Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Mystery of Jane Ann DAWES (1805-1852?)

Following the life of Jane Ann DAWES has been a challenge. I recently received a death registration for a Jane BENNETT whom I believed to be her. However, it is dated 16th January 1851 and since I have found her in the 1851 census which was taken in March I don't believe that this can be her. Of course, to believe that everywhere in the UK was dutifully recorded on the 30th March 1851 is a stretch so it could be. In any event, I wrote out a history of her life as I know it a while ago and thought it was time to make it public.

Previous information on Jane Ann's line can be found here.

Jane begins life in Hadlow, Kent where she is baptised on 14 November 1805 as the second child of Thomas DAWS and Elizabeth WHITEBREAD. I haven't found a record of her actual date of birth.

On 09 August 1809, a Poor Law Removal Order orders Jane Ann (6) along with her older brother William (5) and younger sister Susan (2) and parents Thomas & Elizabeth back to Uckfield, Sussex from Hadlow, Kent.

The Sussex Family History Group Marriage Index CD records the marriage of Jane Ann DAWS and Thomas CHALFIELD on 23 October 1825 at Holy Cross Church, Uckfield. Jane is shown as OTP (Of This Parish) and Thomas is listed as a bachelor from Maresfield. The name CHALFIELD is the first error which has thrown off my research. It should have been CHATFIELD.

There is no sign of Jane and Thomas in the 1841 census although two boys William CHATFIELD (13) and Henry CHATFIELD (11) whom I believe to be their sons turn up living with Johnathan and Naomi STEVENS in Fletching. Also living with this family are Hannah CHATFIELD (78), Mary DRAWBRIDGE (50), and Harriet HEMSLEY (22). Hannah CHATFIELD may be their grandmother.

Further proof of Willam and Henry as the sons of Thomas and Jane Ann is found in the Selected Sussex Baptisms from the Sussex Family History Group which lists William (baptised 26 August 1827), Henery (baptised 09 August 1829), and Alfred (baptised 17 April 1831) all sons born to Thomas and Jane Ann CHATFIELD and baptised in St. Bartholomew's, Maresfield. No record of Alfred can be found in the 1841 census or later censuses so he must have died before 1841.

Thomas senior must have died before 1837 when vital registration began as no death record can be found anywhere.

By the time of the 1851 census, Jane had re-married John BENNETT of Hellingly. She is listed as Jane A., age 45, and born in Hadlow, Kent. Further confirmation of her new identity is made by the additional people listed in their home on census night which was 30th March 1851. There is Henry CHATFIELD (21) born Maresfield, his wife Phillis (25) born Chiddingly and son James (1) born Uckfield. Also visiting were Jane COOK (17) born Maresfield, who is unmarried and shown as a daughter-in-law which was used interchangeably for step-children and Anne BENNETT (19) an unmarried niece born Chiddingly.

Henry and Phyllis' marriage is confirmed by the GRO marriage index which records it in the March Quarter of 1849 in the Lewes Registration District. After James, they went on to have eight more children. Henry's recorded birth location of Maresfield is consistent with his father's parish on Thomas and Jane's marrage record.

The wild card here is Jane Cook shown as a daughter-in-law. Since she is listed as unmarried she isn't likely the married daughter of John BENNETT making her his step-child and the daughter of Jane Ann. This means that Jane Ann must have married a COOK between Thomas CHATFIELD and John BENNETT. Young Jane's age of seventeen places her birth about 1834 and too early for civil registration records. Since there is no LDS batch number for Maresfield there are no IGI baptisms which can be used to find her. There is no record of a marriage between Jane Ann CHATFIELD and a COOK(E) on the Sussex FHG CD so either it happened outside of Sussex or it was missed.

Following Jane COOK(E) into 1861, she is found visiting Henry and Frances HEMSLEY in Uckfield. Also in the household is young James COOKE (6) born Hailsham who is a boarder. I suspect that James is Jane's illigetimate son and has been placed with the HEMSLEY's. Frances HEMSLEY nee DAWES is Jane's mother's younger sister linking the families again. Just to be clear here Jane Ann CHATFIELD/COOKE/BENNETT and Frances HEMSLEYare sisters.

The only Jane COOKE in 1841 of an age to be this Jane is found in Uckfield with the family of William COOKE (70). His wife's name is Jane COOKE (35) who could be Jane Ann, especially since she is shown as not born in Sussex. The children's ages are spread between 15 and 6 with George (15), Charles (11), Tilden (male 8), and Jane (6) all born Sussex. The oldest boys, George and Charles ages conflict with the births of William and Henry CHATFIELD so I don't believe that these are her children. Therefore, only Tilden and Jane are potentially hers although given the age difference of 35 years between Jane (Ann) and William I believe that he married her to provide a mother for his children from a previous marriage. Then again, William is pretty old to have children this young even from a previous marriage. If young Jane was really a step-daughter of Jane Ann then her status is supported as a "daughter-in-law" on the 1851 census. So she could be either the child of William COOKE and a previous wife or William and Jane (Ann).

The Selected Sussex Baptisms from the SFHG help to clear up this mystery. An illegitamate son is baptised at St. Bartholomew's, Maresfield on 14 Apr 1833 to William COOKE - Carpenter and Jane CHATFIELD. The given name is Fidler although I believe that the census entry of Tilden is more likely correct. The way Fidler is written certainly could be mis-transcribed as Fidler. Later in the same record, a legitimate birth is found for Jane Ann COOK who was baptised 01 February 1835 and again on 01 December 1835. This means that Jane Ann and William were married sometime between 1833 and 1835. There is a William COOKE listed as an inmate of the Uckfield Union Workhouse in the 1851 census which may explain why no marriage between Jane Ann and John BENNETT can be found. Although there are a number of William COOKE deaths in Sussex between 1841 and 1861, there is only one in Uckfield which is registered in the March Quarter of 1852. According to the 1851 census, William COOKE was born in Heathfield about 1767 which is consistent which his age of 70 in the 1841 census since the rounded down 70 represents any age between 74 and 70.

There is no record of Jane Ann after the 1851 census. The GRO death index has a Jane BENNETT listed as dying in the March Quarter of 1851 in Registration District Hailsham. I like to believe that Jane Ann was dying and that's why her family had gathered around her on census night in 1851.

The only marriage of a John BENNETT to a Jane COOK is found in the September Quarter of 1838 in West London. I don't believe that this is theirs.

Therefore, I believe that in 1825, in Uckfield, Jane Ann DAWS married Thomas CHATFIELD of Marefield. They had three children William (born 1827), Henry (born 1829) and Alfred (born 1831), all in Maresfield. Sometime after Alfred's birth in 1831, Thomas died and Jane Ann remarried William COOKE but not before she had baseborn Tilden in 1833. Then in 1835, Jane Ann COOKE was born in Maresfield. William COOKE was committed to the workhouse between 1841 and 1851 and Jane Ann went to live John BENNETT of Hellingly where she died and John disappears after 1851 although there are a couple of GRO deaths that could be him between 1851 and 1861.


  1. Thank you for this posting. I am interested in the WHITEBREAD connection. Elizabeth WHITEBREAD was baptised 3 Feb 1785 at Hadlow, daughter of Henry WHITEBREAD and Sarah (CROWHURST). Elizabeth was ordered to be removed from Hadlow to Penshurst on 7th March 1804. I was not quite sure why this was, except that her father had died about 3 weeks before (buried at Hadlow 19th Feb). Her surviving siblings Richard (13), Lydia (7) and John (4), however do not seem to have had this order placed on them. Thanks to you, it now seems certain that it was this Elizabeth who married Thomas DAWES on the 8th March at Tudeley, just one day after her removal order. Was she ordered to be removed because of the pending marriage, or did she marry because of her removal ? In any case, it seems she returned to Hadlow soon after her marriage.
    Steven Whitebread, Quincy, MA, USA (no relation to this line)

  2. Hi Steven,
    Contact me at dawesrg (at) yahoo (dot) ca
    I would like to follow up the Whitebread connection with you.
    Bob Dawes

  3. I pass on the paragraph below:

    I assume Jane Ann's marriage was annulled or she ignored it for her second marriage as it was unlikely she would ever see Thomas again.

    Colin Chatfield

    Thomas CHATFIELD (1797 - ) was a shepherd and ploughman and lived in Maresfield, Sussex.
    He was convicted at Lewes Sussex Quarter Sessions on 8th April 1831 aged 30 for stealing six pennyworth of faggots and stealing four fowls and sentenced to be transported for life but then reduced to 14 years.
    Also described as 'a troublesome person.'
    He left behind a wife and five children.
    Transported on the William Glen Anderson he arrived at Hobart, Van Dieman's Land on the 1st November 1831
    I have searched the Tasmania Records Office for details of his life and presumed death somewhere in Tasmania but without success.
    His convict Number was 1295.
    He appears to have been assigned to a Lieutenant Sam Hill on his arrival in Hobart.'
    Convict Tales
    This from Raymond Chatfield August 2003

  4. Many thanks for your posting, Bob. You've helped to fill in some gaps in my own research. Ellen Louisa Taylor, born 1870, was my Great Grandmother.
    Graham Sherlock