William WILLIAMS (1815–1895)
(Probably) His first wife Mrs Elizabeth WILLIAMS, née Wells (1825–1884)
St Mary Magdalen section: Row 22, Grave G61½
Bostock was able to make out the
name William Williams on this grave,
and the fact that he died in 1895
at the age of 79.
He could also see another inscription,
and It is almost certain that his first
wife Elizabeth Williams was also
buried here in 1884.
William Williams was born in Boar Street, Abingdon in 1815 and baptised at St Helen's Church there on 12 November. He was the son of the weaver William Williams senior and Elizabeth Constable, who were married there on 16 October 1814. His brother Joseph was baptised there in 1818. He may be the male servant William Williams who in 1841 lived in house of David Durell at 7 New Inn Hall Street in St Peter-le-Bailey parish (now the main entrance of St Peter's College).
Elizabeth Wells, his first wife, was born in Oxford in 1825 and baptised at St Ebbe's Church on 19 June. She was the daughter of the carpenter James Wells of St Giles and Martha Bates of Holywell, who were married at St Cross Church on 19 November 1810. Her five older siblings were baptised at St Michael's Church: Eliza (1811), Benjamin (1813, died 1815), William (1815), Louisa (1818), and Benjamin (1821). The family then moved to St Ebbe's, where Elizabeth herself was baptised in 1825, and her younger sister Anne in 1827. At the time of the 1841 census Elizabeth (16) was living at New Street, St Ebbe's with her father James, her mother Martha, and her sisters Louisa (22) and Ann (14).
On 25 November 1850 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, William Williams, described as a college servant of Holywell and the son of the manufacturer William Williams, married his first wife Elizabeth Wells of St Mary Magdalen parish. At the time of the 1851 census, four months after their wedding, William (36), who was a college servant, and Elizabeth (25) were living at 10 Gloucester Green in St Mary Magdalen parish. They went on to have two children:
- William Williams junior (born at Gloucester Green, Oxford in 1852 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 14 February)
- Elizabeth Williams (born in Oxford in 1853 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 24 April).
In 1861 William (45) and Elizabeth (35) were living at Gloucester Green with their two children William (9) and Elizabeth (7).
At the time of the 1871 census William Williams (55) was living at 1 Gloucester Green with his wife Elizabeth (45) and their children William (19), who was a cabinet maker, and Elizabeth (18).
Both their children were married before the next census:
- On 29 July 1873 at St Andrew's Church, Headington, William Williams junior (31), described as a cabinet maker, married Elizabeth Ann Newman (23), who was born in Devon, the daughter of the labourer George Newman: she signed her name with a cross;
- On 25 September 1876 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, Elizabeth Williams married James Fitzroy Brown, born in Pontefract, who was a warehouseman of St Mark's, Middleton Square, London and the son of the commercial traveller James Andrew Brown.
In 1881 William Williams (65) and his wife Elizabeth (55) were living at 39 Gloucester Green.
Elizabeth, William's first wife, died in 1884:
† Mrs Elizabeth Williams née Wells died at Gloucester Green at the age of 58 in April 1884 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 25 April (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).
In the third quarter of 1885 in Birmingham, William Williams married his second wife, the widow Mrs Helen (or Ellen) Eliza Lambeth (born in Oxford in c.1830).
At the time of the 1891 census William Williams (74), described for the first time as as a clerk rather than a servant, was living at 31 Gloucester Green in St Mary Magdalen parish with his second wife Ellen Eliza (60), and his married daughter Mrs Elizabeth Brown was paying a visit with her 13-year-old daughter.
William Williams died in 1895:
† William Williams died at 39 Gloucester Green at the age of 79 on 27 July 1895 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 30 July (burial recorded in the parish register of St Mary Magdalen Church).
As it was a sudden death, an inquest was held, with a verdict of natural causes (heart failure). The inquest was reported thus in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 3 August 1895:
SUDDEN DEATH OF A RETIRED COLLEGE SERVANT. — On Monday afternoon the Deputy Coroner for the city (Mr. T. W. Mallam) held an inquest at the settling room, Gloucester Green, on the body of a retired college servant named William Williams, aged 79, living at 39, Gloucester Green, who died after on a few hours illness on the previous Saturday. — Ellen Eliza Williams, the widow, said her husband was taken ill on Friday evening, but he refused then to have a doctor; he was suffering from diarrhoea. About eight o’clock on Saturday she gave him some brandy and milk, and he took a similar stimulant about two hours later; a few minutes after ten that same morning she had occasion to leave his bed-room, and on returning in not more than three minutes time she found her husband dead. She at once sent for Mr. Spencer. Deceased had frequent attacks of diarrhoea. — Mr. Henry Banks Spencer, surgeon, of Beaumont-street, stated that he was called to the above address on Saturday morning, and went and found the man dead. In his opinion death was due to heart failure consequent upon the attack of diarrhoea from which he had been suffering, and his general feeble condition. — A verdict in accordance with the medical evidence was returned.
Children of William Williams and his first wife Elizabeth
- William Williams junior (born 1852) and his wife Elizabeth do not appear to have had any children. In 1881 they were both aged 29 and living at Irving Street, Birmingham, and William was working as a cabinet maker. By 1891 they had moved to Owen Street, Birmingham. By 1901 they had moved to 46 Pigott Street, Birmingham. He may be the William Williams who died in Birmingham at the age of 58 in 1910.
- Elizabeth Williams, Mrs Brown (born 1853) was living at 31 Vicarage Road, Camberwell in 1881 with her husband James Fitzroy Brown, who was a commercial traveller in woollens, and their daughter Elizabeth Mary Brown (3), who was born in Forest Gate, Essex. In 1891 Elizabeth (37) and her daughter Elizabeth (13) were visiting William & Ellen Williams in Oxford. In 1911 Elizabeth and James (both 57) were living at 34 Bathurst Road with their daughter Elizabeth (33): James now described himself as a commercial traveller in Manchester and Bradford for a woollen warehouse.