Charles TAPHOUSE (1815–1886)
His wife Mrs Sarah TAPHOUSE, née Nevill (c.1818–1887)
Their daughter-in-law Mrs Alice TAPHOUSE, née Milner (1845–1868)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 17, Grave D57

Charles & Sarah Taphouse

Side facing camera (the later of the two inscriptions)
IN AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF / CHARLES TAPHOUSE / WHO DIED JUNE 3, 1886, AGED 70 YEARS
ALSO OF / SARAH WIFE OF CHARLES TAPHOUSE / WHO DIED JANUARY 16, 1887, / AGED 69 YEARS

Other side of vault (earlier inscription):
IN AFFECTIONATE REMEMBRANCE OF / ALICE WIFE OF THOMAS WILLIAM TAPHOUSE
WHO DIED DECEMBER 7, 1868, AGED 23

Charles Taphouse was born at Sherfield-on-Loddon, near Basingstoke, Hampshire on 2 December 1815, the son of William Taphouse and his wife Ann. He was baptised in a Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion evangelical church in Sherfield on 7 January 1816. His younger brother James John Taphouse was baptised in the same church in 1823.

Sarah Nevill was born at Hartley Wintney in Hampshire in c.1818.

In 1836 at Sherfield on Loddon in Hampshire, Charles Taphouse married Sarah Nevill, and they had the following children:

  • Thomas William Taphouse (born in Sherfield on Loddon on 11 February 1838)
  • Henry John Taphouse (born in Sherfield on Loddon in 1839, reg. third quarter)
  • Rosina Taphouse (born in Sherfield on Loddon in 1841, reg. fourth quarter)
  • Emma Taphouse (born in Oxford on 7 May 1847 and baptised at St Ebbe’s Primitive Methodist Church on 13 June)
  • Charles Page Taphouse (born in Oxford in 1852 and baptised at St Ebbe’s Primitive Methodist Church on 7 March).

At the time of the 1841 census Charles was an agricultural labourer aged 25, living at Sherfield on Loddon in Hampshire with his wife Sarah (23) and their first two children Thomas (3) and Henry (1). Their daughter Rosina was born in Sherfield later that year.

Charles’s younger brother James John Taphouse may have been the first member of the family to come to Oxford, as he married Ann Harris there near the end of 1841. Charles Taphouse and his family moved to Osney Mill in Oxford in 1842.

At the time of Emma’s birth in 1847 Charles & Sarah Taphouse were living in Bull Street, St Ebbe’s, and Charles was working as a sawyer.

By the time of the 1851 census Charles Taphouse (35) was living in St Ebbe’s Street with Sarah (33) and their children Thomas (13), Henry (11), and Emma (3); their daughter Rosina (9) was paying a visit to Stanton St John to the home of the agricultural labourer John Webb (52) and his wife Sarah. Taphouse was described as a broker in that census, and is duly listed as a furniture broker at St Ebbe’s Street in Gardner’s Oxford Directory of 1852.

Charles’s younger brother James John Taphouse was not as successful, and was still working as a sawyer in 1852 when his wife Ann was charged with stealing a piece of bacon while shopping in Grimbly & Hughes on 26 October.

Charles’s eldest son Thomas William Taphouse left school at 14 and assisted his father as a cabinet maker for four years. In 1856 at the age of 18 he went to London for a year to learn piano-tuning.

Taphouse established a music shop at 10 Broad Street on 4 April 1857, and the following advertisement appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 16 May 1857:

PIANOFORTE AND MUSIC WAREHOUSE / NO. 10, BROAD STREET, OXFORD.
C. TAPHOUSE
BEGS respectfully to announce that he has a well-assorted Stock of NEW and SECOND-HAND PIANOFORTES, HARMONIUMS, English and German CONCERTINAS, FLUTINAS, VIOLINS, &c., for Sale or Hire, on the most reasonable terms. Several Second-hand PIANOFORTES, by Broadwood, Collard and Collard, Owen Stodart, Tomkison, and others, for Sale, cheap. — All new Instruments warranted; old ones taken in exchange.
Repairing and Tuning in all the above named Instruments, by experienced hands.
Country orders promptly attended to.

In May 1857 Taphouse’s premises was partly destroyed by the big fire in Broad Street, and by 19 September 1857, when the following advertisement appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal, he had moved his shop to 33A St Giles’s Street. He also had premises at 7 Park End Street:

Pianofortes, Pianofortes, Pianofortes.
C. TAPHOUSE
BEGS to state that he is prepared to Sell 6 7/8-OCTAVE COTTAGE PIANOFORTES, warranted to stand the test of any climate, for FIFTEEN GUINEAS. Other Instruments at equally low prices.
Observe the Address — 33A, ST. GILES’S-STREET, and 7, PARK END STREET, OXFORD.

In 1858 Taphouse moved to 3 Magdalen Street, inserting a Notice of Removal in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 4 September that year. C. Taphouse & Son Ltd was to remain on these premises for 124 years.

In 1859 his son Thomas William Taphouse went into business with him as a music-seller, and at the time of the 1861 census the family was living in two separate households:

  • Charles Taphouse (45), described as a furniture broker, was living over his premises at 7 Park End Street with his wife Sarah (43) and their children Rosina (19), Emma (13); and Charles (9).
  • The other two sons, both still bachelors, were living over the shop at 3 Magdalen Street: Thomas William Taphouse (23) was described as a pianoforte tuner and the head of the household, and Henry (21) was a watch and clockmaker. They also had a lodger; and a 14-year-old servant girl.

Their two older sons were both married in 1866:

  • On 5 July 1866 at St Clement’s Church, Oxford, Henry John Taphouse (described as a photograph of Barrow-in-Furness) married Elizabeth Margaret Matilda Pether, the youngest daughter of Mr W. Pether of Horspath;
  • On 12 July 1866 at the Congregational Church, Broadway, Worcestershire, Thomas William Taphouse married his first wife Alice Milner (see below).

The following year both their daughters were married, with their father described in the register as a broker:

  • On 1 August 1867 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, Emma Taphouse married Joseph Thornton, a vocalist by profession and son of the builder John Thornton of Bury, Lancashire;
  • On 26 November 1867 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, Rosina Taphouse, described as a spinster of St Thomas’s parish, married Thomas Milner Townsend, a grocer of St Mary Magdalen parish, the son of the grocer Thomas Milner.

Their son Charles Page Taphouse probably married his Yorkshire-born wife Annie in about 1869, but that marriage is hard to find.


Their eldest son Thomas William Taphouse, and his wife Alice

At the time of the 1861 census, Thomas (23), who was still single, was described as a pianoforte tuner and was living at 78 Walton Street, where he was the head of the household, with his brother Henry (21), who was a watch and clockmaker; a lodger; and a 14-year-old servant girl. Although Thomas appears to have partly taken over the family business, he is described simply as a pianoforte tuner, and used to travel around Oxford with a pony and trap. His father meanwhile was living at their other business premises at 7 Park End Street.

On 12 July 1866 Thomas William Taphouse married his first wife Alice Milner at the Congregational Church, Broadway, Worcestershire (with an announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal). Alice (the first person buried in this grave) was born in Broadway in 1845, and was the only daughter of the grocer Thomas Milner and his wife Alice. At the time of the 1861 census she was fifteen years old and living with her parents over their shop in the High Street, Broadway.

Thomas’s parents moved out into a private house at 62 Walton Street, and he and his new wife Alice moved in over the shop at 3 Magdalen Street. They had the following children:

  • Charles Milner Taphouse (born in Oxford in 1867, reg. second quarter)
  • Alice Milner Taphouse (born at 3 Magdalen Street on 23 November 1868, with the birth announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal).

Alice died when her second baby was just two weeks old, and was the first person buried in this grave:

† Mrs Alice Taphouse née Milner died at 3 Magdalen Street at the age of 23 on 7 December 1868 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 10 December (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

Her death was announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal.

Thomas William Taphouse was a widower for the next ten years, and he and his son Charles Milner Taphouse (4) had gone to live with his parents at 62 Walton Street by the time of the 1871 census; aged 33, he was described as a piano tuner. His baby daughter Alice was brought up initially in the family of his uncle Thomas Taphouse, who was still a sawyer, and at the time of the 1871 when she was two years old she was living with them at 3 Princes Street in east Oxford.

On 28 August 1878 at Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, Thomas William Taphouse (who was now living at 3 Magdalen Street) married his second wife Mrs Selina Anne Woodward (known as Annie), the daughter of S. Humphries, Esq., of Nore-Marsh. 

The 1881 census shows Taphouse (42) and Annie (33) living at 3 Magdalen Street with Thomas’s son Charles (13) and Anne’s only child Eleanor (11), who were both then still at school. His daughter Alice (12) was now living with her grandparents at 63 Walton Street.

His son by his first wife, Charles Milner Taphouse, was matriculated at the University of Oxford from New College 27 January 1886, aged 18.

Following the death of his father in June 1886, Thomas William Taphouse moved back into 3 Magdalen Street. In 1888 he entered politics and was elected councillor for the Central Ward.

The 1881 census shows Taphouse (42) and Annie (33) living at 3 Magdalen Street with Thomas’s son Charles (13) and Anne’s daughter Eleanor (11), who were both then still at school. His daughter Alice was paying a visit to friends in Leeds

At the time of the 1901 census Thomas William Taphouse (now described as a dealer in works of art) and his second wife Annie were staying at the Tollard Royal Hotel in West Hill Road, Bournemouth.

In November 1904 he started his term as Mayor of Oxford, but only managed to preside over one council meeting before he fell ill. He died in Bournemouth early in January 1905 at the age of 66, and .

His widow Annie (63) was living at 225 Woodstock Road, Oxford at the time of the 1911 census with her unmarried stepdaughter Alice Taphouse (42) and one servant. She died in Oxford near the beginning of 1945 at the age of 97.

Children of Thomas William Taphouse & his first wife Alice
  • Charles Milner Taphouse was described as a music-seller of 33 at the time of the 1901 census and was the head of the household at 3 Magdalen Street, where he lived with his sister Alice (32) and his stepsister Eleanor Woodward (31), plus one servant. In December 1906 at Beeston, Northants, he married Annie Deacon Treleaven. Charles was an organist living at 37 Chalfont Road when their son John Milner Taphouse junior was baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 29 December 1907; but by the time their son Charles Trevor Taphouse was baptised there on 6 April 1913, they were living over the shop at 3 Magdalen Street. Charles Milner Taphouse died at 6 Moreton Road, Oxford at the age of 61 on 2 June 1928. His effects came to £40,919 3s.
  • Alice Milner Taphouse (born 1868), who was living with her brother Charles for the first time in 1901 and with her stepmother in 1911, never married. She died at 31 Stanley Road, Oxford on 8 February 1953, and her effects came to £1,365 9s. 1d.

Back to Charles & Sarah Taphouse (from 1871)

At the time of the 1871 census Charles Taphouse (55), described as a furniture broker, was living at 62 Walton Street with his wife Sarah (53) and his widower son Thomas and their grandson Charles Milner Taphouse; their niece Lizzie Grinham (19), who was working as an assistant in their music shop; and a general servant.

In 1881 Charles Taphouse (65), described as a furniture dealer, was living at 63 Walton Street with his wife Sarah (62) and their granddaughter Alice (12). They now had one servant.

Charles Taphouse died in 1886. His probate record described him as a furniture dealer and music seller formerly of 7 Park End Street, but who lived at 63 Walton Street at the time of his death:

† Charles Taphouse died at 63 Walton Street at the age of 70 on 3 June 1886 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 7 June (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

His death notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal read simply: “June 3, in Upper Walton-street, Oxford, Mr. Charles Taphouse, aged 71.” His personal estate came to £1,949 8s. 4d., and his widow was his sole executor.

His widow Sarah went to live in Brighton, where she died the following year:

† Mrs Sarah Taphouse née Nevill died at 29 St James’s Street in Brighton at the age of 69 on 16 January 1887 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 20 January (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).

Her personal estate came to £25. Her son Thomas William Taphouse, described as a music-seller of 3 Magdalen Street, was one of her executors.


Other children of Charles and Sarah Taphouse
  • Henry John Taphouse (born 1839) was aged 41 and described as a photographer at the time of the 1881 census when he was living at 56 Bullingdon Road in east Oxford with his wife Elizabeth (36) and their children Henry John Taphouse (10), Cuthbert Pether Taphouse (5), Thomas Nevill Taphouse (3), and Ethel Mary Taphouse (1), and his 76-year-old mother-in-law. Henry John Taphouse died at 11 Woodstock Road at the age of 52 on 4 January 1892 and was buried on 7 January (probably in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, as his death is recorded in the St Mary Magdalen parish register). His death was announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal, and his effects came to £1,006 10s. 6d.
  • Rosina Taphouse, Mrs Thomas Milner Townsend (born 1841) is hard to trace after her marriage in 1867.
  • Emma Taphouse, Mrs Joseph Thornton (born 1847) had six sons and one daughter: Harry Thornton, Frank Thornton, Thomas Thornton, Herbert Thornton, Sydney Thornton, Harold Charles Thornton, and Rosina Mary Thornton. At the time of the 1881 census Emma was living at 14 Belvoir Road, Camberwell in 1881 with her husband Joseph, who was still working as a musician, and their six sons. In 1901 and 1911 they were living 349 Lordship Lane, Camberwell; by 1911 Joseph Thornton had retired, their son Harold was a musician in the Queen’s Hall Orchestra, and Rosina was a teacher of music.
  • Charles Page Taphouse (born 1852) was aged 29 living at 73 Cloudesley Road in Islington at the time of the 1881 census with his wife Elizabeth (29) and their daughter Annie Page Taphouse (11), who had been born in Rochdale. He is hard to find after that date.

The family business: C. Taphouse & Son Ltd

Taphouse’s survived at 3 Magdalen Street until 1982, when the premises were taken over by Debenhams, which had shop premises each side of it. It moved to the Westgate Centre, but closed down permanently two years later in 1984.

See also The Story of a music shop published by Charles Taphouse & Son Ltd in 1957.


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