‘A silver mounted sardine box’

Today, I’m intrigued by James Ivens (b.1839) from Hampton Lucy, Warwickshire, UK.

James was the son of William Ivens (1790-1867) who was born in Churchover, Warwickshire, and his wife Ann. Ann was probably Ann Hyde* as a marriage is registered in Sherbourn, Warwickshire (just a couple miles, or so, north of Hampton Lucy, or 1 hrs walk) in December 1824. Their first son, Edward, was born in 1826.

William was a farmer and together he and Ann had 8 children. James was the penultimate.

James spent the early years of his marriage in Hampton Lucy, working as a farmer, but moved to Newbold Pacey, Warwickshire to take up a post as a Farm Bailiff at the end of 1880 and before the 1881 census. Newbold Pacey is about a 1 hour walk to the East of Hampton Lucy. James was eventually to die there the following year – in 1882 aged just 43.

James married Maria Smith Brown (b.1839 Charlecote, Warwickshire) in 1866 and together they had at least 8 children:

  • James Ernest Ivens (b.1867), born in Hampton Lucy
  • Henry Bertie Ivens (b.1869) born in Hampton Lucy
  • Edmund Percival Ivens (b.1870) born in Hampton Lucy
  • Emily Mabel (b.1873) born in Hampton Lucy
  • Sidney John Ivens (b.1874) born in Hampton Lucy
  • Tracey Ivens (b.1876)
  • Ellen Mary Ivens (b.1878)
  • Arthur Edward Ivens (b.1880)

James Ernest Ivens, dies at just 7 years of age in 1873

Henry Bertie Ivens, disappears after the 1881 census (aged 12) [possibly just after his father died in 1882] and re-appears in American census records, eventually dying in Minesota. Since I don’t have access to these records, yet, I’m not sure what age he reached.

Edmund Percival Ivens also died in 1873, aged just 3 years.

Emily Mabel Ivens is sent away to live with the Plummer family who bring her up in Swindon, Wiltshire.

Sidney John Ivens grew up, moved to Bath, Somerset – again perhaps after his father died in 1882 – by 1891 and worked as a grocer’s assistant. He eventually arrived in Thanet, Kent where he married Helen Emma Chawner in 1903, and they settled in Maidstone, he operating as a wine merchant. He died in 1950, aged 76, in Watford.

Tracey Ivens was admitted to the Warwickshire asylum in 1881, aged 5 – just after the census – and died there in 1889 aged 13 years.

Ellen Mary Ivens dies in 1884 in Newbold Pacey, Warwickshire, aged just 4.

Arthur Edward Ivens emerges in 1891 aged 10, in District Infant Orphan Asylum, Wantage, Essex listed as a pauper. He goes on to work, however, in Marshell & Snelgrove as a Draper’s assistant and living in accommodation (in Marylebone) surrounded by other employees. He married Annie Elizabeth Brownjohn and they lived in Hammersmith, but he dies in 1925 in Brentford aged 45.

Marie Smith Ivens, (nee Brown), James’ wife,  was the daughter of John Brown a farmer in Hampton Lucy. Where the name ‘Smith’ comes from is not clear as she was a spinster when she married James. But everything seems to have gone badly wrong and she seemingly disappears after 1881 census. In fact, after James’ death in 1882.

1866 – marries James in Hampton Lucy, aged 27

1867 – First son James Ernest born in Hampton Lucy

1869 – Second son Henry Bertie born in Hampton Lucy

1870 – Third son Edmund Percival born in Hampton Lucy

1872 – First daughter Emily Mabel born in Hampton Lucy, but not visible in the family home 

1873 – James Ernest and Edmund Percival die.

1874 – Fourth son Sidney John born in Hampton Lucy (a possible other son named Sydney John might have existed but died within a year)

1876 – Second daughter Tracey born in Hampton Lucy

1878 – Third daughter Ellen Mary born in Hampton Lucy,

1880 – Fifth son Arthur Edward born in Hampton Lucy

1881 – Move to Newbold Pacey, possibly seeking new job. Tracey diagnosed and admitted to asylum

1882 – Husband James dies

1884 – Daughter Ellen Mary dies aged just  4.

On 27th August 1884, a Mr. H. P. Ivins applied for a passport. The handwriting is lazy in these records, so could easily have been H. B. Ivens. There is no similar entry for his mother.

So, at the start of 1885, we have Marie Smith Ivens, widow, aged 46, with a son Henry Bertie Ivens aged 16 who is heading off to the States, a daughter Emily Mabel aged 13 living in Swindon, a son Sydney John Ivens aged 11 destined for Bristol, a daughter in the asylum, and a further son Arthur Edward Ivens aged 5 – that’s if he is still with Maria and not already ‘sent away’.

So what happened?

Curiously, as is often the case in genealogy, there is only one other Maria S. Ivens that pops up. Born in 1838, but claimed to be from Twycross, Leicestershire in both census records of 1901 and 1911. (Later, I find a Maria S. Evans in the 1891 census. A widow, born in Twycross, Leicestershire in 1838, working as a housekeeper in Wembdon, Somerset and there aren’t any children listed with her. Sydney John we know is now in Bristol, but more importantly, Arthur Edward, 11, is not with her.)

This Maria first appears as ‘Ivens’ in the 1901 census as a widow, living in Swindon, Wiltshire with her daughter Emily M. Ivens (b.1873) who later marries a Mr. Keylock. Maria is visible again in 1911 visiting friends in Gloucestershire, but dies in Swindon, Wiltshire in 1926.

Why should this be interesting? Because a newspaper report in Swindon Advertiser and North Wilts Chronicle 27 February 1897 [click to follow the link] reports the following wedding: Between Mr William Howse Keylock eldest son of Edward John  Keylock of Oakfield and Wood Street Swindon, and Miss Emily Mabel Ivens, eldest daughter of the late James Ivens of Hampton Lucy, and niece of Mr Alfred Plummer of Sanford House, Swindon.

Emily Mabel’s mother is only listed as Mrs Ivens amongst the list of gifts (house linen), so no clue there, but high on the list of guests is Mr and Mrs F. J. Brown (a cheque), later in the list the misses Brown (silver mounted sardine box), and later still a Mr. S. Ivens (epergne), and a Mr. A. E. Ivens (table ornaments).

Furthermore, in the 1881 census, there is an Emily Mabel Ivens listed as Niece of Alfred and Caroline Plummer, aged 8 living with them. She was born in Hampton Lucy. and in 1891, aged 18 is still living in Swindon – at Sandford House.

The wedding was a big one with 129 gifts listed, often from couples or groups which suggests around 250 guests, and they say there were crowds outside the church on the day.

So was Alfred Plummer just a rich benefactor? I can find no link to Maria Smith Ivens (nee Brown) by bloodline. Alfred had no sister called Maria and his wife Caroline Northwood has no obvious links either.

So, the questions remain:

How did Maria get the name ‘Smith’? Her mother’s maiden name was Wiggins (but she was John’s 2nd wife.)

What did Henry Bert do in the States?

How did Maria cope after her husband died?

What did James die of aged 43?

Why did she choose Emily Mabel as the daughter to’give away’?

Did Arthur Edward actually spend time in the pauper house, and why Wantage, Essex? Was he also given away and then orphaned?

What did Arthur Edward die of at age 45? So like his father!

…. and why did Maria Smith list Twycross, Leicestershire as her place of birth in 1901 and 1911 census? The answer to this is that, according to the 1851 census, she and her two closest sisters were all born in Twycross, Leicestershire, but the next sibling, Edward Brown was born in Charlecote, Warwickshire and the next two siblings William and Fanny Brown were born in Hidcote, Warwickshire. So, she simply got confused offering where she spent her early childhood.

As a Postscript, also in that census, the head of the family is listed as Mary Brown (b.1806) (unmarried) with her sisters Selina Brown (b.1808) (unmarried) and Sarah Brown (b.1823) (unmarried). (All the children are listed as nieces or nephews.). The head of the family was born in Swadlincote, Derbyshire.

In 1871 census, there is a John Brown (b.1805 in Swadlincote, Derbyshire) a farmer with wife Mary, and children William (b.1844 in Charlecote, Warwickshire); Fanny (b.1845 in Charlecote, Warwickshire) and a brother, all living in Hampton Lucy.

Next door but one (on the previous page in the census) lives James and Maria S. Ivens. In between lives George and Mary Hyde* with a visitor Herbert Ivens (b.1833).

So it all ties together ….. almost. But what happened to the silver mounted sardine box?

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