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Edward Lee

Eric Trudgill    -    2 August 2015

Edward Lee, who claimed when caught by the census in 1851 and 1861, that he’d been born in Tenterden, Kent, was baptised in Tenterden in 1811 son of Edward and Barbara, travellers. He married a Charlotte, who claimed she’d been born in Lewisham, Kent or nearby Deptford, and apart from modest excursions in Surrey to the west and the area round Dartford, Kent to the east, they kept close to Charlotte’s place of origin (Tenterden is some distance to the south west, close to the Sussex border).

They had the following children: Gentilla christened in Marden, Kent in 1837 (with Noah Lee son of Lawrence and Avis); Mezilla christened in Stone by Dartford in 1839, Patience in nearby Wilmington in 1844, and Mary Ann in Stone by Dartford in 1845; Charles, Leonard, Samuel and John christened in Lewisham in 1846, 1848, 1851 and 1853 respectively; Solomon born in 1856 and christened in Ham, Sry in 1858; and Dangerfield and Jonathan born in Deptford about 1858-60. I haven’t been able to trace Gentilla, Patience, Mary Ann and Leonard (though the last two may well have died young since Mary Ann wasn’t with the family in the 1851 and 1861 censuses, and Leonard wasn’t with them in 1861). But I have something to offer on the other children.

Mezilla Lee, baptised in 1839, married (Marcella Lee) John Nowers in Lewisham in 1860. They had by 1869 a Thomas, Patience, Mary Ann, Ada Theophilia, and Elizabeth Nowers, all born in or near Lewisham. After her husband died in 1870, Mazilla took up with a seaman, James Outram, eventually wedding him formally (as Mezley Nowers) in Dartford in 1899, and dying (as Mezillah Outram) in 1914.

Charles Lee, baptised in 1846, married Eliza Dighton (christened in 1848 daughter of James and Duaney). They had a Patience and Charlotte born in Deptford about 1869-72, and christened a Barbara there in 1876 (Charles a hawker) and a Rebecca in 1878 (Charles a railway porter). They christened three children in nearby E Greenwich, Duenna in 1881 (Eliza honouring her mother just as Charles had earlier honoured his sister, mother and grandmother), and Lemuel and Sylvanus jointly in 1883, their parents described as gypsies. Next came a Martha and Walter born in Greenwich about 1883-85, a Charles junior born in St Pauls Cray, south of Dartford, about 1887, and a Gentilla born about 1889 and christened in Bexley Heath, north west of Dartford in 1893.

Samuel Lee, baptised in 1851, married a Mary Ann from Ireland. They had an Edward and Michael born in Erith, north of Dartford, about 1876-80; a Dangerfield (honouring his uncle) christened in E Greenwich in 1886; a Mary Ann, Leonard and Bridget christened in Bexley Heath in 1889, 1890 and 1894 respectively; a Samuel born in Plumstead, near Bexley Heath, about 1896; and a Keziah christened in Bexley Heath in 1898. Michael married Eliza Lee daughter of James in E Wickham, close to Bexley Heath, in 1898; Dangerfield married Sarah Lee daughter of Leonard in E Wickham in 1915; Mary Ann seemingly married Abraham Lee son of Leonard; and Bridget married Percy Andrew Boswell son of John (and grandson of Zachariah) in E Wickham in 1912.

John Lee, baptised in 1853, married an Elizabeth and had an Elizabeth junior born in Deptford about 1878, a Thomas born in Kent about 1880, an Edward born in Canning Town, Essex about1882, and a John junior born in Woolwich, between Greenwich and Bexley Heath, about 1884.

Solomon Lee, born in 1856, married a Maria. They christened a Fanie and Charlotte jointly with Dangerfield son of Samuel in E Greenwich in 1886; they christened an Edward, Eliza and Benjamin in Bexley Heath in 1889, 1891 and 1894 respectively, and they had a Nellie born in Belvedere, Kent about 1896 and a Naomi born in Plumstead about1898. Fanie married Samuel Jones, and had a Samuel, Genty, Matilda and Eliza.

Dangerfield Lee, born in 1858, married first Emma Curd in Dartford in 1878. They had a Solomon christened in Dartford in 1879, an Ellen Elizabeth born about 1881, who married David Masters in

E Wickham in 1901, a Leonard christened in Dartford in 1884, a Job born in Chatham, Kent about 1888, and a Christina born in Forest Gate, Essex about 1891. Dangerfield married second an Alice, and had a Frances born in Belvedere about 1896, an Annie born in Plumstead about 1901, and a Mazilla, named after his sister, born in Plumstead about 1908.

Finally Jonathan (John) Lee, born about 1860, married an Alice. They had an Alice junior born in Holloway, Mdx about 1878, a Priscilla born in Dartford about 1880, a John and Rachel born in Greenwich about 1883-85, and a Solomon born in Belvedere about 1892.

I’ve been grateful, researching this article for the pioneer work of Terence Lee more than twenty years ago, when gypsy genealogy was much more difficult than it is today. He focussed on the four brothers discussed above, Charles, Samuel, Solomon and Dangerfield, plus a Leonard different from the one discussed above, and, without baptisms for any of them, didn’t realize that his Charles partially and his Leonard wholly belonged to another family, and that the father of the genuine brothers wasn’t Edward Lee (christened in 1844 son of Methuselah and Jane) and his alleged wife, Mary Ann, but Edward Lee (christened in 1811 son of Edward and Barbara) and Charlotte.

However, if Methuselah (christened in 1819 son of William and Barbara) wasn’t the brothers’ grandfather, his mother may well have been their grandmother. Edward and Barbara christened three children 1808-13: Edward in Tenterden, W Kent in 1811; the others across the border in E Sussex, Eliza in E Hoathly in 1808 and Barbara junior in Eastbourne in 1813. William and Barbara christened six children 1816-28 (on William’s patch, mostly in Middlesex), Misella, Methuselah, Sampson aka Samuel, Dyphaney, Solomon, and William; they also had a Dangerfield, born about 1830 and christened very late in 1844 with two of William and Barbara’s grandchildren. If William senior married Edward senior’s ex-wife, the Edward who was to marry Charlotte surely grew up with step-siblings called Misella, Solomon and Dangerfield, and this surely explains the uncommon forenames he was to give to three of his children and the otherwise remarkable amount of coincidence involved.

Copyright © 2015 Eric Trudgill