Griffin FLETCHER (c.1792–1853)
His wife Mrs Ann FLETCHER, née Andrews (1801–1872)
St Paul section: Row 10, Grave A12 (St Paul ref. I7 or J7)

Griffin Fletcher




[The inscription underneath
to his wife ANN who died on
12 March 1872 at the age of 70
is obscured by the footstone
and impossible to read]





G + F

A + F


Griffin Fletcher was born in c.1792 at the Manor Farmhouse in Toseland, which lies to the east of St Neots in Cambridgeshire, and was the son of the farmer Griffin Fletcher senior. In 1822 he became the driver of a coach service between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, settling in Oxford, while his father and his brother William Fletcher remained in Cambridge running Comberton Farm just to the west of that city.

No coach service between Oxford and Cambridge is listed Holden's Directory of 1816, and the first mention of such a service is in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 29 June 1822, which advertised the following coach service run by R. Costar, J. Coles, and Co: “The LARK POST COACH, every morning at Eight o'clock, through Aylesbury, Woburn, Bedford, and St. Neot's, to the Eagle Inn, Cambridge”; on 19 June 1824 it was advertised as now being run by R. Costar and C. Waddell. Pigot's Directory of Oxford for 1823 and 1830 records that The Lark left from the Angel Hotel in the High Street for Cambridge every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7 a.m., adding in the latter year that it went through Thame, Aylesbury, Leighton Buzzard, Woburn, Bedford, and St Neot's.

Ann Andrews was born in Oxford on 28 October 1801 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 25 November. She was the third daughter of the late Richard Andrews and Mary Jane Wells, who were married at that church on 11 October 1791. Her parents had six other children baptised there: Andrew Andrews (1794), James Woodington Andrews (1797), Eleanor Elizabeth Andrews (1800), William Woodington Andrews (1803), Joseph Wells Andrews (1805), and William Henry Andrews (1809). Ann lived at the present 1–3 George Street, where her father had his butcher's shop. .

On 14 June 1829 at St Michael’s Church in Oxford, Griffin Fletcher of Holywell parish married Ann Andrews of St Michael's parish, and their marriage was announced in Jackson's Oxford Journal. They had the following children:

  • Mary Ann Fletcher (born at Longwall Street in 1830 and baptised as Marianne at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 25 April)
  • Frances Jane Fletcher (born at Holywell Street in 1835/6 and baptised at St Cross Church on 10 January 1836)
  • Priscilla Fletcher (born at Holywell Street in 1838/9 and baptised at St Cross Church on 27 January 1839):
    died aged three and buried at St Cross churchyard on 13 February 1842
  • Sarah Ellen Fletcher (born at Holywell Street in 1840/1 and baptised at St Cross Church on 1 February 1841);
    died at Holywell Street aged one one on 6 January 1842 (with her death announced in the newspaper) and buried in St Cross churchyard three days later)
  • Griffin Fletcher junior (born at Walton Place (now Walton Street) in 1843 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 8 October)

Griffin Fletcher and his wife began their married life in Longwall Street, but by January 1836 they had moved to Holywell Street nearby. Griffin Fletcher senior died near Cambridge on 11 July 1836, and it was probably Griffin junior who on 16 July placed the following death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal: “On Monday last died, aged 74, much respected by a numerous family and friends, Mr. Griffin Fletcher, of Comberton farm, near Cambridge, father of Mr. Griffin Fletcher, of Holywell-street, in this city.” There is a monument to him in the nave of St Mary's Church, Toseland.

Robson's Commercial Directory for 1839 stated that the coach running between Oxford and Cambridge was now called The Eagle (possibly named after the Eagle Coaching Inn at Cambridge): it stopped at Thame, Aylesbury, and Beaford, leaving Oxford (from the Angel, Star, Mitre, and Roebuck Inns) at 9am every day except Sunday and returning from Cambridge at 6pm. On 28 December 1839, however, a report from Thame in Jackson's Oxford Journal stated that the coach no longer called at that town, and it implies that possibly it had stopped running altogether:

We cannot but express our regret at the loss of the old Cambridge coach, which was a great convenience to this town and its vicinity; few coachmen could be better respected on the road than Fletcher was; and during the seventeen years he drove the coach he had not met with a single accident.

Richard Costar died at the age of 74 on 25 September 1840, and it was probably at this time that Griffin Fletcher his driver set up his own coach service between Oxford and Cambridge. He is described as a coach proprietor in the 1841 census, when he was living at Holywell Street with his wife Ann and their children Mary Ann (10), Frances (5), Priscilla (2), and Sarah (five months), plus a servant.

Griffin Fletcher inserted the following advertisement in the Cambridge Weekly News on 5 June 1841, announcing that he had taken on the Elephant & Castle Inn near Leighton Buzzard railway station. The notice also gives details of the service he ran between Oxford and Cambridge on three days a week, which now called at Thame:

Cambridge Weekly News 5 June 1841

13 Walton Street

At some point between January 1842 and October 1843 Griffin Fletcher and his family moved from Holywell Street to the present 13 Walton Street (right), whose address was then 10 Walton Place.

Pigot's Directory for 1842 states that the Eagle Coach departed for Cambridge every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8 a.m, from the Star Inn in Cornmarket and the Mitre and Angel in the High Street, and Fletcher continued to be the proprietor.

Around this time his coach service was known to undergraduates as the Ad Eundem. This was probably just a nickname, and appropriate as graduates of the University of Cambridge were admitted ad eundem to the University of Oxford and vice versa, it being an abbreviation for ad eundem gradum (to the same degree).

In 1846 it was reported in Jackson's Oxford Journal that the Oxford to Cambridge coach had ceased to run and accordingly it is not listed In the Post Office Directory for 1847; but Griffin Fletcher was still listed in the commercial section as a coach proprietor, perhaps erroneously.

In the 1851 census Griffin Fletcher (58) described himself as a proprietor of houses and was living here with his wife Ann (49) and their three surviving children, namely Mary Ann (21) and Frances (15), who were governesses, and Griffin junior (7). In Gardner's Directory for 1852, however, he is once again listed as a coach proprietor.

The Revd Richard William Hiley, who had been matriculated at the University of Oxford by St Mary Hall in 1845, wrote at length in Memories of Half a Century (1899) about Griffin Fletcher and his coach in the late 1840s:

With the present facilities for locomotion, university men have little idea of the difficulties of access to Alma Mater half a century ago. As all must appear almost simultaneously, the stage-coaches and chaises at the commencement and close of term drove a brisk business, and places were booked long in advance. There ran at that time a coach between the two universities, appropriately named the “Ad Eundem,” driven by a well known character, Griffin Fletcher. His conversation was garnished with racy anecdotes adapted to the humours of his passengers. If he saw that most of them were Oxford men, he would show a decided bias for Oxford: if they were Cantabs, of course he must incline to them, and when he saw, as was sometimes though rarely the case, there was a mixture of the two, he observed a judicious silence, or “shifted his side as a lawyer knows how,” to suit both. The wags often attempted jokes upon him, quizzed the appellation of his coach as bad Latin, and similar criticisms, but he was never ruffled. He was not averse to a refresher en route, and his ways of suggesting it were amusing. “Did you ask me, sir, the difference between an Oxford and a Cambridge man, sir? Well, one difference is this, if I stop to change horses, which I shall do presently, the Cambridge man descends, orders himself a glass, then looking at me, says he, Fletcher your good health. Of course I raises my hat, what else, sir, can I do? But an Oxford man says, Fletcher, what would you like, and I reply, a glass of brandy and water sir, if you please.” Of course the fare (if an Oxford man) took the hint and supplied the desired beverage.

As Fletcher had driven his coach on that route for some thirty years, he knew the whole neighbourhood well; it may be added that every one knew him. One passenger drew his attention to a large field which presented a very bare appearance. “It may well do so, sir, it is one of the Duke of Buckingham’s farms, and that field borders on one of his copses there”, pointing to it with his whip. “That copse swarms with game, which get their daily food from that field.” He then proceeded to describe the whole of the estate round Stowe (the seat of the Duke of Buckingham) as resembling a farm-yard, the game being so strictly preserved. The duke of that date kept no fewer than seventy game-keepers, and the neighbouring gaols were filled with his poachers. Another passenger asked our driver if he had gathered much experience as to farming itself by his daily journeys. “In course I have,” quoth he, “I know how every farm is worked, and if a farm changes hands I soon observe it.”

In this way did our Jehu entertain his passengers, and all seemed to appreciate and to reciprocate his remarks, but one man who observed the strictest silence. On remarking this to Fletcher at our halt for the beverage aforesaid, he replied: “he’s a college don, he often comes by my coach, and never condescends to open his mouth to a single human being”. This halting place was Beaconsfield, a name to me then unknown. Now it will be known the wide world over, as giving a title to one of England’s most distinguished modern statesmen, the Earl of Beaconsfield.

The march of events projected a railway between the two universities. The illustrious driver of the “Ad Eundem” appeared before the committee of the House of Commons in opposition to the scheme. “How much traffic will there be on the proposed line did you ask, gentlemen? Well, as much as that would carry,” holding up a drawing of a donkey with a pair of panniers. But the bill was passed, the line was made, and the celebrated coach ceased to run.

On the “Ad Eundem” then I travelled when repairing as a Freshman to Oxford, and as it wore towards even 4 p.m., sundry equestrians in the country lanes indicated to us that we were not many miles from the university. Then its towers came in sight, soon we rattled over Magdalen Bridge, pulled up at The Angel, now no longer in existence, and a porter piloted me and conveyed my traps to St. Mary Hall.

Fletcher failed in his attempt to prevent the development of the Varsity Line between Oxford and Cambridge, and appears to have given up running his coach service in 1846.

His eldest daughter was married in 1852, with a notice placed in Jackson’s Oxford Journal:

  • On 24 February 1852 at St Paul’s Church, Oxford, Mary Ann Fletcher of the present 13 Walton Street married John Looker, a grocer of Romford, Essex and the son of the innkeeper John Looker.

Griffin Fletcher was described as a gentleman in the marriage register, suggesting that he had retired. He died the following year:

† Griffin Fletcher died at 13 Walton Street (then 10 Walton Place) at the age of 61 on 24 October 1853 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 October (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

His death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 29 October 1853 read: “Oct. 24, at his residence, 10, Walton-place, in this city, most deeply lamented by his family and friends, Mr. Griffin Fletcher, aged 61, for many years one of the proprietors, and driver, of the Oxford and Cambridge coach.” His death was similarly announced in the Bury and Norwich Post.

His effects came to under £800, and Letters of Administration were granted almost fourteen years after his death to his son Griffin Fletcher of London.

At the time of the 1861 census Griffin's widow Ann Fletcher (60) was living at 13 Walton Street and was now a lodging-house keeper, sharing her house with two female lodgers. Her daughter Frances (18) was staying in Foxton, Cambridgeshire with her unmarried uncle William Fletcher (45), who was a farmer of 280 acres, and her son Griffin Fletcher junior (18) was now a draper’s assistant in Reading.

In 1867 Griffin Fletcher junior was married (and again a notice was published in Jackson’s Oxford Journal):

  • On 9 September 1867 at St Mary’s Church, Islington, Griffin Fletcher junior, described as an oilman of 54 Packington Street, Islington, married Ellen East of Hampton, Middlesex, the third daughter of the late Robert East, who had been a grocer of Hampton, London S.W..

In 1871 Mrs Ann Fletcher (68) was living at 13 Walton Street with her unmarried daughter Frances (35) and again was described as a lodging-house keeper: only one lodger was in residence, plus one servant.

Mrs Fletcher died in 1872:

† Mrs Ann Fletcher née Andrews died at 13 Walton Street at the age of 70 on 12 March 1872 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

Her death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 16 March 1872 read: “March 12, at her residence, 13 Walton-street, after a lingering illness, aged 70, Ann, relict of the late Mr. Griffin Fletcher, coach proprietor of this city, much respected, and deeply lamented.”

Children of Griffin and Ann Fletcher
  • Mary Ann Fletcher, Mrs John Looker (born c.1830) was living at 27 Peascod Street in New Windsor in 1861 with her husband John, an assistant grocer, and their children Alice Looker (7) and Frances Looker (3). They were still there in 1871 and their middle daughter Mary Ann (16) was at home with her sisters. Her husband John Looker died in Brighton after a long illness at the age of 73, and his death notice in Jackson's Oxford Journal stated that he was the “son-in-law of the late Mr. Griffin Fletcher, coach proprietor of this city”. At the time of the 1901 census his widow Mary Ann was a widow, living in Brighton with her daughter Mary Ann. She died in Brighton at the age of 75 in 1905.
  • Frances Jane Fletcher (born 1835/6) became a lodging house keeper in Oxford. In 1881 Frances (45) was living at 13 Museum Road (then 16 Museum Terrace) with one servant, and her only lodger on census night was Herbert Jackson (the “British Workman”). It is hard to identify her after that date.
  • Griffin Fletcher junior (born 1843) and his wife Ellen East initially remained in London where their first child Mabel East Fletcher was born in 1878. They then moved to Hampshire, where their second child Maud May Fletcher was born in 1870. At the time of the 1871 census Griffin was a fisherman, living at Fisherman’s Cottage in Aldermaston, Hampshire with his wife Ellen and their first two children. Their third child, Ethel Violet E. Fletcher, was born there near the end of 1871. They then moved to Essex, and their fourth child, Griffin Fletcher, was born there in 1873. By the beginning of 1876, they were in Tunbridge, Kent, and their last four children were born there: Ella Frances J. Fletcher (1876), Robert James Fletcher (1878), Reginald William Fletcher (1880), and Gertrude Christabel (or Christobel) Fletcher (1883). At the time of the 1881 census Griffin was working as a head gamekeeper and living at Fish Lodge, Tunbridge, Kent with his wife Ellen and six of their children. His first wife Ellen died in Tunbridge at the age of 37 on 20 July 1883. In 1884 in Tunbridge, Griffin Fletcher married his second wife, Edith Crawley. By the time of the 1891 census he had moved with Edith to Llanrin in Montgomeryshire where he was the lessee of Warren Farm, and his three youngest children were still living with them. The next year on 16 April 1892 Griffin and Edith Fletcher with Griffin's three youngest children (Robert, Reginald, and Gertrude Christabel) left Liverpool on the Lake Huron for Montreal and established a homestead in Alberta. Griffin Fletcher junior later moved to British Columbia and died at New Westminster there in 1908: his body was returned to Lacombe, Alberta for burial. His youngest daughter Gertrude Christabel (Mrs Goldring) died in Victoria in 1956.



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