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Not Brentford

A Ghost story part 3: what happened next, what happened before

So far we have established that Stephen Ghost lived in the same property in Old Brentford between 1810 and 1816. He was the tenant of Samuel Webb of a tenement and school room, but neither he nor Webb were recorded in the 1817 land tax record for Old Brentford. Part 3 looks at what happened to Ghost.

First, was he living elsewhere in 1817? There is no evidence of this from the London land tax records, although 'not found' does not mean he was not there: if he shared a property with others then his name may not have been recorded.

Another possibility is that he died. A search found the burial of Stephen Ghost at St Nicholas, Chiswick, 5 Feb 1817; he was 76 and of Turnham Green. Two years later Sarah Ghost, also of Turnham Green, was buried in the same churchyard on 17 August 1819; she was 89 years old.

This could be the Stephen Ghost who formerly lived in Old Brentford. It is an unusual name combination, Turnham Green is under 2 miles (3km) from Old Brentford and his death explains his disappearance from the tax records: not proof it is the same individual, but circumstantial evidence suggests so.

Two deaths within less than three years suggests a married couple, perhaps moving to stay with a relative in old age. BUT there is a snag: if their ages at burial were correct, Stephen was born around 1740 and Sarah around 1730, quite an age difference.

Second, where was Ghost before 1810? If Ghost was born around 1740 and had married, he may have had children. A search on Ancestry for any children's baptisms after 1760, father Stephen Ghost, found five baptisms at Wokingham, Berkshire:

  • 1770 Oct 19 Stephen son of Stephen & Sarah Ghost
  • 1772 Jun 21 John son of Stephen & Sarah Ghost
  • 1776 Feb 18 Mary dau of Stephen & Sarah Ghost
  • 1778 Mar 13 John son of Stephen & Sarah Ghost
  • 1780 Oct 6 Mary dau of Stephen & Sarah Ghost
  • followed by a later baptism locally:
  • 1791 Jul 31 Charlotte dau of Stephen & Sarah Ghost at Ealing (below)

Ghost baptism at Ealing, 1791 The baptisms gave both parents' names, Stephen and Sarah.

At this point we have found a family that had five children in Wokingham between 1770 and 1780. The family may have moved to the parish of Ealing, which included Old Brentford, between 1780 and 1791 as a daughter, Charlotte, was baptised here.

There are inconsistencies and loose ends. If Sarah Ghost was 89 when she died in 1819, she was not only ten years older than her husband, but also too old to have a child in 1780, let alone 1791. The move from Wokingham to Brentford (around 25 miles) is feasible, but is there any evidence that the Wokingham family stayed put? Or is there evidence that Stephen Ghost was in Brentford before 1780? Are there burials at Wokingham of Ghosts?

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The start of the Ghost story and the second episode.

Page published March 2022