Ellen Annie Robinson 1861 - 1928


1861 Born in Shelley, Ongar, Essex, on 25/01/1861. Parents:  Francis Robinson 1834- 1890 (Occupation Butler Domestic Servant on b.c. BR3) and Elizabeth Annie Rousell (1838 – 1903). She was the 2nd child of 10. Her mother's maiden name is entered incorrectly on her b.c.-Rosevelle? No baptism record in Shelley


Her parents were married in Shelley on 7/10/1858.   Family lore (from Ellen Annie’s granddaughter, Joan Turner) was that Ellen Annie’s mother - Elizabeth Rousell - had come from a ‘good’ family and had run off with a groom. This does not seem to be true (the Rousells were agricultural labourers like the Robinsons – the only ‘higher’ occupation being that given on the 1858 marriage cert.: of ‘farm bailiff’ for James Rousell), but she would have needed her parents’ permission to marry (as she was under 21 – m.c. says 19, but she must have been 20) and maybe they did not like Francis, indeed a groom in his youth and again in his latter years..

Siblings that survived : 2 others died within a year of birth.

1861 Census. Family living as lodgers at Three Hants Way, Beer House, Shelley in the house of Mr. Ridgewell, a shoemaker.[Shelley Dist 8, p3 of 8]. I have not located this, but looking at the census I think that it is just south of Shelley Lodge on the road NNW from Ongar towards Leaden Roding. Probably called the Red Cow on the 1881 map. Maybe Francis was a butler at Shelley Lodge.

Francis  Robinson  26  lodger,  Butler, b. Oxfordshire. Chilson
Elizabeth   21 b. Kent, Barham
Walter 18mths b. Ongar
Ellen    1mth   b. Shelley



1863 - 1865 Family moved from Shelley to Stanford Rivers. She would have attended Stanford Rivers School for 6 to 8 years (check ERO for attendance book - does not exist!]).

1871 Census. Living at Brook Cottages, Stanford Rivers, Ongar.  Ellen’s mother & brother, Walter, are missing from this listing & I cannot find Walter anywhere. Elizabeth is in Barham with her mother. In 2008 I found the surviving one of Brook Cottages. This is to the north of the church. On a 1881 map there are buildings shown here, but no name given. The owner of the current modern house said that there had been about three cottages, but only the one remains in a quite delapidated condition. 8 families listed as living at Brook Cottages in 1871.

Brook Cottages, Stanford Rivers in 2008

Francis   Robinson 39  Farmer of 40 acres employing 2 labs.   b. Chilson 
Ellen     8   b. Shelley
Frank    7 b. Shelley
Edwin 5    b. Stanford Rivers
Charles   3   b. Stanford Rivers
Florence  2   b. Stanford Rivers


. . .hatfield-broad-oak-map

Stanford Rivers Church. . . . . . . . . Map showing Stanford Rivers, Shelley, just to north of High Ongar, and Hatfield Broad Oak . . . . . . . . .

1872-1875 Between the ages of 11 & 14, her family move to Hatfield Broad Oak. Youngest sibling Robert William Robinson was born, 5/7/1875, in Broad Street, Hatfield Broad Oak. And his father Francis was given as "inn keeper": this was the Feathers Inn.. Ellen Annie was maybe at school here for a year or so before she went into service


House in Broad Street, Hatfield Broad Oak where Robinsons lived 1875. This building was thought to be the Feathers Inn.

1881 Census. Living as a domestic servant, aged 19, at 55, The Chase, Clapham, home to Joseph Simpson, Financial Secretary. There seems to have been a decline in her father’s fortunes as he is now also living in Clapham, with most of his family, but, once again, not his wife, as a Stableman. Her brother, Walter, 23, is a Cabman in Fulham.

Ellen A. Robinson 19 
Domestic Servant   b. Shelley

1887. Her brother,Walter dies 4/08/1887..( Information in family bible. Have also now got his d.c. DR0 )

st.lukes3 st.lukes4

St Lukes Church, Chelsea, visited in 2012, the bi-centenary of Charles Dickens, who married there in 1836. Map shows both Elm Park Gardens & Onslow Gardens, 1881 home of Walter

1887  She marries Walter Mead in St. Lukes Church, Chelsea. 8/10/1887. Her residence at the time of marriage is ‘50 Elm Park Gardens’. His is ‘ Gt. Dunmow, Essex’.  Her father, Frank Robinson, is given as horse keeper & his, Thomas Mead, as ‘No Occupation’. Walter is a Publican. Witnesses are Charles Howard & Florence Isabel Robinson, her siblings.


Why did she get married in Chelsea?  Almost certainly since she was then working at 50 Elm Park Gardens. She would then have returned to live in Dunmow, at the Wheatsheaf. Her parents in law had vacated the pub and moved to Church End, G.D., which is where Thomas Mead died, one month later, on 17/11/1887.

From here until 1908 her life is identical to her huband's, Walter Mead.

1888. Florence Helena Mead, born 25/10/1888 ( recorded in family bible). Always known in the family as Topp.

1890. Edith Constance Mead, born 11/02/1890 ( recorded in family bible) at the Wheatsheaf Inn. Birth Certificate, BM4, gives her father Walter as "inn keeper".


Ellen Annie Mead/Robinson in 1919 with her granddaughter, Margery Davies

1891 Census. Living at North Street, Wheat Sheaf. Her parents in law had left the Wheatsheaf in 1887 & moved to Church End, Dunmow: Elizabeth Mead, widow, with youngest son, Benjamin, 19, & Elizabeth Goodey (Susannah’s eldest), 2, is still there on census day.

Walter  Mead 28  Brewer. b. Gt.Dunmow
Ellen A 27  wife.  b. Ongar
Alfred 24  brother. Brewer. b. Gt.Dunmow
Florence E. 2 daughter. b. Gt. Dunmow
Edith C. 1 daughter. b. Gt. Dunmow




Wheatsheaf, 38 North Street, Dunmow-after 1901 reconstruction

1895. Ellen Annie Mead born 18/10/1895.

1901 Census. Living at the Wheat Sheaf Inn, North St. Dunmow

Walter Mead   38 Publican  b. Gt. Dunmow
Ellen A 37    b.  Ongar
Florence H.  12    b.  Gt. Dunmow
Edith C.         11    b.  Gt. Dunmow
Ellen A.  5    b.  Gt. Dunmow

1908. Walter Mead dies of TB, 4/3/1908. She, Ellen, still has the building of the Wheat Sheaf, but family lore said she was unable, being female, to run it as a pub. This was not true—there are lots of female publicans given in the Post Office’s 1895 list. (There are 9 Dunmow pubs in this but not the Wheat Sheaf – why?).  She also has the charge of 3 daughters, aged 12 to 19.

1911C. Aged 48, widow, Innkeeper, employer, married 23 years, 3 children, 3 alive, living with Edith, 21, dressmaker, Ellen, 15, dressmaker, William Turner, 22, visitor, carpenter & joiner, Henry Prior, 45, servant, ostler and 2 lodgers, one Thomas Pratt, 39, occupation?, granduncle of Jill Joslin- Genes & email, in the Wheatsheaf Inn with 10 rooms.


The family thought that she ran the Wheatsheaf just as a guesthouse, but it is listed, in Kelly’s, from 1908 to 1917 as a pub. Perhaps she ran it as a pub for a while & then just as a guesthouse?  And then just as her own residence? Col Tom Gibbons is said to have owned the property: he, aged 37, brewer, was living next door, at North House, in 1911C.

1912. Middle daughter, Edith Constance, married [from the Wheatsheaf], to William George Turner..

1915. Granddaughter Joan Turner born at the Wheatsheaf

1916. Eldest daughter, Florence [Topp] married in Great Dunmow to a completely unrelated William George Turner .

1917. Youngest daughter, Ellen Annie, married to William Davies, 28/4/1917. . . . Granddaughter, Dorothy Turner, born at the Wheatsheaf, to Florence Helena Turner & W G Turner, 22/9/1917

1917-1928.. After her marriage, Ellen[Pett] Davies continued living with her mother until her death, along with husband Billie, daughter Margery, 1918, also born at the Wheatsheaf, and son Lloyd, 1928- Wheatsheaf too.

1918. In Electoral Roll Book-SEAX- she is down with address of the Wheatsheaf. William & Ellen Davies are not listed.

1919. Permission was sought to close the Wheatsheaf- not quite sure of what the below actually means!. It does confirm that Randall, Gibbons & Co were the owners of the property.


Ellen Annie Mead/Robinson with granddaughter Majorie Davies about 1920, so aged ~60.

Look up Electoral Roll books 1919-1928, to see if the Wheatsheaf is still given as her address. & 1929 onwards to see where Pett and husband were.

1921. Ellen Annie Mead made a Will on 27/7/1921, leaving her piano and suite of furniture to Ellen Annie Davies and the restof her furniture and her estate to all 3 daughters in equal measure . Executors were Arthur Willett, tobacconist, of Great Dunmow and her daughter, Ellen Annie Davies . Arthur Willett's son, Frank, was baptised on the same day as her daughter, Ellen Annie, 20/11/1895!!!. Arthur was then a hairdresser.

1928. Her grandchildren, Lionel & Joan Turner (Edith’s children) had very happy memories of holidays spent with their Grannie in Dunmow ( very different from the rest of their childhood) and were devastated when she died on 4/06/1928  of bowel cancer 'carcinoma of rectum No P.M'. Address given is 38, North Street & the informant was E.A.Davies, her youngest daughter. I have the death certificate.DM5 .She was buried on 7/6/1928 in G.D. Churchyard, aged 66, address 38 North Street. Her last grandchild, Thomas Lloyd Davies, was just 5 weeks old.


Her death was recorded in the July Dunmow Deanery Magazine - 'At rest' [cover found by Margery/John in 2011]


Probate was granted 8/8/1928, London, to Arthur Willett, tobaconnist, & Ellen Annie Davies, her youngest daughter, [ these 2 just the executors], effects £385.19.7d. Arthur Willett,1865, was not born in Dunmow, nor was his wife, Sarah, & seemingly no blood relationship. The tobaconnists was in High Street, and Arthur is there in 1891 & 1901Cs. Her address given as Wheatsheaf House. The Will states the net value as £352. 2.6.


She is buried in Great Dunmow Churchyard with her husband Walter. Headstone, erected probably after Pett's 1987 death, is in good shape 2011. But 3 of the 4 dates on it are incorrect!. He was born 1862 and died 1908 and she was born 1861

Gibbons letter 1928

Letter sent to her daughter Ellen Davies just after her death from Colonel Gibbons, owner of the Wheatsheaf. I wonder what the 'many troubles' were.

Extract found in Little Canning Parish Register about WW1 in Dunmow: `On one occasion, in 1915, Zeppelins passed over within a mile of the village and were easily seen from Takeley' note 1914 plans of evacuation in case of invasion, appointment of special constables including rector; 7 July 1917 `Second great air-raid on London. The enemy aircraft, the bursting of our shrapnel, the sound of exploding bombs and shells, were plainly seen and heard in the Rectory grounds'; 8 July 1917 Rector began Sunday afternoon German services for prisoners of war in the Union Workhouse of DUNMOW `Unhappily he was unable to continue such services' 1917 `So far no bombs fallen in the more immediate neighbourhood; the nearest some 9 miles distant'; 30 December 1917 `Generally observed as `S.o.S' (Save or Starve Sunday) The choice by Director of Economy, of letters adapted from maritime signalling was not altogether felicitous. It is one thing to emphasize the great need of saving; quite another thing to send out a signal of distress! No doubt the situation cannot be but grave; the British Empire is nevertheless staunch, stout of heart, confident of victory - when God will'; 6 January 1918 `At the instance of the National Welfare Committee (DUNMOW) the Rector invited parishioners to sign pledge cards relative to Food economy and Food production'; 11 November 1918 `And so the long strain of War practically ends and with the enemy in parlous case. What the Rector, to whom Germany had been well-known from boyhood, had foretold on the morning of the Declaration of War comes true: "it would take us over three years but our victory would come in the end" '; 7 July 1919 peace signed at Versailles celebrated with adjacent parishes at Easton Park `Does formal Peace spell real Peace?'; list of men who fought in First World War and those who died;

Francis Robinson

Walter Mead

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