William LUFF senior (1810/11–1893)
His wife Prudence LUFF née Harris (1808–1879)
Their daughters Miss Mary LUFF (1844–1892)
and (probably) Miss Prudence LUFF (1843–1900)
St Michael section: Row 6a, Grave C51

Grave of William Luff senior


… 1879]


[… 1893]


[… 1892]


See also the grave of his son,
William Luff junior

William Luff senior was born in Abingdon in 1810/11, the son of George Luff, a schoolmaster. He became a chemist and druggist, who had his own shop at 24 Cornmarket Street: the first mention of him at this address is on 15 October 1839, when Jackson’s Oxford Journal reported thus on a case in the city court: “Mr Telfer, druggist, of the Corn Market, in this city, was brought before the Mayor, charged with having committed an assault on Mr. William Luff, also a druggist in the same street. The dispute arose out of a transaction in trade.” (Frederick Telfer was a chemist at 11 Cornmarket Street.)

At the time of the 1841 census, when he was a single man aged 30, Luff was living over his Cornmarket shop with Emma Luff (25) and Richard Luff (15), who are likely to be his younger siblings. Two “independent” people were also living on the premises: Samuel Baker (53) and John Baker (16).

Prudence Harris was born in Elsfield in 1808, the daughter of Joseph Harris, a dairyman, and his wife Hannah, and was baptised there on 12 June that year. At the time of the 1841 census she was one of the three female servants of Mary Williams, who lived at the east end of Oxford’s High Street, in the parish of St Peter-in-the-East.

William Luff married Prudence Harris at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 6 July 1842, and Prudence’s employer Mary Williams was a witness at her wedding. They had the following children:

  • Prudence Luff (born in Oxford in 1843, reg. third quarter)
  • Susannah Luff, twin of the above (born in Oxford in 1843, reg. third quarter); death registered in fourth quarter
  • Mary Luff (born in Oxford in 1844, reg. fourth quarter)
  • William Luff (born in Oxford in 1845, reg. third quarter)
  • Sarah Luff (born in Oxford in 1847, reg. third quarter); death registered second quarter of 1849
  • Ann Luff (born in Oxford in 1849, reg. second quarter)
  • Elizabeth Luff (born in Oxford in 1850, reg. fourth quarter)
  • George Luff (born in Oxford in 1852, reg. fourth quarter); died age seven months 9 April 1853

Luff's shop at 24 Cornmarket Street

William Luff remained a chemist and druggist at the former shop that stood at 24 Cornmarket Street for the rest of his working life: it can be seen on the right in about 1905, when his son’s name was above the door.

In April 1847 Luff was elected Overseer for St Michael’s parish.

At the time of the 1851 census William and Prudence Luff were living at 24 Cornmarket Street with their children Prudence (7), Mary (6), William (5), and Ann (1); baby Elizabeth (born near the end of 1850) appears to have been accidentally omitted. A student of Brasenose College, a 14-year-old “on-liking as an apprentice”, and a household servant were also living with them. Their next child, George, was born the following year but died at the age of seven months: his death was announced thus in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 16 April 1853: “April 9, aged seven months, George, youngest son of Mr. W. Luff, chemist, Corn Market-street.”

At the time of the 1861 census William and Prudence Luff (both aged 50) were at home with their five surviving children, all of whom were still at school: Prudence (17), Mary (16), William (15), Ann (11), and Elizabeth (10). There was a new apprentice, and one servant.

By 1871, only three of the children were at home: Prudence (27), William (25), who was now his father’s assistant chemist, and Elizabeth (20). Ann was visiting a farmer’s family in Charlton-on-Otmoor, while Mary is hard to find.

Their only surviving son and their daughter Ann were married in the mid-1870s:

  • On 31 December 1874 at St Paul's Church, Oxford, William Luff junior (25), described as a chemist of 2 Walton Crescent, married Rosa Ellen Harris (26) of Walton Street, the daughter of John Harris, the common room servant of Lincoln College.
  • On 29 April 1876 at St Michael's Church, Oxford, Ann Luff married William Woodford, a grocer of Abingdon. They went to live at East St Helen’s Street in Abingdon, and their son William Luff Woodford was baptised there on 4 February 1878, but died eight months later.

Mrs Luff died in 1879:

† Mrs Prudence Luff, née Harris died at Cornmarket Street at the age of 70 in 1879 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 3 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

At the time of the 1881 census William Luff senior (70) was still working as a chemist at 24 Cornmarket Street and living over the shop with his three unmarried daughters Prudence (37), Mary (36), and Elizabeth (30). Thomas Haynes (25), a chemist’s assistant born in Ireland, was living with them, and they had a general servant.

His daughter Elizabeth was married i in 1884:

  • On 15 October 1884 at St Michael's Church, Oxford, Elizabeth Luff (34) married her father’s assistant Thomas Edward Haynes (26), and her sister Mrs Annie Prudence Woodford was a witness.

In 1889 Luff’s assistant chemist, Edgar George Wilson, was drowned in the Thames when rescuing two boys in the water.

William Luff (80) was still working as a chemist & druggist and living at 24 Cornmarket Street at the time of the 1891 census. His daughter Mrs Ann Woodford (41) was living with him and acting as his housekeeper, and her children Annie Prudence Woodford (14) and William Luff Woodford (10) also lived in the house, as well as a new chemist’s assistant, John Goodchild, and a servant. Meanwhile his two unmarried daughters were living at 7 Gunterstone Road Fulham: Prudence (46) was the principal of a high school, and Mary (43) was a partner in the school. Also living with them was a junior teacher, a kindergarten mistress, one 12-year-old pupil, and a servant.

His daughter Miss Mary Luff died the following year:

† Miss Mary Luff died at 7 Gunterstone Road, Fulham at the age of 48 in December 1892 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 5 January 1893 (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

By the time of his death the next year, William Luff was described as a retired chemist:

† William Luff died at 29 Rectory Road in East Oxford (then called Pembroke Street) at the age of 83 on 19 November 1893 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 22 November (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

His effects came to £1,085 4s. 10d., and probate was granted to his eldest daughter Prudence Luff.

Prudence Luff died in Oxford in 1900 in the house of her sister, Mrs Annie Woodford:

† Miss Prudence Luff died at 41 Bartlemas Road at the age of 57 on 24 November 1900 and was buried on 28 November (probably at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, as the burial is recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

The other three surviving children of William and Prudence Luff
  • William Luff junior (born 1845): see separate grave
  • Ann Luff, Mrs Woodford (born 1849) appears to have separated from her husband William Woodford, as at the time of the 1881 census she was living at 65 Kingston Road in Oxford with her children Annie Prudence Woodford (4), Lilian Rebecca Woodford (2), and William Luff Woodford (three months), and despite being married was the head of the household. (She must have moved back to Oxford from Abingdon between the birth of Lilian in Abingdon in late 1879 and the birth of William in Ss Philip & James parish, Oxford at the beginning of 1881.) By 1861 she had gone back to 24 Cornmarket Street to work as her father’s housekeeper (this move probably took place after her sister Elizabeth’s marriage in 1884), and still described herself as married. By 1899 she had moved into 41 Bartlemas Road, and can be found there in the 1901 census with her son William (20), who was a foreman on a farm: she now described herself as a widow, and gave her occupation as “Take Boarders”, although she only had one at the time of the census.
  • Elizabeth Luff, Mrs Haynes (born 1850) and her husband Thomas Edward Haynes are hard to trace after their marriage in 1884.



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