JEFFRIES, St Albans, 19th century

April, 2014



St Albans

Lilian  (fearn2001 @t writes from Australia: I have an elusive family member - my great grandfather a fishmonger - Henry Jeffries born in St Albans c 1806? In particular I would like to find his marriage to Esther /Hester Adams who was born in Luton in Bedfordshire.  I have not been able to find a birth, christening or marriage for him, so  I don't know who his parents were. Neither do I know who his siblings were.

I've located him as a fishmonger from 1841 to 1871 census but unfortunately no parents. I haven't been able to find any information about fishmongers prior to 1841 census. The 1841  census records list him as Henry Jeffs.

In the 1851 census Henry is living in Middle Row St Peters - with supposedly his brother? William Ball - also a fishmonger. William was born in St Albans c 1811. Henry is unmarried in this census whilst William is married to a Sarah and there is a daughter Harriet Ball aged 13. They all appear to be living in Middle Row. I have serious doubts whether William Ball is Henry Jeffries brother. Perhaps the census recorder got it wrong - perhaps William is Henry's brother in law? Perhaps he married Henry's sister!

By the 1861 census Henry is in  Temperance St, St Albans,  supposedly married to his wife Esther and there are children William age 8, Henry aged 6, Helen aged 4 and Margaret aged 1. I have a birth certificate for William who was born out of wedlock under Esther's surname of Adams in 1853 in Luton Bedfordshire. As the 2nd child is called  Henry (perhaps the first born son of the marriage?) perhaps the marriage occurred around his birth year - c 1851.

In 1871 the Jeffries family are in Hatfield Rd with the addition of another son RobertHenry then dies shortly after the census on  21 Jul 1871 as I have his death certificate. There is possibly the birth of another daughter Ada Jeffries who I suspect is not Henry's daughter due to the date of birth, as  I have Ada's birth certificate. Esther later on goes on to marry a William Chalkley.

I've tried tracking the William Ball family but again because it seems to be on the cusp of when the records go into the parish records I haven't been successful in finding anything definitive for say Harriet Balls birth that would tell me the maiden name of the mother and whether she was possibly Henry Jeffries sister.

I've located a couple of newspaper stories from the British Newspaper Archive website regarding him, one From 7 October 1848 - Hertford Mercury and Reformer as follows:

Gross neglect - on Friday night, about a quarter past eleven o'clock, as the cart of Pearman, the Wheathampstead carrier, was proceeding down Ridge Hill, some part of the harness gave way, and upon which Henry Jeffries, a fishmonger of St Albans, who was riding in the cart, jumped into the road, and the wheel went over his thigh. The carrier, who was asleep in the cart, not knowing of the accident, proceeded on, leaving Jeffries groaning in the road, where he was found bleeding by a gamekeeper, who took him to Harvey's public-house. Having refused to be conveyed to the Barnet Union, on the ground that he had a home of his own at St Albans, he was put into the stable or coach-house on some straw, where he remained until the next morning, when a wagon passed towards St Albans, took him home. Jeffries states that nothing was done for him during the whole time he was at the public-house. Mr Lipscomb, who afterwards attended the case, stated that if Jeffries had been neglected much longer he would have died.

Another is in Herts Guardian, Agricultural Journal and General Advertiser of  6 September 1864

Aug, 24. - Present: W. B. Simpson, Esq., in the chair; T. Lipscomb, and W. H. Evans. Esqrs. - This being the general annual licensing meeting, licences were re-newed to 54 victuallers. The following transfers were granted: Two Brewers from Abraham Low to George Cambridge; Crown from Charles Atkins to Daniel How; White Hart from Benjamin Roberson to William Henry Marriott; Green Man from John James Ellingham to Joseph Pearce.

The following applications for new licences were granted: to Thomas Jones, Queen Victoria, Spencer street; William Edwards, Crystal Palace, New London road. The following days were appointed as special sessions for alehouse transfers for the ensuing year, viz, Wednesday 12th October, 1864. 7th December, 18th January 1865, 8th March, Wednesday 19th April, 7th June, 5 July, 23rd August, at 11 o'clock in the forenoon each day.

Charles Healey, Jun., of St Peters, was convicted in penalty of 2s. 6d. and 12s. costs, for assaulting William Wells at Abbey parish on 18th inst. Allowed 1 month for payment or 21 days to house of correction. - Mary Cockle, of St. Peter's, was convicted of an offence against bye-laws, using abusive language at St. Peter's on 6th Aug., to Esther Jefferies, wife of Henry Jeffries. Fined 5s. and 14s. costs, and in default of payment in a month, 1 month to house of correction.

Lets start at the 1851 census. In the census the description between "brother " and "brother-in-law", "step brother" and "half brother" is often unclear - as are other relationships. For instance Harriet Ball (13) is technically described as Henry's daughter (if the form had been filled in correctly) when perhaps she should have been described as "niece". So can we trace the births/ baptisms of the Ball family William (40), Sarah ?Jeffries? (42) and Harriet (13).

I will start with Harriet and (on familysearch) find that a Harriett Balls was christened at Redbourn on 30th April, 1837, the daughter of William and Mary Balls.  (FindMyPast includes copy of the register and records William to be a labourer). This immediately opens yet another interpretation of the 1851 census results - Could William Balls be the husband of Henry Jeffries' deceased sister Mary????  A further check shows that a Mary Balls, aged 31, was buried at St Peter's church, St Albans, on 30th May 1839.

Before taking this further I decided to check Henry's birth/baptism - and the free site familysearch provided the following which you may have overlooked - A Henry William Jeffries was christened on 13 October 1805 in Abbey parish, St Albans, the son of Henry and Anne Jeffries.

Following this up I find that Henry and Anne Jeffries has the following children

A quick check on FreeBMD shows that a William Balls married a Sarah Jeffries in St Albans in 1844. In searching for this on FindMyPast I discovered the marriage of William Balls to Mary Jones at St Albans on 3rd November 1829  but couldn't find the 1844 marriage - so if you want details, including a check on the name and occupation of Sarah's father, you will need to buy the marriage certificate.

So to go back to the 1851 census return. It would seem that William was Henry's brother-in-law, Sarah was Henry's sister, and Harriert was no direct relative as she was William's daughter by his first marriage ... perhaps a step-niece?

As far as the 1861 census is concerned the evidence suggests that Henry & Esther were living together as man and wife, and recording the births of their children (apart from William). Ester Adams was is presumably the daughter of Joseph and Susanna Adams baptised at St Mary's, Luton, on 25th March, 1832 - so all that is missing is a bit of paper, It may be that there never was a marriage certificate - or perhaps the couple did marry and it has been erroneously mis-recorded or incorrectly indexed. My guess is that they never married - after all they wouldn't be the only couple who has ever lived together without marrying!

Henry Jeffries senior was apparently also a fishmonger in St Albans as I have found the following directory

He may have been the Henry Jefferies, of St Peter's parish who was buried at the Abbey on 29 February, 1841, aged 71. His wife may have been the 35 year old Anne Jeffreys who was buried at the Abbey on 23rd February 1812.

I also spotted the following reference in the Post Office trade directory for Hertfordshire

There is also a family tree on Ancestry which briefly mentions Henry Jeffries - but I had a quick look and it seems to involve unsubstantiated guessing and should be ignored.

 Jon Mein checked some the earlier St Albans records and wrote: In my pubs database I have Henry Jeffries in the 1854 Craven trade directory as coal dealer, fruiterer, fishmonger and beer retailer in St Peter's Street. So, he kept a beerhouse/beershop but he's not listed in any of the other contemporary directories (Post Office)  I looked at so this side of his business looks to have been short-lived. [However the Craven directory is better at recording people with multiple occupations than was the Post Office directories at the time.]

As to his possible father, Henry, I'd agree with you about the fishmonger link. The poll books for the early 1800s show him as a fishmonger. He looks to have moved to the town sometime around 1800. This is confirmed in the Abbey parish poor rate assessments (PRA) from around 1801; also in the Borough Land Tax schedules: I don't have him in the 1798 schedule but he is recorded in 1803. The location was just down from the Peahen on Holywell Hill and then between 1811 - 1816 he moved to the High Street, close to the Clock Tower.

Henry is listed in the 1832 Abbey PRA in Dog Lane (?) but he's not in the 1839 Pigot trade directory.

He was not made 'free' by the Borough Corporation list but that's not really surprising as the Corporation was not really enforcing this obligation from the 1780s onwards. Several Jeffries were made free earlier in the century so good material if the family's provenance in 18th century St Albans is indicated.

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

May 2014   Page created