James WRIGHT (1788–1875)
His second wife Mrs Elizabeth WRIGHT, née Robson (1791–1875)
Their son John Robson Lane WRIGHT (1830–1857)
Mrs Wright’s sister Miss Sarah Sidney ROBSON (1781/2–1877)
St Paul section: Row 11, Grave A14 [St Paul reference L.8]

James Wright


[Other side]

James Wright was born in London in 1787/8. His first wife was already dead by 1827, when he was described as a widower of Holywell parish in Oxford.

Elizabeth Robson was born at Aston Hall, Henley-on-Thames on 16 March 1791 and baptised at Remenham on 24 April. She was the daughter of John Robson of Blackfriars, London and his second wife Jane Heward, who were married at St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe Church, London on 22 February 1781. Her older sister Sarah Sidney Robson was born in London in 1781/2 and baptised at St Ann's Church, Blackfriars on 22 February 1782.

On 16 April 1827 at Cookham in Berkshire, James Wright married his second wife Elizabeth Robson, and they had the following children:

  • James Heward Wright (born at Beaumont Street, Oxford in 1828 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 12 December); died aged 7, burial on 23 October 1835 recorded in the parish register of St Thomas’s church
  • John Robson Lane Wright (born in Oxford in 1830 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 1 June)
  • Jane Maria Elizabeth Wright (born in Oxford in 1832/3 and baptised at St Thomas’s Church on 28 January 1833).

James Wright was appointed Printer to the University in the early 1830s, and in 1835 lived with his wife and children in Beaumont Street, which was in St Mary Magdalen parish.

It looks as though they then moved nearer the University Press, which until St Paul’s Church opened in 1835 was in the parish of St Thomas in west Oxford: hence Jane was baptised at that church in 1833, and young James was buried in its churchyard in 1835.

James and his wife Elizabeth are hard to find in the 1841 census, but their surviving son John Robson Lane Wright (11) was boarding at Fair Mile House School in Henley-on-Thames. He was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Worcester College on 17 December 1849 at the age of 19.

By the time of the 1851 census James Wright (63) was living at 19 Beaumont Street with his wife Elizabeth (59) and their daughter Jane (18), and his wife’s sister Miss Sarah Sidney Robson (70). They had one servant. Their son John spent census night at his rooms in Worcester College.

South House

By 1857 the Wright family was living in South House at Oxford University Press (left), which was the Printer’s House. (This was semi-detached to North House, where the Clarendon Printing Office Manager Thomas Combe lived until his death in 1872.)


Their only daughter was married in 1855 when she was still living with her parents here at the Press :

  • On 23 October 1855 at St Paul's Church, Oxford, Jane Maria Elizabeth Wright married William Gerald Fitzgerald, a widower and gentleman of Cork, at St Paul’s Church on 23 October 1855.

Their marriage was announce thus in the Freeman’s Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, Dublin: “October 23, in Oxford, William Gerald Fitzgerald, Esq, of Sunville, county Cork, to Jane Maria Elizabeth, only daughter of James Wright, Esq., of Oxford”. They went to live in Ireland.

OUP quadrangleOxford University Press quadrangle, c.1905

Their son John obtained his B.A. from St Mary Hall in 1856, but died the next year:

† John Robson Lane Wright died at the Printer’s house at Oxford University Press at the age of 27 in November 1857 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 11 November (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

He is probably buried in this vault, although there is no inscription to him. His burial at St Sepulchre's was recorded by the St Paul's Sexton as L.8, which is the same as that for his parents.

At the time of the 1861 census James (73) was still the Superintendent of the University Press, living in South House there with his wife Elizabeth (70) and her sister Miss Sarah Sidney Robson (79). They had two servants.

By the time of the next census in 1871, James Wright had retired, and he and Elizabeth had moved to 12 Park Crescent (now 31 Park Town). Their daughter Mrs Jane Fitzgerald (38) was living with them, while her son Gerald (12) was boarding at Bloxham School. Mrs Wright's unmarried sister Sarah Sidney Robson, now 89, was still boarding with the family, and they had one servant.

James Wright died in 1875:

† James Wright died at The Crescent at the age of 86 on 5 January 1875 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 9 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

His death was announced thus in both Jackson’s Oxford Journal and The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent on 9 January 1875: “Jan. 5, at 12, Park-crescent, Oxford, in the 88th year of his age, James Wright, late of the Clarendon Press.” His effects came to nearly £25,000, and probate was granted to his daughter Mrs Jane Fitzgerald, who was now described as a widow living at the Crescent.

His wife Elizabeth only survived for six months after his death:

† Mrs Elizabeth Wright née Robson died at The Crescent at the age of 84 on 26 July 1875 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).

Miss Sarah Sidney Robson survived her younger sister by two years, and according to her probate record continued to live in Park Town, but both the parish register and the newspaper announcement state that she died at Leckford Road:

† Miss Sarah Sidney Robson died in Oxford at the age of 95 on 14 June 1877 and she was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 16 June (burial recorded in the register of St Paul’s Church, with the same grave reference as that of her sister and her husband).

Her death notice in the Standard of 16 June 1877 read: “ROBSON.—14th, in Leckford-road, Oxford, Sarah Sidney Robson, eldest and only surviving sister of the late Mrs. James Wright, of 12, Park-crescent, in her 96th year.” Her personal estate came to under £20, and her executor was her niece Mrs Jane Fitzgerald.

The only surviving child of James and Elizabeth
  • Mrs Jane Maria Elizabeth Fitzgerald, née Wright (born in 1832/3) had returned to Oxford from Ireland by March 1879, when she was living at 12 The Crescent (now 31 Park Town). The 1881 census shows here as a widow of 48 living at Kelcrow on the Woodstock Road with her son Gerald H. Fitzgerald (born in Cork in 1858/9). He was then an officer in the Royal Scots Regiment.



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