Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Grandmother Legacies

The Allery Clan 

Here's the stories of a few of my father's female ancestors:
  • Grandma Harriet Priscilla Wright who married Walter Frederick Allery
  • Great Grandmama Mary Anne Hall who married Samuel John Allery
Shotgun Marriage?

Turning my attention now to the women of our ancestry, first I wanted to know more about my Great Grandmother Mary Ann Hall who was born in 1848. She married my Great Grandfather Samuel John Allery on the 2nd of December in 1867 at St John's Church, Waterloo, Lambeth. She was just 19 years old and he just 21. When I looked closely at the birth dates and ages of her children I realised with a bit of a jolt that Samuel and Mary got married at this time principally because she was pregnant with her son Henry John who was subsequently born on 31 Dec 1867.  It can happen!

Mary Ann gave birth to 8 children, six survived and two died. The third eldest of her children was Walter Frederick my grandfather. I knew little of Mary Ann and her children so I did some research to find out.  Mary Ann was a tailoress by occupation - no doubt the reason why she met and married my grandfather who was a tailor. Her father before her was a sailmaker - this is stated on her marriage certificate. In 1881 she was living at 26 Crown Street, Camberwell, London with her six children. One of the daughters who died was Louisa Maud B. 1874 D. 1874 - and I imagine that she died during birth. The second of Mary Ann's daughter's to die was Jennie Selina B. 1880 D. 1881. Her death is recorded alongside that of her mother Mary Ann on the same day. I wonder what happened - was there an accident in which they both died? A sad little mystery!

The following is the handwritten details of the marriage between Mary Ann Hall and Samuel John Allery.

The I wanted to know a little more about our red-headed Grandma Harriett Priscilla. Through the census lists I was able to determine that she was a Machinist - this fact probably being pertinent to meeting and marrying Walter the Master Tailor - and was the daughter of Alfred Thomas Wright a Shoemaker. Harriett seems to me to be a very strong character in my ancestors - I remember thinking that she might have been a bit scary to a 4 year old little girl who just wanted to smell the roses in her garden. That is my only memory of her - but I do have a legacy from her - my own red hair.

In the 1911 census she is living at London House, Coombe Lane, Norbiton with Walter and the chidlren and this document tells us that there is a female child, Lily Wren, living with them. Her relationship to the head of the household as 'girl' has been crossed out and the word 'daughter' written in red. Another little mystery - Who was Lily Wren?

Harriett was left almost 3000 pounds in my grandfather's will and I wonder how she was able to put that towards bringing up her children single handedly - during the years after Walter's death in 1915 and before her own in 1955. As far as I can tell she never married again. If you recall in a previous posting, Harriett's strength was tested in 1904 with the loss of a daughter, and again in 1930 when her son Edward Lionel was killed. I am immensely proud of her courage and I am glad that she has passed that onto to us through her son Walter.

The Welsh Connection!

Here's the stories of a few of my mother's female ancestors:
  • Grandma Mary Jane Robinson who married Charles Harry Newland Cutting
  • Great Grandmama Mary Ann Francis Evans who married George Robinson.
My grandmother Mary Jane Robinson was born in Bath, Avon, Somerset in 1872, daughter of George Robinson and Mary Anne Francis Evans, the most recent Welsh connection for the family. George and Mary are my mother's grandparents. The family was located in Croydon at the time of the 1881 census.Closer to the birth place of her father George Robinson who was a Railway Inspector.
Mary Jane's mother Mary Ann Evans was born in Haverford West, Wales - the only piece of family history known of her.

My Welsh ancestry begins with grandmother Mary Jane who was the daughter of Mary Anne Francis Evans, herself the daugher of David and Gwenllian Evans and born in Haverfordwest, Wales. (Note: I had a great deal of fun searching the physical records at Haverfordwest on my journey there in 2009, and finding a missing piece of the puzzle, her parents' names. I'll need to dedicate another posting to Great Grandmama Mary Ann Evans when I know more of her life.)

Mary Jane Robinson was born in Bath, Avon, Somerset (see map above). This area of England is famous for its main city of Bath an elegant and much sought after residential area in modern times. The circus at Bath, a semi-circular row of terraced apartments, feature often in the TV program, Location, Location, Location. At the time of the 1891 census Mary Jane was employed as a servant (a lady's maid) in a boarding house in Lambeth Parish. I have an image of what the working day of a maid would have been in the late 19th century - I've watched 'Upstairs and Downstairs' on TV. However to get a better image of what my Grandmother Mary Jane would have been doing as maid in Walcott, Bath I will need to do some further history research.

Mary Jane married Charles Harry Newland Cutting, a plumber, on the 16 June 1901 in Enfield. Enfield Town used to be a small market town on the edge of the forest about a day's travel north of London. As Greater London has grown, Enfield Town and its surrounds have become a residential suburb, with fast transport links into central London. The following is the coat of arms for Enfield.

Mary and Charles had seven children, one of the whom, the second eldest was my mother, Winifred Edith Cutting born in 1903. Mary also gave birth to triplets Violet, Ronald and Harry. Sadly Harry died at the age of 2 from pneumonia.

I don't remember anything of my grandmother Mary Jane; we immigrated to Australia in 1948 and I had no contact with her. I imagine my mother wrote to her on occasions but none of this was shared with me, the youngest of her six children. There are no records of her life other than memories, so I have written to my brother and sister to get their memories of  Grandmother Mary Jane Robinson.

Mary Jane died at the age of 82 in 1954 in Kingston, Surrey. A fact I was vaguely aware of as a child of 9. Our family had emigrated to Australia 10 years earlier and as I was only 4 at the time sailing, I have no memories of her. In her lifetime, Mary Jane, would have witnessed some amazing industrial changes in England and lived through two World Wars. I wonder what life was like for her in the late 19th century while she was growing up, and then during the 47 years she was married to my grandfather, Charles Harry Newland Cutting. He died in 1950 so she would have spent the last four years of her life grieving for him.

If it wasn't for these three ladies, Great Grandmama Hall, Grandma Wright and Grandma Robinson then the rest of our recent history would not have happened. I am also grateful to these three in particular for their strength of character, their courage and the care they shared for their families.

Carpenters, Heroes and Plumbers

Carpentry in the Victorian Era

Getting back to the Cutting side of the family I wanted to find out a little more about Charles Harry Cutting (great grandfather) and his son Charles Harry Newland Cutting (grandfather on my Mother's side.) The records show the Charles Harry came from a line of carpenters - all of whom would have been in great demand for their skills in the building industry in the Victorian era. It is possible that Charles and his father Thomas before him practised as Village carpenters.

The definition of Village carpentry as it was practiced in Victorian times covered practically all the woodworking done except wheelwright's work. There are several types of carpentry work but it is not yet revealed which type Charles Harry was skilled at. (thanks to the Witheridge site for this information:
The Cuttings resided originally in Hampshire but moved to Kingston-on-Thames and were living there by the 1881 census. By then Charles Harry Newland Cutting was already married and would have been supporting his family from his chosen trade - Plumbing. I am not sure how or why CHN Cutting chose a plumber's trade but it too would have been in demand in the latter part of the 19th Century.

Freedom of the City of London

The episode in our family history in which CHN Cutting appears as a hero is a much more interesting story.

CHN Cutting served as a soldier of the City of London Imperial Volunteers in the second Boer War in 1899 and was awarded the Freedom of the City, a document that is now proudly displayed in the homes of his descendants.

Here is the wording from that document:


Charles Harry Cutting of "The City of London Imperial Volunteers" was admitted into the Freedom aforesaid and made the Declaration required by Law in the Mayoralty of Alfred James Newton Esquire Mayor and Sir William James Richmond Cotton Knt. Chamberlain and is entered in the booked signed with Letter M1 relating to the Purchasing of Freedoms and the Admissions of Freemen (to wit) the 17th day of January in the 63rd Year of the reign of Queen Victoria And in the Year of our Lord 1900
In Witness whereof the Seal of the Office of Chamberlain oft he said City is herunto affixed Dated in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the same City the day and Year abovesaid. 

Honorary Freedom is the highest honour the City of London can bestow. Honorary freemen do not apply for but are invited by the Court of Common Council to take the Freedom. The presentation ceremony usually takes place in the Great Hall of the Guildhall before the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Common Councilmen and invited guests. The presentation on these occasions is made by the Chamberlain of London, and is usually followed by a Guildhall or Mansion House banquet.
Famous Honorary freemen include The Queen, Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela, Florence Nightingale, General Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. For more information about the Freedom of the City visit wikipedia at:

Over the last 300 years, about 300,000 ordinary people have been made Free of the City of London. Even today, many men and women continue to be admitted to the City Freedom, although most of the privileges and practical reasons for doing so have now disappeared.

Thanks to our cousin Sally for tracking that down the actual document for our very own Freeman, Charles Harry Newland Cutting and for arranging for it to be framed. It was a chance remark made by my brother Michael recently, when asked about the possible reason for this particular award that sparked my research into the records from the Boer War. If I have the facts correct then this image shows the official record of Charles H N Cutting as a Private soldier number 760 in the Boer War.

It is not clear what role Private Cutting played in the Boer War, but obviously he earned his award and we are immensely proud of this achievement - to us he is a hero.

A Plumber in the family

The 1911 census shows that CHN Cutting was a plumber and now living at 6 Borough Road, Kingston Hill. The significance of his location will become more obvious as we now trace the family history surrounding the Cutting line.

In particular you can see in this image of the 1911 census, with the handwritten signature of my grandfather Charles HN, that the first of the six children were living at this address, but what we cannot see are the names of the youngest of the tribe, the triplets, who were born to Mary Jane in 1909. Note that of the six births for Mary Jane, five were live births and one has died. I shudder to think of such anguish and pain, the suffering and the sorrow of her child's death.

My mother would always tell me about the multiple births in her family and how this set of genetics would be passed on to her children and grandchildren. Indeed - twin boys were born to our mother in 1940. Twins, boy and a girl, were born to our brother John and twin girls to our sister Patricia. But I was always a little unsure of who were the triplets amongst Mum's siblings and which of them survived, and now I wonder where were they on the night of the 1911 census.

The story now takes on another aspect - that of family links between the Cuttings and the Allerys.
Location, location, location! The importance of Kingston-upon-Thames becomes clearer as we now explore the relationships and stories surrounding our parents, Winifred Edith Cutting and Cecil Henry Allery. The 1911 census above shows my Mum aged 8 living at 6 Borough Road, Kingston Hill - a suburb of Kingston-on-Thames. The 1911 census below shows my Dad aged 10 living at London House, Coombe Lane, Norbiton - a suburb of Kingston-on-Thames.

In this census you can also see that grandmother Harriett Priscilla had seven births, five of whom lived and two who died. I know that childbirth and childhood illnesses accounted for the loss of many children in the early part of the 20th century, but I can understand what heartaches Harriett would have experienced then on the death of one of her two daughters. Ivy Dorothy B. 27 Jan 1904 D. 4 Apr 1904). There was more agony in store for her, but she did not know it then.It was in May of 1930 that she lost another child, my uncle Edward Lionel, aged 28, who was killed at Brooklands in a tragic car racing accident. (more about that in another episode as I explore the lives of these brave women in my ancestry)

I wonder at the way in which history repeats itself - my mother lost her first born child and I don't think she ever got over that. I imagine that she received some comfort from her mother and mother-in-law in 1925 - two other brave women who also lost their babies.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Properties, Mortgages and Burials

Its amazing what you can find on the Internet once you start asking the right questions and looking in the right places for the answers. My sleuthing about my clan and their assets takes a different slant now as I ask about their places of residence and workplace. I was intrigued with the legacies left by my tailoring ancestors and I wanted to find out more about how they came to live where they lived; so I googled my grandfather Walter Frederick's name and came up with some very interesting data from the National Archives and the


Walter Frederick Allery

Whilst residing at 53 Chatham Road, Kingston he acquired and mortgaged his business property of 23, 25 and 27 Washington Road, Kingston - this was in 1906 - to The Reliance Permanent Building Society. I imagine that business was not brisk and that cash flow was an issue for him, so mortgaging the substantial property in Washington Road, was the answer at the time. On the other hand perhaps Tailoring had picked up in the early 20th century and Walter was expanding the business. This property was in a prime position in the business district of Kingston-on-Thames and no doubt afforded him the convenience of passing trade.

I believe that the years between 1906 and 1914 were marred by ill health for Walter and that he began to 'take care of his affairs' in 1914 - just six months before his death. He sold the Washington Road properties to his step brother, Frank Joseph Andrew Allery who was then living at 196 Commercial Road, Peckham, the home of their father, Samuel John. Frank was then only aged 26 and not yet married - so once again I imagine that he began to 'look after the business'.

I want to find out what my Grandfather Walter Frederick Allery died of, so I will need to send for a copy of his death certificate. I do know where he is buried, thanks to the Burial Registers available online at:

One day I would like to visit this grave site or ask someone to visit on my behalf and take a digital photo of any headstone that remains there for Walter Frederick. He is buried in Grave 2188 in Section N, Richmond Cemetery.

My grand Uncle Frank married Isabel Constance Bresenzer on 9 Jan 1921 at Camden Church in Camberwell and moved to 21 Brayards Road, Peckham. I imagine that his father Samuel John and mother Jemima Mary Ann would have been at the wedding - oh what I would give for some photos of that.

As yet I have no records of his children as there are no census records available online yet for 1921 or 1931. I will have to rely on my online connections now to fill out his family data. I do know, however, that on 17 March 1925 grand Uncle Frank mortgaged the Washington Road properties once again to The Reliance Permanent Building Society - obviously this firm has done well out of this property over the years. It was subsequently sold on 29 June 1926.

Uncle Frank died in 1976 so I'm curious now to investigate further and see if he left any estate in a will made at the time. Perhaps I can also find out where he is buried and who his children were. The hunt continues....

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Will of a Tailor

Samuel John Allery of 196 Commercial Road, Peckham SE, Tailor retired, died on 28 June 1922 and left to his widow Jemima Mary Ann and his son Dave Bertie, the princely sum of 9, 826 pounds, 13 shillings and 3 pence.

That was quite a substantial legacy for the times and one that would have provided well for Jemima and the boys. Dave Bertie was the eldest of the sons born to Jemima Mary Ann, second wife of Samuel John, and in this photo you can see Samuel John and Dave Bertie visiting Samuel's daughter, RosinaTerry (Allery) and her family. No doubt the photo was taken by George Terry, Selina's husband. Notice that the eldest of Rosina's boys was named after his grandfather.

Tailoring goes back a long way in the Allery family - Samuel's own father William was a Master Tailor and employed several people in his day. According to the 1871 census these employees were also accommodated at 19 Berwick Street, Westminster along with several other lodgers. I now imagine that life for his wife Mary was a busy one but assisted by rentals from boarders and service from domestic servants. I wondered what sort of legacy was left by an affluent tailor such as William Allery - but it seems that by the time of his death on 7th July 1887 there was just 41 pounds to distribute. I have no doubt though, that the tailoring business was inherited by his eldest sons William Adrian and Samuel John.

I have not discovered any will for William Adrian but seeing that there was a will for Samuel John I was interested to know the extent of wealth he had accumulated. I wondered why there was no mention in Samuel's will of his first born son, Walter Frederick, from his first marriage. Then I realised that Walter had died in 1915, before his own father's death - a sad fact! Of course I'm sure that Jemima would have shared this inheritance with Samuel's remaining children and that is helped her to live on for another 20 years - on easy street as they say. Perhaps she chose to contribute some monies to the tailoring business of Walter Frederick Allery.

It is interesting to note that Walter Frederick went on to make a decent living in Tailoring and upon his death in 1915, left to his own widow, Harriett Priscilla, another princely sum of 2,932 pounds, 15 shillings and 9 pence.

At the time of his death my father, Cecil Henry was only 15 years old so he would not have been mentioned in the will as a benefactor.  He was then to become the eldest male provider in this household. Cecil did not follow in the ancestor's occupation of tailoring and there the tailor's links ends. Instead Cecil entered the world of work as a mechanic and a profession in the RAF.

Unfortunately there was no great wealth to distribute from my father's estate but a legacy of another kind - but that's another story.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Tailor's Tale

In the mid 19th Century  the evolution of clothing English Tailors, particularly those in London, dominated the male fashion scene. The male style was a clever combination the sporting attire preferred by the gentry and the business clothing of the newly rich industrialists. The fit now rather than decoration became the fundamental rule for male clothing. English Tailors experts at their craft and trained to use woollen cloth over time developed the art of "molding" cloth close to the body without duplicating the exact body form of the wearer. The keywords for the gentlemen of the nineteenth century were discretion, simplicity, and the perfection of cut. It was at this point that modern Tailoring as we know it had it arrived.

My great grandfather Samuel John Allery and his brother William Adrian Allery were both Master Tailors and William had his own tailoring business at 63 Oxford Street, London. Not much has been recorded of Samuel John's exploits, other than his two marriages and a tribe of children, - or at least none that I have uncovered so far.

However what I can tell you is the story of the Allery claim to the Angell Estate in Brixton, a tale of mystery, intrigue, missing documents and an illegitimate child. It is a story within a story - how William Adrian tells of another Samuel in our ancestry, and his marriage to the heir to the Angell Estate. This has become quite a famous story in our family, snippetts of William's exploits in 'genealogy detective work' and 'claims to the estate' being handed down by generation of his kin. The story also made the newspapers of the time and add a little more intrigue to this tale.

William Adrian Allery had become quite well known in the town of Clapham for his eccentricities and his claim to the Angell Estate.

The Evening Standard of March 1928
“Mr William Adrian Allery an old-age pensioner, who is in his 84th year has seized two houses in Brixton – and declares he intends to seize many more – in an attempt to make good his claim to the Angell Estate…Behind the door he had pinned the parchment showing his family tree…some friends in the city advanced him the money to go to Devonshire, which is his family home. There he found in Townstall Church Dartmouth, what he claimed was the missing link for which he had been searching. This was the marriage certificate of Elizabeth Benedict Angell who married Samuel Allery in 1711…He used to bring out the document containing his whole pedigree. The parchment would cover this large drawing room table.”

The old gentleman would regale his own children, nephews, and grandchildren, those who would take the time to listen, with his stories of searching in the parish records and countless visits to the old cemeteries in and around Brixton and Dartmouth. William’s decades of searching had taken him back in time, reviewing the Allery Family heritage, in the counties of Devon and Surrey, England as they were recorded from 1600 to 1900.

William Adrian did not live to enjoy his ‘entitlement’ - he died on the 12 March 1929, just one year later after his bold attempt to claim it.

The full history of the Angell Estate can be located here:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Gathering the Clan

Who are we?
My clan is a mixture of the Allery's and the Cutting's - ancestors who began our heritage in several English and Welsh counties. Let me introduce you to the central characters of this first blog entry and we can then listen to them recount the history of their lives, their occupations and their stories - they are my great grandfathers, Charles Harry Cutting and Samuel John Allery.

Charles Harry Cutting

1835 was the year my mother's grandfather was born - Charles Harry in the Cutting line. Charles Harry Cutting was born in Thruxton, Hampshire, son of Thomas Cutting (Carpenter) and Lucy Colebrook.

According to the 1871 census Charles was also a carpenter at the time he married his wife Sarah H Newland. They married at Strand in Hampshire in June 1856 - he being only 21 and Sarah being two years older at 23.
Together they had four children, and bestowed the name of Harry as a second name for three of them. The middle son, Charles gained his mother's maiden name as well, giving him the grand name of Charles Harry Newland Cutting; he was my grandfather. His older brother Harry Newland Cutting lived only to the age of three; he probably died of a childhood disease, a common occurrence in families of this era. 

The 1911 census shows both Charles and Sarah living at their six roomed house at 11 Wyndham Road,  Kingston-on-Thames, they are now aged 75 and 77 respectively and have been married for 43 years.They lived longer than the average age expectancy for the era: Life expectancy was then 54 years for women and 50 for men.

Their location at Kingston-on-Thames was indicative of their standard of living. Kingston a well-to-do area of Greater London is to feature in the weaving of my family history in the 19th Century - a joining of the Cuttings and Allery's.

Samuel John Allery

In September 1847 my father's grandfather was born - Samuel John of the Allery line. Samuel John Allery was born to William Allery (Tailor) and Mary Newth, in Newington, Devon.

Samuel obviously had a great capacity for life and children as he married twice and fathered 15 children. His first marriage to Mary Ann Hall, my great grandmother, took place on the 2nd December 1867 in Lambeth, Surrey. They were aged 21 and 19 and were supported by both their fathers on their wedding day at St John's church - both having signed the marriage certificate at the time. Samuel's father William and Mary's father Henry Hall (Sail maker). Together they had eight children, one of whom was my grandfather, Walter Frederick Allery born in 1872. Walter also took on the Tailoring trade and became a Master Tailor. His mother, my great grandmother Mary Ann, died in 1881 - I suspect that she had complications with the birth of her last child Jennie Selina, who was born in 1880 but lived only for one year. Perhaps Mary Ann died of a broken heart after the loss of such a small child.

Samuel was later to marry Jemima Blackburn in 1884 and together had another seven children - all sons - many of them living into the 20th century. According to the 1911 census they had been married for 26 years. The census also showed that all the sons of working age had a trade associated such as Decorator, Printer, Labourer but only one followed his father into the Tailoring industry. In this year they were living at 196 Commercial Road, Camberwell, London.

Location was important for the trade of Tailoring and Samuel John Allery made a good living - being able to support two wives and a tribe of children. His son Walter Frederick Allery chose this up and coming location for his Tailoring business.

Location near London would also have been important for the trade of carpentry and Charles Harry Cutting was able to afford to live in Kingston-on-Thames - an area where his son Charles Harry Newland Cutting was to make his small fortune.