Anthony Jacques Cheeper/Clarke

19 July 1837 - 6 June 1918

An Inveterate Philanderer, Bigamist, Bankrupt, and who knows what else??

(Thank heavens someone in the family was interesting!)


Photos from the Family Meet-Up on 29 June 2013

The List of Contemporary Second-Cousins

This directory contains information and documents about Anthony Jaques Cheeper/Clarke. My interest in this story is that he is my great-grandfather in the name-line. (It's a rich irony that, before I discovered that his name and mine weren't the same, I had already published a paper on human identifiers, including a section on the unreliability of names).

In brief, this man:

This page provides access to the following:

In all, 60 public record entries for Anthony Jacques have been located. These are:

The photo at the head of this page is courtesy of Geoff Clarke, and came into Anne’s possession in late 2004. Until then, no-one in our line since at least Willie Tony (1892-1955) had any knowledge of what he looked like – and we suspect Willie Tony last saw him at about age 12. Even now we have only two photos, at about 50 and 55, plus photos of each of his second, third, fourth and fifth wives. Needless to say, we'd love to find more.

Childhood and Youth (age 0-21, 1837-58)

Anthony Jaques Cheeper's birth certificate shows that he was born on 27 Sep 1837, at 32 Myddleton Square (in Pentonville, North London, north of Kings Cross, near The Angel tube station) – photo courtesy of Geoff Clarke. His birth was registered on 23 Feb 1838.

Anthony's parents were the identically-named Anthony Jaques Cheeper (1802-1837), ribbon manufacturer, and his wife Jane Cheeper formerly Bokenham (1805-1852). He was their 8th and last child in 12 years of marriage. But only 3 survived beyond the age of one, and he was the only surviving son.

Based on information from the very last person to carry the Cheeper name, Ruth Phillips in St Austell, it's possible that Jane Bokeham (d. 1851) or (more likely) Jane's (first) daughter-in-law Catherine Spilsbury (m. 1858) carried the haemophilia gene. This bodes ill for female issue, and very ill for male issue, and if Catherine was the carrier it would explain the small count in that line. (3/10 of the children died very young, and only 2/10 had children. Those two had respectively 8 children by 2 wives – 3/8 boys at least 1 of whom died young; and 6 children, 2/6 boys, 1 of whom died young. A little knowledge of the 'epidemiology' of haemophilia might help).

Anthony senior died on 6 April 1837 at 34. This is based on the Obituary that Geoff Clarke found in the Coventry Herald of 14 April 1837 which read "On the 6th inst. at his house, 32, Myddleteon Square, London, aged 34, Mr A. Cheeper, late of this City". Because centralised registers for England and Wales did not begin until 85 days later, on 1 July 1837, there is no entry in the deaths register. We're not aware of the cause of death. This was 5 months and 19 days before Anthony junior was born, so presumably only 3-1/2 months after he was conceived.

Anthony senior is not shown as deceased when Anthony junior's birth was registered 5 months after the event, but Jane is shown as the informant.

Two years later, in 1839, Anthony senior's widow, Jane, remarried, to a Charles Teakle, who would therefore have become step-father to the infant Anthony junior. He is present in their household in the April 1841 census, aged 3(-1/2), at No 1 Barnsbury Villas, Liverpool Tce, Islington. There were also two FS (family servants?). Anthony's two surviving siblings, sisters Jane 9 and Ellen 7, appear to have been living in a school in Canonbury Place Islington at the time.

Details of Anthony jnr's whereabouts between the Census of April 1841 (at 3-1/2) and his marriage in October 1858 (at 21) have been hard to come by.

In the April 1851 census (when he was 13-1/2), he is not in the Teakle household, which at that time was in Kentish Town (St Pancras, North London).

1851 is the only census that Anne has found no entry for him (although the absence of a name-index for the 1851 census makes it challenging).
We at first presumed that he was away from his step-family, at a school somewhere. We also considered whether he might have been with relatives - perhaps with Bokenham cousins in Southwold, Suffolk - because he had come into a modest inheritance from the Bokenham grandparents in 1844 or 1846. But we've found no documentary evidence of any of Jane or her family being in Suffolk after Jane junior's birth in Southwold, in 1832/33.

In 2012, Anne found entries in merchant navy records that show he was in the merchant navy from at least late 1853 to early 1855 (aged 16 to 17-1/2), and quite possibly as early as April 1851 (aged 13-1/2, but adding two years he'd have been nominally 15-1/2):

Although his father died before he was born, and he appears to have been unwelcome in his step-father's home, he was perhaps from a reasonably wealthy family on either or both of his father's and mother's sides. He was the eldest and only surviving son, and his grandfather in the name line had money, and died when Anthony was 4, and then his grandmother died when he was 7. So perhaps he came into assets at the age of 21. There is some evidence of an ongoing income, which he managed to sustain access to for many years, despite a number of trials and tribulations.

First Marriage (age 21-39/40, 1858-76/77)
Catherine Ann Spilsbury-Cheeper (formally married 1858-1906)

Anthony Jacques Cheeper married Catherine Ann Spilsbury in October 1858. The marriage certificate shows that it took place at St Luke's South Norwood, and that he was just 21 and she was at least 21 (22-24?). It appears that St Luke's South Norwood SE25 may have recently ceased to be a church, although there is still a St Luke's in West Norwood SE27, which is in an imposing setting.

Catherine was born c. 1836 in Walsall, Staffordshire. How they met is unclear. However, according to the 1861 Census entry, p. 1 and p. 2, Catherine's younger sister was born in Surrey (Norwood?), suggesting that the Spilsbury family lived in South London, and that Catherine and Anthony met in London, and therefore that Anthony was in South London c. 1857-58, aged c. 20-21.

There were 10 offspring, b. 1859-1877, all Cheepers. Further details are provided on other pages about Catherine and about the offspring of Catherine and Anthony.

In the 1861 Census entry, p. 1 and p. 2, Anthony and Catherine appear, with their first child, 9-month-old Catherine, at 11 Ivy St, Birkenhead (which is the other end of 'the ferry 'cross the Mersey'). This was central, and close to the docks. Also in the household were two servants, one of them from Gravesend where the baby had been born, and Catherine's sister Georgina, aged 21. Anthony is shown as 23, and Catherine as 26. Anthony's occupation is difficult to read, but appears to commence with 'Travell...' and finish with 'Publish...' (Traveller to Ainsworth the Publisher?).

A mere 9 months later, in Jan/Feb 1862, they were in London, and Anthony was declared bankrupt, at 24. The authority for this that Anne found is an entry in the London Gazette of 24 Jan 1862, which shows him as a commission agent, of Cleveland Rd, Kingsland (West Islington). Geoff Clarke had also found the bankruptcy listed in The Times of 25 January 1862, "under [Stg]300", examination 7 February 1862, address 51, Cleveland Rd. Anne found the discharge on 24 Apr 1862, in The London Gazette of 30 May 1862.

A couple of months later, their third child, Albert, was born (who was to be the only one to have children in the U.K., although another had children in Canada). The birth certificate shows their address as 57 (cf. 51) Cleveland Rd, Islington. Anthony's occupation is shown as commercial traveller.

Over the next decade, he became a commercial traveller in books, and appears to have recovered financially to a reasonable extent, given that his household in 1871 included a 24-year-old governess and a 22-year-old domestic servant.

In the 1871 Census entry, the family is in a lodging house in Blake Street, St Wilfred, York, 200m south of the Minster. Anthony is shown as 35 and she as 35 (consistent with other sources), with their 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th chidren. (Their 1st died young, and the 3rd and 4th, aged 9 and 7, were in a school in Gravesend in Kent). Their 8th child was born 2 months later, and died 6 weeks later from diarrhoea.

An entry in the London Gazette of 26 April 1872 states that Anthony instituted Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors, on 11 May 1872. He was resident in, or working out of, No. 30, Saint Paul's Square, in the city of York (according to Google, 1 mile SW of the Minster). That is, and presumably was at the time, a very respectable crescent of tall Georgian houses.

A letter exists that was written by A.J. Cheeper on 18 Sep 1872 (shortly before A.J.'s 35th birthday) to the Duke of Portland (page 1, page 2). (Geoff Clarke's son, another Roger, acquired the copy from the Dept of Manuscripts at the Uni. of Nottingham). It would take a handwriting analyst to establish whether the letter and the signature are by the same hand. The letter invites subscription to a forthcoming 4-volume book on the History of Yorkshire, at a price of £1/11/6 per volume. He gave as the return address 52 Carlton Road, Worksop (on the northern edge of Sherwood Forest. Carlton Road is the main north-south street, near the station). That address is otherwise unknown to us. The Duke in question was William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 5th Duke of Portland (1800-1879), and hence was a 72-year-old at the time. (Whether the invitation was successful is unclear. M'lord was an interesting eccentric who lived in utter seclusion despite employing the odd hundred or two on his estate at Welbeck Abbey, Notts).

In the April 1871 Census entry, Mary Wanless had been Anthony's governess. At Christmas-time 1872, she fell pregnant to him, and by some time in 1873 he was establishing a household in London for her and the child.

Anthony and Catherine appear to have separated some time after mid-1876, when Anthony was 39, and by which time he had been in a relationship with their former governess for 4-5 years, and had fathered at least one child by her.

In the 18-20 years of their household, the records disclose at least 15 residential addresses.

We've found no evidence that they ever divorced. Catherine died three decades later in 1906.

Many further details are available on Catherine, and on their children.

Transition – First to Second Marriage (age 34-40, 1871-77)

Anthony's household in York is shown in the census in Apr 1871 as including a governess, Mary Wanless. A child of Anthony and Mary was registered in London in Sep 1873, implying a liaison commencing no later than the end of 1872. In 1872, he was 35 and she was 26.

He had two more children with Catherine, born in York in Nov 1873, and in Great Yarmouth in Mar 1877. Catherine is the informant on the last birth entry; but she was on several others as well, so it's unclear whether he was still co-habiting with her at the date of the birth of their last child together.

Second Marriage (age 35-45, 1872-82)
Mary Wanless-Clarke (common law wife c. 1872-82)

Mary Wanless was born on 25 Aug 1846 in Lambeth (inner-west London). She was governess in the Cheeper-Spilsbury household in York in the census of Apr 1871. He was originally known to her as Anthony Jacques Cheeper, then as Anthony Clarke.

No marriage certificate has been found, and he was throughout that time still married to Catherine Spilsbury; so it was very probably a common law marriage.

There were 3 offspring, b. 1873-1879. The first, Harold, born in Sep 1873, was registered in the name Wanless (the mother's surname being applied when a child was born out of wedlock). But the birth-entry was entered by volunteer indexers under both Wanless and Cheeper (confirming that this phase has caused confusion over the years to more than just the family). Further details are available about Mary and about the offspring of Mary and Anthony.

Anthony adopted the surname Clarke at the age of 40, after 22 Sep 1877, nominally on 27 Sep 1877 (the birthdate of his second child by Mary) and in documentary terms no later than 30 Oct 1877 (when the birth was registered).

The evidence supporting this is as follows:

  1. Mary's father, Joshua Paul Wanless, who was living in Birmingham, passed away on 30 Jul 1877. On 22 Sep 1877, Joshua's will was 'proven', showing as executors his son Joshua Charles Wanless, a merchant's clerk, and Anthony Jacques Cheeper, of St Paul's Chambers, 15A Paternoster Row in the City of London, Commercial Traveller
  2. Anthony and Mary's second child, Ethel Mary, was born on 27 Sep 1877. When the birth was registered on 30 Oct 1877, both parents, and the child, were shown as having the surname Clarke.

He appears to have consistently used Clarke for the next 30 years, until at least Mar 1907 (the birth certificate of his 4th child with Amy) and possibly until as late as Mar 1910, and to have not used Cheeper during that time (or at least not in any manner that has given rise to public records). His first wife and their children appear to have always used the surname Cheeper for him and themselves. His four subsequent wives and families appear to have always referred to him and themselves as Clarke, although he personally reverted to Cheeper in 1910-11 and (unsuccessfully) tried to revert the names of his last family to Cheeper in the 1911 Census.

He appears to have caused Mary to adopt the surname Clarke at the same time. There is no evidence of her using Wanless again, or Cheeper ever.

The third child, Stanley, born in 1879, was also registered in the name Clarke. The registrars of the births of their second and third children, and of Mary's death, appear to have accepted that their names were all Clarke. It is unclear whether the registrars also accepted that they were married. But acceptance that they had the same surname appears to have been sufficient to deliver the result that all of the birth entries and certificates give the appearance of the parents being married, even though they were not.

During their 10 years together, they appear to have had at least 4 residential addresses.

We've considered the following possible reasons why he might have changed his name:

Why Anthony chose the name Clarke is also not clear. The name does not appear to be in any of his lines. A reasonable surmise is that the relative anonymity of a common name was a useful adjunct to his purposes. If there was monogrammed cutlery or linen, retaining a surname beginning with 'C' would have been a distinct advantage.

In the April 1881 census (left, right), Anthony (occupation publisher) is shown with Mary and their three children at Grosvenor House in Ealing. There were two servants, one a Companion / Lady Help (Mary was presumably chronically ill at the time).

Mary died on 5 March 1882, at the age of 35. The cause of death on Mary's death certificate stated Bright's disease (a category then used for "kidney diseases that would be described in modern medicine as acute or chronic nephritis"), 4 years duration. She left him with children aged 2, 4 and 8. And a governess.

Further details are available about Mary and about the offspring of Mary and Anthony.

Transition – Second to Third Marriage (age 45, 1882)

In the April 1881 Census, the Clarke household in Ealing includes a 'Companion to Mary', by the name of Emma Terry. It is unclear when she came into the household. Because there is no evidence that she knew of Anthony's previous surname, it is reasonable to surmise that it was after September 1877, at which time Emma was 22, and Anthony 40.

Mary was chronically ill during the period Emma was in the household, 1878-82. At Mary's death, Anthony was a commercial traveller, but was saddled with children aged 2, 4 and 8. A simple solution presented itself. He arranged for his governess to continue to look after the children. But Emma appears to have driven a hard bargain, because they were formally married only three months after Mary passed away.

Anthony wasted no time implementing the plan. The birthdate of their first child discloses that Emma was pregnant to him within a fortnight of Mary Wanless's death.

Third Marriage (age 45-51/61, 1882-1891?)
Emma Fanny Terry-Clarke (formally married 1882-1906)

Anthony and Emma were married on 17 June 1882 in a registry office in Bromley. He was 45 and she was 28. Mary's death certificate would presumably have been sufficient to establish that he was free to marry, despite the fact that he was still married to Catherine Spilsbury (who died 24 years later, only a few months before Emma did).

On the marriage certificate, Anthony Clarke listed his father as a ribbon manufacturer. (Anthony Jacques Cheeper's father is known to have been a ribbon manufacturer, from Pigot's Commercial Directory of 1839, and from his marriage certificate).

He was known to her as Anthony Clarke, but also, once, later in life, as Anthony Jacques Clarke. There is no evidence that she knew he had originally been called Cheeper. And there is evidence that the eldest son of the three Wanless children, Harold (for whom Emma was housekeeper from the age of 4 to 9, and thereafter step-mother), never knew of the Cheeper name, or, if he did, suppressed the information from his family, and carried the secret to the grave.

There were 4 offspring, b. 1882-1889, all of whom survived. All were Clarkes, this time seemingly legally so. (But he had committed bigamy by marrying Emma, and if that had been discovered then presumably the marriage would have been null and void, and the surname of Emma and their children would have reverted to Terry ... Aren't family lore and law wonderful?!).

During what appears to have been 10 years of marriage, they had at least 4 residential addresses.

Geoff Clarke is aware of folklore in the Terry family to the effect that Anthony, presumably during this period, was the librarian to Queen Victoria, and kept his own carriage and horses. A quick web-search confirms that such a post existed, but during that period it would appear to have been generally occupied by minor aristocracy rather than entrepreneurial-but-struggling people in the book trade. Barbara Sidebotham, completely separately from Geoff, is aware of a similar story within the Davidge line, but the post was said to be bookbinder to Queen Victoria. I've found no evidence that such a post has ever existed, but it's a great story that's entirely in keeping with Anthony's trail of deception.

By mid-1884, but possibly as early as mid-1883, Anthony appears to have been co-habiting with another woman. This was within 1-2 years of his marriage to Emma, and between the births of the second and third of their four children. By the time of the birth of Emma's fourth child in 1889, he had four children in the other household.

In the April 1891 census, Anthony, then 53, was shown as a Traveller, Day Goods. The household was at 3, Downs View Villas, Beach Street, Deal, Kent (previously misread as 3 Downs Fair? Villas (?), Black St., Deal). The household appears to have comprised Emma (then 36), the younger two of the three Wanless-Clarke children (aged 13 and 11), plus the four Terry-Clarke children (aged 8, 6, 4 and 2). Mercifully, there was also a 51-year-old Governess - who, this time, Anthony does not seem to have later run off with. But Anthony also appears in his other household in the same census, albeit under the pseudonym Robert.

Anthony appears to have abandoned Emma some time after the census in Apr 1891 and before the census in 1901. The earlier part of the period seems more likely.

There is no evidence of a divorce.

Emma died on 22 November 1906, at the age of 51.

Further details are available about Emma and about the offspring of Emma and Anthony.

Transition – Third to Fourth Marriage (age 47-54/64, 1884-1891/1901)

Within 2-1/2 years of his marriage to Emma Terry, Anthony appears to have been co-habiting with another woman as well. Most likely in mid-1883, and no later than mid-1884, a young woman called Kate Davidge was pregnant to him. He appears to have established a household with her by no later than the time of birth of their first child, some time between the end of 1883 and early 1885.

Kate was probably a maid in his household. She came from a peasant family in Dorset, and it seems unlikely that they would have met any other way. If so, then she was probably in the Terry household in Sidcup and/or Surbiton some time in the period 1882-84 (at age 17-19). But just possibly she was in the Wanless household in Ealing after the census of Apr 1881 (when she would have been 16) and before Mary's death in Mar 1882 (by which time she would have been 17).

Between 1884 and 1889, Anthony had children alternately in the two households.

Anthony left Emma probably a short time after the census in 1891 (by which time he was 54, and had been in a marital relationship with the other woman for at least 6 years, and had fathered 5 children by her), and in any case before the 1901 census (when he is not in Emma's household).

Fourth Marriage (age 47-67/73, 1884-1904/1910)
Kate Davidge-Clarke (common law wife, c. 1884-1904?)

Kate was born 18 January 1865, so in mid-1884 she was 19 and he was 48. He was known to her as Anthony Clarke. No marriage certificate has been found, and he was married to two women already, one in the name in which he was known to her, and both marriages survived longer than the relationships; so she was very probably a common law wife.

The first formal records of Anthony with Kate are the certificates of baptism of Violet Maude Clarke and Ernest Clement, on 20 Jun 1886, at St Johns Cardiff. No birth certificates have been found for them.

Violet is recorded as being 1 year old. Various documents suggest a birthdate for her between 15 February 1884 and 20 Jun 1885. On her death certificate, her birthdate is given as the earliest of all – 15 Feb 1884 (1885 seems more likely); and her place of birth is empty, even though her son was the informant. Possibly she never knew much about her own birth. The irony is that it appears Vi may have known her father until she was about 20, which may be longer than any other of his 34 children (although there is a possibility that he was in contact with the third Cheeper, Albert, later in life).

There were 11 offspring, b. 1884/85-1904, all registered as Clarkes and known throughout their lives as Clarkes (other than through change of name following marriage). As he'd done with Mary Wanless, he used Clarke for himself, his wife and his children, and Birth Registrars consistently acted as though they were married.

In the census entry for 1891, left-side and right-side, Anthony is shown using the pseudonym Robert, at their Lewisham address, with Kate, together with the first 5 of their 11 children, and a servant. He presumably deemed it prudent to use a pseudonym because he'd already used 'Anthony' with the Emma Terry household in Deal. (The Terry household had been only a few streets away in Lewisham, only a few months previously; and possibly the census enumerator was aware of that, and a nom de census seemed appropriate).

In the census entry for 1901, the family is in South Norwood. Anthony is 63 and listed as 'commercial traveller'. Kate is shown as "about 50", even though she was actually 36! The last of their children wasn't born until 3 years later, but all of the other 10 are there, aged 10 months, and 2, 3, 5, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 16 years. (The 10-month old died 2 months later).

During their c. 20 years together, the records disclose at least 7 residential addresses.

It's unclear when he abandoned Kate, but it appears to have been in or soon after 1904. (The two primary reasons for assuming a date no later than 1904 are Earl Rudolph (Rue)'s birth in January 1904 and postcards addressed from Anthony to Kate in July and August 1904). Kate Antoinette is reported to have told her daughters that he left when she was 13, which would have been in 1900. If so, that would raise questions about the paternity of the last child, Rue, whose birth certificate shows Anthony as the father. So possibly Nettie meant that he left in 1900-01 in the sense of starting up a household with the maid, but continued to visit and to some extent support the Davidge household for some years afterwards.

In 1904, Anthony was 67, but the Davidge children were aged only 0, 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18 and 20. It's likely that the oldest 4 may have already been sent off to find their own way. One postcard refers to No. 2, Clement, being in the Marines, and his record of service has now been found. We've found no evidence that any of the children managed to get much education, or (with the exception of the very last) to get decent jobs, and hence anything that they may have been bringing into the household after Anthony abandoned it would have been very meagre.

We've been unable to establish much about Kate's life between 1904 and the early 1920s, but it probably wasn't much fun.

She re-married a Phillip Davies in 1923, only 58, but was very probably exhausted already. Kate died in Dec 1931, at 64.

Further details are available about Kate and about Kate and Anthony's offspring.

Transition – Fourth to Fifth Marriage (age 64-67, 1901-1904)

The 6th child by Kate (and my grandfather), Willie Tony, apparently joked about Anthony having run off with the maid or cook. (He probably never realised that Anthony had done that twice before he did it to Kate). So, based on family anecdote and habit, it was highly probable that the fifth common law wife was a servant in the Davidge household c. 1900, when Willie Tony was 8. In about 2000, Anne discovered the first evidence to support the theory, and in 2009 she found more evidence that confirmed it.

Fifth Marriage (age 64-74/79, 1901-1911/16)
Amy Clark (common law wife 1901-1911/16)

The first evidence of this relationship Anne had found, in about 2000, was the 1910 birth certificate and the 1911 death certificate for a child, Donald Anthony Cheeper. The informant on the birth entry, dated 27 April 1910, was Anthony Jacques Cheeper, commercial traveller (books). He would have been 72 at the time. She was 31. The birth and death certificates showed an address in Sheffield.

When the 1911 Census became available early, in January 2009, Anne discovered that the relationship had started much earlier.

Amy had a child out of wedlock and hence registered in her own surname (confusingly, Clark, no 'e'), on 22 Feb 1901.

Less than 14 months later, she had a second on 15 Apr 1902, nominally in wedlock with Anthony Clarke. The first child was in the household, and was known all his life by the surname Clarke (with an 'e'), implying that Anthony somehow managed to regularise things. This suggests that Anthony had established a household with Amy some time between mid-1900 and early 1902, most likely in mid-1901. Reasonable surmises are:

Amy was born at Eton in 1879, but grew up in Croydon. Croydon is in the south of London, which was Anthony's main stamping-ground from about 1873 until at least 1904.

Amy was very probably a common law wife, as no marriage certificate has been found (although both of Anthony's wives died in 1906, so he was free to marry after that). Amy had a total of 6 children with Anthony between 1901 and 1910, when Anthony was between the ages of 64 and 71, and Amy between 22 and 31. Over the 10 years, the records disclose at least 5 residential addresses.

From 1901 until at least Mar 1907, the children were known as Clarkes in their public entries (although the first child's birth was under Amy's maiden name Clark). They were also known as Clarke throughout their lives; but there was a Cheeper interlude.

Anthony registered the birth of his and Amy's last child in March 1910 as Cheeper, by nominating that as his own and Amy's name. The child died in Jan 1911, aged 10 months, at the same address. The informant this time was Amy, and of course she needed to register the death in the same name as the birth. In the Census next month, April 1911, Anthony listed the whole family as Cheepers.

So some time between the registration of the birth of the 4th child in 1907 and of the birth of the last child in 1910, Anthony reverted from Clarke to Cheeper. It was possibly for nostalgia's sake (although nostalgia was very likely not Anthony's strong suit); or on a whim; or because he made a mistake and felt it better to carry it through; or because he'd lost his marbles. He was 70-73 during that period, and had been running very hard for a very long time. So he may already have been at a fairly low ebb when he was with Amy in Sheffield. I'm inclined towards him making a mistake in the Births Registry office, and preferring to carry it through on the occasional official document after that. (He was responsible for only three more – the child's death in 1911, the census in 1911, and his entry to his final accommodation in 1916).

Further details are available about Amy and her offspring.

Transition – The Last (1911/16-1918)

Anne's found no entry between the 2? April 1911 census and 24 June 1916, by which time he was 78.

In what is called the Creed Book of York Workhouse was found: "Cheeper Anthony Jacques, Born 1937, Admitted (to workhouse) 24.6.1916, CoE, Commercial Traveller, admitted from Central Hotel Micklegate".

Entry to a workhouse implies that he was destitute. We've assumed that he was in receipt of an annuity throughout his life, from the estate of his father, or of a grandparent on the Bokenham side. Had he somehow lost access to it? Or, aged 78, had he forgotten to advise his new address?

He'd been based in York twice:

His death certificate shows that he died 2 years later, on 6 June 1918. It is in the name Anthony Jacques Cheeper. His place of death is given as the York City and District Infirmary, with his address at the time recorded as the Central Hotel, York, V.D. (?). There is a modern hotel in the city of that name, 800m SSE of the Minster.

He is listed as being aged 81 years (although he would have actually been 80-3/4 at the time). The cause of death was listed as senile decay, so imprecision in his age is understandable. E. Jenner, occupier, was present at the death. Under occupation, it said commercial traveller.

In 2005, Anne acquired the register entry from the York cemetery. It shows Anthony as having been a Labourer (a reasonable assumption for an 80-year-old pauper in senile decay). Anthony's Residence is shown as "Workhouse", and the Informant is shown as W. Wainman of 4 Foss Islands Road. This appears to have been Wainman's home, just outside the city wall, 400m east of the present Central Hotel.

Anthony was buried in Grave Number 20120, coordinates b 39, a "Public Grave with 10 occupants" including "2 unregistered stillbirths". Anne and Paul found it in 2006. When I attempted a visit in June 2009, an utterly unhelpful administrator denied me access to a map of the cemetery so I had no way to find it.

A Monument number and a Memorial Inscription are shown for Anthony, but they are spurious, because they relate to another Cheeper, who had died 48 years earlier. (That Cheeper was Anthony's 8th child with his first wife Catherine Spilsbury, Ernest Teakle Cheeper, who died on 5 August 1871, at 7 weeks, of diarrhoea. Anthony was entering into an accommodation with creditors at the time, so Ernest was buried in a "Grave with 10 occupants". The details are Grave Number 2885, coordinates G 18, Monument BB/14/28, Memorial Inscription D/12/02).

It appears that Anthony died alone. The last 2 of his wives were still alive, as were at least 22 and as many as 28 of his 34 children. On the other hand, it would appear that many, and maybe all, of them were treated less than well, and most appear to have been abandoned, at a time when there was no concept of a social safety net. No will has been found. Given that he died in the poorhouse, it's unlikely that there was either a will or assets.

The Cheeper name is (all but) dead. Long live the adopted name Clarke. And long live the rich confusion of human existence, and the diversity and lack of absolutes that it delivers us.


Of Anthony's 34 children:

In early 2009, the tree of Anthony Jacques Cheeper/Clarke shows:

Lists of descendants (not necessarily fully up-to-date with our current knowledge) are available here:

Here is a summary of his 56 grandchildren (and pointers to his 96 great-grandchildren).

Some further details follow (which definitely need re-checking as new information comes to hand!!).

Of the 7 Cheepers who survived childhood:

Of the 17 Clarke children who survived childhood (counting Mary's first as a Clarke, which is how he knew himself):

We're missing a lot of information; and we'd love to know more!

This a page within Roger Clarke's Family Web-Site

Contact: Roger Clarke and/or Anne Kratzmann

Created: 19 October 2005; Last Amended: 27 Nov 2009, 5 Aug 2012, 7 and 20 Jul 2013, 21 Aug 2015, 14 Jan 2017