John PARSONS (1814/15–1863)
His baby daughter Emily Maud Ada PARSONS (1862–1863)
St Giles section: Row 10A, Grave B27
WHO DIED 12 OF JANUARY 1863
AGED 48 YEARS
ALSO OF HIS YOUNGEST DAUGHTER
EMILY MAUD ADA
WHO DIED 5 OF APRIL 1863
AGED 14 WEEKS & 5 DAYS
[The slab on top of the vault is
much longer than shown in
the photograph, but the
above is the only text]
John Parsons was born in Chilton, Buckinghamshire in 1814/15, the son of the farmer Richard Parsons.
Between 1839 and early 1841 he took over Joseph Warne’s tailor’s shop upstairs at 123 High Street in All Saints’ parish (right). He can be seen living there at the time of the 1841 census, when he was as a single man of 25, together with Humphrey Parsons (16) and Elizabeth Parsons (30), who are likely to be his siblings, and James Warne (26).
On the morning of Sunday 13 March 1842 a serious fire started in this building (reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 19 March 1842), “completely destroying the Post Office and rooms above, Mr. Parsons’s shop”. John Parsons himself together with Mr Warne junior, Mr Rainsford, and their servant all “narrowly escaped with their lives, and almost in a state of nudity”. The Post Office moved to the Town Hall and never returned, but Parsons resumed trading in this shop, and Hunt’s Directory for 1846 lists “Parsons, Tailor and Hatter” here.
On 4 August 1846 in Paddington, John Parsons, described as a woollen draper of All Saints’ parish in Oxford, married Geraldine Delamotte of St Thomas’s parish, Paddington. Geraldine was born in Sandhurst in 1826/7, the daughter of the artist William Alfred Delamotte senior and Mary Ann Gage: see their grave for more about her background.
John and Geraldine Parsons had the following children:
- Geraldine Gage Parsons (born at 123 High Street in 1848 and baptised at All Saints’ Church on 9 July)
- Anne Jane Mary Parsons (born in Oxford, probably at The Lawn in Banbury Road, in 1850 and baptised at All Saints Church on 4 July)
- John Philip Parsons (born at “North Parade”, probably at The Lawn, in 1852 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 4 June)
- Wallace Edward Parsons (born at The Lawn in 1854 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 23 June)
- Alice Rosa Parsons (born at The Lawn in 1855 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 28 November)
- Edith Elizabeth Parsons (born at The Lawn in 1858 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 6 April)
- Ruth Louisa Parsons (born at The Lawn on 27 October 1859 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 5 April 1860)
- Emily Maud Ada Parsons (born at The Lawn in late 1862 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 12 February 1863); died 5 April 1863
When his first daughter was baptised in July 1848, John Parsons was living with his wife upstairs at 123 High Street. They only lived over their business for a short period, and by about 1850 he had a large Italianate villa built for his family at the south end of the Banbury Road on the corner of North Parade, which he named The Lawn: this was on land in St Giles’s Field which he leased from Lincoln College. His house is now part of St Hugh’s College.
At the time of the 1851 census John Parsons (35), still described as a woollen draper, was living at St Giles’s Field (presumably at The Lawn) with his wife Geraldine (24) and their first two children Geraldine (2) and Anne (nine months). Geraldine’s mother Mary Ann Delamotte (66) was also staying with them, and they had three house servants.
John Parson’s tailoring business at 123 High Street is listed as “Parsons and Foster” in Gardner’s Directory for 1852, but in 1853 he broke away from Charles Foster and opened his own shop at 128 High Street (demolished in 1898). On 1 October 1853 he inserted the following notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal:
JOHN PARSONS, Robe Maker, Tailor, Hatter, and Hosier,
128, HIGH STREET, OXFORD.
JOHN PARSONS begs respectfully to inform his customers and the public generally that he relinquished all connexion with Messrs. Foster and Co. on the 31st day of July, 1853, and is now carrying on his business at No. 128, High Street, Oxford (five doors west of his former premises).
J.P will continue to supply goods of the best quality at the lowest possible profit, and hopes to be favoured with a continuance of the extensive patronage he has received for the last fourteen years, and for which he begs most respectfully to tender his unfeigned thanks, and to assure his patrons, as well as the public in general, that he will spare no exertions to render himself worthy of a continuance of their generous patronage.
When his children were baptised, John Parsons was described in the register as a woollen draper and tailor in 1854, a robe maker in 1855, and as a tailor in 1858 and 1860.
Later in 1860 Parsons started a second career as a wine merchant, and is described as such in the 1861 census: this shop was at 134 High Street (left), just six doors to the west of his tailor’s shop.
John (45) and Geraldine (34) are recorded as living at The Lawn in 1861 with their first seven children, namely Geraldine (12), Anne (10), John (8), Wallace (7), Alice (5), Edith (3), and Ruth (1). They had six servants: a cook, three housemaids, a gardener, and an errand boy.
In 1862 Parsons gave up the tailoring side of his business, inserting the following notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 18 October:
JOHN PARSONS, in thanking his numerous customers for their liberal patronage during the many years he has carried on Business at 128, HIGH STREET, begs to intimate that he retired from the same at Midsummer last; and that the Business has since been carried on by Messrs. RODWELL and CO., whom he confidently recommends as his Successors.
John Parsons died in January 1863, shortly after the birth of his youngest daughter:
† John Parsons died at St Giles’s Fields at the age of 48 on 12 January 1863 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 17 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).
His death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 17 January 1863 read simply: “Jan. 12, at his residence, in St. Giles’s-fields, Oxford, Mr. John Parsons, wine merchant, of 134, High-street, aged 48”, and an obituary appeared in the Oxford Chronicle on 17 January 1863. His effects came to nearly £25,000, and his will can be seen in Oxfordshire History Centre (SL162/3/D/1). He was described as both a draper and wine merchant in his probate records, and his executors were his wife, Benjamin Parsons (a farmer of Weston near Thame), and Edwin Andreas Thompson (a gentleman of Oxford).
John Parsons’ youngest daughter Emily was baptised after her father’s death and herself died within three months:
† Emily Maud Ada Parsons died at St Giles’s Fields at the age of 14 weeks and 5 days on 5 April 1863 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 8 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).
John Parsons’ widow
In 1871 Mrs Geraldine Parsons (41) was living at St Mary-in-the-Castle in Hastings with five of her children: Geraldine (22), Anne (20), Wallace (16), Edith (13), and Ruth (11). The two missing children were John (18), who was a farm pupil boarding with a farmer at Honingham, Norfolk, and Alice (15), who was boarding at Hatcham Manor House Ladies’ School in Deptford.
Two of her children were married in the 1870s:
- On 6 April 1873 at the Savoy Chapel in London, Geraldine Gage Parsons married the Revd Allan George Munro Meugens: her banns were called at St Mary's Church, Putney in March and April 1873
- On 27 January 1877 at St Mary’s Church, Hanwell, London, John Philip Parsons, described as a farmer of Hayes, Kent, married Rose Fleming (20) of Hanwell, the daughter of Lewis Baldwin Fleming, gentleman.
Her son Wallace Edward Parsons died at Acacia Lodge, Putney at the age of 23 on 8 December 1877. His effects came to under £450: he was described as a gentleman in his probate record, and his mother Geraldine was his executor.
In 1881 Mrs Parsons was in a lodging house at 5 Victoria Place, Eastbourne with three of her daughters: Alice (25), Edith (23), and Ruth (21). Three more of her daughters were married in the 1880s:
- On 28 February 1881 at St Mary's Church, Putney, Anne Jane Mary Parsons of Putney married the widower Charles Hanbury Tanqueray, a wine merchant of Walton-on-Thames and the son of the wine merchant George Tanqueray;
- In the Portsea district in 1882, Edith Elizabeth Parsons married Cyril Edward Routh;
- On 24 September 1889 at St Mary's Church, Putney, Ruth Louisa Parsons married Charles Michael Hardwick Merriman.
Her daughter Ruth Merriman’s husband died in 1890, the year after they were married, and she came to live with her mother. At the time of the 1891 census Mrs Parsons was living at 47 Mont Road, Putney, with Ruth (31) and two other daughters: Alice (35), who was unmarried, and Mrs Anne Jane Mary Tanqueray (40), whose husband is hard to find in the census.
Another of her daughters was married in India in 1892:
- In Madras on 15 November 1892, Alice Rosa Parsons married William Thomas Highton.
In 1901 Mrs Parsons was living at 20 Waverley Road, Portsmouth with her widowed daughter Mrs Ruth Merriman and her grandson Ross Highton, the son of her daughter Alice. She was probably already unwell, as she employed a live-in nurse as well as a cook and a housemaid, and she died at 20 Waverley Road on 22 August 1902 at the age of 76. Her effects came to £280 3s. 11d.
Her daughter Mrs Ruth Merriman stayed on in the house, and died there on 10 March 1904. Her effects came to £3,208 9s. 3d.
John Parsons’ surviving children
- Geraldine Gage Parsons, Mrs Allan George Munro Meugens (born 1848) had just one daughter, Maud Geraldine Meugens, born in Fladbury, Worcestershire in 1874. At the time of the 1901 census Allan Meugens was Rector of Carlton in Nottinghamshire, and he and Geraldine lived at Newgate Street there with their daughter and two servants. By 1911 Geraldine (62) and Allan (63) were living at 18 Victoria Grove, Southsea, with their daughter, who was now 36, and two servants. The Revd Allan Meugens died died at 15 Alexandra Road, Kingston-on-Thames on 31 March 1929, and Geraldine herself died there at the age of 81 on 15 February 1930. Their daughter Maud never married, and died in 1962.
- Anne Jane Mary Parsons, Mrs Charles Hanbury Tanqueray (born 1850) had just one daughter: Geraldine Evelyn Charles Tanqueray (baptised at St Mary’s Church, Putney on 22 September 1886). (Her husband had another daughter called Ethel Geraldine Tanqueray, born in 1873 to his first wife, Georgianna Geraldine Rosa Saportas, whom he had married in 1871) . Charles Tanqueray died in the Reading district at the age of 56 near the end of 1899. Anne died at Dysart, Woodland Grove, Weybridge on 19 June 1930. Her effects came to £718 10s. 5d.
- John Philip Parsons (born 1852) and his wife Rose appear to have gone to New Zealand to farm, and their only child, Richard Wallace Parsons, was born at Nelson there in 1880. They may have moved on to Canada; but Rose, who was a watercolour artist, seems to have returned to England without her husband, as at the time of the 1901 census she was calling herself as a widow and was living at 59 Warwick Road, Paddington with her newly married son Richard (21), who was a carpenter. At the time of the 1911 census Rose was boarding with a family in St John’s Wood, London, and described herself as married. Her husband is probably the John Philip Parsons who died in New Zealand in 1922.
- Alice Rosa Parsons, Mrs William Thomas Highton (born 1855) appears to have gone to India with her husband, as their son Ross Highton (who was staying with his grandmother in 1901) was born there in 1894/5. Alice Highton died at Glen Muir, Headley, Hampshire on 29 May 1906. Her effects came to £633 17s. 2d.
- Edith Elizabeth Parsons, Mrs Cyril Edward Routh (born 1858) was living at 2 Dunmow Villas, Mortlake in 1891 with her husband Cyril, who was a wine merchant, and their children Margery (7) and John (5) and three servants (a nursery governess, cook, and housemaid). In 1901 and 1911 they were at Newland House, Twickenham. Mrs Edith Elizabeth Routh died in the Reading area at the age of 71 in 1929.