Mrs Harriet Margaret HOWKINS, née Hearn (1856–1892)
Her baby son Horace Albert HOWKINS (1892–3)
With inscriptions to her sons William and John HOWKINS, who both died in the First World War
St Paul’s section: Row 29, Grave H22½
Front: IN LOVING MEMORY OF HARRIET MARGARET HOWKINS, WHO DIED NOV. 27 1892. AGED 37 YEARS
ALSO HORACE ALBERT, WHO DIED JULY 19, 1893, AGED 8½ MONTHS
Back: ALSO LCE-CPL WILLIAM JOHN HOWKINS, SON, KILLED IN ACTION IN FRANCE DEC. 31 1915, AGED 36 YEARS
“HIS SUN WENT DOWN WHILE IT WAS YET DAY.”
Right side: ALSO PTE JOHN H. HOWKINS / KILLED IN BELGIUM / AUG. 16, 1917, AGE 30
Left side: “AT REST.”
Harriet Margaret Hearn or Hearne or Hern was born in Ilfracombe in Devon in 1856 (birth registered in Barnstaple third quarter, with surname spelt as Hern). Her parents were the tailor John Hearn (born in Bristol in c.1814) and his wife Mary Ann (born in Bristol in c.1820).
At the time of the 1861 census Harriet (5) was living with her parents at Tower Hill, Stroud, Gloucestershire, but by 1871, when she was 14, the three of them were living at Hollybush Row in St Thomas’s parish, Oxford. Her father was still a tailor, and her mother was obviously helping him, as she was described as a tailoress.
Her father John Hearn died at 29 Penson's Gardens, Oxford at the age of 61 in January 1874, and as his burial on 22 January is recorded in the St Ebbe's parish register he is probably buried in Osney Cemetery.
Harriet’s future husband Thomas Howkins was born in Oxford in 1852/3, the son of the boatman John Howkins and his wife Mary. At the time of the 1861 census, when he was aged nine, he was on a boat with his family at Moira Colliery, Leicestershire; but in 1871 his family was on dry land at Dore’s Yard in St Thomas’s street, and he was working as a fitter’s mate.
On Christmas Day 1876 at St Paul’s Church, Oxford, Harriet Margaret Hearn (21), described as now being of Great Clarendon Street in Oxford, married Thomas Howkins (24), a lathemaker of 15 Great Clarendon Street. They were both unable to sign their names. They had the following children:
- Tom Howkins (born in Oxford on 30 December 1877 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 14 March 1878)
- William John Howkins (born in Oxford on 4 September 1879 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 9 November)
- Agnes Mary Howkins (born at Juxon Street, Oxford on 1 December 1881 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 28 January 1882)
- Augustus Howkins (born in Oxford on 24 May 1885 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 2 April)
- John Henry Howkins (born in Oxford on 12 January 1887 and baptised at St Barnabas’s Church on 3 April)
- Herbert Howkins (born at Juxon Street, Oxford on 30 May 1891 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 9 August).
- Horace Albert Howkins (born at 35 Juxon Street, Oxford in October 1892 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 18 December)
The couple remained in the Jericho area, and began their married life at Great Clarendon Street. Harriet’s mother Mrs Mary Ann Hearn must have moved in with them, as she died at that address at the age of 56 in July 1877. Her burial on 30 July is recorded in the parish register of St Paul's Church, suggesting that she was buried in St Sepulchre's Cemetery.
By 1881 Thomas Howkins (28) was an ink maker, and he and his wife Harriet (28), who is wrongly recorded as Jane, were living at the Oxford University Ink Factory in Juxon Street with their first two children Thomas (3) and William John. They were also looking after Thomas's younger brother Walter (10) and had a boarder..
Juxon Street was in the Headington registration district because it was in the St Giles’s portion of the St Paul’s district chapelry. The entry for the Ink Factory was between 14 and 17 Juxon Street in the 1881 census, but the street may have been renumbered, as its later address was 35 Juxon Street. The OUP Ink Works in Juxon Street are shown on the 1898 map below:
In 1891 the family was still living at the Oxford University Ink Factory, with the address now given as 35 Juxon Street. Harriet was working as a tailoress as well as looking after her first five children, which suggests that before her marriage she had helped her father in his trade.
Harriet's youngest child Horace was born in October 1892, and she died soon after his birth:
† Mrs Harriet Margaret Howkins née Hearn died at 35 Juxon Street at the age of 37 on 27 November 1892 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 1 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
Her baby son was baptised three weeks after the death of his mother, but only survived another seven months:
† Horace Albert Howkins died at 35 Juxon Street at the age of 8½ months on 19 July 1893 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 21 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Paul’s Church).
At the time of the 1901 census Thomas Howkins, a widower of 49, was still an ink maker and living at the Ink Factory at 35 Juxon Street. His five youngest children were living with him: William (21), who was a printer’s compositor at Oxford University Press; Agnes (19), who doubtless acted as housekeeper; Augustus (15), who was a machine boy at a printer’s; and Herbert (9).
Two of his children were married by the time of the next census:
- On 2 April 1904 at St Margaret’s Church in Binsey, Tom Howkins (26), who was described as a printer, married Edith Mobey (25), the daughter of the carpenter Alfred Mobey: both were living at Binsey at the time of their marriage.
- On 31 July 1909 at Ss Philip & James's Church, Oxford, Agnes Mary Howkins (27) of 33 Kingston Road married the bootmaker Arthur Nutt of 24 Kingston Road, the son of the rope maker William James Nutt.
By the time of the 1911 census Thomas Howkins, now a widower of 60, was working as a general labourer and living at Kingston Road with four of his children: William (31) was a clerk to a printer; Augustus (25) was a college servant; John (24) worked for a bootmaker; and Herbert (19) was a clerk at a brewery.
Two more of Thomas Howkins’s children were married in the next two years:
- On 12 August 1911 at Ss Philip & James's Church, Oxford, Augustus Howkins (26), a college servant of 35 Kingston Road, married Bessie Hilda Joy (24) of 90 Southmoor Road, the daughter of the college servant Thomas Joy;
- On 22 March 1913 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, John Henry Howkins (26), a shoemaker of George Street, married Millicent Edith Day (24) of 38 George Street, the daughter of the caretaker Jonathan Day.
William John Howkins (1879–1915)
William volunteered in August 1914 to serve in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 2409). He served in England until March 1915, and then in France. He was killed in France at the age of 36 on 31 December 1915, and was buried in the Hebuterne Military Cemetery.
He is described as a Lance-Corporal on his mother’s grave and on the war memorial in Ss Philip & James’s Church, but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records him as a Private. CWGC page.
His photograph appeared in the “Heroes of the War” section of the Oxford Journal Illustrated on 26 January 1916 (right), where again he is described as a Lance-Corporal.
The inscription below was added to the grave of William’ mother:
William John Howkins is also remembered on the St Paul’s Church war memorial, now moved to St Barnabas Church (left) and on that in Ss Philip & James’s Church (below):
He is also named on the
Press war memorial (right)
John Henry Howkins 1887–1917
John Henry Howkins and his wife Millicent had one son: Harold J. Howkins, born in Oxford near the beginning of 1914.
John served with his brother in the 1st/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the First World War, and was a Private (Service No. 203303) when he died in Belgium at the age of 30 on 16 August 1917.
He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial. CWGC page
His photograph (right) appeared in the “Heroes of the War” section of the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 19 September 1917, and states that he lived in George Street Mews.
His widow Millicent married John Carter in Oxford in 1922.
The inscription below was added to the grave of John’s mother:
John is also remembered on the war memorial in Ss Philip & James’s Church:
Harriet’s husband Thomas Howkins was dead by 1925, as he is described as deceased on his son John’s war record. He did not die in Oxford, and it is possible he went to live with a member of his family elsewhere in the country, possibly Herbert. The only registered death that may be his was that of the Thomas Howkins who died in Battle, Sussex at the age of 69 in 1920.
The four surviving children of Mrs Harriet Margaret Howkins and her husband Thomas
- Tom Howkins (born 1877) was working as a stereo and electrotype finisher in 1911, living at 18 Leckford Road, Oxford with his wife Edith and their daughter Lilian Margaret Howkins (3). Tom died at 18 Leckford Road at the age of 56 on 28 March 1934. His estate came to £376 16s. 10d., and his wife was his executor.
- Agnes Mary Howkins, Mrs Nutt (born 1881) was living at 24 Kingston Road, Oxford in 1911 with her husband, the bootmaker Arthur Nutt, and their son Ronald Arthur Nutt (seven months). Agnes was living at Oxford Road, Dorchester when she died at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford at the age of 69 on 10 January 1938. Her executor was George Nutt, a gardener, and she is curiously described as “Agnes Nutt otherwise Couldrey” in her probate record.
- Augustus Howkins (born 1885) and his wife had two children, whose births were both registered in the Headington district: Hilda J. Joy (1912) and William A. Joy (1914). Augustus died in Oxford at the age of 75 in 1960.
- Herbert Howkins (born 1891) is hard to trace after the 1911 census, when he was still living with his parents, and appears to have moved away from Oxford.