Sarah Holt was b. 6 Oct 1794 in Lexden, Essex, just west of Colchester, m. James Thurtell on 25 Oct 1818, had eight children and d. 15 March 1889 at Brimscombe Court, Thrupp (Stroud), Glos., at the home of her eldest daughter, Anne.Other than the matter of her employment as a governess, we know little about Sarah's young days, but before agreeing to marry James Thurtell, she had a "sweetheart", one William Tills of Bow who, though described by James (see letter of 6 Sep 1867) as an "honourable man", refused to compromise his position as "a Gentleman" by marrying beneath him. This must have been a pretty serious business, since even 50 years later Sarah and James went on a pilgimage to the man's grave in Edmonton Church Yard. He had been a naval officer. The breakup with Tills may have had something to do with the suddenness of Sarah's decision (as described by Mrs Clist) to marry James.
Records of the Holt family are rather sketchy because they were nonconformists. Sarah's grandfather, Daniel Holt, miller of Lexden, was the subject of a "mysterious charge of murder". The Bury and Norwich Post of 19 March 1823 and the Ipswich Journal of Saturday 22 March 1823 record as follows -
"On Friday, Charles Williams, about 53 years of age, was indicted for the wilful murder of Daniel Holt, of Colchester, in the year 1788, by striking him on the head with an iron crow-bar. This case excited considerable interest, involving as it did an inquiry into the mysterious death of a respectable miller, after a lapse of 35 years."
Daniel disappeared in mysterious circumstances on the evening of Friday 4 January 1788 after having spent the evening carousing in the Blue Pig public house with three ‘bad women’, Martha Sansom, Mary Lawrence and Elizabeth Watts. They were brought to court on suspicion of having robbed him, but there was no evidence and they were discharged. On the same day (18 January) Daniel’s body was found floating quite a long way down the river Colne, ‘between Rowhedge and Wivenhoe’. An inquest concluded that his death was accidental. However, 35 years later a pugilist at a boxing match accused his opponent, Charles Williams, of having murdered Daniel Holt. Williams was tried but found not guilty.
Daniel Holt was said to be 55 at the time of his death in 1788, so he would have been born in about 1732. In Dedham Essex in 1767 he married Sarah Stradling (c. 1739-1790). The Essex Records Office has the 1790 will of a Sarah Holt, widow of Lexden, who appears to be the relict of the non-murdered "respectable miller" Daniel. In it, Sarah left £150 to each of her sons John and Edward and £250 to her daughter Elizabeth, all to be paid when they reached the age of 25, and everything else to her son Daniel, who was one of her executors. The will is dated 27 February 1790, shortly before the testatrix's death at the age of 50, since the will was proved on 27 May of that same year.
A son of the widow Sarah, John Holt (or probably Edward Holt: see letter of 8 May 1868) had gone to America soon after the marriage of his brother Daniel, "our" Sarah's father. (In a letter of 19 May 1889 to a niece, Anne Evans declares that "Great-Grandfather Holt's brother went to America & was never heard of again. There was money wanting an heir advertised some years ago, but we had no means of proving title to it.")
It seems likely that the sister Elizabeth married a J. Day, as the Essex Beneficiaries Index has Daniel Holt of Lexden as the brother-in-law of a testator called J. Day who died in 1800. This was probably John Day of Colchester, surgeon, who died 18 March 1800 aged 30. He appears to have been a Quaker.
On the basis of what we know at present, "our" Sarah's parents were probably the Daniel Holt Jr of the 1790 will and Ann(e) who, according to the Clist story was the daughter of John Gurden of Assington (who was not a clergyman); other sources identify her as Ann Clark(e). In any case, the Sarah who made the will would have been "our" Sarah's grandmother.
Daniel Holt Jr (b. 1768 d. Lexden Oct 1836 aged 68), also a miller, married Ann(e) (b. c. 1764 d. Lexden Sep 1823 aged 59) whose family name is not certain. They had five daughters (of whom Sarah was the second) and at least one son. This Daniel Holt went bankrupt in January 1814. The London Gazette of 15 June 1815 announces a dividend from the assets of Daniel Holt, "Miller, Dealer and Chapman".
Mrs Clist recounts that "Sarah Holt of Lexton [sic], Colchester, was engaged as governess to James Thurtell-Murray's cousins. Her grandfather, Rev. John Gordon (or Gurdon), Rector of Assington, Suffolk, is recorded in an old gazetteer as having bequeathed £100 to be used in the education of poor children in the parish in which he ministered." [It is typical of Mrs Clist that the family's dirty washing is ignored.]
Sarah was almost certainly employed by another James Thurtell (1770-1831), "our" James's uncle (see table of Thurtell siblings of that generation). She may have been working as a governess because of her father's bankruptcy.Sukie Hunter comments: The only family of Thurtells who lived close enough to Hobland Hall for James to be able to visit for lunch (see Clist account) is the Loddon Thurtells, who lived somewhere in Hopton at the relevant time (they moved to Loddon in 1817-1818). They also had seven daughters (aged about 9, 8, 7, 5, 4, 3 and 1 in the spring of 1818), and thus were very likely to have employed a governess, as they would have needed one for another 15 years or so. The only other female cousin that James had in the area was Phoebe Thurtell (aged about 8), daughter of his uncle George (who lived in Flixton). Sarah might have been Phoebe's governess, but she doesn't really fit the description of 'cousins', although she did have a 3-year-old half-sister. From her letters, we also know that Sarah kept in touch with Helen Joyce, daughter of the Loddon Thurtells, which of course she might have done anyway.
Genuki records show that in 1768 a John Gurdon [sic] was patron of the living of Assington, not the Rector. [The patron of the living was the one who appointed the incumbent. It usually went with being the Squire, but not always; Alexander Thurtell's parish was in the gift of Caius College Cambridge, which was how he came to have it.] In any case, the living of Assington was a vicarage, not a rectory. Ernie Spinks has noted that the surname Gurdon is oft repeated on memorial stones in and around the church. One Brampton Gurdon was rector in 1732.
Daniel's wife was Charlotte Elizabeth Peacock (letter of 18 Nov 1864), b. in Springfield, Essex c. 1797. Her mother was Hannah Peacock, mentioned as the "maternal grandmother" at the baptisms of her children; Hannah's husband was Thomas Peacock who married Hannah Risker in 1793 and apparently died in 1826. Judging by her will of Feb 1847 (a year before her death), Hannah was a rather wealthy widow. She had three sons and three daughters. One of the other daughters, Sarah Jane, married a William Smith Burbidge, Distiller, presumably the "Uncle Burbidge of Stamford Hill" of Sarah Murray's correspondence (see letter of 8 May 1868). Their son, William Henry Burbidge, was an executor of the will of his aunt Hannah Peacock Holt.5. A hypothetical namelss sister. We know that Harriet was the fifth sister (according to her wedding announcement) and the ages given in the records indicate that Jane was younger than Harriet.
Daniel and Charlotte are the "Uncle and Aunt Holt" of the Murray letters) - see letter of 10 Dec 1865: "Uncle and Aunt Holt are living without business at Springfield near Chelmsford. They are on the decline indeed; our generation is going fast." Daniel's death of apoplexy is announced in a letter of 5 June 1867. His widow Charlotte Elizabeth Holt "of 2 Upper Terrace, Springfield, Essex", survived approx. another 24 years. She appears in the 1881 census as an 83-year-old widow having "houses and funded property"; and in the 1991 census as a 93-year-old living "on her own means" with a single cousin, 68-year-old Charlotte Wood, and a servant. She died on 17 May of that year, leaving an estate worth £3,382/2/9.
Daniel and Charlotte Elizabeth had several daughters, Sarah Caroline (b. c. 1821 in Lexden, Essex and d. Dec 1885 in Chelmsford at age 64), Emily b. 1824, and Anna Elizabeth b. 1826. Julia Holt born 6 June 1834 appears to have been christened at St Giles, Colchester and baptised 8 July 1834 at the (Independent) Lion Walk Meeting House, Colchester. She died 21 May 1848, aged 13.
The Suffolk Chronicle of 31 Aug 1833 announces the sale by auction at Bradfield Mills near Manningtree of some "Household Furniture, Brewing and Dairy Utensils, Riding Mare and Foal, Swine, Road Cart and Other Effects of Mr DANIEL HOLT who is changing his Residence".
In the 1841 census, Daniel Holt, 45, Merchant's Clerk, is at his mother-in-law's residence in Springfield with Emily, 15 (this age is inaccurate - a quirk of census-taking in Britain at the time - she was actually about 17). His wife and younger daughters were at home in Hythe St., Colchester (Charlotte Halt [sic], 40, Anna 15, Julia 7).
Sarah Caroline married Frederick Edward Lestourgeon in St Leonard's Church, Colchester, 24 Oct 1844. They had three children: the middle one, Percy Frederick, was born in 1846 and died in 1847. Frederick Edward himself died in 1848. His mother was Elizabeth Burbidge. His father was Charles Lestourgeon, a noted surgeon from Cambridge, who was descended from a Huguenot family of clock and watch makers and silversmiths.
Emily (b. 9 May 1824), married Henry Robinson Wadmore in Hackney 23 Nov 1848. Anna Elizabeth (b. 14 Apr 1826 d.1903), married James Foster Wadmore (1822-1905), brother of Henry Robinson W., in Paddington on 20 Oct 1849. As executor of his mother-in-law's will, JFW is cited as Architect, of Tunbridge Kent.
In the 1851 census, the Daniel Holt family is in the Parish of St. Botolph, London at 74A Aldersgate Street. (This is the address from which Sarah Caroline's uncles by marriage, William and Frederick Burbidge, operated as Distillers in the 1850s and is also given in directories as the premises of James Vickers & Co, Distillers.) Daniel, still a Merchant's Clerk, is 55. His wife is 53. Emily and Anna by now were married, but Sarah Lestourgeon, already a widow at age 29, is staying with her parents along with her two small daughters, Ellen, 5, and Ada Jane, 3. Or rather, since both children were born in St. Botolph Parish, it looks as though Daniel and his wife moved to London to live with their widowed daughter. He is identified as "Head" of the household, so they were not just visiting. There are also two servants.
By the time we find Daniel Holt, in the 1861 census, visiting his daughter Emily in London, she has five children: Alban (9), Alice (7), Ida (5), Henry (4), and Mary (1).
We know that Daniel died of apoplexy in mid-1867. In the 1871 census, Charlotte Elizth Holt (head, widow, 73), House Owner and Fund holder, born Springfield, Essex, is living in Springfield Street, Springfield (no house number) with Sarah C. Lestourgeon (daur, widowed, 49), Fund holder, born Lexden, Essex; Ellen Lestourgeon (gd daur, unm, 25) born London and Ada Jane Lestourgeon (gd daur, unm, 23) born London, and an 18-year-old General Servant.
At the 1881 census, the 59-year-old widow Lestourgeon, Fundholder, is living in Lime Cottage, Springfield, Essex, with her unmarried daughters Ellen, 35, born in London, and Ada J., 33, also born in London; as well as a 19-year-old servant.
In the 1891 census, Ellen and Ada Jane are living "on their own means" at Holly House, in the hamlet of Moulsham, Chelmsford, with two servants.
In the 1901 census, Ellen (55) and Ada (53), both unmarried and born in Chelmsford [sic], are living in Aldersgate, London.
Returning to Emily: her husband, Henry Robinson Wadmore, son of James Wadmore, Gentleman, was a "clerk" at the time of his marriage but became a clergyman, because by 1871 he was the vicar of All Souls, Hampstead, where he seems to have remained until he died in 1896. He is in the Clergy List of 1896: this tells us that he was ordained in 1848 (the year of his marriage) and lived in 1896 at 15 Fairfax Road, St John's Wood, London. Emily died sometime in the 1860s: it is unclear why Sarah Murray never mentions her or her sister Anna Elizabeth.
As to Emily's children: Alban became a solicitor, latterly apparently in practice with his father-in-law in Devon; he married Edith Susan Stuart and had a son, John Mello Wadmore, in Kensington in 3Q 1880. We don't know what happened to Henry. Alice and Ida were unmarried and living with their father in 1891, but they are not to be found in the 1901 census, and Mary vanishes after 1881. None of them seems to have married.
Anna Elizabeth had at least one son, Robinson Lyndhurst Wadmore (1855-1915) who married Annie Skead (1858-1929) and has descendants in Australia.
Their children: Edmund b. 13 Aug 1827; Elizabeth b. 16 Jan 1830; George b. 12 May 1831 (became travelling salesman); Henry b. 31 Oct 1832 (became clerk for a hop merchant); Fanny b. 23 Oct 1833 (housemaid in London at 1851 census).7. A sister, Harriet, born approx. 1798, married Edward Auston of Colchester in May(?) 1824 and died in 1845, aged 46; buried at St Giles Colchester 16 Jan 1845.
The Chelmsford Chronicle of 14 March 1834 says that Edmund Bunn, Farmer, is bankrupt. On 30 Dec 1836 we read that "Edmund Bunn late of Brook Farm in the Parish of Sible Hedingham was interred in the burying ground belonging to the Meeting House of the Protestant Dissenters in Castle Hedingham".
In the 1841 census Edmund Jr, George, Henry and Fanny appear in orphan asylums. Elizabeth mère appears to have died in 1848 but this is unconfirmed.
It is interesting that Sarah Murray, in all her correspondence, never once mentions the Bunn family, even though they were mostly living in London. Walter in a letter to his sister Anne in 1844 does mention "that young scamp Edmund Bunn".
The 1841 census shows Edward Auston, 44, Farmer, living in Land Lane, Colchester, in the Parish of St. James, with his wife Harriett, 40, daughter Emily, 12, daughter Hellen[?], 9, Henry, 5, Susannah, 4, and three servants. In subsequent records, Hellen disappears: a Helen Auston is recorded as having died in Colchester in the first quarter of 1850, according to FreeBMD, so presumably this was the one and she died aged about 18.8.John [?]. From a letter of Sarah's of 18 June 1868, it appears that a brother John had gone to America.
At the 1851 census, the family is in the same location. Edward, 55, is a widower and is a Farmer of 150 acres, employing 6 men. The family consists of Emily, 22, Henry Felix, 15, Susannah, 13, Jane, 9, and George Edward, 6. There are also two female servants.
The 1871 census shows an Edward Austin [sic], 75, widower, Retired Farmer, living in Land Lane, Colchester, with his unmarried 40-year-old [sic] daughter Emily, and his 26-year-old son George E., a Farmer (of 50 acres). They were all born in Colchester. There is also a 20-year-old servant called Emma W. Austin, born in Colchester. This may be a mistake by the enumerator, or perhaps she was an impoverished relative.
So the Edward Auston family consisted of:
- Emily, born in about 1829, who when last heard of in the letters was unmarried and caring for her dying father (letter of 9 July 1869), though as seen above, he was still alive in 1871. In the 1881 census there is an Emily Austin (unmarried 50), Annuitant, born Colchester, to be found visiting in Wellington, Shropshire. Her age would be consistent both with the previous census and with the story of Edward Parkes (see sister Jane below). In the 1891 census, Emily is 60 years old, still unmarried, and is boarding with the widow Harriett Auston, 83, at The Cottage in the Parish of Great Bentley, east of Colchester. The two ladies are "living on their means" and have two servants. [One presumes Harriett Auston to be the widow of an unnamed uncle of Emily's - odd that she should have the same name as Emily's late mother.] In the 1901 census, there is an unmarried Emily Auston (72) born Colchester, living in Colchester. (For most of her life she seems to have shaved at least a couple of years off her age!)
- Hellen, or Helen, b. approx. 1832 d. probably 1850.
- Henry Felix Austen [sic] who, in the 1871 census, (head, unmarried, 34), Farmer of 110 acres employing 4 men and 2 boys, was living alone in Old Heath, just south of Colchester, at an address described as 'Donyland Road known as Austen's Farm'. [There is no Austen's Farm on the Old Maps map of Old Heath, which dates from the 1880s, but Battleswick Farm, where HFA was in 1881, does appear to be on (or just off) Donyland Road, so it's probably the same place.]
Henry F. Auston, 44, is again found in the 1881 census with a new spelling, being a Farmer with 120 acres employing 5 labourers and a boy, born (ca. 1836/7) Colchester, Essex, living alone at Battleswick Farm, Old Heath, Colchester St Giles, Essex. He is still there (but now "Austin"!) in the 1891 census, at the age of 53, still unmarried and living with a family of servants.
- Susannah, who married a first cousin called Hollyday and migrated to Australia where he worked in a chemist shop in Sydney. The last news we have of them is that they had five sons and one daughter (letter of 9 July 1869).
- Jane (b. ca. 1842 in Colchester), the "youngest daughter", who in March 1866 married Edward Parkes (b. ca. 1825 in Colchester), a successful "Merchant". In the 1871 census, 46-year-old Edward Parkes, Retired Grocer, and his 29-year-old wife Jane are living with one servant in East St., Colchester St. James, Essex. The 17-year age difference is the reason Jane's eldest sister was expecting Edward to propose to her instead (letter of 10 Dec 1865). They do not seem to have any children, unless they were away at school.
In the 1881 census, the couple (now 56 and 39 years old) are still living in East St. They have a servant and a visitor - who appears to be Edward's 62-year-old sister Emma Parkes, born in Bishops Stortford, Hertford. There is still no sign of any children.
- George Edward, b. ca. 1845 in Colchester, who had been in ship insurance and had then turned to farming, according to Sarah Murray. After his father's death, he hoped to join his sister in Australia, but instead married a certain Emily Balls (b. Bradfield, Essex, 1852) in Hackney Rd (3Q 1876) and produced numbers of children. The 1881 census shows him at 124 Park Rd. W, Brighton, as a "retired farmer" of 36, with wife Emily, 29; Susanna, 4, b. Colchester; Edward, 2, b. Colchester; George, 1, b. Boreham, Essex; John, 3 months, b. Broadwater, Sussex; plus a servant. In the 1891 census, 45-year-old George E. Auston, again a Farmer, resides at the Farm House, (Harwich Rd.?), in the Parish of St. James, Colchester, with his wife Emily, 39, daughter Susanna (14), and sons Edward (12), George (11, b. Boreham, Essex), John (10, b. Broadwater, Sussex), Charles (7) and Arthur (6). The family appears in the 1901 census in Colchester. George is a farmer; George Jr. is a "farmer's son"; Arthur, 16, is a Chemist's apprentice and Charles, 16, is a Builder's Apprentice - they were both born in Colchester. Susanna is at home, but Edward and John are missing.
They had four daughters in addition to two children who died in infancy: Harriet H. (b. 23 Feb 1833); Emma J. (b. 1834/5) whom Anne Evans judged consumptive (letter of Sep 1867); Mary (b. 1838/9); and Ellen (b. 1841/2). All four daughters worked with their father in an umbrella-making business and, so far as we know, none of them ever married.
In the 1851 census, the family is already at 195 Sloane Street, Chelsea: Owen Hopwood (head, 46), born Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, is a "dealer in umbrellas etc.", employing one boy. His wife Jane Hopwood (wife, 47) was born Lexden, Essex. Daughters Harriet H. Hopwood (18, scholar), Emma J. (16), Mary (12) and Ellen (9) were all born in Chelsea, Middlesex. There is one female servant and an 18-year-old "Light Porter", who must be the employed "boy". (Presumably, he delivered "umbrellas etc.")
The 1871 census (which is consistent with the 1851 and 1861 censuses) shows the family still at 195 Sloane Street, Chelsea, with a 38-year-old widow as servant. The neighbours are a ladies' outfitter on one side and a silversmith and pawnbroker on the other.
All the daughters were unmarried as late as the 1881 census, when they are all to be found living in Chelsea with their widowed mother.
In March 1887, Harriet writes to the Brompton Cemetery, authorizing them to open the grave belonging to her for the burial of her mother Jane Hopwood. The burial took place on 19 March 1887. This was the second interment in that grave, so presumably it was already occupied by "Uncle Hopwood".
In the 1891 census, Harriet H., 58, Umbrella Maker and Boot Retailer, is still living in Chelsea with her sisters, Emma J., 56, and Mary, 52, who are described as "working partners". Sister Ellen, 49, is described as a "sleeping partner" and housekeper. There is also a servant.
In the 1901 census Mary and Ellen, both retired, are still living in Chelsea. Harriet and Emma may have died.
||-||Died in infancy 1793||Buried St. Leonard's Lexden 17 Oct 1793|
||E.F. Gomersall of Bedford Place, Leeds||20 April 1848 aged 54||Buried Woodhouse St Mark, Leeds, 25 Apr 1848|
|Sarah||6 Oct 1794
|James Thurtell [-Murray]||15 March 1889
|The author's great-great-great-grandparents. See link on James Thurtell.|
|Daniel||12 Oct 1795 in Colchester, Essex||Charlotte Elizabeth Peacock c. 1798-1845
in Putney 7 Nov 1820
3 surviving daughters:
Sarah Caroline m. F.E. Lestourgeon: 2 daughters, Ellen and Ada Jane.
Emily b. 1824 m. 1848 H.R. Wadmore: five children.
Anna Elizabeth b. 1826 m. 1849 J.F. Wadmore (brother of above)
|1867 of apoplexy aged 71;
buried Springfield, Essex, 27 Apr 1867
|Another daughter of Daniel and Charlotte's, Julia, b. 1834, d. 21 May 1848 aged 13.|
||-||Harriet was the fifth sister and Jane was younger than Harriet so one surmises a missing sister here.|
|Elizabeth||c. 1797||Edmund Bunn
9 Nov 1826
at Bardfield, Essex
|20 April 1848 [?]||
Farmer husband went broke 1834 and died 1836.
Children (minus one) in Reed’s School in 1838 (aged between 11 and 5) and were there for 5 years (by which time they would be between 15 and 9).
|Harriet||Colchester, c. 1798||Edward Auston, Farmer of Colchester
May (?) 1824
Emily b. 1829, unmarried
Henry Felix b. 1836, farmer, unmarried
Susannah b. 1838 m. Hollyday, migrated to Sydney
Jane b. 1842 m. Parkes
George Edward b. 1845, farmer, m. Emily Balls; 6 children
|d. aged 46;
buried Colchester 16 Jan 1845
|John||-||-||-||Went to America|
|Jane||c. 1802 in Lexden||13 May 1827 in Chelsea
Owen Hopwood, Umbrella manufacturer
d. 1Q 1880, aged 75;
4 daughters reached adulthood:
Victoria Susanna Jane, b. 28 June 1829 - d. of whooping cough aged 10 mths, bur. 4 Apr 1830
Harriet Hales b. 23 Feb 1833
Francis Owen d. of convulsions aged 5 mths, bur. 18 Mar 1836
Emma Jane bap. 28 May 1854
Mary bap. 28 May 1854
Ellen bap. 28 May 1854
|March 1887, aged 83;
buried Brompton Cemetery, London 19 March 1887
|Family lived for many years at 195 Sloane St., Chelsea. Harriet, Emma, Mary and Ellen carried on the umbrella business.|
The Lion Walk Meeting House, Colchester also records the baptisms of:
Jane & Mary were the daughters of Dr George Palmer Holt and Charlotte Elizabeth Warton (sister of Charles Warton).
- Jane Holt born 8 April 1822, baptised 4 August 1823, daughter of George P. and Charlotte E. Holt
- Mary Holt born 13 May 1823, baptised 4 August 1823, daughter of George P. and Charlotte E. Holt.
Their grandfather, Dr William Holt, surgeon, of Tottenham, was born c. 1761 and died Oct 1835, having made a Will 30 Dec 1833. He married Sarah Rose (b. 18 Mar 1763 d. 15 Apr 1811) on 21 May 1779 in Walthamstowe, Essex. William was married a second time to a Jane Cock.
Their son, Dr George Palmer Holt (b. c. 1788 d. 20 Nov 1831 in Kingsland, Hackney, Mddx), also a surgeon (and father of Jane and Mary above) m. Charlotte Elizabeth Warton (daughter of Matthew Warton and Ann Maria Gardner, chr. 25 Dec 1794 in St Dunstan, Stepney) on 3 Feb 1814 in All Hallows, Tottenham, London. His Will with 2 Codicils, which was proved in London 11 Jan 1832, mentions not only Jane and Mary but their older siblings Charlotte and George as well. Charlotte Elizabeth Warton was married a second time, to a certain John Simpson. She d. in Dec 1865 in Lambeth.
How these Holts may be linked to the Daniel Holt family remains to be determined.