David Vavasor DURELL (1798–1865)
His wife Mrs Maria DURELL, née Le Breton (1807–1886)
St Michael section: Row 8, Grave C46½

David & Maria Durell

DAVID VAVASOUR DURELL / 1798–1865
ALSO MARIA HIS WIFE / 1807–1886

This is one of a pair of matching vault lids: two of their daughters are also buried in this double plot

David Vavasor Durell (whose middle name is sometimes spelt Vavasour) was born at Mongewell, near Wallingford, Oxfordshire in 1798, the eldest son of David Durell (born in Jersey in 1762/3) and his wife Anne Robin. His father was Rector of Mongewell, Oxfordshire from 1791 until his death in 1852. His parents David & Anne Durell had the following children baptised at Mongewell Church on the dates shown (those in bold are all buried in St Sepulchre's Cemetery: see separate grave for David Durell’s four sisters, none of whom married.):

  • Anne Mary Vavasor Durell (born at Mongewell in 1793 and baptised there on 21 April)
  • Jane Vavasor Durell (born at Mongewell in 1794 and baptised there on 15 April)
  • Mary Vavasor Durell (born at Mongewell in 1795 and baptised there on 29 July)
  • Elizabeth Vavasor Durell (born at Mongewell in 1796 and baptised there on 5 December);
    died aged 29 and buried at Mongewell on 17 October 1822
  • David Vavasor Durell (born at Mongewell in 1798 and baptised there on 26 April)
  • Thomas Vavasor Durell (born at Mongewell in 1799 and baptised there on 29 April)
  • Philip Vavasor Durell (born at Mongewell in 1803/4 and baptised there on 23 January 1804);
    died aged six and buried there on 11 June 1810)
  • Philip Vavasor Durell (born at Mongewell in 1806 and baptised there on 29 October)
  • Margaret Vavasor Durell (born at Mongewell in 1808 and baptised there on 17 November).

David was admitted to Rugby School at the age of 13, and on 12 January 1822 he was admitted pensioner (a student paying fees to his college for teaching and for board and lodging) at Trinity College, Cambridge.

By 1826 he was Chairman of the Oxford Canal Company.

On 1 May 1826 at Oxford, David Vavasor Durell married Maria Le Breton (born in Jersey in 1807, the second daughter of William Le Breton), and they had the following children, who were baptised at St Michael’s Church, Oxford on the dates shown:

  • Ann Maria Vavasor Durell (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford in 1828 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 19 December)
  • Jane Louisa Durell (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford in 1829 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 4 December)
  • Elizabeth Charlotte Durell (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford in 1831 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 2 March)
  • David John Vavasor Durell (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford in 1834 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 21 April)
  • Emily Vavasor Durell (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford in 1835 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 30 April)
  • John Vavasor Durell (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford on 6 July 1837 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 9 August)
  • Louisa Vavasor Durell (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford in 1839 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 3 June).
  • James Philip Durell (born at New Inn Hall Street, Oxford in 1841 and baptised at St Michael's Church on 25 June).

The Durell family lived at 7 New Inn Hall Street, now the main entrance of St Peter’s College, below. (This was the former office of the Oxford Canal Company, built in 1797, that was no longer needed after Canal House in Bulwarks Lane opened in 1829.)

The Durells' house

On 7 May 1829 David Vavasor Durell, aged 30 and already married with a child, was incorporated at the University of Oxford by Christ Church, taking his MA on 25 June.

His mother Ann died in 1836 at the age of 71 and was buried at Mongewell on 24 October.

In March 1838 Durell was elected Overseer of the Poor for St Michael’s parish for the coming year.

The 1841 census shows Durell living at New Inn Hall Street with his family of eight children, ranging in age from two week to twelve years. They had a governess, and there were no fewer than eight other servants.

In 1851 the address is given as 7 New Inn Hall Street, and was to the south of the Wesleyan Chapel. Durell was absent, possibly abroad, but his wife Maria (43) was at home with her daughters Jane (21), Elizabeth (20), and Emily (15), who were all described as gentlewomen (the eldest, Ann (22) was visiting Chelsea), and her two youngest children Louisa (11) and James (9), who were at school. They now had five servants (a cook, nurse, housemaid, kitchenmaid, and footman).

David Vavasour Durell’s father David Durell died at the age of 89 in 1852 and was buried at Mongewell Church on 23 January. He was succeeded as Rector by his son Thomas.

Two of the Durell sons, David John Vavasor Durell (17) and John Vavasor Durell (13) were at Rugby School at the time of the 1851 census, and both were admitted as pensioners at St John’s College, Cambridge: David on 10 March 1853, and John on 4 April 1856.

At the time of the 1861 census the family was still at 7 New Inn Hall Street, and for the first time Durell (63) gave his occupation as Superintendent of the Oxford Canal Company. He was at home with his wife and his four unmarried daughters Jane (31), Elizabeth (30), Emily (25), and Louisa (22). His unmarried sister Mary Vavasor Durell had also come to live with them. They now had six servants (a butler, footman, cook, housemaid, lady’s maid, and kitchenmaid).

Their eldest son David John Vavasor Durell was admitted to the Inner Temple on 7 March 1857 and called to the Bar on 27 January 1862.

Their second son John Vavasor Durell obtained his BA at Cambridge in 1860 (4th Wrangler) and was admitted com. causa at Oxford on 4 June 1863. He was ordained deacon in 1863 and priest (Ely) in 1864.

David and Maria Durell’s daughter Emily Vavasor Durell died at home at the age of 28 in August 1863 and was buried elsewhere in the cemetery: see separate Durell grave.

Eighteen months later, Durell himself died:

† David Vavasor Durell died at New Inn Hall Street at the age of 67 on 27 February 1865 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 4 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

His death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal read: ”Feb. 27, David Vavasor Durell, Esq., M.A., eldest son of the late Rev. Dr. Durell, Canon of Durham and Rector of Mongewell, aged 67.“ His effects at death came to under £45,000, and his executors were his sons the Revd John Vavasor Durell of New Inn Hall Street and the Revd James Philip Durell of Eccleshall, Staffordshire.

In 1867 his son John Vavasor Durell took out the first lease on Springfield, 33 Banbury Road (then known as 16 St Giles’s Road East), which was thereafter occupied by his mother and some of his unmarried siblings.

Two of his children were married in the late 1860s:

  • On 31 December 1868 at St Giles's Church, Louisa Vavasor Durell (29) married Arthur Guinness Livingstone (28), a Clerk in Holy Orders of Bisley, Gloucestershire and the son of the gentleman William Livingstone.
  • In the third quarter of 1869 in the Chesterton area of Cambridgeshire, John Vavasor Durell married Maria Ann Beamont.

Following her husband’s death, Mrs Durell went to live at Springfield, 33 Banbury Road . She was there at the time of the 1871 census with her unmarried daughters Jane (41) and Elizabeth (40), and four servants (a cook, parlourmaid, housemaid, and kitchenmaid).

In 1881 she was still living at the same house with Jane and Elizabeth, and her grandson Edmund (6) was living with them. She now had six servants (a nurse, lady’s maid, housemaid, parlourmaid, kitchenmaid, and under-kitchenmaid), but no cook is listed. She died five years after that census:

† Mrs Maria Durell née Le Breton died at 33 Banbury Road at the age of 78 on 3 April 1886 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 8 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church)

Her estate came to £2,310 8s 1d., and her executor was her son David John Vavasour Durell, who was a barrister.


The surviving children of David Vavasor Durell and his wife Maria
  • Miss Ann Maria Vavasor Durell (born 1828) was put away in a “lunatic” asylum in Norwood, Surrey, where she can be found in the 1871 census. She died at Templeton, Twickenham on 5 January 1882. Her personal estate came to £1,242 0s. 10d., and her executor was her brother David John Vavasor Durell.
  • Miss Jane Louisa Durell (born 1829): see separate grave.
  • Miss Elizabeth Charlotte Durell (born 1831): see separate grave.
  • David John Vavasor Durell (born 1834) was a bachelor of 47 at the time of the 1881 census, living at 2 Paper Buildings, Inner Temple. He was living at 2 Temple Gardens, London when he died suddenly at Burton's Hotel, Queen Anne's Gate on 12 September 1901. His effects came to £45,514 6s. 10d., and his executors were his solicitor and his nephew the Revd John Carlyon Vavasor Durell.
  • Miss Emily Vavasor Durell (born 1835): see separate grave.
  • John Vavasor Durell (born 1837) was the Rector of Fulbourne, Cambridgeshire from 1868 to 1917. He and his wife Maria had many children, including John Carlyon Vavasor Durell (born 1870), Arthur James Vavasor Durell (born 1871), Edith Margaret Vavasor Durell (born 1872), Harold Durell (born 1876), Mary Vavasor Durell (born 1879), David Carlyon Vavasor Durell (born 1881), Clement Durell (born 1882), Emily Dorothea Vavasor Durell (born 1884), Ellen Maria Vavasor Durell (born 1886), Roland Aulbin Vavasor Durell (born 1888), and Phyllis Vavasor Durell (born 1892/3). He lived in retirement at Tower Hill, Much Hadham, Hertfordshire, where he died on 13 May 1923. His effects came to £927 4s. 4d., and his executors were his sons the Revd Canon John Carlyon Vavasor Durell, Colonel Arthur James Durell, and Clement Vavasor Durell, Esq.
  • Louisa Vavasor Durell (born 1839) and her husband Arthur Guiness Livingstone do not appear to have had any children. At the time of the 1881 her husband was the Vicar of Mildenhall, and they were living at the vicarage. Mrs Louisa Vavasour Livingstone died at the Tryst, Somers Park Avenue, Malvern Link, Worcestershire on 21 March 1912. Her effects came to £4,342 3s., and her executors were her nephew the Revd John Carlyon Vavasor Durell and Mrs Adeline Elizabeth Barbour.
  • James Philip Durell (born 1841) was ordained, and was living at Eccleshall in Staffordshire in 1865. In 1911, when he was aged 69, he was living with his unmarried sister Jane at 33 Banbury Road and described as having private means. He died at Springfield, 33 Banbury Road, Oxford on 26 April 1923 and his burial on 30 April is recorded in the parish register of St Michael's Church. His effects came to £250 3s. 11d., and his executors were his solicitors.

See also H. Compton, “The Durell family’s management of the Oxford Canal Company”
in Railway and Canal Historical Society Journal, 198 (2007), 566–73


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