in 1859. They had a daughter Gertrude Jane born at Greenwood near Barnet in Hertfordshire on the 23rd February 1876, when Henry’s occupation is stated by Jane, who registered the birth, as Coachman, Domestic servant. Samuel Harris and his family were living in the house at this time, and when Samuel died there on the 5th September 1874 in his 70th year, he is described as “of Mansell-street, Whitechapel, merchant, and of Greenwood, near Barnet, and Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex”; his “personal estate being sworn under 90,000l”. Samuel’s widow Elizabeth is living in the house in 1881 with her son and daughter and five servants, while the Lodge and Stables provide homes for a Bailiff and Coachman and their families. It seems likely that Henry was employed at Greenwood and that Jane was already living with him as his wife in the Stables. They didn’t stay at Greenwood, as Henry and Jane married on the 23rd February 1878 in the Poplar Register Office, two months before she gave birth to their second child, a son, Frederick Henry on the 23rd May. With her brother Anak and sister Helen as witnesses it is tempting to see Henry being made to do the decent thing by their sister Jane. On the marriage certificate Henry gives his age as 26, his occupation as Labourer, and states his father James to be a Bailiff; they both give the address of 6 Mellish Street, which is also the address on Frederick Henry’s birth certificate. Henry registered this birth, calling himself Henry James Armstrong, with the occupation of Labourer. Strangely this family - now with an additional daughter Bessie (Elizabeth Fanny, born on the 7th December 1880 at 23 Vivian Road, Peckham, with the birth registered by Henry James Armstrong, a Miller) - appears in the 1881 census at 5 Flaxman Road, Lambeth, with the surname Bradley: was this a mistake on the part of the enumerator, or were the Armstrongs hiding something? Henry gives his age as 29, his occupation as Gardener, and his birthplace as Stowmarket, Suffolk. By 1891 it seems that Henry has left the scene - died, or done a runner? - for Jane is describing herself as a widow and is living with her sister Susannah Austen, and her daughter Louisa, at 37 Stansfield Road, Lambeth. They are both “living on her own means”, and Susannah also says she’s widowed, though William Joseph Smith Austen didn’t die until 1894. The younger Armstrong children, now including Susannah Alice who was born in 1883, are all in the New School at Norwood, Lambeth’s school for the infant poor; the youngest, Frances Helen had died there in 1887 at the age of two. Gertrude Jane had left the school on the 18th October 1890 to go into service; by 1901 she has moved to Norfolk to live with her aunt and uncle Helen and William Cumming; never marrying, she died in Norwich in 1960. In 1901 Jane, now describing herself as married, is living at 142 Mayall Road, Brixton, with her daughter, Susan[nah Alice]. Jane died on the 11th April 1905 at 247 Mayall Road, Herne Hill, her death was registered by her daughter Gertrude Jane, briefly returned from Norfolk and living at the same address. She describes her mother as the wife of Henry Armstrong, Groom (Domestic servant), but I suspect she was referencing his past occupation, and that no-one knew whether Henry was dead or alive, working or not. That same year 1905, Susannah Alice died and Henry and Jane’s daughter Elizabeth (Bessie) Frances (Fanny) married Augustus Holt at St Jude’s in Peckham: she believed her father Henry to have been a Florist. The Holts, like Gertrude Jane, ended up living in Norfolk, and had one son, Augustus Lionel born in 1906 in Deptford. Frederick Henry Armstrong who was aged 11 and in the Lambeth New School in Norwood in 1891, signed up for 12 years in the Royal Navy in 1900. He served as Stoker 2nd and 1st Class until the 10th May 1912, when he joined the Royal Fleet Reserve at Chatham the next day, and served all through WWI again as a Stoker 1st Class. He had married Agnes Nevard in 1912, and on leaving the Navy he worked as a Railway fitter; they do not appear to have had any children. Henry Armstrong’s origins and fate are rather obscure: how much credence do you give to any statement made by a man who gives the wrong surname in a census return? But if you take what he says apart from that name at face value - and accepting that he’s added a couple of years to his age - then there was a Henry Armstrong born in, or just outside, Stowmarket, in 1854 to parents James and Jane (he appears as Harry in the 1861 census). One of James’ sons, Thomas, also spent time working as a Coachman, and when he married he described his father as a Steward, not so far removed from Bailiff. I can’t find Henry in any records after the 1861 census until his daughter Gertrude Jane’s birth was registered in 1876. His marriage to Jane follows, and then the births of their other children in 1878, 1881, 1883 and 1885, and his registration of Anak’s wife’s death in 1883. His adoption of the middle name James seems to have been a late development, and his occupation of Miller at the end of 1880 would suggest he was working, for a time at least, with Anak, which goes a way towards explaining why he registered Eleanor’s death. Then he disappears again, leaving Jane to cope with the five children, who all ended up in the Norwood Schools; Jane seems to have relied on the support of her sisters to keep herself out of the workhouse. After Eleanor’s death Anak, like his brother-in-law Henry Armstrong, disappears from the British records; but unlike Henry, Anak re-surfaces in the 1890s in New Zealand, and gets three mentions in the Christchurch newspapers: one on the death of his second wife, and two on his own death. He had family already in this area of New Zealand. His aunt, his mother’s sister, Ann Bradley had married Robert Grimwood on the 27th July 1835 in Buxhall. They sailed from Gravesend on the 11th June 1858 with seven children aged from 20 years to 18 months on the Zealandia and arrived on the 21st September 1858 at Lyttelton, ultimately settling in Rangiora. In addition his sister Elizabeth Lewis, who had married William Elliott in Brockham in Surrey on the 10th March 1863, was in New Zealand at Bennetts Junction between Christchurch and Rangiora when her daughter Annie Elizabeth Elliott was born in 1865. Anak married the widow Alethea Clarissa Byers early in 1895. She is mentioned a couple of times in the New Zealand papers, once in 1887 for bankruptcy, and in 1884 and 1885 as the owner of a confectioner’s shop in Manchester Street, Christchurch. Her death was reported in the Star on the 18th June 1895: June 15, 1895, at the residence of her son, Charles Byers, Manchester Street south, Alethea Lewis, the dearly beloved wife of Mr Anak Lewis, of the Plough Inn, Rangiora. She was buried in the Barbadoes Street Cemetery in Christchurch, where her first husband John Byers had been buried in 1882, and also her sister Caroline Mary Ann Brisco, and her niece Lucy Brisco, both in 1862. Although according to the death record on the New Zealand BMD web site she was 50 years old, she had been born Alethea Clarissa Hughes and was baptised in Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire on 21st September 1834, so was in reality in her sixty-first year. She had married John Byers in 1858 in Elstree, and in 1861 they are living in Rickmansworth where John is a Foreman in a Bottle envelope factory. By 1871 they have moved to Bromley St Leonard in east London, and John is now a Bottle envelope maker, while Alethea’s brother Godfrey is described as a partner, with the same occupation. Strangely there is no mention of any children, let alone a son Charles, in the censuses, nor were there any baptised or even registered in this period with the mother’s maiden name Hughes. From Foreman to maker sounds like a demotion, so perhaps John and Alethea thought they had a better chance of furthering themselves in New Zealand, where they already had family among the Briscoes. Alethea’s sister Caroline had been born in 1825, and she married James Brisco in Shoreditch in 1852; he was born in Shropshire, and that is where they say they are from when they emigrated to New Zealand in 1861. The details on the emigration papers match those on the 1861 census which finds them still in Elstree: James, 31 and a Greengrocer; Caroline, 33; Caroline, 6; Eliza, 4; Hannah, 3; Lucy, 1. After his wife’s death James married again in 1863, and with his second wife, Jane Grant, had at least eight children; he died in 1915 at the age of 87. Anak died just over a year after Alethea on the 20th September 1896 at the Black Horse Inn, Lincoln Road, aged 56, and his funeral took place two days later at the Public Cemetery. Following up Eleanor Frances Sinden’s family in a flight of genealogical curiosity I discovered a royal connection. Her parents were James Sinden and Charity Kelly who had married in Chester in 1832, and who had seven children born between 1832 and 1850, of whom Eleanor was the fourth, born on the 10th January 1840 in White Horse Street in Westminster. On her baptism at St George Hanover Square on the 9th February that year her father’s occupation is stated to be Servant, and in the 1841 census he is not living with his family, he is instead a servant in the household of the Duke of Cambridge at 94 Piccadilly. Charity, living not far away in Whitehorse Street with the children, is a Grocer. At the earlier baptisms his occupation was Mercantile Clerk (as it was said to be at the time of his marriage) but at the baptisms of his two youngest children in 1847 and 1850 he is Butler to HRH the Duke of Cambridge - Prince Adolphus Frederick, the seventh son of King George III - and their address is Kew. On Tuesday 16th July 1850 Prince Adolphus was buried at Kew, and James Sinden, along with the other “pages of his late Royal Highness” led the funeral procession. James Sinden’s youngest child and only son was born on the 26th August 1850, and was baptised Adolphus Albert on the 17th November that year. In the 1851 census James’ address is HRH Duke of Cambridge, St James’ Palace, so James appears to have been inherited, along with the title, by his son Prince George; Charity and the children are living at Park Cottages, Kew, and she is listed living there still in an 1853 directory as a lodging house keeper. Within two weeks of the 1851 census James himself was dead, and was buried, like the Duke, at St Anne’s, Kew on the 17th April, aged 42. Intriguingly the newspapers in early 1896 carried - among many others - a request for information on next of kin or heirs of James Sinden who died at St James' Palace in 1851. This is somewhat surprising, as at this time three of his daughters were still alive, two of them married with children. Another surprising thing is that his death does not appear to have been registered! His wife, Charity, died in 1878 at 6 Cumberland Street, Pimlico, and was buried in the Brompton Cemetery in a common grave on the 4th December. Of his seven children, five (including Eleanor) were buried there between 1879 and 1926. One wonders how much of her early life around the royal palaces Eleanor remembered or had even been aware of, for on her marriage to Anak Lewis she gives her father’s occupation as “Grocer”, something her mother was at one time, but which her father had never been.
The Bradleys Susan Bradley, Anak Lewis and the royal butler
Supplement to the London Gazette of Tuesday the 16th July. Thursday July 18th 1850. GoogleBooks
The British Imperial Calendar, or General Register of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and Its Colonies (etc.). Arthur Varenham, 1849 GoogleBooks
Although James and Jane’s family tree appears several times on Ancestry, most are very quiet about Harry/Henry, except for some who would have him mistakenly going to Iowa: if they had correctly read the American census they would see his birthplace is given as Australia, and he can be found on both the 1871 and 1881 censuses in north- east England, first at a reform school in Stannington, Northumberland, age 13, and later married to Elizabeth and working as a coal miner in Tunstall, Durham, and with a son also called Henry, born in 1880. They had a daughter Elizabeth born at the beginning of 1882, and although the GRO index shows that the mother’s maiden name for both children is Parry, I can find no record of a marriage. This Henry went to the United States later that year where he continued to work as a coal miner; he was followed two years later by Elizabeth and the children.