Thursday, June 9, 2016

Jane Martinelli

Join us for a guided walk at Radnor Street Cemetery, this Sunday, August 14. Meet at the Chapel at 2 pm.

This gravestone is in quite a precarious condition. As you can see there is a crack beginning to creep around the edge. Invariably when this happens the whole surface of the stone shears off. You'll see a number like this if you look around the cemetery and then all record of that person is lost.

This is the last resting place of Jane Martinelli who died in 1893 aged 65. From the brief details on the gravestone I wondered if Jane and Thomas might be Italian, but further research has revealed that Jane was born in Worcester, and this is all I can find out about her.

The Martinelli story is one of fluctuating fortunes.

In the 1891 census she is living with husband Thomas at 13 John Street, Swindon. Thomas worked as a Railway Coach Builder and gives his place of birth as St Pancras, London.I found his baptism at Trinity Church on December 26, 1831. He was the son of Louis Martinelli, also a coach maker.

Still no Italian birthplace though as Louis was born in Holborn in 1799. Business as a coach maker must have been good because when Louis died in 1884 he left £6,180 2s 10d worth today several million pounds.

Back another generation and at last I found the Italian connection.

Thomas' grandfather was Aloysious Louis Martinelli born in Italy in 1761. Aloysious was a barometer maker and married Abigail Marshal at St Anne's Church, Soho in 1799. Sadly Aloysious died in Lambeth workhouse in 1845 aged 84. Perhaps Louis hadn't made his fortune by then!

Returning to Swindon and Jane's story. The Martinellis don't appear to have had any children. Tracking them through the Victorian census returns revealed they lived in Manchester and Birmingham before arriving in Swindon.

Thomas married again in 1894, the year after Jane's death, but then I lose track of him. The name Martinelli is frequently mis-spelt and mis-transcribed, as family historians among you can probably imagine.

It looks as if the original intention was for Thomas to join Jane here. There is plenty of space on the gravestone for an additional inscription, but it obviously didn't happen.

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