This directory contains information and documents about Mary Wanless, second (common law) wife of Anthony (Jacques) Clarke/Cheeper (1837-1918), and their children.
For further details of Catherine’s very interesting husband Anthony, including his families with other wives, see the AJCheeper/Clarke directory.
Mary's birth certificate shows that she was born on 25 August 1846 at 132 Princes Road, Lambeth (inner-west London). Her father was Joshua Paul Wanless, whose occupation was publisher, and her mother was Martha Wanless formerly Moorhouse. Joshua appears to have been 55, hence born c. 1791. Joshua and Martha were married in Gawsworth, Cheshire. Here is information about Mary's forebears, assembled from several sources.
Mary is recorded with her family in the 1851 census, aged 4, at 31 King Street, St Saviour. Martha died in 1853, when Mary was only 6. In 1856, Kelly's Court Directory records Joshua as being at 93 Up Stamford Street (but that was presumably his business address).
In April 1871, she was governess in the Cheeper-Spilsbury household in York. She would have been 24, but the census records her as being 27. It also shows her as having been born in Brixton, Surrey, some miles east of her actual birthplace. (Census enumerators were responsible for many inaccuracies – especially when dealing with a head of household like Anthony).
By the beginning of 1873, Mary was carrying Anthony's child. Harold was born in late September 1873. He was registered as a Wanless (which reflects the fact that he was born out of wedlock). The photograph above is presumably from early 1874, when Mary was 27 and Harold some months old. As someone remarked, she looks "young in body and old in spirit". The photo has been in the possession of one of Mary's great-grandsons, Richard Clarke, in Auckland since at least 1955. A copy came to me via Geoff Clarke.
There is no evidence that Mary and Anthony were ever married. He was already married to Catherine (Spilsbury), so it would have been a bigamous marriage in any case.
Mary's father, Joshua Paul Wanless, died in July 1877, at the age of 86. The executors were Joshua Charles Wanless, his son, a merchant's clerk, and Anthony Jacques Cheeper, of St Paul's Chambers, 15A Paternoster Row in the City of London, Commercial Traveller. The will was proven on 22 September 1877. The estate was only "Effects under £450".
It appears that Anthony changed the names of himself and Mary to Clarke very soon after 22 Sep 1877 and no later than 30 Oct 1877. (He appears in the documents relating to Joshua's death as Cheeper, and as Clarke on Ethel May's birth certificate, registered 34 days after her birth on 26 Sep 1877). This had ramifications for young Harold, discussed below.
Mary and Anthony had a total of 3 offspring, b. 1873-1879, all of whom survived childhood.
Over a period of 10 years from 1873 to 1882, Mary and Anthony appear to have lived in inner west London, not far from Mary's origins in Lambeth, with at least 5 residential addresses
In the April 1881 census (left, right), at 34, Mary was with Anthony (occupation publisher) and their three children at Grosvenor House in Ealing. There were two servants, one a Companion / Lady Help (who was to be pregnant to Anthony shortly after Mary's death, and would become his bigamous wife). Mary was presumably chronically ill at the time.
Mary died on 5 March 1882, at the age of 35, from Brights disease (a vague term for inflammatory or degenerative kidney disease). Her death certificate said her illness had been of 4 years duration. Anthony was the informant. The address appears to be 13 Nield (?) or Frisk (?) Road, Lambeth(?). Geoff Clarke has a memorial card calling her 'Pop'.
Some information is provided below on each of Mary and Anthony's 3 children:
Harold c. 1877, at c. 4
Harold in 1916, at 43
Harold Wanless was born on 29? 23? Sep 1873, in Kensington. Curiously, he appears to have never found his birth entry, and believed that his birth wasn't registered. But it was.
The problem was that he understood he was born as a Clarke. In fact, he was born out of wedlock, and was therefore registered as Wanless. Here is a copy of the birth certificate that he never knew he had. The use of Mary's maiden name, combined with the absence of "formerly <name>" indicate a birth out of wedlock. Until about the 1970s, that automatically meant that the child's surname was that of the mother.
On the birth certificate, Harold's father is shown as Anthony Jacques Cheeper, commercial traveller. Their address is shown as 7 Kenilworth Terrace, Notting Hill, Kensington Town. (There no longer appears to be such a street – assuming that there ever was one; although there is one in Cheam on the southern edge of London).
Anthony was known as Cheeper until 1877, when Harold was 3-1/2. Thereafter the whole family was known as Clarke. Harold's mother died when he was 8, and perhaps neither she nor his father ever told him about the Cheeper name, although presumably he knew his mother's maiden name was Wanless.
Harold is in the Clarke-Wanless household in the April 1881 census (left, right), at age 7. His mother died 11 months later. From 8 to perhaps 16, he was presumably in the household of his father's next wife, Emma Terry/Clarke. His relations on the Wanless side were few and distanced. And, given the conservatism of the times about such matters, perhaps he never wanted to know about the murky past he had inherited with his father. To add to the confusion, both the official index to the Birth Register and the FreeBMD index contain entries under both Wanless and Cheeper – so a few observers, and even the officials, have been confused by this over the years.
He married on 29 Jan 1893, at 21, to Minnie Rebbecca Vale, at St. Mary Magdalene, Southwark, London. The marriage certificate shows him as being a Salesman, of Warner Street, Norwood. His father is shown as Anthony Clarke, Traveller. (In 1893, Harold's father was 54, and living only a few miles south-east of Southwark, in Lewisham).
Minnie had been the cook in the same household in the Census 2 years earlier. She was shown as being 24 (so b. 1869), of the same address, and daughter of Henry Reuben Vale, deceased.
In the 1901 Census, the family was at 20 Crofton Park Rd, Brockley Lewisham, with children numbers 1, 3 and 4 (Gordon would have been 5 or 6, but had died aged 3).
In the 1911 Census, they were at 35 Minard Rd Catford (2 miles SE), aged 38 and 40. With them were their children 1. Harold Ernest, 16, draper shop assistant, 3. Violet aged 12, 4. Doris ahed 10, 5. Stanley aged 8 and 6. Gladys aged 5. 2. Gordon had died in 1899 and Irene/Elsie in 1908, at Peckham a couple of miles north.
Harold and Minnie had 7 children, 2 of whom had further children. They were:
Harold's grandson Geoff provided me with the three photos of Harold that are on this page, having acquired copies of them from his brother Richard. The uniform he's wearing in the photo from the time of World War I is that of a Special Police Constable.
Harold left Minnie, date not known.
Harold then married Clara Bryant, who had a daughter Betty, believed to be his.
Minnie died of cancer in January 1927, at 58, still rueing Harold's departure.
Harold Wanless/Cheeper/Clarke died 10 April 1949, aged 75, at Poole Dorset.
Ethel May was born on 26 Sep 1877 (1 day before Anthony's 40th birthday), and the birth was registered 34 days later, on 30 Oct 1877.
The birth certificate shows that the family was at 32 St Mary's Rd, Willesden (West London, presumably in the suburb of Harlesden NW10). Ethel's mother is shown as Mary Clarke formerly Wanless, and her father is shown as Anthony Clarke, profession commercial traveller.
This is the first appearance in any public records whatsoever of Anthony Clarke, commercial traveller. Only a couple of weeks earlier, another commercial traveller, Anthony Jacques Cheeper, had been apparently co-habiting with the heavily pregnant Mary, and becoming executor for her deceased father. And in the 1881 and 1891 censuses, Anthony Clarke claimed Anthony Jacques Cheeper's son Harold as his own. The reasonable inference is that the two Anthonys are the same person. The evidence is consolidated in a separate document.
She was also in the Clarke-Terry household in the 1891 census, at 13.
Geoff Clarke said that Ethel was a nurse in Minehead (Cornwall).
In the 1911 Census, Anne found her working in South Eastern Hospital, Avonlea Rd, New Cross SE, Greenwich, as a staff nurse. The entry says age 32 (rather than the 33 she should have been) but born Willesden.
She died of cancer on 13 July 1939, aged 62. Anne has found her likely death registry entry, in Sep Qtr 1939, at Wandsworth.
Stanley was born on 25 Jun 1879.
His birth certificate shows that the family was at Grosvenor House, Ealing, Brentford (West London). His mother was shown as Mary Clarke formerly Wanless. His father was shown as Anthony Clarke, commercial traveller. The informant was Anthony.
He was in the Clarke-Terry household at Deal (on the south coast of Kent near Dover), in the 1891 census, at 11.
On 25 Apr 1901, he married Zipporah Bushell, 25, at Congregational Chapel, High St., Deal, Eastry, Kent. He was shown as being 22 (actually 21), Joiner journeyman, of 4 East Street, Herne Bay. Stanley's father is shown as Anthony Jakes Clarke, Commercial Traveller. In 1901, Anthony was 63, and in South Norwood (south London), not all that far from Herne Bay (on the Thames estuary) and not far from Deal.
She was shown as being of 196 Beach Street in Stanley's old home town of Deal, daughter of William Wilkins Bushell, Licensed Victualler.
Geoff Clarke says Stanley remained a builder in Herne Bay (on the Kent Coast, north of Canterbury). Geoff says his wife was known in the family as Aunt Bouncer.
Stanley and Zipporah had no children. Richard Clarke recalls visiting him in Herne Bay in the late 1940s, and that family wasn't seen as a proper topic of conversation. Geoff Clarke remembers being told not to say too much, because he was nosy and always asking questions if given the opening.
Stanley died in 1956.
Harold and May had two children, whose photos are below:
Order of Ceremony
Original Poems, Photos
Cycling, always cycling
Well, almost always
So Geoff and Richard are half-second-cousins to myself and Anne Kratzmann. And our kids have half-third-cousins, if they ever feel like tracking them down. (Hey, an Australian backpacker is never quite sure when they might need a bed in a place like Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Okay, Anne's 4 'kids' were born 1966-71, 2 have retired from the pro tennis circuit to Hong Kong and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, and 2 are elsewhere in south Queensland; and my 2 were born in 1980 and 1983 and are still in Canberra. But any of them might get the travel bug again, who knows?!).
The two Roger Clarkes are half-second-cousins, once removed. We're both in the I.T. industry – a hazard of the late 20th century. The elder lives near the Molonglo (which is now more about government than about fine merino fleece), and the younger on Tyneside (which is now more about silicon than coal). Anne, like Jill, and like Leslie, was a teacher - another hazard maybe?
Geoff in 2004
Richard in 2004
Stanley (1902-1976) married Eileen Doris Prior (1906-1996).
They had two children:
We're missing a lot of information; and we'd love to know more!
This a page within Roger Clarke's Family Web-Site
Created: 30 October 2005; Last Amended: 9 March 2013