Harriet Stubbings née Barnard. Image extracted from a Wilkins family photograph. Courtesy of James Margetts
Emigration at 52
Widow Harriet Stubbings was 52 years old when, in December 1913, she left Great Ellingham for a new life ‘on the other side of the world’. Harriet accompanied her daughter Florence, and Florence’s extended family, on the journey of some 10,000 miles to Australia.
Earlier in 1913
A few months earlier, Harriet’s husband of 27 years, 60 year old Charles Stubbings, died. At a similar time, and in anticipation of the impending emigration to Australia, Harriet’s son-in-law, Bertie Wilkins, offered his premises for sale at auction.
How long had Bertie and Florence Wilkins been planning their emigration? If it was before Charles Stubbings’ death, was it intended that Charles and Harriet would emigrate with them? On the other hand, was it at the last minute that widow Harriet decided to go with her daughter to Australia? Perhaps it was an easy decision for Harriet, given that her husabnd had died, and Florence was her only child.
In any event, the extended family left London on the 3rd December, 1913 arriving in Melbourne, Australia on the 27th January, the following year.
The extended family of Bertie Wilkins. Photograph taken just after their emigration to Australia. Back row (from left) Harold John Wilkins, Harriet Stubbings, Bertie Lewis Wilkins, Florence Wilkins nee Stubbings. Front row: (from left) Eveline Wilkins and Madeline Wilkins. Courtesy of James Margetts, a descendant of Bertie Wilkins
The above photograph shows Harriet Stubbings standing next to young Harold Wilkins on the back row. The image was captured not long after the family arrived in Australia. Harriet was then in her mid-fifties.
What do we know about Harriet?
Birth in Deopham
Harriet was born Harriet Barnard in 1860 in Deopham, a neighbouring village to Great Ellingham. She was the seventh child of Great Ellingham born William Barnard and his wife Mary (née Lincoln).
Some thirteen years earlier, her parents had named a child Harriet. Sadly, this child died the same year in which she was born i.e. 1847. It is not unusual for parents to give the name of a deceased child to a subsequent child. Indeed, my father was not the first child of his parents to be given the name ‘James’. However, he was rarely (if ever) referred to as James – but that’s another story!
Church of St Andrew Deopham
Parents & Siblings
William Barnard and Mary Lincoln married in St Andrew’s Church, Deopham on the 13th October, 1840. Born in Deopham, Mary was the daughter of labourer, George Lincoln. William’s father was Charles Barnard, also a labourer.
The couple began married life in Town Green, Great Ellingham. By 1861, the family moved to an area referred to as ‘Stolland’ (‘Stalland’) in Deopham, where William and Mary Barnard continued to live.
Their first born child, Martha, was born in 1844, followed by Harriet in 1847. Sadly, this child died the same year. Selina was born in 1849, with Rebecca arriving in 1852, followed by Charles William in 1854. Next came George in 1857, followed by Harriet in 1860 and, finally, Sarah Ann in 1864.
Whilst Harriet and Sarah Ann were born in Deopham, the other children were born in Great Ellingham.
Harriet likely spent her childhood around Deopham, and perhaps Great Ellingham. Given that the census returns capture the family living in the parish of Deopham, I would be inclined to think that Harriet attended the school in Deopham, rather than in Great Ellingham.
At the time of the 1871 census (i.e. 2nd April 1871), 10 year old Harriet was attending school. However, her 13 year old brother, George, was already working as an agricultural labourer.
Given that it was not until the Elementary Education Act of 1880 that it became compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 10 to attend school, I suspect that it was not long before Harriet had completed her education and was also out to work.
The census of 1881 finds 20 year old Harriet Barnard as a general servant employed by 56 year old widow Harriet Pentin (Penton) in Chapel Field, Norwich. Harriet Penton lived on the income derived from her properties.
Although the census does not indicate this to be the case, Harriet Penton was, in fact, Harriet Barnard’s paternal aunt!
Harriet married Charles Stubbings during the summer of 1886. The Norfolk News announced the wedding, which took place at the Baptist Chapel in Great Ellingham.
Baptist Chapel Long Street Great Ellingham. Courtesy of Attleborough Heritage Group
Until 1886, a marriage ceremony was only permitted to take place between the hours of 8am and mid-day. Accordingly, I suspect that Charles and Harriet’s wedding took place after mid-day, as the newspaper reported that there was considerable interest in the wedding, being the first to take place at the Baptist Church since the hours had been extended.
Daughter Florence Selina
Charles and Harriet’s only child, Florence Selina, was born on the 11th April,1887. Given that Charles and Harriet married in the Baptist Church (and I cannot find a baptism entry for Florence in the parish registers of the Church of St James, Great Ellingham), I suspect that Florence was baptised in the Baptist Church.
The 1891 census finds Charles and Harriet Stubbings with three year old Florence, lodging with 23 year old butcher, Albert Melton, in Long Street, Great Ellingham. Charles’s 73 year old widowed father, Charles, is also a lodger of Albert Melton.
All three men are described as butchers. However, given that the census records Albert Melton as an employer and Charles and his son, Charles, as employed, it follows that Charles Stubbings and his father were working for Albert.
Purchase of Butcher’s Business
Albert Melton offered his butcher’s business for sale in 1891. I believe Charles Stubbings (husband of Harriet) purchased the business.
The 1901 census finds Charles (now 49) and Harriet (40) with their thirteen year old daughter, Florence, at Town Green, Great Ellingham. Charles is working as a butcher from his home. He was neither an employer nor employee, but had his ‘own account’ i.e. worked for himself. Florence had finished her schooling and was a dressmaker’s apprentice.
Given that the extent of the area known as ‘Town Green’ differs from census to census, I think it likely that the Stubbings family were living in the same property in which they were lodgers ten years earlier.
Transfer of Butcher’s Business
By 1911, it seems likely that Charles and Harriet Stubbings had transferred the butcher’s business to their son-in-law Bertie Lewis Wilkins. Five years earlier, Bertie Wilkins had married their only daughter, Florence.
The census of 1911 captures 25 year old Bertie Wilkins as the head of an extended household at The Butchery, Great Ellingham. The property had six rooms which did not include any scullery, shop or bathroom. The household comprised Bertie with his 23 year old wife, Florence, their one year old daughter, Evelyn Florence, and Bertie’s six year old nephew (and foster son), Harold John Wilkins. Florence’s parents, Charles and Harriet Stubbings, are also living with the family.
Bertie is described as a butcher, cycle dealer, farmer and postman. Florence is assisting her husband in the business. 59 year old Charles Stubbings and his 50 year old wife, Harriet, are also helping with the business. The 1911 census describes their occupations as ‘General Help’. Charles Stubbings is also a postman.
Two years later, Charles Stubbings was dead and his 52 year old widow, Harriet, left Great Ellingham for a new life with her daughter’s family in Australia.
Deopham born Harriet Stubbings, a long-time resident of Great Ellingham, is buried in the Portland South Cemetery, Portland, Glenelg Shire, Victoria, Australia.
Great Ellingham Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD 609. Also available at https://www.familysearch.org
GRO Index https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro
Deopham with Hackford Parish Registers. Norfolk Record Office. PD 485. Also available via https://www.ancestry.co.uk
1841 census HO107/781/8
1851 census HO107/1832/21, HO107/1823/109
1861 census RG9/1222/84
1871 census RG10/1824/104
1881 census RG11/1955/90, RG11/1946/100
1891 census RG12/1534/70, RG12/1549/79A
1901 census RG13/1867/80
1911 census RG14/11473/130
10th July 1886 Norfolk News viewed via https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk 11 June 2021
Eastern Daily Press 8th August, 1913 and 7th June, 1913. Accessed via localrecall.co.uk 10th August 2020
Find A Grave website. https://www.findagrave.com/ Accessed June 2021
My thanks to James Margetts, a descendant of Harriet Stubbings nee Barnard. firstname.lastname@example.org