Alfred DAVENPORT (1849–1932)
Mrs Sophie Charlotte DAVENPORT, née Maturin (1849–1922)
With an inscription to their son
Captain Frank Maturin Davenport (1888–1915), killed in the First World War
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 37, Grave L56½
[The inscription on the front of this
gravestone is almost completely worn
away, but must have referred to
SOPHIE CHARLOTTE DAVENPORT,
who died in 1922, and her husband
ALFRED DAVENPORT, who died in 1932]
Side of grave (shown below):
ALSO IN MEMORY OF
HER ONLY SON FRANK
[rest worn away, but probably states that he died in Mesopotamia at the age of 27 on 22 November 1915]
Alfred Davenport was born at 62 St Giles’s Street on 5 May 1849 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 29 May. He was the sixth child and fifth son of John Marriott Davenport, solicitor and Clerk of the Peace for the City of Oxford, and Sophie Anne Walker. For more about his parents and siblings, see their grave.
At the time of the 1851 census Alfred (1) was home with his parents and five of his siblings at 62 St Giles’s Street; the family had four servants. He was again at home with them in 1861 when he was 11, and two years later he went to Rugby School. On 27 January 1868 at the age of 18 he was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Balliol College, and obtained his MA in 1871.
Davenport represented and captained the University of Oxford rugby side, and on 27 March 1871 played in the first ever international rugby match, Scotland vs. England, held at Edinburgh on 27 March 1871.
At the time of the 1871 census Alfred Davenport (21) was a solicitor lodging at 8 West Chapel Street in Mayfair; and in 1881 he was still a bachelor, lodging in London.
Sophie Charlotte Maturin was born in Adelaide in Australia in 1849, the daughter of William Henry Maturin (1814–1889) and Charlotte Owen Bagot (1824–1893).
Sophie’s father William Henry Maturin had gone to Australia in 1843 to work in the Commissariat Department, and by 1851 was the Private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor. His department was abolished in 1857, and retired on half-pay to England. For more about her father, see his entry in Wikipedia.
The family came to London in 1859. At the time of the 1861 census Sophie was 11 years old and living at Paddington with her parents William (47) and Charlotte (35). Also at home were her siblings William (10), Charles (4), and Dumond (6). The family had a cook, nursemaid, nurse, and pageboy.
The family is hard to find in the 1871 and 1881 census, and they may have been abroad again.
On 20 December 1885 at St Jude’s Church in Kensington, Alfred Davenport of 17 Kensington Park Gardens married Sophie Charlotte Maturin of 5 Courtfield Gardens. They had two children:
- Frank Maturin Davenport (born at 2 Roland Mansions, London in 1888 and baptised at St Jude’s Church, Kensington on 10 March)
- Dorothy Lettice Davenport (born at 13 Evelyn Terrace, London on 25 October 1889 and baptised at St Mary Abbotts, Kensington on 15 November).
At the time of the 1891 census Alfred Davenport (41) was back in Oxford, and he and his wife Sophie (40) and their children Frank (2) and Dorothy (1) were living at 62 St Giles’s Street with Alfred’s widowed mother Mrs Sophia Davenport (71) and two of Alfred’s unmarried brothers.
In 1901 Alfred (51) and his wife Sophie (51) were living at 43 Emlyn Gardens, Kensington with their daughter Dorothy Lettice (11), looked after by a housemaid, parlourmaid, cook, and a child’s maid. Their son Frank (12) was then boarding at a prep school in Ripley, Surrey: he proceeded to his father’s school, Rugby, and then went on to Sandhurst Military College, where he obtained his commission in 1909.
In 1911 Alfred and Sophie Davenport (both 61) were still at the same address with their daughter, with a lady’s maid instead of a child’s maid; and Frank (22) was serving in India as a Second Lieutenant with the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.
By 1915 the Davenports had moved to 43 Evelyn Gardens, South Kensington.
Frank Maturin Davenport, a career soldier, served in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, first as a Corporal in the 43rd (1st) Battalion and then as a Captain in the 52nd Battalion.
He was killed in action in Clesiphon in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) at the age of 27 on 22 November 1915. CWGC page
He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Basra Memorial (Panel 26 and 63), and his name was later added to his parents’ grave in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery (right).
Frank’s home address was given as that of his parents, 43 Evelyn Gardens, South Kensington, at the time of his death.
The following obituary appeared in The Times on 29 November 1915:
CAPTAIN FRANK MATURIN DAVENPORT, of the 1st Oxfordshire and Bucks Light Infantry, who is reported killed between November 22 and 24 in Mesopotamia, was born in 1888 and after being educated at Rugby and Sandhurst obtained his commission in February 1909. He played in the football XV. at both Rugby and Sandhurst. He had served with his regiment in Burmah and India, and, since November, 1914, with the Indian Expeditionary Force in the Persian Gulf. He was the only son of Mr. Alfred Davenport, of 43 Evelyn-gardens, S.W. (and 48, Chancery-lane, W.C.) and of Sophie Davenport, daughter of W. H. Maturin C.B.
The following notice appeared in The Times on 6 December 1915: “A service in memory of Captain Frank Maturin Davenport, 1st Oxfordshire and Bucks Light Infantry, will be held at St. Peter’s, Cranley-gardens, S.W., next Thursday, at 3 o’clock.”
His effects came to £3,433 17s. 6d., and probate was granted to his mother, Sophie Charlotte Davenport.
His journal A Sad Parting was published in a limited edition of 30 copies.
Two of Frank’s cousins, who lived at Davenport House in Headington, were also to die in the war:
Mrs Davenport died in Worcestershire in 1922:
† Mrs Sophie Charlotte Davenport, née Maturin died at the Manor House, Abbots Morton, Worcestershire at the age of 72 on 10 January 1922 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 13 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).
Her effects came to £2,535 8s. 5d., and her husband Alfred Davenport was her executor: he must have had the words in memory of his only son added to his wife’s grave.
Alfred Davenport died at Bagley Wood near Oxford in 1932:
†Alfred Davenport St John’s Copse, Bagley Wood at the age of 82 on 2 April 1932 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 5 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).
His effects came to £40,455 1s. 8d., and probate was granted to his daughter Dorothy.
Their only surviving child Dorothy Lettice Davenport never married. She died in the Abingdon district at the age of 80 in 1970.