Great Grandma Amelia Heritage.

(1833 – 1901)

By Anthony Biles

Great grandma Amelia was born on the 30th November 1833 at Weston Underwood in Buckinghamshire. She was the daughter of John Robbins and Phoebe nee Smith and the youngest of three children, her siblings being George and Ann. Amelia’s mother died just over 5 months after her birth at the age of 28, so one can assume that she would never remember her. Her father John would have needed help following this tragedy with two young children and a baby. Events suggest that at some point he turned to a certain Ann Putman, eight years younger than himself, as the two of them moved to Leamington Spa with his young family and married there on the 14th of February 1836. Ann was obviously a poor young country girl without schooling as she could not write and she marked the marriage entry with an X. However she would become the only mother that Amelia new.

Further children arrived from this marriage over the coming years but for now we will concentrate on Amelia. It is unclear if she had any schooling as the 1841 census did not include this information and by 1851, when she was17 years old she was working as a house servant either at home, 8 Waterloo Street or locally.

At some point during the next four years, she moved to Ettington or Eatington as it was then called, to work as a Servant. It was there she met and married Henry Heritage or Henry William Hemming Heritage to give his full name. They married in the Parish Church at Ettington on the 8th September 1856 the witnesses being George Robbins, Amelia’s brother and Jane Heritage, Henry’s sister.  Henry Heritage was the son of Thomas and Anne, Thomas being the Innkeeper of the Saracen’s Head in Ettington. Both Henry and Amelia were working as Servants at the time.

Their first child, Thomas George, arrived on the 27th October 1859 and Henry in 1861 was shown as working as a Roadman

In the following years children arrived at regular intervals, Anne Elizabeth 1862, John Henry 1866, Louisa Jane 1864, (My grandmother), Harry Herbert 1868, William Charles 1870 and Mary Amelia 1873.

During this period Henry had taken over as Publican at the Saracen’s Head although his father, now a widower, still lived there. His wife Ann, Henry’s mother having died in 1858 at the age of 61.

          So, when the 1871 census was taken Amelia had her hands full with four young children at school and a 2-year-old and 4-month-old baby at home, a Public House, not to mention her brother in law Charles, an Under Gamekeeper, who was also living there. Oh, and I forgot, her father-in-law Thomas who was identified as being deaf. How did she cope with all that catering with open fires, candlelight and pony and trap transport. Not to mention christenings and eventual marriages of her children who between them produced twenty-three grandchildren.

          By 1881 the Saracen’s household had reduced somewhat although there were a few mouths still to feed. With children John, Harry and William still at home and brother in law Charles too. Unfortunately little Mary was in the Rother Street Nursing Home at Stratford when the census was taken. She did recover whatever the ailment was. Plenty going on to keep a mother busy.

          Tragedy struck later that year when Henry passed away on the 12th December at the age of 52. he was buried at the St Thomas a Becket Church in Ettington. Documents show that Amelia had a few bills to settle as the following list of debts details:-               






Geo. Bailey












Th. Biles




Flowers & Sons




Bird & Co





















          The gross value of Henry’s estate was £96-11s-0d. Today’s equivalent would be about £6,390. with a debt of £1,930.


          What Amelia did in the following years I do not know but in 1887 at the age of 53 she married again. The groom was Daniel Hammond a Carpenter and widower from Ravenstone which was where Amelia lived with her father before moving to Leamington. He was some 17 years her junior. The marriage took place at St James in Ashted, Birmingham. A road named Ettington Road runs nearby.

          Amelia then returned to Ravenstone with her new husband and with her inn-keeping experience they became Innkeepers with Daniel still doing work as a Carpenter. An earlier census indicated he was an Innkeeper and a Grazier with 20 acres of land so he was obviously a man of many talents. Harry, Amelia’s son went with her and worked alongside her husband. The household also contained Lilly a daughter of Daniel’s and a servant.

          In 1901 the couple were still running an Inn but Daniel was also shown as a Farmer. Dual tasking again. However it was later this year that Amelia passed away on the26th October leaving Daniel a widower for the second time. Her body was returned to Ettington for burial alongside her first husband Henry Heritage at St Thomas a Becket Church. The gravestone inscription was as follows:-


In Affectionate Remembrance of Henry William Hemming Heritage

Who Departed This Life December 21st 1881 Age 52 Years.

Also Amelia Died at Ravenstone. Bucks. October 26th 1901 Age 67 Years.




          This short story would not be complete without a brief summary her offspring.


Thomas George.  (859–1904) Thomas worked as a Bricklayer in Warwick before returning to Ettington to take over the running of the Saracen’s Head following the death of his father Henry. In 1887 he married Angelina Wiggins from Moreton in Marsh. They had two children Thomas H and Annie. It is recorded that Thomas suffered from health problems, eczema and rheumatism, and he took his own life in 1904 at the age of 44 by drowning in a pond at Ettington Park.


Anne Elizabeth.  (1862–1946) Before her marriage I believe that Anne worked as a Servant at Coventry for a time. She married John Wiggins, the brother of George’s wife Angelina, on the 26th October 1886 at Ettington. They set up home in Birmingham where John became a Grocer’s Traveller and had two children, John and Dorothy. For a time they lived near Northampton where John had his own Greengrocers but eventually moved back to Birmingham.


John Henry.  (1866-1934) At the age of 22, John married Eliza Fennell of Halford the daughter of Thomas Fennell a Farmer and Carrier. They lived in Ettington where John worked as a Gardener and had five children, John, William, Frederick, Harry and Ernest. Ernest died from dysentery whilst a prisoner of war during WW1.


Louisa Jane.  (1864-1944) This was my Grandma. Louisa married William Southam an Innkeeper and Blacksmith. They lived at The Chequers in Ettington and had four children. May Louisa, Harold William, Frederick and my mother Mary Amelia. William died in 1933 and after a short time Louisa gave up running The Chequers and lived with her children on a rota basis until her death. In her teens Louisa  worked away from home as a Domestic Kitchen Maid at Elmdon Hall, a large country estate, where the Alston family lived.


Harry Herbert.  (1868-1948) Following his mother’s marriage to Daniel Hammond he moved with her to Ravenstone and worked as a Carpenter alongside his stepfather. He married Elizabeth Batchelor of Napton in 1895. initially they lived in Ravenstone but finally settled in Napton on the Hill. They had six children, William Henry, Everild Edith, Dorothy Mary, Reginald Herbert, Alec Hubert and Douglas Victor. Harry died in 1948 and Bessie, as she was known, in 1950.


William Charles.  (1870-1954) At the age of 20 William had moved away fro Ettington and was living with his married sister Anne in Birmingham and was working as a Grocer’s Assistant. By 1901 he was married, had his own Wine and Spirits business and a daughter Hilda. He later had his own Grocery Shop. His wife was Florence Louisa Muirhead from London. Her father, a Piano Tuner, was born in Russia. They had two more children, Alexander William and Madge. Alexander died the year after his birth. In their retirement they lived in Wellesbourne.


Mary Amelia.  (1873-1948) Mary moved away from Ettington to work as a Housemaid for the Vicar of Sparsholt in Hampshire. It was here she met and married Herbert Goater, the son of a local Builder. They became farmers at Alresford and later had a Smallholding back at Sparsholt. They had one daughter Gladys Amelia born in 1902 who did not marry but carried on the Smallholding business.