It’s not all plain sailing…

In a family of this complexity, there are bound to be the tragedies.

Shipwreck Hilda at St Malo

Take Laura Hutchinson, for example. Laura was the younger sister of Alice Georgina Isabella Hutchinson who married Thomas Edward Ivens (of the Indian Public Works Dept) and was mother of Harold Thomason Carew Ivens and Charles Wilfred Macpherson Ivens. But back to Laura, the younger sister.

She was drowned, along with her mother, Elizabeth Hutchinson, in the shipwreck of the Hilda, off St Malo, in 1905. She had married Major Gaisford, an Indian Political, who was murdered by Indian fanatic on N. W. Frontier.

* * * * *

Then there’s Oswald Burnett Ivens, born in 1848 and youngest son of Arthur Hickling Ivens, and grandson of William Ivens of Swinbrook. He was a merchant and ship owner and married Donna (Mrs.) Antonia Quillez just after the birth of their third child in 1877. They went on to have eight children. The last, George Frederick Yule Ivens being born on December 25th, four months AFTER his father’s death in August 1885.

2009-02-07 13.24.33

George Frederick Yule Ivens b.1885

The story goes that at the time of the cholera epidemic, Oswald and a friend were in a hotel. The friend had bought a bottle of brandy which he consumed, whilst Oswald refused. The friend lived, Oswald died. Leaving poor Antonia with 8 children who had to be dispersed to different locations.

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In the Warwickshire tree, there’s Joseph Cole Ivens (b.1845) who in 1900 at the age of 55 was found in the Warwick & Birmingham canal. Newspaper reports at the time could find no reason for such an occurrence. He had been a draper and had married Elizabeth Penny around 1871 and subsequently had five children. Murder, suicide, or just a drunken and ill-judged walk home late at night. Who knows? [Read more about this sad tale, written by a descendant]

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Leighton Buzzard Observer April 20th, 1869

Drowning of Arthur William Ivens 1869 - 2yrs

Death by Drowning.— An inquest was held on Wednesday last, Marsh Gibbon, on the body of Arthur William Ivens, aged two and a half years, son of John Ivens, farmer.

Barbara Townsend, said — I am  housemaid to Mr. Ivens. On Monday last, at twelve o’clock I saw the deceased child; he was in the dairy with me. About one o’clock, the children were playing together in the orchard, when they all came into dinner, except the deceased, and I went out to look after him. I called to him but could not make him hear. I then went to the moat in the orchard, and saw him in the water. He was quite still. I immediately jumped in, and fetched him out. He was about two yards from the shore. I did not know the depth of the water when I jumped in, but it came up to my waist. The father took the child from me and sent into the house with it. Remedies were used to restore life but they were unsuccessful. I thought the child was dead. I never saw him move after he was taken out of the water. The deceased was two years and eight months old. There were four children playing in the orchard together, the eldest being a boy of ten years of age. There was no nurse or other attendant with them. Verdict – Accidentally Drowned

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The Warwickshire trees has a number of inmates in the Workhouses and Asylums – not always as inmates or patients, it has to be said. Though there are some.

There is evidence of ‘Nurse Children’ – youngsters who were placed with families when their own parents (or parent) could not cope AND earn an income. There is one Walter Ivens who was taken from London by the ‘Waifs and Strays Society, Savoy St. Victoria Embankment, London’ and placed with a family in Dorset. Walter was born in 1895, and the facts emerged in the 1901 Census.

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Lancashire Evening Post, July 20th, 1925

ANGLER HOOKS BODY:- While two men were fishing in the River Welland, on the Tinwell Meadows, Stamford, Lincolnshire, one of them hooked the body of a man, subsequently identified as that of William Ivens, a labourer, who was last seen on Saturday night.

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3 responses to “It’s not all plain sailing…

  1. Re Joseph Cole Ivens’ tragic demise:-

    Further to this tale…the said Joseph was one of my Great Grandfathers on my mother’s side. We had never heard of his unfortunate demise, which only came to light recently from newspaper archives.

    He had partaken of ‘a glass of ale’ at the Dun Cow in Saltisford, Warwick, ‘as was his custom’ according to a newspaper report of his inquest-which was held at that hostelry! He lived nearby, in Victoria Cottages. The landlords wife, Mrs Iliffe, said that he appeared to be his normal self-whatever that may mean! She didn’t say at what time he’d left the pub, but it’s not too far to walk along to the bridge as I’ve done it myself! The next witness, Edith Paynting, saw him standing still for some time on the towpath near her house at about two fifteen, again, something which he was often seen to do. This was only 200 yards from the bridge. That seems quite a long time since he’d left the pub, even if hobbling along, which might indicate that he’d perhaps imbibed more than one glass of ale, and his difficulty with gout could indicate an habitual drinker?
    By two thirty he was found drowned by a passing boatman, so whatever happened took place in those brief fifteen minutes from when he was last seen alive. It does seem likely that he knocked his head on the underside of the bridge and lurched on his gouty feet with indecent haste into the canal. (Or was he pushed…?!) His hat was found under the bridge with an indentation in it. The ground beneath the hat was dry, but around it was wet, so the presumption was that it had been there for some time, but that does not fit with the brief timings as reported by witnesses, and one of the Jurors said that it had been raining all the time.

    Whatever the truth was, he drowned very quickly, possibly was unable to swim. He was found standing upright underwater, with his hands against the guard under the bridge, and when he was removed to the bank his feet and ankles were seen to be covered in black mud. He must have sunk into the mud whilst attempting to scramble out, because normally a body would float. I understand that he was a big (fat?) man and needed a large coffin!

    Strangely, there is no mention of his wife at the Inquest.

    This branch of the family had a thread of tragedy running through it, more of which I’ll describe in another post, and a remark from his son Joseph which might throw fresh light on the cause of drowning…..


  2. Pingback: More about Joseph Cole Ivens | All about Ivens·

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