William WAY (1811–1880)
His son George WAY (1852–1867)
St Michael section: Row 31, Grave L48

George & William Way


JUNE 26, 1867



[The lower inscription
to George’s father


who died thirteen years later in 1887
is now obscured by the footstone
and cannot be read]




William Way was born in Oakley, Oxfordshire on 14 March 1811 and baptised at Chinnor church ten days later. He was the son of William Way senior, who was a labourer, and his wife Jane, who had four other children baptised at that church: Richard (1807), John (1808), Henry (1817), and Haden (1820).

Martha Belson was born in Stokenchurch (which was then in Oxfordshire rather than Buckinghamshire) in 1807 and baptised at Aston Rowant church on 15 February. She was the daughter of George Belson, who was a labourer, and his wife Mary, and her five younger siblings were also baptised there: William (1809), Edmund (1811), Thomas (1814), Aaron (1816), and Mary Elizabeth (1820). Her father was described as a shepherd living at “Aston Up Hill” in 1816 in the baptismal register.

William Way probably met Martha Belson at Kingston Blount, Oxfordshire, where they both lived just before their marriage: he was working there as a house servant, and she as a cook. They were married at Aston Rowant Church on 11 March 1839 and had the following children:

  • John Way (born at Kingston Blount in 1840 and baptised at Aston Rowant Church on 23 December)
  • Jane Way (born at Great Haseley in 1843 and baptised there on 13 August)
  • Mary Ann Way (born at Great Haseley in 1845/6)
  • William Way junior (born at Great Haseley in early 1848 and baptised there on 25 January)
  • George Way (born at Great Haseley in early 1852 and baptised there on 21 March)

The couple started off their married life in Kingston Blount, where their first son was born in 1840. William Way was away from home at the time of the 1841 census, probably working as a butler; but his wife Martha, described as a servant, was living at Kingston Blount with their first son John (six months) in the home of the seamstress Jane Way (aged about 60 and almost certainly her mother-in-law).

By 1843 William Way had been appointed butler at Haseley House, the home of the Hamersley family, and he spent the census night of 1851 at that house, while his wife Martha was at their home nearby in Great Haseley with their children John (10), Jane (7), Mary Ann (5), and William junior (3).

In about 1860 William Way moved with his family to Oxford to work as porter at Jesus College.

At the time of the 1861 census William (49) and his wife Martha (53) can be found living in the porter’s lodge in Turl Street with William junior (13) and George (9), who were at school. Also living with them was another William Way (born at Hinton Waldrist, Berkshire in 1838/9), who was likely to be a relation: he was the college under-porter and is described as a servant. Three of their children were not at home: John (20) was a carpenter, lodging at 50 Friars Wharf, St Ebbe’s; Jane (17) was a servant at Dr Clarke’s accommodation at Christ Church; and Mary Ann was one of the three servants of the Vicar of Sydenham.

George, the youngest son of William and Martha Way, died in 1867:

† George Way died at Jesus College at the age of 14 on 26 June 1867 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 June (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

Their younger daughter was married two years later:

  • On 6 September 1869 at St Michael's Church, Oxford, Mary Ann Way (25), whose address was given as 12 Turl Street, married Robert Fowler, a painter of the same address.

At the time of the 1871 census William Way (60) was living at the porter’s lodge of Jesus College with his wife Martha (63) and their son John (30), who was a servant of the college. Their other surviving children, Jane and William junior, are hard to find in that census, but both were married later in the 1870s:

  • On 12 October 1874 at St Michael’s Church, Oxford, Jane Way (31), with her address given as 12 Turl Street, married George Paske (32), a domestic servant;
  • On 21 April 1878 at St Mary's Church, Islington, William Way junior, described as a telegraph engineer of 7 Windsor Street, Islington, married Emma Catherine Rayner of 62 Windsor Street, Islington, the daughter of the carman John Rayner.

William Way died in 1880:

† William Way died at the porter’s lodge in Jesus College at the age of 69 on 13 September 1880 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 September (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

His death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 18 September 1880 read: “Sept. 13, suddenly, aged 69, Mr. William Way, for 20 years porter of Jesus College; much respected.”

His widow would have had to move out of Jesus College following her husband’s, and at the time of the 1881 census she was living at 13 Holywell Street with her son John (50), who was a general labourer. They were both still there in 1891, when Martha was 74 and John was 50.

John Way predeceased his mother: he died at the age of 57 in October 1897. Because his death is recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church, he must be buried in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery; and as there is no grave marker for plot L49 next to the above grave, he may be buried there.

Mrs Martha Way died at 13 Holywell Street at the age of 92 in April 1899 and was buried on 19 April. Her death is recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church, and she may be buried with her son John.

The three surviving children of William and Martha Way
  • Jane Way, Mrs Paske (born 1843) began her married life in Islington, moving on to Thame by 1879. By the time of the 1881 census she was back in Oxford, living at 53 Holywell Street with her husband George, who who kept a lodging house there, and her children Louisa Paske (5) and George Paske (3). By 1891 Jane and George, now described as a college bedmaker, were living at 53 Holywell Street with their son George (12). In 1901 and 1911 Louisa, a dressmaker, was back living with them. Jane Paske died in Oxford at the age of 86 near the beginning of 1931.
  • Mary Ann Way, Mrs Fowler (born 1845/6) was living at East Street, Thame in 1871 with her husband Robert, who was still working as a painter, and their daughter Jane Fowler (1). In 1881 they were living at Park Street, Thame, and now had four children: Jane (11), Louisa (8), Mary (2), and Frank (two months). Mary Ann died at Thame at the age of 42 near the beginning of 1888, and at the time of the 1891 census her husband was living with his second wife Matilda and their baby, as well as the four children from his first marriage.
  • William Way junior (born 1848) was working as a general labourer and living at 47 Napier Street, Shoreditch in 1881 with his wife Emma (42) and their children Ellen Martha Way (1) and William John Way (two months). In 1891 and 1901 the address was given as 27 Napier Street, but otherwise the situation was much the same. By 1911 William (64) was a labourer at an electrical cable factory, while his daughter was a dressmaking instructress and his son a commercial clerk. William Way died at Shoreditch at the age of 74 in 1923.



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