George Dennis Darville DUDLEY (1850–1888)
His wife Mrs Ann DUDLEY, née Cowper (1853–1915)
Their daughter Violet Alice DUDLEY (died aged four months in 1886)
Their son Harry DUDLEY (died aged two days in 1887)
St Giles [St Philip & James] section: Row 45, Grave J31

George Darville Dudley





This grave is very hard to decipher in 2013, but it was still legible in 1988 when Canon Bostock recorded the names on all the graves in the cemetery

George Dennis Darville Dudley was born at 7 Broad Street, Oxford in 1849 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 14 October. He was the son of the Oxford solicitor John Crews Dudley and his first wife Elizabeth Stevens, who were married in the Kensington district in the third quarter of 1839.
For more information about his parents and siblings, see the separate graves of:
(1) his parents and (2) his brother Crews Dudley

George’s mother died on 3 March 1850 when he was still a baby, and he was brought up with his siblings by his father and servants. His father remarried in 1861, but less than three years later George’s stepmother also died.

In 1871 George (21) was living with his father at 7 Broad Street and was his articled clerk; but less than three years later his father was dead, and George was a solicitor.

Ann Cowper was born in Neithrop in 1853 and baptised at St Mary’s Church, Banbury on 29 October. She was the daughter of the Neithrop linen draper Henry Cowper and Eleanor Greaves of Elsfield, who were married at Elsfield Church on 13 September 1842. Her five siblings were also baptised at Banbury: William Cowper (1843), Eliza Jane Cowper (1845), John Weston Cowper (1846), Ellen Catherine Cowper (1848), and John Greaves Cowper (1857). At the time of the 1871 census Ann (17) and her brother John (14) were living at The Elms in Cumnor with their widowed aunt Jane Brain (50), who was a farmer of 153 acres employing five men and three boys. Also living in the house were four servants (a bailiff, a domestic servant, a housemaid, and an ostler).

On 12 December 1877 at Christ Church, Banbury, George Dennis Darville Dudley (28), described as a solicitor of Oxford, married Ann Cowper (24) of south Banbury, the daughter of the draper Henry Cowper. They had the following children:

  • Edith Mary Dudley (born at Warnborough Road, Oxford in 1878 and baptised at Ss Philip & James Church on 10 May)
  • Arthur Darville Dudley (born at Warnborough Road, Oxford on 27 October 1879 and baptised at Ss Philip & James Church the next day)
  • Eleanor Althea Dudley (born at Hutt Road, Oxford on 9 February 1881 and baptised at Ss Philip & James Church on 11 March)
  • Constance Dudley (born at Rackham Road on 9 July 1882 and baptised at Ss Philip & James Church on 6 August)
  • Walter Dennis Dudley (born at St Margaret’s Road, Oxford on 6 August 1883 and baptised at Ss Philip & James Church on 23 September)
  • George Vernon Dudley (born at St Margaret’s Road, Oxford on 21 October 1884 and privately baptised on 23 September; received into Ss Philip & James Church on 5 July 1885)
  • Violet Alice Dudley (born at St Margaret’s Road in April 1886 and baptised at Ss Philip & James Church on 17 April)
  • Harry Dudley (born at St Margaret’s Road on 19 June 1887 and apparently baptised at Ss Philip & James Church on 23 June, even though he had died two days earlier)

George and Annie Dudley started their married life in Warnborough Road, but by early 1881 they had moved to Hutt Road in north Oxford: this would have been in the area of Heyford’s Hutt, and is possibly Polstead Road.

At the time of the 1881 census George (31) and Annie (27) were living at Hutt Road with their children Edith (3), Arthur (1), and Eleanor (7 weeks), plus two servants.

By mid-1882 they had moved to Rackham Road in north Oxford, and by 1883 to St Margaret’s Road.

Their baby daughter Violet died in 1886 and was the first member of the family buried at St Sepulchre's:

† Violet Alice Dudley died at St Margaret’s Road at the age of four months in August 1886 and was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 28 August (burial recorded in the parish registers of both St Giles’s and Ss Philip & James Church).

Less than a year after Violet’s death their next baby Harry died and was buried with her:

† Harry Dudley died at St Margaret’s Road on 21 June 1887 at the age of two days, and was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 24 June (burial recorded in the parish register of both St Giles’s and Ss Philip & James’s Church).

The family then moved to Wellington Square in Oxford, and George Dudley died soon afterwards:

† George Dennis Darville Dudley died at St Thomas’s Hospital in London at the age of 38 on 1 September 1888, and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 5 September (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).

The following brief obituary and description of the funeral appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 8 September 1888:


It is with much regret that we have to announce the decease of the above-named gentleman, which took place in St. Thomas’s Hospital, London, on Saturday morning last. It will be remembered that he was suddenly seized with paralysis about two years since, and there had really been no restoration to health during that period. He was removed from his residence in Wellington Square to London about four months ago, where he has received the most unremitting care and attention, and the advantage of the best medical skill, but without avail, and he died as stated above.

Mr. Dudley, at the time of his unfortunate seizure, was becoming prominent in this city and neighbourhood in his profession, which was that of a solicitor, and for many years he gave his services in a legal capacity to the Oxford Volunteer Fire Brigade, being first the Hon. Secretary, and then the Hon. Solicitor of that body. But he will be best remembered by a large number of the Oxford City Rifle Volunteers, through his connection with the corps for a long period. He entered the Regiment as a private, on the 10th of December, 1870, and two years later received a commission, and he was made Captain on the 26th of March, 1879. The active interest which he took in the Corps was manifested in his most regular attendance at drill, and there were few of his rank in the Volunteers who possessed a more thorough knowledge of his duties. On his retirement from the Corps through his affliction, he was accorded the honorary rank of Major, and on the news of his death becoming known, an eager desire was shown by his former comrades to accord him full military honours at his funeral. Unfortunately they were unable to carry this into effect, much to their regret, as according to the Queen’s Regulations, officers are not to be interred with military honours except they be, at the time of their decease, on full pay, or employed on the Staff, or in the exercise of any military command.

The body was brought to Oxford on Wednesday night, and was taken to the house in Wellington-square, and the funeral took place in the afternoon at St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery, Walton-street. The members of the Volunteer Fire Brigade were able to appear in uniform, and they did so in full strength, under the command of Chief Officer Green. The deceased was for a long period Clerk to the Police Committee, and Superintendent Head, Inspectors Dixon and Windows, Sergeants Miller, Keen, and Prior, and twenty-eight constables attended and headed the procession to the cemetery, being followed by the Fire Brigade. The coffin was placed on a manual fire engine, and was covered with a Union Jack, and on it was placed the helmet of the deceased. On arriving at the cemetery, the cortège was met by Captains Ward and McNeil, Sergt.-Major Owens, Sergts. Hall, Thompson, and Walker, and several corporals and privates of the 2nd Oxon R.V. in private clothes, and among others present were the Revs. F.M. Spurling and Sherwood, Councillor Deazeley, Captain Airey, Mr. Gilbert Wootten, Mr. H. F. Galpin, Mr. Turrell, Mr. W. H. Seary and many of the general public. Six members of the Fire Brigade acted as bearers, and the pall-bearers were Superintendents Horn and Plowman, Engineer Simmonds, and Foreman Shuter. The service was conducted by the Rev. F. J. Brown, Curate of S. Philip and S. James, and the mourners were the widow, Mr. Cowper, Mr. Dudley, Mr. [Crews] Dudley, Mr. and Mrs. Elwell, Miss M. Dudley, Mrs. Eddison, Aldermen Carr and Buckell, the Town Clerk (Mr. Bickerton), and Mr. Taylor. Several magnificent wreaths, and a large floral cross were placed on the coffin, among the former being two very choice ones from comrades in the Rifle Corps and the Fire Brigade; others were sent from the Reform Club and by private friends. The deceased, who was thirty-eight years of age, leaves a widow and six children. The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. Elliston and Cavell, Magdalen-street.

His widow Mrs Annie Dudley moved to London, and at first became a boarding-house keeper. At the time of the 1891 census, when she was 37, she was living at 36 & 38 Gratton Road, Hammersmith with her youngest son George (6), and had twelve boarders. The rest of her children were spread around: Edith (13) was staying with Mrs Laura Gardner at Abbey Street, Eynsham; Arthur (11) was in the Royal Asylum of St Anne’s Schools at Redhill, Surrey; Eleanor (10) and Constance (8) were at the British Orphan Asylum in Slough; and Walter is hard to find.

The situation had improved by the time of the 1901 census, when Annie (46) listed her occupation as “typewriting”, and was living at 94 Prince of Wales Road (over the Strand Mansions) in Battersea. She now had five of her six surviving children living with her: Arthur (21), who was in the Royal Naval Reserve Merchant Service; Eleanor (20), who was a shorthand typist; Constance (18), who was a typist; Walter (17), who was a bank clerk; and George (16), who was a clerk at Lloyd’s. The family had one servant.

The family are hard to find in 1911, except for Constance (28) who was living alone at 4 Albert Place Mansions, Battersea with a housekeeper: she was working as the Secretary at the National Committee for the Prevention of Destitution. Some of the children are likely to have been living abroad:

Mrs Dudley died in Battersea in 1915 and her body was brought to Oxford for burial with her husband:

† Mrs Annie Dudley died in January 1915 at the age of 62 at Albert Mansions, Battersea and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).

The three sons of George & Ann Dudley who joined the British South Africa Police (BSAP) in Rhodesia

More information in this BSAP newsletter

  • Arthur Darville Dudley (born 1879) was attested into the BSAP on 18 June 1901 and served until 23 January 1905. He was awarded the QSA for his service in the South African War. He appears to have settled in Rhodesia, and joined the Northern Rhodesian Regiment in the First World War; Byron Farwell wrote: “one man, Lieutenant Arthur Darville Dudley, a slightly built, energetic man, rode 200 miles on a bicycle along roads and native paths to join the Naval Africa Expedition, one of the most extraordinary undertakings in a campaign that was already a curiosity”. He was commissioned Lieutenant RN and took part in the Tanganyika Naval Expedition, for which he awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (“In recognition of his services with the Tanganyika Flotilla. He showed great coolness and skill in handling his ship in all circumstances”). He died in Lusaka in 1942.
  • Walter Dennis Dudley (born 1883) was attested into the BSAP on 18 June 1901 and took his discharge on 17 June 1903, after serving in the South African War. He is understood to have settled as a farmer in Rhodesia, but on the outbreak of the First World War enlisted in the Honorable Artillery Company and served in France. He was forced to resign his commission in August 1916. He died on 19 October 1817 aged 38 and is buried in the Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey.
  • George Vernon Dudley (born 1884) was attested into the BSAP on 2 December 1902 and served until 4 January 1910. He was put on trial for embezzlement in Northern Ireland in late 1921; his wife and family were then living in Scotland. By 1923 he was in Australia, where he served as Commissioner for the Northern Territories Police until 1927, when "the Department, bent on economy and possibly eager to rid itself of a man who was not only no respecter of persons but whose deeds were likely to jeopardise the welfare of his Police Force and the Territory as a whole, decided that a Commissioner was a luxury which it could no longer afford (he had been drinking heavily and accumulating debts in bars and hotels). He was one of the first to enlist in the Second World War. He died in 1949 when he was crushed between the dockside and a ferry reversing in Neutral Bay, Sidney. For more on George, see his book, Patrol Indefinite (Adelaide: Rigby Ltd, 1963).



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