Joseph PORTER (1818–1883)
His wife Mrs Mary Ann PORTER (c.1813–1896)
St Paul section: Row 3, Grave 7½ [St Paul ref. Q.1]

John Porter



Mary Porter

Joseph Porter was born in Benham, near Newbury, Berkshire in 1818.

Mary Ann (surname unknown) was born in Brentford/Hounslow, Middlesex in c.1813.

It is hard to discover their origins, and they could have married at any point between 1830 and 1861. They do not appear to have had any children.

In 1861 Joseph (42) was a gatekeeper & road inspector, living with Mary Ann at the Turnpike Gate in Reading, Berkshire.

By the time of the 1871 census Joseph was the turnpike gate keeper on the Botley Road in Oxford and lived at the Turnpike House with Mary Ann and their boarder. (Botley Road was the first stage of the turnpike road from Oxford to Faringdon.). The original toll house near Osney Bridge had to be demolished to make way for the railway, and so the Porters would have lived in the new one (built in 1850, shown below), which later (together with the building next door) became the Old Gatehouse pub (now “The One”).

The Gate House

In December 1872 Joseph Porter appeared before the City Court and was fined because his wife had exacted a toll from an exempt person. The following report appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal:

Joseph Porter, collector of turnpike tolls in the parish of St. Thomas's, was summoned by the Rev. J. T. Raymond, Curate-in-Charge of Minster Lovell, for unlawfully demanding 6d. toll from him on Sunday morning last. Complainant passed through the turnpike gate about a quarter before nine in the morning, going from Oxford to attend to his parochial duties, when the defendant's wife demanded 6d. toll from him. He claimed exemption, but the wife, still demanding the toll, he paid it under protest. He had also paid under protest on five previous occasions. The Bench, after referring to the Act of Parliament, said that the complainant was exempt from payment of toll, and fined the defendant 2s. 6d, and ordered the toll that complainant had already paid, amounting to 2s. 6d., to be returned, and to pay the costs, 8s.

Joseph was before the City Court again in May 1874, and the newspaper reported:

Joseph Porter, keeper of the Toll-gate at Botley, was charged with illegally taking toll for agricultural implements. Mr. Swearse appeared for the prosecutors, Messrs. Eddison and Noddings, the makers of the implements, and Mr. F. B. Thompson for the defendant. Fined 1s. and 8s. costs.

In 1877 the turnpike gate was moved to the foot of Cumnor Hill, and in 1880 the Oxford to Faringdon Road was deturnpiked, so Joseph would have been made redundant.

At the time of the 1881 census Joseph was working as a “farmer of tolls” and living at 68 Mill Street in New Osney with his wife and heir niece Alice Annie Gilbert (16), who was a dressmaker.

In January 1882 Joseph came before the Oxford City Police Court because of defective drains at his home. Jackson's Oxford Journal reported:

NON-COMPLIANCE WITH A LOCAL BOARD ORDER.— Joseph Porter, of Mill-street, was summoned for not complying with an order of the Local Board, served upon him on the 29th of September last, to alter some drains upon his property— Defendant pleased not guilty.— Mr. Nutt prosecuted.— Mr. Hall, Nuisance Inspector, said he inspected the whole of the houses in Mill-street, and amongst others those of Mr. Porter's. He found that the drains upon his property were defective and injurious to health, and he served a notice upon the defendant in September last to properly trap his drains within seven days. The traps complained of were in the scullery. He saw the traps on Monday, and they were in the same state as in December last. He tested the traps once by putting carbonic acid down the man-holes, and the smell came up the trap-holes. There had been fever in the street. There was no trap between the bell trap in the closet and the sewer, to prevent the smell coming up from the sewer. He could not say whether the tenants had complained to the landlord or not. The tenants had told him that they dare not complain or the landlord would turn them out.— Mr. Wingfield, the Medical Officer, said he saw the houses on the 2nd of January, and they had the small bell traps, in one house one trap was broken and another was not fixed in the stone, and in two instances the traps were turned out altogether. He did not consider the bell trap sufficient inside the house to prevent the gas escaping into the house from the sewer— The Mayor said that the Magistrates were satisfied that the nuisance existed, and they gave him ten days to stop it. As it was he would be ordered to pay the costs, 8s. 6d.

Joseph died in Osney 1883:

† Joseph Porter died at 78 Mill Street, New Osney at the age of 65 on 19 July 1883 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 25 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

His personal estate came to £1,364 7s. 7d., and his executor was his wife Mary Ann. His probate record described him as being of 78 Mill Street, but formerly of the Botley Turnpike Gate. It is a mystery why he was buried at St Sepulchre's Cemetery rather than Osney Cemetery.

At the time of the 1891 census Mary Ann Porter (78, but misrecorded as 70) was living on her own means with one servant at 78 Mill Street.

Mary Ann died there in 1896:

† Mrs Mary Ann Porter died at 78 Mill Street, New Osney at the age of 83 on 4 November 1896 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 7 November (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

Her effects came to £4,269 17s. 8d., and her executors were Mrs Alice Annie Newman, the grocer Thomas Duley, and the farmer James Lambourne.



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