My mother, Joyce Alma Robb nee Londors (born 1933), is the daughter of George John Londors (1896 – 1960) and Minnie Louisa Roe (1902 – 1987). Here’s a rather poor reproduction of a photograph taken at my grandparents’ wedding in East Ham in 1925:

George John Londors and Minnie Louisa Roe on their wedding day in 1925

George John Londors came from a long line of agricultural workers in the Barking area of Essex. I’ve written about the Londors family before, but in this post and the next I want to share some new information about them, starting with the earliest Londors ancestor that I’ve been able to trace so far.

The 1841 census finds my 3 x great grandfather, agricultural labourer John Londors, 55, his wife Mary, 35, and their children John, 13 (my 2 x great grandfather), Sarah, 11, Elizabeth, 8, William 4, and Mary, 11 months, living at White Hall, Barkingside, in Essex. Two other households appear to share the same address: one consists of schoolmistresses Mary and Sarah Hatton, 45 and 40 respectively, and the other of William Kirby, 75, a pensioner of the East India Company, and Elizabeth Kirby, 50. The addresses on either side are given as ‘Hattons Corner’, while a number of properties further along are described as being at Red Bridge Barkingside, and further along still is the Red House Public House.  On the preceding page we find more houses at Red Bridge, including ‘Harvey Farm by Red Bridge’ . Before that comes Close’s Farm Yard, and before that Beehive Lane. From what I can gather, this area coincides with the area between Redbridge and Gant’s Hill tube stations on modern maps, and between Clayhall and Valentine’s Parks: there’s still a Beehive Lane there, but it only takes a glimpse at Google street view to see  that little trace remains of its rural, agricultural past.

One of the most intriguing things about the 1841 census record (for reasons that will become apparent) is that, close by at Red Bridge, we find agricultural labourer William Scofield and his wife Sarah, both 70.

By the time of the 1851 census, John Londors, 65, and his wife Mary, 45, have two more children: James, 8, and George, 5. John junior is now 23, William 14, and both are working, like their father, as agricultural labourers. Mary junior is now 10, James 8, and George 5. Sisters Sarah and Elizabeth, who would have been 21 and 18 respectively, are not mentioned. We learn from this record that Mary senior’s middle name is Ann and that, like the children, she was born in Barking, whereas her husband John was born in nearby Woodford.

This time, the family’s address is given simply as ‘Beehive’, suggesting that this was a common name for the area, not just for the road or lane. Most of the Londors’ neighbours are also agricultural labourers, but immediately next door is Carswell Cottage, home of landed proprietor Benjamin Brett Hatton, his sons Benjamin and Llewellyn, and a house servant. The Hattons were a long established and important Barking family, associated with nearby Clayhall. Given that these neighbours share a surname with the sisters who lived next to the Londors family in 1841, I wonder if this is the same address, and the cottage has simply been taken over by another member of the Hatton family?

The Londors family included an additional member on the night of the 1851 census: visitor Sarah Brown, aged 22, also from Barking. This is almost certainly the future wife of my great great grandfather, John Londors junior. From census records I knew that my 2 x great grandmother’s name was Sarah, but until recently I haven’t been able to confirm her surname. I’ve just obtained a copy of the birth certificate for John and Sarah’s son George (my great grandfather), who was born in 1863, which includes the information that Sarah’s surname was indeed Brown.

Searching for records of a marriage between John Londors and Sarah Brown, some time between the 1851 census and the birth of their first child in 1853, I found nothing in the Barking or Ilford area. However, I was intrigued to come across the record of the marriage of one John Schofield Londors to Sarah Ann Brown, at the church of St. Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney, on 29th June 1851 (the 1851 census, when ‘our’ John Londors and Sarah Brown were both in Barking, was taken on the night of 30th March). At first I dismissed this possibility, partly because of the location and partly because the name Schofield had not been mentioned in any of the other records I’d seen. On the positive side, however, was the fact that the name of the bridgegroom’s father was given as John Londors, a farmer (Sarah’s was James Brown, a housekeeper). One of the witnesses was Sarah Londors – perhaps John junior’s sister, who would have been about 21 at the time.

Further confirmation that this might be ‘our’ Londors family comes in the records of two other marriages in the same area, one in the same year and the other some 13 years later. In November 1851 Elizabeth Londors, also described as the daughter of John Londors, married George Smith at the parish church of Stratford-le-Bow. John Schofield Londors and Sarah Londors (either John’s sister, or his wife?) were witnesses. And in 1864 William Londors, another of John Londors’ offspring, married Caroline Harriet Feller at St. Thomas’ church in Stepney. The connection with ‘our’ Londors family is secured by the 1871 census record, which has Barking-born William, Shadwell-born Caroline and their young family back Barking, living not far from other members of the family.

It seems likely, then, that a number of the children of John and Mary Ann Londors moved to the Tower Hamlets area as young adults, probably in search of work.  Perhaps this explains why Sarah and Elizabeth were absent from the family home in Barking for the 1851 census. As for John Londors junior’s middle name – Schofield – I wonder if this was the maiden name of his mother, Mary Ann? It’s not a common name, so the fact that there were Schofields living close to the Londors family in Barking in 1841 (see above) seems more than a coincidence. Were William and Sarah Schofield Mary Ann’s parents – and were their names reflected in those of two of John and Mary Ann Londors’ children?

In my last post, I compared the records available for my rural English ancestors unfavourably with those on offer for my London forebears, especially since the digitisation of many London parish records. Now it seems as though this foray into the East End by some members of the Londors family means that we know much more about them than we had imagined.