Charles Budd was born in Petersfield, Hampshire, in 1802. He became a blacksmith and when he was 25, he married Sarah Frances Gard. Sarah was the daughter of John Gard, a timber merchant and his wife, Anne Tregust and was brought up in Chalton, Hampshire. She was baptised in Chalton church on Sunday the 18th December 1796, so six years older than Charles.
Their first son was baptised the following April, so we can assume he was conceived before they were married. William Henry was baptised on Sunday the 8th of April 1827 at Chalton Church. On Sunday the 11 May 1828, his sister, Anne Gard Budd, was baptised at the same place and his brother, John, in February 1830. Sadly, in 1831, William Henry died and was buried in Charlton churchyard on Saturday, 14th May. On Sunday 22nd May 1831, a daughter, Lavinia, was baptised. Which leaves hope that things are going better for the family again.
On Sunday, 3rd February 1833, they christened a little boy Henry. A relatively ordinary thing to do, but it turned out to be an ill omen, because on Saturday the 9th of February 1833, his mother was buried. The second little Henry survived but a few months and was laid to rest on Sunday the 21st of April.
Charles was left with his three surviving children aged between 2 and 5 years old. Blacksmithing is not a job that goes well with child rearing and the children could certainly not have been taken to work. It seems likely that he sought help and brought in someone to look after them. It seems probable that that person was Ellen O’Brien.
Certainly, on Sunday, 6th September 1835, two little girls were baptised at Buriton church, the children of Charles and Ellen O’Brien. Ellen was the daughter of John O’Brien, a coachman and his wife, Phillis Silverlock, of Westbourne in Sussex. They called their daughters Eliza Jane and Emma Frances. Had the family moved? Or was it simply a different church? The address of Gravel Hill is given as the family home.
Gravel Hill’s inn is described in several places including The Portsmouth Road and Its Tributaries To-Day and in Days of Old By Charles G. Harper because it is often suggested that it is the public house described in Dicken’s Nicholas Nickleby. Old maps have another pub called the “Coach and Horses” which could equally well be the one mentioned. But it does seem that the only dwelling on Gravel Hill was directly across the road from the Bottom Inn. A lonely and barren place to grow up in the 1830s, but on a road widely described as being atrocious and frequented by highwaymen, a blacksmith’s shop would have been a welcome sight.
Eliza and Emma would appear to have been twins, rather than two daughters christened at the same time. By the 1841 census, their ages are both given as 5.Twins were not the most discreet thing to have out of wedlock in the mid 19th century.
Charles and Ellen do marry, on Wednesday the 20th of April, 1836, almost ten years after his first marriage to Sarah. They married in St Mary’s Church, Portsea.
Their next daughter, called Ellen O’Brien Budd after her mother, was baptised on March 5 1837.
On 26th May 1839, Charles and Ellen baptised a son and called him Harry Fielder Budd. Harry being a pet form of Henry, this was perhaps third time lucky. It certainly shows a persistence to have a son of that name, so it is likely to have been a family one. He is baptised in Petersfield, as is his sister, Matilda Sarah, on 25th April 1841.
The family’s address is next found in the 1841 census, where their address is given as “Mint” in Petersfield. It is clear that they moved some time between Ellen’s birth in 1837 and Harry’s in 1839. They may well have found there was less work at Gravel Hill. During the mid 1830s the road was being straightened and improved between London and Portsmouth, especially at that section, where bends were removed. This must have meant a great deal of works traffic, as well as the usual carts, carriages and horses that might have needed the attention of a smith.However, in Petersfield, there was probably always work for a shoe-ing smith. The Mint would appear to have been directly across from where the railway station is now.The Mint may have originally produced coinage by way of base metal tokens used to fill a shortage of coins of the realm, as was the case in many towns. The building would then have already held a forge.
Ann, John and Lavinia, from Charles’s first marriage, are still at home and the census shows the twins, Harry as Henry and Matilda aged one month. In 1844, a son was born in Petersfield and called Fielder O’Brien Budd. That is the last mention of the family in Petersfield for three decades.
Ann was 14 in 1842, John in 1844, Lavinia in 1846. 1841 is the last census in which we find them living at home.At some point between 1841 and 1848, Charles and Ellen moved to Portsea. Ann ended up in Bristol, worked as a nurse and met her future husband Joseph Griffin. John stayed in the Hampshire area, became a labourer and married the daughter of another blacksmith, Maria Court.
The family are living in the heart of Portsea, in what can only be called slum conditions.
“Portsmouth and Portsea in the 19th century were places of mixed reputation and of varying social status. Officers and common sailors, gentlemen and petty thieves, respectable wives and fallen women: all were to be found in both towns. Portsmouth had its famous High Street, considered by some to be one of the best outside London, and nearby Point had brothels and beerhouses galore. These two aspects of the towns coexisted uneasily, with friction created by events like the annual Free Mart Fair. The fortifications of the two towns meant that buildings were crammed in, creating a geography of narrow streets, squalid dwellings and filth ridden allies behind the genteel main streets.”
“It is unsurprising, given the squalid living conditions and short lives faced by many of their inhabitants, that crime was a regular part of everyday life in Portsmouth and Portsea. An undermanned and underpaid police force that was regularly assaulted and was susceptible to drunkenness and bribery did not help matters very much. Drunk sailors, unemployed labourers, loose women and vagrant children all contributed to the situation in differing ways.”
“Much of the entertainment available in Portsmouth and Portsea centred around alcohol. The introduction of the Beerhouse Act of 1830 meant that almost any building could be used as a venue for selling drink. The new Beerhouses were in direct competition with the more well regarded public houses such as The George Inn and less savoury establishments in Point and Portsea. Drunkenness was a cause of much violence and crime as one would expect, but was habitual for many of the two towns’ inhabitants. It was usual for children to imitate their parents and begin drinking at an early age.”
“Portsmouth and Portsea had long been a breeding ground for all manner of diseases, with cramped streets, poor living conditions and bad diet being responsible for much of this. There was no refuse collection as such, so rubbish was left lying in the streets. Drainage, if it existed at all, was inadequate. People – particularly poor people – lived surrounded by dirt and filth, The habit of keeping pigs, which would run loose and spread further muck, did not help at all. Illnesses such as smallpox and typhoid fever struck the people, but it was the epidemic of cholera that bloomed in the summer of 1849 that finally caused attention to focus on the state of the towns.
The cholera epidemic of 1849 resulted in a sizeable death toll – it is difficult to be certain, but some estimate that at least a thousand people died. Cholera began with giddiness and ringing in the ears. Next, there was a prickling of the arms, followed by a cold clammy sweat. Sickness and diarrhoea and difficult breathing led on to blackening of fingernails and the body generally shrivelling up. Finally there was a coma and death. Corpses of the victims were said to look more like monkeys than humans, so distorted were their features. The epidemic led to some attention being paid to public health – Dr Rawlinson compiled a report on the state of the towns that contained many first hand accounts from doctors”
“Many of the doctors were scathing of the conditions that people had to live in. Dr Engledue described the island of Portsea as “one huge cesspool… 160000 cesspools daily permitting 30000 gallons of urine to penetrate the soil.” Dr Martin described Point as “deficient in every requisite to health, comfort, and cleanliness.” It was obvious that these conditions were implicated in the cholera epidemic, even if the doctors could not understand how this was so”
We know that the Budd family were in Portsea by 1848, because their daughter Emma got herself in trouble with the law.
Numerous stories about children stealing turnips for food abound. Where the Budds starving, or was Emma just naughty? A day’s imprisonment is a typically harsh Victorian sentence for an eleven year old girl.
It was into these foul conditions that the next child, Agnes Phillis Silverlock Budd, was born in the summer of 1850. (Phillis Silverlock had been Ellen’s mother) It is interesting to note that the three eldest girls still at home, are working as “staymakers”. In a sea port the marine ivory most usually used for making corset stays would have been readily accessible. There is no mention of the younger children being “scholars” as is usually the case in census entries. From Ann’s wedding certificate we can see that she could not sign her name, it only has her mark. Perhaps they didn’t school their children.
Lavinia is not in the census with her family. But she is not far away, living as a servant with blacksmith Thomas Gable and his wife Eliza and their four children. Eliza was Ellen O’Brien’s sister and only fifteen years Lavinia’s senior. In 1854, Lavinia married Joseph Hicks in Portsea and they went on to have seven children together, before Joseph’s untimely death in 1871.
Poor little Agnes did not live long past the census. In the Autumn of 1851 she died. The last child of the family was born in Portsea, the Autumn of 1852 and they called him Frederick.
Between 1852 and the next census of 1861, we have little news of the family.In 1852 and1853, Emma turns up again. First she is assaulted by a man called George Ross.
Then she is sent to jail for 14 days “for misdemeanors”.
The census of 1861 shows they have moved yet again.Was this an attempt to remove Emma from her troublesome ways?
This time they are living in the St Pancras area of London and have Fielder, Frederick, Matilda and Emma living with them, Emma has a 4 day old daughter, called Ellen Port. Emma is using the name “Port” and claims to be married. However, I can find no trace of an Emma Budd marrying anyone with a name anything similar to “Port”. However, on 28th September 1853, an Emma Budd marries a William Neat in St Pancras. Had Emma married and left him or been deserted? Perhaps she was married to someone else and using a new partner’s name? These are questions which have so far gone unanswered. However, there is no sign of a partner in the census listing.
The Budds appear to be living in only part of the address at 6 Wilson Place. A John Smith is listed beside the address and his occupation given as “horsekeeper”. The occupations at this address tell a story in themselves- horsekeeper, blacksmith, cab driver, coachman. It would appear that 6 Wilson Place was some sort of stabling or livery yard and Charles was working for John Smith.
Some time between 1861 and 1871 Ellen died. She is commonly recorded as having died in 1866, but the Ellen who died then was recorded as being “Ellen O’Brien Budd” so surely the daughter, born in 1837? Only the death certificate can confirm or deny this and that I do not have.
Certainly things are going wrong for Charles by then. In 1871 he is living alone with Emma, now Budd again and her two children, Emma Naomi Port and Frederick Port who was born in 1866. They also have a young lodger, Frances Pain. There is still no sign of a Mr Port.
Vine Street was a busy place. A rail depot and prone to flooding, it is now smothered by St Pancras International.
Things did not improve for Charles. On 21st January 1873, he was admitted to the City Road workhouse, which was housed in the old French Hospital and catered for the elderly and infirm. Where were all his children? Scattered all over the place is the simple answer. Not being able to read and write makes me wonder how many of them he was still in touch with. On 8th April 1873 he was discharged from the London workhouse, but having nowhere to go, was sent back to the parish in which he was born. He died in the Petersfield workhouse on 20th October 1875, aged 74. His grave is in Buriton churchyard.
Charles Budd- Petersfield 1802- Petersfield 1875.
Married 1) Sarah Frances Gard born Charlton 1796- died Charlton 1833
Children of Charles and Sarah (the children state their birthplace as “Finchdean”, referring to the Finchdean Hundred, on later census reports)
William Henry, Finchdean 1827-1831
John, Finchdean 1830- Hampshire bf 1871 married Maria Court
Lavinia, Finchdean 1832- ? married Joseph Hicks
Henry- Finchdean 1833- 1833
Married 2) Ellen O’Brien born Westbourne 1815, died London around 1866.
Because of the tendency to repeat names within the Budd families, I have not been able to trace the deaths of many of the children of the second marriage. If you have further information, I would love to hear it. My email is on the homepage or leave a comment below.
Emma Frances, Buriton 1835-?
Eliza Jane, Buriton 1835-?
Ellen O’Brien, Buriton 1837-?
Harry Fielder, Petersfield 1840- Ropley 1882
Matilda Sarah, Petersfield 1841-?
Fielder O’Brien, Petersfield 1844- Lambeth 1917
Agnes Phillis Silverlock, Portsea 1850- Portsea 1851
Frederick, Portsea 1852- ?
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