Alfred Wilson 1851-1922, his wife Mary née Harris 1852- 1934 and their family

"David Hughes, Chairman of Doxey Parish Council, gave me a copy of the Silver Wedding Invitation dated 13 October 1900 from Alfred and Mary Wilson who were then living at West Bank Doxey and I have done a little research into their family, though I am not sure exactly when they left Doxey. Deeds of the property, which I think is now Universal Social Club owned by its members, might give this information. This is a general outline of their family." Barbara Simpson.

Alfred Wilson, 1851-1922 was born in Preston, Lancashire, son of Charles Wilson 1814-1900 and Susanna Clark 1829-1916. Charles was a tailor and clothier and was born in Thornton Yorkshire, but seems to have always lived across the Pennines in Lancashire where he died at Calder Mount Garstang Lancashire on 26th September 1900 aged 86. However, I think he married his wife, (Susanna Clark, born about 1827- 1829, died 1916) at St Giles Church in London in 1849, probably because she was a southerner, having been born in Purleigh, Maldon Essex. After her marriage she also lived in Lancashire and died at Calder Mount Garstang Lancashire on 10th April 1916 aged 87. There were at least two younger sons for Charles and Susannah, Albert born 1863 (so a lot younger than Alfred), and Sydney born 1869.

Their eldest son Alfred was born at Preston in Lancashire in 1851 and spent his early years there. Alfred’s occupation is listed on censuses as an engineer: in 1881 he was a Civil Engineer, Metalling at Marton in Middlesbrough, in 1891 he is listed as a Civil Engineer at Upper Swinford Worcestershire, and on both the 1901 and 1911 censuses (which is when he lived at West Bank Doxey) he is listed as a Gas Furnace Engineer. His eldest child Stanley was born in Middlesbrough, the next two children, Leslie and Marion, were registered in 1883 and 1884 as born in Handsworth Staffordshire and his youngest child Hilda was registered at Horsforth Yorkshire in 1889 so he probably moved around a lot while getting himself established in his profession. He was at West Bank Doxey for the 1901 census with all four children, but by 1911 (by which time he was aged 60) both daughters had married and left home. I think he retired in about 1915 or so to Nether Bower, Longsleddale nr Kendal in Westmoreland where in 1921 he built a Concrete “Signs of the Zodiac” garage with inscriptions, including distances, which still intrigue modern viewers who google Alfred Wilson and Longsleddale. There is an article from The Old Cumbria Gazetteer which gives more information so the garage seems set to be preserved for posterity! He died in a nursing home at Kendal on 23rd June 1922 aged 71. Evidence for the approximate dates comes from the world war one army records of his son Stanley, who lived at home and enlisted from West Bank Doxey in 1915 in the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry (Regimental Number 19484). In 1918, at the end of the war, Stanley’s medals were sent to Nether Bower.

On 13th October 1875 Alfred Wilson married Mary Harris at her home parish of Sibford Ferris Oxfordshire, so 13th October 1900 was the date of their 25th wedding anniversary. Mary Harris was born on 6th May 1852 at Sibford Ferris near Banbury in Oxfordshire and I think died on 5th November 1934 aged 82 at Kendal Westmoreland. She was the daughter of a farmer, Joseph Harris 1795 - 1856 and his wife Mary 1808-1865. Both of Mary’s parents were born, died and married at Sibford Ferris, Banbury Oxfordshire where they had a large family and always appear on censuses there. Their daughter Mary was almost certainly the youngest child, and had her fourth birthday only days before her father died aged 61. Her mother is on the 1861 census at Sibford Ferris, described as a widow, but died on 26th October 1865 aged 57. Ten years later daughter Mary married Alfred Wilson at Sibdon Ferris on 13th October 1875 when she was 23 and he was aged 24.

There were four children of the marriage, two sons followed by two daughters. Stanley Wilson was born in Middlesbrough on 29th December 1877 and I think he died, unmarried, in Lancaster in 1925 aged 48 but am not sure. I think he went with his parents to Westmoreland after the end of World War One. There are good records of his service in the army but I can’t find anything later, apart from this possible death. On the 1911 census he was described as a Gas Engineer like his father and brother Leslie.

Leslie Wilson, born 6 February 1883 was the second son and spent more time in the Staffordshire area as a Gas Technician/Engineer like his father, before retiring to Holywell Flintshire Wales, where he died in 1969 aged 86. In 1917 he married Dora Gatheral (1882-1975) at Aston Warwickshire. Kelly’s Directory of Staffordshire 1928 includes Leslie Wilson living at 118a North Street Stafford, when he would be about forty-five years old. By 1939 (aged about 56) he had retired to Felin Dre Holywell Flintshire and is on the 1939 Register with his wife Dora (Transcript reads; Leslie Wilson born 6 Feb 1883 Retired Town Gas Technician and wife Dora born 10th July 1882 whose occupation was described as Unpaid Domestic Duties – like most wives at this time). Leslie died in 1969 aged 86 and his death was registered at Holywell. Death index includes his date of birth, which tallies with that given in the 1939 register. I haven’t traced any children of the marriage.

Marion Wilson was born on 16th April 1884 registered at Handsworth Staffordshire and died in 1971 at Falmouth in Cornwall aged 87. In 1906 she married Fred Gobey at St Chad’s Seighford, Staffordshire. He was the son of George Clarke Gobey, 1845-1916, Builder’s Merchant, who was born in Gloucestershire and died there in 1916 aged 71 and wife Mary Jane Stafford 1845-1932 born Brislington Somerset (where they married on 29th July 1869) died Gloucester in 1932 aged 86. Their youngest child Fred, who was a bank clerk in 1911 and had risen to bank manager by 1939, was born on 7th May 1881 at Gloucester, and died on 29th May 1964 at Weston-Super-Mare Somerset, aged 83. There were two sons of the marriage: Elliott Wilson Gobey, born on 23 August 1908 at Doxey, Stafford and died on 8 January 1982 at Shepton Mallet in Somerset aged 73. He married twice; in 1929 to Winifred Louise P Jones born 1 Jan 1902 who died in 1973 at Truro Cornwall aged 72 (two children) and then to Gwendoline Ellerton, née West (who may have been a sister of his sister-in-law Vera May West – both are on the 1939 Register with parents Fred and Marion) born 9 August 1915. Elliot’s brother, Stanley Clarke Gobey, was born on 18 June 1916 at Stafford and died in 1992 in Northampton aged about 76. On the 1939 Census Stanley is unmarried, living at 274 Maryvale Road Bourneville, and is the Marketing Organiser for Cadbury Bros. He later lived in London and in 1941 at Hendon married Vera May West, born 10th May 1920. Vera May Gobey née West died on 5th March 2015 at Northampton aged 95.

Hilda, the youngest child, was born on 22nd May 1889 at Horsforth in Yorkshire and died in Westmoreland in 1968 aged 79. In 1908 she was married at the Friends Meeting House in Foregate Street Stafford to Eric Henry Richardson, born 9th April 1887 registered Lexden Essex. He died in 1967, death registered at Ormskirk Lancashire. Their eldest son, Frederick was born in 1909 at Manor Farm, Hook Norton, Banbury, Oxfordshire, and they are on the 1911 census at this address. Eric was then a Dairy Farmer. In 1939, Eric is listed as a Commercial Traveller and he and Hilda were living at The Bowrie in West Lancashire with three more sons, Peter born 1913 and Jesper (not my spelling mistake) 1922-1975 who were both born at Banbury and John born 1929 born at Ormskirk. John is described as incapacitated. Eric Henry Richardson died in 1967 aged 80, death registered at Ormskirk Lancashire and Hilda died a year later in Westmoreland aged 79.

I hope that the Silver Wedding Party was a great success with the Wilsons and their guests who would have included some Doxey people, probably ancestors of people reading this account. It’s good to see that there is a lot of interest in local history, in people and places, and we hope to contribute to this in a small way. In a time of rapid expansion, its nice to look back as well as forward, and find out about the lives of people who lived here in the past.

Amended : 15-11-19