My Family History

Trace your ancestors and then immortalise them!

                              THE   ROUGHANS

This history would not have been possible without the work that Kathleen Roughan's grandson Eugene Godden has carried out at Genes Reunited. His valuable research gave me the foothold that I needed in order to proceed further. In March, 2012, this history received a huge boost, when Eileen Roughan's daughter, Helen Holbrook, came across the website. Helen's valuable information and recollections have added considerably to each section. So, considerable thanks to Eugene and Helen for their telling contributions.

Roughan is very much a County Clare name. You will find Roughans in every corner of the world, partly due to the emigration from Clare during the mid-19th Century potato famine. Many of these were young females who set sail for Australia and America and married when they got there. Hence the name changed but not the Roughan blood. Many young men also left Clare,before and around the turn of the century,to seek employment. Martin Roughan was such a man and his story you will meet in these pages. Another Clare man,from nearby Ennis, Abe Grady, left in the 1860s and married a freed African-American slave. Their son also married an African-American, and one of the daughters of that union was Odessa Lee Grady, who married Cassius Clay Sr. Their son, of course,  was Cassius Marcellus Clay who became Muhammed Ali.

The name Roughan is of early medieval Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "O'Ruadhachain, O'Ruadhain", descendant of Ruadh(ach)ain. "Ruadh" means red and was originally given to one with red hair or a ruddy complexion.
The County Clare Roughans were an ecclesiastical family connected with monasteries as far afield as Swords and Lismore. Felix O'Ruadhain was of the Ui Fiachrach or Ui Maine, ancient population groups in Connacht. Seven members of this sept were bishops of Connacht dioceses in medieval times. Petty's 1659 "census" of all Ireland gives O'Roughane as a principal name in the barony of Bunratty, East Clare and Roughane in the barony of East Carbery, Cork.

Before I discovered the Clare connection, I had always thought the Roughans came from Cork. In fact the actual spelling of the name indicates which county the person is from. Rohan or Rohane is Cork and Kerry. Ruane is Kerry. Rowan is from all provinces but mainly Galway. Roughan,itself, is Clare and Limerick. Whatever the spelling, it is a West of Ireland name. Elinor Roughan’s marriage to John Launders in Limerick in 1765 is the first recording of the exact spelling ‘Roughan’. Felix O'Ruadhain, Archbishop of Tuam, County Galway in 1215 is the first recording of the original name.

An interesting account of a siege that took place in 1641 which mentions the Roughans:
“The castle of Inchicronan in County Clare was besieged, the 13th of March, by Gilladuff O’Shaughnessy and the O’Gradys, and some Connaughtmen that were returning home; whereupon Anthony Heathcot sent a letter to the Earl of Thomond, promising him a rick of wheat if he would please to relieve him. The Earl, accompanied by Dermot O’Brien, and John MacNamara, repaired to Inchicronan, with his own troop, and fifty Englishmen in arms, but finding the besiegers had decamped, he killed two or three rogues whom he found remaining in the bushes.
He then returned home. The besieged, thinking all was safe, ventured forth to obtain provisions, but the O’Gradys and Roughans falling upon them, killed nine, suffering only one, Newman, to return with news. Now Gilladuff and the rest came against the castle again, and compelled Heathcot to throw it open and pay him twenty pounds. Heathcot, with his adherents, retired to Ballyallia and Clare castle, in a state of utter destitution.”

There is a townland in County Armagh called Roughan, near Newmills and Dungannon, in which lies the historic Roughan Castle. It was built about 1618 by Sir Andrew Stewart,overlooking Roughan Lough. It is a small square castle, three storeys high with a central tower 20 feet square, flanked by thick rounded towers at each corner. It was once the refuge of Phelim O’Neill, leader of the Irish Rebellion of 1641 in Ulster.He was captured there in 1653 and taken to Dublin, where he was hanged for treason.
So we start our adventure with the man who introduced me to the name back in the early 50s. My birth certificate said Williams and my name was never officially changed to Roughan. I was just registered at school,college and work as Roughan because mum and dad were Roughan. Obtaining my first passport in 1989 was not easy and without a letter from Bernard, I’m not sure where I stood.
My real paternal ancestry is American and what stories and people that might bring, I’ll never know. Bernard’s ancestry is rich enough to compensate, and as it is the one I grew up with, I regard it as my own and am delighted to present it here.


Bernard Roughan  1919-2003

Bernard Roughan was born on the 11th of March 1919 in the Pontypridd area of Wales. He was one of nine children born to Martin Roughan and Christina Maher, who had emigrated to Wales from Ireland at the turn of the Twentieth Century. Bernard was their seventh child and had a twin sister called Patricia. At the age of three, he followed his older siblings to school in the Rhonda Valley and was allowed to stay. His father placed great emphasis on education, and was probably delighted to see his youngest son so eager to learn!

Bernard left school at fourteen and became a tailor’s assistant. He joined the army at the outbreak of World War Two and amongst other places, served in Italy. He had a hard war, like so many others, and carried a few scars into his post-war civilian life. His father Martin died in 1948 which precipitated his mother’s move to London where her married daughters Eileen and May were already living. Bernard continued to live at 22, Parkhurst Road with his mother and sister Pat until his marriage in 1952.

I recall him telling me about following both Arsenal and Tottenham despite their intense rivalry. One week, Highbury, the next week White Hart Lane. I took the Higbury route, and my sister Sharon has taught at Tottenham College for decades. Bernard went into Psychiatric Nursing and worked at the Friern Hospital in New Southgate. I recall watching him play cricket there in the early 50s. His sister May was a deputy matron there, and lived inside the grounds at East Lodge with her husband Reg, who was farm bailiff.

In 1952, Bernard met Ina Hunter, a single mother, and they were married later that year. The reception was held at Parkhurst Road with the front two rooms being opened up into a large drawing room for the day. Sharon Julie Roughan was born in Hackney on the 10th May. The family moved to Colchester where Bernard became a Mental Welfare Officer at Severalls Hospital in the Mile End area. His sister Kathleen and her husband Don Godden were already living in Mill Road, which was probably how he came to work at Severalls. With the job came a house with a sizeable garden at 148, Mill Road. Bernard turned his hand to gardening, growing most of his own vegetables in our back garden which backed on to Severalls. Echoes of his grandfather Michael, who was a farmer in Clare, Ireland, and would also have grown a few potatos in his time. I think Michael,who died some fifteen years before Bernard was born, would have been proud of his grandson’s horticultural prowess. Bernard's wife, Ina, took up a position at Essex Hall Hospital, not far away, and this family vocation in Mental Welfare was to be followed by future generations.

Bernard was a very energetic man who enjoyed life to the full. Working at Severalls, there were many social opportunites and functions. He mainly worked night duty, but still found time during the day to work for Securicor, and as a delivery man for a Bakery. He liked a flutter on the horses. Although his step-son, he treated me as his own, and Christopher Williams had long since become Christopher Roughan.
His second daughter, Jane Elizabeth, was born on News Day. She just made it as a New Year’s Day baby by thirty minutes and thus got her picture into the Essex County Standard to the family’s great excitement.
Bernard took his children to London regularly to visit ‘Granny in London’ whom we were very fond of, and who had a lot of time for Ina. We always visited his sister May, who had a house within the grounds of Friern Hospital. Those visits to Auntie May and Uncle Reg meant a lot to us. We also regularly visited his sister Eileen at Arnos Grove, who, again, was very special to me.

  Severalls Hospital where Bernard worked Night Duty

                             Colchester Castle

As 1965 dawned, changes were afoot in our family. Mum was now working at the Jane Walker Hospital in Wissington, Suffolk and she had been offered a partnership in an Old Persons Home, about to be opened nearby, at Rushbanks House where formerly, nurses from the Hospital had lived. Bernard was excited about the move, and as far as I know, entered into the project wholheartedly. One of the partners was Matron Singleton, and the other was Frank Bates whose farm adjoined the property. What actually happened or went wrong I have never been sure of. Whether Bernard and Ina, after thirteen years together, had grown apart, I don’t know.  Both were excited about the move.

Within weeks of the move to Rushbanks in the July, Bernard had left and returned to Colchester, very upset. Each believed the other to have had exta-matrimonal affairs. It was the most acrimonious of splits possible and they never again spoke to each other. Bernard kept in touch with his children, and access was never a problem. Nearly forty years later, and after a successful second marriage, the scars were still there. He never  got over it.

1971 was a turning point in his life. Earlier that year, Ina’s father, Franz had passed away. Bernard and Franz had never got on, though Bernard did say to me, at the time, that he was sorry ‘the old man’ had gone ... words I was pleased to hear because both men were important to me in my life. Bernard’s mother died on the 19th March that year, and his sister May in the August. Bernard was now fifty-two with both parents passed on and four siblings too.

Into his life came Laura Frederick but known as Ann. She had two daughters from a previous marriage, Liz and Louise, and was twenty years younger. This was to be a lasting relationship and marriage up to his death in 2003. Ann had several siblings, and Bernard got on well with them all and their partners. He was always at ease in company, and there was plenty of that in a close-knit family. I also got on well with Ann's sisters and daughters.

Ann’s daughters went on to have families of their own, and Bernard became a much-loved figure in all their lives. I enjoyed my visits to 132, Mill Road, and was so pleased to see his contentment. He and Ann had no children of their own, but in many ways, Ann’s children and grandchildren became his children too. My relationship with Bernard took on a new dimension, and I enjoyed his company very much.

       St Josephs R C Church, Mill Road, Colchester

Ramparts Close, Gt Horkesley - Bernard's last home

One of the things I learned about him was that he had psychic abilities, and he frequently saw ghosts, particularly on night duty at Severalls. He would describe vividly the Centurion who stood at the top of North Hill, Colchester. He didn’t make a big thing about his experiences, but rather, it was my own interest in the occult which drew such information from him. Bernard was a Pisces and also a Sheep Year ... his psychic abilities therefore came as no surprise to me.

Eventually, I moved to London, but kept up my visits to Mill Road, as well as to Great Horkesley where he and Ann moved to shortly afterwards. They made a lovely home there, and Bernard, once again, made the most of the garden land there, even buying a small plot adjoining, and extending his garden. He now focused on flowers rather than vegetables and was no less successful. Bernard undoubtedly had green fingers, which probably owed something to his Irish Heritage. My motor-bike journeys to Ramparts Close were replaced by train journeys as the 80s moved into the 90s. There was no better sight than seeing him, in his car, waiting at Colchester North Station ready to make the short journey to Great Horkesley. He and Ann were at my wedding in 1995 in London. He rarely came to London, a place he no longer felt comfortable in.

Bernard passed away in December 2003. His twin-sister Pat survived him by two weeks, and his brother Bill died in the February of the same year. I hadn’t seen Bernard for a couple of years. One of those things one can’t explain but live to regret.  However I was at his hospital bedside, hours before he died, and was able to say a quiet goodbye, although he was in a coma by then. His funeral showed how much he was loved, and how much he would be missed. He had packed a lot into his eighty-four years, and he was a clear-thinking, active man well into his eighties.

Bernard was the only one of Martin and Christina Roughan’s sons to have children. His daughter Sharon has kept the name Roughan, and her daughters, Holly and Rebecca continue the name too. I have no children myself. It looks as if Roughan, as a name on their branch of the family, may be lost in due course with no males to keep the name going. But you never know ...
                                     Patricia Roughan   1919-2003

Pat was born on the 11th March 1919, along with her twin brother Bernard. When her mother Christina moved to London in the late 40s, she and Bernard continued to live with her at Parkhurst Road. The thing I recall most about her was her voice. She had a strong Welsh accent, like her elder sister Kathleen, but theirs was more distinctive than other Welsh accents I have heard. Perhaps they had their parents’ Irish brogue incorporated into their Rhonda Valley Welsh.

She was the second of her family to be wed when she married George J Stone of Cardiff in the winter of 1940 in Pontypridd. He was one of eight children, born early in 1911. His father was Arthur George Stone born in 1885 to John and Fanny Stone. As long as I knew Auntie Pat, she was alone, and I don’t recall either Pat or the family ever mentioning her husband. I had presumed she was unmarried. Whatever happened between Pat and George, he lived a long life himself, dying in late 1992 at the age of eighty-one. I am informed that during the war, Pat worked in Suffolk, stripping down tanks after they had been in action. Not an easy job for a woman in her 20s because it might have involved finding body parts among the damage. 

I got to know Pat at Bernard and Ann’s house in Mill Road in the early 70s. We got on well, sharing some common musical interests. I recall giving her a tape of Judy Collins which she particularly liked. Apparently she greatly enjoyed singing about the house, which is something I remember Bernard doing a lot. So that makes at least three troubadors in the family, because I am never without a song in my heart, and in the open air. I am told that her speciality was 'Frankie and Johnnie were sweethearts', whereas Bernard's was 'Danny Boy'.

Pat worked most of her life at WH Smith, and lived with her mother until her death in 1971. After the 1970s, I lost touch with her. She moved to Colchester at one time, and then back to London, and then to Colchester again. She outlived Bernard by two weeks, passing away in December, 2003 in Colchester. We should have sung a duet together ... perhaps one day we will.

Bought by the people of Pontypridd in 1919 after workers raised the money to have the park established. In 1923 Field Marshal Viscount Allenby renamed the park the Ynysangharad War Memorial park in memory of the soldiers of  WW1.
                                        Grace Roughan   1923-2009

Grace was the youngest of Martin and Christina’s children, born in 1923 in Pontypridd. She married Arthur Burnell in the summer of 1946 in Pontypridd. Interesting to note that Grace may have known some Pontypridd Arthur Burnells already because records show that two were born there in 1814. However she married another Arthur Burnell who came from London.

Arthur was born on the 31st of October 1915, the son of William James Bennett Burnell of Kensington, London, and Annie J Studley of Westbourne Park. William’s middle name ‘Bennett’ was his mother Emily’s maiden name. William and Annie were married in 1898, and George William, Albert Edward and Annie Rosa quickly followed. Some time elapsed before the birth of Clifford A Burnell in 1912 and Ernest in 1913. Then Arthur two years later.

Arthur and Grace’s only child was born the year after their wedding, in Cardiff. Her name was Jacqueline and as a youngster, I thought her the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. When Auntie Grace and Uncle Arthur visited us in Colchester, I only had eyes for cousin Jacqui. My friend Roger had a cousin called Helen, and we used to debate who was the loveliest. Not that Helen or Jacqui ever knew. Jacqui went to Ursuline Convent in Wimbledon.

Grace and Arthur lived in Surbiton for years, before moving to Chalfont St Giles. They eventually settled in Leigh on Sea. Grace went on to become the second longest living Roughan and died in June 2009, aged eighty-five. She was the last born of Martin and Christina’s nine children and the last to pass away. 2003 was a very poignant year for her. Arthur passed away at the age of eighty-seven, and her brothers Bill and Bernard, as well as her sister Pat, also died.
                                   William M Roughan     1916 - 2003

                 Fr. Luxons 25th Anniversary. (L to R) Bishop Brain, Canon Roughan, Fr Luxon, Canon Hanlon

Uncle Bill, as we knew him, was truly a larger-than-life person ... Sagittarius Fire Dragons usually are. Born on the 24th of November 1916, he went on to serve his country in many different ways. First as a soldier in World War Two, then as a policeman in the West Midlands until 1955, when he was ordained as a Catholic Priest in Westminster Cathedral. An extremely convivial post-ordination luncheon party was hosted for 11 of his brother priests at his sister Eileen's house in Whetstone!

Bill liked to keep in touch with his nieces and nephews' spiritual progress, and it wasn't unusual for him to say mass at their schools. Nothing gave him greater pleasure. My cousin Helen recalls such occasions vividly. I didn't attend a Roman Catholic School, but I do remember his attending my own Confirmation in Priory Street, Colchester.

Bill went through a lot during the war, and the family believed that these experiences were instrumental in his becoming a priest. He was known to be an exceptionally brave man, who rescued a child from a burning house in Wolverhampton, and the first our grandmother knew of it was via a newspaper cutting someone had sent her.  He served as a priest at Uttoxeter, Kings Norton, Small Heath and Brierley Hill before moving to Bedworth as parish priest in 1971. Here he was to serve his community until his death in February, 2003, having just celebrated his eighty-sixth birthday. In 2000 he was appointed Canon.

                      Father  Roughan  ( Uncle Bill )

                         St.Mary's College, Oscott

The Headmaster of Bedworth's St Francis RC Primary School, Seamus Crowe, described him as a “giant”, and local R.C. schools were closed for a day in memory of him. Seamus went on to say "As is all too often the case, his going was a blessing, a happy release, because this large man was brought low by his illness. Now, in death, he has regained that stature and dignity that was rightly his. He loved the school, and he loved the children. Indeed there was one occasion he came into the school and went to the reception class, and one beaming happy child said 'Oh, here comes God'. "That tickled and delighted him, and in one sense she was right, because he lived and breathed in the Lord's service. He was at one with God."

As a young boy I recall Uncle Bill as a beaming, powerful man who had great impact upon those around him. I also recall his sense of humour which Mr Crowe went on to illustrate: "I remember when Wales beat England at rugby and, the next day, he had the hymn 'Bread of Heaven' played at mass. That was funny, but the look of total innocence on his face, total unawareness, was even funnier. Did he know what he was doing? You bet."

Uncle Bill was diagnosed with cancer a year before he died, and requested no flowers at his funeral, but that donations should be made to the Leprosy Mission. He was buried at St.Mary's College, Oscott in Staffordshire, where he studied for the priesthood. His nephew, John Godden, was instrumental in arranging for his medals to presented to his regimental museum – the Worcesters.

Later that year his brother Bernard, and his sister Pat also passed away, as well as his brother-in-law Arthur Burnell.

                                                       Patrick John Roughan   1908 -1929

Patrick was born in the summer of 1908 in Pontypridd, the eldest of Martin and Christina’s children.  Always known as John, like Thomas, he didn't go down the mines. His father had a brother called Patrick, who was known as 'Paddy', and of course, there’s also Saint Patrick! His middle name is that of Christina’s father, John Maher and also Martin’e eldest brother, as well as Martin’s grandfather. Sadly, like Tom, he died of ventricular heart disease during the last quarter of 1929.

                   The Rocking Stones, Pontypridd

                   Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd

                                    Thomas Roughan     1910-1936

I met seven of Martin and Christina’s nine children but not their eldest sons. Thomas was named after Martin’s elder brother, and was born in the Spring of 1910 in Pontypridd. He died on the 30th March 1936, of ventricular heart disease. His parents had just seen their first daughter, Kathleen, marry William Godden. In the space of weeks, the family went through such mixed emotions. His sister Eileen could never bear the smell of chrysanthemums for the rest of her life as so many had been sent for poor Tom, whom she was very close to.

                                   Kathleen Roughan    1912-1982

Kathleen was born during the early part of 1912 in Pontypridd. She married William Henry Godden of Folkestone, Kent in early 1936. Uncle Don, as we knew him, was born on the 23rd of July 1907, the eldest of four children born to cab-driver William Henry Godden and Florence Stapley of Elham, Folkestone. Frederick was eight years younger than Don, while Percy was fifteen years younger. Don outlived them both but his sister Florence Edith Godden, five years his junior,went on to reach eighty eight years of age. It was probably the Australian sunshine that did it. Don took up psychiatric nursing as a profession,and worked with Bernard Roughan at Severalls Hospital in Colchester. He was probably the catalyst in Bernard moving to Mill Road where Severalls provided its staff with excellent semi-detached houses.

Kathleen had that same rich, individual Welsh accent that her sister Pat had and had a very bubbly personality and energy. She also worked as a nurse at Severalls. They lived just a few houses away from us in Mill Road, Colchester. Kathleen was the only one of Martin and Christina’s children to have sons. Her eldest son was born around 1938 and Anthony in 1944. Bernard was particularly fond of his nephew Anthony. He married Linda Rose Douglas in 1970, and their son Eugene has gone on to share my own interest in family history, doing some great research into his family roots. His own research on the Roughans has been of great assistance to my own, without which, this part of my family history would not have been possible. Anthony, remembering his grandfather, gave Eugene the middle name of Martin.

Kathleen passed away in 1982 and Don in 1984. Bernard and I visited him just before he died, and I recall a man with a very acute mind. Bernard had told me that Uncle Don had been active in trade unions for much of his life. As a soldier, serving in Palestine and India, he would have gained quite a world perspective. I certainly found him a very interesting and inspiring person to talk to.

                                        Mary M Roughan  1906-1971

Until recently, I knew very little of the genealogical details of my Auntie May and Uncle Reg. Lots of childhood memories but no facts and figures. Now, following more recent research (and a bit of luck) the mystery has been unravelled. May was born Mary Margaret Roughan in 1906 in Pontypridd,Glamorgan. She was Martin and Christina’s first child, living in 14, Penmasglaston Road with Thomas and Patrick at the time of the 1911 census. Her maternal Uncle James had named one of his daughters May and the other, Christina, after his sister. Perhaps May was Mary’s middle name, or perhaps it was Margaret. Either way, May was the name she became known by.

May married Herbert Reginald Ratcliffe towards the end of 1942 in Edmonton. Reg, as he was affectionately known, was born in the last quarter of 1905, in Edwardstone, Suffolk. He was the son of Walter Ratcliffe of Boxford and Anna Elizabeth Bowers of Great Waldingfield. This is an area close to my heart, having ridden my motor-bike through Suffolk’s leafy lanes throughout much of the 70s. Walter Ratcliffe worked on a farm, like his father William before him. His job description was Teamsters Labourer, working with horses. Most likely they were the Suffolk Punch Horses with their featherless feet. Walter was the eldest of eleven children growing up in Priory Green, Edwardstone.

                     Gatehouse to Edwardstone Hall

                              Suffolk Punches at  work

Walter and Anna Elizabeth were married in the summer of 1905, so Reg was their eldest child,  just as May was the eldest Roughan. Reg had four brothers that I know of ... Albert, Arthur, Frank and Mitchell, as well as a sister called Florence, born in 1907.

May and Reg only had one child, Christine, born early in 1944 in Barnet. I didn’t know her very well, but I do recall rather beautiful eyes and a far-away expression. She may have been an only child, but she couldn’t have had more wonderful parents. May named her after her own mother, Christine. She attended the convent of Marie Auxilatrice in Finchley during her youth.

They lived at East Lodge just inside the grounds of Friern Barnet Hospital. They had met while fire watching on the roof of the hospital during the war where May was Deputy Matron, and Reg the farm bailiff. The front part of the hospital had been turned into a military hospital. My mother was particularly fond of Auntie May, and I thought them the nicest, sweetest couple imaginable. She and Reg were always so welcoming to us all. I recall their smiling faces, and how they would just sit and and talk to us.

May died on the 23rd of August 1971, just five months after her mother had passed away. I don’t know when Reg died, but Christine eventually moved to Suffolk in the 1970s, close to the area where her father grew up. Again, I’m wondering if she moved there with Reg, following May’s passing. Eileen’s widower, Don Burgess was also living in Suffolk at the time until his own passing in 1978. And I was living in Suffolk and teaching a few miles away at Ringshall between 1973 and 1975. It's a small world!

Friern Hospital - A very special place for Aunty May and Uncle Reg where they first met and lived in its grounds.

                                Eileen Winifred Roughan   1914-1963

This part of the history has been considerably expanded due to the reminiscences and information sent to me by Eileen's daughter Helen.

Eileen was born on the 18th November 1914 in Penycraig, Rhonda, Glamorgan. She was the middle child of the family, with four older siblings, and four younger ones. Like May and Kathleen, she was trained as a nurse, but at the age of nineteen, she broke her ankle playing hockey, which curtailed her nursing career.

Helen recalls: "She moved to London and worked for Fishers Foils I think in the accounts department just before the war.  She lodged in Neasden at her great friend Lilian's home.  I remember her telling me she was walking along the North Circular on the day war was declared, the sirens went, the streets emptied and there she was by herself.  However a police car happened to pass and Mummy, being Mummy, promptly got taken home in style!"

Eileen married Don Burgess in Edinburgh in December 1940. Helen paints a vivid picture of their first meeting, and life in London during the war.

"They had met at Richmond Ice Rink before the war when Daddy literally picked her up when she had fallen over on the ice! He raced over to help her to her feet before anyone else! His great friends, the Turners, who came from Springfield Road in New Southgate, told me they had heard all about Dad's gorgeous new girlfriend and thought he was exaggerating (to which he was prone), then they met her and both hoped they would break up so they could take her out in his place!!!  For the rest of her life the Turner `boys' took Mummy every year to the horse races - the 1000 guineas at Newmarket where she usually backed the winning grey mare - and spoiled her generally!

Mummy lived with Grandpa Burgess and Auntie Win in Bowes Road during the war.  The Germans used to try and bomb the tube station and miss apparently all the time - Daddy had built an enormous concrete bunker air raid shelter off the dining room in Bowes Road in which there were bunks - I think it was only ever used as a last resort though. You could clearly see Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace from the back bedroom upstairs and they used to watch the bombers try and take the radio station out!"

        Richmond Ice Rink where Eileen and Don met

                              Arnos Grove Tube Station

Don served in the Middle East and North Africa in the RAF. He was already thirty-three at the outbreak of the war, colour blind, and as a result not deemed fit for aircrew,  Later in the war he was station adjutant on a bomber base in Norfolk.  He worked in radio and radar - intercepting German transmissions in the Western Desert and relaying them on to Cairo. He was in part of the RAF attached to the Eighth Army and certainly already knew about Enigma when the Official Secrets Act was lifted.

After the war, Eileen and Don lived in the family home in Arnos Grove, London with their two daughters - Diana born in 1942 and Helen in 1946. They moved to Oakleigh Park South in Whetstone in 1953 ... a house  that Don built, once post war building restrictions had been lifted. I well recall their house and garden, which had a stream at the bottom of it. Helen recalls he was an inveterate inventor: “He was always inventing things as varied as a bread slicer and a machine to insert jam into doughnuts, to the famous Burgess woodworking sharpening machine for planer cutterblocks and then of course there was the infamous foot sensitized burglar alarm pad (the latter moved around the house at whim ensuring everyone would be woken up by the unwary late homecomer - usually Diana) - his inventions being known in the family as 'Don's bloody gadgets'. 

Visiting them was always a special experience. Eileen was as lovely a person as you could ever meet, but it was her two daughters that held a young cousin spellbound. They were as striking a pair of young ladies as I ever recall. I can still picture Helen playing 45s by those early '60s male hearthrobs, and just gazing in wonder. Sadly, I never knew my cousins beyond the mid-60s.

I did an astrological study of the household and a more positive, electric, vibrant environment you could never meet. It’s no wonder that a young metal tiger like myself was so stimulated by my visits there. Helen recently confirmed my impressions, remembering her mother: "She was a vital woman, full of fun and mischief - the first up on the dance floor - and went far too young.  I can remember her doing Irish jigs dancing round the kitchen, and coming downstairs one night, after hearing music turned up loud, to see Mummy jitterbugging with a family friend and being thrown over his shoulder!"

Tragically, Eileen died in November 1963 aged just forty nine. A terrible loss to all who knew her. Don moved away to Bildeston in Suffolk and lived there until November 1978 when he died aged seventy-two. Helen and Diana emigrated to New Zealand.

                                       THE BURGESS FAMILY

As with the Procter Family - who married into the Horners - this section has become an extensive part of this website, and disproportionate to other family branches and sections here. Genealogy is all about information and research. Births, Marriages and Deaths - BMD as they say - is at the very heart of it. Some Family History websites focus only on dates and names. This is  understandable, given the lack of personal information and stories available on distant ancestors. I wanted this website to be so much more than that. I wanted it to be a living 'entity'. One close relative - upon receiving an A-4 sheet with only 'names and dates' recorded - remarked that this was much more 'accessible' than the extensive document I had sent months before. That document - in essence an ebook - was sent to ten key relatives, and only one person has given any feedback in the three years since. That ebook became this website, which has doubled in length since 2009.

When Helen chanced upon this website recently, she became the very first 'direct' relative to leave a guest book entry. I had asked others to help me with information on their own particular branches of the family, but to no avail. Fortunately, several very distant relatives, and others such as Niall Brannigan,  have made it possible for this website to be much more than a list of names and dates. Helen's input has been such that I found myself adding to it rather than condensing it. Having not added to the website much since 2010, this has been an opportunity to once again visit and other such places, and do what I love doing ... research!! I make no apologies to those who find this amount of information and detail too much. Nor will I list essential dates of birth etc at the start of each page or section. If it is only 'accessible' to those with more than a few minutes to spare ... so be it.

                                Donald Eric Burgess  1906-1978

Don was born on the 27th of March 1906, the son of James Burgess and Lucy Holmes. The latter had married in the spring of 1892 in Froxfield, Lucy’s home village in Wiltshire. James had learned carpentry as a trade ... ideal for marrying into a family of bricklayers and builders! Much more of the Holmes later.

James and Lucy started their married life in Froxfield where James Reginald Holmes Burgess was born in the third quarter of 1893. They soon moved to North London, where their first daughter, Lucy Marguerite Irene, was born in 1895. The 1901 Census records them at  91 Springfield Road, New Southgate.  James is a 'Buildings General Foreman';  their son James is recorded as 'Reggie' and his sister Lucy as 'Marguerite'. Their given Christian names were rarely used. Their cousin Ethel - daughter of James' sister Emma - is visiting from Bermondsey. The 1911 Census shows the family now at Fairview, 333 Bowes Road, New Southgate. Winifred Ivy Burgess had been born on February 24, 1903, during their time at Springfield Road, and Donald Eric was born at Fairview on March 27, 1906.

A convenient moment to pause and look at Don's early life. His daughter Helen recalls:

 "In those days, Bowes Road in New Southgate (latterly Arnos Grove), where they lived, was still rural - where the tube station is now marked the edge of Walkers Woods. Daddy used to tell me how he would hammer his cricket stumps into the middle of the road (where the zebra crossing is now) and only have to move them for the dustcart! 

He was a gifted sportsman, I once met his former badminton partner on the other side of the world who recognised me as Don Burgess' daughter and told me Daddy was the finest badminton player he had ever seen!  (We were never sure which of his tall stories were true - it was good to get some confirmation!)  He also beat Fred Perry playing tennis before the War - the Daily Mail considered Daddy to be the great hope of English tennis apparently .. he used to babysit the McWhirter twins of Guinness Record book fame, their father being editor of the Daily Mail  at the time. His tennis career was curtailed when Grandpa Burgess deemed it not the thing to be racketing around the country playing tournaments when he should be working in the family firm – he should have played at Wimbledon!  He also hooked for Saracens and was North London Area Boxing Champion."

James was still very much involved in the building trade in 1911. Between the wars, he was managing director of one of the largest building firms in London. His firm rebuilt Madame Tussauds, part of the London Zoo, and rebuilt the interior foundations and dance floor at the Royal Albert Hall among other projects. Not surprisingly, Don joined the firm.

"Daddy went into the building trade too, Grandpa made him first learn a trade, carpentry, and the day that was completed, he went straight into the drawing office at Grandpa's firm. He had one building company of his own before the war, then started another in High Road New Southgate with a partner - Wilton and Burgess. He tried to enlist the day after war was declared, but was in a reserved occupation and so wound the business down to get in."

As an Astrologer, I cannot let this go by unrecorded - Don was born in the year of the Fire Horse, and if anyone ever truly embodied the spirit and genius of this unique energy, it was Uncle Don Burgess. 

                       James Reginald Holmes Burgess 1893-1915

It is rare to find a resource such as the Southgate County School Magazine. Therefore I felt it appropriate to devote a large part of this section to what they tell us about Reg's time in the sixth form. Reginald was thirteen years older than his brother Don. He was born in Froxfield in 1893 - I don't have his date of birth. He attended the school from it's opening in 1907 to 1911, and saw it move from its temporary Broomfield House home in 1907 to Fox Lane in 1910. Alfred Thomas Warren (born 14 Sep 1862) was his Headmaster during his time there, and remained the school's first Headteacher until 1929. Reginald was a gifted artist, and played a prominent part in the life of the school.

The magazine was published each school term from 1911-1914, and then yearly until 1968. The very first issue in December 1910 records that Reg was in Form V1, and a member of The Debating Society. "First meeting held on Monday, November 14th.  Motion " That the Right of Veto of the House of Lords should be abolished."Mr. Auger in the chair. Speakers were Day, Burgess, Doris Varley, Christine Thompson, Miss Barham, Pond, Petty, Olga Muller, and Gladys Beal. The motion was carried by 24 votes against 18."

From the second issue in March 1911:

ENGLISH LITERARY AND DEBATING SOCIETY. The first meeting this term was held on January 23rd, when the motion that we should have conscription in England was discussed. N. Day presided, and thirty members were present. Burgess opened the discussion. He said that there was much need for conscription in England. Every European nation had conscription, and therefore had a large army always ready for war in case of need. Conscription was cheap, and England paid more than any other European nation for her army and had a less powerful one. Owing to the scattered nature of our Empire, the supremacy of the sea was difficult to maintain, and so we needed an efficient army as well as a powerful navy. Some people objected to conscription on the ground that it was barbarous, as it led to war; but this was a mistake, as readiness for war kept the peace.

Pond seconded Burgess, saying that the Territorial scheme had not succeeded well, and that conscription was necessary if we wished to guard our Colonies. Conscription would rouse a spirit of enthusiasm and patriotism. The motion was opposed by Best. He said there was no need for conscription yet, as the navy and not the army was the defence of Britain. Men would have to spend the three best years of their life in barracks just at the time when they wanted to enter some business or profession.

Myrtle Campbell seconded Best. She thought that the present system did not need alteration. Conscription was a lottery, and some men who were really needed to earn food for their families would be taken away to fight.

Mr. Neely spoke of the bad system of the French conscription ... Several other members spoke, and after the leaders had summed up, the motion was put to the vote and was lost by 8 votes against 22.  MARGARET LACEY (Secretary).

Little did these sixth formers know what was on the horizon.

Finally in this issue, a moment of school humour:

OXBRIDGE EXAMINATION WID-WINTER, 1911. Regulations which may be observed by Candidates:

1. Rule carefully three wide margins—one on the left side of the page, one on the right side, and a third in the middle. Write in the space left - if there is any.

2. At the head of each sheet write: Name, colour of hair, height in plain socks, height and weight in fancy socks.

3. The Examiner does not insist on English full-stops; French ones may be used. Illegible answers may not score full marks.

(more toomfoolery)

3. If an Old Master is sold for £100,000, what would be the value of a young, well-dressed student-teacher at the same rate ?

4. What is the difference (if any) between: (a) Burgess and Hole, and holy burgesses ? (b) Brooking insults, and insulting Brookes ?

(more tomfoolery)

8. Multiply the difference between one and decimal nine recurring by Pi, and make a list of subjects of which your knowledge is represented by the answer.

Try if you wish to read more of this and other school affairs, including names of those representing the school in football and netball matches. Also there is a beautiful centenary video lasting thirteen minutes at with the school song sung at the beginning and end. I think I'm loving this school. Anyway, I digress ... There are no references to Reg in the July 1911 issue, so on to the Dec 1911 one.

As three of the Editors of the Magazine left last term it was necessary to appoint new officers. The present Editors are R. Burgess and Doris Varley, with N. L. Day and Nellie Sauer acting as Sub-Editors.

I'm not certain, but I think Reg was the Head Boy or the 'Dux' as they say.

The Prefects for the term are :— Boys.—R. H. Burgess, N. L. Day, A. J. Brookes, W. D. Makins, W. E. Hole, E. R. Brown, D. Archibald.  Girls.—Doris Varley, Kathleen Finlayson, Cissie Glyn-Jones, Gladys Hayward, Olga Miiller, Ada Rowe, Kathleen Clark.

The Heads of the Houses for games are:—White.—N. L. Day, W. E. Hole, Ada Rowe. Blue.—R. H. Burgess, W. D. Makins, Doris Varley. Red.—A. J. Brookes, Cissie Glyn-Jones. Black.—D. Archibald, E. R. Brown. Green.—Kathleen Finlayson.

Finally ... from the July 1912 issue, a year after Reg had left: We must congratulate R. Burgess on having obtained a very good Civil Service Clerkship in connection with the Port of London. This berth was offered him on the results of an examination which he took while still in the School last autumn. We wish him all success in his new work.

From the Summer of 2008 at Broomfield House. Reg was 15 at the time, and he will be here somewhere. The photos are about a 3rd of their original size. At click 1908, and you will see the complete photo (top left) pan across the screen in high definition.

The December 1914 issue mentions Old Boys "serving with the colours",  including: Burgess, Reginald (1907-11), 9th Royal Highlanders and the 1915 issue mentions that Reg was one of the Old Boys who had recently visited the school. A very poignant entry, because Reg died a month later. He had joined the Artists Rifles division of the Territorials before the war. He was an exceptional shot and joined the Royal Scots (Highland Lothian Regiment) 9th Battalion as a Corporal. He died from war wounds on April 10th, 1915, and is laid to rest at Boulogne Eastern Cemetery in the Commonwealth War Graves plot at the western edge of the southern section of the cemetery. He was fondly remembered by all those who knew him – every family member still cherishing photos of him dressed in his kilt. Helen paid her respects recently:

I visited his grave last year (2011), knowing I was the first family member to have done so since 1919.  The military cemetery is in a very small part of the Boulogne West Cemetery below the hospital.  With the wholesale slaughter of the Western Front the authorities ran out of room there very quickly and subsequently an enormous Lutyens' designed cemetery was laid further down the coast at Étaples (`eat apples' in soldiers' slang).  It was such a cold sad place to visit on a freezing winter's day and all I could hear was 'in a corner of a foreign field' running through my head like a broken record.

Apparently Uncle Reg had been wounded, then the Germans shelled the Red Cross train on which he was being evacuated from the front - I was always told if he there had been blood transfusions available the outcome would have been very different.  After he died they sent my grandparents a parcel of his effects including his kilt covered in blood.  My grandmother, Lucy, was naturally never the same afterwards.  Uncle Reg was engaged and his fiancée never married - what a tragedy that war was.

A tragedy indeed, and this family history, along with so many others, bears testimony to that. Reg's old school remembered their ex-students who had fallen. At an impressive service on 29th April (1920) the Memorial was unveiled in the presence of the School and of those parents who had lost their sons. The following names appear on the Roll of Honour :—  ... Burgess, J. Reginald H. 9th Batt. Royal Scots (Highlanders)

                      Lucy Marguerite Irene Burgess  1896-1982

Marguerite, always known as Margay, was born on July 26, 1895. She married twenty-four-year-old John Stirling, son of William Stirling, on December 2nd, 1916 at St Paul's Church in New Southgate. The marriage certificate illustrates how much one can learn from such a document.  John's father was deceased, so a W.A. Douglas signed the certificate with James Burgess. James' eldest brother, William, was the witness. We learn that John was with the Royal Scots residing at Catterick. His close friend, Reg Burgess had also been with the Royal Scots, but the 9th Battalion. John was with the 6th.   According to family lore, Don, who had been left at home during the wedding due to some ailment, managed to make a start on the wedding feast before the newlyweds and guests returned to Bowes Road!

Margay and John lived in Edinburgh for many years before retiring to the New Forest. I understand that Margay was very beautiful, an creative and excellent cook and needlewoman.  John, always known as Jack, and went on to have a distinguished career in the civil service. He received the CBE, and I understand that, had he stayed in the Service another six months, he would have received a knighthood. They had two children who were born in Edinburgh, but I haven't found birth records.  Joyce died in her twenties, having qualified as a doctor at the Edinburgh Infirmary, Lucy married in the USA, was widowed and returned to England.  Margay died early in 1982 in Ringwood, Hampshire.  Jack died two years later at the age of ninety-two. I haven't, as yet, verified John's own ancestry- there are several possibilities- but I came across the following at the Great War Forum, posted by Bob Norman during November 2007:

I would be most grateful for any help with the following soldier. In conversation with a neighbour after attending the local Service of Remembrance she stated that her Father had served in the Great War. He (John Stirling with no middle name) was commissioned from the ranks and served with the Royal Scots Regiment. He was severely wounded in the head and was invalided to a hospital in Scotland, but recovered and resumed active service. She knows nothing of his war service ....... and would like to know more about him. She had a photograph of him in uniform standing next to an African soldier dressed in a uniform not dissimilar to the West African Rifles.

Searching through the MIC cards there is a card for a John Stirling who was commissioned as a Lt in the Ryl Scots and a Lt in the King's African Rifles finally being promoted to Capt. in the Ryl. Scots.He went to Egypt 5/9/15 (not easy to read.) I can't find a L.G. entry for the transfer into the K. A. Rifles. Might this be the very same John Stirling ? The only other personal information that I have is that he married sometime during the War ( before his wound I believe) a lady by the name of Margaret Irenee Burgess. Before he married he was probably living at Bruntsfield Gardens Edinburgh. I am sorry not to be more precise but have known you to work miracles. Many thanks in anticipation for any information received. Regards, Bob Norman

The response from other forum members was immediate and informative. I have correlated their research on John with some background information of my own. John was in the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers ... the very battalion that Winston Churchill commanded for five months up to May 1916 (see opposite)

The Royal Scots was the oldest, and therefore most senior, infantry regiment of the line in the British Army, having been raised in 1633 during the reign of Charles I of Scotland. As part of Kitchener's First New Army, it was raised at Ayr in August 1914.   After initial training, it joined 27th Brigade, 9th Scottish Division, at Bordon and in February 1915 moved to Bramshott for final training. They proceeded to France on the 11th of May 1915, landing at Boulogne, and went into action in the The Battle of Loos.

On August 12th, John became a 2nd Lieutenant, and was promoted to a full Lieutenant on May 26th 1916. He became temporary Captain on August 1st 1917. On ceasing to be employed with a service battalion, he relinquished this rank on January 28, 1918. This was just before the 6th Royal Scots were transferred to 59th (2nd North Midland) Division as Pioneer Battalion on Feb 21st. He was restored to the 6th Royal Scots on March 29th, 1919, and was transferred to the Territorial Force Reserve as Captain J Stirling on February 26th 1921. He left the army in 1922 to focus on his civil service career.

At some point, he was transferred to the King's African Rifles as a lieutenant, and went to Egypt on September 5, 1915. The KAR was a multi-battalion British colonial regiment raised from the various British possessions in East Africa from 1902 until independence in the 1960s. Most officers were seconded from British Army regiments. By the end of the war, its three battalions had become twenty-two, and and 2,319 African and Indian soldiers had risen to 30,658.

John may be the Captain involved in the following extract, because the Army lists confirm that a Lt J. Stirling of the 6th RS was attached to the 16th RS, and we know he was a temporary Captain from August 1st.

Major Ewing's book on the Royal Scots mentions a Capt J. Stirling of the 16th Royal Scots being wounded during an attack that lasted between the 26th & 28th August 1917. The battalion was part of the 101st Brigade, 34th Division which "took over the line in front of Hargicourt" during July 1917.The battalion formed in a sunken road to the west of Cologne Farm. The 16th RS then fought their way along systems called Fish Lane and Pin Lane. By this time Allied aircraft flew low and assisted the battalion in their attack. There were three counter-attacks by the Germans but these failed. Thirty five German prisoners were taken and a large amount of war material.  On the 27th of August heavy rain fell and the men were soon waist deep in water in their new positions. The 16th were also pounded by German artillery and sniper fire and a German raid which was beaten back. The battalion was relieved around midnight on the 28th/29th August. 184 other ranks of the 16th were killed wounded or missing.  Eight officers were wounded including Capt J. Stirling.

Returning to Bob Norman's original 2007 enquiry, I presume that the neighbour in question was Jack's daughter Lucy. Her married name was Riegler. However, Bob's enquiry does tell us that she lived to a very good age like both John and Marguerite.

                             Winifred Ivy Burgess  1903-1964

Win was born in the first quarter of 1903 in Springfield Road, New Southgate.   It's interesting that her sister-in-law, Eileen Roughan, also had Winifred as her middle name.  After her mother's passing in 1928, Win remained single, and lived in Bowes Road with her father remaining  in the family home throughout her life. She died in 1964. Win worked – running an office in Vauxhall Bridge Road full of women and continued to do so till she retired around 1960. 

She endeavoured to cultivate her nieces to become art lovers – with regular visits to the Royal Academy and other major art galleries each year – the highlight being tea at Fortnum and Masons, the latter being far more memorable to her youngest niece than the art!

Helen has vivid memories of her Aunt 'Ninny'.

I found Auntie Win too hard to say as a small child and the nickname stuck ... Both Aunty Margay and Ninny were tall and enormously elegant.  Ninny would come for Sunday lunch, and we used to see her hats sailing down Oakleigh Park South over the front garden before we could see her!

                            Vauxhall Bridge Road
                              The Royal Academy

This brings us full circle back to the children's parents James and Lucy.  James' business continued to expand, and he lived long enough to see both Margay and Don married, and meet  three of his four grandchildren ... all granddaughters. The one he didn't meet inherited his flair for building and renovating.  James died in the summer of 1943 at the age of eighty-one. Lucy had passed away in the summer of 1928 at the age of fifty-eight.

Time to travel to Wiltshire and meet Lucy's ancestors.


Froxfield is a village on the Wiltshire-Berkshire border, eight miles east of Marlborough, in the Devizes division of Wiltshire, the rural district of Marlborough and Ramsbury, and the county court district of Hungerford. The earliest written record of was found in 778, where an area of land was called Frosca burna - or ‘frog’s bourn’. It was first called Froxfield in 800, when it was an estate owned by the Bishop of Winchester. In 1801, the population was 492, rising to 625 in 1841. At this point, 71 people lived in Rudge, 131 lived in Oakhill, and 423 lived in Froxfield, 85 of whom lived in the almshouse there. Between 1841 and 1921, the population declined to 205, rose to 307 in 1931, and stayed between 266 and 293 from 1951 to 1981.

The Kennet and Avon canal, first opened in 1799, and opened for the whole of its length in 1810. The Berkshire and Hampshire Railway crossed Froxfield parish along the north-west side of the canal in 1862. The majority of the economy of Froxfield was centred around farming for much of the village’s history, with a great deal of the land used for grazing. As the 19th century dawned, Froxfield contained several malthouses and breweries. 

The Duchess of Somerset’s Hospital, better known as the College, is a unique part of Froxfield. Around 1695 the Will of Sarah, Duchess of Somerset, bequeathed the funds to build the first cottages and chapel, for widows of the clergy. The wife of a clergyman would find herself homeless once her husband died and she would face a miserable future at a time when life expectancy was short.
Further funds built the remaining cottages for poor lay widows from Wiltshire, Somerset, and Berkshire. Today the residents are an independent minded and talented group of women from all sorts of professions - retired nurses, carers, teachers, writers, musicians, artists, business-women, farmers, and some from other countries.

Lucy Holmes was born in Froxfield in 1869, and christened on Nov 7th. It is Lucy who brings the Holmes to this family history. See the previous section for her life with James Burgess. Her parents - Charles James Holmes, a bricklayer, and Eliza Jane Broad - had married during the first quarter of 1869.

Eliza was born in Bitton in Gloucestershire in 1846, the youngest daughter of William Broad and Mary Ann Watkins, who had married in 1841. William was the son of Stephen Broad and Mary Hunt, and had been born in Abote Leigh, Somerset in 1808. Mary was from Chipping Sodbury, and was one year older than Stephen.

William and Mary Broad had just one other child, Mary Ann, who was born in 1844. Her life was to be a short one. After being in service, during her teens, in the Swan's household in Hanham, she married Jacob Long in 1870, the year after her sister's marriage. Sadly, she died during the second quarter of 1872, aged just twenty-eight: she had no children. Her mother, Mary, had died two years previously at the age of sixty-two, and her father, William, in 1869. In the space of three years, Eliza Jane Holmes had lost both her parents and her only sibling. It wasn't easy for her husband Charles either, seeing such loss in Eliza's life.

Charles James Holmes was born in 1845, the youngest of four children born to Henry Holmes and Maria Church ( 02/03/1802 - 1881) daughter of Thomas and Martha Church. More of Charles family later, after we have looked at Charles' father, Henry.

Henry Holmes was also a bricklayer, christened on September 25, 1814, and Froxfield-born and bred. He was the eldest child of William Holmes ( 1792 - 1858 ) and Mary Billet ( 1796 - 1868 ) and the grandson of John Holmes ( 1759-1818 ) and Ruth Ward ( 1762 - 1826 ) Henry's brother Charles was born in 1819, and emigrated to Canada, where he married Suffolk-born Elizabeth Roper. They had seven children. Charles lived to the ripe old age of eighty-nine.  

Another brother, William, was born in 1828, and moved to London where he married Hampshire-born Ellen Lock, and they raised a family of five children. Mary Elizabeth Holmes, born 1832, and James Holmes, born 1835, were less fortunate than their elder brothers. Sadly, they died at the ages of four and five respectively.

Henry Holmes and Maria Church were married on July 18, 1835, and Sarah Elizabeth was born the following year. The 1851 Census shows Sarah in service at the residence of William Hogsflesh. The 1861 Census finds her living or staying with her paternal grandmother, Mary. Sarah ('Eliza') is now married to thirty-year-old William Dixon, who came from a large family in Ramsbury, Wiltshire. William has followed in the footsteps of his father Zeceriah Dixon, and become a bricklayer ... the perfect vocational credentials to become a 'Holmes'. He had seen the previous error of his ways because the 1851 Census had recorded him as an artificial flower maker in Leeds, where he was lodging with the Trenmans. Froxham was definitely a place for bricklayers, not flower makers!

Edwin Dixon came into the world in 1863 - Elizabeth and William's only living child - and was christened on November 8th. The family eventually moved to Hungerford, where William died in 1884. Elizabeth lived until 1903, which was long enough to be presented with four grandsons by Edwin and Elizabeth Lewington.

Mary Ruth Holmes, Henry and Maria's 2nd child, was born in 1838, and named after her great-grandmother Ruth Ward. She tragically died at the age of two when she was hit by a road vehicle.

                                      The Story of Edward Albert Holmes

Henry and Maria's third child was christened Ann Holmes on March 7th 1841. She had a son in 1860, who was christened Edward Albert Holmes on November 4th. The 1861 census records him as Edwin Homes aged six months, living with his mother and her parents in Froxfield. Ann is recorded as widowed, and working as an out servant. Charles, now fourteen, is the other resident, and he is a bricklayer like his father Henry.

Edward was still living with Ann's parents Henry and Maria at the time of the 1871 census, but Ann is not there. I have found no further records of her as Ann Holmes. She may have died, but she may be the Ann Giles, born in Froxfield, and married to Tom Giles, a farrier, born in Froxfield in 1840, at the time of the 1871 Census. They are living in London with a son, John Giles, born in 1862. They later move back to Witshire. Either way, it wasn't an easy time for young  Edward.

If Edward Albert's early years were complicated, his married life was equally so. He married twenty-eight year old Susan Humphries, also from Wiltshire, during the first quarter of 1883. She died almost exactly a year later, and once again, Edward experienced loss in his young life. 1884 was to be a year he would never forget. Still only twenty-three, he married Mary Maslin in the third quarter of that year. She was twenty-one,  from Moulsford in Berkshire, daughter of John and Frances Maslin. Edward and Mary lived in Froxfield, and had eight children: Lizzie, Annie Marie, Albert Thomas, Henry, Edward John, Louisa, Edith, and Sydney. Mary passed away in 1903, and once again Edward had lost a very special person in his life. At least he had a young family to focus upon, and he moved to Newtown, Hungerford, where the 1911 Census found him with four children still at home.

At the age of fifty his life was to take another turn when he met Mary Eliza Sawyer. She was living in Newbury Union Workhouse with her daughter Mary Kate who had been born on July 18th, 1910. Mary was born in 1883 in Bright Waltham, Berkshire, one of eight children brought up in nearby Welford by Robert and Mary Sawyer. Meeting someone in Mary's circumstances would have struck a chord with Edward, and he would have felt affinity with little Mary Kate, who, as he had, bore her mother's surname rather than her father's. He might also have noted that Mary had been born in Bright Waltham, just as his dear grandmother Maria - who had brought him up - had been.

He married Mary Eliza in Hungerford during the last quarter of 1912. As a bricklayer all his life, building foundations was something Edward was good at, and very soon he started his second family. Arthur L Holmes was born during the first quarter of 1913, and Winifred M Holmes followed in 1914. Phyllis Irene Holmes was born on the 18th of February, 1915 in Lambourn, Berkshire. Their last child was Kenneth F Holmes who was born in the Spring of 1917 in Hendon Oxfordshire. Edward didn't live long enough to see his new family grow up, for he died in 1925 at the age of sixty-five. His had been an interesting life, which had taken many twists and turns. As the cousin of Lucy Holmes - the mother of Don Burgess - he is but a small leaf in the Roughan Family Tree. But after researching his life, mainly through the censuses, I feel that he has more than earned his place here.


So, at last, we return to Charles James Holmes, the 4th child of Henry and Maria, and his family, which James Burgess was to become part of. Charles had followed in his father's footsteps and become a bricklayer, and eventually a builder. Lucy was their eldest child, and we will return to her later. First we will look at Lucy's younger siblings, who became Don Burgess's maternal aunts and uncles.

Charles' 2nd child was William Henry Holmes, born in 1871, and christened on October 29. I was unable to find any records for him after the 1891 Census which recorded him as a railway porter. Catherine Mary Holmes was their third child, born in 1873. She went on to become an assistant schoolteacher. The 1911 Census records her as single, and living with her widowed father Charles. She probably came to back to live with her father following the death of her mother in 1904. No further records for Catherine.

Charles and Eliza's fourth child was Charles Reginald Broad Holmes. He was born in 1876, and christened on November 5th. Like his elder brother, he broke with family tradition and became a builder's carpenter. Perhaps there were just too many bricklayers now living in Froxfield. The 1901 Census shows him lodging with the Deakins in Kensal Green together with twenty-year-old James Holmes. This is probably his younger brother, Walter James Holmes, who died later that year.

On the 10th July 1909, Charles Reginald Broad Holmes married thirty-three-year-old Ellen Louise Holmes at St Stephen The Martyr Church in Hampstead, where she had also been christened on April 16 1876. She was the daughter of William and Ellen Holmes of Marylebone, London. Her father like Charles, hailed from Froxfield. Charles and Ellen Louise became parents during the second quarter of 1910, when Enid came into the world. They moved to 9, Manor Road, Bowes Park, not far from where Charles' sister Lucy was living with James Burgess. Enid was their only child. Charles died in 1950 in Wood Green, and Ellen nine years later.

Frederick Charles Holmes was Charles and Eliza's fifth child born in 1878. He was the last to leave the family home, when he decided that the Holmes needed Welsh representation. He duly moved to Wales, and married thirty-year-old Edith Annie Jones, who was a draper from Tenby St Mary in Liberty. She was the younger daughter of Evan William and Anna Jones. Evan was now in his early sixties, and had been widowed for several years. He ran a cab company, and so Frederick joined his company.

Greta Annie Broad Holmes was born in the second quarter of 1909.  Frederick's choice of Broad as her middle name showed his sense of family roots. It also showed his affection for his mother who had died five years earlier. He had been the last of her children to have lived with her. Greta married a Evelyn C James in 1938, and had several children of her own.

Catherine Vida Broad Holmes was born on January 12, 1911, and married Clifford Perkins in Stockport in 1939. She died in 1994.  Frederick died in 1957 in Pembrokeshire, and Edith died four years later.

Walter James Holmes was Lucy Holmes youngest sibling, born in 1880. He died aged 21.

Eliza Holmes passed away in 1904 at the age of fifty-eight. Charles was therefore a widower for thirty years before passing away in 1934 at the age of eighty-nine.

This completes our journey through Froxfield, and Don Burgess's maternal ancestors. Now to visit his paternal ones.

                            William Tanner 1800 and  Mary Richardson 1800

                          The Chain Pier at Brighton. The town had become a very fashionable place by then.

Rosanna Tanner was the mother of James Burgess, and the grandmother of Don. She was born in Brighton in 1826, the daughter of William Tanner and Mary Richardson. The 1841 census records her as Rose Tanner, living at Marine View (see the map opposite) Brighton in the household of James and Sarah Payne with Mary and Pamilla Powell. Not being with her parents for any of the three censuses makes it difficult to determine that this William and Mary are definitely her parents. We do know from her marriage entry that her father was William. The 1841 Census has a William and Mary Tanner living at 29, Middle Street, Brighton with their son John Stephen Tanner.  For the 1851 Census, they are living at Victoria Street, and by the 1861 Census, they are living at 41, Over Street. William is still a blacksmith but also a general dealer.

After examining these 3 censuses, this William is the only one of the three possibilities who fits. This being so, her father was a blacksmith from Rotherfield, and her mother was from Eastbourne. I don't yet know the parents of William, but Mary's parents were Stephen Richardson, born 1775, and Ann Snatt, born 1776. Both from Eastbourne. There is an alternative lineage for her, but the names on this one fit in with future family names ... and names are the essence of genealogy. Mary's siblings therefore were: Lucy Richardson 1801 – Ann Richardson 1803 – Jane Richardson 1805 – Sarah Richardson 1808 – 1808 Catherine Richardson1810 – 1821, and Samuel Richardson 1812. The parents of Ann Snatt were John Snatt, 1740, and Lucy Rumsly 1743 – 1793, both from Eastbourne.


Rosanna Tanner's siblings were born in Brighton except Lucy, who was born in Eastbourne. This suggests that Rosanna's parents moved from Eastbourne to Brighton between 1822 and 1826. Both are in Sussex, 24 miles apart. Rotherfield is about  25 miles from each.

Lucy Tanner, born in 1822,  married thirty-four-year-old silversmith Daniel Deacon of Cripplegate, London in 1853 in Brighton. They moved to Clerkenwell. There were no records of children in either the 1861 or 1871 censuses. Lucy died in 1876, and Daniel died on November 3rd 1879, at 3,Wymering Terrace in Lavender Hill.

Emily Tanner, 1828, married Thomas Masters of Southampton in 1850 in Brighton. Their children were Frederick Thomas, 1851, Emily Harriet, 1852, Eleanor Woodman, 1854, Ernest Edward, 1857, and Florence Eliza, 1860 who were all born in Brighton. Alice Matilda, 1862, Charles A, 1865, Edith Naomi, 1867, Sydney Walter, 1872, and Percy Augustus, 1874, were all born in Littlehampton. Following the death of Thomas, Emily moved to her daughter Emily's home at 19, Colby Road, Dulwich. She died in 1894, aged sixty-six.

Elizabeth Tanner 1830. On March 30th 1851, the night of the census, twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth Tanner was a single young lady living in Victoria Street, Brighton with her family. Over in Upper Chelsea, London, her cousin William Frederick Pleydell - also twenty-one, and a fellow Brightonian - was with his family. He was a carpenter by trade, like his father William. The respective mothers - Eastbourne sisters Mary and Ann - were each about to lose a member of their families.

Within a year, Elizabeth and William were settled in Victoria, Australia, and Henry Charles Pleydell was nestled in his mother's arms. Their other children were: Emily Florence Pleydell 1856 – 1856, Charles Augustus Pleydell 1859 – 1909, William Tanner Pleydell 1860 – 1862, Stephen Richardson Pleydell 1862 – 1914,  Ernest Anthony Pleydell 1864 – 1865, Arthur Deacon Pleydell 1866 – 1914, Walter Augustus Pleydell 1869 – 1949, Alfred Herbert Pleydell 1870 – 1870, and Herbert Leslie Pleydell 1876 – 1942. From Brighton to Victoria, it had been quite an adventure. Elizabeth passed away on November 9th 1885 in Richmond Victoria. William re-married the following year. Now aged fifty-seven, he had three children with Margaret Fairburn: Margaret Evelyn, 1887, Amy, 1890, and Florence in 1892.

Eliza Tanner, 1832, was a milliner and dressmaker. She waited until she was thirty-two before she tied the knot. The chosen man was forty-two-year-old widower Arthur Deacon, who was the younger brother of her sister Lucy's husband Daniel. He was a compositor by trade. Eighteen years earlier, Arthur had married Mary Elizabeth Dean on January 11th, 1847 at Finsbury. She was born in the Cape of Good Hope in 1825, the daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Dean. They lived in Dalston, London, but had no surviving children. Sadly Mary died in Islington in 1863 at the age of thirty-eight.

Who better to compensate for Arthur's loss than an unmarried sister-in-law; and they duly married on January 7th, 1865 in Brighton. They set up home in Hoxton, and Daniel Arthur William was born the following year. Grace Constance was born in 1867 in Islington, and Rose was born in 1871 in Bermondsey ... where her Aunt Rosanna was also living. Albert Edward was also born there in 1874. They moved to 24, Edale Road, Deptford, and also lived at Saffron Hill, Holborn. The 1891 Census tells us that Eliza is now widowed. An Eliza Deacon died in Chelsea in 1915, at the age of eighty-four, having been living at the St George Hanover Square workhouse in the Fulham Road. This was probably our Eliza.

John Stephen Tanner was born in 1834. He married eighteen-year-old Elizabeth Woods of Brighton in the summer of 1952. Elizabeth Tanner was born in Brighton the following year. They moved to Heathpool Street in Paddington, where Eliza Sarah was born early in 1861. Adelaide joined them in 1863, John R in 1866, William C in 1869, and Ernest in 1871. The family would always be in good hands because John was a tailor by profession. Walter Henry was the last to sign on, in 1872. John is still in Heathpool St for the 1891 Census, but he is now a widower. I'm not sure when Elizabeth died, but in 1900, John died at the age of sixty-six.

Jane Tanner, born in 1836, was still living at the family home in 1861. She may be the Jane Maria Tanner in service in Cavendish Square, London during the 1871 Census. Otherwise, she has escaped the net so far.

Naomi Tanner, born 1839, was the last to leave the family home when she married thirty-five-year-old George William Newman on April 29, 1865. He was a blacksmith from Northwood in Hampshire, the son of  David and Harriet Newman. Sadly Naomi died less than a year later in Northwood. She was only twenty-five. George remarried in 1870, and lived to be seventy-four.

Sarah Ruth Tanner, born 1835, married William Henry Twine on August 15th, 1863. He was from Portsmouth, son of Charles Twine and Emy Cobden. He started out as a shipwright, but became a licensed victualler after the marriage. They lived at 42, Winchester Road, Portsea, and had eleven children: Charles William 1864 – George Henry 1865 – William Henry 1868 – Amy Mary 1869 – Bertha Harriet 1871 – Frederick 1872 – Florence Annie 1873 - 1949 – Daisy 1873 – Mary Richardson 1875 – Ethel Kate 1878 – Catherine Grace 1885.

I have verified all but Daisy and Catherine as being William and Sarah's children. By naming her ninth child Mary Richardson, this confirms her mother's maiden name. It also confirms that she is the correct Sarah Tanner, because there were two candidates. Sarah died following the birth of her last child in 1886. She was forty-six. A terrible situation for William, who lived until 1907. No census records found yet for William for 1891 or 1901. They would shed light on how he coped. 

   ROSANNA  TANNER ( 1826-1892 ) AND JOHN BURGESS ( 1821-1880 )

St Nicholas of Myra Church is the ancient parish church of Brighton, dedicated to the patron saint of fishermen.

On March 2nd, 1848, Rosanna married John Burgess at St Nicholas of Myra Church in Brighton. John had moved to Brighton during his teens, and was living with relatives at the time. The 1841 Census showed him living with fifty-five-year-old Mary Burgess, and two-year-old Margaret Burgess in Brighton. John was from Bromley in Kent, the son of William (1783-1859) and Martha (1787-1858) Burgess.  William was a grocer from Otford, and Martha was from the village of Frant, close to Tonbridge Wells. John was the eldest of their six children. He was born in 1821 and christened on December 13th. The 1851 census - see opposite - shows William and Martha living at Turnpike Road, Bromley Common.


John had four younger sisters; Martha born 1823, Sarah born 1826, Fanny born 1827 and Maria born 1831. Fanny and Maria were still with their parents in 1851; but with William and Martha's deaths in 1859 and 1858 respectively, they moved to Brighton where their elder sisters were already living.  The 1871 Census lists three of them as dressmakers, living at 43, Buckingham Road. Maria is a ladies maid. All were single, and remained so, as far as I can tell. No further records for Sarah and Maria, but Martha and Fanny continued their dressmaking. The 1881 census has them now living at 64, Buckingham Road, where their eighteen-year-old niece, Catherine Burgess joins them in dressmaking. Martha and Fanny are still together dressmaking at the time of the 1901 Census.

John Burgess had one brother, William, christened on August 18, 1833 in Bromley. The 1851 Census shows a William Burgess, aged eighteen, in service at the John Wells' household in Bromley. Burgess was a common name in Bromley, and there were several Williams too. For the 1861 Census, our William was either in service at Mary Blackden's household in Paddington, or he was living at Bromley Common with his wife Eleanor, and his son William aged three months. If our William is the latter one, then the Catherine Martha Burgess above is his daughter, born in 1863. Our William's mother was called Martha. This would fit in with her being Martha and Fanny's niece, because their other brother John had no daughter called Catherine. Unfortunately, William died in 1864, and Eleanor married Thomas Howard a year later, and moved to Islington.

                                             John and Rosanna and their Children

John Burgess and Rosanna Tanner's first child, William John Burgess, was born in 1849 in Brighton. Herbert Tanner Burgess followed in August 1850 in Marylebone, London. Rosanna and her two sons were still living there for the 1851 census, but John was not with them. He was also absent from the household for the 1861 census, where Rosanna was now living in Chelsea with her five children. Edith Mary had become her first daughter, christened on March 20, 1853 in Brighton. Two years later, Henry Stephen became her third son, and, in 1857, Charles Ernest became her fourth. Both were born in Chelsea, as was their fifth son, James, born in 1862.  It was James who would marry Lucy Holmes in due course and become Don Burgess's father.  Emma was Rosanna's second daughter, born in Newington, London 1863 with George, her eighth and last child, born in Newington in 1864.

The 1871 census shows Rosanna and John living at Queen's Terrace, Alexander Street in Bermondsey. Herbert ( now a painter and decorator ) Edith, Charles, James and Emma are also with them. Henry is lodging in Brighton,his occupation given as grocer, and eldest son William is also in Brighton as a servant. John is now a grocer. At last a census recording the family living together! But still the mystery of why John had been missing from the household at the time of the two previous censuses. Clearly he and Rosanna were still together, and extending their family.

The answer lay in his vocation.  He just happened to be in different households in both 1851 and 1861. He couldn't be with his family as much as he would have liked, because he was a butler! The 1851 census showed him as butler in the household of surgeon Isaae Baker Brown at Oxford Square, Paddington, and as unmarried, which he wasn't. Then he moved on to Green Street, St George Hanover Square where he was butler to William Napier. So as they say in detective stories ... the butler did it.

John's father had been a grocer, and John could resist his true vocation no longer. It was time to sell food not serve it. He put away his butler's gloves, rolled his sleeves up, and took his family to Bermondsey where he finally followed in his father's footsteps. This would have been circa 1863, because Emma was born in Bermondsey that year, and James had been born in Chelsea the previous year.  Sadly, on July 9th 1880, John Burgess died at the age of 59.  At least, after 15 years of her husband spending time away from their home, Rosanna and her children had enjoyed 17 years of family togetherness. After her husband's passing, Rosanna moved to 42, Cranham Rd, Rotherhithe, next door to her daughter Edith. 3 grandchildren suddenly on her doorstep!

The 1881 Census records Rosanna living there with two of her children. James was now a carpenter, and Emma a fancy hat and cap maker. Herbert was in nearby Rotherhithe New Road with Harriet and their twins John and William. Charles was also in Rotherhithe. Rosanna is still living there in 1891, and though alone on the day of the census, her son James was probably still living with her.  He was away in Froxfield staying with Lucy Holmes' family. Emma was two doors away at 38, Cranham Rd with her husband John Sillifant and her 2 young daughters. Henry was in Parfitt Rd, an extension of Cranham Rd, with his wife Mary and 5 children. Herbert was still nearby in Verney Rd, and Charles was in Camberwell.

Rosanna had been a widow for 11 years but her children remained very close to her - not just emotionally but in the physical proximity of where they had chosen to live. During that period, 6 of her 7 remaining children had lived either in the same street as Rosanna or within walking distance. The first 5 children had grown up with their dad in service as a butler.  He had even been recorded as unmarried for the 1851 census. How much time he had therefore been able to spend with his growing family is uncertain. So it was natural that the children should feel so close to their mother.  Following John's death in 1880, the next two censuses reveal how tight-knit the family had become, and how close to Rosanna they felt.

On December 14th, 1892 Rosanna passed away at the age of sixty-six. She had moved to 38, Beatrice Road, Bermondsey during the last year of her life, a few doors away from her daughter Edith, and four more grandchildren to enjoy. She had lived just long enough to see James married earlier that year. He had been the last to marry and leave the family home. It was James that she made the executor of her will and the £570 which she left.  James' own son, Don, would marry into the Roughan Family, and it's thanks to Don that I have met such a lady as Rosanna. It's been a privilege to share her story.

         Creed Rectory, Bermondsey on July 29th 1895
     Fore Street, Grampound, Bermondsey circa 1890

     Two lovely images to finish Rosanna's section. From Brighton to Bermondsey - Rosanna had come a long way.

                                        The Children of Rosanna and John Burgess

William John Burgess, born in 1849, had been the first to leave the nest. He married twenty-two-year-old Jane Isted of Heathfield, Sussex on December 3, 1871 in Brighton. She was the daughter of John Isted and Ann Winchester. Both William and Jane had been in service when they met. They settled at 3, Newport Road, Northwood, Isle Of Wight, where William was a sub-postmaster and grocer, as well as a Methodist preacher. They moved on to Croydon, and then to Darlington. They had seven children: Robert, Mary, Jane, William, Annie, John, and Adelaide.

Edith Mary Burgess, born in 1853, left Rotherhithe, but didn't travel far. Still only nineteen, she married William Phillips in Bermondsey on Christmas Day, 1872. Even that was too far, because they eventually set up home at 40, Cranham Road, with Rosanna living next door at 42, with James and Emma. William Phillips was born in Edward Street, Limehouse in 1850, and was living at 79, Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey with his parents William and Jemima Phillips. William - a mercantile clerk by profession - had just one sibling, John. He and Edith had four children: Edith, William, George, and Albert Victor. After Rotherhithe, they moved to 52, Beatrice Road, Bermondsey. Once again, Rosanna was their neighbour until her passing in 1892.  They eventually moved to St Margarets Rd, Brockley where the 1901 census finds them with sons George and Albert.  Edith's sister Emma is visiting with her husband John, and daughters Eva and Rose.  Edith died in 1936 in Lewisham.

Herbert Tanner Burgess, born in 1850, married twenty-year-old Harriet Jane Hurn on April 26th, 1875 in Bermondsey. She was the daughter of James and Harriet Hurn of Camberwell, and had been in service in Peckham. Herbert had been a plumber, but was now a house decorator. The 1881 census shows them living at 4, Rayleigh Terrace, Rotherhithe New Rd in Camberwell, before moving to nearby 1, Imperial Building. Harriet worked as a laundress, but still had time to bring up four children with Herbert. Twins, John and William, were born in Rotherhithe on December 29 1879. Lydia, was born in 1882, and Florence Amelia two years later. 1884 saw a very special occasion in the family. All four children were baptised on May 7th at St Augustine's Church in South Bermondsey. William and John were admitted to the Comber Grove School on June 13th 1887.

Sadly, in 1893, Harriet's life was cut short at the age of thirty-nine, leaving behind her young family. Three years later, tragedy struck again when Florence died at the age of ten, and Alice Lydia at the age of 18. Later that year Herbert passed away at the age of forty-six. In the space of three years, a family of six had been decimated. An Alice Lydia Burgess, aged 18, also died the same time as Florence in Camberwell. She may have been Herbert and Harriet's first child, although she is not with them in either the 1881 or 1891 censuses. The period from their marriage in 1875 to their twins births in 1880, has no recorded children for them. Alice Lydia was born in 1877. What is clear is that twins John and William, and their sister Lydia had gone through a most devastating experience.

Lydia went into service at the Van Elhout's in Stockwell as the 1901 census records. I have no more definite information for Lydia, and none at all for William. However, John started his own family in 1904. The 1911 Census records John Burgess as a bricklayer's labourer living in Camberwell. He and Elizabeth have four children of their own with their second child poignantly named Florence Amelia.

 I  take this to be Elsie May Wilde, Henry's second wife
        This is definitely Elsie May with Henry Stephen

All photographs shown of Henry Stephen are of Henry Stephen Burgess' son born in Dublin. We will meet him in due course. We start with Henry Stephen senior.

Henry Stephen Burgess, born in Chelsea in 1855, was Rosanna and John's 4th child. At the age of 16 he was lodging in Brighton, in the household of Thomas Mase. He was a grocer which is interesting because his father had started his own grocery business in Bermondsey a few years earlier, and his mother was from Brighton. A return to family roots!

Henry married twenty-one-year-old Mary Ann Kern in Hounslow Heath on May 15, 1875. Mary Ann was born in Haselmere, Surrey in 1854, daughter of George Kern and Maria Bayley. She had lost her mother when she was just thirteen. The 1881 Census found them living at Acton Police Station where Henry was now a police constable. Their eldest child, Henry Stephen, born in Dublin, Ireland in 1878, is there, and one-year-old Emily Mary. Mary's sister Alice, a parlour maid, is staying with them.

They moved on to Woolwich, where Albert and William were born. Hackney Wick was their next destination, where their fifth child, Charles was born in 1890. Then to Parfitt Road, Rotherhithe, which is the horseshoe continuation of Cranham Street where Rosanna, now widowed, was living. Henry was now working in an office, and Henry Jr was a farm van boy. They moved on to Aveley Road, Clapton in Hackney, where Frederick was born in 1893. However, 5 years later Henry died at the age of forty-three, leaving behind a young family.

There is an excellent Family Tree at which has many photographs of Henry Stephen Burgess Jr and his descendants. He married Emma Laura Allen in Hackney during the summer of 1903. She was born in 1879, daughter of William and Elizabeth Allen of De Beauvoir Rd, Hackney. Henry William Frederick Burgess was born in Clapton, Hackney during the Spring of 1904. Reginald Stephen was born in Clapton during the Spring of 1906. They then moved to nearby Leyton where Winifred Laura was born in 1908. Sadly, at the age of twenty-nine, Emma Laura died. Henry now had three young children to look after.

The 1911 Census recorded Adeline Lewin as his housekeeper during that difficult period. He eventually met and married Elsie May Wilde. They both lived into their seventies before Henry passed away July 31, 1956.  He was buried at Woodgrange Park Cemetery, close to my own home. So Henry lived and worked in my own area of East London, and has brought a lovely collection of photographs to this part of our Family History Website.

Charles Ernest Burgess, born in 1857, married Lydia Fox on September 2nd, 1883 at South Bermondsey St Augustine Church. Lydia was born in Chelsea in 1861, the daughter of William and Jane Fox. Charles would have known Chelsea well, before his days south of the river. They started their married life in Rotherhithe, and Charles remembered his mother when he named his first child Rosanna Jane in 1884. The following year his wife named their second daughter Lydia. Their third child, Daisy, was born in Farnborough, Kent in 1890. They moved to Camberwell, and we discover from the 1891 Census that Charles had followed in his brother Henry's footsteps, and joined the Police Force.

The 1901 Census finds the family at 54, Ravenscroft Buildings in Bethnal Green with an addition to the family, one-year-old Jessie. Sadly, she died in 1903. Charles was now an inspection worker. The family had now moved to Clapton in Hackney, where Charles' brother Henry had died a few years earlier. They were living at 26, Sewdley Street, Lower Clapton at the time of the 1911 Census. Charles was now an engineer's labourer, and Rose was a parlour maid. Lydia and Daisy were short-hand typists for a confectionery company. This Census also tells us that as well as losing little Jessie, Lydia had also lost two other children. This explains the ten year gap between Daisy's birth and Jessie's. Charles died in 1923, and Lydia in 1944.

James Burgess, 1862-1943. married Lucy Holmes in 1892 in Froxfield, Wiltshire. See earlier for details of their life together. It was the birth of their son Donald, and his marriage to Eileen Roughan, which brought the Burgesses to this family history.

Emma Rose Burgess, born in 1863, together with her brother James, lived with her widowed mother until August 2nd, 1886, when she married twenty-six year old John Sillifant at South Bermondsey St Augustine. He was from Chelsea, son of Richard and Ann Sillifant. Richard was from Devon, and a Police Inspector who now lived in Southwark. The 1891 Census finds Emma and John living just two doors away from Rosanna at 38, Cranham Rd, Rotherhithe. John was now working for the Inland Revenue. Ethel Maud, aged 3, and Eva aged 2, were keeping everyone on their toes. No more fancy hat making for Emma! Their 3rd daughter's name was a genealogist's dream - Rose Burgess Sillifant. She was born in Bermondsey in 1896, and married Frank H Gray in 1926. She died in Lewisham in 1966.

The 1911 Census records 15 year old Rose living with her parents at Darfield Road, Brockley. John was now a general labourer and building worker. It also confirms that Emma Rose had three children in total. Ethel Maud married William Frederick Parsons in Lewisham in 1905. She lived to be ninety-two. Eva Florence was very close to her Aunt Edith, who also lived in Brockley, and often stayed with her as a 'wife's help'. She became Eva Parsons in the summer of 1911, and presented her parents with five grandchildren. She died in 1949. Emma Rose Burgess died in 1936, aged seventy-three, and John died three years later.

George Burgess was the youngest child of the family. He was born in 1865, but died early in 1869. His existence came to light because of a baptism record I found for Emma Rose and James Burgess. They had a joint baptism on June 7th 1868 at Bermondsey St James Church, and there with them was George! This record also tells us that they were living in Alexander Street.

This concludes the Family History of Don Burgess. We now journey across the sea to the Emerald Isle and meet the Roughans of Ireland.

                                 THE ROUGHANS OF IRELAND 
             Martin Roughan  1876-1948 and Christina Maher 1886-1971
       Tonypandy - Unveiling of the new fountain 1909

Martin was born on the 5th November 1876 in the rural townland of Bunnow in County Clare, Ireland. He was the fifth born of eight children to Michael Roughan and Mary Clune who farmed in Bunnow. Martin decided to leave Ireland and start a new life across the sea. In Martin’s case, a short journey across to Wales. He was there by 1901, where the census recorded him as a policeman living in Penarth, Glamorgan with the Halletts. He resigned later that year and became a miner in Tonypandy.

The 1911 census recorded his work as "coal miner repairer below ground." He must have arrived in Wales before the turn of the century because he had been a policeman for two years. I recall Bernard showing me a photograph of Martin, in police uniform, and I think it was from Ireland not Wales. So he may have previously served in Ireland ... perhaps the Royal Irish Constabulary.  On the 9th of December 1905 he married 18-year-old Christina Helen Maher at St Albans on the Moors Church, Cardiff. His brother Michael  attended the wedding.

Christina Ellen Maher was born on the 22nd December 1885 in Kingstown ( now known as Dun Laoghaire) County Dublin, Ireland. She was the daughter of John Maher, a stonemason, and Catherine Early. She had a brother, James, ten years her senior. I don't have details of her other siblings, but she did have a brother who emigrated to the United States of America, and may have become a doctor in New York. He would have been Catherine's son, and born between 1877 and 1885. Her mother died when Christina was just two, and her father remarried. The family moved to Wales where John was a master mason on a large project in Cardiff.

With Christina still in her teens, her father died. Without notice, her stepmother suddenly took off with her own children, and Christina was pulled out of the private school, where she was being brought up as a young lady. Now she found herself working as a servant in the hotel where her family had been living. Fortunately, her brother came over from the USA to save the situation. He suggested that his sister marry his friend Martin Roughan, a twenty-nine-year-old policeman living in Wales. For further details see John Maher's entry.

Martin and Christina started their family in 1906 with the birth of Mary M Roughan in Pontypridd, Glamorgan. She became known as May, and is the only one of their children not to have her birth, as yet, available on the internet. She led me a merry dance for some time until I located her marriage to Uncle Reg, and the 1911 census gave me further information. All of their nine children were born in and around the town of Pontypridd in the Rhonnda Valley, one of the principal mining areas in Wales and the world.

One wonders what Martin, having served as a policeman, made of the Tonypandy Riots of 1910 and 1911,where the miners clashed with the Glamorgan Constabulary. How different this environment was, compared to his farming upbringing in Clare. He must have lived a very hard life as a miner, and Christina would never have known whether her husband would be coming home from day to day. Two years after Mary’s birth, Patrick (John) was born, and two years later Thomas. This neat two year symmetry continued with Kathleen, Eileen and William. It stretched to three years when the twins Patricia and Bernard were born in 1919. Finally it was four years' later when their last child, Grace, saw the light of day.  Interestingly, the four youngest children went on to live the longest lives by far ... all reaching their 80s.

Martin died on the 8th November 1948 but not before five grandchildren had been born. He had outlived two of his sons, Patrick and Thomas. It’s interesting to note that although they came from a large family, none of Martin and Christina’s children had large families themselves. Only Bernard, of their four sons, married, and he had only two children. Similarly, Eileen and Kathleen had two each, and Grace and May had only one child each. Pat married but had no children. A total of only eight grandchildren for Christina and Martin.

Christina lived at 22, Parkhurst Road, London until her death on the 19th March 1971. She moved there in 1948, following Martin’s death. Kathleen had moved to Colchester, and Eileen and May were established in North London. It made perfect sense for their widowed mother to come to London and be near her married daughters and grandchildren. Her son William may have bought the house, and her son-in-law Don Burgess helped with building renovations before Christina arrived. Bernard lived with her in Parkhurst Road until his marriage to Ina in 1952 eventually took him to Mill Road, Colchester where his sister Kathleen also lived.

Helen recalls: Granny never voted Conservative after Churchill sent the Black and Tans into South Wales.  She told Margaret Thatcher this when she was first elected as MP in Finchley and visited every single OAP in her constituency.  As Daddy was, of course, a stalwart of the Conservative Party (I was in the Young Conservatives .. the boys that went there had better sports cars than Young Liberals .. how shallow!) election day was the one day when he was never available to give Granny a lift to the polling station!  However, after Mummy died, Daddy would drive down to Parkhurst Road and be outside early on Sunday mornings waiting to give Granny a lift to Our Lady of Lourdes in Bowes Road so she could hear Mass .. he would sit outside in the car with the paper! 

Christina had outlived three of her children and May died later the same year. I got to know her quite well during my boyhood visits in the late '50s and early '60s and thought she was a grand old lady! It was also convenient to have Eileen and May’s family so close by, and of course, Pat, who shared Parkhurst Road with Granny. I loved my visits to Granny in London ... by way of Dublin and the Rhondda Valley.

                                               MAHER FAMILY

                    John Maher c.1845-1905 and Catherine Early c.1853-1889

These were the parents of Christina Maher and therefore, Bernard Roughan's maternal grandparents. John was a master stonemason from Dublin, born around 1845 and the son of James and Anne Maher. I understand that he was involved in the building of St John’s Cathedral in Oban in his younger days, and other projects may have included Kingstown harbour in Dublin. His granddaughter Pat Roughan recollected that he had built cottages for his workers in Dalkey, and once a year they used to carry him around Dalkey on their shoulders to celebrate that! A recent poster at the Roots Forum said:

I'm looking for information about John Maher b.c.1822 who lived in the cottages at Bullock Harbour, Dalkey.  He had a son Christoper born in the early 1850's and lived in Dalkey with his wife and four sons. John Maher had a brother James Maher who also lived in this area. 

His John will not be our John, but there will be connections somewhere. Perhaps he was the brother of John's father James. Since my cousin Helen enlightened me as to John's second marriage and his days in Wales - I didn't even know that he lived in Wales - I have discovered much more about John, though he also continues to elude me.

He married twenty-two-year-old Catherine Early, also from Dublin, on the 31st of October 1875 at the Chapel of Dorkey (Dalkey) in Rathdown, County Dublin. Dalkey is now a major tourist attraction on the coast. On the marriage certificate, she called herself Kae Earley. Her father was a baker called Peter Early living in Bullock at the time. Bullock is a small fishing village just north of Dalkey, and a few miles down from Dublin City. Kae had been a servant in Bullock prior to the marriage. A Richard Maher attended the wedding but no further details of him. Perhaps a brother to John. A year later, James was born, and ten years later, Christina. John was deceased by the time of Christina’s marriage. Now it begins to get very interesting ...

Once I had been informed that Catherine died when Christina was quite young, I was soon able to locate the date of her death. She died in Rathdown during the first quarter of 1889. Her birth was given as 'about' 1853, so she was only thirty-six. I wasn't able to find John's second marriage or the name of his wife. However now that I knew that I needed to search in Wales, I was able to locate some of the children from this marriage. A birth entry for the third quarter of 1905 in Cardiff jumped off the page ... William Early Maher! I already knew that John had died suddenly in Cardiff while working on a large project. He was deceased by the time of Christina's wedding in December 1905, but as the father of W.E.Maher, he was still alive in late 1904 or very early 1905.

A second birth entry for Cardiff was nearly as interesting ... Edith Louisa Maher, born on February 18th, 1906. Subtracting nine months takes us to May, 1905, when John was very much alive. Therefore, although we don't have a record for his date of death, we know that it was definitely in 1905. His sudden death caused his wife to suddenly take off with her own children, leaving her step-daughter Christina alone in the hotel where they had been living. An extraordinary situation! My grandmother was pulled out of the private school for young ladies that she had been attending, and found herself working as a servant in the hotel. What emotions she must have been feeling.

Fortunately, she did have brothers, and one of them came over from the USA to save the situation. I don't know his name, but it wasn't James, who was married and living in Dublin. I am informed that this brother might have been a doctor living in New York. He would have been John and Catherine's son, and born between 1877 and 1885. He suggested that his sister marry his friend Martin Roughan, a twenty-nine-year-old policeman living in Wales. At first, Christine thought he looked rather old with his white hair, and wasn't keen on marrying him. (Apparently some Roughans develop white hair early in their lives) However she was persauded to marry him rather than go to New York with her brother. Thus the Roughans of Pontypridd began.

So far, we know that John Maher had three children (or more) from his first marriage. Christina, James, and the brother who lived in the USA. We also know of William Early Maher and Edith Louisa Maher. However there remains the sixteen year period between Catherine's death in 1889 and William's birth in 1905. I haven't found a record yet for John in either an 1891 census or a 1901 census. Nor a record of his second marriage, or when he moved to Cardiff. His marriage to Catherine Early, and his daughter's marriage to Martin are the only records that mention John by name.

The following children I believe to be from his second marriage. Mary Maher was born in the first quarter of 1897 in Cardiff, Glamorgan, Monmouthshire, as were all their children. If she was their first child, perhaps his wife's name was Mary too. Rose Maher was born in the last quarter of 1899 also in Cardiff. Perhaps his wife was called Rose. Or maybe she was called Ellen, because Ellen Maher was born at the end of 1901. Catherine Winifred Maher was born during the first quarter of 1903, but died at the end of the year. She was named after John's first wife, and her middle name is also Eileen Roughan's middle name. Of course, it's possible that John's second wife was also called Catherine ... or Winifred! There was a Catherine Louise Maher born in Cardiff in 1892. If she was also John's child, it dates his 2nd marriage much earlier than the 1896 period indicated by Mary's 1895 birth.

After his death, his wife left their residential hotel, and one can only speculate where she went with the children. William Early Maher would only have been a few months old, and she was with child again, Edith Louise. A William E Maher is recorded in the 1911 Census as living in Cardiff, but no sign of his siblings there or in the 1911 Irish Census or the USA censuses for 1910 and 1920. However Edith Louise and William's marriages were found.

Edith married twenty-five-year-old William Henry George Humphrys in Cardiff in 1928. He was the son of Fireman Edward George Humphrys, and Agnes Laura. Elizabeth Humphrys was born in 1929, Kathleen in 1931, William in 1933, Elsie in 1936, and Ann in 1937. Edith died in 1978, and William in 1985.

William Early Maher married twenty-three-year-old Mary Emma Hagerty in Cardiff in 1932. She was born on July 5th, 1909, the daughter of Edwin Charles Hagerty and Ellen Sullivan. They had three children, Mary, Peter, and Margaret. William died in 1962, and Mary died in 1984.  Nothing further has been found for Rose or Ellen Maher, but a Mary Maher, born in 1897, married Harry Skinner in Cardiff in 1915. She had three children, Henry, Douglas, and Gladys, and lived to be seventy. She might be John's Mary.

So John Maher leaves us with a few loose strands to be tidied up, and his second wife remains a mystery for the time being.

                                      James Maher 1876
James Maher was the brother of Christina Maher. He was the eldest child of John Maher and Catherine, born in 1876 in Dublin. He had at least one sister, Christina, who was born ten years later. James was a general labourer who married Mary Ellen Barrett in 1902. The 1911 Irish Census tells us that they lived in Boyne Street, Dublin, and that Mary Ellen was born in 1879 or 80. They had five children but only May, born in 1902, and Christina, born in 1909, survived. Mary Ellen couldn’t read or write, and James could read but not write. They employed one servant, Bridget Higgins, a widow, aged sixty-eight. He named his youngest daughter after his sister Christina, who named her eldest daughter May too, perhaps after her sister-in-law Mary Ellen. May is usually derived from Mary.

No further information on James that one can be sure of but it seems that he had a brother living in the USA who came to the rescue of Christina after their father John died in 1905. (See John Maher's own section) I am informed that this brother was a doctor but I have no name for him. John or Richard would be two possibilities.

                                           Christina Maher 1886
My "Granny in London", see her own section with Martin Roughan.

                                   THE ROUGHANS OF CLARE

“It’s a long, long way from Clare to here” as Ralph McTell wrote and sang.

Clare is one of 26 counties in Ireland within Munster Province. Munster, Ireland’s most southern province, consists of counties Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford. Clare’s name comes from the Irish An Clar (the plain) It is 55 miles long and 38 miles wide. The Atlantic Ocean is its western boundary and Galway is its northern one. The River Shannon forms its Eastern and Southern boundaries, separating it from Tipperary, Limerick, and Kerry. It has 79 parishes and its main towns are Ennis, Shannon, Kilrush, Newmarket on Fergus, and Kilkee.

Ennis is the county seat and largest town with a population of 24,253. In 1841, before the Irish Famine, the population of Clare was 280,000. Ten years later it was down to 212,000. A decrease of 25%. The most recent census, in 2006,has the population now at just 110,810 people. A loss of 60% of its population since 1841. Nowhere was the famine more prevalent than in the West of Ireland. Cork was the worst hit, but Clare suffered badly too. It's no wonder that Clare’s population dwindled to such an extent. Those who emigrated in the 1840s and 50s set a precedent that has continued through successive generations.

Bunnow is in the Union of Ennis and the civil parish of Doora. It’s just over a mile from Ennis Town, on the Quin Road. The map on the left below shows the parishes in Clare. Parish 31 is Doora which is enlarged on the right, showing the townlands. Number 7 is Bunnow which is where Michael Roughan and his family lived and farmed.

                             Michael Roughan 1838 - c.1903

Michael was the father of Martin Roughan and therefore Bernard’s grandfather. With Michael, it’s the mixture of the known and the unknown. We know that he was born in 1838 or 1839 because the 1901 Irish Census gives his age as 62. However his marriage certificate, dated 1865, says he was twenty-four, making his year of birth 1841, or 1840. We know that he was born in County Clare. His father’s name was given as John Roughan on his marriage certificate. It is possible that his mother was Mary Macnamara, but this cannot be confirmed. He grew up during the height of the famine and may have had sisters who emigrated to Australia. Again, it depends on which John Roughan was his father.

He married Mary Clune on the 19th February 1865 at the Catholic Chapel of Doora and proceeded to farm in the rural townland of Bunnow in the civil parish of Doora. Bunnow was a small farming community, numbering less than thirty people in 1901,where Mary, herself, was raised. Her father was Thomas Clune - we know that from Mary's marriage certificate. He was a local farmer in Bunnow, and it’s more than likely that he gave Michael the land which he farmed. Mary was born in 1844 according to her marriage certificate.

Her mother's name was Bridget. This we know because Michael Roughan erected a Headstone for her in Old Doora Graveyard following her death on July 30, 1862. She was just 51. Michael did the same for her husband Thomas Clune, following his death on February 17, 1869. He was aged 62. Thank you to Clarelibrary website and Clare Roots Society for this information, and for the wonderful work they do. Much was discovered about Mary Clune's parents from these two entries, and clearly Michael held them both in high regard as they did him. More of the Clunes in their section.

Michael was not from Bunnow but from a neighbouring townland. There are a few candidates as to which one, with Clonroadbeg in Drumcliff Parish looking a strong possibility. Having married Mary, he stayed in Bunnow and farmed alongside the Clunes, raising eight children. Michael died some time between the census and Martin’s marriage in 1905. Mary had died earlier because Michael is listed as a widower in the 1901 census. Ennis district records have a Mary Roughan, born in 1842 and dying in 1884, and I believe this to be Mary. She would have therefore died just a year after the birth of Margaret, leaving Michael to raise the family as a single parent.

Now we come to Michael's children, one of whom will become my step-father Bernard's own father. It's interesting to note that in naming his children, Michael follows the traditional Irish way of doing so. First son named after the father's father, and the first daughter named after the mother's mother. Second son named after the mother's father, and the second daughter named after the father's mother. What's in a name ...

  The 1901 Census of Ireland for Bunnow Townland, Ennis Rural. Certain details not found in the English Censuses.
                                THE CHILDREN OF MICHAEL ROUGHAN AND MARY CLUNE

John Roughan  1866
He was born on the 10th May 1866, named after Michael’s father. No further information on him except that he is no longer in the household in 1901.

Bridget Roughan  1867
She was born the following year on the 18th October 1867. Mary Clune’s paternal grandmother was called Bridget Frawley. Mary’s mother was Bridget too, but I have no surname for her.  By the time of the 1901 census, Bridget is no longer at home. 

Thomas Roughan  1869
Two years later, on the 30th December, Thomas Roughan became Michael and Mary’s third child. Like, his two elder siblings, he isn’t in the 1901 census. No more is known about him other than he was named after Mary’s father.

Maria Roughan   1875
Six years elapsed before their fourth child, Maria, although the mortality rate was such in those days that there may well have been others born in that period. Indeed, the three eldest children above, may have died young, explaining why none of them were still at home in 1901. Being that much older than their siblings, they may just have moved on.
Maria was born in 1875 which we know from her entry in the 1901 census. She moved from Bunnow before 1911.

Martin Roughan 1876-1948
The following year, Martin was born on either the 4th or the 5th of November, and he made a new life for himself across the seas. He left Ireland before the turn of the century. His life is chronicled in his own section.

Michael Roughan  1878 - 1954

Michael was born on March 31, 1878, and was still living at home in 1901. He eventually left Bunnow for Wales, and followed his brother Martin into the Police Force. He was present at Martin’s wedding in 1905, and it wasn't long before he would take a bride of his own to the altar. He had met Ellen Florence Webb when she was in service. She was going to her employer's lodge, and had asked him the way. Before very long, the policeman was to ask something of Florrie-as she was known-and he was delighted with her answer.

They married in Cardiff in 1907. Florrie Webb was born on March 6th, 1884 in Coxley, Somerset, the daughter of Alfred Webb and Jemima Windsor. They had married in 1865, and raised a family of thirteen children. Florrie didn't like being alone at night, and Michael, being a dutiful husband, promptly left the police force, and went to work in a cool store.

Alfred John Roughan was born on April 25th, 1909 in Glamorgan, and although I can't confirm it, I take him to be Michael and Florrie's first child. He married Dorothy Mary Pearson in the summer of 1956. Dorothy was born in November 13th 1916, and I think they were childless. They started married life at 83 Mayals Avenue, Blackpill, Swansea, and then moved to 29 Lomond Crescent, Cardiff. Alfred died in 1990, and Dorothy died in 1999.

Joseph Michael Roughan was Michael and Florrie's next child. He was born in 1911, and married thirty-four-year-old Lillian Joyce Clinnick on June 8th, 1942 in Newlyn, Cornwall. She was the daughter of Anthony Allen Clinnick and Lillian Spear of Truro who had both been an only child. Anthony lived long enough to see his daughter married, unlike Lillian who died in 1941 at the age of sixty-three. Anthony died in 1943. Joseph and Lillian settled down in Warwickshire, and had two sons, John and Richard. Joseph lived to be seventy-five, and Lillian reached the age of ninety-five.

Cheridah Roughan was Michael and Florrie's third and last child, born on July 25, 1914. She married William Trevor Stansbury in Cardiff during the last quarter of 1942. William, born on Feb 5, 1914, was the eldest child of Thomas William Stansbury and Gwenllian Furber who had married in Pontypridd the previous year. Gwenlliam was born on November 23rd, 1889, and was a post office assistant at her mother Margaret's post office in St George Super Ely near Cardiff. Her father, John, had died in 1906. Thomas was a gamekeeper in Cardiff, the son of Robert and Susan Stansbury. William had only one sibling, Gwenllian, who was thirteen years younger. He and Cheridah stayed in Cardiff and had two children: Cheridah born in 1946, and Michael, born in 1951. William died in Cardiff in 1996. Cherry, as she was known, died in Kidderminster in 2001.

Michael and Florrie Roughan were married for forty-seven years. Michael died in Cardiff in 1954 at the age of seventy-five, and Florrie lived to the age of eighty-seven, passing away in Cardiff in 1971.

                                    Patrick Roughan  1880

Patrick, the youngest son, was born on 21 March, 1880. Until the 1911 Census for Bunnow was released, I believed Patrick to be the Patrick who emigrated to New Zealand and married Martha Annis, a Polish immigrant. But our Patrick did nothing of the sort. He watched the family unit dissolve, following the passing of his father Michael and found himself alone to run the farm.

The 1911 census tells us that he is still single, and it gives details of the house and outbuildings. It has three rooms with three windows at the front of the house. It has brick walls with a non-tiled roof, classified as a perishable one, being of wood or thatch. It is rated a second class house as opposed to a third class dwelling which Patrick Clune’s was, having just two rooms.

Patrick Clune, a relation of Thomas Clune, and therefore a relation of Patrick's by way of his marriage to Mary Clune, was also alone now. His parents both dead since the previous census, and his twenty- two year old son Patrick having presumably moved on. He is still listed as married but his wife not present at either census. He has just two cow houses whereas Pat Roughan has one pig house, one stable and one cow house. Neither have a fowl house. There are twenty-nine people living in Bunnow ,the same as in 1901, including James O'Loghlin, the publican farmer.

                                            John Roughan

The father of Michael Roughan, and Bernard’s other paternal Great Grandfather. There are a number of candidates called John Roughan who might be our one. One was born in 1799, another in 1801, and the other in 1811. The County Clare Tithe Applotment Books of 1825 show John Roughan occupying land in Clonroadbeg and Clonroadmore. This part of Drumcliff  borders Bunnow which is the furthest west of Doora’s townlands. John was working in harness with a Michael Roughan, as well as others. I take John to be in his mid-twenties at the time, with Michael an older brother, or possibly his father. There is also a ‘John Roughan Snr. & son Roughan’ occupying land in Knockandira, Templemaley which is also close to the Bunnow area. Our John Roughan would be the son not the father and would be the John Roughan born in 1811.

Piecing together the evidence available, I believe Michael’s father to have married Mary Macnamara in 1835. Macnamara was one of the area’s most common names and they are holding land in the Clonroads as well as Doora and Templemaley. So they would know John Roughan well. Mary was the daughter of James Macnamara and Mary Meer who had married in 1815 in Moghery, Cloony. She was christened on the 17th of April 1816 and had a younger brother, James, christened on the 24th of May,1819. Cloony is close to all of the aforementioned places. The 1811 John is at a more realistic age to be marrying Mary but the 1799/1801 John’s should not be ruled out.

Mary and John had their first child, Ann, in 1835 with Mary just nineteen. There has been extensive research done by the Australian Roughans which reports Ann as being the daughter of John Roughan and Mary Macnamara. Hence the original link between the two.

If our John, Michael Roughan’s father, is their John, then Ann is Michael’s elder sister. She left Clare for Sydney,arriving there in 1855 with her sister Maria on a ship called the Simmonds. She would be Michael’s younger sister, born in 1839. Maria married Salvatore Longobardi,from Naples, at St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney on  4 June 1858. They had thirteen children. Maria died at Randwick, NSW in 1923, the same year as her husband.

Ann married James Lyle at Sofala,NSW in 1859. She died at Waverley,NSW on 5 October 1884. Both Ann and Maria told the Sydney authorities that their mother, Mary, was dead, but that their father John was still living. This would mean that Mary Roughan, nee Macnamara, died before 1855, making her just thirty nine or less. Michael Roughan was now seventeen with his mother deceased and two sisters emigrated. For the next decade he remained in the Drumcliffe area, farming the land with his father John and whatever brothers he had. The Griffiths Valuation of 1855 shows a number of Roughans active in the area. James, Thomas, Timothy, Patrick, Matthew, Daniel, Joseph among male Roughans, and Margaret, Catherine and Ellen among females. Any of them could be siblings or children of John.

Only a visit to Drumcliffe cemetery might piece the jigsaw together or perhaps local enquiries. The questions that need to be answered are : In which year was Michael Roughan’s father born, or in which year did he die? Was Michael’s mother Mary Macnamara? If she was then he did have sisters called Ann and Maria who emigrated to Australia. Quite straightforward really.

John Roughan died in 1864, 1875 or 1891, depending on which John married Mary. We know that his son Michael moved on to Bunnow where he married Mary Clune and started to farm alongside Thomas Clune, his father-in-law and James Clune, brother to Thomas. This would be around 1865.

                                Two views of Drumcliffe Cemetery which is very close to Ennis and Bunnow.

                                      THE CLUNES OF CLARE

                                                                    Thomas Clune 1817

Thomas Clune was Michael Roughan’s father-in-law and one of Bernard’s paternal Great Grandfathers. Eight years after writing this section, I finally discovered the name of his wife, and his birth details. Previously, I had thought that he was born in 1817 in Ballyvergen, Clooney and christened on the 13th of July. Ballyvergen is close to Bunnow. However, I now realize that this was a different Thomas Clune. The Thomas Clune who is named as Mary Clune's father on her marriage certificate was born several years earlier. We know this because his son-in-law Michael Roughan erected a Headstone for him in Doora Graveyard following his death on February 17, 1869. His age was 62.

A Thomas Clune is listed in the Griffiths Valuation of 1855 as owning land in Bunnow.  It's more than likely that he is our Thomas. John Clune also owns land there and is almost certainly his brother. The 1901 census ( see earlier under Patrick Clune's section ) shows a John Clune, aged 75, farming next to Michael Roughan. His wife, Bridget, is aged 74. Whether this John Clune is the same John as above, I'm not sure. If he is Thomas' brother, it would make him 20 years younger.

Bridget Clune 1811- 1862

I only discovered her name 8 years after writing this section. As with her husband, her Headstone was erected by Michael Roughan following her death on July 30, 1862, She was just 51 years old.

Mary Clune  c.1842-c.1884
She was the only child of Thomas that I have traced and the wife of Michael Roughan. As such, she is Bernard’s paternal grandmother. She died before the 1911 census and possibly is the Mary Clune who died in 1884, just after her daughter Margaret’s birth. Find her also in Michael Roughan’s section.

I am indebted to Eugene Godden,whose own research opened the door for me to explore the Roughans in the detail that I have.


Our family, in general, haven’t encompassed a great deal of the Globe, though, personally-speaking, having an American father, my own family tree would be spread wider. However this family tree is only half of mine and tends to be centred on the British Isles. Here, we have left considerable footprints and traces in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. When Ina Hunter married Bernard Roughan, mum brought England and Scotland to the union, and dad brought Ireland and Wales. From the West of Ireland to the North East of Scotland and down to Cornwall. From South Wales to the East of England. From the Cheshire Plain to Lancashire and Yorkshire.

I have visited the lives of so many ancestors, it’s as if I have met them personally.  As I sifted through the censuses, lives and stories unravelled before me, and the joys and sorrows some of them went through touched me deeply. Some were distant relatives who suddenly became closer, such as Jane Stringer and Hannah Race. Others were more direct ancestors such as William Race and Elizabeth Lowndes. I found myself lighting many candles which is a custom I inherited from my wife, as one remembers those who have passed before. No story was more poignant than Kenneth Rickwood’s and no story more wondrous than George Hunter’s when he became a father for the first time at seventy.

There are still mysteries to be solved and a few loose ends to be tidied up. The biggest puzzle of all is what motivated me to write it all down in the first place. Perhaps not knowing my paternal roots or ever likely to, made me determined to know my maternal roots. The detective in me also had the chance to express itself, and in genealogy one is constantly facing the unknown and dead ends. Trying to open locked doors was a great challenge and very satisfying when achieved.

The most important thing has been to only write positively of those contained in these pages. This I hope I have done, and if it has meant omitting little things here and there, then so be it. Certain facts and information have to be included, there is no other way. My aim was to be objective and impartial throughout. Of course there had to be personal touches and an element of subjectivity but in the main, this is a family history, written with warmth and empathy. The saying ‘Judge not others, lest ye be judged yourself’ runs throughout these pages, and that’s a good point to end on.

Chris Roughan

October 2009 but updated now in May 2022.