James Milverton and Ann Membry

James Milverton was born in 1776 in Ammerham, Somerset, England to parents James Milverton (1749-1829) and Sarah Stanton (1750-1826).

St Stephens, Winsham, Somerset, England

James was baptised on 27 October 1776 in the parish church of St Stephen in Winsham, Somerset.

James was one of nine children born to the couple.

James’ occupation is given as a carpenter on his marriage record and children’s baptisms.

Winsham was a small village in Somerset situated 2 1/2 miles of Chard. In 1870 the population of the village was 1033 people, in only 204 houses. The Winsham Web Museum provides more information on the area.

At the age of 29 James, a bachelor,  married Ann Membry, spinster on 31 October 1805 at Winsham, Somerset by banns. Witnesses to the marriage were Nathaniel Bradson, Mary Bennett and Joseph Hoddor.

Ann Membry was born in 1778 in Winsham to parents John Membry (b 1752) and Eleanor Mallet (1750-1829). Ann was baptised at St Stephens in Winsham on 15 July 1779.

Winsham Baptisms 1779

Ann was often known by her nickname ‘Nancy’. Nine children were born to the couple, including an Australian Convict – their son William. I descend from their son Daniel.

  1. James b 1806 Winsham, married Elizabeth Bar, d 1829 Winsham
  2. Sarah b 1807 Brook St, St Andrews Holborn London
  3. William b 1810 Tash St Holborn and d 1812 St Andrews Holborn, London
  4. John b 1812 Lying in Hosp. Holborn, d 1903 Kensington. Marr Rose Lewington. 8 kids.
  5. Maria b 1814 Lying in Hosp. Holborn d 1894 St Olave Southwark. Marr Henry Taylor. 3 kids.
  6. William b 1816 Tash Street, Holborn d 1871 Sydney, Australia. Marr Eliza Matthews. 4 children. Convicted of burglary 1835. Sentenced to death, commuted to transportation for life to Australia. Arrived Sydney 12 Feb 1837 aboard the ‘Norfolk’. Pardoned 1848, died before his daughter Charlotte’s death in 1871.
  7. Charlotte b 1819 Tash St Holborn, d 1895 Easington, Durham. Marr John Ferry in 1843.
  8. Daniel b 1822 Tash St Holborn d 1899 Sydney, Australia. Marr Mary Ridge. 8 kids.
  9. Charles b 1824 Tash St Holborn d 1898 Shoreditch, London. Marr Charlotte Hughes. 7 kids.

old carpenter

James and Ann were from Winsham, Somerset, but had moved to London around 1807, just two years after their marriage, and lived in Holborn, London. James worked as a carpenter.

The family lived in Tash Street, Holborn, London from 1810 to after 1824. Tash Street was renamed Verulam Street around 1851. The street has been completely rebuilt with new high rises.

Two of their children were born and baptised in the Holborn British Lying in Hospital in Endell Street.

The British Lying-In Hospital offered — to married women only — a largely female-only space removed from the home in which childbirth was supervised almost exclusively by female midwives under the supervision of female matrons. The intervention of male physicians was a rare event. John and Maria are the only two children that appear in the registers, the other children were presumably born at home. –

Came in 22 November 1812, Milverton, Ann wife of James, carpenter, 32, St Andrews Holborn, child’s name John, delivered on the 8 January, a boy, baptised on 9 January, discharged on 26 January 1812.

Came in 28 February 1814, Milverton, Ann wife of James, carpenter, 32, St Andrews Holborn, child’s name Maria, delivered on the 1 Mar, a girl, baptised on 3 March, discharged on 18 March 1814.

British lying in hospital Holborn ca 1790

This hospital was the oldest lying-in establishment in London, founded about 1749. It seems to have been replaced by a new building in 1849, which was demolished in 1997 and the street renamed as Betterton Street

Tragically James died in September 1831 at Mount Pleasant, Holborn, when his youngest son Charles was only 6 years old, leaving his mother Ann to bring up the nine children alone. He died by falling off a ladder while working for the same master for 24 years.

St Andrews Holborn London

James was buried on 14 September 1831 at St Andrews, Holborn, aged 54 years.

The family were now obviously struggling to make ends meet with no father to support them. Did this make one of the boys turn to a life of crime?

Their sixth child William was born in 1816, was convicted of larceny (stealing) and transported to Australia as a convict. Read more about his life here.

Letter from Ann Milverton regarding her son William

In a letter written by Ann, writing for clemency for her son William’s sentence in 1840, she states the family had never had a criminal in their family for many generations, and it was only because of the dire poverty caused by her husband’s death that William resorted to stealing. She stated with no income they couldn’t afford to apprentice William to a trade, so sent him to sea. When he returned from sea, he got into bad company, and in an ‘evil moment’ stole the next door neighbours property.

Poor Ann begs for mercy and that her son will once again see his native land. She states he will not see her again as she is sinking into her grave with despair. The letter is dated 31st March 1840, and was sent from 91 Brittania Street, City Road, Holborn. Click on the letter to read it.

The family struggles, living off the parish, and their son Daniel appears in the 1841 census apprenticed as a tailor to Mr George Byfield at 166 Goswell Street, St Botolph Aldersgate, London.

St Barnabas Finsbury London

Fortunately Ann, did not as she predicted ‘sink into her grave’ early, but instead battled on and lived until the age of 74 years, dying in 1852 in Rahere Street, Finsbury, London.

She was buried on 18 December 1852 at St Barnabas, Finsbury, London. (Great London Burials).