Dan SYMES (1850–1915)
His wife Mrs Elizabeth SYMES, née Rippington, formerly Mrs Brown (1850–1935)
St Giles (St Margaret) section: Row 53, Grave P36

Dan Symes


Loving Memory
BORN DEC. 2ND, 1850,




[On the kerb]


Dan Symes was born in Lyme Regis, Dorset on 2 December 1850, the son of the wool stapler Joseph Symes and Hannah Fowler. At the time of the 1861 census Dan (10) was living in Lyme Regis with his father Joseph (70), his mother Hannah (49), and his three older brothers: Richard (16), who was a cabinet maker; Thomas (14), who was a carpenter's apprentice; and Henry (12), who was at school. In 1871 Dan (20) was a carpenter & joiner, boarding with a family at Spalding in Lincolnshire; but by the time of the 1881 census he was a coal merchant employing one man and lodging with a family at 43 West Street, Osney. On 11 January 1883 he was initiated as a freemason in the Bertie Lodge, Oxford.

Elizabeth Rippington was born in Marston near Oxford in 1850 and baptised at St Nicholas's Church there on 17 November. She the daughter of the Marston farmer Mark Rippington and Mary Harris of Clifton, who were married at Deddington Church on 29 May 1844. At the time of the 1851 census Elizabeth was a six-month-old baby, living in Marston with her father Mark (33), who was a farmer of 80 acres employing three men and one boy; her mother Mary (32); and three older siblings. In the mid-1850s her family moved to London. At the time of the 1861 census Elizabeth (10) was living at 24 Upper Marylebone Street, London with her father Mark, who was now a butcher, her mother Mary, and her siblings Mary (16), Mark (14), Richard (12), Elizabeth (10), Charles (8), Henry (4), and William (five months), plus her father's brother Edwin and a servant. By 1871 Elizabeth (20) had moved to St Clement's Street in Oxford to live with her sister Miss Mary Rippington (25), who was a master butcher: also living with was their brother Charles (18), who was an assistant butcher, plus a servant.

On 11 November 1879 at St Clement's Church, Oxford, Elizabeth  Rippington (28) married her first husband Harry Herbert Brown (28), an innkeeper of Brierley Hill, Staffordshire. She moved up to Brierley Hill with him, and their daughter Edith Brown was born there in 1880 (reg. third quarter). They moved to Ock Street, Abingdon soon after the 1881 census, and Harry died there at the age of 31 on 3 November 1882. For more about Elizabeth's first husband, see his separate grave.

On 9 January 1886 at St Giles's Church, Oxford, the bachelor Dan Symes married the widow Mrs Elizabeth Brown: they each gave their address as 31 St John Street, and it is possible that Elizabeth had taken up a post as his housekeeper. They had the following children:

  • Margaret Mary Symes (born at 31 St John Street, Oxford on 13 September 1886 and baptised at St Giles's Church on 23 December)
  • Harold Stanley Symes (born at 139 Walton Street, Oxford in 1889 and baptised at St Giles's Church on 15 April);
    died in the first quarter of 1890)
  • Ida Elizabeth Symes (born at 139 Walton Street, Oxford in 1890 and baptised at St Giles's Church on 31 March)
  • Nora Isabel Symes (born at 22 Polstead Road, Oxford on 22 July 1891).

Initially Dan and Elizabeth Symes continued to live at 31 St John Street, but by 1889 they had moved to 139 Walton Street (also in St Giles's parish). Their baby son Harold died there in early 1890 at the age of ten months, and was buried on 14 January, probably in the St Giles's section of St Sepulchre's Cemetery reserved for infants.

At the time of the 1891 census Dan, who was still a coal merchant, was living at 139 Walton Street with Elizabeth and their first two daughters Margaret (4) and Ida (1), plus his stepdaughter Edith Brown (10) and a servant.

Dan Symes became the first leaseholder of 22 Polstead Road in St Margaret's parish very soon after that census, and their daughter Nora was born there in mid-1891.

At the time of the 1901 census Dan was living at 22 Polstead Road with his wife, their three daughters, and his stepdaughter.

All six of them were still there in 1911: Margaret (24) was now a coal merchant's clerk, undoubtedly working for her father, and Ida (21) was an assistant in a draper's shop.

Dan Symes died in 1915:

† Dan Symes died at 22 Polstead Road at the age of 64 on 14 April 1915 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 17 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles's Church).

A brief report on his funeral, together with a photograph taken as the cortège was leaving St Margaret's Church for St Sepulchre's Cemetery, was published in the Oxford Journal Illustrated on 21 April 1915:

The funeral of Mr. Dan Symes, of 22, Polstead-road, whose death occurred suddenly on Wednesday morning, took place at St. Sepulchre’s Cemetery on Saturday. The first part of the service was conducted in St. Margaret’s Church…. Mr. Symes had a wide circle of friends, by whom he will be greatly missed. He was a well-known Freemason, a prominent Churchman, and one of the founders of SS. Philip & James’s and St Margaret’s Institute, Polstead-road, in which he took a great interest. He was also a vice-president of the North Oxford Cricket, Tennis and Bowls Club.

His effects came to £2,976 4s. 9d., and his wife was his executor. He was described in the probate register as a coal merchant of 22 Polstead Road and of the London & North Western Wharf in Oxford.

Two of their three daughters were married as follows:

  • On 4 March 1913 AT St Margaret's Church, Oxford, Margaret Mary Symes (26) of 22 Polstead Road married Walter Frank Blackler (26), an outfitter of 6 Queen Street and the son of the outfitter William Henry Blackler;
  • On 10 January 1921 at St Margaret's Church, Oxford, Ida Elizabeth Symes (31) of 94 Kingston Road married Samuel Charles Ford (38), a farmer of 12 Oakwood Road, Moordown, Bournemouth, the son of the farmer George Ford.

By 1928 Mrs Symes was living at 94 Kingston Road. She died there in 1935:

† Mrs Elizabeth Symes née Rippington, formerly Mrs Brown died at 94 Kingston Road at the age of 84 on 29 May 1935 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 1 June (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles's Church).

Her effects came to £5,733 9s. 4d., and her executors were her unmarried daughter Nora Isabel Symes and the outfitter Frederick George Geary Blackler, who was probably her grandson.

In 1936 John George Symes, probably a relation of her husband, was living at 94 Kingston Road.



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