Francis VIZE (1812–1861)
His second wife Mrs Sarah VIZE, née Humphries (1817–1886)
Their infant sons Charles VIZE (1854–1855) and
George VIZE (1859–1861)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 22, Grave 52½

Francis Vize










[Line of text]




F. V.
S. V.
C. V.
G. V.


Francis Vize was born in Whitchurch, Oxfordshire in 1812 and baptised there on 16 August. He was the son of William Vize and Hannah Burgess, who were both living in Whitchurch when they were married there on 22 July 1806. His two brothers were also baptised at the same church: William (1809) and Charles (1811).

On 10 June 1833 at St Martin's Church, Oxford, Francis Vize married his first wife Maria Hedges: they were both then living in that parish. They had the following children, whose surname was regularly spelt as Vyse:

  • Eliza Vize (born in Oxford in 1833 and privately baptised by St Giles's Church on 22 September; received into the church on 9 October)
  • Francis Vize (born at George Street, Oxford in 1839 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 22 September); died the same year
  • Francis William Vize (born in Oxford in 1842 and registered as Frank: baptised at St John the Baptist Church (Merton College) on 17 July; died in 1849
  • Emma Cecilia Vize (born in Oxford in 1843 and baptised as Emma  at St John the Baptist Church (Merton College) on 13 August)
  • Maria Vize (born in Holywell, Oxford and baptised at St Cross Church on 15 June 1845).

In 1833 Francis was described as the porter of the Roebuck Inn, which was at 8–10 Cornmarket; in 1839 he was a postboy living in George Street; and in 1833 he was a coachman living in Holywell.

At the time of the 1841 census Francis, described as a post boy, was living with his first wife Maria and their only surviving child Eliza (8) in accommodation at the Dolphin pub at 42 Holywell Street (one of the houses demolished to make way for the Indian Institute). He was described as a publican of Holywell when his son Francis William Vize was baptised in 1842 and as a postboy of Holywell when his daughter Emma was baptised in 1843. (Both baptisms took place at St John-the-Baptist Church because their parish church was closed at this time.)

Francis's first wife Maria Vize died in Holywell at the age of 37 and was buried in St Cross churchyard on 14 November 1847.

Their Francis William Vize, described as being of Holywell, died at the Radcliffe Infirmary on 29 June 1849, just a few hours after admission with convulsions, and a post mortem revealed tubercular peritonitis. The hospital records give his age at death as 8; the parish register states that he was 7; but if he is the baby baptised in 1839, he was in fact aged 9. The hospital stated that his father was a college servant, but the Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette stated that he was of the Mitre Omnibus. He was buried on 3 July, probably in Holywell Cemetery, and the St Cross register stated that the family was then living in St Peter-in-the-East parish.

At the time of the 1851 census Francis, a widower of 37, was living in Carter's Yard (behind 130 High Street in All Saints parish) with his unmarried brother Henry Vize (23), who was a portrait painter. His daughter Emma (7) was living with her grandparents William and Lydia Vize in Whitchurch, Oxfordshire, but his other daughters Eliza (16) and Maria (5) are hard to locate.

Sarah Humphries was born at Coldron Mill, Spelsbury, Oxfordshire in 1817 and baptised at Spelsbury on 7 September. She was the daughter of the miller William Humphries and his wife Sarah. Her parents had at least four other children baptised at Spelsbury: Ann (1811), William (1813), George (1815), and Mary (1830). Her mother Sarah died at the age of 40 in 1831 and was buried at Spelsbury on 20 February. At the time of the 1841 census Sarah (20) was living at Coldron Mill with her father and Mary Humphries (11), who may be another sister. Sarah is hard to find in 1851.

On 20 October 1853 at Spelsbury, Francis Vize, described as a widower and a driver of St Michael's parish in Oxford, married his second wife Sarah Humphries. Following their marriage they took on the Druid's Head pub (also known as the Ancient Druid) in George Street, Oxford (on the site of the present No. 35).

They had the following children:

  • Charles Vize (born at the Druid's Head, George Street, Oxford in 1854 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on Whit Sunday, 4 June); died 1855
  • Martha Vize (born at the Druid's Head, George Street, Oxford in 1856 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 7 September)
  • Ann Sarah Elizabeth Vize (born at the Druid's Head, George Street, Oxford in 1858 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 4 July)
  • George Vize (born at the Druid's Head, George Street, Oxford near the end of 1859 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 1 January 1860); died 1861.

Their first child, born in 1854, only lived 19 months and died in 1855:

† Charles Vize died at the Druid's Head, George Street at the age of nineteen months in December 1855 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 18 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church.

On 4 September 1856 the following notice was published in the Police Gazette:

Stolen, on the 4th inst., from the house of Mr. Francis Vize, the Druid's Head, George-street, Oxford, a silver engine-turned lever watch, maker's name, “Rowell, Oxford; No. 1680”. Whoever will give information to Mr. Francis Vize, George-street, Oxford, or to Sergeant Nix, of the city police, shall receive 2l. reward on conviction and recovery of the property.

Their next three children, Martha, Ann, and George, were born in the 1850s. The youngest, George, died at the end of 1859:

† George Vize died at the Druid's Head, George Street at the age of fifteen months in March 1861 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 8 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church.

At the time of the 1861 census Francis (49) was described as a publican and was living at the Druid's Head with his wife Sarah (43) and their two surviving children Martha (5) and and Ann (3), plus Maria (15) from his first marriage, and five lodgers. His daughter Emma (17) was living in the household of the architect William Charles Clifford Bramwell at 29A New Inn Hall Street, where she worked as a nurse and housemaid.

Francis himself died just two months after the 1861 census was taken:

† Francis Vize died at the Druid's Head, George Street at the age of 48 on 12 June 1861 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 June (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church.

His death announcement in Jackson's Oxford Journal read: “June 12, aged 48, after a long and painful illness, Mr. Francis Vize, landlord of the Ancient Druid's Inn, George-street, in this city.”

His widow Sarah Vize continued to manage the Druid's Head. Two of her stepdaughters were married in the London district in the 1860s:

  • In June 1864 at St John the Baptist Church, Hillingdon, Maria Vize married James Pearce
  • On 9 December 1866 at Haggerston, Shoreditch, Emma Cecilia Vise married the watchmaker William Thomas Wilkes.

At the time of the 1871 census Sarah (53), described as a victualler and publican, was living at the Druid's Head with her two surviving children  Martha (14) and Ann (12), who were both still at school. They had five lodgers.

Both of her surviving children were married before the next census:

  • On 24 June 1878 at St John the Evangelist Church, Westminster, Martha Vize married the mason William Humphrey Smith, the son of William Humphrey Smith senior, who was the governor of a gaol: they were both then living at 44 Long Acre, Westminster;
  • On 17 May 1880 at St Barnabas's Church, Oxford, Ann Sarah Elizabeth Vize (22) married the stonemason Richard Henry Shuter (26) of Cranham Street. He was born in Worcester in 1855, the son of the iron founder William Shuter.

At the time of the 1881 census Mrs Vize (63) was still the licensed victualler at the Druid's Head, and she lived there with her step-granddaughter Mary Ann Pearce (14), plus three boarders and a lodger.

In about 1883 Mrs Vize gave up the management of the Druid's Head, and it was taken over by her son-in-law Richard Henry Shuter. She moved to 61 Cardigan Street in Jericho, where she died in 1886:

† Mrs Sarah Vize née Humphries died at 61 Cardigan Street at the age of 69 on 21 November 1886 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 25 November (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church.

Her personal estate came to £204 1s. 6d., and her executors were William Long, a builder of St Ebbe's, and Daniel Burgess, a coachmaker of Southmoor Road.

Surviving children of Francis Vize and his first wife
  • Eliza Vize (born 1833) is hard to locate in the 1851 census, when she would have been aged 18. It seems likely that she is the Eliza Vize, daughter of Francis Vize, who married Thomas Cooper in St Mary's Church, Chatham, Kent on 30 December 1855.
  • Emma Cecilia Vize, Mrs Wilkes (born 1843) and her husband William Thomas Wilkes had four children in the West Ham district: Emma Matilda Wilkes (1868/9), Eliza Amelia Wilkes (1870/1871), Lydia Hepzibah Wilkes (187/3) and George Henry Wilkes (1876/7).
  • Maria Vize, Mrs Pearce, then Mrs Alder (born 1845) was living at 7 Golbourne Road, Chelsea in 1871 with her husband James Pearce, who was an engine cleaner, and their children James Pearce junior (6), Emily Pearce (4), Mary Pearce (3), and Lessey Pearce (1). After her first husband’s death she married Joseph Alder in 1879 in the Kensington district and had two more children there: Charles Joseph Alder in 1879/80 and Martha Elizabeth Alder in 1881.
Surviving children of Francis and Sarah Vize
  • Martha Vize, Mrs Smith (born 1856) was working as a barmaid in 1881, living at 27 St Thomas's Street, Oxford with her husband William, who was a stonemason. At the time of the 1891 she was living with William and her children Martha (9) and Adeline (1) at 34 Grove Street, Summertown. Her husband William Humphrey Smith died in Oxford at the age of 45 in 1898, and in 1901 Martha (44) was running a confectionery shop at 81 Great Clarendon Street, where she lived with her three children Martha (19), Adeline (11), and William (8). She still had the shop there in 1911, and Adeline (21), who was a coal merchant's clerk, and William (18), who was an electrician, were still at home with her, and they had three foreign lodgers. Mrs Martha Smith died at the end of 1912 at the age of 56.
  • Ann Sarah Elizabeth Vize, Mrs Shuter (born 1858) continued to run the Druid's Head with her husband Richard until 1889. Their son Francis William Vize Shuter was born at the pub on 16 October 1886, a month before his grandmother's death, and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 12 December. The baby died suddenly the very next day: there was an inquest, and the death was judged to have been from natural causes. In 1891 Ann (34) and Richard (37), who was a mason, were living at the public house at 36 Cardigan Street with their children Ann (10), Elizabeth (8), May (6), Richard (3), Rose (1), and Clara (under one month). By 1901 they were living at 62 Cardigan Street and had another daughter, Beatrice (8). Ann died in Oxford at the age of 43 in 1902. Her husband Richard Henry Shuter was still living at 62 Cardigan Street in 1911 with their daughters May (27) and Beatrice (18). He died in Oxford at the age of 86 in 1941.



Please email
if you would like to add information

These biographies would not have been possible without the outstanding transcription services
provided by the Oxfordshire Family History Society

© Friends of St Sepulchre’s Cemetery 2012–2017