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Manning, Sarah (1809 - 1875). BOSTON WORKHOUSE

Sarah Manning (1809 - 1875)


When searching through the records for Ringstead you quickly discover that two factors try to thwart your progress up, or down your family tree. The families naturally link and interweave and the parents were rarely imaginative in their choice of names for their children. The boys are often John or Thomas or George or Henry and the girls are Rebecca or Sarah or Elizabeth or Hannah or Mary. The men then set about marrying women with the same names as their mothers or sisters or cousins. Suddenly the village is littered with Rebecca Mannings or John Balls. Some of the women will decide to use their middle name to help the family and enable them to keep some individuality but for us searching through those pre 1841 Census days an entry in the Parish Register is as likely to perplex as enlighten.

Sarah Manning was baptised on January 9th 1814 in a job lot with her older brothers Isaac and Jacob. Luckily the parish register records that she was born on 4th April 1809 and is the daughter of James and Mary. Her eldest brother, James, was baptised on 7 March 1784 and is recorded as “James Manning Bosworth the Bastard son Of James Manning and Mary Bosworth. Relieved by the Parish”.  James and Mary married some two years later on 8 May 1786 but, surprisingly it appears that the next child, Rebecca was not born until November1791 as it records at her baptism on 24 October 1813. It may be that some children have come and gone unrecorded, or that James was away, or was it possible that they were in a local workhouse and segregated. Of their first child, James, I can find no further trace.

In all James and Mary had ten children and Sarah was the eighth. I say eighth although it seems quite possible that her sister Rebecca born in 1791 is the same person as Rose who appears in the 1851 Census as being born in about 1791 and whose birth or baptism cannot be found. If this is true then Sarah was the seventh child.

She next appears in the records when she marries Edward Chambers on 20 October 1832 at Ringstead. It is in the Parish Register and it states that “Both are Of This Parish” (BOTP). There ar no baptisms recorded for the couple and we never see Edward Chambers again. By 1841 Sarah is living with her older sister Rebecca and her brother Isaac. Also living with Rebecca is another Rebecca who appears from the 1851 Census to be Sarah’s sister’s illegitimate child. The two younger women are shown as lacemakers but Rebecca is a “pauper”.

We meet Sarah again in 1845 but now using her maiden name of Manning. The birth certificate of Charles Andrews, born on the 8th August 1845, records Sarah Manning as the mother and a William Andrews, a mariner as the father. William, in the 1841 Census was recorded living in North street in Boston. More surprising is that Charles has been born in the Union Workhouse in Boston, Lincolnshire and Sarah is recorded as living there. There may be a few explanations as to how Sarah ended up in Boston. She may have gone there for work and failed but there was a system where some unions sent their poor to other workhouses that could look after them more cheaply. Boston had a rather magnificent workhouse designed by George Gilbert Scott and built in 1837 which had an infirmary where Sarah could have had her baby in comparative luxury. For many poorer people the workhouse hospital was their only hope of medical attention.

At this time Boston was an important port and it seems possible that Sarah was in Boston when she met the mariner William, rather than going there to have his child.

On the 4th January 1847 Sarah married William Andrews, still a mariner, at the General Baptist Chapel in Boston. The witnesses are Michael Morgan and Elizabeth MacQueeney, and it records that Sarah and William live in North Street, Boston. William’s father is given as John Andrews (deceased)

William, however, had not long to live and suffering from “inflammation of the lungs” he dies just eighteen months later, on 7th June 1848. He was just forty-nine years old. The informant of the death is his nurse, the same Elizabeth MacQueeney and the 1851 Census for North Street records that 'Elizabeth McQueena' is running a pauper's lodging house. Neither of Sarah’s husbands seem to have survived long after marriage.

It is the next two censuses which help us to tie the two parts of Sarah’s life together. In 1851 a Charles Andrews, aged 5 and born in Boston, appears in Ringstead living with his Aunt Rose, a pauper unable to work, with her daughter Rebecca. Rose is shown as unmarried. With them is Rose’s sister Sarah Andrews, a widow who is the main subject of this story. By 1861 Rebecca, the daughter, is head of the house and her aunt, Sarah Andrews and her nephew Charles Andrews are living with her.

By 1871 Sarah is shown as the head, living in London End, Ringstead and Rebecca, her niece is still living with her. Sarah, aged 62 continues on Parish Relief although Rebecca is working as a lacemaker. Charles has married Elizabeth Warren on 31 August 1866 at the Baptist Meeting House in Thrapston and by 1871 is living at 29 Shop [High] Street, Ringstead with his three children, Ada, Annie and George.

Sarah does not appear in the 1881 Census and checking back we find her death, aged 67 in October December 1875.

Sarah lived much of her life in poverty and we can only skim the surface of the difficulties and privations that she suffered. 



Ringstead BMD. (Northampton Record Office)

Boston BMD (Lincolnshire Record Office) (my thanks to Agnes Burton for this information)

My thanks also to Liz Smart for alerting me to other details of William Andrews in the Boston Census.

1841, 1851, 1861, 1871 Censuses

Birth Certificate of Charles William Andrews 18th August 1845

Marriage Certificate of Charles William Andrews and Elizabeth Warren 13th August 1866. (Thrapston Baptist Meeting House)

Reader Comments (2)

Rebecca Manning b1791 married Robert Phillips in August 1814. Their third son was named Manning Philips. It was typiccal for daughters of this branch of the Mannings to use Manning as a forename. Their dau Letitia born 1834 married a John Roberts, whose son Benjamin Ebenezer was the father of Alfred, whon in turn was the father of Margaret Hilda, the future Prime Minister and Baroness Thatcher.  They were described locally as "Temperance people - one half married the other half."

So Rose Manning, the spinster with daughter Rebecca, who appears in the 1841 and 1851 census born about 1792 was not the same person as Rebecca, but rather another sister. The name Rose came from their father's mother, Rosamond or Rose Dickens who had married Thomas Manning in 1720. Rose Dickens may have originated from Risely in Bedfordshire where there was a large Baptist community.

This is only in part from my own research, but in the main from Manning cousins who have researched this branch of the family in some depth.

April 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Bryce

Dear Richard
I was aware of the Bryce and Stanger online family tree as well as the ronnieearp website. I did have a brief correspondence with the latter. I did this story some years ago but I believed that The Rebecca Manning who married Robert Phillips was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth not the Rebecca who was the daughter of James and Mary. My main reason for this is that Henry Manning, the brother of the first Rebecca was the witness at the wedding. Also Rose only appears in the 1851 Census for Ringstead as the unmarried mother of Rebecca (b abt 1823).

I have written the story of the brother, Henry Manning (which contains the reference to an 1830 book which tells us by the way of the family tree of a Thomas Manning) . I have also written of Benjamin Roberts and William Roberts on the site so there are a number of links to the Manning and Roberts/Thatcher family tree.

If possible I have asked people to use the e-mail address as I do not look at the posts regularly and I might not reply quickly.

I hope this makes sense (even if you do not agree with my reasoning). I made it clear that it was not a certainty - unfortunately family trees are often a balance of probabilities.

Please do come back to me with your thoughts. David

May 1, 2013 | Registered CommenterDavid Ball

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