George WARD (1822–1887)
His wife Mrs Jane WARD, née Timmis (1823–1913)
Their daughter Miss Fanny WARD (1850–1939)
St Giles section: Row 8, Grave B29

George Ward


To the beloved Memory of





[Left side]

In loving Memory of





[Right side]




George Ward was born at George Street, Oxford on 12 October 1822 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 10 January 1823. He was the youngest of the twelve children of Henry Ward and Sarah Ward. For more about his parents and eleven siblings, see the biography of his eldest brother William Ward, who was twice Mayor of Oxford and is buried in the family vault in St Mary Magdalen churchyard.

George’s father Henry Ward (1780–1852) was a prosperous Oxford coal merchant. He had a strong sense of civic duty. G. V. Cox wrote that in March 1838:

“the first steps were taken for a Boat-chapel, near the Oxford Canal; the plan originated with, and was carried out by, the excellent father of an excellent family, Mr Ward, coal-merchant, who had found that the bargemen never did and never would present themselves at a church in their rough costume. ‘It won’t do for such as we!’ They were quite ‘at whoam’ in the barge.”

George’s mother Sarah Ward (1779–1858) was the daughter of Abraham Ward of Stafford and Oxford (1739–1817), and her sister Ann Ward (1786–1841) had married the coal merchant James Gill, and in the 1840s George went into partnership with their son James Gill (1814–1879), forming the business Gill & Ward that was eventually to become Gill’s ironmongers. Their business was then at 4 & 5 High Street (the old building that now forms the eastern part of Lloyds TSB Bank).

Jane Timmis, the future wife of George Ward, was born in Alvechurch, Worcestershire in 1823, the youngest daughter of the farmer Joseph Timmis and Ann Woollaston, and the sister of the wife of his older brother William Ward. Jane had six siblings: Harriet (1808), Mary Anne (1810), Eliza (1812), Ann Woolaston (1814), Sarah (1815), and Katherine (1818). At the time of the 1841 census she was living with her parents and her sisters Ann and Catharine at Lilly Green, Beoley. Six servants lived in the house, but some of them would have been workers on her father’s farm. In 1830 Jane Timmis's eldest sister Harriet married George Ward's eldest brother William, so she would have known the Ward family from childhood..

On 9 August 1848 at Beoley, Worcestershire, George Ward married Jane Timmis. They settled at Park Villas in Oxford and had just one daughter:

  • Fanny Ward (born at Park Villas, Oxford on 21 July 1850 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 1 September)

At the time of the 1851 census George and Jane Ward were living with their eight-month-old daughter at 2 Park Villas, St Giles’s Fields. These seven newly built Italianate villas were at the south end of the Banbury Road (later renumbered 7–19), just to the north of the present Old Parsonage Hotel. George was described as a master ironmonger (at Gill & Ward) employing 13 men and three boys, and they had two servants.

George’s father Henry Ward (who was living in Beaumont Street at the time of his death) was buried at St Mary Magdalen Church on 5 March 1852, and his mother Sarah died at the age of 78 and was buried at the same church on 28 June 1858.

In 1861 census George and Jane were still living at 2 Park Villas with their daughter Fanny (10), as well as their niece Mary Ward (14), who had also been born in Alvechurch.

In 1866 George Ward became the first leaseholder of a mansion designed by William Wilkinson and called The Firs (one of the four illustrated by him in English Country Houses. It was later numbered 31 Banbury Road, and was demolished to make way for St Anne’s College.

At the time of the 1871 census George Ward (48) was living at The Firs with his wife and daughter and two servants. He was now described as an ironmonger employing sixteen men and eight boys, and had also served as Magistrate for the City of Oxford since 1870.

By 1881 George Ward was retired, but still working as a magistrate. He was at The Firs with his wife and his daughter Fanny, who was now 30. Six years later he died:

† George Ward died at The Firs, 31 Banbury Road at the age of 64 on 9 July 1887 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 12 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).

His personal estate came to £12,470 6s. 4d., and his executors were his wife Jane and his nephew Henry Ward, merchant, of 12 Norham Gardens.

Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 16 July 1887 published the following obituary:


We deeply regret to have to announce this week the death of this gentleman, which took place early on Saturday morning last at his residence, “The Firs,” Banbury Road, after a short illness. The Alderman had, we understand, been slightly ailing for some time, but he was sufficiently well to attend to his multifarious public duties, and especially those connected with the celebration of the Queen’s Jubilee, when it is believed he caught a chill and over-taxed his bodily energies. An attack of jaundice set in, which, from the first, was considered by his medical adviser (Mr. Horatio Symonds) to be of a very serious character, and, although Sir William Jenner was summoned from London to visit him, he succumbed, and died, as we have stated, on Saturday last, in his 65th year.

Mr. Ward had for many years taken a great interest in public affairs; 25 years ago he was elected a Poor Law Guardian for the parish of Saint Giles, in the Headington Union: he held the office of senior Vice-Chairman of the Board for about eight years, and in April, 1877, he was appointed the Chairman, a post which he filled to the time of his death, always with great ability and assiduous attention to its duties, and by his decease the officers of the Headington Union and the deserving poor have lost a most sincere friend. On the formation of a School Board in the City, Mr. Ward was placed the third on the poll at the election on February 1, 1871, and he has continued to have a seat ever since, having for some years been one of the Vice-Chairmen, and on the retirement of Mr. J. C. Wilson from the post of Chairman last year he was unanimously chosen to fill the vacancy. He was one of the founders of the Churchmen’s Union, in conjunction with the late Mr. F. P. Morrell and Mr. E. Pickard Hall; in January last he was appointed by the Town Council one of the Visitors of the Littlemore Lunatic Asylum, and for some years he attended the Oxford Diocesan Conference as a member. Mr. Ward for twelve years represented the North Ward in the Town Council, he having been first returned in November 1864, on the retirement of Mr. Joseph Bates. He was re-elected in 1867, 1870, and 1873, and in 1876, when he was opposed by Mr. Cooper and the late Professor Green, he was unseated. However, on the Conservative party gaining a majority in the Council last November, Mr. Ward had the honour of being made an Alderman, thus again becoming a member, and he was chosen as one of the Council representatives of the Local Board. For many years he took a prominent part in the management of the Radcliffe Infirmary, and his name was to be found in connection with almost every charitable institution in this City, while his exertions in collecting subscriptions for the soup kitchen in many a hard and trying winter are well known, as also were his endeavours to find employment during such times for the poor. In 1870 he was made a Justice of the Peace for this City, and he was one of the most constant attendants upon the Bench. In politics Alderman Ward was a thorough Conservative, and his aid and counsel were invaluable and always at the service of his party. I can very truly be said of him that whatever he set his hand to do he did it with all his might, and his most marked characteristic was a thoroughly conscientious discharge of duty. Out of the small number of tickets (about ten) , allotted to the different Unions throughout England, Ald. Ward received an invitation to, as Chairman, and did attend, the Jubilee Service at Westminster Abbey on the 21st of June last.

At the City Court on Tuesday last, prior to the business, the Mayor said that since they had last met they had lost by death Mr. Alderman Ward, one of the Magistrates for this City. Mr. Ward was appointed in the year 1870, and since his appointment he had been one of the most constant attendants at that Court. He had been of much assistance to the successive Mayors, having gained by his long attendance at the Court great experience, and his fully understanding the general business brought before the Bench. His loss would be severely felt by his brother Magistrates, and by no one more than by himself. He always looked on him as a consistent Magistrate, carefully weighing the evidence brought before him before giving his decision. He had been taken from them very suddenly, and he trusted he was now resting in peace.

The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, at Saint Sepulchre’s Cemetery, and was very numerously attended by the member of the various public and the other bodies with which the deceased had been connected, and also a large number of other persons who were desirous of showing their respect. The body was taken in an open car to St. Giles’s Church, where the first part of the Burial Service was performed, the officiating Clergymen being the Rev. F. H. Penny (Curate of St. Giles’s), the Rev. C. J. H. Fletcher (Rector of Carfax), and the Rev. C. F. C. West (Vicar of Charlbury). The mourners were — in the first carriage, Miss Fanny Ward (daughter of the deceased), Mr. William Ward and Mr. J. Ward (Birmingham) brothers, and Mr. H. Ward, nephew; second carriage, Miss Ann Ward (sister of the deceased) and three nephews; third carriage, Mr. A. E. Ward (nephew), the Rev. — Ward (Cardiff), and Mr. H. P. Symonds. After the “Dead March in Saul” had been played upon the organ by Dr. Roberts, the hymn “Jesus lives!” was sung; the Rev. F. H. Penny read the psalm, and the Rev. C. J. H. Fletcher the lesson, and at the end of this portion of the service the hymn, “Let saints on earth in concert sing,” was sung.

A procession was then formed of the Corporation and others, which was headed by Hosier, carrying the crape-covered mace, and we noticed as being present either at the Church, or in the procession, or at the cemetery, Walton-street, Mr. A. W. Hall, M.P., the Mayor (Alderman Hughes), the Town Clerk (Mr. J. J. Bickerton), the Deputy-Mayor (Ald. Buckell), Aldermen Eagleston, Seary, Jenkin, Hester, Sheard, and Woodward, the Sheriff (Mr. Cooper), Councillors Hugh Hall, Deazeley, Gardener, C. Underhill, Downing, Lucas, Evans, R. Bacon, Simmonds, Turner, and Guise; the Provost of Worcester, Professor Burrows, Professor Westwood, Rev. W. West, Rev. W. B. Duggan, Rev. J. Rigaud, Rev. A. L. Mayhew, Rev. R. H. Charsley, Rev. C. N. Robarts, Rev. J. O. … [gap] … of the Day Industrial School), and (as representing the Headington Board of Guardians) the Rev. W. Neame, Justice C. T. Hawkins, and Messrs. White, Lingham, Biggs, and Radbone, with Mr. Draper, the Relieving Officer of the Board. Several private carriages followed in the procession. A large number of the poor were gathered round the grave, which is under the shadow of a chestnut tree on the north-east side of the mortuary chapel. The service at the grave was concluded by the Rev. F. H. Penny in a most impressive manner. The coffin, which was of polished oak, with brass furniture, was covered with several very beautiful wreaths of choice flowers. The inscription on the plate was:—

Born, October 12th, 1822;
Died, July 9th, 1887.

The whole of the arrangements for the funeral were carried out very satisfactorily by Mr. Ward, Broad-street.

At the time of the 1891 census his widow Jane Ward was living at 31 Banbury Road with their only child Fanny (40), plus her unmarried sister Miss Catherine Timmis (72), plus two servants. The situation was the same in 1901.

In 1911 Jane (87) was livng with just her daughter Fanny (60) at 31 Banbury Road, and as well as two servants they had a certificated nurse. Two years later, Jane Ward died:

† Mrs Jane Ward née Timmis died at 31 Banbury Road at the age of 90 on 14 July 1913 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 17 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Giles’s Church).

By 1928 Miss Ward had moved to 1 Crick Road. She died there in 1939:

† Miss Fanny Ward died at 1 Crick Road at the age of 88 on 17 July 1939 and was buried with her parents at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Sepulchre’s Church).

Her personal effects came to £8,690 5s. 10d., and probate was granted to Miss Gladys Elizabeth Andrews.



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