John EDWARDS (1777–1858)
His daughters Miss Margaret Howell Bennett EDWARDS (1811–1887)
and Mrs Sarah Susan HEWETT, née Edwards (1815–1869)
St Paul section: Row 10, Grave A14 [St Paul refs L.7, I.9, and K.7]

Edwards grave

Edwards footstone





[on side kerb]




[on reverse of footstone,
shown above]




John Edwards was born at Cwm, Clunbury, Shropshire in 1777, the son of Richard and Sarah Edwards, and was baptised on 7 March. He was living at Kington, Herefordshire by 1802.

On 13 October 1802 at Elkstone, Gloucestershire, John Edwards married Martha Howell Bennett, who was baptised at Sherston Magna, Wiltshire on 1 April 1776. They had at least four children:

  • Martha Howell Bennett Edwards (born in Hereford and baptised at All Saints Church there on 21 September 1809)
  • Margaret Howell Bennett Edwards (born in Elkstone, Gloucestershire and baptised there on 23 January 1811)
  • Sarah Susan Edwards (born in Hereford in 1815 and baptised at All Saints Church there on 4 May)
  • Elizabeth Bennett Edwards (born in Hereford in 1816/17).

The Bennetts appear to have lived in Hereford for at least the period from 1806 to 1816 (although their second daughter was born in Martha’s home village of Elkstone in Gloucestershire). John Edwards was an ironmonger, and an an 1811 directory for Hereford lists him individually with that trade, and it also includes a firm of ironmongers called Edwards & Wall which may be connected.

By 1819 John Edwards had moved with his family to Oxford, and was a furnishing ironmonger in All Saints’ parish: on 7 May that year he was made a Freeman of the city. He was then in partnership in Oxford with William Carter, but on 1 January 1820 a notice was published in Jackson’s Oxford Journal stating that on 29 December 1919 the partnership had been dissolved by mutual consent, and that henceforth Carter would continue with the business on his own.

Edwards then went into partnership with the ironmonger Simon Brown, but this only lasted a year, and was similarly dissolved on 1 January 1821. Thenceforth Edwards operated on his own, and his business is listed in the High Street in Pigot’s 1823 directory.

On 8 January 1825 Edwards placed the following advertisement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal:


JOHN EDWARDS, with grateful acknowledgments for past favours, begs to inform his friends and the public at large, that, in addition to his former general Manufactory and Ironmongery Warehouse, at the bottom of the High-street, he has recently opened a FURNISHING WAREHOUSE, opposite ALL SOULS’ COLLEGE, where he purposes keeping a large assortment of fashionable register, half-register, and other stove grates; hot-air stoves, ascending and descending; fenders, fire irons, tea-trays, tea urns, improved table and other lamps, with a general assortment of furnishing goods; and he flatters himself that, on inspection his assortment will be found equal in quality and patters to any in the kingdom.

Pigot’s Directory for 1830 lists John Edwards as an ironmonger in the High Street. His third daughter was married in 1838, and as she was then living in St Mary-the-Virgin parish, it seems likely that the Edwards was now living over the business opposite All Souls College:

  • On 17 April 1838 at St Mary the Virgin Church, Sarah Susan Edwards married the Ironmonger John Hewett: the witnesses were her father, her sister Elizabeth Bennett Edwards, and Anne Hewett.

Following this union, the Edwards ironmongery business, which was based at 108/9 High Street in St Mary the Virgin parish, became Edwards & Hewett. (Nos. 108/9 were part of the block of shops demolished in 1873 to make way for a new side road, King Edward Street, and the rebuilt large corner buildings.)

Edwards’s eldest daughter was married at St Ebbe’s Church in 1840:

  • On 3 September 1840 at St Ebbe’s Church, Oxford, Martha Howell Bennett Edwards married Thomas Combe, the head of the Printing Division of Oxford University Press: see adjoining grave for more on this couple, who also have an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Soon after Martha’s marriage John Edwards retired and moved away from Oxford with his wife and two unmarried daughters, and at the time of the 1841 census the only ironmonger in the part of the High Street that runs through the parish of St Mary the Virgin was Daniel Stevens.

By 1850 the Edwards family was living in Ramsgate. Mrs Martha Howell Edwards née Bennett died there in 1850 and was buried there on 17 June.

At the time of the 1851 census John Edwards (72), described as a widower and a gentleman, was living at 5 Augusta Terrace, Ramsgate with his two unmarried daughters, Margaret (40) and Elizabeth (35), who were running a school in his house: six boy pupils aged between seven and nine lived with them, and they employed a cook and a housemaid.

Back in Oxford in 1851 the ironmonger living over 108 High Street was Henry Floyd (31), the employer of 17 men. A land surveyor called George Hewitt (42), who born at Elvetham in Hampshire, had a separate part of the house and may have been related to Edwards’s son-in-law.

John Edwards’s youngest daughter was married in the Thanet district (probably at Ramsgate) in 1854:

By 1858 John Edwards had moved back to Oxford and was living at 6 St John’s Terrace (now part of Adelaide Street), which was in St Paul’s district chapelry. He died there that year:

† John Edwards died at 6 St John’s Terrace, Adelaide Street at the age of 81 on 12 January 1858 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 17 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

The sexton's notebook records that he was buried here in the area that St Paul's described as L.7, but no depth is given.

His effects came to nearly £3,000, and his executors were the surgeon John Martin and the Revd Alfred Hackman of Christ Church.

Mrs Sarah Susan Hewett, née Edwards

Sarah Susan, the third daughter of John and Martha Edwards, and her husband John Hewett had the following children:

  • John George Hewett (born in Holywell parish, Oxford on 27 February 1839 and baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 21 April)
  • Susan Edwards Hewett (TWIN: born at the High Street, Oxford on 17 May 1840 and baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 11 June); died aged two months and buried in its churchyard on 22 July 1840
  • Sarah Edwards Hewett (TWIN: born at the High Street, Oxford on 17 May 1840 and baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 11 June); died aged eight months and buried in its churchyard on 9 January 1841
  • Henrietta Hewett (born at the High Street, Oxford on 16 July 1841 and baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 22 August)
  • Edward Edwards Hewett (born at Plantation Road, Oxford on 17 July 1843 and baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 31 August)
  • Charles James Hewett (born at 45 High Street, Oxford on 22 November 1844 and baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 22 December)
  • Martha Jane Hewett (born in Sheffield in 1847/8, reg. first quarter of 1848)
  • Margaret Elizabeth Hewett (born in Sheffield in 1849/50, reg. first quarter of 1850)
  • Mary Ellen Hewett (born in Sheffield in 1850, reg. fourth quarter with surname spelt Hewitt).

Sarah began her married life in Oxford, where her husband ran an ironmonger’s shop in the High Street, but by 1848 they had moved to Sheffield.

At the time of the 1851 census Sarah (35) was living at Pye Bank, Brightside, in Sheffield with her husband John Hewett (39), who was now working as an accountant, and their children John (12), Henrietta (9), Edward (8), Martha (3), Margaret (1), and Mary (nine months). They had two general servants.

In 1861 Sarah was aged 46 and living at Burngreave Road in Sheffield with her daughter Henrietta (19), who was now a teacher, and Martha Jane (13), who was still at school.

She evidently returned to stay with her father in Oxford, and died there in 1869:

† Mrs Sarah Susan Hewett, née Edwards died at 6 St John’s Terrace, Adelaide Street at the age of 53 in August 1869 and was buried with her father in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 31 August (burial recorded in the register of St Paul’s Church).

Miss Margaret Howell Bennett Edwards

Margaret, the second daughter of John and Martha Edwards who had moved with her parents to Ramsgate and was teaching there in 1851. She must have returned with her father to Oxford.

At the time of the 1861 census only the two servants of John Edwards were at home at his house in Adelaide Street, but in 1871 Margaret (60) was living on her own there with two servants.

By the time of the 1881 census Margaret (70) had moved to 40 Beaumont Street, where again she was her own with two servants. Her niece Miss Margaret Hewett (30) was paying a visit.

Margaret died in 1887:

† Miss Margaret Howell Bennett Edwards died at 40 Beaumont Street at the age of about 76 on 6 December 1887, and . was buried with her father in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 12 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

Her death was announced briefly in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 10 December. Her effects came to £9,264 15s. 6d., and her executors were her two widowed sisters, Mrs Martha Howell Bennett Combe of the University Press and Mrs Elizabeth Bennett Ridgway of 28 Beaumont Street.



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