He married Ann Martin on 14th October 1829 at St Mary's Church, Lambeth. I haven't found any children from the marriage and Ann sadly died on 7th March 1833. As this was pre-1837 it isn't possible to obtain a certificate showing the cause of her death but, given that she would have been quite young, I would speculate that perhaps this could have been due to complications of childbirth.
On 25th November 1835 Francis married for the second time. This was to my 3 x great aunt Anne Bird and their marriage took place at St Matthew's in Brixton.
The Excise Service was formerly a separate body until a merger with Customs in 1909. The Excise Office was responsible for collecting duty on goods manufactured or processed in the UK. In 1840 we know from “The Excise Officer's Manual and Improved Gauger" by Joseph Bateman (still available on Amazon and in Waterstones) that someone working at the excise office would need to be able to write and be "healthy, active and free from debt, with a good knowledge of vulgar and decimal arithmetic" - whatever that was !
Officers would have been responsible for monitoring traders and obtaining the appropriate duties on malt, sugar and snuff etc. However, I guess they would have been primarily involved with collecting duty on alcohol and tobacco. As a result it can't have been the most popular of occupations and an article I found in the Manchester Mercury of January 1830 illustrates the point :
Excise officers, with the help of the police, raided an illicit whisky still and caught the perpetrator red handed. He put up such a fight to evade arrest that a mob of his neighbours attacked the excise officers and the police. "The attack upon the officers became so serious that they, in self defence, were obliged to draw their cutlasses. Their prisoner was severely wounded as were several other persons in the affray".
I can remember a few of my clients who threatened violence against a Revenue officer but never the other way round !
A thought has just occurred to me - why was Henry not called Francis ? You would have thought his wife would have wanted to not only call him after her deceased husband but it would also have been traditional to name the first born the same as his father. Perhaps Francis already had a son called Francis either during this marriage or the previous one ?
Sometimes a blog feels incomplete and I am left wondering if I really know anything about an individual. I think Francis has a much bigger story to tell and one day I will find it ...... but not today !
After posting this blog a friend of mine contacted me. She found the birth of another son. Thomas, with a baptism on 12th April 1837.
BMD registrations actually began on 1st July 1837 - just AFTER Thomas was born. His mother Anne and the son Francis never knew, Henry, were both on the 1841 census in Bobbing but there was no other child which makes it likely that baby Thomas had died soon after birth. I think I have found him in the JAS quarter of 1837 in Lambeth District - so maybe he lived a few months. I will send off for a certificate to confirm and post an update when I know more.
I have received the death certificate mentioned above and, sadly, baby Thomas died on 21st August 1937, just four and a half months old. He died of "inflamation of the brain". Strangely, although helpfully for me in order to confirm this was the right Thomas, the informant wasn't either of his parents, it was his uncle, William Bird (week 63), builder of St Anne's Road, North Brixton, which was one of the houses William Bird (week 43) built.