The William Beauchamps

The first William Beauchamp, a bootmaker, was born in Laleham, Middlesex (near Chertsey) in about 1826, son of Joseph Smithers Beauchamp, shoemaker, and Betsy Harris. The family had moved to Hampton by 1841, and William arrived in Epsom in 1847, initially living at Clay Hill. It is not known exactly when the High Street premises were established, but his son, William Thomas, was certainly trading in the High Street by 1881, whilst his father lived in South Street.

Before we start the story proper, I need to confess that there are four William Beauchamps and to, avoid confusion, the original William from Laleham will be referred to as 'William The Elder'. His son, William Thomas (strictly Thomas William, and it would have helped matters considerably had he remained so), is 'Olde Daddy', a name by which he was known in later years, presumably because Epsom residents were as confused as I have been. To muddy the waters further, both William The Elder and Olde Daddy each had a son called William Edward. These will be called William Edward (WTE) and William Edward (OD). Here is a diagram.

Beauchamp Diagram

William The Elder married Harriet Hayward in Epsom on 16 August 1847, by which time they had already had two children in Hampton, and a further eight children were born between 1848 and 1869. Olde Daddy, William Thomas (or vice versa), was the only boy.

Olde Daddy's premises at 61 High Street, c.1910
Olde Daddy's premises at 61 High Street, c.1910
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

In 1871, in Epsom, Olde Daddy married Margaret Garford (born in 1847) from Deeping St James, near Bourne in Lincolnshire. Her parents were Thomas Garford, a fisherman, and Martha Smith and she had several siblings. In the 1850s the Garfords were together in Deeping St James but by 1861 five of the children, the youngest aged just one, were in the Union Workhouse in Bourne. Their parents were still alive at the time, although Thomas died in 1862. Thomas, Martha and Margaret are nowhere to be found in the 1861 census, but it seems probable that some major drama had befallen the family between about 1859, when the youngest child was born, and the 1861 census.

In 1868 Martha Garford surfaced in Epsom and married a widowed carpenter, Joseph Hall. In the 1871 census several of her children were there, plus a child called Elizabeth Garford, aged two, who was living with her and Joseph Hall. Elizabeth's relationship to the Halls was not stated but she was actually Mary Elizabeth and belonged to Martha's daughter, Harriet, who was working at the Derby Arms. Two of Martha's children, aged 12 and 13, were still in the workhouse at Bourne and one of the others had died there in 1869. Martha herself died in 1884 and Joseph Hall then became a boarder with Olde Daddy and Margaret, but by 1901 he was in the Union Workhouse and he died in the Infirmary there in 1904.

William The Elder's wife, Harriet, died in the summer of 1877, aged 54, and on 14 April 1879 at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London he married Elizabeth Garford, sister of his son, Olde Daddy's, wife. In 1871 she had been working as a housemaid in Epsom to Joseph Donovan, an Episcopalian "Tutor Minister" who ran a school. William The Elder and Elizabeth had six children (one 'adopted'), one of whom died in infancy. There was just one boy and he was called William Edward (WTE). All three of the Williams mentioned so far were in the bootmaking business, as were Olde Daddy's other sons.

Advert for Beauchamp and Sons, Bespoke Bootmakers
Advert for Beauchamp and Sons, Bespoke Bootmakers

William The Elder, who died in November 1894, had retired from bootmaking by 1891 but his wife, Elizabeth, was running a confectionery and tobacconist's shop in South Street.

This is a timely moment to return to the actual bootmaking premises, which moved around over the years (either in physical location or High Street numbering). There were apparently at least two sites, one having been a small shop on the High Street, and the later one as shown in the photograph at the beginning of this article, which was near the Clock Tower and subsequently became the Gas Board premises. The photograph appeared in the Epsom Herald of 21 May 1982 and Mr Reginald Burl, of the Parade, recalled that William Thomas was known as 'Olde Daddy Beauchamp'. Mr Burl remembered the family well and said that 'Olde Daddy' taught him to play billiards, was a real character and lived to a great age, which he did, dying in 1935, aged 89, at Middle House, Dorking Road, which was the Workhouse. His wife, Margaret, had died in 1914.

William The Elder's wife, Elizabeth, continued with her confectionery and tobacconist's shop and also did catering for many years. A local newspaper said at the time of her death in 1936 that '... Mrs. Beauchamp carried on the business of a confectioner, tobacconist and caterer for 40 years, opening at 5 a.m. and closing at 11 p.m. every day up to the time of the Great War, when closing hours were restricted. She was of a kindly and sympathetic nature, and it was said that no person came out of her shop hungry, whether they could pay or not. Eventually she had to give up the business through ill-health, and at the time of her death was living with her daughter. She leaves one son and three daughters.' The son was William Edward (WTE), who died in 1983 at the grand age of 95.

Olde Daddy's sons, Arthur Joseph, William Edward (OD), and John Smithers Beauchamp were all bootmakers, dying in 1914, 1937 and 1944 respectively.

Linda Jackson © November 2011

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