Miss Bessie GIBSON (1845–1882)
St Giles (Ss Philip & James) section: Row 52, Grave 40

Grave of Bessie Gibson


[At the foot of the vault]: JESU / MERCY

Mary Elizabeth Gibson, known as Bessie, was born at Chadlington, Oxfordshire in 1845. She was the eldest child of Charles Johnson Gibson (born c.1806) and Elizabeth Gardner (born in Fawler in c.1812, the daughter of the farmer William Gardner).

Her father was a widower of Banbury and a wool stapler when he married Bessie's mother at Chadlington Church on 5 July 1843. They had three children:

  • Mary Elizabeth Gibson (born at Chadlington in 1845 and baptised there on 4 August)
  • Charles Johnson Gibson junior (born in Neithrop in 1847 and baptised at St Mary's Church, Banbury on 28 September)
  • Frances Ann Gibson (born in Neithrop in 1849 and baptised at St Mary's Church, Banbury on 3 September).

Bessie's father Charles Johnson Gibson continued to work as a wool stapler. He died at the age of 43 and was buried at St Mary's Church, Banbury on 3 October 1849 when Mary was four, her brother two, and her sister a tiny baby.

At the time of the 1851 census Bessie's mother Elizabeth (described as a retired widow at the age of about 38) was living at Chadlington with her two younger children Charles (4) and Frances (1), but Bessie is not listed.

By the time of the 1861 census the family had moved to Oxford. Bessie (16) was still at school and living at The Terrace, Park Town with her widowed mother Elizabeth (48), who was described as a fundholder, and her younger siblings Charles (14) and Frances (11), plus their house servant.

On 23 April 1870 Bessie's brother Charles Johnson Gibson, aged 23, was matriculated at the University of Oxford by Worcester College.

In 1871 Bessie (25), Charles (24), and Frances (20) were all home with their mother on census night. Their address was given more precisely this time as 5 The Terrace, Park Town (which is now numbered 55 Park Town).

Bessie's brother Charles obtained his B.A. in 1877 and his M.A. in 1879.

On 29 October 1880 Bessie's mother Elizabeth Gibson died at 5 The Terrace, Park Town at the age of 66 after a short illness, and her death was announced in Jackson's Oxford Journal. She was buried in Banbury with her husband. Her two daughters were her executors, and her personal estate came to £4,195 4s. 7d.

The 1881 census shows Bessie (30) as the head of the household in their Park Town home, where she lived with her sister Frances (25) and one servant. Their brother Charles (33) was now a theology student at a college in Lichfield, Staffordshire, and by the following year he was Curate of St Mary's in Newington, London, and living at 48 Kennington Park Road..

Bessie continued to live the present 55 Park Town with her unmarried sister Frances and their servant. She appears to have committed suicide in her bedroom there during the morning of 9 August 1882 while her sister was out. Her body was found by Sarah Weller, their house servant.

† Mary Elizabeth Gibson died at 5 The Terrace, Park Town at the age of 37 on 9 August 1882 and was buried “by Coroner's Order” at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 12 August (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s and Ss Philip & James's Church).

Mercifully the Interments (felo de se) Act 1882 had come into force the previous month, which would have allowed Bessie to be buried in daylight hours and with a Christian service. The inquest into her death was reported in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 12 August 1882:

Inquest on Bessie Gibson

Bessie's personal estate came to £1,044 11s. 11d., and her executor was her sister Frances, who had moved to 42 St Paul's Terrace, Warwick Road, Banbury.

Bessie's brother Charles Johnson Gibson junior (1847–1912)

On 4 April 1888 at Balham, Surrey, Charles Johnson Gibson (39) of Devonshire Road married Florence Emily Theresa Bent, (22), who was born in Edinburgh and was a doctor's daughter of Balham Park Road. They had five children, all born in the Wandsworth district: Gladys Elizabeth Fanny Gibson (1889), Colin Charles Gordon Gibson (1891), Douglas Vincent Gibson (1893), Allan Leslie Gibson (1895), and Roy Havelock Milner Gibson (1896).

At the time of the 1891 census Charles was living at 11 Devonshire Road, Streatham with his wife and their eldest child Gladys and two servants. In June 1899 he was appointed Rector of Nurstead & Ifield, Gravesend and at the time of the 1901 census he was living at the Rectory, Ifield, Kent with his wife and their three youngest boys Douglas, Alan, and Roy, plus three servants. Charles and his wife were still at the Rectory in 1911 with their sons Douglas (17) and Roy (14), plus three servants (a cook, groom, and housemaid)

The Revd Charles Johnson Gibson died at the Rectory in Ifield at the age of 64 on 23 January 1912. His effects came to £955 1s. 8d., and his executor was his wife Florence.

On 15 January 1921 at Holy Trinity Church, Clapham Charles's widow Florence Emily Theresa Gibson (54) married her second husband, the widower William Cammeyer Goodman (66), who was a brewer. She was widowed a second time, and died at 24 Carminia Road, Balham on 24 April 1937.

Bessie's sister Frances Ann Gibson, known as Fanny (1849–1932)

On 12 November 1884 at St Mary's Church, Banbury Frances Ann Gibson (34) of Neithrop married the Banbury-born James Andrews Slatter (33), a farmer of Deddington, and their only child, Florence Victoria Slatter, was baptised at Deddington Church on 7 January 1887.

At the time of the 1891 census Frances was living at Hill House, Souldern with her husband James, who was now farming there, and their daughter Florence and two servants. In 1901 their daughter Florence (14) was boarding at a ladies' school in Neithrop. In 1911 Frances and her husband James (a farmer and grazier) were still at Hill House, and their daughter Florence (24) was assisting in dairy work.

Frances's husband James Andrews Slatter was described as a retired farmer when he died at Gosford House, Kidlington at the age of 68 on 28 November 1918. His effects came to £1510 16s. 2d,

Frances Ann Slatter, née Gibson died at Whitegate, Mill Street, Kidlington on 17 March 1932 at the age of 84. Her effects came to £557 1s. 10d., and her daughter was her executor.

Her daughter Florence Victoria Slatter never married. She died at Hensington House, Woodstock at the age of 67 on 27 November 1958. She seems to have lost touch with her family, as on 5 June 1960 a firm of Woodstock solicitors put a notice in the newspaper in relation to her death, seeking “the brothers and sisters (or their descendants) of Fanny Slatter [her mother Frances Ann Slatter], late of Somerton, Oxford”.



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