Henry HESTER (1860–1912)
His wife Mrs Mary Ann HESTER, née Brain (1857–1946)
Their daughter Mrs Rachel Mary PIMM, née Hester (1885–1934)
With an inscription to Thomas Cudd, who died in the First World War
St Paul’s section: Row 2, Grave A22½
[Long left kerb]:
IN SACRED AND LOVING MEMORY OF
WHO DIED 17TH DECEMBER 1912.
AGED 52 YEARS
[Right kerb: Inscription to
Thomas Cudd who died in the First
World War: see below]
[Front narrow stone]:
In Ever / loving Memory of
RACHEL MARY PIMM,
WHO FELL ASLEEP JAN 8TH. 1934.
“A LOVED ONE AT REST.”
ALSO MARY ANN HESTER,
MOTHER OF THE ABOVE
WHO FELL ASLEEP MARCH 11TH. 1946
[Back narrow kerb]:
UNTIL THE DAY BREAKS
Henry Hester was born in at Gloucester Green, Oxford in 1860 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 29 July. He was the son of John Hester, a farmer’s son from Tiddington, and Mary Ann Hill, a dealer’s daughter, who were married at that church on 23 October 1851 and had four other children baptised there: Frederick William (1850), George (1853); Jessie Maria (1855), and Charles (1857). At the time of the 1861 census Henry was just ten months old and living at Gloucester Green with his father John (35), who was a labourer, and his mother Mary Ann (42), and six siblings: Mary Ann (15) was a laundress assistant, and Elizabeth (13), Frederick (10), George (7), Jessie (5), and Charles (3) were all at school. In 1871 their address was given as 6 Gloucester Green, and Henry (10) was at school. In 1881 the address was given as 27 Gloucester Green, and Harry (20) was now an apprentice to a tinman.
Mary Ann Brain was born at the south end of St Giles’s Street in 1857 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 14 June. She was the daughter of William Brain (born in Nuneham Courtenay in 1826) and his wife Rachel Green (born in Oxford in 1830/1) who were married in Oxford in the third quarter of 1850. The 1881 census states that her family was occupying two houses in Plantation Road, namely Nos. 28 and 29, where the women of the household ran a home laundry. Mary Ann (23) and her younger sisters Mahala (21), also described as a “lunatic”, and Emily (18) took in washing with their mother Rachel (50), while their father worked as a gardener. Also at home were five of Mary’s younger siblings: Edith (16), Sarah (14), Rose (11), Eliza (9), and the only boy, Edwin (6).
On 15 June 1884 at Ss Philip & James’s Church, Oxford, Henry Hester (24), described as a tinplate worker of 27 Gloucester Green, married Mary Ann Brain (27) of Plantation Road and they had the following children:
- Rachel Mary Hester (born at 31 Plantation Road on 6 January 1885 and baptised at Ss Philip & James’s Church on 5 February)
- Edith Sarah Hester (born at 26 Gloucester Green on 31 August 1887 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 2 October)
- Dorothy Rose Hester (born at 26 Gloucester Green on 13 June 1890 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 13 July)
- [There were probably two unbaptised children born at this point, as four were declared dead in 1911]
- Jessie Hester (born at 26 Gloucester Green on 27 April 1898 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church the same day); died aged four days and buried on 2 May
- Henry Hester (born at 26 Gloucester Green on 26 April 1899 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church the same day); died aged one day and buried on 28 April.
The couple probably began their married life at Mary Ann’s parents’ house in Plantation Road, but by 1885 were living at 26 Gloucester Green with Henry’s parents. His father John Hester died at 27 Gloucester Green in 1887 at the age of 61 and his mother Mary Ann Hester in 1888 at the age of 70: both are probably buried in an unidentified grave in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery.
Henry continued to work as a tinplate man until 1890, but at the time of the 1891 census was working as a house painter, and living at 26 Gloucester Green with his wife and their daughters Rachel (6) Edith (3), and Dorothy (seven months).
The couple’s next four children all died in infancy, and as the burials are recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church, they were probably all buried in an area reserved for babies in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery.
Soon after 1899 the family moved to 11 Commercial Street in St Ebbe’s. Henry Hester (40), who was still a house painter, can be seen here at the time of the 1901 census with his wife Mary Ann (43), and their three surviving daughters: Rachel (16), who was a shirt maker, Edith (13), and Dorothy (10).
By the time of the 1911 census Henry and Mary Ann Hester were living at 46 Observatory Street with Rachel (26), who was an assistant in a sweet & fruit shop. Their other two daughters had gone out to service: Edith (23) was working as a parlourmaid for the Misses Wootten at 7 Bardwell Road, and Dorothy (20) was the servant of the retired confectioner Alfred Boffin at 85 Banbury Road.
Henry Hester died the following year:
† Harry Hester died at 46 Observatory Street at the age of 52 on 17 December 1912 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
Thomas Cudd (1888–1917)
Thomas Cudd was born at 43 New Street, St Ebbe’s on 5 April 1888 and baptised at St Ebbe’s Church on 5 April. He was the son of Tom Cudd (born in Abingdon in 1856) and Emily Dutton (born in Abingdon in 1857/8), who had married at Holy Trinity Church in St Ebbe's, Oxford on 25 December 1879. His parents had three other children baptised at St Ebbe’s Church: Henry (1881), William George (1882, died 1883), Tom (1884, died 1886), and Edith Annie (1886, died 1893).
At the time of the 1901 census Thomas (12) was living at 43 New Street, St Ebbe’s with his parents: his father was a coal labourer with the Great Western Railway and his mother was a needlewoman. His mother died in 1906, and in 1911 Thomas (22), who was a clerk, was living at the same address with his father Tom (54), and his married brother Henry (30), who was a washer, and his wife Elizabeth (24) and their two young sons.
It is hard to see any relationship between Tommy Cudd and the Hesters, but it is possible that he was the fiancé of one of their daughters, who all married relatively late. His home address at the time of his death is given as Observatory Street, so he may well have lived with the Hesters.
Thomas Cudd served as a Private in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 200654) in the First World War. He died in Belgium on 18 August 1917 at the age of 29 and is buried in Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No. 3 (Grave II.H.15). CWGC page
He is remembered on the St Paul’s Church war memorial, moved to St Barnabas Church (right)
Right: Photograph published in the Oxford Journal Illustrated on 3 October 1917
An inscription to Tommy Cudd was added to Harry Hester’s grave in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery (below):
ALSO OF THOMAS C. H. CUDD (TOMMY) WHO DIED IN FLANDERS 17TH. AUGUST 1917 FROM WOUNDS RECEIVED IN ACTION
AGED 29 YEARS. HE IS INTERRED IN THE NEW MILITARY CEMETERY AT BRANDHOEK
Tommy is shown with the middle initials “G.H.” which also appear on the war memorial; but he was registered and baptised simply as Thomas Cudd, and that is how he is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The CWGC record his date of death as 18 rather than 17 August 1917.
Two of Mrs Hester’s three daughters were married in the 1920s:
- On 14 October 1920 at St Paul's Church, Oxford, Dorothy Rose Hester (30), a domestic servant, married Alfred Herbert George Phipps, a boat builder of 38 Chilswell Road;
- On 21 August 1926 at St Paul's Church, Oxford, Rachel Mary Hester (39), a shop assistant, married Henry Pimm (38), a chauffeur.
Mrs Hester’s eldest daughter died in 1934:
† Mrs Rachel Mary Pimm, née Hester died at 46 Observatory Street at the age of 49 In January 1934 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 11 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
Mrs Hester’s third daughter Edith (47) was married the following year, and it looks as if she married the husband of her sister who had just died:
- In the first quarter of 1935 in Oxford, Edith Sarah Hester married Henry Pimm.
Mrs Hester died in 1946:
† Mrs Mary Ann Hester, née Brain died at 46 Observatory Street at the age of 88 in March 1946 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 14 March (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).