James Josiah FAULKNER (1798–1857)
His wife Mrs Eleanor FAULKNER, née Green (1823–1903)
Their daughters Miss Eleanor Maria FAULKNER (1851–1919)
and Miss Mary Tabitha FAULKNER (1852–1904)
St Michael section: Row 24, Grave G48½

Faulkner grave








J. J. F

… … … E. F.

M. T. F.

E. M. F.



For detailed information about James Josiah Faulkner, see Robert S. Sephton, The Oxford of J. J. Faulkner 1798–1857: Grocer, Chartist and Temperance Advocate (published by the author 2001, reprinted with additions and corrections 2005)

James Josiah Faulkner was born in St Aldate’s parish, Oxford on 5 October 1798, the son of Peter Faulkner and his wife Ruth. On 14 July 1801 when he was nearly three, James’s name was registered at New Road Baptist Church in St Peter-le-Bailey parish, at the same time as his younger sister Maria (born 29 April 1800). His brother Joseph was born on 28 May 1804 and registered there on 2 July 1805. He also had an older brother William, born c.1790, who was matriculated at Queens’ College, Cambridge in 1833.

James Josiah Faulkner recollected his youth in a report on an appeal in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 3 April 1852:

Mr. J. J. Faulkner said he was born in St. Aldate’s parish, and had attended the perambulations and breakfasted at Pembroke College. On these occasions the hall was thrown open and they were hospitably entertained, and the reason was because then the College paid no rates.

His first advertisement appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 9 July 1825, the first part of which read:

Adjoining Messrs. Morrell’s Brewery,

RESPECTFULLY informs his friends, the inhabitants of St Thomas, and the public in general, that he has opened a Shop in the above street, which he has stocked with Goods of the best description. Having spent several days in purchasing from Merchants of the greatest eminence in London; and having also attended the last Sale of the EAST INDIA COMPANY, he is able to offer TEAS on terms equal to any “Establishment” in the kingdom! This assertion will not appear strange to those who are aware that all Teas must be purchased at the INDIA HOUSE through the medium of Brokers, so that no Dealer can pretend to superior advantages in buying.

On 4 August 1827 he described himself as a grocer & druggist, and announced that he had obtained a licence as an auctioneer. He is listed in Pigot’s Directory for 1830 as a grocer & tea dealer as well as a chymist & druggist in St Thomas’s parish.

On 19 April 1834 he announced that his grocer’s and druggist shop, with a roomy house, warehouse, and large garden attached, was available for rent at £24 a year.

By 25 July 1835, when the death of his only sister Maria (then Mrs Rogers) was announced, he was described as being of Queen Street; but on 1 August that year he announced his intention of relinquishing these premises too.

On 2 July 1838 he was elected Master of the Grocers; and Mercers’ Company for the ensuing year; and in the event he was to continue in the position for eight years.

Bishop King's Palace

When the death of his brother the Revd William Faulkner, the incumbent of Hanging Heaton, near Dewsbury, at the age of 49 was announced in July 1838, J. J. Faulkner was described as being of Old Grafton House in Oxford. This is presumably Bishop King’s Palace (right), where he was to spend the rest of his life:

In Robson’s Directory of 1839, Faulkner is listed as a grocer & druggist in St Aldate’s Street.

At the time of the 1841 census Faulkner was an unmarried grocer of 42, living at the “Palace” with Thomas Morris, a man of much the same age, who described himself as independent.

Faulkner was elected to the Council for the South Ward in 1846.

By January 1847 he had opened a temperance hotel with a reading room at the “Palace”, and on 7 August 1879 he addressed a Temperance Festival in Mr Towle’s Meadow near the Weir’s Mill.

Eleanor Green was born in Bladon in 1823, the daughter Thomas Green and Anne Preston, and was baptised there on 15 June. Her four younger siblings were also baptised at Bladon: Edmund (1825), Emily (1827), Arnold (1830), and Emily Ann (1836). At the time of the 1841 Eleanor was still at home with her parents and her younger siblings Arnold and Emily Ann.

By 1851, Faulkner (52) was running both a grocer’s shop and a temperance hotel at the “Palace”, and Eleanor Green (27) was now his housekeeper. Also living with them were a 13-year-old servant girl, and a lodger who was described as an “Independent Director of Gospel”.

On 9 June 1851 at Oxford's registry office, James Josiah Faulkner (53) married his housekeeper, Eleanor Green (28). The marriage was announced thus in Jackson’s Oxford Journal: “On Monday last, at the Superintendant Registrar’s Office, Mr. J. J. Faulkner, grocer, &c., of St. Aldate’s, to Eleanor, daughter of the late Thos. Green, of Bladon, in this county.”

They had two daughters, the first born just three and a half months after the wedding:

  • Eleanor Maria Faulkner (born in Oxford on 27 September 1851 but not baptised at St Aldate's Church until 8 June 1857)
  • Mary Tabitha Faulkner (born in Oxford on 21 December 1852 but not baptised at St Aldate's Church until 8 June 1857).

Faulkner is listed in Gardner’s Directory for 1852 as both a grocer and an eating-house keeper in St Aldate’s .

On 15 March 1852 a meeting was held in the Town Hall about the proposed extension of the Oxford, Worcester, and Wolverhampton Railway extension line to London, and Faulkner spoke:

Mr. J. J. Faulkner supported the petition, and touched upon various topics, which many thought were rather wide of the subject, such as Dr. Pusey, Cheltenham and Swindon Stations, the Star and Angel Hotels, High-street, Cannon Balls, Teetotalism, Temperance Hotel versus Public Houses; and concluded by saying that he had a post-chaise on the top of his house, and that some persons thought he was off his head, which elicited much laughter and cheering.

In 1856 Richard Chaundy died, leaving his tobacco shop at 17 Cornmarket Street to Faulkner.

Less than six years after his marriage, on Sunday 1 February 1857, when his daughters were aged just five and four, James Josiah Faulkner took his tea at 5.30pm in the Old Palace with his wife and children and their lodger, and then went out at 6.30pm, never to return. John Towle Watson found his coat and hat on the Sheepwash Bridge, which adjoined the Great Western and North-Western Railways, and found the name of Faulkner, whom he knew well, in the hat. He went to Hythe Bridge and got James and Abel Beesley to out with a punt to the Sheepwash Bridge, and they dragged the river and found his body:

† James Josiah Faulkner of St Aldate’s Street drowned at the age of 58 on 1 February 1857 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 6 February (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

His inquest was reported in many London and provincial papers, including the Sussex Agricultural Express of 7 February 1857, which said:

On Sunday evening the body of Mr. James Josiah Faulkner, town councillor of Oxford, a well-known independent character as a Charter and Temperance orator, with much ready vulgar witticism at command, was “found drowned,” according to the verdict of the jury, in the Isle, near the Great Western Railway bridge.

Very full details of the inquest can be found in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 7 February 1857: the jury came up with the verdict “Found drowned, but that there was no evidence to show how the deceased became drowned.” The report was followed by this obituary:

The deceased was a well-known public character, having always taken a prominent part as an ultra-Liberal in the various political movements in this city and county. On one occasion he was put in nomination to represent the borough of Woodstock, and on another he was nominated to represent this county, but as it was done chiefly to give him the opportunity of addressing the electors, no further steps were taken in either case. His addresses were distinguished for a certain description of wit and humour, as well as for their rambling nature, and, accustomed as he was to suit the action to the word, he never failed to keep his audiences in roars of laughter. There was, however, a straightforwardness and integrity in all his doings, private and public, that won for him the respect of those who differed widely from him on public matters. At the time of his death, Mr. Faulkner was one of the Councillors of the South Ward, having been elected in November last, after losing his seat for the West Ward, for which he was returned in 1858. He was first elected to the Council in 1846 for the South Ward, and continued to represent it till 1849, when he remained out of it till 1853. The deceased was of a very excitable temperament, and while at times he was distinguished for a high flow of spirits, at others he laboured under extreme depression. This had been the case particularly lately, and it appeared that, notwithstanding his pecuniary circumstances were most satisfactory, and that he was saving money, as he had done for a series of years, still he labored under the delusion that he should come to want, and this apprehension preyed on his spirits to such an extent as to affect his reason. There are few men whose premature death has caused greater sensation in this city, and his place as a mob orator, and as an advocate of the Temperance movement, will not easily be supplied.

Faulkner’s burial service would probably have taken place at New Road Baptist Church. He was presumably allowed to be buried in the St Michael’s section of St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on the strength of his ownership of 17 Cornmarket Street in St Michael's parish, as normally at this time those who lived in St Aldate’s parish would have been buried in Osney Cemetery.

It is possible that Eleanor was already living over this shop before her husband died, as just three weeks after his death, on 28 February 1857, “the large and commodious dwelling house and shop, commonly known as ‘THE TEMPERANCE HOTEL,’ situate in St. Aldate’s-street, Oxford, late in the occupation of Mr. J. J. Faulkner, grocer, deceased” was advertised to let from the next Lady Day, i.e. 25 March, less than a month later.

On 8 June 1857 his widow Eleanor had both their daughters, now aged four and five, baptised at St Aldate’s Church.

At the time of the 1861 census Eleanor (37), described herself as a tobacconist and was living at 17 Cornmarket Street with her daughters Eleanor Maria (9) and Mary Tabitha (8).

At the time of the 1871 census Eleanor (47) was living in a private house in New Inn Hall Street with her daughters, now aged 19 and 18, and their 15-year-old servant girl.

In 1881 Eleanor was living at North Parade Avenue with her daughters: she derived her income from property, and the daughters were both school teachers. They now had a 14-year-old servant girl. The number of the house was given as 7 in 1891, but otherwise the situation was unchanged.

By 1901 the family was living at 22 Plantation Road, and the daughters were teaching at home.

Mrs Eleanor Faulkner died in 1903:

† Mrs Eleanor Faulkner died at 22 Plantation Road at the age of about 80 in 1903 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 18 August (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

Her younger daughter Mary died the following year:

† Miss Mary Tabitha Faulkner died at 22 Plantation Road at the age of 51 in 1904 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

Her effects came to £481 19s. 9d., and her sister Eleanor Maria was her executor.

At the time of the 1911 census Eleanor Maria Faulkner (59) was living completely on her own at 22 Plantation Road and working as a mistress at a private school. She died there in 1919:

† Miss Eleanor Maria Faulkner died at 22 Plantation Road at the age of 67 on 3 February 1919 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 7 February (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

Her effects came to £1,617 3s. 5d.



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