Davidge / Russell? /

Clarke / Davies



This page contains information and documents about Kate Davidge and her forebears. Kate Davidge was born to a peasant family in Dorset. She was presumably known by that name 1865-1883, until the age of 18. But she may have been known at age 10-18, between 1875 and 1883, by the surname Russell, after her mother re-married.

She presumably became a servant in the household of Anthony Clarke in 1881-82 at the age of 16-17, and by mid-1883 was pregnant to him. She bore the first of 11 children to him in February 1884, aged 19. She used the name Clarke from 1883 to 1923, by virtue of her (presumably de facto) marriage to Anthony. He had adopted the name Clarke in the mid-1870s, and reverted to his earlier name of Cheeper some time after 1904 and before 1910.

Kate had 11 children by Anthony between 1884 and 1904 at age 19 to 39, all called by the surname Clarke. Most of her family life she spent in various parts of South London. Anthony abandoned her some time between 1904 and 1910 (by which stage he was 67 to 71), leaving her with a young family to somehow support. She remarried in 1923, and died in 1931.

There are some additional photos of her in this small album.

Closely related pages are:

Kate's Origins (1865-1882?)

Kate Davidge was born on 18 Jan 1865, at Shroton House Fields, at the northern end of the village of Iwerne Courtney, a few miles north of Blandford Forum in Dorset. Here is a copy of her birth certificate. It's rich country now. It was then as well, for landowners; but a lot less so for Kate's family.

Here is her full line back to the late 1500s (a remarkable feat by those who did it, considering the family were rural workers).

Kate's parents, Henry Davidge and Ellen Parham, were, to put it bluntly, illiterate peasants, born c. 1840 and married as minors in 1859. They came from Twyford, Compton Abbas. Here is Kate's immediate-family showing her parents and her siblings. It's complicated – she had 5 full siblings, 3 step-siblings and 5 half-siblings.

After the birth of their first child soon after their marriage, c. 1861, Henry and Ellen moved a few miles south to Iwerne Courtney, where Henry was a brewer's labourer (presumably at what is now the Cricketer's Arms?). There, 4 further children were born, Kate being the 4th of the 6 children of the marriage.

Henry died in 1869, aged 28, when Kate was 4, and before the 6th child was born.

In the April 1871 Census entry p.1 and p.2, Ellen is a widowed head of household, location in Iwerne Courtney unspecified, with the six children – Fred 12, Eliza 10, Emma 8, Kate 6, Alfred 4 and Henry 1. Presumably times were far from easy for the family.

4 years after that, Kate's mother Ellen re-married, to Isaac Russell, on 18 Sep 1875. She was a widow with 6 from 16 down to 5, and he was a widower with 3 children under 9. They had a further 5 children (including, to add to the strain, twins), the last when Ellen was 48, giving Kate 5 full siblings, 3 step siblings and 5 half-siblings – a total of 14 children with an age-spread of 26 years.

In the April 1881 Census entry, the family was "nr. Shroton House". This was a Georigan manor (still extant, and nice), at the northern end of Iwerne Courtney. I originally assumed that their home was a hovel, long gone. In conversation with a local in about 2005, however, I was told that, in that census, "nr. Shroton House" meant the thatched building just across the road from the gate of the manor. Although it would have housed a lot of people, it was anything but a hovel. And the lord of the manor at the time insisted on his workers' children having education (of the reading, writing, 'rithmetic variety, presumably) during the ages of 6-12 or so. So not as bad as I feared.

All of the children in Ellen and Isaac's blended family were listed except Ellen's two eldest daughters (Kate's elder sisters), who were by then 20 and 18. Kate was listed as an unmarried 16yo domestic servant – presumably in Shroton House, and as a 16yo daughter-in-law (what we would now call a step-daughter) of the head of the family, Isaac Russell. Anne also found the 1891 Census (a household of 9), the 1901 Census (a household of just Ellen and second-youngest of 14 children, Bertie, a 19yo Bricklayer's Labourer), and the 1911 Census (for the household of Bertie, Brisklayer, at 28 Shroton, incl. Bertie's wife, and daughter, and Ellen aged 71).

Kate as Servant in a London Household (1882?-1883)

It appears that Kate somehow came into the orbit of Anthony {Jaques} Clarke, a 45-year-old who had a household that was variously in and near London at that time. The only likely manner in which that would have occurred would have been by entering into service in his household.

The date is unclear, but it was after the Census of April 1881 (at 16), most likely after March 1882 (at 17), and before May 1883 (at 18). June 1882 (after Anthony married his governess, Emma Terry, and therefore needed another servant) would seem to be a reasonable possibility.

Anthony (b. 1937, who had used his family name Cheeper until 1877) had 10 children by his first wife Catherine Spilsbury between 1859 and 1877. He set up a second household with a sometime servant, Mary Wanless in 1873, and abandoned Catherine about 1877-78. He had 3 children with Mary, who were born between 1873 and 1879. He contrived to change the names of the all of the Wanless household to Clarke in September-October 1877.

Mary died in March 1882. In June 1882, Anthony married his previous governess, Emma Terry (thereby committing bigamy, because although he was nominally a widower, his first wife Catherine was still alive). The household into which we presume Kate was hired in 1882-83 was probably on the south-eastern fringe of London, perhaps in Bromley (where the marriage took place in June 1882), or Sidcup (where the first of Anthony and Emma's children was born in December 1882).

Kate as 'Wife' and Mother (1883-1904?)

By either mid-May 1883, at 18, or mid-May 1884, at 19, Kate was pregnant to Anthony. The reason for the uncertainty about the date is explained on the page belonging to that first child, Violet.

Anthony appears to have whisked Kate away to Swansea, and later Cardiff. Kate's first-born to him falls between Emma's first-born and second-born. Between 1883 and 1889, he interleaved three children in each household. (It's unclear when he abandoned the Emma Terry household, but probably soon after 1891 – when he was 54, Emma 36, and the 4 children between 2 and 9, and almost certainly before 1901 – when he was 64, Emma 46, and the children between 12 and 19).

It would appear that Kate's household was in Swansea in 1883/84-85 (1 child), then Cardiff 1885-1890/91 (4 children). Their names and birthdates, including links to their own pages are:

  1. Violet Maud(e) Clarke, b. 15 or 16 February 1885 – no birth entry found, but the record of baptism is helpful, almost certainly in Swansea
  2. Ernest Clement Clarke, b. 20 May 1886 – no cert. found, but several other authoritative entries, born 24 Edwards Tce, St John Cardiff
  3. Kate Antoinette Clarke, b. 27 Sep 1887 (cert found), born at Shrotonville, Edwards' Terrace, St John Cardiff. ('Shrotonville' is almost certainly a concoction of Anthony's, playing with the name of the house in Dorset where Kate had been a servant)
  4. Frederick William Clarke, b. 18 Nov 1888 (cert found), born at 24 Edwards Tce, St John Cardiff
  5. Edward Bertie Clarke, b. 23 Jan 1890 (cert found), born at 24 Edwards Tce, St John Cardiff

The address in Cardiff no longer exists, following urban renewal; but there is still a St John St.

The household apparently moved between February 1890 and April 1891, because the next record we've found is from the Census of April 1891, left-side and right-side, by which time they were all at 282 Ivydale Rd, Brockley, Lewisham, on the then south-eastern outskirts of London. In two of many little mysteries:

The photo at the top of this page presumably dates from some time around 1892. Details of its source, and speculation about when it was taken, are on a nearby web-page.

During the following 12 years, she had a further 6 children, at three known addresses around south-east London:

Kate eventually managed to get children 3 (Kate) to 8 (Victoria) baptised on 17 Oct 1897 (aged 10 down to 6 weeks). Anne found the Baptism record on 17 Oct 1897 at Waverley Park Mission, Nunhead. That was 500m north along Ivydale Rd, at c. no. 151. It was built only in 1895-96, and became St Silas 1903-1960. It's now a Seventh Day Adventist Church. The family was still at 282 Ivydale Rd – confirming at least Apr 1891 to Oct 1897 there. Those 6-1/2 years are the longest time Anthony was associated with an address in his entire life. He is recorded as a Commercial Traveller. Child 5 (born Edward Bertie) was baptised as Bertie Frank. Child 7 (Lawrence, born 6 May 1896) was recorded as Laurence born 28 May 1896. Child 8 (Victoria, born, we thought ?28 Aug 1997) was recorded as born 27 Aug 1897. A mother seems unlikely to make a mistake with a child's name (and probably not even a birthdate). So perhaps Anthony was present and dominating proceedings.

The household structure is confirmed by the 1901 Census (page 1, page 2), which shows:

So, between 1884/85 (at 19/20) and 1904 (at just 39), Kate bore 11 children to Anthony, and lived at at least 5 residential addresses. There's no evidence that Anthony ever married Kate (and plenty of reasons to assume that he didn't, the risk of a second bigamy offence among them). But, as he'd done with Mary Wanless, he used Clarke for himself, his wife and his children, and Birth Registrars consistently acted as though the two were married.

Kate as Abandoned Mother (1904?-1923)

Anthony abandoned Kate and their children some time between 1901/04 (when he was 64/67) and 1910 (71). It's quite possible that his entrepreneurial energy had ebbed, and he was unable to keep the money flowing. In 1904, Kate was 39 and still had 6 children under 14. (In 1904, even in the previously-abandoned Terry family, the youngest was still only 15).

We have only limited knowledge of Kate's whereabouts 1904-23 (at age 39-58). (There was nothing in Dorset for her, although Anne's recently acquired postcards that suggest that she and some of her family may have holidayed with a Dorset sister in Bournemouth and/or Iwerne Courtney from 1900 to as late as 1950).

Kate's last child, Rudolph Clarke, b. 1904, was baptised on 20 Mar 1910 at St Aldhelm's, Branksome, on the Poole (western) end of Bournemouth. So it appears that Kate may have sustained contact – or perhaps had to re-establish it – with one or more of her Dorset siblings or cousins. Anne's research suggests Kate was in contact with her 3-year-older sister Eliza Davidge m. Merrifield (1862-1950), who lived in Bournemouth and died in Poole. (That's because Rue's son David remembers holidaying with an aunt in Bournemouth, and Anne's eliminated the other options).

In the 1911 Census, Kate's with her eldest daughter Violet (Kay), at 2 Alexandra (Rd), Hornsey, in central-north London. She's shown as 46, married (possibly implying that she knew Anthony was still alive), and has with her her youngest children Vera 13 and Rudolph 7.

Only 1 of Kate's 11 children died young, and all 10 outlived her. But during her lifetime none flourished, and she was presumably in dire financial straits, particularly 1904-10. (Her youngest son established a successful business after WWII, but that was 15 years after her death).

Vivian reports that Aunt Vera (1898-1996) remembered how her mother used to feed a tramp who sat opposite their house at 192 Harringay Rd, Tottenham. This was presumably sometime in the period 1911-20, but clearly after 1904 (when Vera was 6) and 1911 (at 13), and probably before Vera moved in with Francis Bedford, which was presumably c. 1918-22 (when Vera was 20-24). In 1923, Kate presumably moved in with her second husband (see below). He lived further along, at 62 Harringay Rd. However, the 192 Harringay address was still in the family on 1 Jan 1928, because that's the home-address given for Kate's youngest son, Rue, on his marriage certificate.

Anthony died worn out and penniless in York in 1918, at 81. But Kate quite possibly didn't know where he was, or even whether he was still alive. Vivian told us in early 2006 that Aunt Vera said that Kate didn't accept Anthony Clarke’s estate, because she had been deserted when he went off with the maid – this was their poverty period, but pride was more important. (The evidence we have of Anthony's death in 1918 suggests that the existence of any estate was wishful thinking on someone's part).

Unsuccessful Remarriage (1923-31)

Kate remarried a Philip Davies of 62 Haringey Rd Tottenham on 2 May 1923. It appears he was not a nice man.

Anne found Philip's origins in 2016.
He was b. 1865, in Kerry, and was there aged 16 in the 1881 Census.
He m. Jane Eliza Evans Mar qtr 1888 (Forden 11b 243). Jane was b. 1867.
In the 1901 Census they were in Tottenham, he an art metal worker, with 6 children b. 1889-1899.
In the 1911 Census, they were still in Tottenham, he a blacksmith, 46 married to Jane, with 3 daughters
(Charlotte, Florence and Eva), son Philip b. 1895, also a blacksmith, and a younger son John, b. Harringay.
(Florence 1892, Philip 1895 and Eva 1899, were shown as b. Birmington, which appears not to exist. Birmingham?).
Presumably Jan d. <1923 when she would have been 58.

Vivian Watson says that when Kate remarried to Philip, the doctor said she was worn out.

Kate witnessed her 7th son Laurance's marriage certificate in 1924 (as K. Davies – which is what enabled Anne Kratzmann to re-discover the last few official entries for her).

Tony has a vague memory of having been taken by Willie Tony to meet Kate when he was 5-10 years old, i.e. c. 1924-29. He can't recall catching a train to get there. (Did she go to Portsmouth?!). He can clearly distinguish that from a similar meeting with his Grandma Roberts in the New Forest (when he can remember taking a train).

Dorothy (the then 5-year-old daughter of Kate's 7th child Laurance) used to visit Kate with her parents around 1930, and says that Phillip Davies treated Kate very badly.

Kate's death certificate shows that she died on 20 Dec 1931, aged 66. Her last home was 146 Sinclair Rd, London E4, 3 miles east of her previous address. Cause of death was shown as "i.a. myocarditis. No P.M." (or similar). Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle. I infer that "i.a." may been "inter alia", i.e. 'among other things'. Presumably code for 'no autopsy required'.

She hadn't had an easy life, and from the turn of the century onwards, how did she make ends meet?? Would her life have been any more comfortable if she'd stayed in Dorset?

Kate's Davidge and Parham Lines

Kate's Davidge forebears:

Kate's Parham forebears:

In October 2004, Anne Kratzmann acquired photos of some members of the Davidge clan in Dorset. They were provided by John Baker, who descends from Thomas (Kate's uncle, 1835-1911) and Eliza Bench. So our common ancestor is Kate's grandfather Morris (1798-1877), and John is a 4th cousin of Anne and myself:

That's all we've got; 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: 2 Oct 2005; Last Amended: 26 Apr 2009, rev. addresses 9 Sep 2009, birthdates chn 1 and 2 – 4 Aug 2012, 1881 census and death cert added 10 Feb 2013, more on Ellen's household 8-13 Feb 2016, 24 Feb 2016 (1897 baptisms), 17 Apr 2016 (Philip's origins), 7 Feb 2017 (Lily's birth and death)