William CLIFFIN (c.1789–1873)
His daughter Miss Harriet CLIFFIN (1821–1873)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 28, Grave L61

Harriett Cliffin



In Memory of
BORN MARCH 13, 1821,
DIED MAY 4, 1873




[BORN …]



William Cliffin was born in Oxford in the 1870s. He was unable to read or write, and his name is often recorded as Clifton, Cliften, or Clifford; similarly his age fluctuates. He is probably the William Clifton, son of James & Mary, who was born in Oxford on 16 November 1789 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 22 November.

On 8 August 1810 at St Mary Magdalen Church, William Cliffin (recorded as Clifford) married Elizabeth Price: they were both of that parish. They had the following children:

  • Sarah Cliffin (born in 1811 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 30 July)
  • William Cliffin (born at George Street in 1813 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 15 August)
  • Emily Cliffin (born at George Street in 1815 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 14 October_
  • Elizabeth Cliffin (born at Friar's Entry in 1818 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 16 March)
  • Harriet Cliffin (born at Bounds Alley in 1821 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 25 March)
  • Elizabeth Cliffin (born at George Street in 1823 and baptised as Elizabeth Clifton on 13 July); died at George Street aged seven months and buried as Elizabeth Cliffin in St Mary Magdalen churchyard on 20 February 1824
  • Thomas Cliffin (born in 1825 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 12 June)
  • Anne Cliffin (born at George Street in 1827 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 14 April)
  • Eliza Cliffin (born at George Street in 1829 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 19 July).

William Cliffin was variously described as a boatman and as a labourer at his children's baptisms.

The Mary Cliffin who died at George Street with the recorded age of 87 and who was buried in St Mary Magdalen churchyard on 4 March 1827 is likely to be William Cliffin's mother.

On 9 April 1831 his son William Cliffin junior (18), described as a labourer of Magdalen parish, Oxford, joined the army (53rd Foot Soldiers, 2nd Battalion) and served in Canada.

By the time of the 1841 census William and Elizabeth Cliffin were living in the George Street area and all their children had left home except for their youngest daughter Eliza (12). Their eldest daughter Sarah Cliffin (29) was then the servant of Anne Minton, who lived at the south end of St John Street; and their fourth daughter Harriet Cliffin (15) was living with Bartholomew & Emily Grimshaw at Gloucester Green.

William's wife Elizabeth Cliffin died at the age of 60 at Gravel Lane (which was in the Gloucester Green area) and was buried at St Mary Magdalen churchyard on 23 November 1845.

Their son William was married in 1846:

  • In the fourth quarter of 1846 at Hinckley, Leicestershire, William Cliffin married Ann Blower (born in Hinckley).

At the time of the 1851 census William Cliffin, a widower aged about 62 who was still working as a mason's labourer, was living at 29 George Street with his eldest daughter Sarah (39), who was unmarried, and their two lodgers. His son William Cliffin (37), who was a railway labourer, was living in Cardigan Street in Jericho with his wife Ann (30).

In 1851 William Cliffin's daughter Anne (23) was a house servant at Upton Lea Farm, Upton-cum-Chalvey, Eton in the home of the Nash family. She was married the following year:

By 1861 William Cliffin (probably aged about 72, but recorded as 77) was an inmate of the Oxford Workhouse, which was then still at Rats & Mice Hill (Little Clarendon Street area). He would have been moved to the new Oxford Workhouse in the Cowley Road when that opened in 1865.

William's daughter Mrs Anne Wiblin died in 1867, and his youngest daughter Eliza Cliffin married Charles Wiblin in 1868, notwithstanding the fact that she was his deceased wife's sister (which from 1835 to 1907 was an illegal union):

  • On 1 January 1868 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Eliza Cliffin (recorded as Clifton) went through a marriage ceremony with the widower Charles Wiblin of St Peter-le-Bailey parish.

This marriage must later have been declared invalid, as Charles left the children by his first wife with her and went on to marry a third wife in 1878.

At the time of the 1871 census William Cliffin (probably aged about 82, but recorded as 87) was still in the Oxford Workhouse. His daughter Harriet Cliffin (49) was a laundress, living at 7 Gloucester Green: she had taken into her home Anne Wiblin (14), the daughter of her deceased sister Anne.

William's daughter Harriet Cliffin died in 1873:

† Miss Harriet Cliffin died at Gloucester Green at the age of 52 on 4 May 1873 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 7 May (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

William Cliffin died at the workhouse less than six months later, and was buried with his daughter:

† William Cliffin died at Oxford Workhouse at the age of about 84 (but recorded as 89) in September 1873 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 26 September (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).



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