The Browns of 15 Henry Street

This discourse starts with the family residing at 15 Henry Street, St Marylebone, London, at the time of the 1861 census.

They were

The reference is RG9; Piece: 88; Folio: 77; Page: 8 and if you are an Ancestry subscriber the link is

My interest is that James is the best match I can find for my great grandfather - suitable age, a location close enough to where he would later say he was born (St John's Wood), and son of William Brown, a dyer, that would be recorded on his marriage certificate in 1874..

At the 1871 census the family, both William's and Margaret but minus James, are still at 15 Henry Street.

William jnr can be tracked with a high dgree of confidence though later censuses and parish records, marrying Elizabeth Louisa Baxter on March 10 1879 at St James' Church, Shorditch and raising a family. Added confirmation is gained from the 1891 census when Margaret is in the household of Elizabeth, both being widows. Elizabeth later married John George Berg on 14 Sept 1891 with whom she had several children and her Brown children apparently adopting the name Berg.

An obvious assumption is that Margaret is the mother of both James and William and thus we are looking for a Margaret marrying William Brown about 1849.
Such a marriage took place  in 1850

4 Nov 1850 at St Dunstan & All Saints, Tower Hamlets, Stepney.
William Brown bachelor of full age, mariner, resident of Stepney. Son of John Brown coachman
Margaret Hurd spinster of full age, resident of Stepney. Daughter of  Thomas Hurd, mariner.
Witnesses: Owen Mathews & Nancy Mathews

In the absence of any other apparent alternative, many people, including myself, have assumed that Margaret Hurd is (or at least is possibly) the mother of James & William. To accept this one has to postulate that, having started a family, William quit a sea-fairing life, moved away from docklands and established a new career. We also have to resolve the issue that if James (whose birth record I have not been able to find) really was age 10 at the time of the 1861 census then why was he not with his mother at the 1851 census when he would have been a few months old. I can't say I was ever very comfortable with this - but I could find no alternative.

Then this marriage was brought to my attention

14 March 1852 Parish Church in St Marylebone, after banns.
William Brown of full age, widower, dyer, resident of St Marylebone. Son of  Rich'd Brown, Gas Inspector
Margaret Jeacock of full age resident of St Marylebone. Daughter of Jas. Jeacock Optician
witnesses Samuel Mayo~ and Elizabeth Best?

this is eye-catching for two reasons:

  1. could it be that William snr married, had son James but his wife died and he remarried Margaret Jeacock and thus that she is the mother of William jnr, but not James?
  2. the surname Jeacock occurs elsewhere in my Brown family tree. James would marry Caroline Bell in 1874 and Caroline's mother's maiden name was Edith Jeacock. Could they be related?

I had to buy William's birth certificate to move forward on the first question.

Born 15th January 1860 at 15 Henry Street. William son of William Brown, dyer (master) and Margaret Brown formerly Jeacock.

So that is conclusive evidence that Margaret Hurd is not William junior's mother.


I am left looking for James' mother. I have been unable to find a birth record for James, either a registration (and I've bought  quite a few certificates) or a Baptism record.  I am coming to the conclusion that he was not Baptised and his birth was not registered.

A trawl through marriage records for a marriage of a William Brown, dyer, son of Richard Brown, gas inspector, took me back to 1841

St James, Paddington 4 October 1841 after banns
William Brown of full age, bachelor, dyer abode White Lion Passage. Son of Richard Brown, gas inspector
Caroline Heath of full age, spinster abode Edgeware Road. Daughter of William Heath, gentleman.
Witnesses Richd Brown & Martha Brown.

Richard's occupation of 'gas inspector' is quite unusual (I've not seen it for anyone else) and leaves little doubt that this is the groom I am seeking.

Discovery of this marriage to Heath might explain the presence of Edward Heath who was a visitor to the Browns at 15 Henry Street (presumably a tenament block) in 1861.  I have not been able to do more than speculate that Edward is William Snr's nephew, the daughter of his sister Jane and that it is he and his mother who are also at 15 Henry Street at the 1871 census..

If James (1850) and William (1860) are William snr's only children then they both took a very long time to be conceived.

In the 1841 census there is a Caroline Heath age 20 living in the household of William Heath (66) and Mary Heath (60) in Henry Street, though William is a labourer rather than a 'gentleman' as Caroline's father is described on her marriage record.
There is a compatible baptism record

23 May 1819 St Marylebone Parish.
Caroline Lucy Heath daughter of William & Mary Heath, servant.
Born 1st May

A viable theory is that Caroline gave birth to James in 1850 and died such that William remarried in 1852. To support this we need a death record about 1850-51.

There is such a burial record:

Paddington Green, St Mary. Caroline Brown of Henry Street, Portland Town buried 20 November 1850 age 30.

While Paddington was not the expected parish, St Mary's is well under 2 mile from Henry Street.
To find out more I ordered Caroline's death certificate

Died 16 November 1850 at 58 Henry Street. Age 30 wife of William Browm, dyer.
Cause: Typhus Fever 6 weeks (certified)
Informant Elzth A Griffith of 58 Henry Street, Marylebone, present at death.
Registered 20 Nov 1850 in the St John's subdsitrict of Marylebone.

William's details and Caroline's age are all consistent with what I expected. But the address is 58 Henry Street and the informant is not William.  

Typhus Fever is not nice so perhaps Caroline was moved out of the family home (a multi-occupation building) to be cared for eleswhere. What is odd, though, is at the 1851 census (just 5 months later) there is no number 58 Henry Street.  The street ends with 53.  The census record continues with Henry Street East, which I cannot find on any map.
There is a 62 year old  Elizabeth Griffiths recorded at 2 Henry Street with her husband.  Perhaps it is she who nursed Caroline. Perhaps William and James moved elsewhere to be with a relative who could help nurse the infant James?


Fishing for potential siblings for William revealed another wedding of a child of Richard Brown, gas inspector.  Given my comments above about this occupation I find it hard to imagine that they are not siblings.
The wedding is

11 April 1841 Trinity Church, St Marylebone after banns
John Heath of full age, bachelor, dyer. Abode 26 Little Church St. s/o William Heath, gent
Jane Brown of full age, spinster . Abode 26 Little Church St. d/o Richard Brown, gas inspector
witnesses William Dare? (his mark) & Caroline Heath.

Fishing for siblings of Caroline Lucy Heath by reviewing Baptism records of children born to William & Mary Heath produced the following possibilities

By the 1841 census, Eliza, is married to Stoker Middlemost and they are both living with her parents (and Caroline) in Henry Street.  Their marriage can be found

23 Nov 1840 at Parish Church Paddington (St James) after banns
Stoker Middlemost full age, bachelor, tailor of Dudley St reets/o Richard Middlemost, Tailor
Eliza Heath full age spinster Hanew? Rd d/o William Heath  <occupation is unclear>
witnesses: William Brown (mark of) and Caroline Heath.

From this we have to say that there is a very high probability that

John & Jane Heath can be found in the 1851 census, but by the 1861 census Jane is a widow with a 13 year old son William Samuel Heath - which does raise the question of where was he in 1851. William's baptism record from 3 Oct 1847 at St Marylebone Christ Church confirms his parents as John Edward Heath , a dyer, and Jane Heath.  It also records his birth date as 27 Aug 1847. At the 1871 census 23 year old William S is still with his mother but he is now recorded as an imbicile.  They are living at 15 Henry Street - the same building, presumably a tenament, as William Brown.

While this co-location of William and Jane does not prove anything, it must add some weight to the prospect that they are siblings.  And suggests that Edward Heath who was living there with the Browns in 1861 might be Jane's son and thus his host's nephew rather than just a 'visitor' as the census records. Perhaps Edward was 'farmed out' because of the difficulties posed by his brother's condition.


Although I am lacking the amount of evidence for James that I would like, I am now going to presume that

If you hase reason the think that I wrong then I would like to hear from you.


Henry Street has since been renamed Allitsen Road and can be found here.

Place names are potentially confusing. Potland Town and St Marylebone are both valid addresses for Henry Street. St John's Wood is very close and the church used for William's baptism is St Stephen the Martyr, Hampstead, which was probably their nearest. In fact they may have been in the ecclesiastical parish of St Stephen the Martyr, the civil parish of St Marylebone and the sub-registation distict of St John's Wood.


As for the surname Jeacock - this remains an area of  confusion with several families having children, including two who are both Charles & Margaret Jeacock and can't have lived much more than half a mile apart. But that is another issue that I need to do more work on before I can say very much more.  I am unable to be certain as to who were the parents of Margaret Jeacock who married William Brown in 1852.  I have an embryonic discussion here.

Please be aware that if you are an Ancestry user I do not guarantee the accuracy of my Brown Family Tree .on that system  This is because I keep my prime data at home where I rate it as to the credibilty I give to any piece of evidence.  I am happy to put material on Ancestry that might be correct, but about which I am not confident. I then let Ancestry offer hints as to what else might be revealed to see if this confirms or refutes the tentative tree.  I will be happy to discuss my thoughts as to data credibility with you.

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