Miss Joanna Julia GRESWELL (1838–1906)
Her sister Miss Helen Margaret GRESWELL (1840–1913)
St Giles (Ss Philip & James) section: Row 50, Grave J30
[The front pedestal is hidden because of the way the cross has been laid down, but it must say JOANNA JULIA GRESWELL / DIED MARCH 2ND 1906]
Side (facing camera): HELEN MARGARET GRESWELL / DIED MARCH 15TH 1913 AGED 73 YEARS
Joanna Julia Greswell and Helen Margaret Greswell (born in Oxford in 1838 and 1840) were the daughters of Richard Greswell (born in Denton, Manchester on 22 July 1800, the fourth son of the Revd William Parr Greswell and Anne Hague). Their father gained a First in both Classics and Mathematics at Oxford in 1822, and Worcester College appointed him assistant tutor immediately, then full tutor in 1823, and finally a Fellow in June 1824. He was ordained in 1828, but never held a cure of souls.
Their mother was Joana Julia Armetriding (born in Steeple Aston on 22 September 1798 and baptised there on 16 April 1799), the daughter of the Revd James Armetriding, Rector of Steeple Aston, and his wife Margaret.
Their parents were married at St Mary Magdalen Church in Oxford on 5 April 1836, and their mother was described as then being of that parish. Their father had to relinquish his fellowship at Worcester on his marriage, but retained his college teaching position until 1853. They were their only two children:
- Joana Julia Greswell (born at 21 Beaumont Street in 1838 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 16 May)
- Helen Margaret Greswell (born at 21 Beaumont Street in 1840 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 11 September).
For more about their father, Richard Greswell (who is not buried in this cemetery), see his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and in Wikipedia; and also J. W. Burgon, Lives of Twelve Good Men (1888), Chapter VII: “Richard Greswell: The Faithful Steward”, pp. 292 to 306. There are three lasting memorials to him in Oxford recorded by Burgon:
- His first achievement on becoming Bursar of Worcester College was, at his own expense, “to set about transforming what, until then, had been a dreary swamp into a College garden.”
- In 1865, “he made at his private expense the handsome walk and avenue of trees which now encircles ’Port Meadow.’ But he did more than plant, and beautify and girdle round with walks. In the first instance, he drained ‘Port Meadow’ — which henceforth, instead of being wet and swampy for nine months in the year, and dry for three, became perfectly firm and dry for nine months….”
- He had in the late 1820s supported the idea of a museum for natural history in Oxford, and in 1850 began a subscription for that purpose.
At the time of the 1851 census Joanna (13) and Helen (10) were living with their parents at 21 Beaumont Street. They were both being educated at home, and their governess, who lived with them, was Mary Chaundy (26). The family also had six servants in the house.
It was probably in about 1853, when Richard Greswell gave up teaching for Worcester College, that he started to pay more attention to his daughters’ education, tutoring them himself. Burgon wrote of Joanna:
The elder is in fact one of England’s learned ladies, being an excellent Greek and Hebrew scholar. Many a time has her father told me with honest joy which book of the Aeneid, or of the Iliad, ‘Julia had finished that morning.’
In 1854 the family moved from Beaumont Street to 39 St Giles’s Street (left), now the south part of St Benet’s Hall. The 1861 census shows Richard Greswell (61), just described as a clergyman without cure of souls, and his wife Joanna (58) with their daughters Joanna (23) and Helen (20), plus four house servants.
In 1871 Joanna (33) was home at 39 St Giles’s Street with her father and four servants (a cook, lady’s maid, footman, and housemaid). Helen (30) and her mother were lodging with a grocer and his family at Mathon in Gloucestershire.
In 1873 Joanna published her Grammatical Analysis of the Hebrew Psalter
The women’s mother Mrs Joana Julia Greswell died at the age of 76 and was buried in St Mary Magdalen churchyard on 3 February 1875.
Joanna and Helen thereafter looked after their father, and at the time of the 1881 census were home with him; they now had five servants (the additional one being a nurse).
Richard Greswell died at 39 St Giles’s Street on his 81st birthday, 22 July 1881, and was buried with his wife at St Mary Magdalen churchyard on 28 July. His effects came to £21,275 8s. 3d., and his two daughters were his executors.
Joanna now became the head of the household at 39 St Giles’s Street, and she and her sister had three servants (a cook, housemaid, and gardener).
By the time of the 1901 census the two sisters had moved to Kilerone, 70 Woodstock Road, now the European Studies Centre of St Antony’s College (right). They were not downsizing, as this house, with fifteen rooms excluding bathrooms, was much the same size as the house they had left.
The 1901 census shows them living there with three servants (a cook, housemaid, and gardener).
Joanna died here in 1906:
† Miss Joanna Julia Greswell died at 70 Woodstock Road at the age of 67 on 2 March 1906 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 6 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s and Ss Philip & James’s Church).
Her effects came to £25,907 0s. 5d., and her sister was her executor.
At the time of the 1911 census Helen (70) was living alone in this large house, again with a cook, parlourmaid, and housemaid. She died here two years later:
† Miss Helen Margaret Greswell died at 70 Woodstock Road at the age of 72 on 15 March 1913 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 18 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).
Her effects came to £53,787 8s. 6d., and her executors were Charles Herbert Greswell, Esq., and the Revd Walter Greswell.