Alfred John Southwell

Alfred John Southwell was born in East Dean in about 1830. No record can be traced of his baptism, nor confirmation of the full date of birth. He was the second of eleven children born to William Southwell (1799–1867) and his wife Martha née Pritchard (1800–1885).

At the first national census in 1841, he was living with his parents and five siblings at Lockerley Green, where his parents ran a grocer’s shop.

Ten years later, the family were at the same address – 18-year old Alfred was now employed as a bricklayer’s assistant. In 1861, despite now being 28 years old, Alfred was still living with his parents and two youngest sisters at Lockerley Green, although his occupation was now given as carpenter.

On 13 August 1862, Alfred (aged 29) married 30-year old Sarah Ann Rogers at St Michael & All Angels Church, Lyndhurst. Sarah was the daughter of James and Sarah Rogers originally from Mottisfont. James Rogers was a carpenter, and possibly Alfred’s employer.

There were four children of this marriage:

Sarah Ann Southwell, born at Mottisfont on 15 August 1863;

William James Southwell, born at Mottisfont on 13 January 1865;

twins Annie Margaret and Emma Kate Southwell, born at 68 St Mary’s Road, Southampton on 14 June 1870. Emma Kate died on 30 June; the cause of death was marasmus (malnutrition) from birth.

Sarah Ann died in 1870, aged 37. [Death registered at Southampton in December 1870 quarter]

At the 1871 census, Alfred (now a 38-year old widower) and his eldest daughter were still living at 68 St Mary’s Road, Southampton (described as the Rag & Bone store). [Rather paradoxically, Alfred’s occupation was recorded as “Baker & confectioner (master)”.]

His son, William, aged 6, was living with his uncle and aunt, Henry ( a master blacksmith) and Mary Swaine at Houghton, while Annie, aged  9 months, was living with her uncle and aunt, Henry (a draper) and Jane Dewey Southwell at Lockerley Green.

On Christmas Day 1873, Alfred (now 40) re-married to 31-year old Ellen Pembroke, a widow, at the Ebenezer Chapel at Lockerley. On the marriage register, Alfred’s occupation is again given as carpenter.

Ebenezer Chapel

Ellen was the daughter of Charles (an agricultural labourer) and Ann Osman and was born in Mottisfont in the spring of 1842. [Birth registered at Romsey in September 1842 quarter] She was first married, to Charles Pembroke (c.1834–1870), a porter, at St John the Evangelist Church in Westminster, London on 8 February 1868. The couple had a daughter, Annie Emily Pembroke, born in Lambeth on 21 February 1871, a few months after the death of her father in the autumn of 1870. [Death registered at Romsey in September 1870 quarter]

At the 1871 census, Ellen was living at 133 Buckingham Palace Road, London where she was employed by César Louis Marie Lamarre, a French wine merchant, and his wife Annie, as a wet nurse to their 6-month old son, also César. Meanwhile, baby Annie was living with friends, Henry (a blacksmith) and Sarah Carter and their four young children, including 12-month old Florence, at Church Road, Mottisfont.

Following their marriage, the couple settled initially at Farley, near Salisbury, where their four children were born:

Harry Edward Southwell, born 18 January 1875

Alfred Tom Southwell, born  4 March 1877

Martha Mary Southwell, born 30 August 1879

Ellen Keturah Southwell, born 6 January 1887

At the 1881 census, Alfred and Ellen, with 10-year old Annie Pembroke and their three eldest children were living in Farley village, where he was working as a carpenter. 17-year old Sarah Ann  was at nearby Pitton, where she was a servant in the home of Ann Hooper, a 73-year old widow.

Ten years later, in 1891, the family were at West Grimstead, Alfred (a 58-year old carpenter) and 48-year old Ellen, with their youngest three children. 14-year old Alfred Tom was now working as a shepherd.

In 1901, Alfred and Ellen, remained at West Grimstead, where they were living with their youngest child, 14-year old Ellen Keturah. Alfred’s occupation was now recorded as “Carpenter (employer)”.

As well as working as a carpenter, Alfred Southwell served as the village undertaker for the small number of funerals held at the parish church each year. In April 1908, Alfred was sued by the newly-appointed Rector of St John’s Church, West Grimstead, the Revd. G.D. Shenton, who claimed an increase in the fee of 5 shillings paid for burials in the churchyard to 9s 6d. Frederick was supported in his defence of the claim by several parishioners, including Tom Earley, described as the sexton. The case was found in favour of Alfred and shortly afterwards Revd. Shenton left the parish to take up a post in Colchester, to be replaced by Revd. John H. Wilkinson.

At the 1911 census, Alfred and Ellen were now living alone, still at West Grimstead, where 78-year old Alfred gave his occupation as “Old age pensioner, retired carpenter)”.

Ellen Southwell died, aged 73, at home at West Grimstead on 31 January 1916. The cause of death was recorded as “Arterio Sclerosis & Gangrene of the legs”. She was buried on 31 January at St John’s Church, West Grimstead.

Following Ellen’s death, Alfred moved to live with his son, Alfred Tom, at 104 Robinson Road, Mitcham, Surrey where he died, aged 88, from a stroke on 30 November 1918. He was buried at Merton cemetery on 5 December 1918.