In my recent update on the Ellis family of Richmond Street, Soho, I wrote about Mary Ann Ellis, who was born in 1817 to Thomas and Sarah Ellis, and who married Whitechapel stationer John Blacklock on 6 May 1841 at St George in the East. The parish register describes John, who lived at 118 High Street Whitechapel, as the son of George Blacklock, a plasterer. Sarah’s address is given as 3 Bostock Street, St George in the East.

I’ve been puzzling over how Mary Ann, who was born in Soho, came to be living in Wapping (which is where Bostock Street is to be found: see map below) and how she met and married a stationer from Whitechapel. I think I’ve now found the answer, and in the process uncovered some more interesting information about the Ellis family. Researching Mary Ann’s husband John, I came across a baptismal record that seemed to match: a John Blacklock was christened on 14 June 1812 at St George in the East (he was born on 10 April). His parents were George Blacklock, a plasterer, and his wife Hannah, and their address was given as Bostock Street.

In this section from Horwood's 1792 map, Bostock Street appears as 'Bosket Street'. This area would be transformed by the construction of the London Dock. (Click on image to open in new window, then click again to enlarge)

My next step was to try to find out more about George and Hannah Blacklock. Having been unsuccessful in tracking down any further information in the births, marriages and death records, I looked to see if George had left a will. It appeared that he hadn’t – but instead I came across the 1804 will of John Blacklock, plasterer of St George in the East.  This John Blacklock also lived in Bostock Street. His wife’s name was Ann and a number of children are mentioned in the will: Joseph, an apprentice cabinet maker, another son, William, and two daughters, Ann and Mary.

There is no mention of a son called George, but searches in the IGI and baptismal records have led me to conclude that John and Ann Blacklock had at least seven children: Susanna (born in 1777), William (1780), James (1781), George (1784), Ann (1788), Joseph (1788) and Mary (date unknown). All were christened at St George in the East, and all were born in Old Gravel Lane, the main north-south road through Wapping, which joined on to Bostock Street. I don’t know why John failed to mention all of these children in his will.

Given his address and occupation, it’s almost certain that George, son of John and Ann Blacklock, was the father of John Blacklock, the stationer who married Mary Ann Ellis.  Since this George was born in 1784, he would have been 28 when his son John was born in 1812. We know that George’s wife was named Hannah. Searching for a marriage record that matched, I made another interesting discovery. On 23 September 1810 (when ‘our’ George would have been 26), a George Blacklock got married at St. Mary, Islington to Hannah Ellis.  I haven’t been able to find definite confirmation that this is the right couple, but all the evidence points in that direction. One of the witnesses was Ann Blacklock: since George’s father John had died six years earlier, this is probably his mother.

So far, I’ve been unable to discover any more about Hannah’s background or family. There are a number of possible births around the right time, including at least one in Shropshire, where we know ‘our’ Ellis family originated. Besides the baptismal records for their children, the only other documentary evidence I have for George and Hannah is their burial records – and one mention in the census records. In 1841, George, 57, a plasterer, and Hannah, 64, were living in Bostock Street. The writing is very faint, but it appears that Hannah was born ‘out of county’, in about 1777. With the Blacklocks are Ann Ellis, 54, also apparently born elsewhere, and Sarah Ellis, 13, who was born in Middlesex. I’m still trying to work out who these two were, and where they fit into the ever-expanding Ellis family tree. However, their presence is some confirmation that I’ve identified the ‘right’ marriage for George and Hannah. Hannah Blacklock would die later in 1841 and her husband George in 1848.

In answer to my questions at the beginning of this post, it appears that, in marrying John Blacklock, Mary Ann Ellis was almost certainly marrying a relative. One possibility is that Hannah Ellis, John’s mother, was the sister of Mary Ann’s father Thomas. This would make her Mary Ann’s aunt and would mean that Mary Ann and John were first cousins. It’s also likely that Mary Ann was living or staying in Bostock Street with her Blacklock relatives – who were also her future in-laws – at the time of her marriage.

However, there are other Bostock street connections, and Ellis links to the area, which may help to illuminate these family ties. I’ll explore some of these in another post.