William MERRY (1828–1862)
His wife Mrs Elizabeth CLARKE, formerly Mrs Merry, née Maisey (1835–1914)
His daughter Mrs Mary Ann BURDEN, née Merry (1857–1911)
St Paul section: Row 25, Grave E5½ (St Paul ref. D21)

William Merry



In loving memory of
BORN NOV. 17, 1828,
DIED NOV. 9, 1862




APRIL 2, 1911, AGED 54 YEARS




DIED FEB. 5, 1914, AGED 78 YEARS



William Merry was born in Hanborough, near Woodstock, on 17 November 1828 and baptised there on 14 December. He was the son of the stonemason John Merry and his wife Mary Ann Maisey who were married at Hanborough on 15 October 1827; his younger sisters were also baptised there: Ann on 1 May 1831 and Elizabeth on 27 October 1833. At the time of the 1851 census William was a stonemason aged 22, living at Hanborough with his parents John (46) and Mary Ann (44) and his sister Ann (19), who was a gloveress.

Elizabeth Maisey was born in Hanborough in 1835, and baptised at the church there on 4 October. She was the daughter of James Maisey and Charlotte Adams, who were married at Hanborough on 24 June 1831. At the time of the 1841 census Elizabeth (5) was living near Parker’s Farm, Long Hanborough with her parents: her father was an agricultural labourer, and her mother a gloveress, and she then had two siblings: Mary Ann (7) and Henry (2). By the time of the 1851 census they were living at Pinsley Wood, Long Hanborough: her father James (36) was now a gamekeeper; her mother Charlotte (37) was still a gloveress; and her brother Henry (12) was already working as an agricultural labourer. She had three more siblings: Emily (9), Edwin (6), and Ellen (4).

On 7 April 1856 at Hanborough Church, William Merry married Elizabeth Maisey (20). At the time of their wedding William was a stone mason, and Elizabeth was a gloveress. They had the following children:

  • Mary Ann Merry (born in Hanborough on 20 February 1857 and baptised at Witney Methodist Church on 26 February)
  • William Merry junior (born in Oxford in 1858/9, reg. first quarter of 1859)
  • Henry John Merry (born at George Street, Oxford on 20 April 1860 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 7 July 1861 at the same time as his next sister)
  • Ellen Elizabeth Merry I (born at Great Clarendon Street, Oxford on 8 May 1861 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 7 July); died aged four months
  • Ellen Elizabeth Merry II (born at Great Clarendon Street, Oxford on 26 July 1862 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 8 October); died aged three months

William and his wife were baptised in the Church of England, but evidently joined the Methodist Church by 1857. They began their married life in their home village of Hanborough, but by early 1859 had moved to Oxford.

The 1861 census shows William (32) living at Great Clarendon Street with his wife Elizabeth (25) and their three children Mary Ann (4), William (2), and Henry (eleven months). As well as giving his occupation of stonemason, he stated that he was a grocer and Wesleyan preacher.

Their fourth child Ellen Elizabeth Merry I was born soon after that census but died at the age of four months and was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 6 August 1861. The St Paul’s plot reference is the same as that of this family grave, so she is likely to have been the first buried here, even though her name is not on the gravestone. Her parents used the same name again for their next baby, born on 26 July 1862.

William died in 1862, leaving his wife with four children aged under six:

† William Merry died at Great Clarendon Street at the age of 33 on 9 November 1862 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 12 November (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

About a week later his baby daughter, Ellen Elizabeth Merry II, died at Great Clarendon Street at the age of three months. She was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 19 November 1862, and again the plot reference matches so she is likely to be buried here.

Near the end of 1865 in the Witney district, Mrs Elizabeth Merry married her second husband William Clarke or Clark (born in Long Hanborough in 1839), and they had the following children (both registered with their surname spelt Clark):

  • Edwin Clarke (born in Hanborough in 1868, reg. Witney fourth quarter)
  • Louisa Ann Clarke (born in Hanborough in 1870, reg. Witney district fourth quarter); died 1871.

At the time of the 1871 census Elizabeth (34), who was working as a boot-binder, was living in Hanborough with her husband William (32) who was a grocer, and her three children Mary Ann (14), William (12), and Henry Merry (10) from her first marriage, and her two children Edwin (2) and Louisa Clarke (four months) from her second. Louisa died at the age of five months shortly after the census and was buried at Hanborough on 8 May.

Elizabeth’s son Henry John Merry went to work at the Coaching Department at Finchley Road Station on 19 March 1880 at a salary of 17/6 per week: his height was noted as 5 feet 7 inches.

At the time of the 1881 census Elizabeth Clarke (44) described herself as a retired grocer, and as married, although she seems to have separated from her husband William, who was working as a labourer and boarding at Redditch, Worcestershire. She had moved back to Oxford and was living at 112 Cowley Road with her children Mary Ann Merry (24), who was a domestic servant; William Merry (22), who was an agricultural engineer’s clerk; and Edwin Clark (12), who was still at school. Miss Emily Maisey (39), who was a lady’s maid and likely to be Elizabeth’s younger sister, was paying them a visit. Henry Merry, a railway porter aged 20, was boarding in Chilvers Coton, Warwickshire.

Two children from her first marriage were married in the 1880s:

  • On 23 December 1886 at St Clement’s Church, Mary Ann Merry (29) of 20 Union Street married Walter Burden (25), who was born in Stanton Harcourt, the son of the labourer George Burden, and who was a wagon repairer of 14 Cherwell Street at the time of his marriage
  • In 1884 (reg. fourth quarter) in the Headington registration district, William Merry married Emily Jane Franklin.

At the time of the 1891 census Elizabeth Clarke (described as married, but her husband was not with her) was living in east Oxford at 11 Tyndale Street (then called William Street) with her son Edwin (22), who was a grocer’s assistant, and a lodger. The situation was the same in 1901.

Her son Henry appears to have been was married in 1898/9, according to the 1911 census:

  • In 1898/9 Henry John Merry married Mabel Louisa (surname unknown, born in Lewisham in 1876/7).

In 1911 Elizabeth (75) was still living at 11 Tyndale Street, but her son Edwin (42), who was still unmarried and a grocer's assistant, was listed as the head of the household. They had a boarder and a 17-year-old servant girl.

Elizabeth died there in 1914, and was buried in the spare space in this grave with her first husband and her married daughter Mary Ann (see below) who predeceased her:

† Mrs Elizabeth Clarke née Merry died at 11 Tyndale (William) Street at the age of 78 on 5 February 1914 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 9 February (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

Her effects came to £219 10s., and her son Edwin was her executor.

Mrs Mary Ann Burden, née Merry, daughter of William & Elizabeth Merry (born 1857)

Mary Ann and her husband Walter Burden, who were married in 1886, had the following children:

  • Edith Mary Burden (born at 35 West Street, Osney on 13 July 1888 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 3 October)
  • Walter John Burden (born in Osney on 25 January 1890 and baptised at New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel on 9 April)
  • William Frederick Burden (born at Ladywood (St Mark’s) Birmingham in 1893, reg. third quarter;
    baptised as an “adult” (aged 17) at St Frideswide’s Church, Osney on 17 December 1910)
  • Ethel Maud Burden (born in Birmingham in 1895, reg. third quarter)

Walter Burden was a railway waggon repairer, and at the start of their marriage he and his wife were living near the station at 35 West Street, Osney.

By the time of the 1891 census Mary Ann and Walter were lodging with their first two children Edith (2) and Walter (1) in the home of Mary Ann’s younger married brother William at 30 Bullingdon Road.

They moved to Birmingham shortly after the census, and their next two children were born there.

By the time of the 1901 census Mary Ann and Walter were back in Osney, living at 7 Mill Street with their children Edith (12), Walter (11), William (7), and Ethel (5). Walter was still working a railway waggon repairer.

Mary Ann died early in 1911:

† Mrs Mary Ann Burden née Merry died at 7 Mill Street, Osney at the age of 54 on 2 April 1911 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 5 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

Walter Burden had to fill in the 1911 census form on the very night of his wife’s death. He was living at 7 Mill Street and stated that he was a railway wagon repairer for the Gloucester Wagon Co. Ltd. His four children were all at home: Edith (22); Walter (21), who was a fruiterer & florist’s assistant; William (17), who was a dentist’s mechanic’s assistant; and Ethel (15), who was a Japanese curio shop assistant. Walter Burden died in 1915.

Children of Walter and Mary Ann Burden

Billy Burden

Edith Mary Burden (born 1888) married Sidney F. Mayhew in Oxford in 1912 (reg. second quarter), and they appear to have had five children born in the Wantage district between 1913 and 1921. Edith died at the age of 88 in 1977 in Barnet, Middlesex

Walter John Burden (born 1890) was a soldier being treated in London at the Great Northern Central Hospital when he married Alice Green at St Paul's Church, Upper Holloway on 6 December 1916. Walter became a greengrocer, and lived in Barracks Lane, Oxford before retiring to the Slade in Headington. Walter died in 1971 and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery. His son William Peter Burden (known as Peter, and whose surname was later changed to Burdon when he was in the army) was born in Lambeth on 19 June 1919. He died in Warwick Hospital on 18 June 2015 aged 95.

William Frederick Burden (born 1893), shown right, was killed in action
in Belgium at the age of 23 on 23 October 1916 (CWGC), and his name is inscribed on the St Frideswide’s Church War Memorial.

Ethel Maud Burden (born 1895) never married. She died in November 1992 aged 97 and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery with her brother Walter and his wife Alice.

Other surviving children of Elizabeth and her first husband William Merry
  • William Merry junior (born 1858/9) was working as a carpenter & joiner at the time of the 1891 census and living at 30 Bullingdon Road with his wife Emily (29), who was a dressmaker and their sons Reginald (5) and Arthur (1); he sublet part of the house to his older sister Mary Ann Burden and her family. Another son, Wilfred, was born in east Oxford in 1898. He emigrated with his family to the USA at the age of 46 in 1906, living first in Kansas and then in Oklahoma. He was still alive in 1930, aged 71.
  • Henry John Merry (born 1860) was aged 48 in 1911 and working as a railway signalman; he was then living at South Newington with his wife Mabel Louisa (34) and their children Walter Henry Merry (10), Dorothy Merry (6), and Olive Hilda Merry (3).
Surviving child of Elizabeth and her second husband William Clarke
  • Edwin Clarke (born 1868) appears to have died in Oxford in 1961.



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