Richard SPRAWSON (1828–1875)
His wife Mrs Frances SPRAWSON, née Gibbs (1829–1909)
Their son Richard Henry SPRAWSON (1857–1872)
and their daughter Miss Emma SPRAWSON (1861–1877)
St Paul (St Barnabas) section: Row 12, Grave A11½ [St Paul ref. H9]

Richard Sprawson



The inscription on this headstone is now completely masked by the footstone, but before the footstone was moved Bostock was able to make inscriptions to the following (although in his list he seems to have accidently combined the last two):

Richard Sprawson
Died in January 1875 aged 45

His son Richard Henry Sprawson,
Died in May 1872 aged 15

His daughter Emma Sprawson
Died in May 1877 aged 16

His wife Frances Sprawson,
Died in March 1909 aged 79




R. H. S.

R. S. 1875

E. S. 1877

[The initials of Mrs Sprawson,
the last to die,
do not appear to have been
added to the footstone]


Richard Sprawson was born in Warwick in 1828 and baptised at St Nicholas's Church there on 7 July. He was the son of the marble mason Richard Sprawson senior and his wife Sarah. His older brother Thomas George Sprawson was baptised at St Mary's Church, Warwick on 7 September 1825. At the time of the 1841 census Richard (13) was at home with his parents in Chapel Street, Warwick. He was living with them at Brook Street, Warwick, in 1851 when he was aged 22 and working as a plumber & glazier.

Frances Gibbs was born in Warwickshire in c.1829. She gave her place of birth as Kenilworth in the later censuses, but was probably the Frances Gibbs, daughter of the agricultural labourer James Gibbs and his wife Mary, who was born in Huningham, Warwickshire and who in 1841 at the age of 12 was at home in Hampton-in-Arden, Warwickshire with her parents and her siblings Thomas (14), William (9), Maria (7), James (5), Mary (3), and Samuel (1). If this identification is correct, in 1851 Frances (22) was the cook in the household of the farmer Edmund Ivens in Ufton, Warwickshire.

On 21 December 1851 the banns were called at St Nicholas's Church, Kenilworth for the marriage of Richard Sprawson and Frances Gibbs, and they would have been married soon afterwards. They had the following children:

  • Frances Annie Sprawson (born at Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire in 1855 and baptised at St John's Church, Kenilworth on 7 October)
  • Richard Henry Sprawson (born at Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire in 1857, reg. second quarter); died aged 15
  • Edmund Watts Sprawson (born at Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire in 1859, reg. second quarter)
  • Emma Sprawson (born at Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire in 1861, reg. second quarter); died aged 16
  • Sarah Jane Sprawson (born at Oxford in 1863, reg. second quarter and baptised at St Paul's Church over eighteen months later on 24 December 1864 at the same time as her younger brother)
  • Charles Ernest Sprawson (born at Jericho Street, Oxford in late 1864 and baptised at St Paul's Church on 24 December).

The family lived at Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire at the start of their marriage, and Richard worked as a policeman. They were still there at the time of the 1861 census with their first four children.

By early 1863 they had moved to Oxford, and their address was given as Jericho Street at the end of 1864. Richard was then a ticket collector on the London & North-Western Railway.

At the time of the 1871 census Richard (42), who was a railway ticket collector, was living at 3 Hythe Bridge Street with his wife Frances (41) and their children Richard junior (13), who was a news vendor, and Frances (15), Edward (11), Emma (10), Sarah (8), and Charles (6), who were all at school.

Their son Richard Henry Sprawson died in hospital from tetanus near the end of 1872.

† Richard Henry Sprawson died at the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 15 on 23 December 1872 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 29 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Barnabas's Church).

The parish register states that his home was at Hythe Bridge Street in St Thomas's parish, and he would normally have been buried in Osney Cemetery; so it seems likely that the family reserved a plot when they were living in Jericho Street in the 1860s.

An inquest was held into his death, and it was reported as follows in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 28 December 1872:

An inquest was held by W. Brunner, Esq., Coroner, at the Radcliffe Infirmary, on Tuesday last, on the body of Richard Henry Sprawson, a lad 15 years of age, whose death resulted from an accident he received on the 6th inst. It appeared that on the day named the lad, on getting on an engine while it was in motion, at the London and North-Western Railway Station, slipped and fell, and the great toe of his right foot was crushed. He was immediately removed to the Radcliffe Infirmary, where a few days afterwards symptoms of lock-jaw set in, and from which he died on the previous day. The Jury, therefore, returned a verdict “That the deceased died from lock-jaw.”

Richard Sprawson senior died two years later early in 1875:

† Richard Sprawson died at Hythe Bridge Street at the age of 45 in January 1875 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 19 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

His daughter Frances was married later the same year:

  • On 3 August 1875 at St Thomas's Church, Oxford, Frances Annie Sprawson (20) married the widower William Hamilton (36), a Liverpool hosier and the son of the whitesmith John Hosier.

His daughter Emma died at the age of 16 in 1877:

† Emma Sprawson died at Hythe Bridge Street at the age of 16 in May 1877 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 27 May (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

Her son Edmund Watts Sprawson emigrated to South Africa around this time.

At the time of the 1881 census Mrs Frances Sprawson (50) was working as a cook and living at 2 Hythe Bridge Street with her youngest child Charles (16), who was working as a porter. Her daughter Sarah (18) was a nurse in the household of the corn factor William Perks, who lived in Cheam Road, Ewell, Surrey.

Her daughter Sarah was married in 1885:

  • On 1 September 1885 at St Thomas's Church, Oxford, Sarah Jane Sprawson (22) married
    Thomas Moses Allnutt
     (28), a tailor of Church Street, St Ebbe's and the son of Moses & Sarah Allnutt.

At the time of the 1891 census Frances (60) and her son Charles (26), who was now an ironmonger's assistant, were staying at 27 Kirkdale Road, Liverpool with her daughter Frances and her husband William Hamilton, who was a hosier & haberdasher.

Frances appears to have returned to Oxford soon afterwards, but her son Charles remained in Liverpool, working as a policeman. he came down to Oxford for his marriage in 1892:

  • On 31 August 1892 at St Barnabas's Church, Oxford, Charles Ernest Sprawson (27) married Mary Elizabeth Shirley (born in Oxford in 1866), who was the head of the household at 38 Cranham Street.

In 1901 Frances (70) was living on her own at 2 Hythe Bridge Street. She died there in 1909:

† Mrs Frances Sprawson died at 2 Hythe Bridge Street at the age of 79 in March 1909 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 23 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church).

Surviving children of Richard and Frances Sprawson
  • Frances Annie Sprawson, Mrs Hamilton (born 1855) was living in Kirkdale, Liverpool, at 119 Walton Road, in 1881 with her husband William Hamilton, who was an outfitter, her stepdaughter Adeline Hamilton (13), her daughter Frances Ellen Hamilton (1), and two shopwomen and a domestic servant. In 1881 Frances (35) and William (52) were living at 27 Kirkdale Road, Liverpool with William's daughter Adeline (23) who assisted in the shop, and their children Frances (11), Richard (9), and Annie (4), and Frances's widowed mother and brother Charles were with them. By 1901 Frances was a widow of 45, living at the same address and managing her husband's shop with the help of her daughter Frances (21); also living with her were her son Richard (19), who was a dyer & cleaner; her daughter Annie (17), who was a dressmaker; and two assistants. By 1911 Frances (54), now retired, was living at 37 Royal Street, Liverpool with her daughter Frances (31) and three boarders.
  • Edmund Watts Sprawson (born 1859) remained in South Africa, where he married Sophie Elizabeth Chaplin, and they had two children, both born in Pretoria: Madge Frances Mary Orsmond Sprawson (1884) and Richard Henry Sprawson (1887).
  • Sarah Jane Sprawson, Mrs Allnutt (born 1863) was living in Oxford at 14 Church Street, St Ebbe's in 1891 with her husband Thomas, who was a tailor, and their children Richard Thomas Allnutt (4) and Elizabeth Frances Allnutt (1). They were at the same address in 1901, and Richard (14) was working as a telegraph messenger. In 1911 they were at home with Elizabeth (21), who was working as a parlourmaid. Mrs Sarah Jane Allnutt died in Oxford at the age of 73 in 1936.
  • Charles Ernest Sprawson (born 1864) took his wife Mary back to Liverpool with him, and in 1901 Charles (36) was a police constable, living there with Mary (34) and their children Frances Maude Sprawson (7), Ernest Sprawson (5), and Lillian Sophia Sprawson (4). Charles Ernest Sprawson died in the West Derby district at the age of 57 in 1921.



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