Mary Ann Andrews
Mary Ann AndrewsView full burial details
in the cemetery
Plot x195: Esther Geary Andrews died 23rd June 1892 aged 64. Mary Ann her daughter, died 8th June 1922 aged 73.
Mary Ann’s Story
The Geary-Andrews story begins at St Peter’s Church, Berkhamsted on 8th February 1780, when Daniel Andrews married Sarah Geary, by licence. The Geary family were butchers in the town and had property in both St Peter’s parish and Northchurch.
Daniel and Sarah had four children baptised at St Peter’s including Mary Ann’s grandfather, Joseph Geary Andrews, who was baptised on 20th November 1785.
Joseph Geary Andrews married Anne Clark, from Newport Pagnell, at St Peter’s Church on 21st January 1812. In the following years they had had seven children baptised at St Peter’s including Mary Ann’s mother, Esther Geary-Andrews baptised on 28th September 1828.
On the 10th March 1822 Mr Joseph Geary, brother to Sarah Geary, was buried at the Berkhamsted Baptist Church. Berkhamsted’s Baptist Church dates from at least 1640 and is amongst the oldest in the denomination. A Representative of the Church attended the General Baptist Assemblies held in London in 1654 and 1656 and by 1676 the congregation had at least 100 members. Until 1722 the Berkhamsted Baptists held their meetings on the private properties of members. In 1722, however, a site in Water Lane, Berkhamsted, was purchased and a meeting house built which, later enlarged, remained in use until 1864 when it was demolished and a new chapel built in the High Street.
Joseph’s will which was proved on 30th April 1822 would have made a significant difference to the lives of Esther’s parents. Joseph Geary’s will states the following:
I give bequeath and devise unto my nephew Joseph Geary Andrews of the Parish of Berkhampstead Saint Peter, Butcher, all my freehold Estate known by the name of the Cross in the Oak Farm with all the appurtenances thereunto belong belonging, now in the occupation of William Geary, part of which is in the Parish of Berkhampstead St Mary…six acres of land more or less, freehold late belonging to Thomas Dorrien junr Esq. also five acres of freehold Land adjoining late belonging to Thomas Dorrien senr Esq. also three acres of freehold land adjoining late belonging to John Duncombe Esq. Also eight acres of freehold Land more or less called Partridge Close all adjoining Gilhams Lane Berkhamstead, also eight acres of freehold Land more or less called Doctors Commons near to Gilham Lane, also seven acres more or less near Berkhamstead Church in the same Common adjoining the Workhouse field, also two freehold estates known by the name of Kitts end Bury, late Samuel Chappels, for his sole use and benefit on condition that he pay to his brother John Geary Andrews of Berkhamstead St Peter, Baker, the sum of eight shillings per week during his natural life.
The Geary Andrews family appears to have a number of its men-folk die as bachelors, leaving their estate to their nieces and nephews. This inheritance meant that Mary Ann’s grandfather, Joseph Geary Andrews, was now a considerable landowner in the town, being both a butcher and farmer.
In 1841 Mary Ann’s grandparents, Joseph and Ann, were living in the High Street next door to the Workhouse. Living with them were their children Noah, Thomas, Esther and Sarah. Old maps of Berkhamsted show that the Berkhamsted Union Workhouse was situated between Gilham’s Lane (called Cross Oak Road today) and Kittsbury Road, at the Gossom’s End side of the High Street. This was the area of Berkhamsted where the Geary and Geary-Andrews families held their lands.
On 28th May 1846, at the age of 18, Esther Geary-Andrews gave birth to a daughter, Ellen Geary Andrews, Mary Ann’s elder sister. She was probably born in the High Street and Esther registered her daughter’s birth on 26th June. There was no mention of any father on the birth certificate.
Less than a year later, on 3rd April 1847 Esther’s bachelor Uncle, John Geary Andrews made his will. In it he wrote “I devise and bequeath unto my nephews and nieces Daniel Geary Andrews, Thomas Geary Andrews, Mary the wife of Henry Waller, Esther Geary Andrews and Sarah Geary Andrews, all and singular my funded property in equal portions or shares, to and for their his or her own and sole property without any reservation.”
Although the Geary Andrews family had their children baptised at St Peter’s Church, they also had links to the Baptist Chapel, which seem to have remained throughout the 1800’s. Mary Ann’s Great-Uncle, Mr John Geary Andrews, was buried at Berkhamsted Baptist Chapel on 7th June 1847.
The bequests John made to his nieces and nephews came with no age restriction for receiving their inheritance. For 19-year-old Esther, with a baby to raise, this income would have been helpful allowing her to set-up her own home. Esther appears to have been an independently minded young woman, who seemed more than content to live as a single mother. Two years later, in 1849, and still unmarried Esther had another daughter, Mary Ann Geary-Andrews.
In 1851 Mary Ann was a baby living in the High Street, with her mother who was working as a dress maker, and her elder sister. Esther was able to support herself and two young daughters on her inheritance and whatever income she made dressmaking.
In June 1854 Mary Ann’s grandfather, Joseph Geary Andrews, died, and was buried at the Baptist church on 28th June 1854. Her grandfather’s will would have had a significant impact on the family’s life, as this extract shows:
I give and bequeath unto my daughter Esther Geary Andrews upon trust one fourth part of the Cross the Oak Farm with one fourth part of three thousand pounds Bank stock standing in my name with one hundred pounds out of the four hundred that my son Daniel owes me, with the cottage now let to Joseph Butterfield at the West End of Berkhampstead St Peters… and my will is that my daughter Esther’s shares shall be put out to interest for her to receive it weekly forever for her own use during her natural life and from and after her decease her share shall be equally divided between her children, share and share alike.
Mary Ann’s mother was now a lady of property with an income which would have made her family’s life considerably more comfortable.
In 1861 the family was still living in the High Street. Ellen and Mary Ann appear to have been brought up to follow in their mother’s trade, as they both stated that they were also dressmakers.
On 7th June 1862 Mary Ann’s elder sister, Ellen, had a baby gir,l Ellen Georgina Geary Andrews, born in Berkhamsted High Street. Mary Ann’s sister was only 16 at the time making Mary Ann an Auntie at the age of 13. Yet again no father was named on the birth certificate and Esther herself registered her grand-daughter on 16th July 1862. There was a reason for the late registration of baby Ellen Georgina. On 25th June 1862, just 18 days after the birth of her daughter, Ellen Geary Andrews died. Her death certificate states that Ellen died of puerperal peritonitis. This was one of the postpartum infections, which at the time might have been called “Childbed Fever”. It could be that having a baby so young, might have made Ellen more vulnerable to acquiring an infection after her daughter’s birth, or it could have just been the hygiene standards of the time.
The informant of Ellen’s death was their next-door-neighbour in the High Street, Esther Nash, wife of Joseph Nash, blacksmith. Having Esther Nash as a neighbour was probably extremely fortuitous for Esther Geary Andrews, who besides having to maintain a home and work, now had an orphaned two-week-old grand-daughter to feed. In 1862 Esther Nash had six children aged from eleven to two-year-old, and baby Ellen would have needed a wet-nurse to ensure her survival.
Mary Ann’s widowed grandmother Ann died on 3rd June 1867 and was buried at the Baptist chapel on 8th June. Mary Ann’s eldest uncle, Daniel Geary Andrews, administered his mother’s effects, as she died without a will. In the 1871 census Daniel called himself an “Owner of Cottages and Property”, and so as well as being Ann’s eldest child, being a property owner would have made him ideally placed as the administrator of his mother’s estate.
On 4th November 1869 Mary Ann Geary Andrews gave birth to her first child, Florence Mayne Geary Andrews, who was born in Berkhamsted High Street. Her birth certificate states that she was the child of Mary Ann Geary Andrews and Charles Mayne, tailor.
Charles Thomas Mayne, the son of John Mayne, tailor and draper of Berkhamsted High Street, had been baptised on 17 March 1843 at Winslow in Buckinghamshire. His father appears to have moved to Berkhamsted sometime between 1847 and 1850. On 7th April 1861 Charles Mayne was a servant living with James Lucas, tailor, at Charmdys Place in the St Ebbe’s district of Oxford, probably gaining more experience in the tailoring trade. With Esther and Mary Ann both being dressmakers and John Mayne being a draper in the High Street, it is very likely that Charles and Mary Anne’s relationship blossomed from a professional association, if Esther purchased her cloth from him.
The strange part is that although both Charles Mayne and Mary Ann Geary Andrews were single and both were living in the High Street, Berkhamsted in 1871, they never married. Their relationship appears to have spanned a number of years as Mary Ann had a second daughter, Rosetta Mayne Geary Andrews in 1872. After 1872 there is no mention of Charles Mayne in any census.
The Geary Andrews family seems to have been very close. In 1871 Esther was still living in the High Street, one house away from her widowed sister, Mary Waller. Just one household away from Mary was their brother, Thomas Geary Andrews, who stated that he was a retired farmer living at Kitts Endbury, with Mary’s son Walter Waller. Mary Ann’s other uncle, Daniel, was also in the High Street, just one house away from his eldest son James Geary-Andrews. So Mary Ann would have grown up with many cousins within walking distance.
As well as showing how close the Geary-Andrews family were the 1871 census also shows that despite being orphaned at just two-weeks old, Mary Ann’s niece, Ellen Georgina survived. This meant that in 1881 the family consisted of Esther, her daughter Mary Ann and three grand-daughters, Ellen Georgina, Florence and Rosetta.
The following year this changed as Mary Ann’s niece, Ellen married a local carpenter, Fred Pearce. Their eldest child, Maud was baptised at St Peters on 9th September 1883. She was followed by Grace in 1885, Fred Francis in 1887, Cecilia Violet in 1889, Leonard Owen in 1892 and Ellen Grace in 1894. The Pearce family did not move far, living in Cross Oak Road, on land that the Geary Andrews had probably owned 60 years earlier.
By 1891 Mary Ann’s family had moved from the High Street to Charles Street, with the census listing Mary Ann’s mother as listed as a widow Living on her own means. Mary Ann was listed as being a bonnet sewer, whilst her daughter Florence was a school teacher. . Mary’s second daughter does not appear to have been in Berkhamsted. She seems particularly difficult to trace as her name varied from Rosetta, Rosina to plain Rose and her surname seems to have switched between Andrews and Mayne.
Mary Ann’s mother Esther Geary Andrews died on 23rd June 1892 without leaving a will. After her mother’s death Mary Ann stayed living in Charles Street, taking in boarders to supplement her income. Sometime during 1902/3 Mary Ann moved from 51 Charles Street to 237 High Street. She was still a bonnet sewer in 1911, and she was still taking in lodgers.
Meanwhile both her daughters had left home. Although not in any census in 1891 Mary Ann’s youngest daughter appears in 1896 when she married Henry Ernest Smith. Henry was born in Tring but brought up in Ellesmere Road, Berkhamsted. He worked at the printing factory associated with Coopers as he gave his occupation as Lithographic Machine Minder. Despite marrying in Hendon in 1896, the couple had their daughter, Dorothy Geary Smith in Berkhamsted on 19th June 1900. It might be that Rosetta wanted to be with her mother at the time her baby was due. In 1901 they appear to have moved away and were living in Stoke Road, Willesden Green.
Mary Ann’s eldest daughter Florence Mayne Geary also moved away, but remained single to follow her career in teaching. From 1920 to 1930 Florence was living at Waterside in Chesham.
Mary Ann though a spinster with her children moved away was not complete alone. The 1910 Electoral register lists Mary Ann as a home owner/occupier. But it also tells us that she had a lodger, Arthur Henry Stacey, who had a furnished first floor room at 237 High Street, that is Mary Ann’s house. Arthur appears to have been a long-term lodger. In 1914 and 1915 he had moved to a second floor furnished bedroom.
Mary Ann Geary Andrews died on 8th June 1922. One can only assume that Arthur would have been with her as he stayed at 237 High Street after her death, when the property passed to her daughter Florence.
237 High Street Berkhamsted was the family home from 1902/3, when Mary Ann first moved in, to at least 1939, when its occupants were her daughter, the retired Florence Mayne Geary-Andrews, the faithful lodger Arthur Stacey and Mary Ann’s grand-daughter, Dorothy Geary Smith, a spinster still at the age of 39.