Friday, 1 February 2019

Last Will and Testament of William Frederick Tozer

Death announcement in local newspaper

Testament of William Frederick Tozer

This is the last Will and Testament of me William Frederick Tozer of Wellingborough in the county of Northamptonshire. Plumber, Painter and Glazier.
I appoint my dear wife Eliza Loman Tozer and my brother Edwin James Tozer of the town of Northampton, Plumber, Painter and glazier, Executers and trustees of this my Will.  I bequeath unto my said wife Eliza Loman Tozer absolutely all my household goods, furniture and implements of household books, plate, linen, china, glass and consumable stores and all my wearing apparel, watches and trinkets.  I also bequeath to my said wife absolutely the legacy or sum of Twenty five pounds to be paid to her as soon as conveniently may be after my decease.  I devise and bequeath all my real estate (if any) whatsoever and wheresoever (except estates vested in me as a trustee or mortgagee) and all my stock and implements or utensils in trade, books and other debts and policies of Assurance on my life and all the residue of my goods, chattels, effects and personal estate unto and to the use of the said Eliza Loman Tozer and Edwin James Tozer their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns according to the natures and qualities thereof respectively. Upon trust as soon as convieniently may be after my decease to sell, dispose of and convert into money all such parts thereof as are in their nature saleable and to collect and get in the residue thereof. And I direct that my trustees or trustee for the time being shall stand possessed of all the moneys to arrive from or be produced by the sales, disposistion, convertion and getting in of my real and residuary personal estates, upon trust in the first place to pay and discharge thereout all my funeral and testamentary expences and just debts and all costs and expences incident to the execution of the trusts of this my Will and also the pecuriary legacy hereinbeforen bequeathed to my said wife. And upon trust in the next place to lay out and invest the residue of the said trust moneys in their, her or his own names or name in the Parlimentary Stocks or funds of Great Britain or at interest upon Goverment or real or any personal security or securities in England and from time to time at their, her or his discretion to alter, vary and transfer the same moneys or any part thereof for into or upon any other stocks, funds or securities of a like nature as often as they, she or he shall think fit and to pay the annual income of the said trust money unto my said wife Eliza Loman Tozer during her life if she shall so long remain my widow. And from and immediately after the decease or second marriage (whichever shall first happen) of my said wife, then upon trust and I do hereby declare that my trustees or trustee for the time being shall stand possessed of all the said trust moneys and the annual income thereof, In trust for my three children William Henry Tozer, Frederick Tozer and Rosa Tozer and such other ( if any) children or child of mine who shall be living at the time of the decease or second marriage (whichsoever shall first happen) of my said wife and who being a son or sons shall attain the age twenty one years or being a daughter or daughters shall attain that age or marry and the issue then living and who shall then have attained or shall thereafter attain the age of twenty one years of such (if any) of my said children as shall be then dead, leaving issue, such children and issue ( if more than one) to take in equal shares as tenants in common but so that the issue of any deceased child shall take by

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Eliza Lowman Challis

My last blog was about my maternal great great Grandfather William Frederick Tozer, so I thought that it would be nice to write something about his wife Eliza Lowman Challis.
Eliza was born on the 24th of May 1842 in the lovely seaside town of Ramsgate in Kent. The fifth child to Henry Challis and Eliza Turner.

Both her father Henry and her Grandfather Joseph Challis were in the transport business, Joseph ran a coach service between Ramsgate and Canterbury and her father was a Carrier of groceries, a Postmaster and later a Fly Proprietor. A Fly was a one horse two wheeled light carriage and a Fly Proprietor usually owned several Flys and employed the drivers, a bit like a taxi service.
In a story by Charles Dickens 'The Tuggs's at Ramsgate' he tells how when passengers disembarked from the City of London-Ramsgate steamer " a chorus of fourteen or so men" would be calling "Fly, sir?" trying to win the passengers as customers and to bring them to their lodgings. Charles Dickens was often in the area around Ramsgate so must have experienced this first hand.

Eliza would have grown up in reasonable prosperity, her family lived at 130 High Street, Ramsgate which is in the centre of the town, close to the church and about 10 minutes walk from the harbour, she was the fifth child of seven.
In 1861 at the age of 19 Eliza was employed as a milliner in Ramsgate. Shortly after 1861 she and her parents moved to Dover where her father worked as a victualler - a victualler is traditionally a person who supplies food, beverages and other provisions for the crew of a vessel at sea.
Sometime whilst living in Dover, Eliza met her future husband William Frederick Tozer who was working at the time as a decorator or grainer in Tunbridge Wells, which is about 100 km from Dover. Maybe they met in Ramsgate whilst William was taking a short holiday? What is certain is that they married at St. Mary's church, Dover on the 4th June 1866 and Eliza went to live in the lovely town of Royal Tunbridge Wells with her new husband.

In December 1867 her first child was born William Henry Tozer. Shortly after his birth they moved closer to William Frederick Tozer's family in Northamptonshire and William began his own Painting and Decorating company in Wellingborough. In 1870 their second son Frederick was born and on the 9th October 1871 my great grandmother Rose Tozer was born. The family were living at 34 Market Street, Wellingborough and William Frederick's decorating business was doing well when at the beginning of May 1872 he developed an ear infection which caused an infection to his brain membrane and within two weeks he had died.
Eliza was 29 at the time of her husband's death and had 3 children under the age of 5. In my next blog, which I promise will be alot sooner, I will post William Frederick's Last Will and Testament, and then a following blog I will write about Eliza's further life and her move up to Hull in Yorkshire.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

William Frederick Tozer - Painter and decorator

In my blog of June 2017 'Memories in stone', which was about the death of my great great grandfather William Frederick Tozer. I promised that I would write a blog about his life, that is as far as I am able to tell the story of his life from the few facts that I have found out about him.
Still I will do my best to paint a picture of William's short life and the time in which he lived.
William Frederick Tozer was born on the 1st May 1840 at 70 Hatfield Street, Christ Church Surrey, the second child to William Henry Tozer and Maria Bishop. On his birth certificate his father is recorded as being a painter.

 William wasn't baptised until the 27th August 1841 and on this register his birth date is given as 16th July 1840.  In 1851 they were living in the St.Pancras area of London and his father was a Journeyman Painter, also William Frederick had several more younger brothers and sisters.
By the time of the 1861 census his father had set up his own Painting and Decorating company in Northampton employing 1 man and 3 apprentices, both William and his elder brother Charles were working for their father and in a newspaper advertisement of 1862 you can read that their work wasn't just painting and decorating but also involved picture framing, guilding, plumbing and sign writing (that must be were my daughter Esther got her talent for sign writing from).

Shortly after this date William Frederick found work as a Grainer and Painter in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and it was whilst living here that he probably met his future wife Eliza Lowman Challis, daughter of Henry Challis of Ramsgate, Kent.
William and Eliza were married in the St. Mary The Virgin church in Dover on the 4th June 1866, he was 26 years old and Eliza was 24.

In December 1867 their first child was born in Royal Tunbridge Wells, he was named William Henry Tozer after his grandfather.
Shortly after the birth of their son, William Frederick and Eliza moved back to Northamptonshire where William started his own painting and decorating company, located at 34 Market Street, Wellingborough. In 1870 his second son Frederick was born and on the 9th October 1871, Eliza gave birth to my great grandmother Rose Tozer.
William Frederick's business seems to have been very successful, in fact  he was asked to help in the decoration of the large hall of the newly built Corn Exchange of Wellingborough. According to the local newspaper his finished work reflected his good ability as a decorative painter.

Unfortunately William Frederick's promising career came to an end with his untimely death on the 15th May 1872, caused by an ear infection which spread to his brain, he was only 32 years old and his wife Eliza was left with three young children.
I will post a copy of his testament in my next blog.

Friday, 29 June 2018


De la Coste coat of arms

 One branch of my husband's family were Hugenots, that were French protestants who had to flee France because of religious persecution. Leen Arie's  8th great grandfather Louis De la Coste came to Rotterdam in the Netherlands when he was 10 years old in the autumn of 1684. His parents later traveled further to Geneva in Switzerland and his sisters and brother ended up living in London, England, but Louis stayed in the Netherlands were he studied and became a Preacher. When he was  44 he wrote a short record of were his ancestors were from and why they were forced to flee for their beliefs and were given refuge in a foreign country. He wrote -"For the honour of God, and praise for his goodness and for the instruction of my children and descendants, have I, Ludovicus De la Coste, Pastor in the Reformed church of Jesus Christ in Dordrecht, written the following that my children will know who their forefathers were and why it was necessary for them to leave their Fatherland ......"
Louis's (or Ludovicus as he was later known) ancestors were originally from the area  of Aix-en-Provence in the South of France. They probably left this area in the 16th Century because of religious persecution and settled in La Rochelle which was a predominately Protestant city. Many Hugenot families came to settle in La Rochelle during the wars of religion and as a centre of trade it became a rich and powerful city in the late 16th century. The De la Coste family were merchants and probably prospered in this cosmopolitan city.
They would have also suffered during the great siege of the city from September 1627 to October 1628. At the beginning of the siege the population of the city was 28,000 and at the end the population had dwindled down to only 5,400 through famine and disease.
Persecution of Protestants intensified at the end of the 1670's and in 1681 at the young age of 7, Louis and his brother David were sent by sea to Bristol, England so that they could receive an education in the Protestant religion, they spent two years in Bristol. During the sea voyage home his brother David died and was buried at sea.
In 1685 the Edict of Nantes was revoked, this Edict which had been signed in 1598 by Henri IV granted the Protestants relative liberty to practise their religion. However with the revocation of this edict, Protestants were compelled to renounce their religion or to flee the country.
Louis and his siblings left La Rochelle in the autumn previous to this year, sailing with his maternal aunt Elizabeth Chintrier and a cousin. They left from Saint-Martin-de-Re, a small fortified city on the Ile de Re, to the Netherlands, it was a journey of 12 days, they arrived in Rotterdam on the 9th of October. His parents travelled later to Holland,probably after closing up their business affairs, and on the 14th May 1686 his Father and family were given citizen rights to the city of Rotterdam.
Last week me and my husband were able to visit the beautiful city of La Rochelle and walk in the footsteps of his ancestors in the city which offered them refuge for several generations but which they were also forced to flee. What a blessing that we have to live in a time and country which allows us to practise our religious beliefs in freedom, this is something that we should never take for granted.  As Ludovicus also wrote " .... so that they will learn to trust in God, having a good conscience which is better than all worldly goods, and that they shall never forget what God commanded the Israelites in Deuteronomy 10:19 -  Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt."

Hugenot refugees

Friday, 22 June 2018

Illustrious Ancestors

Even though I am sure that many people can eventually trace one of their family lines back to royalty it certainly gives you a kick when you do actually discover a link.
My 3rd great grandfather married Grace Morsehead in Phillack, Cornwall on the 21st November 1825, Grace's maternal grandfather was Arundel Pryor, his mother was Margaret Arundel daughter of John Arundel of Truthall, which is situated close by the little village of Sithney, Cornwall.
The Arundel family were a prominent well loved Cornish gentry family and several of John Arundel's forebears had important functions in Cornwall such as Governor of Pendennis Castle and Sheriff of Cornwall.

Arundell coat of arms

The nice thing about connecting to the Landed- Gentry is that the genealogy is recorded back for several hundred years, and the Arundell family of Cornwall are amongst the few Cornish families of Norman origin, the Arundell's possibly came over from Normandy with William the Conquerer.
Several years ago a fellow genealogist gave me the tip and sent me the information that through marriage the Arundell family also linked up with Royalty, via Elizabeth Plantagenet the daughter of Edward I of England. Through this Royal line I am also descended from William the Conquerer of Normandy, hence this story, as the last few days we have been on holiday in Normandy  and I have been reading a lot about this illustrious forebear. Last Friday we visited the beautiful city of Bayeaux  and were able to view the amazing Bayeaux Tapestry, which is in fact an embroidered record of the famous Battle of Hastings of 1066 and is almost 1000 years old. It is about 70 meters long, amazing that such a delicate object has survived through the centuries, and how wonderful to have an ancient 'comic strip' story of one's ancestors.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

My Grandmother Charlotte Blakey and her Bigamist mother

Charlotte was born on the 14th of May 1889 in Preston, a small village north of Hull her parents were Joseph Fothergill Blakey and Maria Dalton, they were married on the 13th of November 1887 in Hull. Her father Joseph was originally from Leeds but was employed as a postman in Hull at the time of his marriage, when Charlotte was about 2 years old Joseph decided to leave his wife and child and return to Leeds, on the 1891 census he is recorded as living with his mother and other siblings in Holbeck near Leeds, he was then aged 27 and an unemployed postman. His wife Maria and daughter Charlotte were living in 1891 next-door to her parents at 49 Townside Road, Preston. I don’t know whether Maria expected Joseph to return or send for her to move to Leeds or whether their short marriage had been so incompatible that they no longer wanted to be together, in those days a divorce was only available for the rich. What I do know is that Maria eventually met and fell in love with someone else, that person being George Curtois who was a green grocer and had a shop on Porter Street in Hull when Maria first met him. In 1893 Maria became pregnant with George Curtois’s child; because she was still legally married to Joseph Blakey she was unable to marry George. On the 13th of September 1893 she gave birth to a daughter who was named Georgina, on her birth certificate her father is recorded as being George Blakey (a slight deviance from the truth), occupation grocer and her mother Maria Curtois Blakey formerly Dalton, they were residing at 31 Porter Street, probably above the grocery shop. By the spring of the following year Maria was once again pregnant, this time George must have wanted the child to legally have his surname because on the 27th of September 1894 George Cave Curtois and Maria Blakey were officially married in the Register Offices of Hull. At the time of her second marriage Maria would have just turned 30 but her age on the marriage certificate is recorded as being 36, the same age as George, she is also recorded as being a widow which is also false because Joseph Fothergill Blakey was still alive and living in Leeds. I can’t blame Maria for this deceit and her bigamist marriage, she obviously hadn’t heard anything from her first husband for many years and was about to give birth to the second child of George Curtois, if she had been found out and accused of bigamy she could have received a large fine or a prison sentence. On the 17th of December 1894 she gave birth to a son who was named after his father, George Curtois. Three years later, just before young George’s third birthday his father George  died of consumption, he was only 39 years old and at the time of his death they were living at 29 Buckingham Street, Hull and George had been a master grocer. By the time of the 1901 census Maria and her children had moved to 15 Ellis Street were Maria is recorded as being a widow living on her own means, her age is recorded as being 32 when she was in fact now 36, living with her were daughter Georgina Curtois aged 8, son George aged 6 and Charlotte Blakey aged 11 and recorded as being a niece, (it seems that Maria was still trying to cover up her past). Maria also had a boarder residing at her address, the 29 year old James C. Smith who was employed as a labourer at the Engine works. On the 11th of June 1903 Maria once again entered into a bigamist marriage with this selfsame James Coy Smith, this time Maria gives her age as being 33 when she was in fact 38, just less than a year later on the 21st of May 1904 Maria Smith died of consumption, her age is recorded as 33, she was in fact 39, her daughter Charlotte was 15, Georgina 10 and George only 9. Apparently Joseph Blakey received notification of Maria’s death and turned up one day by his sister-in-law Alice Dalton asking for information about his daughter Charlotte, Alice felt that he had left it a bit late to be showing concern for his daughter and told him that Charlotte had died. Joseph doesn’t seem to have remarried, in 1901 he was living in Armley near Leeds with a housekeeper and an adopted son called Percy Siddle, aged 2, Joseph’s occupation was painter. 
 I don’t know who looked after Charlotte and her siblings after her Mother’s death, possibly her aunt, but 5 years later she married Robert Strickland and they moved into their own little house, number 7 Lauriate Avenue, close by to the newly built Alexandra Dock where Robert was employed by the Hull and Barnsley Railway company as a coal tipper or heaver. 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

My Dad the Magician

I grew up with a Dad who was a magician, he told us children that he had special gifts because he was the seventh child of a seventh child. I remember thinking that when he looked at me through his rear view mirror of the car that he could maybe read my thoughts, so you always had to watch out what you were thinking.
It was also dangerous to pick up a coin laying around on the coffee table because you might just get an electric shock, Dad liked practical jokes.
Dad was a member of the magic circle and when he and Mum where just married he would often do magic shows for local events or parties and Mum would be his assistant. So as any good magician he also had his own white rabbit which he could of course pull out of his hat and astound his audience with. Unfortunately  Dad came home from work one day and found the rabbit dead with a carrot and lettuce stuffed in it's mouth, and since that time poor Mum was accused of killing the rabbit with kindness, those of you who know my Mum can understand how this happened.
Dad would often perform magic shows for church activities and I am sure that many members can remember having to put their finger in the guillotine just after witnessing how a carrot was chopped in half, luckily nobody lost a finger.
Dad was especially good at card tricks and even in his later years would amaze his grandchildren and great grandchildren with his tricks and sleight of hand, how many children were amazed to have him produce a ball out of their ear.
When I was about 11 and living in California my Dad enrolled me in a magic school, I don't think that I attended for long, probably because we moved to Canada, but I did learn the rope trip and also that magicians never reveal the secret of how a trick works.
Last October me and my husband were in Hull and were able to visit Dinsdale's Joke shop, this is an amazing little shop full of all sorts of tricks and treats. I was amazed that the man working in the shop remembered my Dad so well and had so many fond and funny memories of him.