The Bristows Of Epsom And Ewell

Waterloo House, with the Bristow commercial premises on the right
Waterloo House, with the Bristow commercial premises on the right
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre Collection

This article is concerned with the descendants of Mark and Sarah Bristow who had connections with, or settled in, Epsom and Ewell.

Mark Bristow was born in Leatherhead in about 1773, the illegitimate son of Mary, but later moved to Kingston, where he and Sarah (nee Stanley) had six children, of whom at least three survived into adulthood. He died in July 1818 in Kingston.

Mark and Sarah's eldest child was Mary, born in Kingston on 21 December 1804. On 30 June 1830 she married James Heath at St Giles, Camberwell. James was born in Buckland, near Reigate, in about 1806.Their first child, Elizabeth, was baptised on14 August 1831 in All Saints, Kingston. They were living in Clapham at the time, where James worked as a coachman. Elizabeth died aged 3 years 6 months, and was buried in All Saints graveyard on 12 Jun 1834.

In the 1841 census James was a groom and the couple lived in Kingston with their two surviving children, William (born on 3 January 1833, probably in Reigate) and Jane (born in Kingston on 9 July 1836). In the early 1840s they seem to have moved to Betchworth, near Reigate, where they had a daughter, Ellen, born in 1843.

In 1851 James was working as assistant to an innkeeper in Reigate High Street and by 1861, according to the census, he was running the 'Rubbing House' public house on Epsom racecourse, which is something of a mystery as it had burned down in 1857 and was not rebuilt until after 1861. Perhaps some kind of temporary structure had been erected in the meantime? 1

By 1871 James was a coachman and he died in 1876. Ellen Heath married Alfred Chandler, a butcher, on 16 March 1873 in St Thomas Lambeth. It looks as though her brother William Heath was one of the witnesses. William Heath, a carman, married Elizabeth Sarah Gower on 6 April 1875 in St John the Evangelist Walworth.

To date I have been unable to find out what happened to Mary and Jane.

JOHN BRISTOW (1809-82)

The only other child of Mark and Sarah who had close connections with Epsom and Ewell was John, born in Kingston on 17 July 1809. Originally he was a fishmonger (as was his younger brother, Edward, who moved to Southampton), and then a labourer, but by 1841 he had become a publican and in the 1851 census he was both a dealer and landlord of the 'Adelaide Arms' in Ewell. An itemised receipt, from the 1850s, shows that he had been trading in Ewell as a broker and furniture dealer. Christening records place his son, Henry, in Ewell as an innkeeper in 1855, so they were probably running both the pub and the dealing as a joint enterprise. This foray into the pub trade did not last, however, and by 1861 John was an upholsterer living in South Street, Epsom, and Henry was 'dealing' in Walton-on-Thames.

The details from a receipt of John Bristow's from the 1850s2 show us not only the essentials that the early Victorians needed for their homes, but also the range of items that he was selling. Prices are approximate, having been converted to decimal pence.

Pembroke table 80
Mattress 70
Pair pillows 38
3 blankets 75
Deal table 28
6 Dinner (plates?) 15
6 Ditto (plates?) 8
6 Cheese plates 3
2 Basins 2
Glazed(?) pan 6
Tea ... ... tin bowl 12
Set sugar/table 19
Coffee pot in iron 9
2 shovels 7
Tea kettle 2/6 and ......can(?)1/-
3 saucepans 20
Looking glass 23
Palmers candlestick 8
2 chambers 8
Black lead scrub brush 6
2 Banister brushes 5
Broom and handle 17
Half dozen china 19
Sugar basin 4

So, in those days you could equip your home for around a fiver!

John's wife, Amy, born in about 1811 in Portsmouth, had died in 1866 and by 1871 John had retired from the furniture business and the children had taken over. He died in 1882, leaving effects of £1021 (around £80,000 in today's money). He was buried in Epsom cemetery with his daughters, Ann Charlotte (Webb) and Sarah (Bond). Amy was buried in St Martin's Churchyard.

Grave of John Bristow and his daughters, Charlotte and Sarah, Epsom Cemetery
Grave of John Bristow and his daughters, Charlotte and Sarah, Epsom Cemetery.
Image courtesy of Gravestone Photographic Resources and provided by a volunteer.

The eldest daughter, Amy Junior, born in about 1826, married a Kingston carman named James Dopson and they lived in Kingston. They had eight children. Amy died in 1902.

The next child was the aforementioned Henry, born in about 1833. After leaving Ewell, he became a furniture broker, first in Leatherhead and then Walton-on-Thames. He had nine children by two wives and died in 1893, leaving effects of £9,681 (nearly £1 million in today's terms).

Next came Sarah, born on 4 January 1836. She was also a furniture dealer, but in East Molesey. At the age of 50 she married a 75 year old retired and widowed butcher and ship-owner, George Bond, whom she predeceased. Sarah died on 23 April 1891 in Richmond, followed by George on 27 February 1892. She left personal estate of £64 and George left £4916.

MARK BRISTOW (1837-1919)

Mark Noble Duke Bristow, who was born in Kingston on 16 September 1837, was a furniture dealer in East Street, Epsom. On 21 September 1857 he married Mary Ann Clark, daughter of a Malden publican. They had two daughters, Amy Sarah, born 5 May 1859, and Mary Ann, born in 1861.

Mark has a mention on this website in the section on 'The Poor'.

was not regarded as a plague in the days when nearly everyone had it at some period of their lives, but in the Thirties the authorities were beginning to take action to prevent its spreading. For many years no particular provision was made for the isolation of patients with this disease, but in 1860 Mark Bristow, of Epsom, was proceeded against for exposing in the public streets of Epsom, where smallpox was very prevalent, a male servant who was suffering from the disease.
Mark lived at 85 East Street (the site is now occupied by an office block called Felix House) and died on 17 October 1919. Mary Ann Senior died in April 1924 at 85 East Street, followed in December of that year by Mary Ann Junior. They were all buried in Epsom Cemetery.

In the 1911 census Mark's elder daughter, Amy Sarah, was living at 3 Middle Lane, East Street3, surnamed Fitzgerald and claiming to be a widow. The same had applied in 1901 when she was living at 82 East Street. The burial record for Epsom Cemetery (Amy died in 1945 in Croydon) notes that she was known as Fitzgerald, but describes her as a spinster. She appeared to have two children, being Gerald Fitzgerald, born in 1885 in Sutton, and William Fitzgerald, born in about 1894 in Sutton. On her 1911 census form she initially wrote that she had three children, all of whom were still living, and then crossed it out. A little digging in the 1891 census unearthed a daughter, initials possibly 'D M' (believed to be Dorothy or 'Dolly'), born in Sutton in about 1887. Mr Fitzgerald was at home, had the initial 'G', was born in about 1846 in Maperton, Somerset and was living on his own means. In 1901 Dolly was 'visiting' a widow who lived next door to her mother and siblings. Further investigations have uncovered an interesting tale.

'G. Fitzgerald' was in fact Edward Gerald Fitzgerald, born on 24 March 1846 in Maperton, son of Major Henry Thomas George Fitzgerald, magistrate and landed proprietor, of Maperton House, Wincanton, Somerset. On 23 April 1873 Edward George married Elizabeth Mary Regis Arundell4, who died in 1902. There were no children of the marriage. In 1891 and 1901 the real Mrs Fitzgerald was living in London with a lady's maid.

Furthermore, Edward Gerald Fitzgerald died on 16 November 1891 at the couple's then home - 7 Edward Villas, Carshalton Road, Sutton (Mark Noble Duke Bristow, Amy's father, was one of the executors of his will) - so William Fitzgerald, born in about 1894, cannot have been his. There is a birth registered in Epsom district in 1894 for a William England Bristow, so he may have been Amy's son.


Having taken a diversion into the aristocracy, I will return to the children of John and Amy Bristow, and the next one was James, born on 3 December 1839. He seems to have fallen on hard times towards the end of his life. He started off in the time-honoured Bristow fashion as a furniture dealer, this time in Leatherhead, and married twice, his first wife dying in 1867, aged just 24. He remarried in that same year but by 1891 he was a pauper inmate of Epsom Union Workhouse, with his occupation given as hawker. He then apparently died in Guildford district in 1898. His wife was in Leatherhead taking in laundry.


After James came William, born in Ewell in 1842. He was originally an upholsterer but became a furniture dealer and fly proprietor5. On 1 May 1865, in Yapton, Sussex, he married Louisa Cooper, who was the sister of Jane Blake, wife of Charles Blake, a butcher in South Street, Epsom. They had six children. William had premises in South Street which he had leased in 1877 from the Misses Emma and Elizabeth Wood, whom, I believe, were the daughters of a Ewell baker, William Wood of High Street, Ewell. Louisa died on 27 February 1895, aged 52, and William retired to an eight-roomed house in Deal, Kent, where he died on 3 March 1915. The couple were buried together in Epsom Cemetery. William left effects of £4505.

Grave of William and Louisa Bristow, Epsom Cemetery
Grave of William and Louisa Bristow, Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Linda Jackson © 2011

Their eldest child, Louisa, born in 1866, married Albert Norrington (brother of Edward Norrington and uncle to Raymond). They subsequently moved to Edmonton, London, where Albert was a corn and coal dealer. Louisa died in 1943 and Albert in 1944. They had three children.


The next child was William, born in 1867 and he sounds like something of a character according to the reminiscences of George Challis on this website. George said of him:-
'Waterloo House, formerly "The Old Inn", has been altered and a good part of it was a furniture shop and had a very quaint entrance. This was owned by William Bristow who also carried on the livery stables at the Spread Eagle Yard where he supplied all manner of vehicles for hire - a noted distinguished tradesman with monocle usually attired in fine silk frock coat and smoking cap. The reason for his queerness was that he had been crossed in love. He used to attend the Congregational Church and always came in late but always went to his usual seat opposite to a certain lady in the choir to whom he was attracted. Another queer hobby of his was when he used to fill the window of his empty shop with maize for the rats to feed on. Folks would stand and watch the rats, but this was put a stop to after a time'
Waterloo House, with the Bristow commercial premises on the right
Waterloo House, with the Bristow commercial premises on the right
Image courtesy of Surrey Libraries and is held in the
Epsom & Ewell Local And Family History Centre Collection

Bristow Business Card
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

In 1900 William, presumably having recovered from his infatuation with the lady in the choir, found himself a wife, Maud Marie Bendon, born in Cambridge in 1871, and by 1911 they were living in Portland House, Ashley Road, Epsom. This was probably a substantial property incorporating stables.

I have not been able to establish when William died, but it was before 1940. Maud died a widow in 1940, at which time she was living in High Street, Selsey, Sussex.


William Senior and Louisa then had a girl called Alice, who died in infancy, followed by Frederick, who carried on the same occupations as his elder brother, William. In 1897 he married Adelaide Grassi from Putney. They had eight children, at least one of whom died in infancy. Frederick died in 1937 and Adelaide in 1947. They lived for a time at 'Edelweiss' in South Street.

One of Frederick and Adelaide's children was Percival John ('Percy'), who was born in Epsom in 1899. He joined the 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (the 'Ox and Bucks') and was sent to the Somme; he was killed in action, probably at the derelict sugar refinery known as Waterlot Farm, near Longueval, on 30 July 1916, aged 17, and is buried at the London Cemetery and Extension, Longueval (grave reference: 5.B.32). A location map for Waterlot Farm, marked as 'sugar refinery' is shown under Private Frank Arthur. Percy is not commemorated on any war memorial in Epsom and Ewell.

Finally William and Louisa had two daughters, Kate (born in 1876) and another Alice (born 1879). In 1911 they were both unmarried and living at Waterloo House in the High Street.


The next child of John and Amy was Ann Charlotte, born on 6 June 1845 in Ewell. On 10 September 1876 in Lambeth she married Charles Webb from Devizes in Wiltshire, who was at the time a bricklayer. By 1881 they were living in Eastbourne. They then moved to Hounslow in Middlesex and ran a pub called 'The King's Arms' in the High Street. Ann died on 11 February 1891 and was buried with her father in Epsom Cemetery.

The King's Arms, High Street, Hounslow c.1890
The King's Arms, High Street, Hounslow c.1890
Photo courtesy of Hounslow Library Local Collection


John Edward Bristow was born in 1847 in Ewell. He married Mary Ann Gardiner, daughter of a boot-maker on 12 January 1879 in Lambeth. At that time he was described as a salesman. In 1891 he was a furniture dealer in Sunbury and in 1901 he was in Bridge Street, Ewell. By 1911 the family had moved to Church Street, Walton-on-Thames. John died in 1915. There were two daughters.

DAVID BRISTOW (1855-1935)

David, the last child of John and Amy, was born in Epsom on 1 June 1855. His occupation hardly needs stating, and he seemed to do very well out of it, leaving effects of £29,460 (around £1.6 million today) when he died.

In 1879 he married Sarah Smith, daughter of a Northamptonshire farmer, who was working in Paddington as a housemaid. They had six children, being Annie (1879), Mabel Frances (1881), David Hector (1884), John Albert (1888), Henry Robert (1890) and Edith Grace (1892). They lived in various places in Epsom, including 11 East Street, 1 High Street, Primrose Cottage (26 The Parade) and 4 Chuters Grove. Sarah died in Primrose Cottage in 1927 and David died in The Wilmar Lodge Nursing Home, Epsom Road, Ewell (now called 'The Elders') in 1935.

Linda Jackson © October 2011
With thanks to Hazel Ballan for additional research


1. The census record states that he was a victualler at the Rubbing House and he was living there with his wife and child, a lodger and a groom. The places either side of this entry were the Prince's Stand and the Grandstand, so some kind of construction must have been in the gap in 1861.

2. Courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

3. Numbers 1-5 Middle Lane are currently locally listed buildings. They were built in the early 20th century so this would have been a fairly new house at the time Amy lived there. Further information about these houses, with photographs, can be found at

4. She was a descendant of the sixth Baron Arundell of Wardour in Wiltshire. Her sister, Isabel, married the famous explorer, Sir Richard Burton. The Arundell family was Roman Catholic and this is probably why Edward and Elizabeth Fitzgerald did not obtain a divorce.

5. In other words, owner of a taxi company. A 'fly' was a two-wheeled carriage, pulled by a single horse. An example can be seen standing outside the shoeing forge on the right of the second photo of the Bristow premises above.

Andrews Family
Andrews Family
R Dearle
R Dearle
T Tresize
T Tresize
Blake Charles
Blake Charles
Blake Girls
Blake Girls
Barnards of Epsom
Barnards of Epsom
EW Martin
EW Martin
HEM Douglas
HEM Douglas
W Bury
W Bury
Holman Hunt
Holman Hunt
Epsom Monuments
Epsom Monuments