CHARLES COLLIER JONES (1832-1882) & FAMILY


In the south aisle of Christ Church Epsom Common is a set of three stained glass windows in memory of Charles Collier Jones. Epsom Cemetery's record of his burial on 4 May 1882 lists him as a "Gentleman". He was certainly a wealthy man: the probate value of his estate was £32,290 - about £3½ million at 2017 prices. However, Census returns list him as a Wine Merchant, so it may be more than coincidence that the rightmost depicts the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11) - when Jesus saved the day with his first miracle of turning the water into wine.

Charles Collier Jones' memorial windows.
Charles Collier Jones' memorial windows.
Photograph © Nishi Sharma of Light & Shade Photography, 2015

Charles' memorial windows were installed in 1883, the year after his death. They were made by James Powell & Sons and designed by Henry Holiday, their head designer. They show:
  • Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman (John 4:3-42, text from verse 24);
  • Jesus throwing the money changers out of the Temple (John 2:13-22, text from verse 16); and
  • the marriage at Cana (John 2:1-11, text from verse 11.)
The indicated texts are immediately below the images, and above the decorative panels at the foot of each window. The panel at the bottom of the middle window reads, "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of / Charles Collier Jones / who fell asleep 30th April 1882."

Charles Collier Jones was born in 1832, the fifth child of Edward Henry Jones and his wife Mary Emma (née Collier), who had married on 25 May 1818 at St Clement Danes, London. (Charles' second Christian name is clearly his mother's maiden name. While, formally, his surname remained "Jones" he and his subsequent family sometimes tended to use "Collier Jones" in a double-barrelled way.)

The 1851 Census records the family at South Side, Well Street, Hackney. Edward and his eldest son (another Edward, now 30 but unmarried) are both listed as Wine Merchants, Also at home were: three unmarried daughters, aged 23, 27 and 31; a 12 year old son listed as a scholar; two visiting Collier relatives; and three domestic servants, showing the family were comfortably off. The 19 year old Charles was not at home for that 1851 Census - and "Jones" is not a forgiving name for search purposes.

In 1860, Charles married Henrietta Ann Robinson. For reasons as yet undiscovered, the wedding was in Thame, Oxfordshire, even though both were Londoners by birth. The 1861 Census finds the couple living in the village of Wormley, Hertfordshire, about 15 miles north of Charles' parents. Charles is now shown as a Wine Merchant (presumably working with his father and older brother), and the couple are supported by two domestic servants.

Charles' father, Edward, died in 1865 aged 64. Perhaps assisted by an inheritance from him, Charles and Henrietta moved to Epsom - with their first two children - taking a large large house in Downside. By the time of the 1871 Census, another child had been born and, with the parents, are recorded the three young children (Charles Payne aged 7; Henry Edward aged 5; and Mary Louisa aged 2) together with three resident domestic servants.

By the time of 1881 Census, the family had moved to a house in Woodcote Road, Epsom. On Census Day, Charles Collier was away - as was the 15 year old Henry Edward. The 17 year old Charles Payne is shown as "Clerk in Merchant's Office", presumably his father's.

Charles died in 1882, aged only 50. His widow Henrietta and family moved to a villa in Worple Road, where the 1891 Census records the three children still living with her. The 27 year old Charles Payne had followed in his father's (and grandfather's) footsteps, being recorded as a "Wine Merchant". No occupation is recorded for the 22 year old Mary, but her 25 year old brother (now styled Harry) is shown as an "Artist".

While Harry seems never to have made much of a mark as an artist, Christ Church does contain an example of his work. On 20 February 1891, Leonard John Hunter, the youngest child of the then Vicar of Christ Church, Archer Hunter, died of meningitis. Harry was commissioned to decorate the organ in the child's memory - as may be seen in the article about Archer Hunter.

The following year, 1892, Charles Payne married the 19 year old Eleanor Bertha, daughter of the Revd Charles Hobbes Rice, the Vicar of St Dunstan's, Cheam. The newlyweds set up home at "Fieldside" in St Martin's Avenue (just round the corner from Charles Payne's childhood home in Downside). Eleanor quickly became pregnant but, sadly, died as a result of giving birth to their son, Bernard. She was buried in Epsom Cemetery on 7 July 1893.

Charles Payne, who never remarried, remained connected to Christ Church - indeed serving as a Churchwarden for the period 1916-18. He died in 1919 at the age of 53 - relatively young, like his father. He did, however, live long enough to see young Bernard (who had been educated at Lancing College) survive service with the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War.

Meanwhile, the widowed Henrietta and daughter, Mary Louise, had moved to "The Beeches" in Burgh Heath Road. Harry travelled off to pursue his artistic career: the 1901 Census shows him boarding (together with another artist, Clarence Bird) in Lyme Regis. He later returned to live with his mother and sister where, aged only 43, he died in November 1908. Henrietta died in September 1910, by then aged 82.

As noted above, Charles Payne died in 1919. His sister, Mary Louise, never married and, like both her brothers and her father, died relatively young - at the age of 57 - in January 1926. Although she had by then moved to the smart address of 8 Pembridge Crescent, West Kensington, she was - like the rest of her family - buried in Epsom Cemetery.

Roger Morgan © April, 2017



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