John Wild was born in about 1791 in the village of Brampton in Derbyshire. I haven't confirmed either of his parents yet but I believe they must have come down to London during John's childhood. At around the same time the parents of Hannah Townsend (Hannah 1) probably made a similar journey from their home in Whitkirk, Yorkshire. On Guy Fawkes day in 1820 the couple married in the parish of St James of Westminster.
- William (1821) - he married Anne, widow of John Dayton in 1854
- John (1823) - he married Sarah Buckland in 1839
- Elizabeth (1825) - she married John's brother, Charles Dayton, in 1844
- Hannah (2) (1829) - she married another brother, William Dayton, in 1848
- Katherine (my 2 x great grandmother) (1833)
- Eliza (1838)
It is surprising that they had so many children as John was a servant to the upper classes and because of his work it was necessary, through most of his working life, to live in separate accommodation to that of his wife and children.
In 1838, when his daughter Eliza was born, John could be found in what is now known as ' Billionaires' Square' at 41 Belgrave Square, and his wife and family were in servants' quarters in nearby Gregory Street.
Three years later in 1841, Hannah (1) and some of her children were living at Little Cadogan Place in Chelsea which is now Cadogan Lane. The street contained mews type houses and at the time were used as servant housing. Charles Dickens wrote "Cadogan Place is the one slight bond that joins two great extremes; it is the connecting link between the aristocratic pavements of Belgrave Square, and the barbarism of Chelsea". Presumably John was working nearby but, so far, I haven't found where.
Now, I know the upper classes needed staff and provided regular employment to those who might not otherwise have found jobs but to have these 15 people looking after just the Dowager and her son seems rather excessive :
- Lady's maid
- Laundry maid
- Housemaid (x2)
- Kitchen maid
- Still room maid
- Under butler
However this was to change by the time of the 1861 census when John, still working somewhere as a "servant", was actually now living in the same house as his wife - possibly the first time this had happened during their marriage. The downside was that it was almost certainly rented and was at 12 Lonsdale Cottages - a road which would be renamed in 1912 as Westbourne Grove and become part of the London slums of the 1950s. On a positive note, they were now living next door to their oldest son, William, who, like a lot of the Wild children, had married children whose father, John Dayton, was also in service - as a coachman.
It was three years later in July 1866 that John's unmarried daughter, Katherine, gave birth to my great grandmother, Hannah (2). In week 31 of my blog I explored who the father might have been and given their surroundings and probable lifestyle I am more convinced now than ever that it wasn't David, who was on the birth certificate, or John from her marriage certificate. Whether we will ever discover the father's identity probably now depends on finding a DNA match with someone to whom we can connect her.
To conclude, John's widow, Hannah (1) died on 7th March 1868 aged 77 of 'old age'. Nearly 150 years later I hope we wouldn't consider 77 to be that old - maybe "slightly older than middle age" ?