John BLEAY (1824–1855)
His wife Mrs Rachel BLEAY, née Meadows (c.1823–1901)
His sister-in-law Miss Jane MEADOWS (c.1834–1916)
St Giles section: Row 33, Grave J25
TO THE MEMORY OF
WHO DIED JANUARY XXVII
AGED XXX YEARS.
ALSO OF [RACHEL]
WIFE OF THE ABOVE
DIED MARCH [XXX, MCMI]
AGED LXXIX YEARS
[Possibly an inscription
to Jane MEADOWS
John Bleay was born in St Clement’s, Oxford in 1824, the son of the cooper Joseph Bleay and his wife Elizabeth. His older sister Jane Rose Bleay was also baptised there, on 13 May 1821. His parents are likely to be the Joseph Bleay of St Clement’s who married Elizabeth Brewer of Marsh Gibbon at St Clement’s Church on 30 March 1811.
In 1836 Joseph’s mother died at Cave Street, St Clement’s (then called George Street) and was buried in the churchyard of the new St Clement’s Church in the Marston Road. At the time of the 1841 census John (aged about 16) was an apprentice printer, living at The Plain in St Clement’s with his father Joseph Bleay, a cooper aged about 50. His sister Jane (18) was then lodging in New Street, St Clement’s with a laundress called Mary Marigold.
Rachel Meadows was born in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire in c.1823 and her younger sister Jane Meadows in c.1834. Rachel is hard to find in the 1841 census and was likely to have been in service, but Jane (7) was living at Stow-on-the Wold with her father Francis Meadows, who was an agricultural labourer, and her siblings Edmund (15), Richard (14), Henry (10), Sarah (9), Jane (7), and Ann (3).
John Bleay married Rachel Meadows in Oxford in 1848 (reg. fourth quarter). They do not appear to have had any children.
At the time of the 1851 census John Bleay (26) and his wife Rachel (27) were living in St Bernard’s Road (then called St John’s Road) and John was a printer, probably at Oxford University Press. Rachel’s sister Jane was still living in Stow-on-the-Wold and was a house servant.
John Bleay died in 1855:
† John Bleay died at St Bernard’s Road at the age of 30 in January 1855 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 28 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).
At the time of the 1861 census Rachel, a widow of 57, was working as a dressmaker. Her sister Jane (27), who was now working as a lady’s maid, was paying her a visit.
From 1869 to 1872 “Mrs Blay” [sic] was listed in directories as a milliner at 58 St Giles’s Street (one of the houses demolished to make way for Pusey House chapel). At the time of the 1871 census she was described as a dressmaker, living at 58 St Giles’s Street with her unmarried sister Jane Meadows (37), who had now come to live with her, and her nephew Ernest Fred Hill (3), who was born in Oxford in 1867.
By the time of the 1881 census Rachel (58) had moved to 1 Little Clarendon Street with her sister Jane (46), and they worked together as dressmakers, and had another three dressmakers who worked for them. Ernest Hill her nephew, now 13, was still living with them.
Rachel Bleay was living at Stone’s Almshouses in St Clement’s when she died in early 1901, 46 years after her husband:
† Mrs Rachel Bleay, née Meadows died at Stone’s Almshouses in St Clement’s at the age of 79 on 30 March 1901 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 4 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).
Her effects came to £13, and her sister Jane Meadows was her executor.
At the time of the 1901 and 1911 censuses Jane Meadows was an almswoman at Stone’s Almshouses. She died there at the age of 80 in 1916:
† Miss Jane Meadows died at Stone’s Almshouses in St Clement’s at the age of 80 in 1916 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 2 October (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).
Her effects came to £49 5s. 8d., and her executor was her nephew Ernest Fred Hill, who was now a photographer.