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Movement In and Out of the Parish


Both the Reverend Gordon and his wife died in the 1870s, he in 1877 at the age of 73 and she in 1880. His obituary in the local paper described him as a man of regular habits - he went to Oxford twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays - and was a man who never lost a friend. The parish seems to have been aware of his many good qualities, and commemorated his life with several stained glass windows in the church. The household dispersed, their daughter moving out of the village along with the servants. The Reverend Langhorne, who took his place, moved into the Vicarage along with his wife and niece, Agnes Firmstone, and two young servants from London, Caroline Berry who did the cooking and Emma, the housemaid, whose surname is indecipherable in the record.

Herbert Parsons still occupied the Manor House in some style. His children were now grown up, Mary Jane being 26 and Herbert Junior being 23 and a banker. They had a new lady’s maid, Alice Redgard, and a new cook, Eliza Griffith. Elizabeth Clarke, one of the housemaids, remained with them as did the butler, James Barrett, but all the other housemaids, kitchenmaids, underhousemaids and scullery maids had changed.

At Home Farm, John Greaves had his twelve year old nephew Alan Savier staying with him. He employed two servants both called Ann, Caroline Bounton and Thomas Drewitt both having left. The local girl Hannah Basson, who had also been employed by him in 1871 was no longer there.

At Hill Farm, William Parsons also had a nephew staying with him, Thomas Grey from Waterstock. The two domestic servants were sisters, Emma Hawkin, aged 22, and her younger sister fourteen year old Rachel. The three employed in 1871 had moved away.

A new family, the Markhams, had moved in to Elsfield. The father was an agricultural labourer and his two eldest daughters found work as domestic servants with the Treadwells at Church Farm. He and his wife had two other children and squeezed in two boarders, having slightly more room now their two girls had moved out.

Other farm workers who moved in were the Merry family, who were to stay for at least another 70 years. Thomas Merry was a gardener born in Bethnal Green and was only 30 when he arrived in Elsfield in about 1877 from Shotover. They had four children, two born in Shotover and two born in Elsfield. The Maltbys also moved in to the village at this time. Charles Maltby, a 32 year old farm labourer from Bletchingdon arrived with his wife and three children, the youngest only 10 months old in 1881. The Dennis family also arrived in the 1880s, George and Charlotte and their five children, the youngest only a year old in 1881.

William Daw the carpenter had moved in along with his wife who took Fanny Hardwick’s place as schoolmistress and they lived in School Cottage. Also new to the village was Henry Higgins, a shepherd, living near Wisk Copse.

And finally the Stilgoe family moved in. The name 'Stilgoe' appears in the 1871 census, where a Richard Stilgoe aged nine was living with his grandparents, Richard and Susan Lock. In 1881, Richard was still living with his grandparents, and his brother aged 16 was also living with them, as well as a seven year old granddaughter Ellen. There was, however, a separate family named Stilgoe in residence. The head of the family, Thomas, born in Great Barford like young Richard, was a stableman. His wife Emma was born in Elsfield, so Thomas must have been the son-in-law of the Locks. They had seven children living with them, Kate, Dorcas, Albert, Arthur, Emma, Minnie, and Tom the youngest, only a year old. The eldest, Kate, died in 1881 aged eleven.

Less tragic was the death of Sarah Taylor in 1871 aged 88. Her son Richard, an agricultural labourer, died in 1874 aged 61. The parish clerk, Stephen Humphreys lost his wife Amy in 1876 aged 69 but married again the same year to a widow, Lucy Wallis, a laundress, unlisted in the 1871 census but described as from Elsfield in the marriage register.

In that same year Thomas Clay aged 87 died while his son William died four years later aged 46 in 1880. Another octogenarian, Ann Gurdon, died in 1873 aged 84 while at a comparatively early age, Edward Basson, the shepherd, died in 1876 aged 55.

In this decade, there were fifteen marriages, eight between people listed as living in Elsfield. Of these, George Tolley, an agricultural labourer who had been lodging with Mr and Mrs Andrews, married Ann Holding, a dairymaid at Church Farm, in 1871. The following year, the shepherd Thomas Basson married the daughter of a blacksmith, Emma Chamberlain, who was working as a cook for the Reverend Gordon and his family.

In 1873, John Gammon, the sawyer, married Mary Ford while Sarah Sophia Basson married the first of her three husbands, Tom George East, a minor. Albert Bateman, twenty-one years old in 1879, and unlisted in either the 1871 or the 1881 census, must have stayed only a short time in the village. In that time he acquired a wife, Eliza Anne Hathaway, who again is not listed in either census. He was a carter, so perhaps she was one of the servants at one of the farms. Nineteen year old Rebecca Nichols, who again is not listed in the 1871 census, married Henry Norwell Smith, from Farthinghoe, so perhaps she too was a servant who stayed only a short time in Elsfield.

Elizabeth Ford, wife of Henry Ford, living at Forest Farm, died in 1871 and Henry remarried a woman over twenty years younger than him in 1879, Emma Smith, aged 33. Emma Wharton married an illiterate labourer from Marston, Thomas Robbins, while Sarah Pritchett married a blacksmith from Islip with the same surname.

Hannah Basson married a gardener from Hatfield, George Morby. This is a name which appears in Elsfield records in 1824, 1841 and again in 1901, so although the Morbys do not maintain a constant presence in Elsfield, and seem to have been based in Stanton St John, they obviously kept contact with people living here. Sarah Locke married a butcher from Headington, Thomas Gardiner, and Gardiner is again a name which crops up in census data, being mentioned in 1871, 1881 and 1901. Emily Harris married a clerk from Hereford, George Clarke, and yet again Clarke is an Elsfield name, appearing in 1881 and 1901. So on the surface while these women appear to have married men from out of the village, they were possibly men who had moved away from the area to work.

Harriet Gammon, however, married William Elston in 1879, and he really was from outside the village, having come to work at the Manor as a groom. He came from Sutton Wisk and was forty when he married Harriet, who was 34 in 1879. She had known him since at least 1861 when she worked as a nursemaid to the Parsons children. They lived at a house behind Tree Cottage, which has now fallen down. Ethel May Elston, their daughter, married Herbert Allam and helped Mrs Buchan embroider the WI banner.

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Page 7 of 12