Ephraim POTTAGE (1827–1878)
His wife Matilda POTTAGE, née Unwin (1819–1900)
Their daughter Elizabeth POTTAGE (1857–1948)
St Giles [Ss Philip & James] section: Row 33, Grave J30

Ephraim Pottage


In Loving Memory of
DIED DEC. 19TH 1878


DIED OCT. 2. 1900


… …
[their daughter, died 1948]



This grave with kerbs is sinking and is hard to find in the spring

Ephraim Pottage was born in Bramham, West Yorkshire in 1827 and baptised there on 9 September. He was the son of the tailor John Pottage and his wife Elizabeth Dalby, and the older brother of Samuel Pottage, who is also buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery. At the time of the 1841 census Ephraim was a 13-year-old boarder at Deighton House School, Kirk Deighton, Harrogate.

Matilda Unwin was born in Richmond, Yorkshire in 1819 and baptised there on 2 April (although she takes some years off her age later in life). She was the daughter of the gardener William Unwin and his wife Mary Ann. Matilda was probably related to the Unwins who in 1903 founded “Unwin’s Seeds”, a company that still exists today. In 1847/8 Matilda, who was about eight years older than Ephraim, went up to North Yorkshire to give birth to an illegitimate child, Emily, whom Ephraim later acknowledged as his.

On 26 August 1848 in Darlington, when their child was about six months old, Ephraim Pottage (who had just reached his 21st birthday) married Matilda Unwin (24). In all, they had the following children:

  • Emily Unwin, later Pottage (born in Ripon, Darlington in 1847/8 before her parents’ marriage, birth registration not found)
  • John William Pottage, “William” (born in Bramham, Yorkshire in 1849, registered Tadcaster fourth quarter)
  • Ephraim Richmond Pottage (born in Bramham, Yorkshire in 1851, registered Tadcaster third quarter)
  • Elizabeth Caroline Pottage, “Lilly” (born at 3 Cornmarket, Oxford in 1857 and baptised at St Martin’s Church on 25 December)
  • Alfred Tom Pottage (born at 3 Cornmarket, Oxford in 1859 and baptised at St Martin’s Church on 11 September)
  • Louisa Eliza Pottage (born at 3 Cornmarket, Oxford 1861/2 and baptised at St Martin’s Church on 26 February 1862)

The couple began their married life in Ephraim’s home town of Bramham in West Yorkshire, and were still there at the time of the 1851 census, when Ephraim (23), who was now working as a tailor, was living at Windmill Hill with Matilda (26) and their first two children Emily (3) and John William (1).

3 Cornmarket

Around the end of 1851 Ephraim Pottage moved his family to Oxford so that he could work as the cutter for the Oxford tailor R. P. Hookham, whose shop was at 3 Cornmarket Street (left). His brother Samuel moved to Oxford at the same time to be Hookham’s cutter.

Ephraim lived with his family over the shop at 3 Cornmarket, the former Crown Tavern (the painted room would either have been part of his workspace or of his home). Their three youngest children were baptised across the Road at St Martin’s Church, where Ephraim was churchwarden.

In February 1861 their nursemaid, Sarah Gale, was brought before the City Court and charged with “wheeling a perambulator on the pavement”. This pram presumably containing Master Alfred Tom Pottage, then aged about 15 months. She had given a false name to the policeman who stopped her. Ephraim Pottage stood up for her in Court, and said it was impossible for Sarah to get from Cornmarket to the University Parks without going on the pavement if she were not to put herself and her charge in grave danger. Sarah was found guilty, but as it was her first offence, she was fined only 1s. and 5s. costs. Ephraim Pottage paid this, “and left the Court evidently with no exalted notion of the Magistrates’ discrimination or humanity”.

At the time of the 1861 census Ephraim (33), who described himself as a tailor and robe maker, was staying at 3 Beach Cottages, Hastings, while Matilda (37) was home at 3 Cornmarket with their first five children and Sarah Gale (19), who was now described as a general servant rather than a nursemaid. A porter in the business was also living with them.

The family were still living at 3 Cornmarket Street at the time of the 1871 census with two servants. Ephraim (43) was prospering: he described himself as a tailor employing thirty men, two boys, and four women. His three daughters were at home, while Ephraim and (John) William, who were both now working as clerks, were visitors in the Marylebone home of the widow Mrs Jane Ffolkes, and Alfred (11) was boarding at Linden House School in Littlemore.

Ephraim Pottage and his brother Samuel had been in partnership with their employer, R. P. Hookham, since 1860, but this was dissolved unpleasantly by a Decree of the Court of Chancery in June 1871. Initially Ephraim and his brother Samuel had intended to go into business together at 62 Cornmarket, but this fell through acrimoniously and Samuel ran the business on his own, and Ephraim probably retired.

11 North Parade



Ephraim and his family now obviously had to move out of their Cornmarket home, and by 1875 they were living at 11 North Parade (left).


Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 28 August that year reports how Ephraim had had a new arch built into his cellar, which fell in while the workmen were removing the supports; and later the same day the entire front wall of the house fell into the cellar, exposing the whole of the interior to public view.


Mr Andrews, the builder, built another arch, and on 6 September exactly the same thing happened again: the arch fell in again as the supports were removed.

Ephraim Pottage died of cirrhosis of the liver and exhaustion in 1878:

† Ephraim Pottage died at 11 North Parade on 19 December 1878 at the age of 51 and was buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 22 December 1878 (burial recorded in the parish registers of both Ss Philip & James and St Giles’s Church).

His family placed a death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal.

The 1881 census shows Matilda, a widow of 56, living at 11 North Parade and describing herself as a lodging house keeper; but the only person staying with her that night was her daughter Lilly (23), who was working as an assistant in a fancy shop. In 1891 the situation was very similar, except that she had a different daughter living with her: Louisa (26), who was a governess.

Mrs Pottage died of a cerebral haemorrhage and exhaustion in 1900, in the presence of Louisa:

† Mrs Matilda Pottage née Unwin died at 106 Southmoor Road on 6 October 1900 at the age of 73 and was buried with her husband in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 9 October (burial recorded in the parish registers of both Ss Philip & James and St Giles’s Church).

Their daughter Elizabeth Caroline Pottage, “Lilly” (born 1857) never married. At the time of the 1901 census she was living at Eythorne in Kent, where she was the governess of Aubrey de Teissier. She died in 1948:

† Elizabeth Caroline Pottage died at 22 Southmoor Road at the age of 90 on 7 January 1948 and was buried in her parents’ grave in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 9 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church; later registers of Ss Philip & James Church not available).

The other children of Ephraim and Matilda Pottage
  • Emily Pottage (born 1847/8) married Charles Everard Loakes in the Leicester district on 23 December 1876. At the time of the 1881 census she was living with her husband and daughter Emily Everard Loakes in the home of her widowed mother-in-law, 21 Bowling Green Street, Leicester. Emily died shortly after the census at the age of 33, and her daughter at the age of four by the spring of the following year.
  • John William Pottage (born 1849), known as William, was living at Leamington Priors with a Mrs Louisa Pottage in 1901: she appears to have been his wife, but no marriage has been found. Both of them died there in the next two years: John at the age of 51 near the end of 1902; and Louisa on 5 November 1903 at the age of 47, from an overdose of aperient medicine, deemed to be misadventure. She was described as the wife of John William Pottage on her death certificate.
  • Ephraim Richmond Pottage (born 1851) married Jane Maria Bartholomew at St Giles, London on 13 August 1878. At the time of the 1891 census he was a foreman tailor, living at 11 Calver Street, Tunstall, Staffordshire with Jane (30) and their children Christabel (born in Norwich in 1882/3) and Robert (born in Tunstall near the start of 1891). They had three other children: Christopher James Pottage (born 20 July 1893 at Holborn; Dora Lilian (born 15 December 1895 at Shoreditch); and Jeannie Christobel (born 1904). They fell on hard times after that census, and spent time in Shoreditch and Warwick workhouses. Their son Robert was put in a Dr Barnardo home, and Jeannie Christobel died in 1898 in Warwick. Robert went to Canada and was followed their by his parents: Robert died there in 1912 just before his 22nd birthday, and his father Ephraim died York, Ontario on 18 November 1929.
  • Alfred Tom Pottage (born 1859) married Eliza Waite in Wilton, Wiltshire on 3 January 1881. In 1901 they were living in London at 96 Camberwell Grove, Alfred was working as a Clerk to the Board of Education in the Civil Service, and his wife Lizzie (born in Bristol in 1857/8) was a School Board teacher: their four surviving children were all at home: Gertrude (19), Marion (14), Lilian (13), and Alfred (11). (The fifth child, Edith Mary Maud Pottage, born 1884, died in 1885.)
  • Louisa Eliza Pottage (born 1861/2) never married. In 1901 she was lodging at 9 Leckford Road with Arthur Young and his wife and working as a school governess. In 1911, when she was aged 39, she was still working as a governess and lodging at 31 Kingston Road. She died at the age of 75 at a house in the Banbury Road, and her funeral was at St Giles’s Church on 9 September 1937, but she does not appear to have been buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery.



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