THE ARMSTRONGS AND MISS HUSBAND

Victorian Studio Photos
Victorian Studio Photos


The Armstrongs and the Husbands were what you might call interwoven families from an area around Richmond in North Yorkshire. Robert Armstrong, who died in 1762 at Easby, was born in the village of Great Ayton. He married a Grace Thomas from Guisborough and one of their children was another Robert Armstrong (died 1815). This second Robert married Alice Walker and two of their children were Grace and Robert. I appreciate how confusing this is getting but please bear with me for a little longer.

Grace Armstrong (1772-1839) married a William Husband (born c.1761 Gilling by Richmond, died 1831); two of their daughters were Grace and Charlotte Husband, whom we shall park for a few moments. Robert Armstrong (1774-1823), brother of the Grace who died in 1839, married an Elizabeth Booth and one of their sons was John Armstrong (born 1815 East Cowton). In 1841 at the Roman Catholic Chapel, Richmond he married the just-mentioned Charlotte Husband (born 1812 Gilling). Charlotte's sister, Grace, born 1794 Gilling, didn't marry at all. We have arrived at our subjects.

Postcard view of Gilling
Postcard view of Gilling
Image courtesy the Linda Jackson Collection.

In the 1841 census the newlyweds, John and Charlotte Armstrong, were living at Silvio House, Richmond. The cottage part of this building still stands and is Grade II listed, but it originally had stables attached. Grace Husband was living elsewhere in Richmond. I can't find much information on John's training career but Bill Eacott tells us on this website that in 1856 The Era reported he had six horses in training at Newmarket and that the following year he moved his operations to Ashtead. We know that he was at the Downs Stables in Epsom by 1861, with seven apprentices and 12 horses in training. Bill thinks that these stables were probably next to the Derby Arms.

However, it appears that the enterprises at Newmarket and Ashtead did not go well, since the following notice appeared in, for example, The Cambridge Chronical and Journal of 6 February 1858.
'INSOLVENT DEBTOR, to be heard on Tuesday, the sixteenth day of February next, at the Court House in Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, Middlesex.

JOHN ARMSTRONG, formerly of High Street, St Mary's, Newmarket, in the county of Suffolk, afterwards of Shagbag, otherwise Railway Street, in the parish of Wood Ditton, Newmarket, in the county of Cambridge, Horse Dealer and Trainer of Horses, his Wife Dealing in Milk and Butter, and late of Ashtead, near Epsom, Surrey, Horse Dealer and Trainer of Horses, renting three Paddocks and Stable at Newmarket, Cambridgeshire, a Prisoner in the County Gaol for Surrey, Horsemonger Lane, whose Estate and Effects have been duly vested in the Provisional Assignee by Order pursuant to the Statute.'
Miss Grace Husband came to Epsom with her sister and her brother-in-law and remained with them until she died on 27 May 1879; she was buried in Epsom Cemetery (Grave H8A).

Miss Grace Husband
Miss Grace Husband
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

As far as I know, John and Charlotte had just two children - Grace Elizabeth (born 1843 Richmond) and Alice Agnes Mary (or any permutation thereof, but she was known as Agnes - 1853 Newmarket).

Miss Agnes Armstrong
Miss Agnes Armstrong
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Sadly, Agnes died in May 1876, aged only 22 and was buried in Grave H7A at Epsom Cemetery.

In 1865 Grace Elizabeth Armstrong had married coal merchant John Johnson and by 1871 they were living in the Chelsea area. There were two children, Grace Charlotte (5) and Henry John (1), and Agnes was there on a visit. Two more children, Phoebe Mary (3) and Alice (2), were visiting their grandparents in Epsom. John Johnson wasn't at home in 1881 and it was just Grace, Grace Junior and Phoebe. By 1891 the family had moved to Lambeth. John was there this time, now a clerk, and Henry had resurfaced as an engine fitter. Grace Junior was a barmaid. I have the impression by now that money could have been a tad scarce in the family generally.

Grace Elizabeth Armstrong (later Johnson)
Grace Elizabeth Armstrong (later Johnson)
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

John Armstrong died in July 1891 and, according to a newspaper report, only two mourning coaches for relatives accompanied the hearse to the Cemetery (Grave H7); there were a number of wreaths from other trainers. Charlotte died in October 1899 and was interred with her husband.

As for Grace Johnson, by 1901 she was back in Epsom with her husband, living at Downs House; she died in the Cancer Hospital, Chelsea in 1910. She was buried with her parents, her husband having predeceased her.

Linda Jackson 2018