John BUSBY (1828–1891)
His first wife Mrs Sarah Susan BUSBY, née Long (c.1819–1886)
St Giles (Ss Philip & James) section: Row 25, Grave F29

John Busby


OCTOBER 23, 1886,











John Busby was born in east Adderbury, Oxfordshire in 1828 and baptised at Adderbury on 24 August. He was the son of Thomas Busby and his wife Hannah, who had six more children baptised there: William (1821), Richard (1823), Martha (1824), Thomas (1826), Mary (1835), and Sarah (1836). At the time of the 1841 census John Busby (13) was living in the Kidlington area with his father Thomas, who was an agricultural labourer, his mother Hannah, his older siblings Willilam and Martha, and his younger siblings Mary (6) and Charles (six months). John is hard to find in 1861.

Sarah Susan Long was born in c.1819 according to the age given at her death, but her age fluctuates, as does her place of birth, which could have been Thrupp or Bampton in Oxfordshire. Her father was called William Long. For at least 14 years she lived as the common-law wife of a man who called himself Richard Long (who had possibly adopted his wife's surname), and they had six children (with none of the births except the first appearing to have been registered):

  • Richard John Long (born in Oxford in 1838 and baptised at St Paul's Church on 24 February 1839)
  • Mary Ann Long (TWIN: baptised at Kidlington Church on 18 October 1841)
  • Jane Rebecca Long (TWIN: baptised at Kidlington Church on 18 October 1841)
  • Rosa Long (born at Thrupp and baptised at Kidlington Church on 17 April 1844)
  • Charles Long (born at Thrupp and baptised at Kidlington Church on 29 March 1847)
  • Harriet Long (born at Thrupp and baptised at Kidlington Church on 14 October 1849).

When their first son was baptised in 1839, Susan was living at Jericho Terrace in Oxford with Richard, who was working as a baker.

By the time of the 1841 census Sarah (aged about 20) and Richard (26) were living on The Green in Kidlington with their son Richard junior (2). Richard was described as a gardener in that census, but as a higgler when his twin daughters were baptised together later that year.

At some point between late 1841 and early 1844, Richard became a publican in Thrupp, and was thus described at his children's baptisms between 1844 and 1849.

Sarah's common-law husband Richard Long died in Thrupp at the age of 36 and was buried in Kidlington churchyard on 28 March 1851.

At the time of the 1851 census, taken just two days after his burial, Sarah Susan Long was managing the pub in Thrupp on her own, with the aid of a young servant, and also had four lodgers. Her six children were all with her, namely Richard (12), twins Mary Ann and Jane (9), Rosa (7), Charles (4), and Harriet (1).

On 21 June 1852 in Banbury (where they were both then living), the stonemason John Busby (27) married Sarah Susan Long, who was definitely described as a spinster and whose age was given in the register as 26, which (given that her eldest son was already aged 13) was obviously an underestimate. They do not appear to have had any children.

It is hard to find John and Sarah Busby in the 1861 census.

In 1871 John (43), who was a mason, and Sarah (48) were living in a cottage in Yarnton with Sarah's son Charles Long (28), who was a carpenter, plus a lodger.

Two of Sarah Susan's daughters were married Summertown in the 1870s:

  • On 20 October 1870 at St Michael & All Angels Church, Rosa Long married the widower William Ryder, a publican of Bridge Street, Manchester and the son of the gamekeeper John Ryder;
  • On 20 February 1879 at St Michael & All Angels Church, Harriet Long married the traveller Frederick Stephenson, the son of the traveller Frederick Stephenson senior.

By the time of the 1881 census John (52), a mason, and Sarah (57) were living in Oxford at 22 Kingston Road.

Mrs Busby died in 1886:

† Mrs Sarah Susan Busby née Long died at Kingston Road at the age of about 67 on 23 October 1886 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 26 October (burial recorded in the parish registers of St Giles's and Ss Philip & James's Church).

Her husband John Busby (56) was living at 12 Juxon Street when the following year, on 1 November 1887 at St Paul's Church, he married his second wife Miss Emily Ann Shayler (39) of 99 Walton Street, who was born in Woodstock and was the daughter of the bell-hanger & blacksmith William Shayler. They moved into 153 Kingston Road, and had one child:

  • Minnie Stewart Busby (born at 153 Kingston Road on 8 August 1888 and baptised at Ss Philip & James's Church on 23 September)

At the time of the 1891 census John (62), described as a stonemason, was living at 153 Kingston Road (which was then in the parish of Ss Philip & James) with his second wife Emily (42) and their daughter Minnie (2).

Later in 1891, John Busby suddenly dropped dead on the canal path opposite St Barnabas's Church when walking home to 153 Kingston Road from his work at Botley Wharf:

† John Busby died on the canal path at the age of 63 on 18 November 1891 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 21 November 1891 (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles's and Ss Philip & James's Church).

The following report on his death appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 21 November 1891:

SUDDEN DEATH. — On Wednesday evening, as John Busby, mason, of 153, Kingston-road, was walking along the Canal-path, he suddenly fell dead. He had been employed under the Corporation at Botley Wharf, and was returning home at the close of his day’s work, accompanied by a friend whom he met and asked to accompany him, as he felt unwell. Soon afterwards he fell into the arms of his friend, and died immediately. Mr. Davis, the G.W.R. station-master, who was passing, sent to the railway station for the ambulance carriage, in which the body was removed to the deceased’s house. An inquest was being held at the time of going to press.

The inquest was reported in full the following week:


An inquest was held on Friday afternoon, before Mr. E. L. Hussey, at 154, Kingston-road, on the body of John Busby, aged 63, mason, of 153, Kingston-road, who died suddenly while walking home along the Canal path on the previous Wednesday evening.

The Coroner said deceased was not known to have had any previous illness except a cough, for which he had had medicine from the Dispensary. There was no reason, however, to suppose that the death occurred from other than natural causes, and when they remembered the weather it was on Wednesday they would not be surprised at a man with failing health falling down dead at the end of his day's work.

Emily Ann Busby, the widow, said her husband had at times had a cough and cold, and a fortnight ago he had a severe attack. She went to Mr. Harold Thompson to get some medicine, which did him a great deal of good. Last week he had been much better since she gave him some cod liver oil. Last year he was laid up in a similar manner. His breath had been very bad for three weeks, although he seemed stronger in himself lately. On Wednesday morning, when he went out to work, she was asleep and did not see him, which was a most unusual circumstance. For the last three weeks he had to have three pillows to prop his head up at night. Mr. Thompson also treated him for indigestion, but she thought he must have had a touch of bronchitis, which affected his heart.

George Covey, 69, Abbey-road, said he knew the deceased, and was in the habit of meeting him almost every night and morning going to and from work. He had not noticed any change in him for the last three weeks, and he seemed to be as well as usual. He met him between six and seven on Wednesday morning, and they said “Good morning” and passed on. It was a wet day. He met him again in the evening at twenty minutes past five on the Canal-path, between the lock bridge and the Local Board yard. He said “George I wish you would turn round and help me to the boat. I am taken so ill I can hardly get along.” He took hold of deceased's arm, who was so weak that he could not walk by himself. They walked about fifty yards, and witness asked him how he was. He replied that he was very ill. Then they met Mr. Davis, the station-master, who took deceased's basket, and also his other arm, and helped him along. When they got opposite St. Barnabas tower he said “Oh, dear, I am so ill, I shall fall.” He then dropped on one knee, fell back into witness' arms, and died almost directly.

Mr. Davis, the G.W.R. station-master, corroborated Covey's evidence from the time he met him, and the jury returned a verdict of “death from natural causes from sudden difficulty of breathing.”

His personal estate came to £376, and his sole executor was his brother Charles Busby, a stonemason who lived in Langford Lane, Kidlington.

At the time of the 1901 census John Busby's widow Emily (52) was living on her own means at 153 Kingston Road with their daughter Minnie (22).

Mrs Emily Ann Busby died at 153 Kingston Road in 1907 at the age of 56 and was buried on 7 February. As her burial is recorded in the St Giles's parish register, it is likely that she too is buried in St Sepulchre's Cemetery.

The only child of John Busby (by his second wife Emily Ann)
  • Minnie Stewart Busby (born 1888) was an elementary school teacher aged 22 at the time of the 1911 census, boarding in Edgbaston, Birmingham. She never married, and died at Bethseda, 171 Preston Road, Brighton at the age of 68 on 27 December 1956. Her executor (in Oxford) was Miss Lydia Harriet Shayler, presumably a relation on his mother's side.



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