The Dorset Family

Dorset' High Street Shop
Dorset's High Street Branch, date not known.
Note the plough on the roof
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

William Dorset Senior

William Dorset was born in 1811 in the village of Hertford Heath, near Hertford, and moved to London; he came to Epsom in the mid to late 1840s and was coachman to Mr Robert Carter at The Grove in Church Street. He and his wife, Caroline (nee White, born in about 1814 in Chenies, Buckinghamshire), already had four children and two more were born in Epsom. These were

Name Date of birth Place of birth
Caroline 1838 Hackney
Eliza 1840 Marylebone
William c.1843 Marylebone
Maria c.1845 Marylebone
Henry c.1848 Epsom
Charles c.1853 Epsom

William seems to have remained in the service of Mr Carter until some time in the 1870s, whereupon he retired to Alexandra Cottages in Laburnum Road. His eldest daughter, Caroline, died unmarried in 1875, aged 37. Eliza too never married and appears to have been in service; she eventually moved to Dover, probably to be near her sister, Maria (see later), and died there in 1929.

Caroline Dorset Senior died in 1884, aged 71, and William Senior in 1893, aged 82: both were buried in Epsom Cemetery.

Sampler sewn by Caroline White (Mrs Dorset) in 1827.
Sampler sewn by Caroline White (Mrs Dorset) in 1827.
Image courtesy of her great-great grand-daughter, Eleanor Lea © 2012.

Maria Dorset

On 9 March 1867 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London Maria married joiner and cabinet maker Edward Martindale (born in 1838 in Pocklington, Yorkshire), but there was a problem - Mr Martindale was already married. In 1859 he had married Jane Ann Bagley in Sculcoates, Hull and they had a daughter called Alice Mary, born in 1860 in Collyhurst, Manchester. Maria knew this but went ahead anyway, probably believing her husband's assertion that his first marriage was invalid - see below. The couple went to live in Dartford, Kent.

Maria's father soon discovered the truth and offered to pay Edward's fare to France, as he did not want the story to become public. At first Edward agreed, but subsequently changed his mind. William Dorset said he then had no choice but to involve the police. Edward was arrested and charged with bigamy.

During his trial at the Old Bailey in August 1867 Edward said that he thought his marriage to Jane Ann Bagley had been illegal, since she had been married in the name of Jane and not Jane Ann (which does not seem to be true, as the official record shows both Christian names and, in any event, this would not render the marriage invalid). According to him, he had been treated by Jane with 'contempt and neglect'. He was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment.

Maria was already pregnant at the time of the trial and her daughter, Laura Maria, was born early in 1868 in Birmingham. By the 1871 census Edward had served his sentence and he and Maria were back together, living in Bristol with a new baby, four month old Rosa Bonheur (died unmarried in Surrey in 1945). At this time Edward was working as a print seller.

The whereabouts of his actual wife after 1871 are currently a mystery and Alice Mary did not resurface until 1883, when she married chemist and druggist John Henry Jenkins Ryder in Leeds. Sadly, Alice died the following year.

Edward and Maria moved around frequently and he changed his job a number of times. In 1881 he was a carver and gilder in Exeter, with two more children, being Gertrude Winifred (born about 1874 Headington, Oxford) and Edward Dorset (1878 Salisbury). By 1891 the family was in Watford with Edward now a carver, gilder and landscape photographer. He evidently had a shop as both Maria and Rosa were described as shop assistants. Another child had arrived, who was Mabel Tinson (1881 Exeter).

One presumes that the original Mrs Martindale must have died by 1895, for in that year Edward and Maria were married in Croydon. By 1901 they had relocated to Dover, where he worked as a picture frame maker and pottery dealer. Edward died there in that same year and Maria on 9 March 1927.

Laura Maria Martindale married Scottish boilermaker Andrew Craig Black and made her home in Southampton. They had at least five children (including a set of twins). Laura Maria died on 28 August 1918. Edward Dorset Martindale died in 1931 in Dover. Mabel Tinson married Harold Percy Tarrant and died in Surrey in 1972.

Henry Dorset

Henry was a watchmaker and jeweller and in 1875 he married Amelia Minter, daughter of Epsom farmer William Honeywood Minter. Henry had a shop in Epsom High Street, but by 1891 he had retired and moved to Guildford, where he died on 4 February 1933, Amelia having predeceased him on 17 January 1913. They had three daughters - May (1876), Ella (1878) and Florence (1880). None of them married. Florence died in 1933 and May and Ella in 1964.

Charles Dorset

Charles was apprenticed to a harness maker and became a saddler, initially in Farnham but subsequently in Woking; he also dabbled in gardening equipment and tools and then worked as a riding master. He married Frances Thurston Parmenter in 1876. There were two children - Louise Frances (1878) and Bernard (c.1885).

Charles and Frances moved to Brighton, where they lived at Highcroft Villas, a row of 'imposing red-brick houses occupied by the upper middle classes'; they died in 1940 and 1941 respectively. Louisa Frances married Ernest George Marshall and died in 1969; Bernard married Dorothy Blanche Hems and died in 1937.

William Dorset Junior

William Dorset Junior became a local personage. In 1871 he was an ironmonger's assistant and by 1881 had his own shop in Epsom High Street (in 1891 this was numbered 24). In 1866 he married Maria Apted, who had been born in Epsom in about 1845.

Dorset's ironmongers electricians plumbers
Dorset's ironmongers, electricians, plumbers.
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

William and Maria sadly lost both of their first two children, Ernest William (born 1867) and Louisa Caroline (1869), in October and November 1871. They went on to have three more, who were Alice Mary (1874), Ettie (1880) and Gladys (1886).

William was a magistrate and owned quite a few properties around the town, including a barn and stables in Church Street, cottages in Miles Road, a barn in South Street and a house in St Martin's Avenue: his residence was Hawthorn Dene in Ashley Road. The Dorset business consisted of more than just ironmongery, as this receipt from 1926 shows.

A 1926 receipt from Dorset and Co
A 1926 receipt from Dorset and Co
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

William was widowed in 1909. His daughters were all married and had left home by 1912; he died on 18 September 1926.

Alice Mary's husband was John Hunt Carling, a provision merchant. Alice died on 24 August 1928 and John (having remarried) on 14 February 1941. Ettie married book traveller and chicory grower Gordon Baker from St Ives, Huntingdonshire and they had at least two children - Kenneth Munro (1906) and Geoffrey Dorset (1910). Gladys married Charles W Smith.

Dorset family grave in Epsom Cemetery.
Dorset family grave in Epsom Cemetery.
Image courtesy of Gravestone Photographic Resource.

Linda Jackson © February 2012


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