William DAVIS (c.1797–1864)
His wife Mrs Catharine DAVIS (c.1800–1852)
St Paul’s section: Row 9, Grave A9½ [St Paul ref. G6]
IN MEMORY OF
WHO DIED DEC. 6, 1852
AGED 52 YEARS.
WHO DIED OCT. 18, 1864,
AGED 67 YEARS.
William Davis was born in Margate, Kent according to the 1851 census (but the 1861 census states London). His year of birth is equally uncertain: according his entry in the burial register suggests c.1792, his gravestone c.1797, and the censuses c.1799.
Mrs Catharine Mason (maiden name unknown) was born at Bow, Essex in c.1800.
William Davis married the young widow Mrs Catharine Mason in the early 1820s, and they had the following children:
- Mary Catharine Davis (born at Regent Street, London in c.1825)
- William John Davis (born at Workhouse Lane [Little Clarendon Street], Oxford in 1828 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 9 May)
- Charles Samuel Davis (born in Jericho, Oxford in 1830 and baptised at St Thomas’s Church on 11 July)
- George Smith Davis (born in Oxford near Tagg’s Gardens on 18 October 1832 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 9 November); died aged 3 and buried in that churchyard on 8 July 1835
- Richard Henry Davis, later known as Henry Richard Davis (born in Oxford in 1835 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 13 May)
- Anne Newby Davis (born at Observatory Street, Oxford in 1837 and baptised at St Giles’s Church on 29 September).
The couple evidently began their married life in London, but by 1828 had moved to Oxford and were living at Little Clarendon Street. By 1830 they had moved to the Jericho area (which was then still in the parish of St Thomas), and by 1832 they had moved back to St Giles’s parish. By 1837 their address was given as Observatory Street (which was in the new St Paul’s district chapelry).
In 1832 William Davis was described as a carpenter; he was still a carpenter in 1835, but when Anne was baptised in 1837, he was described as a timber merchant.
At the time of the 1841 census William (age given as 48, but fluctuates) and Catharine (40) were living in Observatory Street with their five surviving children: Mary (15), William (13), Charles (11), Richard (6), and Anne (3).
Their eldest daughter was married in 1846:
- On 7 September 1846 at St Paul’s Church, Mary Catharine Davis married the schoolmaster John Cross of St Giles’s parish, the son of John Cross of Observatory Street, described as a timber merchant in the marriage announcement in the Oxford University and City Herald.
Mary's daughter Emily Eliza Cross was born in St Giles’s parish in 1847 and baptised at St Paul's Church on 1 August. The couple seem to have separated by early 1851: from that time, Mary described herself as married, but was not with her husband.
At the time of the 1851 census William Davis (53), timber merchant, was living at Observatory Street with his wife Catharine (52); their married daughter Mrs Mary Catharine Cross (25) with her own daughter Emily Cross (3); their sons William (22) and Charles (20), neither of whom was listed with an occupation; and their daughter Anne (13).
Catharine Davis died in 1852:
† Mrs Catharine Davis died at Observatory Street at the age of 52 on 6 December 1852 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
Either the date on the gravestone or the one in the parish register must be wrong: burials did not take place as late as two weeks after death. The sexton’s book (which shows that she was buried at a depth of nine feet in the area that St Paul's described as G.6)) also states that the burial took place on 20 December, so perhaps the death actually took place on 16 December.
Two of her sons were married the following year:
- On 15 December 1853 at St Giles’s Church, William John Davis (25), described as a timber merchant, married Mary Elizabeth Stevens (20) of Headington, the daughter of the fruiterer Richard Stevens;
- Near the end of 1853 in the Clerkenwell district Charles Samuel Davis married Sarah Davis, who was born in Chelsea in c.1833.
At the time of the 1861 census William Davis (62), now a retired timber merchant, was living at 39 Observatory Street with his daughter Mrs Mary Catharine Cross (34) and his granddaughter Emily Cross (13).
William Davis died in 1864:
† William Davis died at Observatory Street at the age of about 67 on 18 October 1864 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 24 October (burial recorded in the parish register St Paul’s Church).
His gravestone says he was 67 when he died, but the parish register stated that he was 72. His effects came to under £2,000, and his son Henry Richard Davis was one of the executors.
Surviving children of William and Catharine Davis
- Mary Catharine Davis, Mrs Cross (born 1825) was aged 45 in 1871 and living at Islip in the home of her unmarried younger sister Anne Davis: both were described as houseowners. Her daughter Emily Elizabeth Cross married the publisher’s clerk William Reader at Bicester in 1872, and Mary went to live with them in Lewisham. They were living at 11 Brownhill Road in 1881. Mary Catharine Cross died at Lewisham in early 1883 at the age of 57 and was buried in Ladywell & Brockley Cemetery. Her daughter Mrs Emily Elizabeth Reader’s book Priestess and Queen was published in 1899.
- William John Davis (born 1828) probably lost his wife Elizabeth just a year after his wedding, as it was announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal that the wife of a William John Davis had died in Summertown on 17 February 1855 at the age of 22. He was living at Observatory Street on 21 December 1878, when he was charged with leaving a quantity of gravel in Upper Walton Street overnight without protecting it with a barrier or a light.
- Charles Samuel Davis (born 1830) was working as a timber merchant in Oxford in 1861, living at Blenheim Place in St Giles’s parish with his wife Sarah (27) and their first three children. In about 1863 they moved to Chatham in Kent, and at the time of the 1871 census Charles (40), who was now a draughtsman’s clerk, was living there at Star Villa with his wife and their children Charles (15), who was a clerk in a builder’s office, and William (13), Henry (11), Annie (8), Emily (6), Bessie (3), and Albert (1). In 1891 he was an assistant civil engineer, living at 2 Crescent Road, Tottenham with Albert (21) who was an assistant draughtsman, and Alfred (17), who was a clerk. In 1901 Charles (70) was an Admiralty pensioner, living at 1 Crescent Road, Tottenham with his wife and his son Alfred (27), a merchant’s clerk, and his married daughter Emily Dymond (36) and her son Horace. By 1911 Charles (80) had moved to 1 Morton Gardens, Walllington, Surrey with his wife and son Alfred: four of his ten children had predeceased him. Charles Samuel Davis died in Croydon at the age of 85 in 1916.
- Richard Henry Davis, later Henry Richard Davis (born 1835) married Elizabeth Lowe in 1859 in Hackney, and they had two children: Henry Lowe Davis (1860) and Elizabeth Lowe Davis (1861). He was described as a civil engineer living at 133 Richmond Road, Middlesex,when he was the executor of his father’s will in 1864. At the time of the 1881 census Henry Richard Davis (45), a draughtsman at the War Office, was living at 139 Richmond Road, Hackney with his wife Elizabeth (46) and their children Henry (20), who was a clerk and Elizabeth (19); his mother-in-law Mrs Elizabeth Lowe (68) lived in another part of the house, and they had a 16-year-old servant girl. He was still there with his wife and two children in 1891. His daughter Elizabeth Lowe Davis married Thomas Clarkson in 1892 and their daughter Dorothy Bess Clarkson was born in 1893. Mrs Elizabeth Lowe Clarkson died at the age of 35 in 1897. In 1901 Henry (65) was retired and living at 1 Clissold Road, Stoke Newington with his wife, his son Henry (40), and his son-in-law Thomas Clarkson, a widower of 38, and his granddaughter Dorothy Clarkson (7). He was at the same address in 1911 with unmarried son Henry Lowe Davis (50): they both described themselves as gentlemen, and they had a cook and a housemaid. He is probably the Richard Henry Davis who died in Wandsworth at the age of 71 on 11 March 1907.
- Anne Newby Davis (born 1837) never married. She was living at Rose Cottage, Church Lane, Islip in 1871, and had taken in her sister Mrs Mary Catherine Cross with her daughter Emily Cross (23). In 1901 Anne (63) was living at the electric station in Frensham, Surrey, with her great-nephew Thomas Reader: aged 27, he was the son of her niece Emily Elizabeth Cross and the resident electrical engineer there. Anne Newby Davis died in 1921 at the age of 83 and was buried in the same grave in Ladywell & Brockley Cemetery as her sister Mary Catherine Cross.