Continuing with my account of the children of John and Mary Ann Londors (my 3 x great grandparents on my mother’s side), in this post I’ll be setting down what we know about their daughter Mary Ann, who was the fifth of their seven children and lived to the age of 90 but never married.

Mary Ann was born in Barking some time between July and September 1840 and at the time of the 1841 census was a baby of 11 months, living with her parents and older siblings at White Hall. In 1851, when she was ten, Mary was with the Londors family at ‘Beehive’, Barkingside, where she now had two younger brothers: James, 8, and George, 5.  Ten years later, when she was 21, she was still living at home but now working as a farm servant ‘in door’.

However, when the 1871 census was taken, Mary Ann, now 30, was living away from home, and working as a domestic servant in Stamford Hill. Her employer was 67 year old John Henry Cross, editor of the evangelical Religious Tract Society. Cross had been born in Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel, in 1803, and in 1832 married Elizabeth Very in Hoxton. The 1841 census record, which finds him living in Cavendish Street, Shoreditch with Elizabeth and their two young children, John James and Sarah Tyler Cross, describes him as a printer. By 1851, when the family are at 29 New Gloucester Street, Hoxton, he has become an ‘editor of magazines and author’. We know that Cross was chief editorial assistant on the Child’s Companion, or Sunday Scholar’s Reward and that under his care it ‘acquired a new lease of life and increased its circulation to 39,000 monthly in 1850’.

Religious Tract Society repository, Paternoster Row

I’ve been unable to find any of the Cross family in the 1861 census and I don’t know where Elizabeth or the children would have been in 1871. Although the census record describes John Henry Cross as ‘married’, he is the only resident of the house at 16 Clapton Road, Stamford Hill, besides Mary Londors and one other servant. The latter is 16 year old Eliza Sarah Neat, who coincidentally (?) was born in Woodford, Essex.

The discovery of Mary Ann Londors’ whereabouts in 1871 potentially opens up two fruitful new lines of enquiry. One concerns the religious affiliation of the Londors family, something I’ve had no information on until now. I wonder if John Cross would have employed a domestic servant who wasn’t sympathetic to his own evangelical Christian creed? It’s possible that Mary obtained the position through a church connection.

As for the presence of Eliza Neat at the same address, this presents the possibility of pushing our knowledge of the Londors family further back into the past. Mary Ann’s father John was born in Woodford, so I wonder if Eliza is a relative? Perhaps she found out about the position with John Cross through Mary, or vice versa, or they both came via a mutual relation?

Eliza, born in 1855, was probably the daughter of Samuel and Martha Neat of Woodford, and it appears that Martha was born in Barking, so perhaps there is a connection with the Londors family there. In 1881 Eliza would be living with her aunt, also Eliza, in Horn Lane, Woodford. It would seem that the older Eliza, like her brother Samuel, was born in Walthamstow. Eliza Sarah would marry in 1881, but I’ve been unable to discover the name of her husband.

Victorian domestic servants

By 1881, when she was 40, Mary Londors had also moved elsewhere. She was still working as a domestic servant, but now she was in the service of 70 year old widow Mary Ann Trotman at 16 Loughborough Road, Brixton. Mrs. Trotman had ‘money in funds’ and lived with her 30 year old niece, another Mary Trotman. Once again, Mary Londors shared duties with a younger servant, in this case 14 year old Anne Buckland from Swindon.

Mary Trotman, who was born Mary Ann Cordery in Southwark in 1811, was the widow of Somerset-born William Trotman, a boilermaker and factory owner who eventually employed 16 men and 6 boys. William died in 1868; the couple had no children. Their niece Mary seems to have been the daughter of William’s sister.

By 1891, Mary, now 50, is back in Barking, living at Hattons Cottages (the original family home?) with her unmarried brother James, 47, and not far from her brothers William and John. No occupation is given for Mary at this date.

In 1901 Mary, now 60, and James, 57, are still at 1 Carswell Cottages (almost certainly the same address), where James is still working as a farm labourer, while Mary is described as a housekeeper ‘at home’.

In the 1911 census Mary, 70, and James, 68, are still living together at Carswell Cottage, Roding Lane (again, almost certainly the same address). James is described as a retired farm labourer and Mary as a housekeeper ‘at home’.

James Londors died in 1926. There is evidence that Mary remained at the same address until her death on 29 May 1931, when she was 90 years old.  The record in the National Probate calendar states that Mary Ann Londors of Carswell Cottages, Roding Lane, Barkingside, spinster, left her effects, valued at £582 16s 2d, to William Smith, retired mechanic, and Ernest Victor Smith, confectioner and tobacconist. These were Mary’s nephews, sons of her sister Elizabeth.


I’ve just remembered that this post is not the first time I’ve mentioned the Religious Tract Society on this blog. In an earlier post I quoted from a certificate presented to Thomas Bowman Robb, brother of my paternal grandfather, for ‘excellence in biblical knowledge’. The award was presented in 1895 at Betts Street School, Stepney by ‘Mr. Francis Pechey and the Religious Tract Society’.