Elizabeth Butt of Christchurch

Elizabeth Butt was born on 27 July 1846 in Christchurch, Dorset.

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Sundial Cottage, Christchurch (not where she lived, but very pretty, and for sale!)

She was the daughter of William Thomas Butt and Fanny Briant. We know that her mother died when she was just a baby. At the age of four, she was living with her grandmother Elizabeth (her father’s mother), in Mill Lane, Christchurch.

I’m not sure where she was in 1861, but by 1868 she had moved to Parkstone, Dorset. She married a shoemaker, Joseph Samuel Allen, in Canford Magna, Dorset, on 6 April 1868. This village is also known as Great Canford, and is on the River Stour.

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The 1871 census shows them living in Back Lane, Parkstone, with the first two of their ten children: Elizabeth Frances Mary (2) and William Joseph (1).

In 1881 they are at 4 Laurel Cottages in Sloop Lane. Elizabeth was listed as “boot maker’s wife” which was then crossed out (they were only supposed to list women by their own occupation, not their husband’s). By now, four more children had been born: Susan Emma (7); Ida (5), Reginald Woodford (4) and Emma Letta (1).

By the time of the 1891 census, Elizabeth was 44. Several of the chidren were now working (William as a gardener, Susan as a draper’s assistant, Ida as a domestic servant, and Reginald as a carpenter’s apprentice). The four youngest were Mary Maud, Floris, Margaret and seven-month-old Evelyn. They had moved to 4 Lilac Cottage in North Road.

They were still at this address in 1901, now with six children still at home, and also Ida’s newborn baby Ewart. Joseph and two of his sons were now working as gardeners.

Elizabeth lived until the age of 95, so we have a record of her in the 1939 Register, with her daughter Margaret, a dressmaker.

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Ari, this is how you are related to Elizabeth:

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William Thomas Butt

Another of Ari’s 5x great-grandfathers was William Thomas Butt, son of Asher Butt and Elizabeth Thomas.

William was born on 5 August 1815 in Christchurch, Dorset.

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Christchurch castle

I can’t find William in the 1841 census, but he wasn’t living with either of his parents. In 1844 he married Fanny Briant. He gave his profession as ‘valet’.

In the 1851 census, after Fanny’s death, he can be seen living at an unnamed hotel in Castle Street, Christchurch, and working as an ostler. (At the time of her death in 1847, he was described as an innkeeper.)

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The Kings Arms Hotel in Castle Street

It doesn’t look as though he remarried. In 1861, he was working as a stableman and living at Holdenhurst, just north of Christchurch.

He died the following year, aged just 45 (the cause was consumption). An announcement appeared in the Christchurch Times on 19 April 1862, presumably placed by his daughter Elizabeth:

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Millhams Street is just next to Ducking Stool Lane in Christchurch, where this 1986 replica can be seen:

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Ari, this is how you are related to William:

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Fanny Briant of Corfe Mullen

Ari’s 5x great-grandmother Fanny Briant was born in 1816 in Corfe Mullen, Dorset.

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I don’t know who her parents were (no baptism record has been found, and the space for father’s name on her marriage certificate is blank). The 1816 baptism records for Corfe Mullen seem to be missing, and there are no other Briant or Bryant baptisms in neighbouring years.

I have not been able to find her in the 1841 census.

Fanny married William Thomas Butt on 10 September 1844 at St Hubert’s church in Corfe Mullen.

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Their daughter Elizabeth was born on 29 July 1846. Sadly, Fanny died just over a year later, on 26 October 1847, in Christchurch, at the age of 31. Her death certificate gives the cause as intussusception. This happens when a part of the intestine folds into the section next to it. She was suffering for three days before she died. No burial has been found.

Baby Elizabeth went to live with her paternal grandmother.

Ari, this is how you are related to Fanny Briant:

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Asher Butt of Christchurch

Ari’s 5x great-grandfather Asher Butt lived in Christchurch, Hampshire (now Dorset).

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View from the castle

Christchurch was originally called Twyneham, and this story from the National Gazetteer of 1868 explains how it got its new name:

“This circumstance is accounted for by the monkish legend which relates the history of the building of the church. In order to expedite so good a work, Heaven aided the bishop with supernatural assistance, a supernumerary workman being always observed during the hours of labour, though at the times of refreshment and receiving wages only the stated number appeared. By his aid everything prospered till the fabric was nearly finished, when on raising a large beam to a particular situation where it was intended to be fixed, it was found to be too short. No remedy appearing, the embarrassed workmen retired to their dwellings. On returning to the church the ensuing morning, they discovered that the beam had been placed in its right position, and was now extended a foot longer than was requisite. Speechless with surprise, the additional workman recurred to their thoughts, and on recovering their tongues, they agreed that no other than our Saviour could have thus assisted them; and on this account, concludes the story, was the edifice dedicated to Christ.” The miraculous beam is still pointed out by the finger of credulity, though but a small portion of the original structure remains, the greater part of the present edifice having been rebuilt in the 15th century.”

Asher was born in 1785 and baptised on 26 June. His father was also called Asher, but his mother’s name is not known for certain, although there was a marriage in 1778 between Asher Butt and Anne Drodge.

On 20 Oct 1808 Asher married Elizabeth Thomas in Christchurch. Seven children were born and baptised in Christchurch between 1809 and 1825: Charlotte, Hannah, Sarah, William Thomas, Emma, Mary and George. The 1841 census shows Asher staying at the King’s Arms Hotel, Bridge St, aged 50, a Post Boy. (Asher’s wife and two of their children are at an address in Bargates.)

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Asher appears on the marriage certificate for his son William on 10 Sept 1844, described as a postman, and also on the marriage record for his daughter Hannah in 1849 (after his death), where he is described as a servant.

He made the newspapers twice, once in 1839 because of an accident:

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Salisbury and Winchester Journal 18 November 1839

And then in 1841 when he was sent to Dorchester Gaol for a month:

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Dorset County Chronicle 28 January 1841

The Prison Admission and Discharge Registers, 1782-1901 are available to browse on Ancestry.co.uk, and also some prisoner photographs for later years. I wasn’t able to find him in the registers.

Asher died on 2 October 1844 at Christchurch, with the cause of death given as facial cancer. His wife Elizabeth was present at the death.

Ari, this shows how you are related to Asher:

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