1903 ‘Double Wedding’ Jacob Beales & Isabella Carter and Alfred Harry Osborne & Kate Carter.
Courtesy Carolyn Boatwright
The wonderful Edwardian photograph captures the ‘double wedding’ of sisters, Isabella and Kate Carter. The joint nuptials took place during 1903 at the Baptist Church, Great Ellingham.
Looking at the photograph, on the left is 31 year old Isabella seated with her husband, Jacob Beales. On the right of the photograph is Isabella’s 27 year old sister Kate, seated with her husband, Alfred Harry Osborne.
The brides look to be wearing similar (if not the same) outfits. The two ladies to the right also appear to be wearing similar – or, again, the same style of dress and hat. They are each holding a bouquet. Accordingly it follows that these two ladies are bridesmaids.
The young girls standing (on the far left and far right) are also bridesmaids or flower girls. They are each holding baskets of flowers.
Although the two ladies standing behind Jacob and Isabella Beales are wearing similar hats, I do not think they are wearing the same style of dress.
Apart for the two bridegrooms, there is only one other male in the photograph. Did the bridegrooms share a best man?
Isabella and Kate Carter
The sisters were two of eight known children of local innkeeper Ellis Carter and his first wife, Elizabeth née Websdale. Isabella was born on the 12 February 1872 and Kate on the 23 February 1876.
Sadly, Ellis and Elizabeth’s infant son Harry died within days or weeks of his birth in 1868.
Chequers Public House during the tenure of Landlord Ellis Carter. Courtesy Ray Beales
Ellis Carter became landlord of the Chequers Public House in Great Ellingham sometime between 1864 and 1871. Likely both Isabella and Kate were born at the Carter’s family home at the Chequers Inn.
Death of Mother & Remarriage of Father
Elizabeth Carter (née Websdale) died aged 36 in 1878. Isabella was just six years old and Kate only two.
With seven surviving children, a pub to run and also to continue working as a ‘machine man’ (threshing machine), it is no surprise to find that within two years of Elizabeth’s death, Ellis Carter remarried.
St James’s Church, Great Ellingham
Ellis Carter was 48 when he married 44 year old spinster Happy Bilham in the Church of St James, Great Ellingham on the 5th March, 1880.
The entry in the marriage register shows that Ellis Carter and his new wife Happy each put their mark ‘X’. Nevertheless even with limited literary skills, Ellis Carter successfully ran the Chequers Inn for many years.
The national head-count of 1881 captures 50 year old Ellis Carter with his 45 year old wife Happy at the Chequers Inn. With the couple are Ellis’s children – 14 year old Joe (Josiah), Rose aged 11, Isabella 9, Lily 6 and 5 year old Kate. The girls are all attending school. Joe is assisting his father in the running of the Chequers.
Ellis’s elder children – John (born c.1862) and Sarah Ann (born 1864) are living and working away from home.
Death of Step-Mother
Happy Carter died at the age of 54 in 1890. Ellis Carter was once again a widower.
The 1891 census finds 62 year old Ellis Carter with three of his children at the Chequers Inn. Ellis is described as a farmer and innkeeper. 24 year old Josiah is a threshing machine proprietor. 21 year old Rosa Carter is keeping house for her father. At 15, Ellis’s youngest daughter, Kate (Katie), is still at school. Completing the household is Ellis’s 91 year old widowed mother, Rebecca Carter.
19 year old Isabella Carter is in Penge, London. She is working as a cook for the household of surveyor, Ernest Powley.
Ellis’s eldest son, John, is also working away from home. Indeed by around 1893, John Carter was licensee of the Dog & Partridge Public House in Thetford. John Carter’s tenure as licensee of the Dog & Partridge continued until his death in 1930.
By 1901, Kate Carter is working as a barmaid in Norwich. The 1901 census reveals 25 year old Kate as a boarder with the Pigg family in Colegate Street, Norwich.
29 year old Isabella Carter is back living with her father at the Chequers. She has taken over the ‘housekeeping duties’ from her sister Rosa (Rose) who had married local farmer’s son John William Downes in 1894.
Another ‘Double Wedding’?
In fact Josiah Carter had married John W Downes’ sister Sarah Ann E Downes at a similar time in 1894. The two marriages were registered between October and December 1894.
Was this another ‘double wedding’? I think not as a newspaper report of the marriage of Josiah Carter to Sarah Downes does not mention Rose Carter’s marriage to John W Downes.
Likely the Chequers Public House was a ‘hive’ of activity leading up to the ‘double wedding’ of Isabella Carter and her youngest sister Kate in 1903. Although I do not know the actual date of the marriages, the two marriages were registered between July and September.
The second son of James and Rachel Beales (also found as Bales), Jacob was born in Great Ellingham on the 9th September, 1874.
Jacob was likely born in a cottage in Long Street where the family are living at the time of the 1881 census.
Long Street. Postcard courtesy Carol Ewin
The census captures 49 year old agricultural labourer, James Bales with his 44 year old wife Rachel and children Mary 12, Joseph 10, Jacob 6 and 4 year old Elvina. The family have a lodger, 55 year old farm labourer Benjamin Dennis.
With the exception of Rachel Beales (who was born in Swardeston), all members of the household were born in Great Ellingham.
10 years later, the 1891 census finds the Beales family still living in Long Street. Their home (comprising three rooms), may well have been near to the Baptist Chapel where, some 12 years later, Jacob would marry Isabella Carter.
However, Jacob’s mother Rachel is listed on the census as a widow.
Sadly Jacob’s father, James Beales, died at the end of May 1887 aged 55, having being admitted to the Asylum at Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich. He was buried in the churchyard of St James, Great Ellingham on the 2nd June, 1887.
Rachel’s two sons, 20 year old Joseph and 16 year old Jacob, are living with their mother together with Rachel’s youngest daughter, 14 year old Elvina.
Both Joseph and Jacob are working as agricultural labourers and their mother, Rachel, is finding work as a charwoman.
Jacob and his siblings Joseph and Elvina are still living with their mother at the time of the 1901 census.
The census reveals 64 year old Rachel with Joseph 30, Jacob 26 and Elvina 24 living in a four-roomed dwelling in Town Green. Given that ten years earlier the family’s home in Long Street had just three rooms, I think it likely that Rachel and her children ‘moved house’ since the last census.
However, Rachel is still working as a charwoman. Joseph and Jacob are still working in agriculture albeit that Jacob is now a stockman on (presumably) one of the farms in the village. Elvina is carrying out domestic work at home.
Just two years later in 1903, Jacob Beales married Isabella Carter.
Alfred H Osborne
Kate Carter’s husband, Alfred Harry Osborne, was born on the 29th January, 1877, in Beccles, Suffolk.
However at the age of 4, the 1881 census captures Alfred with his parents, Alfred and Caroline Osborne, and his two younger sisters, Ethel and Beatrice, living in Guildhall Street, Thetford.
31 year old Caston born Alfred Osborne is a harness maker. Alfred Harry’s maternal cousin, Clement Last, is also with the family. Clement too is a harness maker – an occupation which, later, Alfred Harry would come to have.
Ten years later, the 1891 census shows the Osborne family still living in Guildhall Street. Alfred Harry – or Harry as he appears to be known, is 14 and now working as a harness maker. Presumably Harry is working alongside his father. Harry’s sisters Ethel and Beatrice are 12 and 10 respectively, and they have two further siblings – Carrie 6 and James 3.
Around 1893, John Carter and his wife Mary moved into the Dog & Partridge Tavern in Guildhall Street – near to or, possibly, next door, to the Osborne family.
Alfred and Caroline Osborne still had all five of their children living with them at Guildhall Street – Alfred H 24, Ethel 22, Beatrice 20, Caroline (Carrie) 16 and 13 year old James.
Alfred and his son Harry (Alfred H) are continuing to work as harness makers. Ethel and Beatrice are dressmakers and James is a telegraph messenger. Carrie is not working.
Perhaps it was on a visit to her brother John’s tavern in Guildhall Street, Thetford, that Kate Carter met her future husband(Alfred) Harry Osborne.
Whatever the circumstances of their first meeting, Alfred Harry Osborne married Kate Carter in Great Ellingham in 1903.
Ellis Carter calls ‘Last Orders’
After some 30 years as landlord of the Chequers in Great Ellingham, in 1908 Ellis Carter (then in his late seventies) ‘called last orders’ and retired from the business.
His son-in-law, Jacob Beales, took over the ‘helm’ at the Chequers.
1918 Publican’s Licence – Jacob Beales. Courtesy Attleborough Heritage Group
Jacob & Isabella Beales
The 1911 census captures 36 year old licensed victualler Jacob Beales and his 39 year old wife Isabella at the Chequers Inn. The couple had then completed 7 years of marriage during which time Isabella had given birth to two children.
Sadly, Jacob and Isabella firstborn son, Bertie, died within days or weeks following his birth. Bertie’s birth and death were registered between April and June 1904.
Nevertheless four years later, Isabella and Jacob welcomed Ernest William on the 1st April, 1908.
Jacob and Isabella with their son Ernest are still at the Chequers in 1921.
In addition to being the landlord of the Chequers, 46 year old Jacob is working as an agricultural labourer for J R Mann, farmer, in Hingham Road. No doubt the day to day running of the Chequers was over-seen by Isabella – where she was likely born nearly 50 years earlier.
Extract from Isabella Beales’s Registration Card. National Registration Act 1915
Courtesy Diane Davis
By 1939, Jacob had retired.
The 1939 Register captures 65 year old Jacob Beales with his 67 year old wife Isabella at Town Green Farm in Great Ellingham. The Register describes Jacob as a ‘retired farmer’. Now married, their son Ernest is living with his wife Olive not far away in Long Street.
Undertaken on the 29th September, 1939, just a few weeks after the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1939 Register gives a snapshot of the civilian population in England & Wales at that time.
Given the timing of the Register, it is no surprise to find that Jacob and Isabella had evacuees from Hackney staying with them.
There were 7 additional people at Town Green Farm in 1939. However, some of the names on the 1939 Register have been redacted as it is possible that these people are still alive today – or likely to have been when the 1939 Register was made available in November 2015.
Nevertheless, we have the names of some of the evacuees.
There is 31 year old Rose A Setchfield and her young son Frederick. Rose (or Rosner) had married Frederick Hammond Setchfield in 1932 in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Like her husband, Rose was a fountain pen maker.
There is also 30 year old Emily F Redhead with her daughter Grace (Jean G G) aged 3. The Register records Emily’s occupation as a fountain pen repairer (retired).
Both Rose and Emily had left their respective husbands behind in Hackney. Indeed the Register shows 37 year old Frederick E Redhead and 30 year old Frederick H Setchfield at 4 Gordon House, Mane? Street, Hackney – a property which may have been divided.
Nevertheless by 1942, Jacob and Isabella were living alone in Town Green.
Jacob died aged 78 in 1953. His wife, Isabella, died in 1960 aged 88.
Alfred Harry & Kate Osborne
The 1911 census finds 34 year old harness maker Alfred Harry Osborne with his 35 year old wife Kate in Exchange Street, Attleborough.
Exchange Street, Attleborough. Date unknown. Author’s Collection
During their 7 years of marriage, the couple had four children – Edna Beatrice now 6, Alfred Maurice 5, Ida Kathleen 3 and one year old Dorothy Madoline.
They were still in Attleborough at the time of the 1921 census.
At the time of the 1939 Register, Alfred Harry and Kate Osborne had moved to Grantham House in Barford. I believe their home was in Cock Street. Alfred Harry is still working as a leather harness maker.
The couple have at least three of their children living with them.
34 year old son Alfred is working as a monumental mason. Daughter Dorothy (now 29) is not working but carrying out domestic duties at home. 20 year old son, Raymond, is a general labourer.
Deaths of Kate and Alfred Harry Osborne
Kate Osborne died in August 1940 aged 64. She was buried at Barford on the 20th August, 1940.
Her husband, Alfred Harry Osborne, survived Kate by a year. He died also aged 64 the following July and was buried in the same churchyard on the 15th July 1941.
1939 England & Wales Register. The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: Rg 101/6590h. Ancestry.com.
1939 England & Wales Register. The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: Rg 101/6554b
1939 England and Wales Register [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2018.
GRO Index. https://www.gro.gov.uk
also FreeBMD website
Death Dec 1878 CARTER Elizabeth 36 Wayland 4b 183. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=aARtmHJnx%2FMgoQr%2FbKm7ew&scan=1
Death Dec 1890 CARTER Happy 54 Mitford 4b 187 https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=fZ9Y09XmBNqUL7OchtK4mQ&scan=1
Marriages. Sep. 1903 BEALES Jacob, CARTER Isabella, CARTER Kate, OSBORNE Alfred Harry. Wayland 4b 483. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=N7WJWDdqdjSf3UJDx9GQjw&scan=1
Marriages. Dec 1894. CARTER Josiah, CARTER Rose, DOWNES John William, DOWNES Sarah Ann E. Wayland 4b 707. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/information.pl?cite=E97aXBVdBbJt0HUYJvv3bA&scan=1
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD 609. Also available via www.ancestry.co.uk and www.familysearch.org
1871 census RG10/1841/89
1881 census RG11/1974/96, RG11/1323/140, RG11/2012/52
1891 census RG12/1577/50, RG12/639/37, RG12/1549/74, RG12/598/75
1901 census RG13/1901/57, RG13/1901/57, RG13/1867/69, RG13/1867/71, RG13/1834/29
1911 census RG14/11470/168
1921 census BEALES. RG15. Registration District 231. Great Ellingham Schedule 131. Viewed via www.findmypast.co.uk. OSBORNE. Index only viewed via www.findmypast.co.uk
Barford Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office PD 448. Also available via www.ancestry.co.uk
BEALES, James. Great Ellingham. Inmate St Andrews Hospital. Oct 1884. Transcript of St Andrews Hospital Admissions October 1884-February 1888, Misc. Archives. Viewed online via Norfolk Family History Society website. Original record Norfolk Record Office.
1942 Great Ellingham Invasion Records. Sue Fay
Norfolk Pubs website
Marriage. 9 Jul 1932. Frederick Hammond Setchfield. Rossen Ann Rosy Baker. St Mark, Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets. London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P88/MRK/046Ancestry.com. London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1938 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.