Fanny TomlinView full burial details
in the cemetery
Fanny Tomlin – died 1937, aged 76 years
Fanny Tomlin was born Fanny Beddall in Northchurch, Hertfordshire 1862. She was the fourth of nine children born to Daniel Beddall and his wife Lydia, nee Gates.
Daniel and Lydia had married in 1855 at Aldbury in Herts., where they both lived. By the time of the 1861 Census however, they had moved to Northchurch and were living in Bell Lane with their three children – James (5), Jesse (3) and Martha (1) Daniel, aged 36, is working as an agricultural labourer and Lydia, aged 23 is working at home as a straw plaiter. This was a common occupation at the time, as it could be carried out at home by women, children and old folk – it involved cutting and working straw into plaits which were then made into hats and baskets etc. – it wasn’t very well paid and could be hard on the fingers! Also living with the family were Daniel’s widowed mother, Ann (61) – another straw plaiter – and his brother George (24), so it was already a busy household.
After Fanny’s birth in 1862 three more children followed, William in 1865, Susan in 1868 and baby John in 1871. When the Census was taken that year the family had moved (without Ann and George) to Back Lane, Berkhamsted in the quaintly-named district of The Wilderness. James and Jesse were aged 15 and 13 both labourers like their father and now aged 15 and 13. Martha (11), Fanny (8), William (6) and even 3 year-old Susan were all listed as Straw Plaiters. Baby John was just 3 months old.
By the time of 1881 Census Daniel is now 60 and Lydia 44 and the family are still in Back Lane. Fanny – aged 18 years – is now the eldest child still at home. She and Susan, now 13, are listed as plaiters, but 10 year-old John and 5 year-old Hannah are now attending the local school. The newest addition to the family, baby Samuel is just one year old.
In early 1882 Fanny marries 20 year-old Charles Tomlin from Great Missenden, Bucks., and by 1891 they are living in Bridge Street, Berkhamsted with a two year-old daughter Mary Lydia.
For some reason, in an age in which infant death and child mortality rates were often usually above today’s averages anyway, Fanny and Charles seemed at first to be very unlucky with their children and several of them appear to have died early. There is trace of three little boys, Thomas , Herbert and Edward – all born before Mary’s birth in 1889 – who died in infancy. Also a daughter, Bessie ( born after Mary in 1890) who died the following year before the Census was taken. (In the 1911 Census, where extra information was gathered for the first time Fanny herself bravely fills in that she has had nine children of whom six have died and three are still living!)
At the 1901 Census Fanny and Charles are living at 12 Victoria Road, Berkhamsted. Charles, now aged 38, is listed as a ‘Chemical Labourer’. Fanny is 38, her daughter Mary is 12 and they have a son William who is 7 years old. Staying with them is their sister-in-law, a Bessie Beddall (born in Cornwall) and her four young sons – Stanley (6), Sidney (5), Gordon (3) and Leslie (1). It would seem that one of Fanny’s brothers (Bessie’s husband) was maybe in the Army, as the boys’ birth places are as varied as Aldershot, Lichfield and Ireland!
By the 1911 Census, Fanny and Charles are still at 12 Victoria Road, and Charles (50) is still listed as a Chemical Labourer. Fanny is now 49, Mary (22) is working as a Leather Factory hand and her 17 year-old brother William is a Machine Labourer. They have a lovely late-life bonus in the form of their 9 year-old daughter Elsie Alexandra, born in 1902 and named in honour of Edward VII’s queen.
Fanny’s three surviving children all married in Berkhamsted – Mary in 1912 to James Holloway, William in 1919 to Hilda Smith and Elsie in 1922 to Henry Dell.
Charles, Fanny’s husband of 44 years, died in 1926, aged 66. Fanny passed away in 1937, aged 76, after a long and eventful life. She joined her husband in Rectory Lane Cemetery, where they rest together.