The Tunbridge family of Chatham

Daniel Tunbridge = Elizabeth ____

     |         other children

William Tunbridge = Elizabeth Creed

      |         other children

Angela Elizabeth Tunbridge = Samuel Hugh Jarvis

      |         other children

Louisa Jarvis = Reuben Beck

      |         other children

Reuben Alexander Beck = Ruth Elizabeth Baggs



Angela Elizabeth Tunbridge was baptised at St Mary's church, Chatham, on the 16th December 1821.1

In 1841 "Angelina" Tunbridge was living with a family named Fowle, in Brougham Place, Chatham; she may have been a servant, but no occupation is shown.2

signature of Angeler E. TunbridgeOn the 4th July 1843, as "Angeler Elizabeth" Tunbridge, she married [C2] Samuel Hugh Jarvis, after banns, in Frindsbury, Kent, where she was living; she signed her name. Their children, all born in Chatham, were: William Hugh (1844–1914), Angelina Susanna (1846–1935), Samuel George (1848–1898), Alice Matilda (1851–1853), Helen (1853–1928), [C1] Louisa (1855–1929), Charles Wallace (1858–1936), and Henrietta Maud (1867–1942).3

In 1848 her son was born at High Street, Chatham. That year she and her husband had their portraits painted. In 1850 she was living in Magpie Hall Lane, Chatham; she was present at her mother-in-law's death. She was still in Magpie Hall Lane the following year, living with her family.4

oil portrait of Angelina (Tunbridge) Jarvis

By 1855 she was living at 236 High Street, Chatham, where she still lived in 1858. But by 1861 she was living with her six children at Chatham Hill, Chatham, and working as a milk woman; she is shown as head of the household, as her husband was in Maidstone Prison for debt. In 1863 she was a witness at her sister Amelia's wedding, in Brompton. By 1871 she was living at Stevens Cottages, Chatham Hill, Chatham, with her family. By 1881 she was living at 84 Regents Place, Chatham, with her family; the household included her father, his two young children from his second marriage, and a lodger. By 1891 she had moved, with the family, to 78 New Road, St John's parish, Chatham; the household included three boarders, one named Tunbridge.5

From the 1890s must date the memories of Angelina Jarvis recorded by her granddaughter Mabel Essenhigh:

I never told you the name of this field, did I. Well, it is called the "Canny Field" and at the end of it lived my Grandma, and the house faces a long road, called the New Road, but it was new over a hundred years ago. It has four bay windows and a flight of steps running straight up to the front door. Often I would go with my brother Charlie, to fly his kite, which Father would get made before we went to bed. [. . .]
    Saturday morning—and no school. Off we would go with the new kite, up to the Canny Fields.
   [. . .]
    On our way back, we called at our Grandma's house, she was always pleased to see me, but I don't think she was pleased to see Charlie. Do you know she had a tap in her yard with a wooden water butt underneath, and as soon as Charlie saw this tap he would turn it on and hold his thumb underneath, and squirt the water all over Grandma's windows, out she would come, and pack him off as soon as she could, and tell me that she's going to tell his mother.
    Now I would often stay with my Grandma and do her shopping for her, as she was getting old. Do you know, that when I was a little girl, we had fireplaces but no ovens, so I had to take Grandma's meat pie just across the road to the first shop down the lane opposite on a Sunday morning because as he (the baker) wasn't making bread that day, he used to cook all the pies that people brought him. Everybody was very pleased to have a "baked" dinner for Sunday. I took ours over with a nice clean cloth folded over it, on a tray, and called again when it was cooked.
    [. . .]
    Once I stayed with my Grandma for a few months. When it was bed time she would give me a lighted candle to take with me to bed. I had to go up two flights of stairs, all by myself, and she would say, "When you get in bed blow the candle out". I went to a school not far away. It was a Board school where lots of other little children went.
    In our bedroom at Grandma's there's a large chest of drawers and a little lacquer chest of drawers stood on top of these. I often looked and admired them, but I never touched them, or anything else, they were so nice to me. Well, one day I came home from school and Grandma stood at the top of the steps, waiting for me. She put out her arm to help me up the steps, then she said, "You are the one that I've been waiting for". She was quite angry. "Now," she said, "Where's that ring that you took out of those drawers". I answered, "I haven't taken any ring out of the drawers". "Yes you have," she said, "I saw you looking at them, and you always said how pretty they were, and if you don't tell me where it is, I'm going to tell all the school girls you are a thief". I cried and cried, and told her that I hadn't touched or seen the ring. I suppose I was sent to bed and cried myself to sleep. I woke up early in the morning and crept out of the house and went home, and arrived before my Mother and Father were up.
    They were surprised to see me so early, and said, "What's brought you home at this time?" I told them what Grandma had said about me, so I didn't go again for a long time afterwards, by then I had forgotten all about it.
    Do you know Mother told me, a long time after this, that she and Dad went to all the shops where they sold old jewellery and the gentleman who owns the shop told Dad that a lady who lived at my Grandma's sold him the ring. I am glad I heard the end of it, it was quite by accident that I heard Mother and my eldest sister talking about it, but I knew it was meant for me to hear.7

After Samuel's death, she continued living at 78 New Road until her own death. She died there on the 12th August 1900, after 14 days bronchitis, two days dilation of the heart, and dropsy. She was buried in Chatham Old Cemetery on the 15th August.8

Angela Elizabeth Tunbridge was the eldest known child of [D2] William and [D3] Elizabeth Tunbridge.9

1 parish register. Throughout her life she appears to have understated her age: her year of birth would work out to, variously, 1822–3 [TNA: HO 107/487/5 f19 p2], Oct–Nov 1822 [marriage certificate], 1823–4 [HO 107/1611 f319 p18], 1826–7 [TNA: RG 10/911 f68 p7], 1828–9 [RG 11/894 f83 p5 and RG 12/663 f131 p1], 1825–6 [letter from Freda Lord to Sidney Beck].

2 HO 107/487/5 f19 p2

3 marriage certificate; parish register; information from Sidney Beck; census returns; Louisa's and Charles's birth certificates; letter from Freda Lord to Sidney Beck; GRO index; National Probate Calendar; Linda Rooke gedcoms, 2008 & 2009

4 son's birth certificate; mother-in-law's death certificate; HO 107/1611 f319 p18. Name in census returns "Angelina", apparently altered, perhaps from "Angeler". Angeler's portrait is dated.

5 daughter's and son's birth certificates (name given as "Angelina Elizabeth"); sister's marriage certificate; TNA: RG 9/503 f143 p5; the children are described in 1881 census returns as stepchildren of Samuel's, which can't be correct; 1881 census returns (RG 11/894 f83 p5) give name as "Angelena E."; RG 10/911 f68 p7; RG 12/663 f131 p1

6 1897–8 Kelly's Directory; death certificate

7 'Aunt May's reminiscences' , photocopy in possession of Margery O' Gorman

8 death certificate (named as "Angeler"'); letter from Freda Lord to Sidney Beck, 1971-01-14 (as 'Angelina' on headstone)

9 parish register


William Tunbridge was born around 1795, in Chatham, Kent.1

On the 17th April 1813 he was indentured as an apprentice shipwright at Chatham Dockyard. His instructor was James Tucker. Darcy Dawson, of Chatham, described as his guardian, received his pay for him for his first six months, then it was paid directly to him; in a typical quarter of his apprenticeship, the third quarter of 1814, his total pay was £3.14.7d, less £2.18.6d subsistence = 16s.1d. His mean quarterly pay during his apprenticeship was £6.9.4d; during this period he had on average less than half a day's leave and half a day off without leave per year, and half a day's sick leave. His mean weekly pay during his apprenticeship was 9s. 7½d. His apprenticeship expired on the 26th April 1820.2

He married [D3] Elizabeth Creed on the 9th March 1821, in Frindsbury, Kent, where he then lived. The couple made their home in Chatham, where they had four children: William (cal 1814 – 1855), [D1] Angela Elizabeth (1821–1900), Amelia (1823 – after 1851), and D'Arcey Daniel (cal 1824 – after 1875).3

A shipwright all his life, he worked at Chatham Dockyard till at least 1830, when records cease. His total pay for the decade 1820–9 was £713.4.3d—a mean annual pay of £71.6.5d, a mean weekly pay of £1.7.4d; during these ten years he had on average 2¼ days leave and 3 days without leave per annum, and a mean of 2 days p.a. sick—actually less than ½ a day if his 15 days' sickness in 1829 is excluded.4

In 1841 he lived at the Brook, Chatham, where the household included his younger daughter and son. In 1851 he lived in Adelaide Street, Chatham, with a daughter and two grandchildren.5

In 1859, when his first wife died, he was apparently still a shipwright at the Chatham Yard. But by 1861 he was a shipwright pensioner, living with his family in Chatham Hill, Chatham.6

In December 1870, described as a pensioner, he was the father of the daughter born (at Rainham Road, Chatham) to one Susan Holthum (1844–1876), whom he married, at Brompton parish church, on the 7th March 1871; he was described as a widower and a shipwright. Two children from his second marriage are known: Harriet (1870–1914) and William George (1874–1948). In the census that year he was recorded as a shipwright pensioner, living with his young wife Susan and their 4-month-old daughter at Beacon Hill, Chatham.7

In 1874 he was described as a dockyard pensioner, of Chatham Hill, Gillingham. His occupation is so stated in 1881, by which time—with his two young children from his second marriage—he was living with his daughter Angelina's family, at 84 Regents Place, Chatham. His pension continued until his death, on the 26th June 1889, at 78 New Road, Chatham, from decay and paralysis. Of Chatham, his body was buried at Luton, Kent, on the 30th June.8

His great-grandson Ernest Jarvis (whose father will have known William Tunbridge well), described him as ". . . the gent who lived till 97 and could do the cobbler's dance when over 90 and crack nuts with toothless jaws," adding that "He blew all the family estate."9

William Tunbridge was the (eldest known) son of [D3] Daniel Tunbridge.10



1 TNA: HO 107/487/2 f30, TNA: RG 9/482, and RG 11/894 f83 p5; TNA: ADM 42/275; baptism not found in 20 parishes around Chatham. HO 107/487/2 f30 says he was not born in Kent; death certificate suggests birth year of 1791–2.

2 ADM 42/263-83. Interestingly, on the 3rd June 1779 a Darcey Dawson married an Angeler Tunbridge at St James's church in Clerkenwell, rather suggesting that Dawson may have had kinship ties with William Tunbridge.

3 parish register; HO 107/487/2 f30; parish register of St Paul's, St Pancras, Middlesex; entry for granddaughter's marriage

4 parish register; ADM 42/263-83; children's marriage certificates

5 HO 107/487/2 f30 p14; HO 107/1611 f35 p32

6 first wife's death certificate; RG 9/482

7 GRO index; RG 10/911 f107 p28; RG 11/894 f83 p5; son's birth certificate; daughter's birth certificate (which gives the surname as "Tonbridge")

8 RG 11/894 f83 p5; death certificate; "England Deaths and Burials, 1538–1991", database, FamilySearch: 15 March 2020, William Tunbridge, 1889

9 Transcript of a letter written in 1965 by Ernest Jarvis to Charles Joseph Jarvis, now held by Corrine Noot

10 marriage certificate; though his mother may well have been [D4] Elizabeth Tunbridge born ____, this connection remains unproven.


Daniel Tunbridge married [D4] Elizabeth ____, before 1797. As well as (probably) [D2] William, their known children were: Sarah (1797 – ?) and Stephen (1803 – ?), both baptised at Chatham. At the time of his son's second marriage, in 1871, he was described as a labourer.1


1 son's 2nd marriage certificate; Chatham parish registers. Surrey Marriages records the marriage of a Daniel Tunbridge and Elizabeth Scaddock at St Mary's, Lambeth, Surrey, on the 21st May 1794; this is the likeliest identification yet found. If this is correct, it's possible that there was a further child, the Daniel Tunbridge born on the 4th September 1794 and baptised at St George the Martyr, Southwark, on the 21st December that year. Possibly, too, Daniel Tunbridge was the man who was assessed for 15s. 6d. Land Tax in respect of the property he occupied in King Street, Southwark Christ Church, in 1798 (Land Tax records; Land Tax Redemption)

Suggestions for further research

There's a fair bit of speculation in my note to [D3] Daniel Tunbridge. This can't be incorporated, though, until we locate all his key life events. Identification of his wife, and confirmation that she was the mother of [D2] William Tunbridge, would be useful.


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This page was last revised on 2023-11-03.


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