19th Century

George Thomas Rawkins💞Clara Chubb💒

It’s so worth looking through for new listings on Ebay in the evenings because I spotted this beauty! I sent the seller an offer that he accepted, so then the wait!

Have dated to Summer 1862

When you are waiting for an old photo to arrive, the clatter of your letterbox is always a welcome sound. When I opened the carefully wrapped photograph I was astonished on turning it over to find a name. How fabulous….of course I started a family tree immediately and it didn’t take me long to find the bridal couple in this photo, their names are George Thomas Rawkins and Clara Chubb and their marriage took place in the summer of 1862 in Chelsea, London.

Firstly a little about the son (fifth child born) mentioned on the back of this old photo Robert George Rawkins who was actually born in 1868 in Burcombe near Winton, Wiltshire, to his parents George and Clara. Robert married Ada Barnes on 5 July 1894 at St Thomas Church, Clapton Common, Hackney, London . They had three children during their marriage 1)Ada Constance b1895 2) Robert Austin b1898 3) Edward George 1903. Robert George Rawkins died in April 1942 in Windsor, Berkshire, at the age of 74. He left £22,762,6s 10d (Worth £1,156,698.78 in today’s money) Left to Robert Austin Rawkins an Engineer. Edward George Rawkins a Chartered Accountant and John George Thomas Hiley a Major HM Army. (JGT Hiley was his son in law) The couple lived at Fairlight, Frances Rd, Windsor and it’s still there! See photo below.

FAIRLIGHT, Frances Rd, Windsor

So we now know that the couple in this beautiful Wedding photo was George Thomas Rawkins was born on 24 Jul 1838 in Burcombe, Wiltshire, England as the first child of Thomas George Rawkins and Elizabeth Marks . George Thomas Rawkins was baptized on 16 Sep 1838 in Wiltshire, England. His three siblings were William Henry, Austin, and Charles. He was living in Fordingbridge, Hampshire, England in the 1851 with his family. In the 1861 census

His bride was Clara Chubb they married in July 1862. They had nine children and thanks to various census records and especially the Baptism records of the children we have George’s occupations and more information about where the family lived.

Children of the couple: 1)James Pargetter Rawkins was born on 15 May 1863 in Burcombe, Wilton, Wiltshire, England. He died in Mar 1918 in Islington, Greater London, England.
2)Lillian Maria Rawkins was born on 17 Aug 1864 in Burcombe, Wiltshire, England . She married Henry Mackay on 06 Jul 1901 in St Paul, Canonbury, England. She died in Oct 1949 in Alton, Hampshire, England.
3)Thomas George Rawkins was born in Mar 1866 in Warminster, Wiltshire, England. He died in Jul 1867 in Common Close, Burcombe, Wiltshire, England.
4)Clara Bessie Rawkins was born on 24 Apr 1867 in Warminster, Wiltshire, England. She married George Job William Hill on 11 Jun 1891 in St Matthew, City Road, Islington, Middlesex (St Matthew, City Road Islington England). She died on 19 Jan 1947 in Kent, England.

5)Robert George Rawkins was born on 31 Oct 1868 in Warminster, Wiltshire. He married Ada Barnes on 05 Jul 1894 in St Thomas, Clapton Common, Hackney, London. He died on 05 Apr 1942 in Fairlight, 41 Frances Rd, Windsor, Berkshire, England.
6)William Henry Rawkins was born on 03 Jan 1872 in Evershot. Registered in Beaminster. He married Elizabeth Rhoda Baker on 14 May 1899 in All Saints, Battle Bridge, England. He died in Oct 1944 in Brentford, Middlesex, England.
7)Kathleen Rose Rawkins was born on 25 Mar 1873 in Evershot, Dorset. Registered in Beaminster. She died in Oct 1953 in Alton, Hampshire, England. She had married Arthur J Exeter in Oct 1895 in Dartford, Kent.
8)Ralph Roland Rawkins was born on 01 Nov 1874 in Evershot, Dorset. Registered in Beaminster. He died in 1952 in South Africa.
9)Mary Elizabeth Rawkins was born on 20 Sep 1876 in Evershot, Dorset, registered in Beaminster. She died on 12 Sep 1939 in Lewisham, London, England. She had married William Talbot Hermitage in Jul 1904 in Islington, London.

So from 1863 up to 1866 it seems the family were likely living in Common Close (now The Close) Burcombe near Wilton, Wiltshire then 1866 and through to 1871 they were living in Warminster, Wiltshire. Then moving to Yeovil, Somerset where they were in the 1871 census before moving to Evershot, Dorset by May 1872. Occupations: In October 1864 he was a Photographer, 1866, 1867, 1869 described as a Clerk. Then in the 1871 census he is a Photographer and has moved away from Warminster to Silver Street, Yeovil. They had three of their children Lilian, Clara and Robert with them, their eldest son James is with his Grandparents in Evershot, Dorset. Their children born after the 1871 census were born in Evershot. Did he continue through these years to still be a part time Photographer I wonder? I have found no records of any of his photographs taken during these years sadly. I did find a mention of him on the Yeovil History site but no more information about him, stating there was no information in trade directories etc.

The couples parents were Thomas George Rawkins 1815-1891 and Elizabeth Marks 1810-1872 (George’s) and James Chubb 1792-1882 and Eliza Pargetter 1796-1852 (Clara’s)

Here is the 1871 census below, I found Thomas (Father) working at the School house in Evershot as the Teacher. Elizabeth his wife and James (Grandson)

George Thomas Rawkins died on 21 December 1876 in Evershot, Dorset, at the age of 38. Leaving his wife Clara and their eight children, their third child Thomas George had died in 1867 at just a year old. I think the family could have been living with his Father then? It seems likely as his Mother died in July 1872. Also their son William was born in Evershot in May of 1872. His Father was the informant of his death, George died of Asthma and Heart disease (I sent for a death certificate, PDF copy, as I had to know why he died so young) The local doctor that treated him Dr John J Clapcoll lived in the village. I was also interested to see that on his death certificate he is described as a Grocer.

Why a Grocer? Ok so looking through the 22 pages of the 1871 census details for Evershot I found what I believe is the answer to this. At the time of the 1871 census, I know it’s 5 years previously but there were 3 families with the surname Chubb! So likely that there were still some Chubb’s here in 1876. They were 1) William Chubb and his wife Elizabeth, with mother Mary (Groves) a late thatchers wife. 2) A Coopers Shop head of who is Mary Chubb a widow and three adult children George, Elizabeth and Louisa. and lastly 3) Samuel Chubb aged 31 with his wife Mary Ann and two children employing one man and one boy in his Grocers Shop. So I’m thinking that being a Photographer didn’t work out for him in Yeovil, so he came to Evershot and helped out in the Grocers shop of his wife’s family, I haven’t found the connection …yet! But a good possibility don’t you think.

Note: By the time of the 1881 census in Evershot Samuel Chubb and family are still at the same location but the Grocers shop is now a Co-op and Samuel is the Manager of the Co-op.

George’s Father was the informant on the Death certificate and he died in Evershot, Dorset, registered in Beaminster the next Town. Sadly it doesn’t give us the exact address in Evershot.
This is Evershot Village Shop and Post Office now and further down at the end of the street is where Dr Clapcoll lived (Arrow)

Maybe George was being cared for by his father and family together in Evershot as Clara having seven children and also being pregnant again that year of 1876 she wouldn’t have been able to manage the care for him on her own. She had daughter Mary Elizabeth on 20 September 1876, was good that George got to meet her. This is the burial record below and sadly the surname is incorrect, it’s been transcribed as Haskins not Rawkins on the Dorset OPC site, totally understandable as it does say that the records are ‘very difficult to read in places, so readers are invited to use this transcript as a guide only and to consult the original at the Dorset History Centre.

George ThomasHASKINSEvershot27Dec187638
Details from Dorset OPC
This is St Osmund’s Church Evershot, Dorset where George was laid to rest.

The Dorset OPC website is a fantastic resource for information http://www.opcdorset.org/ as are other Online Parish Clerk sites around the UK. It also tells me a little of the history of Evershot, like this: ‘On September 26th 1865 there was a terrible fire that destroyed twenty houses, about 15% of the total housing stock, leaving more than 100 people homeless. Not only did the village recover, but what is truly remarkable is that today Evershot is still a thriving village with a church, a post office/shop, a doctors’ surgery, a primary school, a bakery, an inn, a hotel and some light industry, all contained in a community of less than 200 people‘.

OH GEORGE!!!!!………….Sometimes when I’m researching I get a feeling that there is much more to a family than I have found, I expect others get this too, a sort of sixth sense. I looked again at all the facts that I had for the family and the only thing I spotted was that between 31 Oct 1868 (Robert George born) and 3 Jan 1872 (William Henry born) George and Clara had no children. Not a huge gap I know but big enough, so had I missed a child or even two? I checked and No, none in the records. So I went back to searching through the records again starting with George Thomas Rawkins in Wiltshire and oh my goodness I found this record on Ancestry!

So I turned straight to the British Newspaper Archives and what a sorry tale it had to tell: If you read through each of these reports in order it tells you the full account of George’s crimes and what happened to him. But it didn’t mention he had a wife and children?

I’m so pleased I read all the reports through in the Newspaper Archives as I would probably have missed this fact that he went on the run and enlisted in the Rifle Brigade under the name GEORGE THOMAS. This was the only report I found mentioning his ‘other’ name.
According to the timeline I have of Baptisms for the children, it looks like George was employed by this company from about November 1864.

It reminded me of The Christmas Carol story and Bob Cratchit the Clerk who was getting poor wages and couldn’t provide for his wife and family. Was this George? or did George spend the money on something else and needed more. Interesting to see that he took the money from one customer of Scott and Smith’s in the pub The Horseshoes Inn, Warminster. Was this a frequent haunt for him? We shall never know, but life must have been very grim for him for the 18 months he was in Devizes Jail, prisoners weren’t living in the conditions prisoners are kept in today. Being sentenced to hard labour and I’ve no doubt that the food was not brilliant. This 18 months may have taken it’s toll on George’s health.

Above is a photo of a drawing of convicts grinding corn on the Devizes Prison treadmill in the late 19th century. Both photos (above and below)courtesy Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre.
Found on http://devizesheritage.co.uk/

In 1868 when Fisherton Anger gaol was closed, Devizes became the only county prison, and, as such, was transferred to the state in 1877‘.  

This record from Find My Past Prison Records for George

According to the records George was remanded in Devizes Jail on the 3 May 1869, so as your remand time I think counted towards your sentence, he would have been released in November 1870. Appearing with his wife and children on the 1871 census on the 2 April 1871 in Yeovil, Somerset as a Photographer. George and Clara had their next child William Henry born on 3 January 1872, then Kathleen, Ralph and Mary followed before his death in 1876.

Found this on Fold3 on Ancestry, I did a free trial for 7 days so I could look! So now I have his Regiment No 1151 and this is for the 97th Foot Soldiers, of course, we know that he was in the Rifle Brigade at Winchester.
A super later old postcard of the Rifle Brigade Barracks at Winchester found on the GreatWarForum

The next part of the story of this family is now in Clara’s hands, by the time of the 1881 census Clara now a widow is living in Bradpole, the next village from where we live in Beaminster, just towards Bridport.

Clara is working as a Servant somewhere in Bradpole, she has seven of her eight children with her. The eldest James became the man of the family and was working as a Carpenter. The next eldest Lilian was at the home of her uncle William Henry Rawkins and his family at 64 Barclay Road, Fulham, her Grandfather Thomas George Rawkins was also there. But the younger six children who were living with Clara in Bradpole, Bessie, Robert, William, Kathleen, Ralph and Mary were all described as Scholars. Both parents had had a good upbringing and were well educated, so it’s good that Clara was making sure that her children had a good start in life. We next move on ten years to the 1891 census and Clara has made the move with her family to Remington Street, St Luke’s, London. She is described as ‘Living on own means’ she has three of her sons with her, all doing well. Robert is an Accountant Clerk, William a Clerk also and Ralph aged 16 is a Shipbuilders Clerk, Mary the youngest daughter is also still living with Clara. The 1901 census below finds Clara as a Boarding House Keeper living at Alma Road, Islington with her children James (37 and single) who if you remember was a Carpenter is now an Organ Builder. Daughter Lilian (35 and single) is a Dressmaker. So happy to see that Ralph (26 and single) is a Photographer like his father was in 1863 and 1871. Mary is also with them but no occupation listed. There were five Boarders at the same address, the census record goes over to the next page, very respectable, teachers and clerks.

Our next record is Clara’s death on the 22 February 1909 at 91 Calabria Road, Highbury, Middlesex. She left almost £678 to her eldest child James Pargetter Rawkins an Organ Builder, that’s the equivalent of £81,234.63 in todays money. What an achievement, what a tough lady she must have been.

More records: Oh James!!!! So the eldest child James Pargetter Rawkins I found a likely record at the Workhouse at Islington for a James P Rawkins in the Infirmary aged 54 his discharge date was 7 September 1917, he was described as Homeless. Did that huge windfall from his Mum in 1909 go to his head? It should have set him up for life, but I can’t help thinking that maybe he had a problem with money and maybe drink, like his father George? We shall never know of course, so sad……..He died in March 1918 in Islington.

Lilian Maria Rawkins married in July 1901 to Henry Mackay, I haven’t found any children, Henry was an Electric Company account collector. She died in October 1949 in Alton, Hampshire. Clara Bessie Rawkins had married George Job William Hill in June 1891, he was a Test Clerk 2nd Class Engineer, chiefs department for the GPO and they had eight children, seven still surviving in the 1911 census. Robert George Rawkins story I’ve told you earlier. William Henry Rawkins married Elizabeth Rhoda Baker in 1899 they had six children, he was a Bookkeeper for the Electric Supply Company. Kathleen Rose Rawkins married Arthur J Exeter in 1895 they had two sons, Arthur was a Painter and Decorator. She died in 1953.

Ralph Roland Rawkins married a lady called Mabel Annie Hawes, His occupation in 1911 was a Portrait Photographer, so he stuck with it! They lived at 13 Royal Mansions, Royal Parade West Croydon, Surrey. They had just been married 4 years and had no children then, but they may have had children later. I have found a record of his death in December 1951 at 2 Ingleside Court, Ingleside Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa (Residence)buried on the 2 January 1952. This is the parade where they lived via Google Street below.

The youngest child Mary Elizabeth Rawkins had married William Talbot Hermitage in 1904 and they had three sons, William was a Prudential Insurance agent in the 1911 census, Mary died in September 1939.

What a bumpy path this family went on but in the end, all but one child had a good life I hope.

All through their life it does seem they were supported by some members of their family especially Thomas George Rawkins (George’s Dad) he died in December 1891 in Fulham.

Here’s the direct link to the Family Tree I have made on Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/tree/172372504/family?cfpid=282239196080&fpid=282239213658

St John’s Church, Burcombe, Wiltshire where George Thomas Rawkins was Baptised on 16 September 1838. Found on Wikipedia: By Trish Steel, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13552837

Are you a descendant of this Rawkins family?

Till next time then………..

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