The Family of Sophy Maria Wells formerly Belsham
I am grateful to Albert Abel for information on James Belsham
Sophy Maria was born 7 December 1839 and baptised
8 March 1840 at Theydon Mount, a daughter of James Belsham, of Tawney Common,
gardener and Sophia formerly Brewitt.
In the 1841 census of Tawney Common, in the home
of her parents, Sophia was aged 1 and born in Essex.
In 1851, at High Street, Epping
Town (near the chapel), Sophia Belsham was aged 11
and born at Stapleford Tawney. She was described as a niece and companion to
Elizabeth Lee, a widow aged 77 an annuitant born at Hatfield
Broad Oak, Essex. (Is Lucy Eliza Lucy,
late Collins, formerly Lee Elizabeth Lee’s daughter?)
In 1861, in the census index , she was aged 23, a
servant, at Lee St Margaret, Kent, and born at Tawney,
She married Jesse Wells. The certificate states that the marriage took place
after banns at Knockholt parish church on 22 August
1864. Jesse Wells was aged 22, a labourer of Knockholt
and a son of Stephen Wells, a labourer. Sophia was aged 24 and of Knockholt, a daughter of James Belsham,
a gardener. The witnesses were George Wells, Stephen Wells, Mary Ann Blundell
and Frances E. Belsham.
In 1871, at 40 Tylney Road, Bromley, Jessie (sic) was aged 29, a carpenter
born at Knockholt, Sophia, his wife, was aged 31 and
born at Tawney, Essex and James B, their son, was
aged 4 and born at Bromley. There were
also two lodgers.
In 1877 Sophia Wells, the wife of Jesse Wells, builder, was living in
In the 1881 census, Jesse Wells and his wife Sophia M were living at 4 Tylney Road, Bromley, Kent. They were aged 39 and 41 and
born at Knockholt, Kent, and Stapleford Tawney, Essex respectively. Jesse was a carpenter and
builder employing 3 men. With them were four children, Lilly M (9, born
Bromley), Earnest J (5, Bromley), Lizie A (3,
Bromley), and Leonard R (1, Bromley). There was also a general servant, Emily Coborne, aged 13, born at Otford.
In 1885 Sophia received a bequest of £500 from the estate of Lucy Eliza
In the census of 1891, at 7 Bayham Road, Sevenoaks, Jesse was aged 49, a carpenter and
builder born at Knockholt. His wife, Sophia M. was aged 51 and born at
Their children were Lily M aged 19, a postal clerk, Lizzie A, aged 18 a
dressmaker’s apprentice, and Leonard R aged 10. All were born in Bromley. There was also two boarders, Rachel Howland
and Alice Howland, aged 55 and 20 respectively.
In 1901, at 29 Coleden Road, Sevenoaks, Jesse was
aged 58, a joiner and decorator, (an employer working from home), born at Knockholt, Kent. Sophy Wells was
aged 61, born at Tawney, Essex. With them was their married son Ernest, aged 25, a carpenter,
(employee, working at home), daughter-in-law Blanch, aged 22, born at Dover,
and grandchildren Mildred aged 2, born Sevenoaks, and Victoria aged 1 and born
at Acton, Middx.
There is a death registration for
Jesse Wells in the Sevenoaks district in the June quarter 1905. He was aged 63.
In 1911 (Index) in the Sevenoaks
district, Sophy was aged 71 and had no-one surnamed
Wells living with her.
Sophy and Jesse's children were:
- James Belsham Wells, born on
26 Jan 1867 in Widsmore, Bromley, Kent. In the census of 1881 he may have been
boarding with Stammers family, at Frugal Cottage, east Molesey,
Surrey. He was aged 14 but was born
in Winchelsey, Kent. However there is no James B Wells born
around Winchelsea between 1865 and 1868 in the
GRO birth indexes (freebmd). He was a carpenter and joiner when Lilly
May was born. He emigrated to Australia and married Elizabeth Harriett
Noyes (born on 7 Aug 1871 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia) on 2 Jan
1888 in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia.. Family
information suggested that James returned to England with his family, to
serve in the military forces. After his death (?) the family returned to
Australia. No military records have been found to date (24 Jun. 2004). In the census of 1901 this Wells
family, without JB Wells, were at the Bromley Union Workhouse. It is
presumed that he was attending to military matters, according to the
family. He was apparently killed in action, prior to the family's return
to Australia sometime before September 1904. No verification has been
established, yet. Another source of
family information suggests that he deserted his family and
disappeared. Elizabeth died on 25
Feb 1928 in Brisbane Qld. James Belsham
Wells and Elizabeth Harriett had the following children:
- Leonard Belsham Wells, born 1 July 1889 in Brisbane,
Australia. He was still alive in October 1953.
- Lilly May Wells (1891 -
1953), born 7 May 1891 in Acacia Street, Killarney, Queensland,
Australia. She married Phillip John Abel in 1907. She died 2 October 1953
in Brisbane, Queensland.
- Ethel Blanche Wells
(1893 - 1969), born 31 October 1893 in Killarney, Glengallan,
Queensland, Australia. She died 3 September 1969 in Sydney, New South
Wales and is buried in Killarney Cemetery, Queensland.
- Ivy Sophy
Wells, born 14 August 1895.
- Florence Maud Wells,
born 1899 (no birth registration in Queensland,
may have been born in England?).
- Cyril James Wells, born
25 May 1900 in Kensington, England. He enlisted in the military 2 May
1942 in Rockhampton, Queensland, service number
were further children born to Elizabeth Harriet Noyes after she and her
children returned to Australia - Evelyn, born 13 June 1905 in Country,
Queensland, and Francis Henry, born 18 March 1910 in Country, Queensland, and
she married again in 1914.
- Lily May Wells, birth registered in the December
quarter of 1871 in the district of Bromley.
- Ernest Jesse Wells, birth registered in the June
quarter of 1875 in the district of Bromley. He married Blanch and their children
- Mildred Wells, born
about 1899 at Sevenoaks
- Victoria Wells, born
about 1900 at Acton
- Lizzie Agnes Wells, birth registered in the June
quarter of 1877 in the district of Bromley. She married Edward John Pease-Ephgrave in the September quarter of 1896 in the Dover
district. In the 1901 census of 26 Priory Road, Acton, living in 4 rooms,
she was aged 23 and born in Bromley, Kent. With her were her husband,
Edward John Ephgrave aged 24, assistant
schoolmaster (worker) and born at Dover and their children Edward John
aged 4 born at Poplar and Constance Sophy aged 1
and born at Acton. There was also a brother of Edward, William David Ephgrave aged 15, a baker (worker), born at Dover.
Lizzie and Edward's children were:
- Edward John Ephgrave, born about 1896 at Poplar.
- Constance Sophy Ephgrave, born about
1899 at Acton.
- Leonard Ralph Wells, birth registered in the September
quarter of 1879 in the district of Bromley.
Posted October 2009