I have always been intrigued by the story of my great grandmother. My grandfather, I knew, had been coachman at Bockleton vicarage in Worcestershire, and his wife, Jane came from Yalding, Kent. Until recently we had no idea how the family came to be in these places after years at Chale, Isle of Wight.
For many years the only relics of my great grandmother Jane I knew of were, surprisingly for a family in service, paintings. My grandparents had a good oil portrait of her with a baby, either my grandfather or his elder brother William. My grandmother believed this to have been painted by "Miss Baines."
We had a watercolour which seemed to show Jane as a fishergirl.
Another picture which I first knew when it belonged to my aunt, seems to be a portrait of Jane as a young girl, perhaps painted by a younger Miss Baines:
I have very recently been sent a copy of another portrait, which shows a very elegant Jane. This has come down through the descendants of her eldest son, William. This picture has a monogram of "RB" in the bottom left hand corner.
Why should there be portraits of Jane? Why had the family had conflicting ideas of whether she was born Jane Haisman or Jane Prebble?
Even now I have never seen a photograph of her.
A copy of the marriage certificate proved that David Baker (born in Chale in 1852) had married Jane in 1874 in Yalding Kent. David was groom/coachman at Kenward house and Jane is down as simply a servant. The vicar's name was Edward Baines, so I guessed that Miss Baines, the artist had been his daughter. Could Jane have been a maid at the vicarage and been used as a model? Jane's brother signed the marriage certificate as "William Prebble Haisman." Originally I thought this must be he father, but he had died sometime between the 1861 and 1871 censuses.
The Haismans (sometimes spelled Haseman and probably, earlier on, Cheeseman) were an extensive family in Yalding and the surrounding villages. They were mainly agricultural labourers. It is a fruit and hop growing area, though in the late 19th century Yalding became a popular resort for river trips on the Medway. The author E Nesbit was a regular visitor and describes the river at Yalding in her novel "The House with no Address".
Jane Haisman was christened on 2nd May 1852. (Her name is spelled Haseman on the birth index).
In the 1861census Jane's mother, born (c1817) and father William (b1816) daughter Jane (b1852) and 7 other children are living in Yalding village - 5 doors from the Old Swan Inn, but it isn't possible to say exactly where.
Yalding in 1910. The tall building is the Old Swan Inn. The Haismans must have lived in a nearby cottage.
Yalding, September 2009
In 1871 Jane isn't listed at Yalding but she is almost certainly "Jane Prebble" listed as a servant aged 21 (actually only 19) working at 135 Elveston Place Kensington, the home of a James G Murdock. a banker.
In 1871 Jane's mother is listed as Jane Haseman, now a widow, as agricultiral labourer, living with son Robert and daughter Alice at the cottage listed next to Kenward house, perhaps an outhouse. David Baker, my great grandfather is listed as groom at Kenward House on the same page of the census. Perhaps Jane met David when she returned home from London. It seems likely that the William Prebble (b1844) living at Boxley, Kent (coachman) with his wife Caroline' family and son William is her brother who signed himself William Prebble Haisman as witness on Jane's marraige certificate.
In 1881 her mother Jane (b1818) is calling herself Jane Prebble and living at King's Cottages, Yalding with her son Robert, a gardener. Interestingly I have heard from a descendent of Robert that there is a family tradition that he married his well off employer who was disinherited by her family - though there is no evidence to support this.
Rev Edward Baines, vicar of Yalding, was born August 1st 1801 at Caynham, near Ludlow.
Adm. pens. (age 19) at CHRIST'S, Oct. 2, 1819. S. of James Johnson, late V. of Cainham, Salop [see also note sub Baines, James Johnson (1797)], and grandson of Thomas (1764). B. Aug. 1, 1801, at Ludlow. School, Shrewsbury. ' Matric. Michs. 1820; Scholar; Bell Scholar, 1821; Browne Medallist, 1821; B.A. (4th Classic) 1824; M.A. 1827. Fellow, 1825-41. Held various College Offices. Senior Proctor, 1837-8. A member of â€˜The Apostles', together with F. Maurice, John Sterling, etc. Classical Lecturer in the College. Examiner in the Classical Tripos, 1829. Travelled in Germany, Italy and Sicily. Ord. deacon (Hereford) 1825; priest (Bristol) Dec. 25, 1826. Assistant Master at Shrewsbury School, 1825-8. C. of Shudy Camps, Cambs., 1829. Mildmay Preacher, 1833-5. V. of St Peter with St Giles', Cambridge, 1837-40. R. of Clipston, Northants., 1840-3. V. of Bluntisham, Hunts., 1841-59. V. of Yalding, Kent, 1859-82. Married his cousin, Catherine Eulalia Baines, 1840. Liberal in politics; preached the funeral sermon on John Stallan, a labourer of Gt Shelford, who was executed for arson at Cambridge, Dec. 7, 1833. Author, Sermons. Died Apr. 20, 1882, at San Remo. Buried at Yalding. M.I. Brother of George B. (1834) and father of Jervoise A. (1866). (Peile, II. 395.)
Three daughters - one killed in a steam boat accident
Their son was Jervoise Athelstane Baines. The Bodleian library has an archive of material relating to Jervoise Athelstane Baines and his family including several photograph albums. One of these, dated 1874, includes photographs of his family at Yalding and of paintings by his mother, Catherine Eularia Baines.
One of Mrs Baines' pictures photographed by Jervoise, is of a peasant girl from Northern France, one of a series, which is an oil version of the "fisher girl" portrait of Jane Haisman. This supports the theory that this picture is br Mrs Baines and the others by Rose.
From the introduction on the Boldleian Library webpage:
Jervoise Athelstane Baines (1847-1925) joined the Indian Civil Service in 1870 and served for 25 years. He was an assistant collector, an educational inspector, the census commissioner, 1889-93, and Secretary to the Royal Commission on Opium, 1894-5. He married Constance Pyne in 1874 and they had two children, Sylvia and Cuthbert. In 1901, his daughter, Sylvia, married Philip Edward Percival (1872-1939), who was in the Bombay establishment of the Indian Civil Service. Percival served for 35 years in the Bombay presidency, chiefly in the Judicial Department.
Rose Baines was born in c1855 so she was two or three years younger than Jane. One of Jervoise Baines' photographs shows her painting. If the photographs are the same date as the date on the album, 1874, she would have been 19.
What was the relationship of Jane and the Baines family? The portraits seem to cover several years, from Jane a young girl to Jane with a baby, which has to date from 1876 or later, by which time the Bakers were living at Bockleton, Worcestershire. There is no evidence in the censuses that she was employed at the vicarage as in 1871 she was working in Kensington - presumably. But she was back in Yalding by 1874. Was she working at the vicarage then or at Kenward House, where David Baker was coachman?
There is a photograph in the abum titled "Roses" which shows four girls at a rose tree. One stands on step ladder handing a cut rose to a girl with her back to the camera. Two other girls are seated. If Jane was a lady's maid, and perhaps a regular companion of Rose, could one of these girls be Jane? There were only two Baines sisters, Lucy and Rose. Margaret Baines, the third sister, had been killed, with her German governess, in a steam boat collision in the channel in 1864. The girl facing forward is probably Lucy. Could it be Jane on the ladder - or is it Rose? It's a vague possibility. She looks more like Jane than Rose in her photograph at the easel.
Of course the others could simply be friends, but lady's maids at the time did tend to dress more like family than servants and were treated quite differently from the downstairs staff.
The family tradition is that Edward Baines found Jane and David Baker work with Rev Richard Mence at Bockleton after their marriage. Both were wealthy clergymen. Edward Baines had been born in Caynham, only a few miles from Bockleton, and also, by chance, the place where my grandfather had his first job at the hunt stables.
Jane and David's first son William was born at Bockleton in 1876.
Where did Rose paint the oil portarit of Jane with the baby? The background has a cottagey look. Rose may have visited Bockleton in 1876 or later (if the baby is David rather than William) or Jane might have visited Yalding after her marriage.
The Bakers certainly visited the south east on holiday as there is a photograph of their sons William and David taken around 1880 in Brighton. It seems surprising that a coachman from Worcestershire would be holidaying in Brighton in 1880.
The pastel portrait is difficult to date. The hairstyle makes Jane look older and sophisticated but the style of the collar is very like the costumes in the "Roses" photograph so it is probably also from the early 1870s.
Perhaps other evidence will come to light. It certainly seems that Jane had an unusually close relationship with the Baines family, and Rose in particular, especially considering that she came from a large family of agricultural labourers. The Baker family's future depended very much on the support of the Baimes's and the recommendation, if that's what it was, to Richard Mence in Bockleton.
Rose Bains never married. In later censuses she is living in Hastings with her sister Lucy, now Mrs Gervas Eyre, and in 1901 she is living (as a visitor) in lodgings in Ladbroke Grove. Both sisters are living on "independent means."
Richard Mence is missing from the Church of England Clergy database.
He was born in Highgate c1818.
Bristol Museum has two letters from Coleridge given by Richard Mence "whose father was a friemd of Coleridge". The Mences were a family of clergymen, including Benjamin Mence, a noted counter tenor who sang for Handel and who was at one time at Lichfield Cathedral.
In 1861 Richard Mence was vicar of Little Weldon, Peterborough. He may have moved to Bockleton when his father died in 1864, leaving him property in Worcestershire, including the Commandery in Worcester.
In 1871 he was living at Bockleton vicarage with his sister Emma, Samuel Gore (groom), Mary Ann Hughes (lady's maid), Ann Vickerstaff (cook - born c1834 in Colwich, Staffs - and in 1851 living at Lichfield Lodge, Shugborough. Previously she had worked at the Ashbourne Hotel, Sudbury and in In 1881 she was working in Tonbridge), Sarah Pollard (parlour maid) and Elizabeth Swain (house maid).
All the staff had changed ten years later.
In the 1881 census they are: Sarah Pritchard (Cook) Marian Ripe (Parlour Maid) Fanny Berry (House maid) Ellen Lee (Kitchen Maid)
David and Jane are listed at The Vicarage, presumably an attached cottage. David is Coachman. Jane has no profession marked but there is no lady's maid listed at the vicarage so pethaps she looked after Miss Mence.
David Baker, c1900
Their first son William is listed in the 1881 census, aged 5, born at Bockleton in c 1876.
My grandfather, David, was born at Bockleton in 1879 and the third son, Arthur, was born in 1888. (He was 3 inthe 1891 census and 23 in the 1911 census)
The vicarage is now known as Cockspur Hall:
Mr Mence left David and Jane money when he died in 1904 with which, we believe, they bought Haresbrook Farm, Tenbury Wells.
According to my grandmother "the farm went west" due to David Baker's extravagant living, but Jane died in the first quarter of 1906 so that might have something to do with it.
In the 1911 census David is working as gardener at Broadheath vicarage, near Worcester and has been married for 4 years to his second wife, Jessie, who, curiously, came from West Farleigh, a village just north of Yalding.