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Sarah Brain. From Oxfordshire to Essex. A story.


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My great, great, great grandmother was Sarah Brain born in December 1842 in the village of Bletchingdon in Oxfordshire. She was the daughter of Thomas and Maria Brain.

Maria Brain died in 1848 when Sarah was 5. The 1851 census shows the Brain family living in Bletchingdon. Sarah is aged 8 and "at home". her fathers cousin is the housekeeper. Thomas Brain sadly died in 1854. Sarah was orphaned aged 12. Herself, her 2 sisters went into service and her brother joined the Army.

Sarah probably left Bletchingdon in about 1857 or 1858 to move to Oxford City where she moved in with her employer Henry Ladd, a fancy stationer at 10 High Street, Oxford City. Sarah is an 18 year old servant at that address in the 1861 census, born Bletchingdon.

Now, here is something interesting. In about 1862, Sarah Brain and Henry Ladd left Oxford and the county. An 1863 directory lists a Henry Ladd as a stationer at High Street, Spalding, Lincolnshire. There is no one that matches that in the 1861 census for the entire Lincolnshire.

It is likely that Sarah Brain moved to Spalding from Oxford. In October 1863, Henry Ladd married in London and was of Camberwell. That is interesting as Sarah Brain was to marry in nearby Lambeth later on.

By 1865, she was dating Essex born John Wallaker, a Thames waterman. They married on the 21st February 1866 at St Mary, Lambeth, London and were of Catherine Street, Lambeth.

It certainly looks as if Sarah moved around with her stationer employer Henry Ladd 1861-1863 from Oxford, to possibly Spalding then to South London.

After Sarah Brain married, she moved to the peaceful island of Foulness in Essex, her new husbands birthplace, 40 miles east of Camberwell and a good 80 miles from her birthplace. My great, great grandmother was born in July 1866 in Foulness Island.

Sarah settled there, after a decade of moving around the country. The 1871 census has her at Foulness with children Gertrude and Mary Ann. She is on the 1881 census at Great Stambridge, Essex with her husband John and further children Edgar and Alice.

By 1886 Sarah had been an Essex resident for 20 years. She is on the 1891 census at Great Stambridge. Her husband was out at sea at that time. Sarah died in December 1896 aged 54, of which I have not yet obtained her death certificate. Thus ending a colourful life. She was buried on the 30th December 1896 at Great Stambridge.

What a story.


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