Joseph BAYLIS (c.1792–1862)
His second wife Mrs Mary BAYLIS, formerly Mrs Jessett, née Best (c.1799–1875)
St Paul section: Row 15, Grave B23½ (St Paul ref. T.12 or U.12)

Joseph Baylis









DIED MAY 7. 1875

Footstone, with initials of
Joseph & Mary Baylis:

Baylis footstone


Joseph Baylis was born in Barrington, Gloucestershire (near the Oxfordshire border, just to the north-west of Burford) in 1792/3, the son of the farmer Richard Baylis. He appears to have had two children by an earlier wife, both born in Stanway, Gloucestershire: Elizabeth (c.1821) and Alfred (c.1822). At the time of the 1841 census he was was a carpenter, living at Walton Street, Oxford with his daughter Elizabeth (20).

Mary Best was born in St Aldate’s, Oxford in 1799/1800: she is probably the child of that name, the daughter of Samuel and Hannah Best, who on 7 June 1801 was baptised at the same time as her brother Stephen at St Aldate’s Church. In 1826 Mary Best gave birth to an illegitimate child, Stephen Best, and he was baptised at St Giles’s Church on 7 May 1826. Her address was given in the register as being near the Royal Oak in the Woodstock Road. On 6 November 1832 at St Giles’s Church she married her first husband, Thomas Jessett or Jessatt, who signed his name with a cross: both were then living in St Giles’s parish. They do not appear to have had any children. At the time of the 1841 census Mary and Thomas Jessett were living at Little Clarendon Street with Mary’s son Stephen Best (15), who was working as a printer, and Frederick Best (aged about 30), who was probably Mary’s brother. Thomas Jessett died at Little Clarendon Street at the age of 44 in 1848 and was buried in St Giles’s churchyard on 23 July, just before the opening of St Sepulchre’s Cemetery.

On 31 December 1848 at St Giles’s Church, Joseph Baylis, described as a widower and carpenter of St Giles’s parish, married the widow Mrs Mary Jessett, née Best. They had no children.

The following year, on 19 August 1849 Mary’s only child Stephen Best, who was working as a groom, married Jane Elizabeth Scrivener, born in Oddington in 1825/6 and the daughter of the farmer Edward Scrivener, at St Giles’s Church: both were described as being of St Giles at the time of their marriage. Their son Stephen Scrivener Best was baptised at St Giles’s Church on 12 January 1850, but died a few days later, and their daughter Mary Eleanor Best was baptised there on 23 February 1851.

At the time of the 1851 census Joseph Baylis (58), who was now described as a proprietor of houses, and Mary (51) were living in Walton Street the part that fell within the St Paul's district chapelry of St Giles's parish), and they had a servant.

Mary’s son Stephen had two more daughters: Elizabeth Best (baptised at St Giles’s Church on 26 June 1853) and Louisa Best (born in 1855). At the time of the 1861 census Stephen (36), although a married man with a family, spent census night at 30 Beaumont Street, the home of Edward Robert Owen, the doctor who now employed him as a groom. His wife Jane meanwhile was back home in Worcester Street with Mary (10), Elizabeth (8), and Louisa (5).

By 1861 Joseph (68) was described as a retired carpenter, and Mary (61) was working as a college servant. Their address was given as 72 Walton Street, which was on the southern corner with Juxon Street and fell within the St Paul’s district chapelry of St Giles’s parish.

Joseph Baylis died there the following year:

† Joseph Baylis died at 72 Walton Street at the age of 69 on 21 November 1862 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 25 November (burial recorded in the register of St Paul’s Church).

Mary’s Baylis’s only son Stephen Best died at Worcester Street, Oxford at the age of 41 and was buried on 12 October 1865. His burial is recorded in the register of St Mary Magdalen Church, so it is likely that his grave is in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, but it has not been found.

At the time of the 1871 census Mary (70), described as an annuitant, was living at Walton Street with her widowed daughter-in-law Mrs Jane Best (46) and her granddaughter Elizabeth Best (19), who was a machinist at a tailor’s. In a subdivision of the house lived her granddaughter Mary (21) and her Scottish husband Robert Laurie (26) who had married near the end of the previous year: Mary was a milliner, and Robert a cabinet maker. Mary’s third granddaughter Louisa (17) was in service with a family in James Street, East Oxford.

Mrs Baylis appears to have moved to New Osney soon after that census (probably with her granddaughter Jane Laurie, as the latter was living at 4 Bridge Street, Osney with her husband and children in 1881), and died there in 1875:

† Mrs Mary Baylis née Best died at New Osney at the age of 75 on 7 May 1875 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 9 May (burial recorded in the register of St Paul’s Church).



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