Women of all generations have had to suffer the scars of war, Civil, European or World Wars.
For Bedfordshire women life was no different, the Lace Making industry of the 1800’s did offer a trade. The lace making industry in Bedfordshire was at its peak circa 1850 to 1890 and went into decline due to;
Women in Britain were not given the Vote until the early 1900’s. It is reported in the Bedfordshire papers in May 1909, that at a meeting organised by James Seamark for Keir Hardie “The Boo Boys” sung Rule Britannia during the meeting and smashed windows all the way to Bedford train station trying to find Hardie after discussing Labour Theories and the Right for Women to vote.
Imagine husband going off to defend his country and your are left at home looking after his off-spring, along with the rest of England wondering when the French would attack, knock on the door and you are told you are to be evicted from not only your home but back to the last village you came from – That’s what happened and Phylis and her four year old daughter, Elizabeth, sent packing. Imagine the outcry this would cause today, whilst we take Social Security as granted during the English Poor Law Settlement period you were at the mercy of the local poor fund. The basic rule was if you lived in the settlement for less than a year, no funds meant eviction to the previous settlement.
From records held in Dorset, Fordington St George: Matthew Seamark, son of Matthew and Phillis, 1 April 1814, 13th L Dragoons. The reference to '13th L Dragoons' is the 'occupation' of the father. Matthew is believed to have died 16th April 1814.
The following child was also born to a Matthew Seamark in Dorset during the same period.
SEAMARK, John Christening
Christening Date: 6 Dec 1812 Recorded in: Melcombe Regis, Dorset, England
Father: Matthew SEAMARK
Source: FHL Film 1239212 Dates: 1731 - 1815
Ann emigrated to Australia with her husband George Wright, No records have been found at the Bedfordshire or Buckinghamshire Records Office regarding the emigration.
From discussions with archivists around this time people on Poor Relief could apply for assisted passage. If assistance were applied for, a person of standing would escort individuals to Parish or County boundary. The individuals would then make their own way to a port. This system worked based on the theory that a person could not just turn up at a settlement and live especially if requiring parish relief as you would be removed back to the previous Parish of abode.
Most Bedfordian’s in the 30 something plus year range have spent a night in the Old Bedford Poorhouse, based on that the Poorhouse became a General Hospital. The Poorhouse is now North Wing Hospital [Kimbolton Rd] and is situated adjacent to the Rugby Ground [Goldington Road], in fact the Rugby Ground was leased from the Poorhouse
When Louisa entered the Bedford Poorhouse around 1870-1871 she was with her full family, based on the 1871 census.
John Seamark , 26, Labourer,
Pricilla Seamark [nee Arkitt], 31, Lacemaker
Harry Seamark, 9
James Seamark, 7
Louisa Seamark, 3
Josiah Seamark 1
Harriet Seamark 2 months, Birth Certificate confirms parents.
Life must have been awful for Louisa as by the time of the 1881 Census she was only in the Poorhouse with her brother Josiah. Harry had joined the Royal Artilery on the South Coast, James had been apprenticed even Josiah was about to be apprenticed.
From the Poorhouse records the following has been found,
For the half year ending March 1881 Louisa had spent 175 days at the PoorHouse
Movements found for Louisa:
26th Aug 1876 Sent to Fever Hospital
28th Oct 1876 Returned from Fever Hospital
7th Aug 1880 Sent to Infirmary
30th Aug 1880 Returned from Infirmary
Record ID: 307278
Comments: Aboard the S.S. "Canada" which sailed
5 August 1903; destination - London, Ontario;
note: listed on another page of entry as
Event: #i901: Women (and others) brought to Canada
by the United British Women's Emigration
Source: Transcribed from (film of) original documents held
at the National Archives of Canada [Ottawa]:
Immigration Branch, RG 76, volume 45, file 1378,
part 2, reel C-4708.
Ellen Curtis of Wootton [1859-1945], Bedfordshire married John William Seamarks [1859-1885]on the 23 September 1878. Ellen Later married Joseph Purser in 1900.
In 1881, Living with John and Ellen was their children Louisa Seamarks 3 - Born 1878 and William Seamarks 7 months - Born 1881. They also had the following children Harry, Frederick and Ellen
John's Death Registration - John William Seamarks, Male, 26 years, Bricklayer's Laborer, Phthisis Pulmonalis 3 years Certified by Wm J Mackie L.K.2.C.P.I, Ellen Seamarks Widow of deceased present a the death Stevington, Registered 23 June 1885, John Sneath Registrar. Around the same time Ellen Mary Ann Seamarks aged 0 died
After the death of John William Ellen had the following Children;
Charles Seamarks 1887, son of Charles believed to have been killed WW2 in Singapore see CWGC
Alfred George Parrott Seamarks1891, In the Navy WW1
Herbert Henry Gilbert Seamarks 1895, Died WW1
Joseph Purser Seamarks 1899,
From the 1901 Census, Ellen was living in Stevington, married to Joseph Purser Born 1862, Harrold Bedfordshire. The Marraige took place in 1900, Bedford District.
Ellen Purser died 7th July 1945 aged 86, Joseph Purser died 21ST August 1921 both buried at Felmersham Bedfordshire. Also buried at Felmersham is Albert Jospeph Purser died Dec 12 1927 son of Joseph Purser who drowned. Ellen and Joseph had the following Children.
Frederick Purser 1900
Phyliss Purser 1902
female Purser 1904
Ellen married Joseph Purser in 1900, Bedford District.