WILD, Rickmansworth, 19th century

August, 2013




This Carte de Visite by Frederick Downer of Watford is named as Oscar W. Wild and dated 24 October 1879.

I decided to find out who he was, and it turns out that his family were significant tanners and curriers - and also farmers - in the Mill End area of Rickmansworth in the 19th century. I have listed a summary of their tanning and Hertfordshire interests

I also discovered a significant biography of Oscar W. Wilde, as he was later called.


Thomas Wild (1795-1871) was born in Rickmansworth and married Sarah (born Chenies, Bucks). Their first child, Charles, was baptised at Chenies on 16th April, 1820, while son Alfred was baptised there on 21st May, 1821. (Both sons are recorded as being born at Rickmansworth in census returns.) Other children were baptised in Rickmansworth - Ellen (1822), Thomas (1824), Mary (1829), Adelaide (1827), Sarah (1829), Sarah (1831), Cornelius Wade (1832), Edward (1834) and Elizabeth (1836). In 1841 Thomas was a tanner living at Mill End, Rickmansworth, and in 1851 he was a tanner employing 19 men with (Cornelius) Wade being the only son still at home. In 1861 he was described as a farmer of 250 acres employing 7 men and two boys - with Wade (the only son still at home) being described as a tanner and brewer. In 1871 Thomas and Sarah were living at The Cedars, Rickmansworth, with their widowed daughter Adelaide Downes and grandchildren.  Memorials in Rickmansworth Churchyard (Cussans) reads:


Sacred to the memory of Thomas Wild of Rickmansworth, Herts, who died May the 30th, 1871, aged 76 years

Also of Sarah, wife of the above, who died October the 8th, 1871, aged 77 years

Charles Wild (1820-1878) was living in Kingston on Thames, Surrey, in 1851, with sister Mary and brother Edward. He was described as a famer and currier employing 10 men. By 1861 he was married, with children)  and described as a master tanner employing 18 men & boys. He was still there in 1871 and Cussans records the following memorial in Rickmansworth churchyard:

In affectionate remembrance of Charles Wild, for many years of Kingston-on-Thames, Eldest son of the Late Thomas Wild of Rickmansworth, who entered into rest April  30th 1878, aged 58 years.

Alfred Wild (1821-1890) was living at Eton, Bucks, in 1841 with sisters Ellen, Adelaide and Mary and he was simply described as a currier. By 1851 he had moved to Windsor, with sister Ellen, and was a significant employer "Tanner Currier And Shoemaker Employing 51 Men." By 1861 he was at Upton, Eton, Bucks, as a "Tanner, Currier &c 50 Men). He was now married with a wife Mary A, and children Alfred C Wild  (1856) and Oscar Wade Wild (1858). In 1871 he and the family had moved to Osbourne Villas, Clewer, New Windsor, with further children born in Slough, Bucks. In 1881 the family were in Rickmansworth (the wife and children of a tanner) by he was apparently undergoing treatment with a "Curative Mesmerist" in Hammersmith, and described himself as a farmer. The Rickmansworth burial register records that Alfred Wild, of Virginia Waters, was buried at Rickmansworth on 1st July 1890, aged 69

Alfred Ernest Wild (1856-1943) was living in the family home, in Rickmansworth in 1881, when he was described as "manager partner of business" (tanner & currier). He was a wholesale leather salesman in 1901 in Clapham and a commercial traveller in leather in 1911, when he was living in Carshalton, Surrey.

Oscar Wade Wild(e) (1858- 1945) was at home in Rickmansworth at the time of the 1881 census and described as an Oxford undergraduate.  He decided to be known as "Oscar Wilde" before the storm of adverse publicity descended on that name.  He became curate of St Barnabas, in Pimlico, London, and was vicar of St Ives, Huntingdonshire, from 1899 to his retirement in 1930. A detailed account of his life and some notes on his ancestry can be found in A Wilde Goose Chase: The Strange Affair of Oscar Wade Wilde The Importance of Being a Hellenist. by Allan Hart, and there is a portrait of him in 1912 online.

Edward Harry Wild (1862-1930) was born in Slough, Bucks, and was at home in Rickmansworth in 1881 when he was described as a tanner's son. I have not traced his later occupations.

Leonard Wild(e) (1871- ) went to Durham University and was admitted to the Royal College of Physicians in 1887. He was lodging in London in the 1891 census - having also put an "e" on the end of his name.

Thomas Wild (1824-1887) was a master currier employing one in the High Street, Watford. in 1861, with the address 211 High Street in 1871. In 1881 he is listed as a brewer and farmer in Rickmansworth and death registered in Amersham.

Cornelius Wade Wild (1832-1917) became a farmer at Shepperds Farm, Herongate, Rickmansworth, and in 1881 farmed 440 acres, employing 14 men and 5 boys.

Edward Wild (1835-1910) became a farmer at Stockers Farm, Batchworth, Rickmansworth, in 1871 with 500 acres employing 11 men and 7 boys

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

August 2013   Page created