Thomas Elderfield BOSSOM (1819–1893)
Mary Ann BOSSOM, née Owen (1820–1897)
St Giles (Ss Philip & James) section: Row 48, Grave K44

Bossom Grave



MAY 22, 1893,


[In the 1980s when this cross was still standing, Bostock was able to read on the other side an inscription to
who died on 5 October 1897
at the age of 73]




Thomas Elderfield Bossom was born in Binsey in 1819 and baptised at Binsey Church on 26 November. He was the eldest son of George Bossom (born in St Thomas's parish, Oxford in 1796) and Ruth Elderfield (born at Hanwell, Berkshire in 1785/6). His parents were married at Binsey Church on 26 November 1817 and had the following children:

  • Thomas Elderfield Bossom (born at Binsey in 1819 and baptised at Binsey Church on 21 November 1819)
  • George Elderfield Bossom (born at High Bridge, Oxford on 6 April 1823 and baptised at St Thomas’s Church on 13 April)
  • James Elderfield Bossom (born at High Bridge, Oxford on 13 August 1824 and baptised at St Thomas’s Church on 5 September); disappears and likely to have died
  • Margaret Elderfield Bossom (twin, born in December 1829 and baptised at St Thomas's Church on 21 December);
    died aged one week and buried in its churchyard on 27 December 1829
  • Hannah Elderfield Bossom (twin, born in December 1829 and baptised at St Thomas's Church on 21 December);
    died aged one month and buried in its churchyard on 22 January 1830)
  • William Elderfield Bossom (born in February 1831 and baptised at St Thomas's Church on 20 March);
    died aged six weeks and buried in its churchyard on 6 April 1831)

Thomas’s father George Bossom was described as a fisherman of St Thomas’s parish at the time of his marriage, and he and Thomas's mother appear to have started their married life in Binsey, but by 1823 had moved to Oxford, where George initially worked as a coal merchant.

In 1833 when Thomas was 13, he was apprenticed at the Jackson’s Oxford Journal office, and was to work there for 24 years.

From 1825 to 1836 Thomas’s father George Bossom was Water Bailiff to the Corporation; and by 1834 he was a police constable, and by 1836 a police inspector.

City Gaol, 1876


By 1841 Thomas’s father had been appointed Governor, and his mother Matron, of the City Gaol at Gloucester Green (see 1876 map, right: it was demolished two years later in 1878).

The census of 1841 shows Thomas Elderfield Bossom (22), who was still working as a printer, living in staff quarters in the City Gaol in Gloucester Green with his parents and his brother George (17), who was a whitesmith’s apprentice.

Mary Anne Owen was born in Oxford in 1820 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 22 March, with her home described as being “near the church”. She was the daughter of the college servant Adam Owen and his wife Lucy, who had seven other children baptised at that church: Eliza (1821), Elizabeth (1823), Samuel (1826), Sarah Eliza (1828), Catherine (1830), Adam William (1832), and Edwin (1835). In 1835 the family was living at Friar's Entry (which is possibly where Mary Anne was born, as it is opposite St Mary Magdalen Church). By the time of the 1841 census Adam Owen was a servant at Brasenose College, and Mary Anne (21) was living with her parents and six of her siblings plus their servant at Amsterdam Court, which was on the north side of the High Street in All Saints' parish (on the site now occupied by the Brasenose new buildings).

On 18 July 1843 at All Saints' Church, Oxford, Thomas Elderfield Bossom of St Mary Magdalen parish married Mary Anne Owen of Amsterdam Court, and they had the following children:

  • Thomas George Bossom (born at Thames Street, Oxford (which was then in the parish of North Hinksey) in 1845 and baptised at St Aldate's Church on 30 July)
  • Catherine Sarah (or Sarah Catherine) Bossom (born at Thames Street in 1846 and baptised at St Aldate's Church on 30 July)
  • Marian Lucy Owen Bossom (born at Thames Street and baptised at North Hinksey Church in February 1849; died when a few months old).

They evidently lived in Thames Street in the 1840s, but by the time of the 1851 census Thomas (31), described as a printer, compositor, and pressman, was living at 49a Holywell Street, Oxford with his wife Mary Anne (31), their daughter Catherine/Sarah (4), and a 14-year-old servant girl. Their son Thomas (5) was staying with his maternal grandparents Adam and Lucy Owen, who were still living in Amsterdam Court: Adam (54) was still working as a college servant, but his two sons were both unemployed former college servants.

In March 1857 Thomas Elderfield Bossom gave up working as a compositor for Jackson’s Oxford Journal when he was appointed porter or janitor at Exeter College. At the time of the 1861 census he was living in that college's lodge with his wife, his son Francis (15), who was a solicitor's clerk, and the college's under-porter.

Thomas’s mother Ruth Bossom died on 2 September 1863, and the following notice appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 5 September that year:

Sept. 2, after a short illness, at West-street, Osney Town, Ruth, the beloved wife of Mr. George Bossom, late Governor of the City Gaol, aged 77.

The St Thomas's parish register records that she was buried on 4 September 1862 (probably at Osney Cemetery).

Their son Thomas junior was married in 1868:

  • On 11 August 1868 at Brackley, Northants, Thomas George Bossom married Sarah Annie Norris.

They had just one child, Ida Blanche Norris Bossom, who was born in Oxford in 1869 and baptised at Ss Philip & James Church on 5 September.

At the time of the 1871 census Thomas Elderfield Bossom and his wife Mary, both 51, were living at the Porter’s Lodge of Exeter College; meanwhile their son Thomas George Bossom was now a general attorney’s clerk, living at 21 Walton Crescent with his wife and daughter Ida (1).

Thomas Elderfield Bossom’s daughter Sarah Catherine Bossom died in Dorset at the age of 27 in 1874 (reg. second quarter).

On 24 August 1877 Thomas Elderfield Bossom's wife Mary Anne Bossom was admitted to the Warneford Asylum in Headington, which provided “accommodation of lunatics selected from the higher classes of society”: she was to spend the next twenty years there, until her death.

In 1879 his son's wife Sarah Anne Bossom died at Walton Crescent and was buried in the St Paul's section of St Sepulchre's Cemetery on 22 September (grave not yet located, St Paul's ref. F.35).

At the time of the 1881 census Thomas Elderfield Bossom (61) was still living in the porter’s accommodation at Exeter College. With him was his son Thomas George Bossom (35), a solicitor’s clerk, who was now a widower, and whose daughter Ida (11) was a boarder at Miss Ellen Cummins’s private school at Sunnyside Villa, Moor Street, Kidlington. Thomas George Bossom married his second wife, Flora Catherine Grant, in Oxford in 1889.

The 1891 census shows Bossom (71) still living and working at Exeter College, but ill health forced him to resign the next year. His son Thomas George Bossom (45) was living with his second wife Flora and mother-in-law Ann Grant at 88 Water Hall, St Aldate’s Street, and his daughter Ida (21) was paying them a visit.

His daughter Ida was married in 1892:

  • In the second quarter of 1892 at St Columb in Cornwall, Ida Blanche Norris Bossom married Thomas Trethewey.

Bossom died the following year:

† Thomas Elderfield Bossom died at Sycamore Villa, 143 Kingston Road on 22 May 1893 at the age of 73 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 24 May (burial recorded in parish register of both Ss Philip & James and St Giles’s Church).

The following obituary appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 27 May 1893:

DEATH OF MR. T. E. BOSSOM.—We regret to announce the death, on Monday, at his residence, Sycamore Villa, Kingston-road, in this city, of Mr. T. E. Bossom, who filled for many years the post of porter at Exeter College. He was the son of Mr. George Bossom, for many years Governor of the old City Gaol, and in the year 1833 he became an apprentice at the office of Jackson’s Oxford Journal as a compositor and printer, where he remained until 1857, in March of which year he received the appointment of porter at Exeter; this post he held until about twelve months ago, when a serious illness and failing health generally compelled him to resign, and the College granted him a pension. During his 35 years of office he won the respect of many generations of undergraduates, and his unfailing attention to his duties gained for him the esteem of the College authorities. He was 73 years of age, and his last illness was of but short duration. The funeral took place on Thursday afternoon, at St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery, Walton-street, and the service was conducted by the Rector of Exeter (Rev. W. W. Jackson).

His effects came to £2,236 19s. 2d., and probate was granted in London to Ida Blanche Norris Trethewey (his granddaughter) and Thomas Bennett.

His son Thomas George Bossom died at 1 Rose Place, St Aldate's, Oxford near the end of the same year at the age of 48 and was buried with his wife on 20 October (grave not yet located).

Mrs Bossom died at the Warneford Asylum in 1897:

† Mrs Mary Ann Bossom died at the Warneford Asylum at the age of 73 on 5 October 1897 and was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery with her husband on 8 October (burial recorded in parish register of both St Giles’s and Ss Philip & James’s Church).

Ida Blanche N. Bossom, Mrs Trethewey, the granddaughter of Thomas and Mary Bossom who after 1897 was their only living descendant, was living at Kingswood in Somerset (Soundwell Road, Staple Hill) in 1911 with her husband Thomas, who was a railway wagons checker. They had had three children, but only one son, Claude Trethewey (born in St Austell in 1894) survived.



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