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Not Brentford New

July News

The following items have been extracted from the British Newspaper Archive also available at Findmypast).

London Standard - Wednesday 29 July 1829

CORONER'S INQUEST.
Yesterday afternoon an inquisition was taken at the Turf Tap, Tattersall's yard, Hyde Park corner, before Mr. Higgs, coroner, on the body of George Angel, aged 30, who came by his death in the following shocking manner:-

William Gomm stated, that he lived at Brentford: about three weeks ago the deceased and another man was assisting him to lift a box of soap weighing about 6 cwt., out of a truck into a waggon, in the High Street, Brentford; they had got one end of the box into the waggon when by some means it canted round and fell on the leg of the deceased, who was severely injured. He was immediately taken to his home, and his employers, Messrs. Rowe, of Brentford, were informed of the accident, who directed their medical man to attend him. The deceased was perfectly sober at the time.

Mr George Cooper, of Brentford, surgeon, stated that he attended the deceased; his leg was very much swollen, but he went on favourably for a few days, when the symptoms became alarming, and he recommended his being taken to St. George's Hospital.

Mr John Harrison, house-surgeon of St. George's Hospital, stated that the deceased was brought in on the 9th of July; every thing was done for him, but he gradually got worse, and it was found that the only chance of saving his life was by amputating the limb, which was accordingly performed last Wednesday, but the deceased still grew worse, and died on Saturday last, from the injuries he had received.

Verdict - Accidental Death. Deodand, 1s. (Deodand: 'a thing that had caused a person's death and was forfeited to the crown for a charitable purpose: abolished 1862' from http://www.thefreedictionary.com; wikipedia includes more details.)

The unfortunate man has left a wife and four children, the youngest only three months old, who were entirely dependent upon him for support.

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A little research

Intrigued as to what happened to George's family I did some research and found:

George Angel was buried in the churchyard of St Mary Ealing on 28 July 1829, his residence Old Brentford and age 30 years (the burial entry includes no indication of the nature of his death nor the Coroner's involvement) (ancestry.co.uk)

George Angel married Maria Gurney at St Mary Ealing in 1820, she signed with a 'x' but George signed, spelling his surname Angell.

They baptised children at the same church: Fanny 1822; William 1823; Maria 1825; Richard 1827. The occupation of George Angel was labourer in 1827, residence Old Brentford. The baby of three months referred to in the article was Thomas Angell, baptised at St George's, Old Brentford in May 1829 (St George was a chapel, consecrated as a church in 1828); George's occupation and residence were as in 1827.

The article referred to four children but five children were baptised. A search in ancestry.co.uk found infant burials at St Mary Ealing of George Angel, age 18 months in 1823; Jane Angel 5 months in 1824; Maria Angel 18 months in 1827. The entries do not include the names of the parents but of the three children buried, I think Maria may be a child of George and Maria.

After her husband's sudden and untimely death, with four young children to support, Maria would need help from family or to re-marry. A check of marriages from 1829 - 1839 (ancestry.co.uk) showed she may have re-married: widow Maria Angel married John Noakes, a bachelor in November 1829 at St Mary, Norwood (about 3 miles from Old Brentford).

However a check of the 1841 census to help confirm the marriage was that of the same Maria failed to find a John and Maria Noakes. There was a burial at St Mary Ealing of a John Noakes from Old Brentford, age 41 in November 1833. Did Maria's second husband also die prematurely? Did she marry for a third time? There is a marriage of a William Lewis widower, to Maria 'Nockes', widow at Heston in October 1834, nearly a year after the death of John Noakes.

A search of the 1841 census for a couple called William and Mary Lewis located a couple of this name, but they had several children with the surname Lewis pre-dating the 1834 marriage.

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Returning to Maria's second marriage to John Noakes, further searches of baptisms on ancestry.co.uk turned up baptisms to a John and Maria Noakes at St George, Old Brentford: Helena 1831, John in August 1833 and a second John in March 1837 (no later baptisms). However the last baptism in 1837 shows John junior was born in July 1835 which is not consistent with the death of John senior in 1833. The baptisms show John senior was a labourer, residence Old Brentford.

I then searched for Helena Noakes (findmypast: 'Ellen Noakes' allowing for name variations) in the 1851 census and turned up:

  • William Lewis, 48, bricklayer
  • Maria Lewis, 47
  • Ellen Nokes, 21, daughter-in-law, pottle basket maker
  • George Lewis, 12, scholar
  • Maria Lewis, 9, scholar
  • Joseph Lewis, 8, scholar
All born in Brentford, current address Running Horses Yard. This fits the third marriage, although Ellen was not in modern day terms a 'daughter-in-law' to William, as she was unmarried, however the term daughter-in-law was used at the time to denote a step daughter as well a a girl who had married into the family.

Returning to the 1841 census I searched this time for George Lewis age 2, finding three matches in Brentford area, of which this family, previously discounted, now looks to be the correct one:

  • William Lewis, 40, labourer
  • Maria Lewis, 40
  • Thomas Lewis, 11
  • Ellen Lewis, 9
  • John Lewis, 7
  • William Lewis, 4
  • George Lewis, 2
All were born in Middlesex and the family lived at Furness Row, Old Brentford. Next door lived an Abraham Nokes, general dealer, age 40, who may be related to Maria's second husband John.

Note that Thomas and Ellen have been recorded in 1841 with the surname Lewis. They could be children of William, but they also could be Maria's children from her first marriage in which case they should have the surname Angel. John Lewis could be the John Noakes who was born in 1835 and William, George (named after he first husband?), Maria and Joseph are presumably from Maria's third marriage and correctly shown as Lewis. In all Maria had (at least) 12 children, by three fathers.

I stopped at this point having established that Maria had managed to bring up a large family successfully, despite losing two husbands within five years, and settled with her third husband in a marriage that lasted at least 16 years.

This leaves several loose ends: I have not checked to see what happened to the family by 1861, nor have I attempted to find out what happened to Maria's older children who would have been old enough to be in service or working by 1841. I have not found the death of infant John Noakes, born in 1833 nor clarified if his father John Noakes senior was the person who died in 1834. I have not checked the circumstances of John Noakes or William Lewis prior to their marriages to Maria. If I find a spare couple of hours I may dig deeper...

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London Courier and Evening Gazette 08 July 1830

COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, July 7.
BAKER v. NAPPER AND WIFE.
This was an action of slander. Both Baker and Napper are lightermen, living at Old Brentford. In May last they quarrelled about some blocks on the wharf, which were the joint property of them both. During the quarrel, Mrs Napper came out of her house, and called out to her husband to "come away, or else the plaintiff would kill him, as he had killed his wife." She then repeated several times to the plaintiff, "You killed your wife, you old rascal; yes you w_____g old rascal, you know you killed your wife." This was the slander for which the action was brought.

Mr Sergeant WILDE having stated the plaintiff's case to the jury, and called witnesses to prove it,
Mr Sergeant TADDY addressed the Jury for the Defendant, and ridiculed the idea of a Brentford lighterman bringing such an action on such grounds, it was quite clear, he said, from one expression (beginning with a w) which had been used by Mrs Napper, that she did not mean to impute murder to the plaintiff; but merely that being a man of gallantry, he had paid Brentford attentions to other ladies (laughter), and in that way had killed his wife.
Mr Sergeant WILDE, - And, therefore, she told her own husband to come away from him, or he would kill him in the same way. (Great laughter, in which the Learned Judge heartily joined.).
Mr Sergeant TADDY concluded his address by calling on the Jury to give the paintiff a farthing damages, if they thought him entitled to a verdict at all.
The LORD CHIEF JUSTICE told the Jury they might deal with the case as they thought it deserved.
The Jury found a verdict for the plaintiff - Damages 1s.
At the rising of the Court the sittings were adjourned to the 1st of November.

Notes

This may be the Joseph Napper, lighterman and bargemaster, who lived at the east end of High Street, probably no. 4, who left a will that was proved in 1847.

The Evening Chronicle 10 July 1839

THUNDER-STORM ON SUNDAY NIGHT.
On Sunday night between nine and twelve o'clock, the neighbourhood of the metropolis was visited with one of the severest thunder-storms that has occurred for many years. The sky looked dark and threatening for some hours previously, especially towards the west and north, where the horizon was of a uniform dull yellow, as if charged with electric matter; the heat was also most oppressive, and there was not wind enough to stir a leaf. About eight o'clock a few heavy drops of rain fell, and shortly afterwards the storm commenced, The lightning, which was chiefly in the west, was remarkable, not only for its duration and intense brilliancy, but for its being almost wholly unaccompanied by thunder. With the exception of one terrific peal, which seemed crashing right overhead, there was scarcely any thunder, and what little there was evidently, from its faint muttering sounds, at a great distance. The storm was at its height at half past nine o'clock, at which hour the blue ghastly sheet lighning, followed momentarily by forked flashes of a bright glowing red, like red-hot steel, and which darted, not as usually the case, in a zig zag manner, but perpendicularly down from the clouds, presented a spectacle of sublimity quite tropical in its character. We knew not indeed that we ever beheld such lightning. Flash followed flash, with scarcely a minute's interval, for upwards of two hours, when the storm gradually died away.

About New Brentford much damage was done. A child belonging to a fisherman named Clark, in that town, was about half-past six o'clock struck by the electric fluid, and instantly killed. Nearly at the same moment the house of Mr Cooper, surgeon, adjoining to the Castle Tavern, was struck by lightning, which entered the window on the second floor, demolishing the glass, and passing down the house, escaped at the front door. Fortunately none of the children were in the room at the time. Within a few minutes afterwards a man named John Bolton, an inhabitant of Brentford, while walking by the Castle, was struck by the electric fluid. Several persons ran to his assistance, and finding him in a state of insensibility, conveyed him to the surgery of Mr. Cooper, by whom he was attended. On examination it was found that he had received injuries of a nature to render his ultimate recovery extremely doubtful. Mr Coburn, a lighterman of Brentford End, while attending a barge on the cut near his residence, was likewise struck by the lightning, and nearly deprived of his sight.

Notes

Mr Cooper, surgeon, lived at 209/210 High Street, next to the Castle at 208.

Published July 2012; updated November 2016