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Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Victorian Railways – a dangerous place to work

The railways provided a source of employment to many of our ancestors in late Victorian times.  Such was the case for John Titheridge and his family from South Stoneham.  John was born in Cheriton in 1823 son of Maria. Titheridge.  By the 1851 census John had moved from Cheriton to South Stoneham where on the 1851 and 1861 census he is described as a railway pointsman and on the 1871 and 1881 census he is described as a railway signal man.

John married Mary Ashton in the Winchester registration ares in 1845 and they had a family of 11 children
     George born 1845
     Mary Ann born 1847
     John born 1848
     William born 1850
     Emma born  born 1852
     James born 1856
     Jane  born 1857
     Henry born about 1859
     Elizabeth  born 1861
     Charles Frederick born 1864
     Edward born 1866

The railway providing a living for the whole family at various points in their lives.
     George was a railway labourer and railway platelayer
     James a railway labourer and railway porter
     Henry railway gate keeper
     Frederick railway porter
     Edward railway booking boy and railway signal boy

Most appear to be employed by the London  and South Western Railway Company.  They were mainly based at Northam Station. This was a station on the London to Southampton Railway line and the station was a short distance from the Southampton terminus. 

From an article in the Hampshire Advertiser on 12 January 1878 the following incident was reported.  In 1878 John was employed as signal man at Northam and 18 year old son Henry was employed as a gatekeeper on the Chapel Road level crossing nearby.  On Wednesday 9th January 1878 at half past six Henry was seen walking down the line from the engine shed at Northam to go to his duty.  Sam Vickery a fireman on the goods engine observed a person going down the platform and then he saw him fall between the first and second wagon from the enginge.  Sam applied the brake and called to the driver to cut off steam.  Sam took his lamp and went back to the platform and saw Henry laying between the rails quite dead.  Although there was no evidence it was supposed that he had tried to jump one of the wagons and fell.  An inquest was held at the Oddfellows Arms at Northam and the jury returned the verdict of accidental death.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Titheridge Titheradge etc. and the Internet

Have you ever looked to see how common your surname is on the Internet?

When we first got the internet in 1999 a search  for the name "Titheridge" produced  123 web pages and a search for the name "Titheradge" produced 101 web pages.  We were able to go to each website and find out in what context the surname was mentioned.  Today the same searches produce an overwhelming number of “hits” so that there is no way you can investigate even a partial number of sites where the name is found

Google search, for an exact match, produced the following number of hits for each of these surnames.

Titheradge 125,000
Titheridge 76,600
Tidridge 23,500
Tytheridge 11,200
Tutheridge 2,830
Teatheredge 2,240
Titherage 1,910
Tedridge 1,310

Facebook produced the following number of individuals with the family surnames

Titheridge 283
Titheradge 202
Tidridge 55
Tytheridge 24
Tutheridge 10
Teatheredge 10
Titherage 6
Tedridge 11
Tithaeridge 5

Linkedin produced the following number of individuals with the family surnames

Titheridge 133 profiles
Titheradge 43 profiles
Tidridge 17 profiles
Tytheridge 11 profiles
Tedridge 5 profiles
Teatheredge 5 profiles
Titherage 4 profiles
Tutheridge 3 profiles

Genealogy websites produce so many instances of the surname that it is now almost impossible to work your way through all of them.
On  an exact search for Titheridge world wide  produces 27,463 results and the same search for Titheradge produces 5,297.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Murder which took nearly 40 years to solve

New Alresford Parish Church

William Titheridge was born in Old Alresford, Hampshire in 1762 son of William Titheridge and Ann Cranston.  On the 8 November 1782 William married Ann Smith at New Alresford.  Their marriage produced seven children all born and christened in New Alresford

Robert christened 19 March 1784
William christened 4 January 1786
Richard Cranston chrtistened 23 January 1788
Joseph christened 8 November 1789
Stephen christened 7 August 1791
Jeremiah christened 4 November 1792
Elizabeth christened 14 September 1794

Stephen died in October 1792 and Jememiah died in June 1793.  The family lived in New Alresford, where William was a tailor.

Tragedy struck the family in December 1794  On Sunday 21 December William travelled from New Alresford to Winchester, a distance of seven and a half miles and failed to return home.  The next morning he was found on the Winchester to Alresford Road, near Mattingley Farm and died soon after.  He was buried in Old Alresford on 26 December 1794.  An inquest was held and came to the conclusion that he had died by “visitation of God”.  Ann was left with 5 children aged between 10 and three months and unable to support herself without her husband ended up in the workhouse.

This is the article that reported William’s death in the Hants Chronicle on  29 December 1794

Wednesday morning (December 24) an inquisition was taken before Mr Newlyn, at the house of Mr John Clark, at Mattingley farm, in the parish of Easton, on the body of William Titheridge, many years a tailor at New Alresford, when, after a careful and minute investigation of all the circumstances, and together with the examination of a surgeon from Alresford, and other persons, it appeared, that the deceased had gone from Alresford to Winchester the preceding Sunday, and the following morning, about nine o'clock, he was discovered lying on the road side, about fifty yards from Mr Clark's house, near his garden-pales, by one of the Southampton stage coachmen, who, on meeting two persons named King and Huntley on the road, informed them of the same; they accordingly hastened to the spot, and there found the deceased speechless, and on the same being communicated to Mr Clark he humanely ordered his servants to carry him into his house, where every care was taken, and medical assistance immediately procured; and, after using the remedies for recovering persons perishing with cold, for near three hours, which was thought to be the case of this unfortunate man, he survived until next morning about six o'clock when he expired, leaving a wife and five children to lament his loss. The jury unanimously returned a verdict that he died by the visitation of God, and not from any hurt, violence, or injury, of any person or persons whomsoever.”

Despite this verdict William’s son Richard (better known as Dicky Dung Prong”) was convinced that his father had been murdered.  He claimed he was murdered by a person in the neighbourhood but there was no evidence against him.

It was just over 39 years before the truth was unearthed in the form of a death bed confession.  In April 1833 it was widely reported in papers across the country from the Devises and Wiltshire Gazette, the Morning Post London, Salisbury and Winchester Journal to name but a few of the papers.  The basis of the report was that nearly 40 years earlier a tailor called Titheridge was found murdered on the Winchester to Alresford road between Matterly Fam and the turnpike gate.  The report claimed he was murdered by stabbing.  Shortly after the murder a toll collector at Matterly gate was apprehended and questioned by magistrates, but he was discharged since there was no evidence against him. Soon after that the toll collector left his employment.  The toll collector was now dead having died 5 years before the article was written.  The widow of this toll collector now lived abroad and was dangerously ill and had now chosen to disclose the fact that it was her husband who had killed Titheridge in a fit of jealousy, “having waylaid the unfortunate man, cut his throat and thrust a piece of tile into the wound in order that he might bleed to death.”

There seems to be a little bit embellishment to the story here since if  William had had his throat cut would the jury really suggest death was due to “a visitation from god”?

If you have not come across the story of Dicky Dung Prong you might like to go to our website for the full story of this fascinating rogue!/content/membersofinterest/dickydungprong.php