Framed in a Doorway in Snitterfield

Sepia Saturday has commented on how many of our family snapshots are taken in the doorway of the home and asked us to take that as our starting point for Sepia Saturday 203

MatildaTansey and unknown girlMy first post for Sepia Saturday spoke of Tom  Tansey leaving Snitterfield near Stratford on Avon in Warwickshire and coming to Australia.  This is his mother Mary Matilda Tansey  photographed with an unidentified girl in the doorway of the home where Tom grew up. The house was in The Green, Snitterfield which is near Stratford on Avon in Warwickshiure. If the girl is Matilda’s youngest daughter Ellen Matilda then this places the photo c1900

I never met my great grandmother Matilda but our lives overlapped for a while so I feel as though I can reach out and touch her, and through her touch her grandfather William Hutchins who was born in 1782.  Matilda was the youngest of five children and as her father was a lot older than her mother Matilda  was less than three years old when her father died in 1853  Her mother was left with five children aged twelve and under to look after.

Next door lived Matilda’s grandfather, William Hutchins, a widower.

You might have expected a father to give his widowed daughter a helping hand. but a complaint was made against William Hutchins for not maintaining his daughter Mary Checketts and in 1854  the Overseer of the Poor at Stratford Union ordered him  to pay 5 shillings a week in order to maintain his widowed daughter and her children.

BUT, he didn’t do as he was told to and on 21 July 1854 it was ordered that goods of his should be taken to cover the debt and the expenses.

BUT no goods to sell to cover his debt could be found at his house and he was committed to the Common Gaol at Warwick for three months. It cost four shillings and six pence  to transport him there.

1854 PrisonerBy 1861 William, his daughter Mary Checketts and four of her five children were all living together in a house in The Green, Snitterfield,  one hopes happily !  He is even listed as a retired brickmaker and  the Head of the Household in the 1861 Census.  So through my great grandmother Matilda who was later to marry Thomas Tansey Snr. I feel I know her naughty grandfather.

It does raise a few questions.

1. At the time he was a brickmaker.  Was he just  “crying  poor” so that his daughter  could get extra money ?

2. No goods worth selling in his house ? Sounds to me as if they weren’t allowed to seize tables and chairs, beds etc

3. If he genuinely couldn’t pay then why put him in gaol ?

But then again it might just have been discord between the two families when you look at this entry from the National Archives

[no title]  ER10/3/1101  27 April 1852 Contents:

Complaint of George Checketts, Snitterfield v. William Hutchins and Elizabeth his wife for assault and threatening behaviour.

Poor William !  He survived until just after the 1861 Census.  I hope his daughter and her family were nice to him.

2013.10W.22See more doorways with the links on Sepia Saturday 203

18 thoughts on “Framed in a Doorway in Snitterfield

  1. Jo in Melbourne Aus

    Intriguing! Family relationships aren’t always happy of course. A lovely photo of Matilda in her apron and the unknown girl with her. Those pinafores were no doubt excellent for protecting dresses.


  2. Alan Burnett

    To start with that is a wonderful photograph – the subjects really do seem to stretch right out to meet us. And what a tale you tell. Family history at its best.


  3. Deb Gould

    Loved your comment about feeling you can “reach out and touch…” I think that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it — reaching out and touching your past through photographs…


  4. Susan

    A fascinating story leading from that one photograph. Like Deb, it was your comment about telling you “can reach out and touch” that struck a chord with me so much. That is what makes family history such an all absorbing hobby.


  5. Kathy

    My first thought at looking at the photo was that Mary must have enjoyed gardening and had a green thumb – so much greenery at the doorway. Your story took us in a completely different and interesting direction!


  6. Joan

    Mary Matilda and the girl seem to reach out to the viewer as if to finish the story. I looks as tho her later years may have been a bit easier for her. Lovely setting, doorway, vines — as were the two subjects.


  7. Sarah Checketts

    Very interesting read. Looking into my family history and this was BRILLANT. Mary was my great great great grandfathers sister.
    We should talk.



Your comments are most welcome. It's nice meeting you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s