John George BLENCOWE (1839–1892)
His wife Mrs Emma BLENCOWE, née Young (1855–1938)
With a remembrance of four of their children who died in infancy
With an inscription to their daughter Mabel Edith BLENCOWE who died in the First World War
St Giles [Ss Philip & James] section: Row 33, Grave K44
JOHN GEORGE BLENCOWE
WHO DIED JAN. 22, 1892
AGED 52 YEARS.
ALSO OF EMMA HIS WIFE
WHO DIED JUNE 4, 1938
AGED 84 YEARS.
WHO DIED NOV 7 1875 AGED 1 DAY.
WHO DIED SEP 15 1878 AGED 3 MONTHS.
ALICE WHO DIED FEB 18 1882 AGED 3 MONTHS.
WHO DIED MARCH 3 1891 AGED 2 YEARS.
CHILDREN OF THE ABOVE.
DIED ON ACTIVE SERVICE IN FRANCE
MARCH 10 1917.
John George Blencowe was born in Friar’s Entry, Oxford in 1839 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 16 January. He was the son of the brewer John Blencowe and his wife Sarah Morris, who both originated from the Bicester area, where the surname is very common. (See separate grave for more on his parents and siblings.) At the time of the 1871 census John junior was 29 years old and living at Plantation Road with his parents: both he and his brother Charles (21) were then working as assistant bakers to their father.
Emma Young was born at Abergavenny in 1855 (reg. second quarter). Her family must have moved to Oxford, as at the time of her marriage she was described as the daughter of Charles Young, a farmer of New Osney. Ellen Young, who was a witness at her wedding, may be her mother or sister.
John George Blencowe married Emma Young at St Frideswide’s Church on 28 December 1875 and they had the following eleven children, all of whom were born at 20 Kingston Road and baptised at Ss Philip & James’s Church:
- Emma Eliza Blencowe (born on 7 November 1876 and privately baptised the same day); died aged just one day
- John George Blencowe (born in May 1878 and privately baptised the same day); died aged five months
- Mabel Edith Blencowe (born on 12 October 1879 and baptised on 20 November)
- Alice Blencowe (born on 7 July 1881 and baptised on 11 August); died aged six months
- Walter Charles Blencowe (born on 28 October 1882 and baptised on 30 November)
- Lucy Agnes Blencowe (born on 13 April 1884 and baptised on 22 May)
- George Henry Blencowe (born on 1 February 1886 and baptised on 1 April)
- Florence Mary Blencowe (born on 1 September 1887 and baptised on 6 October)
- Alice Meta Blencowe (born on 5 February 1889 and baptised on 21 March); died aged two
- May Margaret Blencowe (born on 25 May 1890 and baptised on 26 June)
- Arthur Harold Blencowe (born on 6 December 1891 and privately baptised on 23 January 1892)
In 1875 John Blencowe took on the first tenancy of St Paul’s Villa, 20 Kingston Road, where they had a grocer’s shop, and later a post office as well. This is on the west side, half way between the junctions with Longworth Road and Southmoor Place.
Above: Kingston Road in 1906, looking north from the junction with Walton Well Road
and St Bernard’s Road. No. 20 is in the far distance
Below: St Paul’s Villa, 20 Kingston Road in 2014. John George Blencowe died in 1892, but 34 years after his death the following advertisement (presumably sponsored by Hovis) was added to the side brickwork, and is still legible today:
“J. G. BLENCOWE / CORN FACTOR / PASTRY COOK, GROCER / AND / CONFECTIONER /
Championship Prize & Silver Medallist 1926.”
Their eldest child Emma, who was born in 1876, only survived for one day:
† Emma Eliza Blencowe died at 20 Kingston Road at the age of just one day on 7 November 1876 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 9 November (burial recorded in the parish registers of both Ss Philip & James’s and St Giles’s Church).
Their second child, who was born in 1878, lived for under five months:
† John George Blencowe died at 20 Kingston Road at the age of four months and twenty days on 15 September 1878 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 September (burial recorded in the parish registers of both Ss Philip & James’s and St Giles’s Church).
As both were only tiny babies, they are probably buried elsewhere in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, and only remembered on their parents’ grave.
In 1879 when Blencowe planned to set up a baker’s shop in Kingston Road where beer would also be sold, he sought the approval of the Revd E. C. Dermer, Vicar of St Paul’s, before approaching St John’s College. He duly set up business at St Paul’s Villa, 20 Kingston Road, and John Blencowe (35), described as a master baker and grocer employing one man and one boy, can be seen there at the time of the 1881 census with his wife Emma (25) and their only surviving child Mabel (1). A young baker journeyman lived with them, and they had a servant.
The first of their two daughters given the name Alice was born soon after that census, but died the following year, and again she may be buried in a section of the cemetery kept aside for babies:
† Alice Blencowe died at 20 Kingston Road at the age of seven months (according to the register) on 18 February 1882 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 23 February (burial recorded in the parish registers of both Ss Philip & James’s and St Giles’s Church).
The second of their daughters given the name name Alice was born in 1889 but died in 1891:
† Alice Meta Blencowe died at 20 Kingston Road at the age of two on 5 March 1891 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 8 March (burial recorded in the registers of both Ss Philip & James’s and St Giles’s Church).
An announcement of her death was inserted in Jackson’s Oxford Journal.
At the time of the 1891 census John and Emma Blencowe were living at 20 Kingston Road with their six children who survived infancy: Mabel (11), Walter (8), Lucy (6), George (5), Florence (3), and May (ten months). Their last child Arthur was born near the end of that year.
Blencowe died at the beginning of 1892, the day before his youngest son Arthur, who was less than two months old, was baptised:
† John George Blencowe died at St Paul’s Villa, 20 Kingston Road at the age of 53 on 22 January 1892 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 27 January (burial recorded in the parish registers of both Ss Philip & James’s and St Giles’s Church).
His effects came to £1,176 11s. His business was still listed in Kelly’s Directory for 1966 (sixty-eight years after his death) as: “BLENCOWE J. G. LTD., bakers, grocers, & post office. Tel. 55952”.
In 1896 Kingston Road was taken into the new parish of St Margaret, whose original parish registers are still in use and hence have not been transcribed.
Mrs Blencowe took over her husband’s baker’s and grocer’s shop, and by 1899 it was also a post office. At the time of the 1901 census she was living over the shop with her seven surviving children. The three eldest assisted her: Mabel (21) and Lucy (16) worked as post office clerks, while Walter (18) was a grocer’s assistant. George (15) was a tailor’s apprentice, and Florence (13), May (10), and Arthur (9) were probably all still at school.
At the time of the 1911 census Mrs Blencowe (55) was still the baker & grocer at 20 Kingston Road, with Walter (28) and Lucy (26) acting as her shop assistants. George (25) was a tailor’s cutter, May (20) was a typist, and Arthur (19) a clerk. Florence (23) was a nurse at Northampton General Hospital in 1911. Mabel (31) is hard to find, but was probably also a nurse.
On 4 August 1912 Mrs Blencowe’s son Walter Charles Blencowe (29) married Maud Midian White, the daughter of the Charlbury butcher Eden Edward White, at Charlbury church. That same year Mrs Blencowe took on the first lease of 51 Bainton Road (and her unmarried sister-in-law Clara Blencowe took the lease of the house next door). She lived there with her daughter Mabel and probably some of her other unmarried children, leaving her married son Walter to take care of the bakehouse and shop at 20 Kingston Road.
Two more of Mrs Blencowe’s children were married in 1913:
- George Henry Blencowe (27) married May Agnes Stannard at St Clement’s Church on 16 August 1913;
- Lucy Agnes Blencowe married Leonard H. Page in the Woodstock district (reg. third quarter of 1913).
Mabel Edith Blencowe (1879–1917)
Mrs Blencowe’s daughter Mabel, who was a nurse, was mobilized at the outbreak of war 1914 to serve in the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS), both at home and abroad. She died in France in 1917.
Mabel Edith Blencowe was serving as a Sister in the TFNS when on 10 March 1917 at the age of 36 she died of cerebral meningitis at the 7th General Hospital at St Omer near Calais. This was a large hospital centre, with twelve Canadian, New Zealand, and British hospitals based there at some time during the war. CWGC page
She is buried at the Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery (Grave III.B.22), and is named on the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service panel of the Five Sisters Window in the north transept of York Minster, which commemorates all the women who died in the two World Wars.
Above: Inscription to Nurse Blencowe on the family grave in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery
Right: Photograph published in the Oxford Journal Illustrated on 21 March 1917
Mabel Blencowe’s effects came to £170, and her permanent address was given in her probate records as her mother’s house at Bainton Road.
Mabel’s sister May Margaret Blencowe married Thomas William Hathaway at Summertown Church on 2 July 1918.
Her brother Arthur Harold Blencowe also fought in the war, as a Corporal in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and his photograph appeared in the Oxford Journal Illustrated on 17 October 1917. He survived, and married Estella Louise Bunce in the Headington registration district in the third quarter of 1921.
Mabel’s brother Walter Charles Blencowe became a father in 1924 after twelve years of marriage when his son John G. Blencowe was born, but the following year he committed suicide at 20 Kingston Road (see long report on the inquest in Oxford Journal Illustrated of 29 April 1925). It appears that the shop was taken over by his sister Lucy and her husband Leonard Page, as the latter is listed there in Kelly’s Directory for 1928.
Meanwhile in 1928 Mrs Blencowe and Miss Blencowe (presumably her daughter Florence) were both living at 53 Bainton Road.
Mrs Blencowe evidently moved to Abingdon, where she died 40 years after the death of her husband:
† Mrs Emma Blencowe née Young died at Barton Court, Abingdon at the age of 84 on 4 June 1938 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 7 June (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).
Her effects came to £2,172 15s. 11d.
Surviving children of John George & Emma Blencowe
- Lucy Agnes Blencowe (born 1884) and her husband Leonard Page had at least one child: Joan M. Page (1919), birth registered in Headington district; and there are three earlier children born in Northampton and Richmond who may also have been theirs.
- George Henry Blencowe (born 1886), and his wife May had two children, both baptised at St Clement’s Church: Kathleen May Blencowe (1915) and Joyce Mabel Blencowe (1917). He was a tailor’s cutter and they were living at 198 Divinity Road in 1915, but by 1917 he was a Lance Corporal in the Heavy Artillery and they lived at 10 Aston Street. He was still at that address in 1936.
- Florence Mary Blencowe (born 1887) does not appear to have married, and is probably the Florence M. Blencowe who died near the beginning of 1955 in the North Buckinghamshire district.
- May Margaret Blencowe, Mrs Hathaway (born 1890) and her husband Thomas do not appear to have had any children. May died in Oxford near the beginning of 1984.
- Arthur Harold Blencowe (born 1891) and his wife Estella had one son, William Arthur Blencowe, born at Barclays Bank House, Banbury on 20 August 1929. Arthur was living at 27 Ramsay Road, Headington in 1936, and died there at the age of 69 on 23 January 1961 his only son (who had three sons and two grandsons) died on 21 June 2012.