Laura Mary BRAIN (1857–1864)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 6a, Grave C65
THE BELOVED CHILD OF
WILL. & EMMA BRAIN
WHO DIED JULY 29, 1864
AGED 7 YEARS.
Laura Mary Brain was born in Holywell, Oxford in 1857 and baptised at St Cross Church on 16 August. She was the daughter of William Brain (born at Hollybush Row, Oxford on 6 June 1822) and his wife Emma (born in Highworth, Wiltshire in c.1833). Her father and her grandfather, another William Brain, were butchers.
Her parents were married at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon on 7 January 1851, and by the time of the census three months later they were back in her father’s home town of Oxford, living over his butcher’s shop at 39 George Street (between two pubs, the Plume of Feathers and The Packet). William’s brother Thomas William Brain (30), who was also a butcher, lived with them, and they had one servant.
William and Emma Brain had eleven children, of whom Laura was the third:
- William Brain (born in North Parade, Oxford in 1852 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 21 December)
- Jessie Brain (born in Holywell in 1854 and baptised at St Cross Church on 21 January 1855)
- Laura Mary Brain (born in Holywell, Oxford in 1857 and baptised at St Cross Church on 16 August)
- Emma Brain (born in Holywell, Oxford in 1859 and baptised at St Cross Church on 20 April)
- Alice Brain (born at 39 George Street in 1861 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 25 April)
- Alfred Brain (born in Oxford in 1862, reg. third quarter)
- Percy Brain (born at 39 George Street in 1864 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 28 June)
- Henry Brain (born in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire 5 in 1871)
- Constance Brain (born in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire 3 in 1871)
- Mary Brain (born in Kidlington in 1870 and baptised there on 18 April)
- Florence Brain (born in Kidlington in 1875 and baptised there on 18 August).
The family had moved to North Parade by 1852, and between 1854 and 1857 they were living in Holywell.
They were back at 39 George Street by the time of the time of the 1861 census: Laura (4) was living at there with her parents William (38) and Emma (28), and her father was described as a butcher employing two men and two boys. Also at home were her siblings William (8), Jessie (6), Emma (2), and Alice (three months), and her mother’s sisters Laura Phillips (24) and Elizabeth Phillips (32), and her grandfather Richard Phillips (61), who was born in Bicester. The family had two house servants.
Laura died three years later:
† Laura Mary Brain died at George Street at the age of seven on 29 July 1864 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 2 August (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).
Laura’s parents after her death
By the time that Laura’s grandfather, retired butcher William Brain senior, died at Grove House, Kidlington at the age of 68 on 4 September 1868, William Brain had moved there, as he and his sister Mary Ann Brain, his executors, were described as being of Kidlington. His effects were under £2,000.
The 1871 census shows Laura’s father William Brain (48), a farmer of 100 acres employing three men, living at Kidlington with his wife Emma (3) and seven of their children, as well as Emma’s sister Louise Phillips (33), a governess, a nursemaid, and two other servants.
Emma’s grandmother Mary Ann Brain died at Kidlington at the age of 79 on 13 September 1878.
The following year Laura’s father retired and moved back to Oxford with his family: when he took out the first lease on Arthurlee, 6 Crick Road in 1879, he was described himself as a gentleman.
Emma’s sister Jessie Brain married Alfred Andrew, Esq., a solicitor from Northampton, at Ss Philip & James’s Church on 22 April 1880.
The 1881 census shows William Brain (58) and his wife Emma (48) living at 6 Crick Road with five of their children and two servants.
In 1891 their address was given as 8 Crick Road, and William Brain was now a magistrate. He and his wife lived there with three of their children, plus a cook and a general servant.
William Brain died at 8 Crick Road on 15 August 1900. His effects came to £3,616 3s. 1d., and probate was granted to his widow Emma.
At the time of the 1911 census Mrs Emma Brain was living at 8 Crick Road with her two unmarried daughters Mary (41) and Florence (37), plus two servants. She died there on 15 March 1921. Her effects came to £19,286 6s. 10d., and her executors were the farmer William Brain and auctioneer Percy Brain, probably her sons.