Mrs Ellen THOMPSON, née Godfrey (1840–1867)
Mrs Mary THOMPSON, née Taylor (c.1846–1873)
(the first and second of the three wives of William Allin THOMPSON)
St Paul section: Row 3, Grave A18 (St Paul ref O.1]

Thompson wives The grave of William Allin Thompson’s two wives is in the foreground above;
behind, covered in ivy, is the grave of the parents of his first wife Ellen Godfrey

Ellen Thompson

Mary Thompson


DECEMBER 11TH 1867, AGED 27.

THE LORD”   REV. 12:13







This is an unusual grave: it is a vault with a lid, but a cross with a base has been set on top of it. The two inscriptions are on the sides of that base

These are the first two wives of William Allin Thompson, who is not himself buried here. He was born in 1838, the son of Alderman William Thompson and his wife Ella Allin (who were married at Iffley on 20 July 1836) and was baptised on 24 August 1838 at St Peter-in-the-East Church. Thompson studied medicine at King’s College, London and qualified as a surgeon on 2 May 1861, when he was living in Park Town; and on 7 May 1863 he was admitted a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries. He had a practice in St Aldate’s before moving to Beaumont Street.

Ellen GODFREY (born 1840): first wife of William Allin THOMPSON

Ellen Godfrey

Ellen Godfrey (left) was born in Charlbury in 1840 and baptised there on 26 August. She was the youngest child and only daughter the surgeon John Godfrey and his wife Elizabeth Williamson Saunders, who were married at St George’s Church in London on 4 September 1821.

For more about her parents and siblings, see their adjoining grave.

Ellen lived in Charlbury until about 1850, when her father moved his practice to Beaumont Street in Oxford. At the time of the 1861 census Ellen (20) was living with her parents at 19 Beaumont Street.

On 21 February 1867 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, Ellen Godfrey became the first wife of William Allin Thompson, who was then living in St Aldate’s. After his marriage, he moved his practice to Beaumont Street (probably No. 31).

Ellen had been married for less than eleven months when she died:

† Mrs Ellen Thompson née Godfrey died at Beaumont Street at the age of 27 on 11 December 1867 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 18 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

There is no indication that Ellen ever lived in St Paul’s parish, so it is a puzzle why she is buried there. Her parents may have secured this plot and the adjoining one where her brother was buried just over a year later, but the Godfrey family did not live in St Paul's parish either.

Mary Taylor (born c.1846): second wife of William Allin Thompson

Mary Taylor was born in Colwall, Herefordshire in c.1846 (Ledbury district). She was the eldest daughter of the Revd Thomas Taylor, who was born in Wallingford on 19 June 1804; he in turn was the son of Richard Webb Taylor and Jane Line, who were married at St Mary-the-Virgin Church in Oxford on 15 February 1800. Thomas Taylor was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Magdalen Hall on 14 January 1829 at the age of 24.

Mary’s mother Mary Godfrey was born in Oxford on 16 July 1817 and baptised at All Saints’ Church on 10 August. She was the daughter of the baker and corn chandler Richard Chillingworth Godfrey and his wife Charlotte Biggar. (As Richard Chillingworth Godfrey was the brother of John Godfrey, this means that she was the first cousin once removed of Thompson’s first wife.)

Her parents were both living in St Giles’s parish in Oxford when they were married there on 28 June 1838. They moved to Herefordshire soon after their marriage, and Mary’s older brother Thomas Godfrey Taylor was born in Evesbatch there on 10 December 1840. Her younger sister Ann Gwillim Taylor was born at Colwall in 1848/9.

Mary’s father was Headmaster of Colwall Grammar School in Hereford from 1845 to 1853, as well as Perpetual Curate of Little Malvern from 1845 to 1862.

At the time of the 1851 census Mary (5) was living with her parents and her brother Thomas (10) and her sister Ann (2) at Colwall Green in Herefordshire. Her father Thomas (44) was described in that census as the incumbent of St Martin’s Church and Master of Colwall Grammar School. Also living with them were Mary’s paternal grandparents Richard Webb Taylor, a retired schoolmaster of 73, and Jane (75), as well as a teacher of French & Drawing and six male pupils aged between 10 and 15. They had three servants.

By the time of the 1861 census Mary’s father was the Perpetual Curate of Little Malvern, and Mary (15) was living with her parents, her sister Ann (12), and her widowed grandmother Jane Taylor in the vicarage at Longney in Gloucestershire, together with one servant.

Mary’s father was Rector of St Edmund’s Church in Norwich from 1864 until his death on 21 December 1879.

31 Beaumont Street

On 23 July 1870 in Norwich, Mary Taylor became the second wife of William Allin Thompson. The announcement in the Ipswich Journal of 30 July 1870 read:
“THOMPSON—TAYLOR. —23rd inst., at St. Edmund’s church, Norwich, William Allin Thompson, Esq., surgeon, Oxford, to Mary, eldest daughter of the Rev. Thomas Taylor, rector of St. Edmund’s, Norwich.”

At the time of the 1871 census Mary (25) was living at 31 Beaumont Street (right) with her 32-year-old husband William Allin Thompson, M.R.C.S (England), L.S.A., L.M, who described himself as a General Practitioner. Also living with them was her husband’s assistant, and they had three servants (a cook, housemaid, and page).

Mary died less than three years after her marriage, and her husband had her buried in the same grave as his first wife:

† Mrs Mary Thompson née Taylor died at 31 Beaumont Street at the age of 27 on 16 January 1873 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

William Allin Thompson and his third wife

On 24 September 1874 at St Luke’s Church in West Holloway, London, William Allin Thompson married his third wife Laura Catherine Nicholls and again they do not appear to have had any children.

They were living at 31 Beaumont Street in 1881 and 1891, and in Eynsham in 1901. By 1911 they had retired to West Cliff in Dawlish, Devon, and William died at there three years later at the age of 75 on 8 June 1914. His effects came to £7,455 19s. 7d.

His third wife Laura outlived him, dying at Dawlish on 26 August 1923.



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