WELCOME TO THE BAYLISS LINE. This blog has been created for my family. By "my family" I mean all those who are related to the Bayliss family either by blood, marriage or even relationship. There are, of course, other Bayliss families not related to us but this blog has at its heart a very specific family who had their origins in Gloucestershire. I am connected to that family because my mother was a Bayliss and it was her curiosity that started my research back in the early 1990's. So, what are you likely to see on this blog? Well, as it is a blog, I want it to be as entertaining as possible rather that a dry listing of facts (that is for Ancestry.com). I will, hopefully, be posting entries on our ancestors and relatives, on the places where they lived, and the historical times they lived through. I have an extensive collection of photographs of people and places which I will, of course, be sharing.

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Saturday, 8 September 2012


The first member of the Brown Family that concerns us is Matthew Hill Brown.
Matthew was born at Barnard's Castle, County Durham on 27 August 1786, to John Brown (1765-1837)and his wife Margaret. John was probably a cabinet maker as this is the trade that young Matthew was to follow and such trades are usually passed from father to son. In later years Matthew would be listed on census forms as an organ and piano forte maker. He probably was engaged in the construction of the wooden cases rather the musical workings of the instruments.

By 1815 we find Matthew is the south of England, living in Dover, Kent, and it is there that he marries his first wife Amelia. The following year Amelia gives birth to their first child, John Alexander (1816-1874). Two more children follow, Matthew (1818-1874) and Eliza in 1821. As we know that Amelia died in 1821 it was probably during childbirth or from complications resulting from it.

Dover, Kent, circa 1800
Within a few years Matthew remarried. His new bride was the curiously named Belisaint Whitmarsh (1791- 1872) who would bear Matthew at least two more children, Henry in 1826 and Belisaint in 1828. The younger Belisaint seems to have been known as Melisant and, even more curiously, had the middle names Medyet Killett.

In the 1841 census Matthew is  as living at 22 North Street in the village of Lexden near Colchester while his son Matthew, also a cabinet maker (as is his another son, Henry) lives a few doors away with his wife Rebecca. By a strange coincidence, a few days before I decided to write this piece I traveled to Colchester to visit an old friend and we actually found ourselves in Lexden.  Although formerly a village, Lexden has now been absorbed by the expansion of Colchester.  When I was checking the 1841 census I noted yet another coincidence : North Street (which no longer exists) is listed directly after Mile End Road, Colchester, the very street where my friend lives. As they are both in different parts of town this momentarily confused me - until I realised that the 1841 street listings were alphabetical.
19th Century Lexden
Matthew Hill Brown continued to live and work in Lexden and appears on both the 1851 and 1861 census. In 1871, both in their eighties, Matthew (listed as an Organ Builder) and Belisaint are still together and still living in North Street.  Belisaint died the following year in 1872 and Matthew six years later in 1878, his death being registered in Bosmere, Suffolk.

The story, of course, does not end there. We now turn to Matthew's son, also called Matthew Hill Brown (Hill had been his grandmother Margaret's maiden name).  Like his father and his half brother, Henry, the younger Matthew, is a cabinet maker and, as we saw above, in 1841, he was living with his wife Rebecca in North Street, Lexden. In 1861 his address is given as Golden Acre which was, it seems, adjacent to North Street.  Matthew and Rebecca, in 1861, have six children ranging from Henry, aged seventeen, through eleven year old twins Ellen and John, followed by Matthew, Charles and finally eleven month old baby William. By 1881 The family are at 42 West Stockwell Road and the census lists a granddaughter, Lilley, at the address and a lodger, Henry William Burrows - a china and glass packer.  Of the Brown children Charles is working as an upholsterer and William as a wine and spirits cellarman.  Another of the children is of particular interest. This is Matthew, full name - like his father - Matthew Hill Brown.  On 25 July 1877, twenty-four year old Matthew joined the British Army Service Corp.at Westminster, London,  He would serve in the army for twelve years, until 25 July 1889. In 1881 he was a corporal stationed in Aldershot. His family's wood working skills were put to good  use as he trained as a "Wheeler" or Wheelwright.  In 1884, presumably while stationed in Devon, he married Elizabeth Susan Leaman at Stoke Demerel  (i.e.Devonport) When he left the army the couple moved to West India Dock, Plumstead where he is listed as a carpenter in 1891. His children are named as Walter, Alice and George.  His death is recorded in West Ham in 1937.

Winsley Square, Colchester, where Matthew Hill Brown
was living in 1901
We now return to his father, the earlier Matthew, who, in 1901 has moved to Winsley Square, Colchester.  Rebecca is dead and  39 year old, Welsh born, Emily Rowan is listed as Matthew's  wife. So far I have failed to find any registration of a marriage between Matthew and Emily.  There is a handwritten notation on the census form which is difficult to read but it seems to indicate that Emily is at that time a patient in the Female Hospital - although this is unclear. Forty-nine year old Caroline Davey is listed as Matthew's housekeeper. Matthew died in 1909.

 In the next part of the story will follow his son Henry Whitmarsh Brown who was Alva and Alvin's great-grandfather.


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