MARRIOTT/SWEETING, Leavesden, 19th century

January 2003

Betty Lark (nee HAZARD) of New Zealand wrote Dear Chris,  Have had a lovely browse of your web site and must congratulate you, it is fantastic.  I emigrated 50yrs. ago with my parents from St. Albans to New Zealand.

I am scratching my hair out, my 2xGt. Grandmother Sarah (Sally) SWEETING bap. 27 Feb. 1831 Abbots Langley m. 25 March 1853 St. James Clerkenwell Richard MARRIOTT 1827-1868 Leavesden, Herts. This couple had 4 children 2 died as babies.

Richard MARRIOTT bap. 4 Feb. 1827 Cransley, Northants, and d. 17 Aug. 1868 Leavesden, Herts

When Sarah MARRIOTT was left a widow I can not find what happened to her, or to her son Edward. she is not shown on the 1881 census under the MARRIOTT name, I have tried searching the marriages from 1867 onwards, no joy. I have even put Sarah (no surname) born 1831 Leavesden into the 1901 Census and it has come up with 1 name but I can not be sure this is the right person as I have not been able to locate any marriage for Sarah MARRIOTT  the name shown in 1901 is BATTERSHILL.

Before I look at the question of what happened after Richard Marriott died, it would help to know more about the family - as this may contain clues, particularly about their social status.

(1) You provide no evidence as to Richard's occupation, as this would be a clue to his social and financial status - which is relevant to the situation his wife would have found herself in when he died. I have checked the 1866 Post Office Directory and he is not listed for Abbots Langley or Watford (Leavesden is not separately listed) which suggests he was not one of the gentry or a significant trader in his own right.

(2) The couple produced a series of children at two year intervals from 1860 (which was comparatively normal) but there is no records of any children between 1853 and 1860 which would be unusual. So were they living somewhere else? - and were children dying early? If most children died young this might be an indication that their housing conditions were poor.

(3) What information do we know about Edward? Is there any evidence to show that he survived his father? If there is no such evidence perhaps we should ignore him at this stage.

(4) Did Sarah have any relatives (parents or siblings) living in the area who would have been well enough off to support her when she was widowed?

In these circumstances I would start by looking for the family in the 1861 census for Leavesden - which may reveal any older children - and give some indication of the family status. (Don't forget to look at their neighbours to give a clue to the status of the immediate area they lived in.)

I suspect that the 1861 census information, etc., will show that the family was poor and Richard's death would have left Sarah with Pheobe (aged 4) and possibly Edward (aged 8) - and perhaps pregnant! ... And with no capital. I would look for the family in the 1871 census for Abbots Langley and Leavesden. If this drew a blank I would try the Watford Workhouse. (You should be able to get the microfilms for 1861 and 1871 through your nearest LDS Family History Centre and possibly elsewhere if you live in one of the biggest cities.)

The only later information we appear to have relates to Pheobe - and she was a domestic servant in London in the 1881 census, and as you say married in London in 1884. She was of an age where she might well have left home even if her father had not died - so we can't draw any conclusion. It would be worth trying to identify the witnesses at her wedding - in case they were her relatives.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.