Ambrose Henry SMITH (1823–1893)
His wife Mrs Frances Ann SMITH, née Kimber (1829–1895)
Their son Thomas James SMITH (1864–1892)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 18, Grave 70

Ambrose Henry Smith



Of your Charity
Pray for the Soul of
AGED 69 years






R. I. P.



Ambrose Henry Smith was born in Oxford in 1823 and baptised at St Clement's Roman Catholic chapel in May. He was the son of Ambrose Smith (who was listed as a hop merchant in Walton Place (now Walton Street) in Pigot's Directory for 1830) and Mary Hickman, who were married at St Peter-le-Bailey Church in Oxford on 16 July 1820. At the time of the 1841 census Ambrose junior (17), who was a butcher's assistant, was living at Walton Street with his father Ambrose, his mother Mary, his older sister Ann, and his younger siblings George Frederick (10), Agnes Catherine (9), Ellen or Helen Teresa (7), Frederick Augustus (4), and Eliza (2), who were also baptised at the St Clement's Roman Catholic chapel. By 1851 Ambrose Henry (27) was a butcher, living at 7 Walton Place (now 10 Walton Street) with his father Ambrose (59), his mother Mary (50), and two more siblings: Winifred (13) and Julia (10). His sister Teresa died at the age of 22 on 22 May 1856.

Frances Ann Kimber was born at Draycot Moor, Southmoor (which was then in Berkshire) in 1829 and baptised at Longworth on 8 March. She was the daughter of the farmer John Kimber of Kidlington and Ann Hissey, who were married at Longworth church on 20 October 1812. Frances's eight older siblings were also baptised there: James Kimber (1813), Martha Kimber (1815), Anne Kimber (1817), John Kimber (1819), Francis Kimber (1821), Adolphus Frederick Kimber (1823), George Reuben Kimber (1824), and Esther Kimber (1826). She also had four younger siblings who were all baptised at Kingston Bagpuize Church: Richard Hissey Kimber (1830), Thomas Kimber (1832), Sophia Matilda Kimber (1835), and Mary Anne Kimber (1837). At the time of the 1841 census Frances (12) was living at Kingston Bagpuize with her father John, who was a farmer, her mother Ann, and seven of her siblings, plus a servant. In 1851 her father was described as a farmer of 450 acres employing 20 labourers, and Frances (21) was home with her parents and six of her siblings, including Adolphus (27), who was a butcher.

On 24 June 1851 at Kingston Bagpuize church, Ambrose Henry Smith married Frances Anne Kimber. Their marriage was registered twice at the General Record Office, once in the Abingdon registration district and once in the Headington one: this suggests that they had a second marriage ceremony at St Clement's Roman Catholic Chapel. (Roman Catholic marriages were now recognized as a result of the Marriage Act of 1836). They had the following children:

  • Mary Ann Smith (born in Oxford in 1852, reg. second quarter)
  • Ambrose Frederick Smith (born in Oxford in 1853/4, reg. first quarter of 1854)
  • Francis George Smith (born in Oxford in 1855/6, reg. first quarter of 1856)
  • Cecily Frances Smith (born in Oxford in 1857, reg. second quarter)
  • Ellen Elizabeth Smith (born in Oxford in 1859, reg. second quarter)
  • Maria Clotilda Smith (born in Oxford in 1860, reg. third quarter)
  • John Alfred Smith (born in Oxford in 1861/2, reg first quarter of 1862)
  • Thomas James Smith (born in Oxford in 1864, reg. fourth quarter).

St Clement's RC Chapel

Left: The former St Clement's Roman Catholic Chapel, which is currently occupied by offices. The building dates from the late eighteenth century and is a Grade II listed building
(List Entry No. 1047165).

It ceased to be a chapel in 1869, and the building then became St Ignatius's Roman Catholic School, renamed St Joseph's Roman Catholic School in 1932. The school moved to new premises in Headley Way in 1968.

At the time of the 1861 census Ambrose (38), who was a butcher, and Frances (32) were living at 10 Worcester Place with their children Ambrose junior (7), Francis (5), Cecily (4), Ellen (2), and Maria (nine months), plus a a 16-year-old housemaid and an 11-year-old nursemaid. Ambrose's butcher's shop was at 30 The Market in Oxford in the 1860s and 1870s.

In 1863 Ambrose Henry Smith was appointed Overseer of the Poor in St Thomas's parish jointly with Charles Taphouse.

Ambrose's father, the hop merchant Ambrose Smith, died at Walton Street in October 1864, but ten years later in 1874 the case of Smallwood v. Smith was still going strong, with Ambrose junior one of the three executors and defendants.

In 1871 Ambrose Henry Smith (47) was living at 10 Worcester Place with his wife Frances (42) and their children Mary (18), Ambrose (17), Francis (15), Cecily (13), Ellen (12), Maria (10), John (8), and Thomas (6), who were all still at school.

On 28 June 1873 it was reported in Jackson's Oxford Journal that their young son Thomas James Smith appeared in Oxford City Court as a witness in a case against Francis Duck (14) who stole money from the bedroom of the cigar dealer Henry Crozier at 11 Worcester Place:

A little boy named Thomas James Smith deposed that he was eight years of age, and lived with his parents in Worcester-place. About 7 o'clock on the night in question he was playing with other boys in his father's field, at the bottom of Worcester-place, near Mr. Gardiner's house. The prisoner came up to him and asked to see Mr Crozier, and witness told him that all the people were gone out. Prisoner then went to the top of the street, and witness did not see him again.

At the time of the 1881 census Ambrose Henry Smith (55) was a butcher, living at 10 Worcester Place with his wife Frances and their children Ambrose Frederick (28), who was also a butcher, Cicely (24), Maria (21), John (20), and Thomas (17).

At the time of the 1891 census Ambrose (67) and Frances (60) were still living at 10 Worcester Place with their daughter Cicely (34) and their son Thomas James Smith (26), who was a butcher's assistant.

Their youngest son Thomas died in 1892, and was the first buried in this grave:

† Thomas James Smith died at 10 Worcester Place at the age of 27 in May 1892 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 18 May (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

It is unclear why he was buried in the St Mary Magdalen rather than the St Paul section of the cemetery.

His father Ambrose Henry Smith died in 1893:

† Ambrose Henry Smith died at 10 Worcester Place at the age of 69 on 6 April 1893 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 10 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

The register states that his burial was certified under the Burial Laws Amendment Act of 1880, which means that although he was a Roman Catholic, he would have been allowed to have a burial service at St Mary Magdalen Church (or at the cemetery chapel.

His effects came to £1,325 19s. 1d., and his executors were his two eldest sons Ambrose Frederick Smith, a butcher, and Francis George Smith, an ironmonger.

Mrs Smith died two years later in 1895. There is a discrepancy between

† Mrs Frances Ann Smith née Kimber died at 10 Worcester Place at the age of 64 on 13 January 1895 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 17 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

Again, the register states that her burial was certified under the Burial Laws Amendment Act, suggesting that she may have become a Roman Catholic on her marriage to Ambrose.

See also the separate grave of their son Ambrose Frederick Smith



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