Mrs Emma THOMPSON, née Prior (1830/1–1855)
St Michael section: Row 7, Grave C48½

Emma Thompson






WHO DIED MAY 19, 1855




Emma Prior was born in Oxford in 1830/1 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 2 January 1831. She was the daughter of James Prior and Eliza Seary, who were married at Holywell Church on 23 April 1825.
For more on her parents and siblings, see her father’s grave

By early 1841 Emma’s father had taken over the Bell Inn in Cornmarket (on part of the site of the modern block to the north of Market Street).

Emma’s mother died in June 1841, and her father in October 1850. Her older sister Mary Rebecca Prior took over the management of the Bell together with Emma herself and her younger sister Harriett, and they were helped by their father’s servant Rhoda Edwards and an assistant.

At the time of the 1851 census a young china merchant from Derbyshire, Francis Octavius Thompson, was lodging with them, and later that year Emma Prior married him in Oxford. For his background, see his separate grave (where he is buried with his second wife).

Francis and Emma Thompson then ran the Bell pub together, and henceforth it was listed in directories under Thompson’s name. They had three children:

  • Mary Ann Eliza Thompson (born at the Bell Inn in 1852 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 14 March)
  • Emma Thompson (born at the Bell Inn in 1853 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 13 March)
  • Francis Joseph Thompson (born at the Bell Inn in 1854 and baptised at St Michael’s Church on 19 November).

Emma died in 1855, when her children were aged only three, two, and about seven months:

† Mrs Emma Thompson née Prior died at the Bell Inn, Cornmarket at the age of 24 on 19 May 1855 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 24 May (burial recorded in the parish register of St Michael’s Church).

On 10 January 1860 at Godstow Church, Francis Octavius Thompson married his second wife Eliza Lipscomb and returned to his old career as a china & glass merchant, with a shop in Walton Street. He and Eliza brought up the three children he had with Emma: see their grave for his subsequent history.



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