The Family of Frances Elizabeth Williams formerly Belsham

Frances was born 4 December 1845 and baptised 15 March 1846, a daughter of James Belsham, of Howfield, Stapleford Tawney, a gardener and Sophia formerly Brewitt.

In the 1851 census of Church House, Stapleford Tawney, in the home of her parents, Frances was aged 3 and born at Stapleford Tawney.

In the 1861 census of Theydon Garnon, at Worters Farm, Frances E. Belsham, aged 15, a pupil teacher and born at Stapleford Tawney, was living with her married sister, Lucy Eliza West.

She married Walter Williams on 13 May 1871 at St Mary Kilburn after banns. Walter was a bachelor and carpenter of Withersfield (near Haverhill, Suffolk), the son of Edward Williams, a farmer. Frances was of Abbey Road, St Johns Wood, the daughter of James Belsham, a gardener. They were both of full age. The witnesses were Joseph West and Sarah West.

In the 1881 census of 65 Truman [Street (omitted)], Nottingham, Walter Williams was aged 30, a grocer and joiner, born at Withersfield, Suffolk. His wife was Jane Maria aged 28 and born at Cambridge (St Mary). There were also three children, all born at Nottingham, with the eldest aged 4, so born about 1876. In the 1901 census, the same family was at 29 Burton Street, Nottingham. It seemed that Frances had died and Walter had married again. There was a suitable marriage of Walter Williams to Jane Maria C. Clapham in the Cambridge district in the December quarter 1875 (3b 1202); and a suitable death for Frances Williams aged 27 in the Risbridge district, March quarter of 1874. The Risbridge district includes Withersfield, and it is likely that after Frances' marriage, as the groom was of Withersfield, they would have gone back to live there. Unfortunately, when this death certificate was obtained it was not clear whether this was the correct entry of death for Frances Williams, the wife of Walter Williams, though the balance of probabilities suggests that it is. The death occurred on 2nd January 1874 at Withersfield. Frances Williams was aged 27, a schoolmistress, and died of phthisis (i.e. tuberculosis). The informant was Emma Williams of Withersfield (no relationship was stated). The IGI has the baptism of a Walter Williams, the son of Edward and Emma Williams, 19 May 1850 at Withersfield, which would suggest that the informant was Frances' mother-in-law. In the census of 1861 Frances was a pupil teacher and this strengthens the likelihood that it is the correct certificate.

When the 1881 census of Withersfield was searched (IGI) there were a few Williams families - those of Stephen aged 27, William aged 45, Henry aged 49 and James aged 46. They were all married and not widowered. Emma Williams was found aged 58 a widow born at Haverhill, with her son (sic) Frederick aged 8, born at Withersfield. I wondered whether Frederick could have been Walter and Frances' son, being brought up by granny, but enquiries at the Bury St Edmonds Register Office showed that Frederick was not born at Withersfield. He may have been the illegitimate son of Mary Ann Williams born in Cambridge in 1872 and Mary Ann could have been a daughter of Edward and Emma Williams (the IGI has baptisms of Withersfield only up to 1853). A search of the IGI for a baptism of Frances Williams 1844 - 1848 in Suffolk gave no possibilities so the death in 1874 is unlikely to be an unmarried Frances Williams born at Withersfield. On balance it seems that the death found is the correct one.

There do not seem to be any children of the marriage.

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Posted January 2008