James Edward BROWN (1822/3–1912)
His first wife Mrs Jane BROWN (1820/1–1878)
His second wife Mrs Agnes BROWN (1825–1899)
St Giles section: Row 34, Grave J30

James Brown



Only this fragment of the Brown grave survives in 2013, but when Canon Bostock catalogued all the graves in 1988 all the names must still have been present and legible.

James Edward Brown was born in London in 1822/3, and worked initially as a piano manufacturer.

His first wife Jane was born in Ickford, Buckinghamshire in 1820/1.

They are probably the James Edward Brown and Jane Honour who were married at St George’s, Hanover Square in the fourth quarter of 1844. They began their married life in London, where they had two daughters:

  • Jane Lucy Brown (born in St Pancras in 1847, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Alice Agnes Brown (born in London in 1851, reg. St Giles, London in the fourth quarter).

At the time of the 1851 census James & Jane Brown were living at 5 Chenies Street, Finsbury (in the parish of St Giles-in-the-Fields) with their first daughter Jane (3). James was now working as a piano tuner.

By 1861 the family of four had moved to Oxford and were living in North Parade, where James was still working as a piano tuner. His daughters Jane (13) and Alice (9) were both at school.

James (48) and Jane (50) were still at North Parade in 1871, with their daughters Jane (23) and Alice (19) having no obvious occupation.

On Saturday 31 August 1878 the Browns were on their way back to Oxford from the seaside in Kent on the 11.30 a.m. train from Ramsgate to Victoria, London. It was a cheap fast train packed with passengers returning home at the end of the lodging week: a witness reported that two or three hundred people had been fighting for tickets at Ramsgate. As the train approached Sittingbourne in Kent at 40mph, it met in its path a goods train that had been accidently turned on to the up line. Two carriages were completely smashed, and five passengers, including Mrs Jane Brown, were killed; and another forty, including James Brown and his daughters, were injured. This was the first fatal accident ever to occur on the London, Brighton, and Dover Railway, and the two guards of the goods train were charged with manslaughter and found guilty.

† Mrs Jane Brown was 58 at the time of her death, and as she was killed outright in Sittingbourne, her death was was registered in the district of Milton, Kent. She was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 5 September 1878 (burial recorded in parish register of St Giles’s Church).

Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 7 September 1878 reported:

THE SITTINGBOURNE ACCIDENT.—The funeral of Mrs. Brown, of 7, North Parade, who was killed at the accident at Sittingbourne on Saturday last, took place on Thursday, at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, Walton-street. Mr. Brown, who is under the medical cure of Mr. H. P. Mallam, and who, with his two daughters, was in the train, has a contused ankle, and cut head and hand; one of the daughters has an injured leg, and the other is suffering from severe shock. We are glad to state that all are going on favourably.

The 1881 census shows James Brown (58) as a widower living at Ledbury Lodge in Leckford Road, Oxford with his two daughters: Jane (33) had no occupation and was probably his housekeeper, and Alice (29) was a certified schoolmistress. Meanwhile James’s future second wife, Mrs Agnes Pilbeam (a 56-year-old widow born in Marylebone in 1824/5) was an attendant to a solicitor at Osborne House, Croydon.

In the third quarter of 1882 in Croydon, James Edward Brown married his second wife Mrs Agnes Pilbeam, and he brought her back to Oxford

At the time of the 1891 census James (68) and Agnes (66), were living at Dalwood in Leckford Road, with a banker’s clerk boarding with them.

His second wife Agnes died in 1899:

† Mrs Agnes Brown died in December 1899 at the age of 74 at 37 Leckford Road and was buried with James Brown’s first wife in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery 21 December (burial recorded in parish registers of both Ss Philip & James’s and St Giles’s Church).

By the time of the 1901 census James Brown had moved to 8 Leckford Road. He was still working as a piano tuner at the age of 78 and was looked after by his unmarried daughter Jane (53).

They were still there in 1911, when James (88) was retired and his daughter Jane (63) was working as a school teacher. James died the following year:

† James Edward Brown died at 8 Leckford Road at the age of 89 on 10 March 1912 and buried with his two wives in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 14 March (burial recorded in parish register of St Giles’s Church).

His effects came to £374 13s. 5d., and his executor was his daughter Jane Lucy Brown.

Daughters of James Edward Brown and his first wife Jane

Jane Lucy Brown (born 1847) and Alice Agnes Brown (born 1851) never married. They were still living at 8 Leckford Road in 1915, but by 1923 had moved to 16 Leckford Road.

Alice died at the Radcliffe Infirmary on 12 December 1923. Her effects came to £930 10s. 10d., and probate was granted to her sister.

Jane died at 16 Leckford Road on 28 July 1936. Her effects came to £963 19s. 11d., and her bank acted as her executor.



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