Sunday, October 2, 2016

Season of mists Pt III

Hope you can join us for the last of this season's guided walks at Radnor Street Cemetery on Sunday October 9 - meet at the chapel 2pm.

Until then I thought you might like to make a return visit to our series of virtual walks.

There has been heavy rainfall over night and underfoot is very damp and slippy.  But I have come prepared as today I am taking you to a crowded corner of the cemetery where there are some magnificent monuments with some classic funeral iconography.  The IHS on this cross is the Greek representation of Jesus Christ's name.  The garland of flowers around the cross represents victory in death.

This is the last resting place of Edward Henry Sammes.  It’s interesting that his family should make a point of adding ‘of Swindon’ to the inscription because Edward was not originally from Swindon but was born in Lambeth in January 1842, the son of William and Sarah Sammes.

The first reference to Edward in Swindon is in the 1871 census when he is 29 years old and living a 1 Belle Vue Road where he describes himself as a grocer.  That same year he married Sarah Anne Spackman from Wootton Bassett and the couple had two children William and Millicent who are both buried here as well.

At the time of the 1881 census Edward described himself as a retired grocer.  By 1889 he was a member of the Old Swindon Local Board, so well placed to know plans for development in the town.  The family was  then living at Wycliffe House in Devizes Road.

In 1892 Edward submitted planning application to build eight houses on the corner of Kent Road and Maidstone Road. The land had orginally come on the market in the 1870s but development was slow to take off. However, by the 1890s the area was pretty much one huge building site. 

A map of Edward’s project shows an empty site next door on the corner of Kent Road and Ashford Road with another empty site opposite.  The building specifications for Edward’s houses describe three bedrooms, a parlor, sitting room, kitchen, conservatory, scullery, WC, coals and pantry. At the other end of the road rival builder William Chambers had a yard opposite his own development at Ashford Terrace.  We will learn more about William Chambers later in our walk.

Edward died in 1897 aged 55. He left £5,814 18s 6d to his widow Sarah and son William, worth today somewhere in the region of £2.7 million.

I’m not sure if his son William ever worked or whether he spent his whole life living off his inheritance.  The last census available to researchers is the 1911 when the family are living at 31 Devizes Road where William, then aged 35, and his sister Millicent 27 are both living on private means.

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