Francis William LAMBERT (1868/9–1899)
[and likely to be other family members]
St Mary Magdalen section: Grave not yet located

Francis William Lambert was born in Oxford in 1868/9, the son of William Lambert (born in Oxford in 1815) and his second wife Agnes Martha Bryer (born in Nash, Buckinghamshire in 1841).

Francis William Lambert's ancestry

Francis came from a line of shoemakers: his grandfather after whom he must have been named, Francis Lambert (1790–1865), was a shoemaker in St Ebbe’s. He was the son of William Lambourn and Bethia Abbot from Aston Rowant, and for some reason changed his surname from Lambourn to Lambert.

The 1841 census shows Francis’s father William Lambert at the age of about 27, still living with his parents at 9 Speedwell Street: he and his brothers William and Thomas were working for their father as shoemakers, while his sisters Mary and Sarah were shoe-binders.

Francis’s father William Lambert married his first wife Thirza Williams in Oxford in the second quarter of 1845, but two years later she died (death reg. second quarter of 1847). At the time of the 1851 census William, a widower of 35, was living alone over his shop in the south part of the Woodstock Road (then called St Giles’s Road West): his premises were just to the north of Observatory Street. He had a visitor on census night, the Oxford milliner Miss Susan Willows (22). He was still a widower in 1861, sharing his house with an apprentice shoemaker and a female servant.

In the Headington district in the fourth quarter of 1866, Francis William Lambert's father William Lambert married his second wife, Agnes Martha Bryer (born in Nash, Buckinghamshire in 1841, and hence 26 years his junior). They had the following children:

  • Frances Thirza Eveline Lambert, known as Evelyn (born in Oxford in 1867, reg. second quarter)
  • Francis William Lambert (born in Oxford in 1868/9, reg. first quarter of 1869)
  • Archibald George H. Lambert (born in Oxford in 1872/3, reg. first quarter of 1873)
  • Reginald Charles Lambert (born in Oxford in 1874/5, reg. first quarter of 1875)
  • Wilfred Newman Lambert (born in Oxford in 1876/7, reg. first quarter of 1877).

At the time of the 1871 census Francis (2) was living with his parents and his sister Eveline (4) at the south end of the Woodstock Road (address then 11 & 12 St Giles’s Road) in St Mary Magdalen parish. His father was now a master shoemaker, and the family had a servant. Mrs Lambert’s cousin, Esther Bryer (28), who was a shopwoman, also lived in the house. By the time of the 1881 census there were five children (all at school), plus three lodgers and one servant.

Francis’s father William Lambert died at his Woodstock Road home at the age of 73 in 1888 and was buried on 10 February (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church). He is likely to have been buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, and if so, there may well be a family grave in the St Giles’s section that has not yet been located.

Francis's mother Agnes Martha Lambert, who was still only 45 when her husband died, took over his business and at the time of the 1891 census she lived over the old Woodstock Road shop and described herself as a boot seller, aided by her daughter Eveline (23) and her son Archibald (18), who were both described as boot seller’s assistants. Francis himself (22) was working for a bookseller in 1891, and was probably already engaged in natural history pursuits.

Business appears to have flourished, because by 1899 Mrs Lambert had moved to a new shop nearer the centre of Oxford and also had two other branches: Kelly’s Directory for that year has the following entry: “Lambert, Agnes (Mrs.), boot & shoe warehouses, 70 and 73 St. Giles’ street & 5 North Parade avenue”.

Lambert shops in St Giles

This drawing shows both the Lambert shops in c.1912.

No. 70 (second from right) was run by Mrs Lambert and then by her daughter Eveline.

No. 73 (on the left, next door the older part of the Taylorian Institution) was run by Mrs Lambert’s son Archibald.

Both businesses were forced to move out in the 1920s when the Lamberts were not able to renew their leases because of the University’s plan to expand the Taylorian northwards. Nos. 70, 71, 72, and 73 St Giles’s Street were demolished in December 1930.

Francis William Lambert died in 1899:

† Francis William Lambert died at his mother’s home at 70 St Giles’s Street at the age of 30 on 7 July 1899 and was buried on 10 July at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

The following obituary appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 15 July 1899:

DEATH OF AN OXFORD NATURALIST. — It is with regret we record the death of Mr. Francis William Lambert, of [70], St. Giles’, Oxford, at the Sarah Acland Home, on Friday morning last, after a few days’ illness. Deceased, who had hitherto enjoyed the best of health, was on Saturday week suddenly taken ill, owing to the formation of an internal abscess, which, causing a stoppage, necessitated an operation. Little hope was entertained of his recovery, and, peritonitis setting in, he succumbed as above stated. Mr. Lambert, who was in his 31st year, enjoyed the respect and esteem of a wide circle of friends, and particularly those interested in natural history pursuits. Among field naturalists throughout the country he was known and appreciated as an exceedingly steadfast, careful and persevering worker. An ornithologist, lepidopterist and coleopterist, he had in the course of his all too short career gained considerable knowledge in these respective departments of zoology, and was considered a reliable authority for the Oxford district. He took the keenest delight in elucidating the wondrous mysteries of Nature, and the conclusions arrived at were periodically recorded in various journals devoted to scientific research. Many interesting articles and notes from his pen have appeared from time to time in these columns. Some of his observations have been acknowledged by Mr. Aplin in his “Birds of Oxfordshire,” whilst in that charming little volume, “A Year with the Birds,” mention of his name is likewise made. He was perhaps the possessor of the most representative and valuable collection of purely local specimens. The sanctum at his residence, specially set apart for the study of natural history, affords a striking testimony of his life-work, containing as it does cabinet after cabinet of duly authenticated specimens neatly and systematically arranged. His skill as a taxidermist was of no mean order, as is evidenced by the many interesting and excellent groupings of birds therein gathered together. From time to time he kept many curious and interesting birds, such as owls, hawks, snipe, woodcock, and a penguin. Various kinds of snakes and reptiles too, occasionally occupied his attention, but during the last few years he devoted his time more particularly to lepidoptera and coleoptera, and was preparing a local list of the latter. He was one of the select few allowed the privilege of using Bagley Wood, where he spent many hours in diligent research. By his death, the natural history of the district loses one of its most earnest students, and an honourable and promising career is all too prematurely brought to an end. The deceased’s remains were interred in St. Sepulchre’s cemetery on Monday afternoon. No less than thirty-two wreaths and floral tributes were sent by relatives and friends.

His effects came to £167 4s. 4d., and his probate record described him as a commercial clerk.

Just over five months later, his brother Wilfred Newman Lambert died at 70 St Giles’s Street at the age of 22 and was buried on 27 December 1899 (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church). He may well be in the same grave as his brother.

Mrs Lambert after the death of her two sons

Mrs Agnes Martha Lambert, née Bryer and her daughter Eveline, both described as boot & shoe sellers, were in 1901 living over No. 70 (the shop on the right in the above drawing) with a boarder and a servant. Mrs Lambert’s son Archibald (28) still worked as her bootmaker’s assistant, running the shop a few doors south at No. 73; but he was now married with four children, and his home was then in Observatory Street, where he is listed with his wife and three of his children. (His fourth son, Cyril (4) was spending the night with his grandmother a few doors down.)

At the time of the 1911 census, Agnes Martha Lambert (69) and her daughter Eveline (43) were still living upstairs at 70 St Giles’s Street. Archibald (38) was now a widower, living with his family at Frenchay Road.

Francis’s mother Mrs Agnes Martha Lambert died at 70 St Giles’s Street at the age of 83 on 19 October 1924 and was buried on 23 October 1924 (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

What happened to Francis’s surviving siblings?
  • Eveline Lambert (born 1867/8) never married. After her mother’s death in 1924 she took over the family shoe shop at 70 St Giles’s Street and ran it until the late 1920s, when she had to move to make way for the Taylorian extension: her shop and home were demolished in December 1931. She then opened a shoe warehouse at 27 George Street. In about 1946 she sold the shop to another company but continued to manage it: Kelly’s Directory for 1947 lists “Lambert, Eveline (Lane & Robinson, proprs.), shoe specialists”. In about 1957 the shop was taken over by Peter Lord, but in the mid-1960s the name Evelyn Lambert was restored and lasted until 1973, although Evelyn may not have still been alive then.
  • Archibald George Henry Lambert (born 1872/3) continued to work as a boot maker, but lived with his family in Farndon Road rather than over the shop. In 1926 when the lease for his shop at 76 St Giles’s Street could not be renewed, again because of the Taylorian extension, he moved his business into a grand house at 68 St Giles’s Street on a short-term lease: this ran out in 1937 when the University was ready to demolish Nos. 67 and 68 so they could extend the Taylorian further north again. He then moved his shop to 25 Cornmarket Street. By 1952 the shop had moved again, this time to 23 Wellington Square, where it remained until 1964. For more about Archibald’s wife and children, see this page on the St Margaret's church war memorial site about his son Cyril.
  • Reginald Charles Lambert (born in Oxford in 1874/5) was a resident master at a Hertfordshire grammar school and living at the Master’s Lodge, New Road, Ware in 1901. He was still unmarried in 1911 at the age of 35, when he was a resident master at Stafford Grammar School. He appears to have remained in Stafford, as a Reginald C. Lambert married Sarah E. Bailey there in the third quarter of 1923.



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