Victorian Studio Photos
Victorian Studio Photos

William Frederick Ward
William Frederick Ward
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

William Frederick Ward was, for a few years, in partnership with George White but he wasn't in Epsom all that long; the partnership was dissolved in March 1865 and William moved to Hampshire. This was perhaps a case of 'onwards and upwards', whereby he had cut his legal teeth and wanted to be his own boss, but who knows.

William was born in 1837 at Horncastle, Lincolnshire, where his father, also William, was a medical practitioner in Bridge Street.

Bridge St, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England, c1910-1920
Bridge St, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England, c1910-1920
Unknown photographer, image via Wikimedia

The partnership with George White was probably William's first venture as a fully-fledged solicitor. George had many legal and civic irons in the fire and must have desperately needed qualified assistance. There's an interesting article in various newspapers (for example, the Surrey Gazette of 27 January 1863) concerning systematic but fairly minor embezzlement by their two young clerks; George said then that he and William were rarely in the office together and quite frequently they were both out on business: this left dishonest employees free to fiddle the books and rip out incriminating pages of the ledger - they did just that. George had been very reluctant to prosecute, but, when he had discovered the irregularities, the clerks had not heeded warnings and second chances, so he took them to court on sample charges involving shillings (one charge involved just under 10p in today's money) and they pleaded guilty. The inference to be drawn was that George and William were just too busy to keep control of the admin. Both clerks received short sentences of hard labour, the older one, Alfred Milton, having led the younger astray, it was said. Milton later became a ship broker's clerk and then a solicitor's clerk in London, but died quite soon afterwards.

I have no idea how William came to meet his wife: she was Jane Goude Colyer, born 1834 Rothley, Leicestershire. Her father, George Godden Colyer, had died at a very young age in 1836 but her mother, Jane (née Goude), survived for some time. The marriage took place at Fenny Drayton in Leicestershire on 21 November 1861 and the ceremony was conducted by a Reverend Colyer and a Reverend Ward, who were clerical brothers of the bride and groom.

Mrs Jane Goude Ward (née Colyer)
Mrs Jane Goude Ward (née Colyer)
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

We have another photo of William, which was more than likely taken in the summer of 1862, since he had just been made an ensign in the 25th Company of the Surrey Rifle Volunteers and the splendid uniform looks unsullied by outdoor manoeuvres. One day I have a tale to tell you about the Volunteers, with particular relevance to Epsom, but that will have to wait until the article on Edward Rickards, another solicitor, since he was at the centre of the story. In the meantime please look at our article on George Brooker Stone for a flavour of what was going on with the Volunteers. Incidentally, at the same time as William became an ensign, another local solicitor, Henry Aveline (of Aveline & Everest), was made a lieutenant in the unit (and Charles Bischoff - yes, a solicitor! - was also involved). I have no evidence that any of these lawyer officers, except Rickards, were particularly unsuited to army discipline and practical soldiering, but I think I would rather have trusted my life and property to George Stone the Younger, who looked rather more the military business.

Ensign William Frederick Ward, 25th Company Surrey Rifle Volunteers
Ensign William Frederick Ward, 25th Company Surrey Rifle Volunteers
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

The 1911 census form says that there were ten Ward children in total, four of whom had died by then. I can't find all ten, mainly because the family moved several times and, if a child wasn't there in a census, I don't know where to look for records. Additionally, I have completely mislaid one of them who was around until at least 1881 but then seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Here's my best shot at the list of offspring.

Rose ColyerBorn Epsom 1862.
Disappeared after the 1881 census.
William EdmeadesBorn Epsom 1864.
Married Katharine Edith Allman (died 1951).
Died Cheam 20/1/1954.
Edith Jane NewlandBorn Ringwood, Hampshire 1866;
Died Bath 8/10/1941.
Henrietta Mabel SeekampBorn Fordingbridge, Hampshire 1868;
Died Teddington 13/3/1944.
Ernest George SeekampBorn Fordingbridge 1869;D
ied Teddington 5/2/1957.
Ada MayBorn1871
Died 1872 Wimbledon.
Marianne BlancheBorn 1872 Wimbledon,
Died 1894 (21 yrs).
Leonard Noel GraemeBorn 1880 Wimbledon.
Mining engineer who spent some time in Australia but ended up as a laundry proprietor living in Hampton.
Married Mabel Dorothy Colville (died 1936).
Died Teddington 14/2/1952.

As you see, we have only eight, two of whom had definitely died by 1911, so I am assuming that two more were born and died in infancy and that disappearing Rose was actually still alive somewhere in the firmament (if anyone knows where, please contact us).

After Wimbledon the Wards moved to Portmore Gate, Weybridge. William had business premises at 10 Norfolk Street in The Strand, London, the firm then being W F Ward & Son (the '& Son' was William Edmeades Ward). William Frederick Ward died at his home in Weybridge on 30 April 1917, followed by Jane on 28 February 1920.

Linda Jackson 2019