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St Peter-in-the East Church: John WILLIAMS (1889–1916)

John Williams was born in Huntingdon in 1889. He was the son of George Williams (born in Bath in c.1862) and Emmeline Macintosh (born in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire in c.1864): she later adopted the middle names Augusta.

John's parents were married at St Pancras, London near the end of 1882 and had thirteen children. Twelve are listed below; the twelfth probably died in infancy:

  • Emmeline Mary Williams (born in Bath, Somerset in 1885, reg. second quarter with first name spelt Emeline)
  • Edward Williams (born in Huntingdon in 1886, reg. fourth quarter; died in Oxford aged 17 third quarter of 1904)
  • Agnes Williams (born in Huntingdon in c.1887; died in Huddersfield, Yorkshire aged five in 1893)
  • John Williams (born in Huntingdon in 1889, reg. second quarter)
  • Frank Williams (born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in 1892, reg. third quarter)
  • Eda Williams (born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire on 21 January 1895)
  • George Williams (born at 115 Marlborough Road, Grandpont, Oxford (then part of Berkshire) on 1 June 1896 and baptised at St Matthew's Church there on 22 July)
  • Herbert Williams, known as Bert (born at 30 Broad Street, Oxford on 21 March 1898 and baptised at St Matthew's Church on 8 May)
  • Bertha Williams (born at 30 Broad Street, Oxford on 6 March 1900 and baptised at St Matthew's Church on 8 April)
  • Margaret Williams, known as Maggie (born at 30 Broad Street, Oxford on 25 November 1904 and baptised at St Ebbe's Church on 18 December)
  • Edward Percy Williams, known as Ted (born at 30 Broad Street, Oxford on 24 October 1906 and baptised at St Ebbe's Church on 18 November)
  • Lucy Williams (born at 30 Broad Street, Oxford in 1911 and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 29 June).

John's parents began their married life in Bath, and had moved to Huntingdon by 1886.

At the time of the 1891 census John (1) was living at 3 Ferrars Road, Huntington with his father George Williams (28), who was a coachsmith, his mother Emmeline (26), and his siblings Emmeline Mary (6), Edward (4), Agnes (3), and George (five months).

The family had moved to Huddersfield by 1892, and their daughter Agnes died there near the end of 1893.

By June 1896 they had moved to Oxford, and they at first lived at 115 Marlborough Road in Grandpont.

30 Broad Street

By early 1898 they had moved to 30 Broad Street (right). This was a shop with accommodation upstairs, just to the north of the octagonal chapel, in what is now considered Catte Street. (This house was one of those demolished in 1923 to make room for the expansion of Hertford College.) In Kelly's Directory for 1898 Mrs Williams was listed as having a fancy repository here. This house was in St Peter-in-the-East parish, but only the last of their five children born at this house was baptised there: the first two were baptised at St Matthew's Church like their older brother, and the second two at St Ebbe's Church.

At the time of the 1901 census John (11) was living at 30 Broad Street with his father George (38), who was a carriage builder who employed others and his mother Emmeline (36), who worked from home as a wardrobe dealer, and his siblings Emmeline (16), Edward (14), Frank (8), Eda (6), George (4), Herbert (3), and Bertha (1).

John's brother Edward died aged 17 in 1904, and his sister Margaret was born around the same time. When his next brother was born in 1906 the name Edward was reused.

John's eldest sister was married in 1908:

  • On 8 June 1908 at St Peter-in-the-East Church, Emmeline Mary Williams (23) married Edwin Samuel Robert May (23), a coach trimmer of Ferry Hinksey.

In 1911 John (21) was a coach & motor painter, boarding in London at 14 Shouldham Street, Marylebone. Meanwhile his parents were still living at 30 Broad Street with the same occupations, and his seven surviving unmarried siblings were all still at home: Frank (18), who was a civil servant; Eda (16), George (14), Herbert (13), Bertha (11), Margaret (6), and Edward (4).

John's youngest sister Lucy was born in 1911, after the census.

George E. Williams was listed as a wardrobe dealer at 30 Broad Street from 1899 to 1911, then E. A. Williams (his wife) was listed from 1912 to 1923.

Poppy In the First World War John Williams enrolled in Birmingham and served as a Serjeant in the 6th Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (Serve No. 15811). He was killed in action in France on 18 August 1916.

He has no known grave, but is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 6B) and here on the St Peter-in-the-East Church war memorial, which is now on the wall of Balliol College Archives (the former St Cross Church).


After the war

John's parents George & Emmeline Williams

The family shop and house at 30 Broad Street was demolished in 1923 to make way for the expansion of Hertford College. In the early 1930s the family moved to 51 St Mary's Road in east Oxford.  

  • Emmeline Augusta Williams died at 51 St Mary's Road at the age of 67 on 14 May 1932 and was buried in Ss Mary & John churchyard on 16 May. Her effects came to £2,898 8s. 11d., and her executor was her husband.
  • George Williams was described as foreman of engineers at his daughter Eda's marriage in 1919. He was still living at 51 St Mary's Road when he died at the Radcliffe Infirmary at the age of 81 on 24 February 1944, and was buried in Ss Mary & John churchyard on 26 February. His effects came to £786 6s. 6d., and his executor was the schoolmaster William George Lee.

John's siblings

  • Emmeline Mary Williams, Mrs May (born 1885) and her husband Edwin had three sons, who were baptised at St Clement's Church: Robert Edward May (b.1909), Frank Ernest May (b.1911), and Ronald George May (b.1915). At the time of the 1911 census Emmeline (26) described herself as a wardrobe dealer and lived at 45 St Clement's Street with her husband Edwin (26), who was a coach trimmer and their first son Robert (1). Emmeline became a hardware dealer at 44 & 45 St Clement's Street, and her shop survived until at least the 1980s. Emmeline died in Oxford at the age of 74 in 1959, and her husband six years later.
  • Frank Williams (born 1892) is hard to trace after the 1901 census, and possibly emigrated.
  • Eda Williams (born 1895) was described as a manageress of 30 Broad Street when she was married at St Peter-in-the-East Church at the age of 24 on 26 December 1919. Her husband was Lionel John Smith (23), a clerk of 44 St Clement's Street. Mrs Eda Smith died in the Witney district near the end of 1971 at the age of 76.
  • George Williams (born 1896) was a motor mechanic aged 30 when on 26 July 1926 at St Barnabas's Church he married Grace Edith Whiting (22): both were then living at 26 Jericho Street. Williams/Whiting births in Oxford that may be their children are John (1927), Richard (1932), Bryan & Grace (1937), Rosalind (1940) and Michael (1943).
  • Herbert Williams (born 1898) is hard to trace after the 1911 census.
  • Bertha Williams (born in 1900) never married. She died in Oxford in 1969.
  • Margaret Williams (born 1904) was living at 34 St Clement's Street when she was married at St Clement's Church on 29 August 1929 to Reginald Hamlet Gillam (28), a college servant aged 23 who lived in New Inn Hall Street. Mrs Margaret Gillam died in Oxford at the age of 67 in 1972.
  • Edward Percy Williams (born 1906) is hard to trace after the 1911 census, and possibly emigrated.
  • Lucy Williams (born 1911) may be the Lucy Williams who married Mark Madden in Oxford in 1933.

See also

© Stephanie Jenkins

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