In previous posts, I’ve set down what I’ve found out, both from my own researches and from the work of other family historians, about the Holdsworth family, and particularly about the descendants of Joseph Holdsworth (1735 – 1795). One of Joseph’s sons was William Holdsworth, my 4 x great grandfather. Another was Godfrey, whose family I wrote about here. I’ve now discovered some new information (and information I’d missed before) about Godfrey and his family, and I’ll be sharing my findings in this and future posts.

Born in 1773, Godfrey Holdsworth was the youngest son of Joseph and Elizabeth Holdsworth, and therefore the younger brother of my 4 x great grandfather, William Holdsworth. Godfrey married Diana Cam at St. Paul’s church in Covent Garden on 26th August 1793, when they were both 20 years old. Godfrey and Diana appear to have spent most of their married life in Mile End Old Town, which is where all six of their children were born (they were all baptised at St. Dunstan’s church, Stepney). Godfrey seems to have worked as a plumber for most of his life.

I’m not sure how it happened, but in my earlier post on this branch of the family I managed to completely overlook Godfrey and Diana’s daughter – also called Diana. She was born in Mile End Old Town on 14th November 1802 and christened at St. Dunstan’s on 26th December. On 14th October 1837 Diana married George Wood (born about 1802 in Tottenham Court Road) at St John’s church, Hackney.  Diana and George had four children, all born in Stepney: Jane Grace (born in 1829); George Truman (1830); Elizabeth Hannah (1832); and Eliza Ann (1834). I’ve been unable to discover what became of George or Eliza Ann, but I’ve discovered a fair amount about Jane and Elizabeth.

St. Dunstan's, Stepney

At the time of the 1841 census the family was living in Jubilee Street, Mile End Old Town, and Godfrey was working as a clerk. Some time around 1849, daughter Jane Grace Wood married Spitalfields-born leather seller Thomas Felton. They would have seven children during the next two decades. The 1851 census record appears to include some double-counting. According to one record, Jane Felton and her two small children, Elizabeth and Thomas, were staying with her parents, George and Diana Wood, at 25 Coburn Street, Stratford-le-Bow. Both children are said to have been born in Shadwell. George Wood is now described as a clerk in the ‘E.W. India Dock company service’, an occupation he shares with his 21 year old son George.  Daughters Elizabeth and Eliza are still living at home, and the family has a general servant, 32 year old Louisa Crouch. Meanwhile, the record for 2 King David Lane, Shadwell, shows Thomas Felton, his wife Jane and baby son Thomas, as well as 18 year old house servant, Mary A. Burt.

The 1861 census has George Wood, clerk to the East and West India Dock Company, with his wife Diana and 11 year old granddaughter Elizabeth Jane Felton, living at Billiter Square in Aldgate, in a property described as ‘East and West India Dock House’. With them are a housekeeper and his wife and daughter.

East & West India Dock Company building, Billiter Square

I’ve yet to find the Feltons in the census record for this year. Meanwhile, another daughter – Elizabeth Hannah Wood – had married confectioner Henry Farey Beeton in April 1855. By the time of the 1861 census, Elizabeth and Henry were living in Kentish Town with their three small children. Since Henry is now described as a bread and biscuit baker, and at the same address are a shopwoman (Matilda Wood – any relation, I wonder?) and two bakers’ handymen, we must assume that they were living over their own baker’s shop.

Henry Farey Beeton died in 1863. His will is interesting, since it claims that he died at Calcutta in the East Indies. He is said to be ‘formerly of 10 White-Horse-Lane Stepney but late of 1 Warkworth-terrace Commercial-road Limehouse’, which is also the address given for his widow Elizabeth Hannah Beeton.  Elizabeth married again in 1869, to Norfolk-born flour and malt factor William Williams. At the time of the 1871 census they are living at Belgrave Villas, Ilford Road, Stratford, with four children from William’s first marriage, as well as Elizabeth’s daughters Ellen and Marian, plus a servant, groom and washerwoman. (William Williams had been a mill owner in Hindringham, Norfolk, and he and his first wife Harriet had six children in all. Harriet died in 1860.)

Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s other daughter, Elizabeth Jane, now 13, was staying with her grandparents. By 1871 George Wood had retired from East and West India Dock Company and was living at 1 Stratford Green in West Ham with his wife Diana, and a general servant, 21 year old Kezia Patstow. Their daughter Jane and husband Thomas Felton were close by, in Stratford High Street, with their six children and a servant. Since Thomas was still working as a leather seller, perhaps they too were living over the family shop.

Stratford High Street, 1890

George Wood seems to have died by the time of the 1881 census, when his widow Diana can be found in Stratford High Street, in the house of her (step) grandson Charles Williams, described as a manager.  The rest of the Williams family – William, Elizabeth and their various daughters and step-daughters – were living in Romford Road, West Ham. The two Beeton girls were both working as schoolteachers. By now William and Elizabeth had a daughter of their own: Emily, born in 1872.

By this time the Fenton family was living in Poplar High Street, where Thomas had gone into business as a corn, flour and coal dealer, employing is adult son Thomas as a secretary and messenger and his 16 year old daughter Grace as an assistant. Perhaps Thomas Fenton and William Williams were business associates?

Diana Wood nee Holdsworth died on 6th January 1884 at the age of 81. The executors were Thomas Felton, corn merchant of High Street, Poplar and William Walker of 1 Park Villa, Margery Road, West Ham (I’ve yet to discover who the latter was, or his connection to Diana).

In 1891 the Feltons were in Skelton Road, Forest Gate, where Thomas had changed his occupation yet again and was now working as a ‘traveller’ and candle manufacturer. Living with them were their unmarried daughters Marian, a teacher of music, and Agnes, a milliner. Thomas died in 1896 and Jane in 1900.

I’ve yet to find out when William Williams and Elizabeth Williams nee Wood died, but so far there’s no sign of them in the 1891 census.