Mrs Susannah COWLEY née Hodgkins (1795–1877)
Her son George COWLEY (1830–1852)
St Paul section, Row 7, Grave A7 (St Paul ref. E4)

Susannah Cowley


DIED APRIL 12, 1877


[The other illegible inscription on this headstone must refer to her son
who died aged 22 in June 1852,
with the same St Paul ref. (E4)
for his grave]


Susannah Hodgkins was born at Priors Marston, Warwickshire in 1795 and baptised there on 6 September. She was the daughter of James Hodgkins and his wife Ann Dyson, who were married at Priors Marston on 16 August 1789 and could both sign their name in the register.

On 11 August 1817 at Priors Marston, Warwickshire, Susannah Hodgkins married the carpenter Henry Cowley, who was born at Syresham, Northamptonshire in 1795 and baptised there on 1 August. They had the following children:

  • James Cowley (born at Priors Marston, Warwickshire in 1818 and baptised at Syresham on 10 August)
  • Thomas Cowley (born at Horton, Oxfordshire in 1822 and baptised at Beckley on 23 June)
  • Susannah Cowley (born at Horton, Oxfordshire in 1825 and baptised at Beckley on 25 September)
  • George Cowley (born in Oxford in 1830 and baptised at St Thomas's Church on 25 April)
  • William Collison Cowley (born in Oxford in 1832 and baptised at St Thomas's Church on 14 October)
  • Phoebe Cowley (born in Oxford near the end of 1840, but no baptism found).

Henry and Susannah Cowley evidently began their married life in Warwickshire, moving to Horton-cum-Studley in Oxfordshire by 1822. By 1830 they were in Oxford.

At the time of the 1841 census Henry, who was a builder, and Susannah were living at Union Street in Jericho with their children Thomas (18), who was a carpenter, and Susannah (15), George (11), William (8), and Phoebe (five months). Their son James (23) is hard to find.

Their son James was married in 1845:

  • On 8 September 1845 at St Cross Church, Oxford, James Cowley of the St Paul's district chapelry married his first wife Martha Ann Hedges of Holywell, the daughter of the servant John Hedges.

Less than a year later, James's first wife Martha Ann Cowley (30) was dead, and she was buried in St Cross churchyard on 6 September 1846.

By the time of the 1851 census Henry (55), who described himself as a builder employing eighteen men, was living at Clarendon Buildings with Susannah (55) and all six of their children: James (33), now a widower, and Thomas (28), who were both carpenters; Susannah (25); George (21), a carpenter; William (17), a carpenter's apprentice; and Phoebe (10).

Their son George died there in 1852:

† George Cowley died at Clarendon Buildings at the age of 22 in June 1852 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 23 June (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

The sexton's record book shows that he was buried at a depth of 9 feet.

Two more of their children were married in the 1850s:

  • On 5 April 1853 Clapham Church in London, Thomas Cowley, described as a carpenter, married Ann Marsh, the daughter of the butcher Thomas Marsh and his wife Hester, who was born in Oxford in 1821;
  • On 12 March 1859 at St Giles's Church, Oxford, Susannah Cowley (33) married Charles Henry Bingham (29), a cook of Cirencester and the son of the upholsterer Daniel Bingham.

In 1861 Mrs Susannah Cowley and her husband Henry were living at Walton Street, Oxford and Henry now only employed seven men. Two of their children were at home: William (27), who was a carpenter, and Phoebe (20). Their grandson Henry Thomas Cowley (7), the eldest son of their son Thomas, was also living with them, and they employed a 14-year-old servant girl.

Their son William was married in Gloucestershire in 1870:

  • In the fourth quarter of 1870 in the Stow-on-the-Wold district, William Collison Cowley married Elizabeth Bartlett.

By 1871 Susannah (75) had moved to Cirencester with her husband Henry, who was now retired, and their unmarried daughter Phoebe (27).

Susannah's husband Henry Cowley died in Cirencester at the age of 77 in June 1873 and was buried in Cirencester on 30 June.

Their daughter Phoebe was married at Cirencester three months later:

  • On 20 September 1873 at Cirencester Church, Phoebe Cowley (31) of Coxwell Street, Cirencester married the traveller Henry Cooke (29) of Stratford-upon-Avon, born in Leckhampton near Cheltenham, the son of the turner Henry Cooke.

By 1876 Susannah appears to have returned to the St Paul's district of Oxford, probably to live with one of her children. She was admitted to Littlemore Asylum on 7 February 1876, and died there of epilepsy and senile decay the next year:

† Mrs Susannah Cowley née Hodgkins died at Littlemore Asylum at the age of 81 on 12  April 1877 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

Surviving children of Susannah Cowley
  • James Cowley (born 1818), who had lost his first wife Martha in 1846 and was back living with his parents in 1851, is hard to find in the 1861 census. James was a widower of 52 in 1871, and he and his nephew Henry (17) were both working as carpenters in Oxford and living with his brother William at the Rose & Crown in Park End Street. At Westbury, Wiltshire in 1872, James Cowley married his second wife Susanna Burges . At the time of the 1881 census James (63), now a retired builder, was living at Leigh, near Westbury with Susanna (64) and their servant. In 1891 he was a widower of 73 and living in the home of his married sister Phoebe Cooke in Tiddington, near Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • Thomas Cowley (born 1822): see separate grave
  • Susannah Cowley, Mrs Bingham (born 1825) was living at Dyer Street in Cirencester in 1861 with her husband Charles Bingham, who was a cook and confectioner and their daughter Phoebe Ann Bingham (1), plus two servants and two young confectioners. They were still there in 1871 with five children: Phoebe (11), Charles (9), George (7), Harry (4), and Frederick (seven months), and they now had three assistants and three servants. She is hard to find after that date.
  • William Collison Cowley (born 1832) was aged 37 in 1871 and living with his wife Elizabeth (31) at the Rose & Crown at 9 Park End Street, Oxford, where he was the victualler; his widowed brother James was also living with them. William is hard to find after that date.
  • Phoebe Cowley, Mrs Cooke (born 1840/1) and her husband Henry had no children. In 1881 Phoebe was living at 28 Guild Street, Stratford-upon Avon with Henry, who was still working as a brewer's traveller. In 1891 Phoebe (47) was living at Roseneath, Tiddington near Stratford-upon-Avon: her husband was away from home, and her brothers James and Thomas were living with her. In 1901 Phoebe (59) and Henry (57), who was now retired, were still living at Tiddington. In 1911 Phoebe, a widow of 70, was an inmate at Stratford-upon-Avon Workhouse. She died at Stratford-upon-Avon at the age of 78 near the end of 1919.



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