Sunday, 28 May 2017

Eleanor Lavinia Swadling nee Price 1838 - 1913

Eleanor Lavinia Price was born sometime during the month of July in 1838 and she was baptised at the Parish Church in Iffley on the 5th of August. Her parents were Richard Price and Charlotte Webb and they married in the same church just a few months earlier on the 26th March 1838. 

On the night of the 6th of June 1841, when the census was taken, Eleanor was not at home with her father, who was recorded as a milkman, her mother and her younger brother Joseph. She was recorded as Ellen and was a lodger at the house of her maternal grandparents Robert and Rebecca Webb. Her grandfather's occupation was recorded as a Baker. Over the years Eleanor would sometimes be recorded on documents as Eleanor and sometimes as Ellen.

By the time the 1851 census was taken there were four more children in the family. Richard, who was born in 1843. Julia, who was born in 1845, Robert, who was born in 1847 and Clara, who was born in 1849. The occupation of their father was now a Road Labourer.

Charlotte gave birth to another daughter, also called Charlotte, in early 1852 and she was baptised on the 14th of March. Sadly just three months later Charles Price died at the age of 35 years and he was buried on the 9th June 1852 in Iffley Parish Church graveyard.

Although Ellen Price married John Charles Swadling in 1857 in Oxford, she had returned to Iffley by 1861. Her widowed mother had married John Dorrell, a widower, in 1859 and John and Ellen are listed as living next door to her mother and stepfather on the 1861 census. John Dorrell  died in 1889 at the age of 78 and Charlotte Dorrell died in 1897 at the age of 82. They were both buried in the graveyard at Iffley Parish Church.

Ellen and John Charles were married for 36 years and during their marriage they had ten children. Sadly Henry, who was born in 1865, died when he was only eight weeks old and Ellen had tragically died at the age of four in 1874 when her clothes caught fire.

Before his death in 1894, John Charles attended the weddings of his three oldest children. Charles married Esther Jemima Gibbons in 1889. John Charles junior married Margaret Telfer in March 1891 and Harriett married John Biles in April 1891.

Ellen's son in law, John Biles, died in December 1897 at the age of 39 years and his widow Harriett returned to Oxford before the 1901 census was taken. The census stated that Eleanor L was living with her widowed daughter Harriett at 176 Howard Street in Cowley, Oxford. Also living there were Harriett's two children Eleanor L (Lavinia) and William J (John) and Eleanor's three youngest children, Clara, and her daughter Edith May, William and Mary Ann.

By 1911 William, aged 33, had moved to 37 East Avenue, Cowley Road in Oxford and his occupation was listed as a Porter at a Drapers. His youngest sister Mary Ann, aged 30, was also living with him and her occupation was listed as a  Charwoman at a Hotel. Both of them were still unmarried. John Biles, a nephew to William was also living there. He was 15 years old and employed as a Dental Apprentice.

The 1911 census required more information about the life of the household than in previous censuses. According to the Ancestry website "Information requests new to the 1911 census were the 'fertility census' and occupational questions. Fertility questions included how long the present marriage had lasted, the number of children born alive to the present marriage (including children no longer living in the household), and the number of children who had died. Ellen was also living with William and she stated that she was a 73 year old widow and she had been married for 53 years. In the columns related to her children she had written that a total of ten children were born alive. Four of her children were still living but sadly six of them had died prior to the census being taken. As Ellen said she was a widow, so no longer married, the Enumerator had crossed out the information about her children.So there was only one other of her children still alive but which one and what had happened to the other four?

I found the interment of John Biles on the recently updated England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800 - 2016 in the Ancestry website. He was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery on Church Cowley Road in Oxford on the 14th of December 1897 in grave 56 in section A1. The cemetery was opened in 1889 and covers an area of 11 acres and contains over 20,000 burials. The most unexpected piece of information written in the Register of Graves was that he was buried at a depth of 12 foot. His wife Harriett was also buried with him and she was interned on the 14th August 1907. So that would explain why John (William John) Biles was living with his uncle. His parents had both died but where was his sister Eleanor Lavinia? I searched the 1911 census and finally found her listed as Nellie Byles. She was working as a cook for George Stuart Gordon, a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford University and he was a lecturer in English Literature.

I searched for whereabouts of Ellen's other children and found the missing surviving sibling. It was Charles. He and his wife and two sons were living on Church Road, Sandford on Thames in Oxford. So what had happened to John Charles junior, James and Elizabeth? I searched the FreeBMD website and found out when they had died. Elizabeth died in 1904, John Charles junior died in 1907 and James died in 1911. I also found out that they were all buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

Eleanor Lavinia Swadling died at the age of 75 years at the end of July 1913. She was buried with her daughter Elizabeth and son James at Rose Hill Cemetery on the 6th of August 1913.

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