Richard KEYS (1788–1863)
His wife Mrs Hannah KEYS, née Dawkins (1790–1865)
Their son Richard John KEYS (1827–1858)
St Paul section: Row 9, Grave A18 [St Paul ref. Q.6]

Richard Keys

 

 

[…] AND
AWAITING THE RESURRECTION
AT THE LAST DAY
THE BODY OF
RICHARD KEYS
46 YEARS VERGER OF THE
CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF CHRIST
IN THIS CITY
HE DIED DEC 1, 1863
AGED 75 YEARS.
[Two illegible lines,
probably a biblical quotation]

 

 

ALSO OF
HANNAH HIS WIFE
WHO DIED JULY 27 1865
AGED 76 YEARS

 

 

ALSO OF
RICHARD JOHN KEYS
ONLY SON OF THE ABOVE
WHO DIED MARCH 14 1858
AGED 30 YEARS

 

 

Richard Keys was born in Adstock, Buckinghamshire in 1788 and baptised there on 26 April. He was the son of Richard Keys and Ann Carter, who were married at Adstock on 9 June 1776. His three siblings were also baptised at Adstock: Sarah (1777), a second Sarah (1781), and Thomas (1790). His mother Ann died in 1799, and on 27 April 1809 his father married Alice Wilmore and had three more children by her: Jane (1809), Joseph (1811), and John (1814).

In about 1817 Richard Keys was under-sacristan or verger of Christ Church Cathedral, and lived in the verger’s “house”, an area in the south transept of the Cathedral itself. The archivist of Christ Church states that the “chimney” for the “house” was punched through one of the stained-glass windows. (The dwelling was stripped out by George Gilbert Scott when he restored the Cathedral in the 1870s.)

Hannah Dawkins was born in North Aston, Oxfordshire in 1790 and baptised there on 20 June. She was the daughter of James Dawkins and Mary Rose, who were both living in North Aston when they were married there on 14 October 1771. Her father was described in the marriage register as a “pauper”(as are many other people in that register, so it may not mean more than “labourer”) . Her six siblings were baptised at the same church: Rose (1773), William (1778, died in infancy), another William (1779, also died in infancy), Mary (1781), Sarah (1784), and Thomas (1794).

On 17 April 1819 at Bicester Church, Richard Keys married Hannah Dawkins (with his banns oddly read out in St Ebbe’s Church). She came back to live with him at Christ Church Cathedral, and they had two children:

  • Elizabeth Keys (born at Christ Church in 1819/20 and baptised at Christ Church Cathedral on 10 January 1820)
  • Richard John Keys (born at Christ Church in 1827 and baptised at Christ Church Cathedral on 24 April).

Their daughter Elizabeth probably died in childhood, but it is hard to find a record of her burial.

At the time of the 1841 census Richard and Hannah were living at Christ Church with their son Richard John Keys (13), and had taken in Hannah’s niece, Rose Hawkins (13), as their servant.

In 1851 the situation was the same, and their son Richard (23) was now working as a druggist. He was married the following year:

  • On 14 October 1852 at All Saints Church, Oxford, Richard John Keys, described as a chemist of All Saints parish, married Amelia Susannah Woollams, a milliner of Worcester Terrace (the present Richmond Road), the daughter of Benjamin Woollams, the under-butler of Trinity College.

Richard John Keys and his wife do not appear to have had any children. By 1858 they were living at Worcester Place in the St Paul’s district, and he died there that year:

† Richard John Keys died at Worcester Place at the age of 30 on 14 March 1858 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 18 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

On 30 March 1861 at North Hinksey church, his widow Amelia Susannah Keys, née Woollams (30), described as a milliner of St Mary Magdalen parish and the daughter of Benjamin Woollams, butler of Trinity College, married her second husband John Prince Tubb (26), a cabinet maker and the son of the cabinet maker Benjamin Tubb: he lived in Isis Street in south Oxford, which was then in North Hinksey parish.

At the time of the 1861 census Richard Keys senior (73) and Hannah (72) were still living at the Verger’s House at Christ Church, and Hannah's niece Rose Dawkins (33) was still with them.

Richard Keys was still employed as Verger of Christ Church at the time of his death in 1863 (with his gravestone stating that he had been in the post for 46 years):

† Richard Keys died at Christ Church at the age of 76 on 1 December 1863 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 4 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

He was buried in the grave of his son.

Mrs Keys would have had to move out of the Verger’s House after her husband’s death, and she went to live in Cambridge Street, where she died 19 months later, and was buried with her son and husband:

† Mrs Hannah Keys née Dawkins died at Cambridge Street at the age of 76 on 27 July 1865 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).


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