#52ancestors (Wk21): Brick Wall – Charles Barrett and Jane Mary Trudgett; George Phillips and Lucy Lawrence

A sprinkling of brick dust on this week’s genealogy post. To build a brick wall requires a bricklayer. To source the bricks involved originally requires a brickmaker. My family tree has that covered. Both trades can be found among the couples that make up my sixteen sets of 3x great grandparents. They can be found on my Mum’s side of the family, so it made sense to build up more of a picture of their lives when Week 21’s theme for the #52Ancestors project was set as ‘Brick Wall’.

Large daisies in a wildflower meadow bordering a standard brick wall at the front of a garden on a housing estate.
A brick wall in a front garden, in front of a wildflower border of large daisies.

First, focusing on the bricklayer, Mum’s Dad’s Dad’s Mum’s parents, my 3x great grandparents Charles Barrett (1820-1894) and Jane Mary Trudgett (1826-1895). The couple settled in Lee, Lewisham, South East London, but they met and were married in the area of Suffolk where they were both born and grew up. He came from the village of Great Thurlow, she from Little Thurlow. He was already a bricklayer by the age of 21 years in the 1841 Census, as was one of his brothers, when they still lived with their widowed mother Kezia in Great Thurlow.

Charles was born on 20 October, 1820. He married Jane Mary Trudgett on 26 June, 1846 in Little Thurlow, which was in the Risbridge Hundred of Suffolk. In the 1851 Census, the married couple were living in Little Thurlow with two daughters, but by the 1861 Census, they had moved to LondonChurch Street, Lee. Presumably, there was much more work for a bricklayer in a growing capital city. The couple appear to have had 11 children, including my 2x great grandmother Julia Barrett (1856-1918), who would go on to marry Joseph Holland (1850-1914), settling in nearby Deptford/Greenwich.

Charles was still a bricklayer on the last appearance I can find for him on the 1881 Census at the age of 60 years, when he was living at Park Street, Lewisham. He died on the same date he was born, 20 October, but in 1894. He appears to have spent much of the last five years of his life in the workhouse, attributed to illness. He was admitted there again on the day of his death.

Second comes the focus on the brickmaker. Mum’s, Mum’s, Mum’s, Mum’s parents were George Phillips (1840-1905) and Lucy Lawrence (1843-1896), also my 3x great grandparents. In this case, it was Lucy’s family that were brickmakers. She came from Hazeley, Hampshire. Her father was George Lawrence (1805-1863) and her mother Elinor Cooper (1809-1856). He was a brickmaker, and in the 1861 Census, Lucy (aged 19) is listed specifically as a brickmaker’s daughter, living at home with her widower father George, a 54 year old at Hazeley Bottom.

An image completely full, left to right, top to bottom, of a brick wall, bricks and mortar.
Brick Wall.

It transpires that Hazeley Bottom, now a quiet hamlet not far from where I live was once a centre of brick and tilemaking, stretching back to Tudor times. I had no idea. There were extensive clay pits excavated nearby, necessary for raw materials, and bricks made in local kilns were likely to have been used in the construction of many of the nearby substantial country houses and mansions, such as at Bramshill House (the former police college), and The Vyne, near Basingstoke. The trade has long since died out in the area, although there is still a brick named after a nearby natural landmark – the ‘Hazeley Heath Facing’ – mid-brown with warm orange undertones and flecks of black!

Lucy Lawrence married George Phillips on 5 October, 1863 in the parish church at Mattingley. His family came from the same area, having lived at a farm called Holdshott, the ancient name for the local hundred, and at Hazeley Leas by the 1851 Census, with his Mum, a laundress, soon after his father, an agricultural labourer had died. George and Lucy went on to have seven children, including my 2x great grandmother Rhoda Phillips (1876-1958). I wrote about her in Week 4.

A rather formal, professionally taken black and white photo of my great, great grandmother in which she looks relatively young. She is standing alongside a low plinth on which there is a basket of flowers, which her hand is on. Her dark formal dress comes in tight at the waist, and she has lace around her neckline. There is a dining room chair in the background.
My 2x great grandmother, Rhoda Phillips.

George and Lucy initially settled in nearby Dipley by the 1871 Census, then West Green Cottages just as close-by in the 1881 Census and 1891 Census. Lucy died in the tail end of 1896. Her widower husband George was last living with one of their married daughters near Potbridge, Winchfield in the 1901 Census before he died in 1905.

A wooden postbox with a metal lid attached to a brick wall.
A postbox on a brick wall, illustrating a #52Ancestors post about a ‘Brick Wall’.

As I’ve mentioned before, for years I had presumed my family tree was a homogenous expanse of agricultural labourers. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the longer I have dug, and the longer I have reflected, the more I have discovered. This latest specialist seam is that of the innocuous brick, and with other local mortar, it’s helping to build up a more interesting set of walls than I’d previously believed were there.

Thank you for reading this week’s #52Ancestors post on the ‘Brick Wall’ theme. If you can shed any light on anything, correct anything I have written, or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me. Hopefully see you for next week’s post.


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