Miss Mary BUTLER (1819/20–1854)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 10, Grave D58

Mary Butler

DIED SEPTEMBER XVII MDCCCIV / IN THE FATAL SICKNESS OF THAT SEASON / MARY BUTLER AGED XXXIV

[Other side]: SHE WAS A CONSTANT ATTENDANT AT DAILY / PRAYER IN THE SMALL CONGREGATION OF ST MARY MAGDALEN

Mary Butler was born in Great Milton, Oxfordshire in 1819/20 and baptised there on 30 January 1820. She was the daughter of the plumber & glazier George Henry Butler and his first wife Mary Phillips, who were both living in St Mary Magdalen parish when they were married at its church on 30 December 1817.

Mary’s does not appear to have any siblings, and at some point in her childhood her mother died. On 1 December 1831 her father appears to have married his second wife, Mary Haynes, at St Mary Magdalen Church.

At the time of the 1841 census Mary Butler (21) was living with Miss Mary Hanwell and her assistant teacher Miss Charlotte Nalder at the ladies’ seminary they ran in St Andrew’s Road, Old Headington.

By 1851 Mary Butler was lodging at 4 Beaumont Street with the widow Mrs Ann Peake. Soon after this census, she must have moved to St John Street in St Mary Magdalen parish.

As the inscription on her gravestone indicates, Mary Butler became one of the victims of the 1854 cholera epidemic in Oxford, which started with a fatal case in Walton Street on 6 August. (Dr Henry Acland’s Memoir on the cholera at Oxford, in the year 1854 can be seen online here.) She was unlucky, as there were only seven cases of cholera and two of choleric diarrhoea among the 2,461 inhabitants of St Mary Magdalen parish, and only one person from each of those two groups died. One of these was Mary:

† Miss Mary Butler died at St John Street at the age of 34 on 17 September 1854 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 18 September (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

The following death noticed appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 30 September 1854: “Sept. 17, in St. John’s-street, after a short illness, in the 35th year of her age, Mary, daughter of the late Mr. George Butler, of Wheatley, Oxon.”

Her will was proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PROB 11/2199/436) on 2 November 1854. She is described in it as a “Spinster of Headington” because she was still living there at the time that she wrote it. She made the following specific bequests: to her father George Butler, who was still a plumber and glazier of Great Milton, £500; to her stepmother Mary Butler £200; to her young cousins Thomas Allsop (a plumber) and Emma Allsop £200 each when they came of age; to Miss Mary Hanwell, the Headington schoolmistress, £50; to Charlotte Nalder, the governess at Miss Hanwell’s school, £50; and to John Hanwell £50.


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