Answers to Questions


SOLE, Cheshunt, 19th century

June, 2004




Emily (ggeckos2 @t of the USA is looking for birth information for EMILY JANE SOLE birth:  abt 1864 Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, England (according to the 1901 census) When she married Alfred Rowdon on 18 Oct 1891 in Cheshunt the British Vital Records Index states her father to be William

I don't have free access to the GRO indexes of births but a lot can be done with online records. Before looking for Emily Jane's birth it is useful to see if the 1881 census agrees with the information you supplied (as there are often discrepancies). The 1881 census will also supply occupation information (which you haven't given) as a knowledge of occupation/social status can sometimes help know where to look.

In 1881 Jane was working at The Cedars, Turnford, Cheshunt:

 Name  Relation   Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
 Henry RAINCOCK   Head   M   Male   42   Dulwich, Surrey   Member London Stock Exchange Broker 
 Catherine J. RAINCOCK   Wife   M   Female   44   Woolwich, Kent   
 Mabel J.D. RAINCOCK   Daur      Female   13   Maidenhead, Berks  Scholar 
 Christine C. RAINCOCK   Daur      Female   12   Cheshunt  Scholar 
 Evelyn M. RAINCOCK   Daur      Female   11   Cheshunt  Scholar 
 Lucy R. RAINCOCK   Daur      Female   9   Cheshunt  Scholar 
 Henry H.E. RAINCOCK   Son      Male   8   Cheshunt  Scholar 
 Flora P. RAINCOCK   Daur      Female   6   Cheshunt   
 Richard D. RAINCOCK   Son      Male   5   Cheshunt   
 Ann WARE   Serv   U   Female   29   Waltham Abbey, Essex  Head Nurse 
 Jane SOLE   Serv      Female   15   Cheshunt  Under Nurse 
 Clara JORDAN   Ser   U   Female   21   Waltham Abbey, Essex  Parlour Maid 
 Hannah BEADLE   Serv   U   Female   33   Gt Munden, Herts   Cook Domestic 
 Edith MAYO   Visitor      Female   13   Cheshunt  Scholar 
 Alice MAYO   Visitor      Female   9   Cheshunt  Scholar 
 Mary A. MAYO   Visitor   W   Female   34   Tattershall, Lincs   Annuitant 

This is a good fit (by census standards) and while it is interesting, it is disappointing that she is not still living with her parents, which would have unambiguously identified them. However there is only one William Sole in Cheshunt who may be her father, and came from a similar social background. He was living at Cheshunt Park (possibly in a cottage close to the stables):

 Name  Relation Gender Age Birthplace Occupation
 William SOLE   Head   Male   47   Wednesborough, Kent  Coachman Domestic 
 Hannah SOLE   Wife   Female   49   Totenham, Middlesex    
 Rose H. SOLE   Dau   Female   13   Cheshunt   Scholar 
 William G. SOLE   Son   Male   10   Cheshunt   Scholar 

"Wednesborough" is presumably Woodnesborough, and "Totenam" is Tottenham.

If Emily Jane's marriage certificate states that her father was a coachman I would be far happier about the identity - so you will need to get a copy to confirm this.. However the William in the census was almost certainly coachman for Frank G Debenham, of Park House, Cheshunt, who had 10 "downstairs" domestic staff living in the house, as well as a groom and gamekeeper living nearby.

Cheshunt Park was built in 1795 by Oliver Cromwell, London solicitor and descendant of the Lord Protector. His descendant leased it in 1865, with its 600 acres of land, to F. G. Debenham, a London estate agent.

Cheshunt's Past in Pictures

A check shows that the Cheshunt baptismal register between 1831 and 1895 is on the British Vital Index CD, so this was checked and showed that Rose Hannah Sole was born on 22nd September and christened on 20th October 1867, while William George Edward Sole was born on 26th January and christened on 20th August 1871. However there was no sign of Emily Jane.

If Emily Jane was the daughter of William and Hannah Sole there are a number of possible explanations as to why her baptism appears to be absent from the Cheshunt registers. One possibility was that when she was born (and possibly baptised)  her parents lived elsewhere and they moved to Cheshunt when she was still a babe in arms, so that she had no memory of anywhere else. This is a particularly attractive theory as F. G. Debenham moved to Cheshunt Park in 1865 - and some of his staff, including his coachman, may well have moved with him. Unfortunately I don't know where Mr Debenham moved from.

Basically there are two records you need to get at this stage. 

The 1871 census is available through your nearest LDS Family History Centre (see familysearch for the nearest one to you) or on CD (British Data Archives) and if my theory is correct you should find William, Hannah, Emily Jane, Rose Hannah and infant William George Edward living in a cottage at Cheshunt Park, Cheshunt. This may well have the "correct" place of birth for Emily as the information would have been supplied by her parents. This could be important in tracking down her birth and baptism.

As the name Emily Sole is not very common you should be able to search the registration indexes online, and purchase her birth certificate. FreeBMD provides a convenient index - except that it is incomplete at the relevant dates. There is one possibly relevant index entry:

Births Jun 1864: SOLE Emily Midhurst (Sussex) 2b 343

While I have not proved that William and Hannah were Emily's parents, or found out where she was born, the above should point you in the right direction. Let me know when you have located and purchased her birth certificate.

July, 2004

Emily (ggeckos2 @t wrote back adding In reply to your suggestion to look up Emily Jane Sole in the 1871 Census... They were indeed in Cheshunt Park.  She was five at the time  and was an occupant along with her family. The occupant of Cheshunt Park House was a Mr. Frank Debenham, land agents and farmer.  Thanks for your help!!.

Barbara Wyley (jbwyley @t has pointed out that the map with WILLOUGHBY, The Springs, Turnford, Cheshunt, 19th/20th Century shows "The Cedars" and I repeat it here. It comes from the old-maps web site showing the area as it was in about 1880.

December 2009

Robert Webb (robert.c.webb @t of Poynton, Cheshire, writes: I can confirm that the coachman lived above the stables at Cheshunt Park. My aunt, Val(entina) Gooch, was a domestic servant there for much of the 20th Century, eventually becoming the housekeeper.  The last coachman was surnamed Mullinger and their daughter in law is still, I believe, living in one of the lodges on the edge of the park, which survived after the house was demolished. I have some knowledge of Cheshunt Park when it was the home of the Debenham family, so, if anyone needs information then I would be happy to pass on what we know.

December 2009 - new contribution