Thomas Hapgood and Hannah Hanney – married life in England, 1839-1854

Thomas Hapgood was born in 1817 [1] and lived most of his younger life in Marksbury Somerset. He worked as a labourer – presumably on one of the farms in Marksbury – and married Hester Hanney in Walcot, Somerset on 21st April 1839. Hester was born in 1818 [2] and her family also lived in Marksbury. Neither of them could write so they made their “mark” on the paper. The witnesses are not known to be family or friends.

Source: Marriage record Thomas Hapgood and Hester Hanney, 1813, Walcot, Somerset, UK. Via Ancestry.

Thomas and Hester were loving at 4 Barton St, Walcot in Bath at the time. They may have lived close to Barton Fields, as shown on this 1836 map of Bath, although Barton Fields is also outside the official area of the modern day suburb of Walcot within Bath.

Map of Bath 1836 Source: http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~genmaps/genealogy/genfiles/COU_files/ENG/SOM/moule_bath_1836.htm

Their first child Mary Hapgood was born in 1840. She was baptised on 7 Jun 1840 at Holy Trinity Church in Bath. Thomas is working as a labourer and they family are living at 1 Comfortable Place, Bath.

Baptism record for Thomas and Hester Hapgood’s first child, Mary Hapgood, at Holy Trinity Church, Bath, on 7 June 1840. Picture Source: Ancestry.com

A map of Bath in 1888 shows a “Comfortable Place” marked on the map, close to where Barton Fields was marked on the earlier 1840 map.

Map of Bath in 1886 showing “Comfortable Place” just north of the River Avon and marked just to the lower right of the area marked “Lower common”. Source National Library of Scotland. Trinity Holy Church is a few blocks south and “the circle”, and is marked by the letters “Ch” close to a square.  https://maps.nls.uk/view/101460553

To my massive surprise, when I googled “Comfortable place” bath, a google map location came up! Comfortable Place appears to still be there, and whats more it is in the same area as marked on the 1886 map above. We don’t know what number at Comfortable Place the Hapgoods were living at in the 1840s but the building is fairly small overall.

Google maps showing “Comfortable place” still clearly marked..

Google Streetview shows that the building name still appears in stone over the door and the rear lane provides a view of the rear of Comfortable Place.

Comfortable Place, Upper Bristol Road, Bath. Source: Google Streetview.
View of first apartment at Comfortable Place, from Upper Bristol Road, Bath.
View of rear of Comforatble place from Omega lane, showing stone walls and windows and little courtyard. Source: Google Street View

Their second child, William Hapgood, was born in 1842 and baptised at the Bath Holy Trinity church (Church of England) in Somerset, on Jan 16 1842. Thomas is working as a labourer and they family are living at Brook place, Bath.

William Hapgood baptism, 1841, Holy Trinity Bath.. Source: Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1914 via Ancestry.

The Hapgood’s stay at Brook place appears to be less than 6 months, because by the date of the English census in on 6 June 1841, Thomas and Hester are living back at Comfortable Place, Walcot,  Bath with their first daughter Mary who is one year old. Willliam (a 6 month old infant) is not mentioned in this census. Thomas is still working as a labourer, and they also appear to be living with John Hapgood (20) and Eliza Hapgood (15). It seems most likely that they are his young brother and sister, although none of the ages seem to align exactly (in 1841, Thomas was 24, Hester 23, John 21 and Elizabeth 13) so we cant be certain. Given they were most likely still illiterate it seems likely to just be inaccurate estimation and recording of their ages.  There are other people listed as living at the same address, so it may have been a boarding house or inn.

1841 census, Walcot, Bath: Thomas, Hester and Mary, plus John and Eliza. Source: Ancestry

By 1844, Thomas and Hester have moved about 10km west to Burnett, Somerset where he has found more work as a labourer in the parish. Their third child, Richard Hapgood (my great great grandfather) was born in June 1844 at Burnett, Somerset and baptised at St Michaels Church of England in Burnett Somerset on 2 June 1844.,

Richard Hapgood baptism 1844, St Michaels, Burnett, Somerset. Source: Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1914 via Ancestry.
Church of St Michaels, CoE, Burnett, Somerset where Richard, Sarah and presumably Thomas were all baptised between 1844-1849. © Copyright ChurchCrawler and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence. See also http://www.keynshamparish.org.uk/st-michaels-church-burnett/st-michaels-burnett/

There does not appear to be a record for the baptism of Thomas Hapgood (Junior) born about 1846, but his younger sister Sarah Elizabeth Hapgood was baptised at the same church – St Michaels in Burnett, Compton – on 7 Jan 1849, so presumably Thomas Jnr was baptised here also.

Sarah Elizabeth Hapgood baptism, St Michaels, Burnett Somerset, 1849. Source: Somerset, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1914 via Ancestry.

Sarah Elizabeth Hapgood was the youngest child of Thomas and Hester Hapgood, and a few years later in 1854 the whole family would emigrate to Australia as assisted immigrants.

Between the birth of Richard in 1844 and Sarah in 1849, Thomas and Hester’s first born daughter, Mary, is believed to have died in 1846 at only 6 years of age (ancestry family tree information, no death or burial certificate located so far).  It certainly seems that she did not make it to adulthood as she is not listed in the 1851 census and did not emigrate to Australia with the rest of the family.

[1] Based on ages in 1841 and 1851 England census (Marksbury, Somerset), Thomas Hapgood was born in 1817. This is consistent with the estimate age on his immigration to Australia. He was baptised three years later in 1820.

[2] Baptism records for Hannah Hanney at Marksbury show she was baptised in 1818 and this is consistent with the 1851 census above. However Immigration records on the Lady Ann list her as being 10 years older than her husband Thomas. I presume this an error, and that she was about the same age as Thomas.

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