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THE ROSE & SKERRY FAMILIES OF BERKSHIRE, OXFORDSHIRE,
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, WARWICKSHIRE AND BRISTOL, 
ENGLAND
 
designed & written by Mike Matthews © 2018
No material contained in these pages may be used elsewhere without prior permission.

CONTENTS

Introduction

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer

Meaning Of The Names

Swithin ROSE (1799-1848)

William ROSE (b.1820)

Joseph ROSE (1847-1908)

John ROSE (b. 1859)

Jonas SKERRY (1760-1836)

Joseph SKERRY (1794-1870)

John SKERRY (1825-1866)

Introduction

For many years the ROSE family was one of the most enigmatic branches of my family tree. I knew that my great-great-grandmother was called Emily Lucy ROSE. According to her marriage certificate her father's name was James, and the 1901 census suggested that she was born in Bristol in around 1875. However I was unable to find Emily living with her parents in any earlier censuses, and so was unable to take the family any further back in time. A minor breakthrough came with the release of the 1911 census which showed that Emily was born in Bicester and not Bristol, and armed with this information I was able to find her living with her parents in 1891. Though even then there was confusion as the census showed her father's name as Joseph rather than James, but I now believe that the marriage certificate was in error. So now I knew that my great-great-great-grandfather was Joseph ROSE, born in either Abingdon or Reading around 1850, and Joseph's marriage certificate showed that his father was called William. But, as with Emily, I was unable to find Joseph living with his parents in earlier census records, so again I was stumped.

Joseph's nomadic lifestyle and both his and his father's occupations hinted that the family might have had gypsy connections, so I decided to try to find a William ROSE in the Berkshire/Oxfordshire area who had gypsy characteristics, and found a William and Sarah ROSE living in tents in Ufton in the 1881 census. Further investigation revealed that amongst William and Sarah's children was a son called James who was born in Abingdon around 1845, which is where Joseph claimed to have been from. Could this be the right family? Next I checked the Oxfordshire Family History Society's baptism index and discovered that a Joseph ROSE had been baptised in Besselsleigh near Abingdon in 1847, son of William and Sarah, suggesting that I may have made a connection. I cannot say with absolutely certainty that my Joseph was a son of William and Sarah, but everything I know supports this conclusion, which means that it would seem that I do indeed have gypsy roots.

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer

I would especially like to thank genealogist CAROLYN BOULTON for not only carrying out research at the Berkshire Records Office on my behalf, but also for providing invaluable general advice and guidance. I would also like to thank KEITH CHANDLER for providing a wealth of information about the ROSE and SKERRY gypsy families, my cousins BARBARA WYATT, MICHELLE PETTIFER, KELLY PEEL and SAMANTHA RAYMOND for information about Peggy SKERRY, Thomas SKERRY, Charles ROSE and Elizabeth LEE (nee SKERRY) respectively, and also ERIC TRUDGILL for his thoughts about the ancestry of Mary SCARROTT.

Due to their itinerant nature it is often difficult to track down gypsy families in genealogical records such as censuses, parish registers and the General Register Office index. Families could often be overlooked by census enumerators, perhaps because they were not living in a town or village or were on the road at the time. Making things ever more difficult for researchers is that individuals could sometimes be born and baptised in different places, and parents did not always register the birth of their children. Couples did not always marry, or sometimes married when they had already had several children together, and some gypsies used one or more aliases. As a result there are still a lot of gaps in my research and in some places some educated guesswork has been required. I would therefore advise anyone reading this page to treat the information it contains with greater caution than the other pages on my website. I will update this page regularly as new information comes to light.

Meaning Of The Names

The surname ROSE has a number of possible origins. According to P.H. REANEY in "The Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames" it derives from the Old Germanic name "Rothaid" meaning "fame kind". This was introduced into England by the Normans as "Rohese" or "Roese". Dr BASIL COTTLE in "The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames" adds that it in Scots Gaelic it means "cape" or "promontory", in Irish Gaelic it means "wood" and in Cornish and Welsh it means "moor", though goes on to say that the usual origin of the English surname is from the Germanic. DAVID DORWARD in "Scottish Surnames" suggests that the Scottish surname ROSE is of Norman origin and comes from a family of knights who settled in England after the Conquest and took their surname from their place of origin, Rots near Caen in Normandy.  "An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names" by WILLIAM ARTHUR suggests that the name could derive from the flower, i.e. a name for someone who lived at a place where wild roses grew, or a habitational name for someone living in a house bearing the sign of the rose. It could also have come from a nickname for someone with a rosy complexion. The word "rose" itself derives from the Latin "rosa" which in turn derives from the Old Persian "wurdi" meaning "flower".

According to "Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary" by HENRY HARRISON, the surname SKERRY means "dweller at a rocky isle" from the Old Norse "sker" meaning "rock" and "ey" meaning "isle". However it has also been suggested that SKERRY is actually a variation of SCARROTT, another surname associated with gypsy families.

Swithin ROSE (1799-1848)


St Agatha, Brightwell
(click image to enlarge)

Swithin ROSE was baptised on 21st July 1799 in Brightwell, Berkshire (now Brightwell-cum-Sotwell) and was the son of Mark and Ann ROSE. Parish registers variously describe him as a pedlar, gypsy, basket maker and labouring tramp. Swithin married Sophia JAMES on 18th May 1818 in Churchill, Oxfordshire. She was born around 1798 though nothing is known as yet about her ancestry. Swithin and Sophia had at least nine children together - James, baptised 15th July 1818 in Amport, Hampshire; William, baptised 3rd December 1820 in Barton Stacey, Hampshire; Henry, baptised 6th April 1823 in Cholsey, Berkshire; Ann, baptised 19th June 1825 in Brightwell, Berkshire; John, baptised 9th March 1828 in Brightwell; Charles, baptised 13th March 1831 in Brightwell; Ellen, baptised 15th December 1833 in Brightwell; Mary, baptised 17th February 1839 in Wantage, Berkshire, and Betsy, baptised 19th September 1841 in Ramsbury, Wiltshire.

Swithin ROSE died of consumption on 5th January 1848 at Wallingford Union Workhouse, Berkshire and was buried on 7th January in Crowmarsh Gifford. His widow Sophia died on 21st December 1850 also at Wallingford Union Workhouse and was buried in Brightwell on 24th December.

James ROSE (b. 1818) married Esther SKERRY on 8th March 1839 in Bicester, Oxfordshire. Esther was baptised on 24th September 1820 in Shipton under Wychwood, Oxfordshire and was the daughter of Joseph SKERRY and Mary SCARROTT. James and Esther had at least three children together - Henry, baptised 21st September 1849 in Brill, Buckinghamshire, buried 22nd September 1849 in Chilton-cum-Easington, Buckinghamshire; Mary, baptised 25th August 1850 in Headington, Oxfordshire, and Fanny, baptised 11th April 1852 in Oakley, Buckinghamshire. James and Esther have not been found in any censuses, and it appears that Esther died in about 1854.

Ann ROSE (b. 1825) might have been the partner of John SKERRY, son of Joseph SKERRY and Mary SCARROTT (see below), however the only census record in which she appears with John shows her birthplace as Farnham, Surrey whereas Swithin's daughter was baptised in Berkshire.

John ROSE (b. 1828) also on occasion called himself Swithin. He had a number of children with a lady called Jane though it doesn't appear that they married. Her surname may have been VALLIS and she was born in Oakley, Buckinghamshire in about 1827. Swithin and Jane's children were – Amey, born c. 1850 in Staines, Middlesex; Ellen, born c. 1854 in Ringwood, Hampshire; Mary, born c. 1857 in Staines; Swithin, baptised 30th September 1860 in Binstead, Hampshire, and Mark, born c. 1864 in Hermitage, Berkshire. This is how the family appears in the 1871, 1881 and 1891 (the Eliza ROSE and Jim ROSE shown as John's daughter and son in 1891 were probably the wife and son of Mark ROSE):

Gypsy's Caravan, Snelsmore, Chieveley, Berkshire (1871)

Swithin ROSE aged 42 Gypsy born Brightwell, Berkshire
Jane ROSE wife 40 Gypsy born Oakley, Bucks
Amey ROSE daughter 20 Gypsy born Staines, Surrey
Ellen ROSE daughter 17 Gypsy born Ringwood, Dorset
Mary A. ROSE daughter 14 Gypsy born Staines, Surrey
Swithin ROSE son 11 Gypsy born Bucklebury, Berkshire
Mark ROSE son 7 Gypsy born Dorset

Blind Lane, Ramsbury, Wiltshire (1881)

John ROSE aged 56 Basket Maker born Brightwell, Berkshire
Jane ROSE wife 57 born Ramsbury, Wiltshire
Mary A. ROSE daughter 23 Hawker born Ramsbury, Wiltshire
Swithin ROSE son 20 Hawker born Ramsbury, Wiltshire
Mark ROSE son 16 Agricultural Labourer born Ramsbury, Wiltshire
Eliza VALLIS granddaughter 1 born Ramsbury, Wiltshire

Blind Lane, Ramsbury, Wiltshire (1891)

John ROSE aged 65 Basket Maker born Brightwell, Berkshire
Jane ROSE wife 67 Hawker born Buckinghamshire
Mark ROSE son 27 Agricultural Labourer born Ramsbury, Wiltshire
Eliza ROSE daughter 20 Hawker born South Petherton, Somerset
Ellen SKERRY visitor 7 Scholar born Ramsbury, Wiltshire
Jim ROSE son 2 born Ramsbury, Wiltshire

Jane ROSE died sometime after 1891 and in the 1901 the widowed John was living with his son Mark in Ramsbury (Mark's wife appears to have been called Eliza rather than Ellen):

Blind Lane, Ramsbury, Wiltshire

Mark ROSE aged 38 General Labourer & Hop Picker born Berry, Berkshire
Ellen ROSE wife 32 born Ramsbury, Wiltshire
Ellen ROSE daughter 18 Basket Hawker born South Petherton, Somerset
James ROSE son 12 born Ramsbury, Wiltshire
Annie ROSE daughter 7 born Chertsey, Surrey
John ROSE father widower 75 Basket Maker born Brightwell, Berkshire

John ROSE died in 1910 and was buried in Ramsbury on 12th November of that year.

Charles ROSE (b. 1831) had a number of children with a lady called Jane WHITE. As with his brother John it doesn't appear that they married. Jane was born in Berkshire in about 1841. Charles and Jane had at least ten children – James, born c. 1857 in Hampshire; Sarah, born c. 1862; John, baptised 30th January  1865 in East Lulworth, Dorset; Helen, baptised 20th September 1867 in Binstead, Hampshire; Eli, baptised 31st October 1869 in Horton, Dorset; Eliza, born c. 1871 in Dorset; Mary, born c. 1873 in Dorset; Henry, born c. 1875 in Berkshire; Phoebe, born c. 1877 in Berkshire, and Albert, born c. 1881 in Berkshire. This how Charles and his family appear in the 1871 and 1881 censuses:

In a Tent, Lambourn Road, Boxford, Berkshire (1871)

Charles ROSE aged 39 birthplace not known
Jane ROSE wife 30
birthplace not known
James ROSE son 14 birthplace not known
Sarah ROSE daughter 8 birthplace not known
John ROSE son 6 birthplace not known
Elen ROSE daughter 3 birthplace not known
Eli ROSE son 1 birthplace not known

Welford, Berkshire (1881)

Charles ROSE aged 45 Basket Market born Newbury, Berkshire
Jane ROSE wife 40
born Newbury, Berkshire
James ROSE son 24 Basket Market born Hampshire
John ROSE son 17 Basket Market born Dorset
Eli ROSE son 15 Basket Market born Gloucestershire
Eliza ROSE daughter 12 Basket Market born Dorset
Mary ROSE daughter 10 Basket Market born Dorset
Henry ROSE son 6 born Berkshire
Phoebe ROSE daughter 4 born Berkshire
Albert ROSE son 1 month born Berkshire

William ROSE (b. 1820)

William ROSE was baptised on 3rd December 1820 in Barton Stacey, Hampshire and was the second child of Swithin ROSE and Sophia JAMES. Parish registers describe him as a travelling pedlar, brazier, basket maker, tinman and tinplate worker. William married Sarah SKERRY on 25th October 1858 in St Helen, Abingdon, Berkshire, although they had several children together before they married. Sarah was baptised on 2nd March 1828 in Great Milton, Oxfordshire and was the daughter of Joseph SKERRY and Mary SCARROTT. William and Sarah had at least ten children together – James, born 6th January 1845 at The Moor, Sutton Courtenay, Berkshire; Joseph, baptised 16th March 1847 in Bessels Leigh, Berkshire; Ann, baptised 8th April 1849 in South Moreton, Berkshire; Alfred, born 1st January 1851; John, baptised 19th July 1856 in Garsington, Oxfordshire; John, born 27th January 1859 in Wallingford, Berkshire; Mary Ann, born 13th June 1861 in North Moreton, Berkshire; Sophia, baptised 29th January 1864 in Brightwell; Edwin, baptised 9th September 1866 in Bentley, Hampshire, and Edwin, born c. 1869 in Bucklebury, Berkshire. It is presumed that the first John and Edwin both died in infancy though no death or burial records have been found for them.

William was probably the William ROSE mentioned in this article printed in the Oxford Chronicle & Reading Gazette on 29th May 1869: "A Stray Horse. - William Rose, of Thame, hawker, was charged by P.C. Hunt with allowing his horse to stray on the highway at Thame, at 4 o'clock in the morning of the 10th inst. - The policeman stated that he saw the animal at large upon the roadside, whereupon Rose explained that the animal had got out of the field in which it was grazing, and was making its way to the pond where it had been in the habit of being taken for water. - Although he had been spoken to before by P.S. Hawtin, defendant was discharged with a caution."

No trace of William has been found in the 1841, 1851 or 1861 censuses, but this is how he appears in 1871 and 1881:

Little Haseley, Oxfordshire (1871)

William ROSE aged 49 Brazier born Hampshire
Sarah ROSE wife 41 born Great Milton, Oxfordshire
John ROSE son 12 born Abingdon, Berkshire
Mary A. ROSE daughter 9 born North Moreton, Berkshire
Sophia ROSE daughter 7 born Brightwell, Berkshire
Edwin ROSE son 2 born Bucklebury, Berkshire

In Tent, Silver Hill, Ufton Nervet, Berkshire (1881)

Willam ROSE aged 55 Tinplate Worker born Brightwell, Berkshire
Sarah ROSE wife 54 Hawker birthplace
birthplace not known
Sophia ROSE daughter 18 Hawker birthplace not known
Edward ROSE son 12 birthplace not known

Joseph ROSE (1847-1908)

Joseph ROSE was baptised in Bessels Leigh near Abingdon, Berkshire on 16th March 1847 and was the second child of William ROSE and Sarah SKERRY. He may have been the Joseph ROSE who was tried for housebreaking at the Berkhire Quarter Sessions in Abingdon on 30th June 1862. The crime was reported in the Reading Mercury on 19th April 1862: "Stealing a Brass Candlestick. - Joseph Rose, a vendor of clothes pegs and tin ware, was apprehended by P.C. Bennett for breaking into the house of Samuel Pepall, of Blewbury, Berks., and stealing a candlestick. Samuel Pepall deposed that he left his house on Monday last, about ten o'clock in the morning, and returned about four in the afternoon, when he found that a pane of glass in the back pantry window had been broken, and another square of glass 'unleaded' and apparently made ready to take out. On searching, he found the brass candlestick (produced) had been stolen. - Richard Palmer, of Blewbury, deposed that the prisoner had called at his house, and offered clothes pegs and tin ware for sale; he afterwards saw the prisoner loitering about the prosecutor's cottage. - P.C. Bennett deposed that upon receiving information of the robbery, he went in search of the prisoner and traced him to Southstoke, in Oxfordshire; he accused the prisoner of stealing the article in question, but he denied ever having seen it; he afterwards searched the prisoner, and found the candlestick broken into pieces; the prisoner then said he bought the pieces of a man as he coming from Blewsbury, and gave him threepence for it. Committed for trial at the next Berks Sessions." The outcome of the trial was reported in the Windsor & Eton Express on 5th July 1862: "Joseph Rose, aged 16, was found guilty of breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Samuel Pepall, at Blewbury, on the 7th of April, and the Court sentenced him to two months' hard labour."

Joseph married Ellen TIMMS on 22nd July 1878 in The Register Office, Reading, Berkshire, though they had already had several children together by then. Ellen was born on 5th March 1848 in Market End, Bicester, Oxfordshire and was the daughter of Philip TIMMS and Sarah BAZELEY. The 1911 census shows that Joseph and Ellen had fourteen children together, though at present only the details for nine have been found – Joseph, born c. 1868; Sarah, born 11th February 1870 in Vineyard, Abingdon, Berkshire; James, baptised 3rd March 1872 in St Giles, Reading; Emily Lucy, born 6th January 1874 in a Lodging House in Crockwell, Bicester; Mary Jane, born c 1876 in Oxford; Edith, born 12th July 1881 at 4 Lamb Street, St Philip & Jacob, Bristol; Willie, born c. 1883 in Northampton; Albert, born c. 1886 in Bristol, and Edwin, born c. 1889 in Bristol. This is how the family appear in the 1871 census:

3 Oxford Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire

Joseph ROSE aged 22 Pedlar born Abingdon, Berkshire
Ellen ROSE wife 21 born Bicester, Oxfordshire
Sarah ROSE daughter 1 born Abingdon, Berkshire

After spending several years moving from one place to another, Joseph and Ellen finally settled in Bristol in the mid-1880s. This how they appear in the 1891 and 1901 censuses:

129 Newfoundland Rose, St Paul, Bristol (1891)

Joseph ROSE aged 41 Glass & China Mender born Reading, Berkshire
Ellen ROSE wife 38 born Oxford
Sarah ROSE daughter 20 Sweet Maker born Abingdon, Berkshire
Emily ROSE daughter 19 Boot Finisher born Bicester, Oxfordshire
Mary J. ROSE daughter 16 Sweet Maker born Oxford
Edith ROSE daughter 9 born Bristol
Willie ROSE son 7 born Northampton
Albert ROSE son 5 born Bristol
Edward ROSE son 1½ months born Bristol

100 Newfoundland Road, St Clement, Bristol (1901)

Joseph ROSE aged 48 Shopkeeper born Reading, Berkshire
Ellen ROSE wife 46 born Oxford
Ada ROSE daughter 20 born Bristol
Willie ROSE son 18 Iron Foundry born Bristol
Albert ROSE son 16 Coal Merchant Clerk born Bristol
Edward ROSE son 13 born Bristol

The Bristol Street Directories show that Joseph lived at 129 Newfoundland Road from around 1886-1900 and then moved to 100 Newfoundland Road. They list his occupation as cutlery grinder and hardware dealer. Curiously they also suggest that he had the middle name William, though this does not appear in any other records.

Joseph ROSE died on 21st March 1908 at 100 Newfoundland Road, Bristol and was buried on 28th March in Ridgeway Cemetery, Eastville, Bristol. This is how his widow Ellen appears in 1911 (why her birthplace is shown as the Isle of Wight is unknown):

100 Newfoundland Road, Bristol

Ellen ROSE widow aged 60 Umbrella Manufacturer born Isle of Wight
Edward ROSE son 22 Umbrella Manufacturer born Bristol

Ellen ROSE (nee TIMMS) died on 6th May 1922 at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and was buried at Ridgeway Cemetery on 11th May.

Joseph ROSE (b. 1868) died on 4th January 1871 as a result of an accident at home. This was described in the Berkshire Chronicle on 7th January 1871: "A child scalded to death, on Wednesday the Borough Coroner held an inquest at the Hospital on the body of Joseph Rose, the infant son of Joseph Rose a hawker- Ellen Rose, mother of the deceased said that the child was 2 and a half years old. On Wednesday about 12 o'clock, she and her husband and two children were in their room, when [the] deceased suddenly cried out. She then found that the child had sucked out of the spout of a kettle with boiling water. A friend at once took the child to a doctor, and it was afterwards taken to the hospital. Joseph Rose corroborated his wife's evidence. Richard Galpin said the deceased was admitted into the hospital last Thursday, with his mouth and upper part of the throat severely scalded, the child died yesterday from the effects. Verdict 'Accidental death'." Joseph was buried on 6th January at the London Road Municipal Cemetery, Reading.

Sarah ROSE (b. 1870) married George William WHIPPEY in Bristol in 1899. George was born in Bristol in 1872 and was the son of Robert WHIPPEY and Sarah YEOMAN. George and Sarah had at least four children together - Winifred Sarah, born 14th April 1900 in Bristol; Alice Edith, born 9th February 1902 in Bristol; Doris Maud, born c. 1908 in Ogmore Vale, Glamorgan, Wales, and Olive Rose, born 5th January 1915 in Ogmore Vale. This is how the family appears in 1901:

6 Manor Street. St Agnes, Bristol

George WHIPPEY aged 29 Gas Stoker born Bristol
Sarah WHIPPEY wife 29 born Oxford
Winifred WHIPPEY daughter 11 months born Bristol

George and Sarah later moved to Ogmore Vale in Glamorgan, Wales. This is how they appear in the 1911 census:

15 Bridge Street, Ogmore Vale, Glamorgan, Wales

George William WHIPPEY aged 39 Coal Miner Hewer born Bristol
Sarah WHIPPEY wife 39 born Abingdon, Berkshire
Winifred Sarah WHIPPEY daughter 10 born Bristol
Alice Edith WHIPPEY daughter 9 born Bristol
Doris Maud WHIPPEY daughter 3 born Ogmore Vale, Glamorgan

George WHIPPEY died in 1922. The 1939 Register shows his widow Sarah living at 41 Sunny Side, Ogmore Vale. She passed away in 1950 and was buried on 15th June of that year in Pwll-y-pant Cemetery, Ogmore Valley, Glamorgan.

Emily Lucy ROSE (b 1874) was recorded as Lucy ROSE on her birth certificate but all later records show her name as Emily Lucy. She married Edwin Henry TOY on 20th April 1892 in The Register Office, Bristol. Her marriage certificate shows her father's name as James rather than Joseph, but Emily TOY was the informant on the death certificates of both Joseph and Ellen ROSE so there is no doubt about her actual parentage. Edwin was born on 28th November 1871 at 9 Tower Hill, Bristol and was the son of Henry TOY and Louisa JENKINS. More information about Edwin and Emily can be found on my TOY Family of Wolverhampton, Devon and Bristol page.

Edith ROSE (b. 1881) was registered as Ada ROSE when she was born but most subsequent records show her Edith, apart from the 1901 census. She married William Stanley MOAT on 22nd April 1905 at The Register Office, Bristol. William was born in Bridgwater, Somerset on 5th April 1885 and was the son of Charles MOAT and Catherine Annie TREMLETT. Edith and William had at least seven children together - Clifford Stanley, born 30th October 1905 in Bristol, died c. 1926 in Bristol; Horace Sidney, born 11th December 1906 in Bristol; Doris Edith, born 29th August 1908 in Caerphilly, Glamorgan, Wales; Cecil, born c. 1910, died c. 1911; Harold, born c. 1910 in Caerphilly, died c. 1913; Leonard Philip, born c. 1918 in Bristol, died c. 1920 in Bristol, and Leonard, born and died c.1924 in Bristol. This is how the family appears in the 1911 census:

21 Glenview Terrace, Llabradach, Glamorgan, Wales

Stanley MOATE aged 28 Assistant Timberman born Bristol
Edith MOATE wife 29 born Bristol born Bristol
Clifford MOATE son 6 born Bristol
Horace MOATE son 5 born Bristol
Dolly MOATE daughter 3 born Caerphilly
Harold MOATE son 9 months born Caerphilly

William and Edith subsequently returned to Bristol. The 1939 Register shows them living at 31 High Grove, Sea Mills with William working as a general labourer at the National Smelting Company. Edith died on 21st April 1958 and William passed away on 12th July 1961. They were both buried in Canford Cemetery, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.

John ROSE (b. 1859)

John ROSE was born on 27th January 1859 in Wallingford, Berkshire and was the son of William ROSE and Sarah SKERRY. He had a number of children with Sarah WHITE, though there is no indication that they ever married. There is evidence to suggest that Sarah was in fact the daughter of John's uncle Charles ROSE (see above) - she may have used the surname WHITE because that was her mother's name and her parents never married. Sarah was born in Tidworth, Wiltshire in about 1859. John and Sarah appear to have had at least fifteen  children together – Alfred, born c. 1880 in Three Mile Cross, Berkshire; William, born c. 1881 in Wiltshire; Annie, born c. 1883 in Chertsey, Surrey; Charles, born c. 1884 in Bentley Green, Hampshire; Jonas, born c. 1887 in Mortimer, Berkshire; Alfred, born c. 1888 in Woodlands St Mary, Berkshire; Edwin, born c. 1890 in Woodlands St Mary; Joseph Albert; born c. 1893 in Tidmarsh, Berkshire; Sarah, born c. 1895 in Basildon, Berkshire; Emily and John Arthur, both born c. 1899 in Pangbourne, Berkshire; Fanny and Abel, born c. 1900 in Pangbourne; Lillie Phillips, born c. 1901 in Pangbourne, and Mary, born c. 1904 in Pangbourne. This is how the family appears in 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911:

In Tent, Silver Hill, Ufton Nervet, Berkshire (1881)

John ROSE aged 21 Basket Maker birthplace not known
Sarah ROSE wife 20 Hawker
birthplace not known
Alfred ROSE son 1 born Three Mile Cross, Berkshire

Meadow, Woodland St Mary, Berkshire (1891)

John ROSE aged 33 Licensed Hawker born Wallingford, Berkshire
Sarah ROSE wife 32 born Pewsey, Wiltshire
William ROSE son 10 born Windsor, Wiltshire
Annie ROSE daughter 8 born Chertsey, Surrey
Charlie ROSE son 6 born Bentley Green, Hampshire
Jonas ROSE son 4 born Mortimer, Berkshire
Alfred ROSE son 2 born Woodland St Mary, Berkshire
Edwin ROSE son 5 months
born Woodland St Mary, Berkshire

Tent Dwellers, New Town, Pangbourne, Berkshire (1901)

John ROSE aged 40 Herdsman on Farm born Wallingford, Berkshire
Sarah ROSE wife 40 born 
Tidworth, Wiltshire
Annie ROSE daughter 19 No Occupation at Present born Chertsey, Surrey
Charlie ROSE son 16 Ploughman on Farm born Bentley Green, Hampshire
Jonas ROSE son 14 Assistant Cowman born Mortimer, Berkshire
Alfred ROSE son 12 born
Woodland St Mary, Berkshire
Edward ROSE son 10 born Woodland St Mary, Berkshire
Joseph ROSE son 8 born Tidmarsh, Berkshire
Sarah ROSE daughter 6 born Basildon, Berkshire
Emily ROSE daughter 2 born Pangbourne, Berkshire
John ROSE son 2
born Pangbourne, Berkshire
Fanny ROSE daughter 11 months born 
Pangbourne, Berkshire
Abel ROSE son 11 months
born Pangbourne, Berkshire

Newtown, Pangbourne, Berkshire (1911)

John ROSE aged 49 Farm Labourer born Abingdon, Berkshire
Sarah ROSE wife 52 born Tidworth, Wiltshire
Joseph ROSE son 18 Farm Labourer born Tidmarsh, Berkshire
Sarah ROSE daughter 15 born Basildon, Berkshire
John ROSE son 12 Scholar born Newtown, Berkshire
Emily ROSE daughter 12 Scholar
born Newtown, Berkshire
Lily ROSE 9 daughter Scholar born Newtown, Berkshire
Mary ROSE 7 Scholar born Newtown, Berkshire

John was probably the man mentioned in this article from the Reading Mercury on 6th April 1895: "Assault On A Wife. - John Rose, a travelling tinman, who had pitched his tent at Lambourn Woodlands, was charged by his wife, Sarah, with using threats towards her, in consequence of which she prayed for sureties. The man was arrested on a warrant on Wednesday evening. The evidence shows that Rose on the previous Monday drew the back of a knife across his own throat, and said to his wife 'I will do you, like this.' He had also beaten her with a stick. Rose admitted he had been lately the worse for drink and seemed now very repentant. The wife pleaded for him also. The Bench ordered him to be bound over in £5 to keep the peace for 12 months, and to pay 5s., part of the costs."

Jonas ROSE (b. 1887) married Ellen BROOKER in 1908. Ellen was born in Reading in about 1886. Jonas and Ellen had at least two children together - Kathleen, born c. 1908 in Caversham, Berkshire, and Emily May, born c. 1910 in The Warren, Midgham, Berkshire. Kathleen was registered as Kathleen Rose BROOKER when she was born as her parents had not yet married. This is how Jonas and Ellen appear in the 1911 census:

56 The Warren, Midgham, Berkshire

Jonas ROSE aged 25 Farm Labourer born Pangbourne, Berkshire
Ellen ROSE wife 26 born Reading, Berkshire
Kathleen ROSE daughter 3 born Caversham, Berkshire
Emily ROSE daughter 4 months born The Warren, Midgham, Berkshire

Joseph Albert ROSE (b. 1893) was probably the Joseph ROSE accused of murdering his partner Sarah and infant daughter Isabella on 28th October 1918. Sarah's father was another John ROSE; he was probably the son of Charles and Jane (see above). The coroner's inquest into the deaths was described in detail in the Reading Mercury on 2nd November 1918:

"Supposed Double Murder and Attempted Suicide. Love Lane, a lengthy and quiet roadway leading from Donnington to Shaw, on the northern boundaries of Newbury, was on Monday afternoon the scene of a terrible tragedy, involving the lives of a mother and her little girl of six months, while the man with whom the woman had lived was found with terrible wounds in his throat. The persons involved in these tragic events are members of a family well known throughout the northern portion of the county – the Rose family – who are travelling hawkers with pedlars' licences. The man in the case is Joseph Rose, who is 25 years of age, and the deceased are the young woman of 19 of the same name and their illegitimate child of six months. They had been living lately with other members of the Rose family under canvas in a field at Enborne. On Monday morning Rose and the woman and child came into Newbury to buy a wheel, being apparently on the best of terms. How they came to the spot where the tragedy occurred, and what transpired when they got there, there was none to see. The man himself suggested that the person who committed the crime had made off across the fields into an adjacent wood, but so far the police have been unable to trace any one strange who was seen in the locality. Since he had been in hospital Rose has written on paper asking if the man has been found who cut his throat. Diligent search has been made all over the locality for the weapon that was employed, but without success at present.

"The inquest was held on Wednesday afternoon at Shaw-cum-Donnington Parish Hall before the Coroner for West Berks (Mr. Stanley V. Pinniger) and a jury, of whom Mr. Edmund Rowles was chosen foreman. The jury first viewed the bodies; which were lying in a stable attached to Shaw House, not far from the scene of the tragedy. Supt. J. Gamble was present.

"John Rose, travelling hawker, who said he was now living at Enborne under canvas, identified the body as that of his daughter, who was 19 years of age. She had lived with him, and was not married, but lived with Joseph Rose as his wife. On Monday morning at ten o'clock she and Rose came from Enborne into Newbury to buy a wheel for a cart he had, bringing their baby with them in a perambulator. There had never been and sign of quarrelling between them, and they went off that morning quite good friends. They had lived together for eighteen months. The child was just months old. He had never seen Rose with a knife. He only shaved occasionally, using a knife which was generally employed for making clothes pegs. Rose was his sister's son. They had sufficient food. In September he and his daughter went hop-picking, coming back on the 30th. At that time Joseph Rose was at work at Basildon, which was his mother's home, and he returned to them on October 17th (Newbury Fair Day). While they were away Joseph Rose wrote to her, asking her to return to him, and she replied that she would do as soon as the hop season was over. Joseph did not go hop-picking with them, as he did not like it. In her letter to Joseph, the deceased said she hoped to meet him at Newbury Fair.

"Dr. Edmund S. Hemsted, of Kintbury, stated that he was called to Shaw Lane. He there saw a man lying on the bank, and another man beside him. He had a handkerchief round his throat. There was an extensive wound severing the upper part of the wind pipe, from which there was a good deal of bleeding. He put the man into his car and took him to the District Hospital, where he performed tracheotomy below the wound, and was then able to stop the bleeding. On Tuesday he sewed up the wound, and he was doing fairly well, and there was some prospect of his recovery. If he recovered, it would be three weeks or a month before he could get out, and when he would be able he (witness) could not say. The man had evidently made four attempts to cut his throat; there were no cuts on the hands or other parts of the body. He thought it most likely that the wounds were self-inflicted, but that was all he could say. Before taking Rose to the hospital witness was told there were 'two more over the hedge.' He then saw the body of the woman and child lying in the field. They were quite dead, but both bodies were quite warm. The woman had a very extensive cut-throat, the wind pipe being severed right down to the spine. The child’s wound was of rather less degree. Both bodies were well nourished, and he could find no other injuries. The wounds must have been made with a very sharp instrument. The man’s wounds only just escaped the main arteries, otherwise he would have bled to death. In reply to the jury, Dr. Hemsted said he did not think the wound on the woman could have been self-inflicted. There were no signs of a struggle in the field, but his opinion was that the bodies were moved slightly afterwards, about two yards, as there was blood on some bushes near. He should think the cuts were made from behind.

"William Hiscock, builder's labourer, in the employ of Mr. W. J. Butler, of Shaw, said on Monday, when going to dinner along Love Lane towards Shaw, on his bicycle, he saw a man and woman ahead of him, with a perambulator. When he overtook them they stopped by the side of the road. The woman sat down on the bank on the left side of the road, while the man walked up to the perambulator as though to take the child out, but he did not know if he did so. He saw no one else in the lane. When he passed they were laughing and talking, and appeared to be quite happy.

"Mrs. Ada Edge, of Sunny Bank, Shaw Hill, wife of a carpenter, now in the Army, deposed that at twenty minutes to two on Monday afternoon she was cycling from Shaw Hill to Donnington, and just before reaching Shaw Church Gate, she met a man, whose coat was smothered with blood, with a handkerchief to his throat. He beckoned to her to get off, and she said to him, 'Whatever is the matter?' He pointed to a perambulator farther up the road. She walked up the road with him, and when they reached the perambulator he pointed to a gap in the hedge. She saw a baker coming round the corner of the road from Donnington. She asked him to see to the man, and the baker, looking over the hedge, said, 'Good gracious, there's a woman and baby over there, dead.'

"Frederick Schelling, a Swiss, who is temporarily helping Mr. Piper, a local baker, said he met the last witness with the man, who was deadly pale and covered with blood. The man could not speak. The latter came straight towards him, and with the help of another man he was laid on the bank. Witness told the other man to go to Shaw House and telephone to the police and the hospital, witness saying with the man. The latter was very anxious for him to see over the hedge, and when he did so he saw the bodies of the woman and baby, which were quite warm. The wounded man was very excited, and made signs as though of someone coming along the road from Donnington, who had cut their throats, and then faced towards Shaw Wood, conveying the impression as though someone had gone that way. He sank back exhausted, and cried. He tried to get up, but witness held him down. He took a tin box out of his pocket and handed it to witness. In the box was a pedlar's certificate and also a birth certificate of the child, in an envelope, addressed to Miss S. Rose, Hook Post Office. The man made signs of writing, and have witness a packet of cigarettes from his pocket. When looking for the knife they moved the body of the woman, and beneath it he found a piece of raw bacon rind, and a partly-smoked cigarette. When he first looked over the hedge the grass was very little trodden down, and witness had the impression that the woman must have been in a sitting position when she was killed, and had fallen back and not moved. He saw no one about the spot at all.

"Henry Holloway, a lad, attending Shaw-cum-Donnington School, said that about half-past one on Monday afternoon, when coming to school, he saw a man and woman over the hedge on the left-hand side. They were 'sort of pushing one another' and eating some food. He heard no voices. The perambulator was by the side of the road, but the child was not in it then. Just after he passed the man looked over the hedge.

"The proceedings were considerably lengthened by the Coroner deciding to take the depositions in regard to each death separately, and the injury altogether lasted upwards of four hours. After all the available evidence had been taken with every care. The Coroner said it would not be proper for the jury to find a verdict at the present stage. The medical evidence was that there was a possibility of the man being able to attend within three weeks or a month, and he had decided to adjourn the inquiry for a month, until Wednesday, November 27th."

The conclusion of the inquest was reported in the Reading Mercury on 7th December: "The jury, after five minutes private deliberation, said they had come to the unanimous conclusion that the woman was killed by Joseph Rose, and in that case they regarded it as wilful murder. In the case of the infant they were agreed that she was killed by the same hand."

Joseph subsequently appeared at Newbury County Police Court where he was charged with the murder of Sarah and Isabella. The Reading Observer of 21st December reported that "when charged by the police, he said: 'I did not do it; I am quite innocent. It was a man named Harry that did it. My wife called him Harry when he done it. She said: "Don't do that, Harry".' Every kind of inquiry had been made by the police, but no trace of any man named Harry could be found, and no evidence of any third man being in the lane at that time." The Observer also reported that Joseph and Sarah "were seen by a Mrs. Black, in Newbury, quarrelling with each other, and she saw prisoner strike the woman twice in the face with his fist."

Due to a material witness being unable to attend due to illness, proceedings were adjourned for a week. At the resumption further witnesses made statements, as reported in the Western Gazette on 27th December: "Elizabeth Baldwyn, aged 12, another school child, said that on going to school she looked over the hedge and saw a man fanning his face with his cap. He was a funny looking man with white hair. She could only see his head and it was like the prisoner's. There was an empty perambulator in the road." Joseph's unusual appearance was due to him being an albino. Edwin Hutchins, a woodman, also gave a statement, saying that he "saw a man, woman and child, and a perambulator. They were lying down on the ground, and appeared to be very quiet. He saw no one else in the road … He heard no voices or any quarrelling." The conclusion of the hearing was described in the Gazette: "Other evidence being adduced, the prisoner was fully committed to take his trial on the charge at the next Assizes, and later in the day was again taken to H.M. Prison at Oxford."

Joseph's trial was reported on in the Reading Observer on 18th January 1919:

"Newbury Double Murder. Rose Sentenced to Death. The last criminal case to be heard was that of Joseph Rose, a labourer, whose age was given as 25 years, who was charged with murdering, on October 28th, in Love-lane, Shaw, his cousin, Sarah Rose, and child, Isabella Rose. He was also indicted for attempting to commit suicide on the same date. Mr. J. Lort Williams appeared for the Crown, and the Hon. R. Coventry defended.

"The prisoner, said the prosecuting counsel, was a sort of licenced hawker and lived in the open. The deceased woman was cousin to the accused and lived with him. Her age was about 19, and she gave birth to a daughter by the accused. Counsel briefly outlined the case, and said it might be the defence that the crime was committed by some other person as one witness would say that, when he saw the prisoner standing in the road with his throat cut, the latter made signs to him apparently intending to make that witness believe someone had come along, cut the throats and gone onwards. He (counsel) would bring many witnesses to prove that there was nobody about but the prisoner at the time."

Many of the witnesses who had previously given testimonies appeared at the trial. Sarah's father John stated that Joseph: "use to obtain his livelihood by making and selling clothes pegs, and for that work had to use a knife, a similar one to the one he (witness) produced. During the eighteen months he had known them live together they were on the best of terms." Daisy BLACK, who claimed to have seen Joseph strike Sarah in the face, described him as having "white hair and pink eyes". During cross examination Frederick SCHELLING said that he "was one of many people who searched for a knife but did not find one." The police deposition was also read out in court which stated that in response to the charge of attempted suicide Joseph had said: "It was this man Harry that done it."

The Observer then described the address given to the jury by the counsel for the defence: "He asked the jury to disregard the evidence of Black because she had said that about 11.30 in the morning prisoner struck the woman some heavy blows in the face. How was it that there were no marks on the deceased woman's face? The doctor said there were no marks at all. Although the prisoner's story of another person committing the crime was strange, he (counsel) ventured to suggest that it was a most probable one – in fact, he thought it was one which the jury were bound to accept. If the prisoner had committed the crime, what had he done with the knife? If the other man had done it, he would have taken the knife with him – in spite of a most diligent search by the police, no knife had been found at all."

Finally, the Observer described the conclusion of the trial: "It was very strange, his Lordship pointed out in directing the jury, that the man, suggested by the defence, could have taken the woman unawares and kill her and then, at his leisure, turn his attentions to the prisoner but not cutting his throat so well as that of the woman. The jury, after private consideration, found the prisoner guilty. Prisoner made no statement and listened to the awful decree unperturbed."

Joseph subsequently appealed against his conviction and on 7th February the Berks & Oxon Advertiser reported on the outcome of this:

"The Berkshire Murder. A remarkable story was told in the Criminal Court of Appeal on Monday, when Joseph Rose appealed against his conviction for murder and sentence to death at the Reading Assizes. Mr. Coventry (for the applicant) said his client was charged with the murder of a girl aged 19 with whom he had been living. There were also indictments for the murder of a baby and an attempt to cut his own throat.

"There was absolutely no motive for the murder. Appellant was the person who called attention to the crime. He belonged to the gipsy tribe and he and the girl with whom he lived were seen in Love Lane, near Newbury, laughing and talking as they wheeled a child in a perambulator. Later the appellant with his throat cut stopped a girl on a bicycle in the Lane and insisted on her getting off and going over the hedge. There she saw the woman and the baby lying with their throats cut. Appellant said 'A man came from over there, cut their throats, and went over there.' No weapon or knife had been found in the vicinity, the police searched for days, as eight constables taking part. It was incredible, if he had committed the murder, that a weapon could not be found. Counsel complained of the severe comment of the judge (Mr. Justice Rowlatt,) which, he said, had made a great impression on the jury. Appellant himself desired to give evidence.

"Mr. Justice Bray: No cuts were found on the man's hands and he must have been taken unawares if his story is correct.

"Mr. Coventry: That was his case.

"Mr. Justice Bray, giving the decision of the Court, said that there was sufficient evidence which would justify the jury in finding the prisoner guilty, and they had no right to interfere with the verdict unless there was something unfair or unreasonable in the judge's summing up.

"Not only were the learned judge's observations right, but it was his duty make them. The summing up from beginning to end, was perfectly fair. The appeal was dismissed."

The final act of the affair was described in the Berks & Oxon Advertiser on 21st February 1919:

"The Berkshire Murder. At eight o'clock on Wednesday morning, Joseph Rose, aged 25, a travelling hawker, was hanged in Oxford Prison for the murder of his cousin, Sarah Rose, aged 19, with whom he had been living, and their Child, Isabella Rose, aged five months, in Love-Lane, Shaw-cum-Donnington, near Newbury, on October 28th. The trial took place at the recent Berkshire Assizes, before Sydney Arthur Taylor Rowlett, K.C.S.I., and since his conviction the condemned man has been confined in Oxford Prison.

"The execution took place in a room formed by the fusion of two disused cells, and situated a few yards distant from the condemned cell. Only officials were present and these included the Under [unclear] Mr J. C. Blandy; the Governor of the Prison, Mr. W. Brown; the Medical Officer of the Prison, Dr. R. H. Sankey; and the Acting-Chaplain, the Rev. A. C. Smith. At eight o'clock the mournful tones of the Prison bell announced that the final scene was about to take place. Ellis, the executioner, who arrived on Tuesday evening, entered the condemned cell, the prisoner's arms were pinioned and a procession was formed to the scaffold, headed by the chaplain, reading portions of the Burial Service for the dead. The condemned man had a warder on either side of him, with the executioner in close attendance. It took only a few seconds to reach the scaffold. The executioner quickly strapped the culprit’s legs, placed the white cap over his head, adjusted the fatal noose around his neck, pulled the leaver which released the trap-doors on which he was standing, and the body fell into cavity below. Death was said to be instantaneous. The prison bell continued to toll till a quarter past eight, and in the meantime those who were present signed the official declaration that the law had taken its course."

The incident was described in Ian HARRISON's "Firsts, Lasts & Only's: Crime" (2007): "Only albino executed for murder in Britain: Joseph Rose, Oxford Prison, Wednesday 19th February 1919. Joseph Rose was a 25-year-old albino with the classic shock of white hair and pink eyes. He and his first cousin Sarah lived as husband and wife with their five-month-old daughter Isabella. On 28th October 1918 witnesses saw a blood-soaked Rose staggering along the inappropriately named Love Lane in Shawcum-Donnington, near Newbury in Berkshire. He claimed a casual acquaintance named 'Harry' had attacked him and his wife and daughter, whose bodies were found soon afterwards with their throats cut. Circumstantial evidence, and the failure to find 'Harry', condemned Rose to the gallows."

Jonas SKERRY (1760-1836)

Jonas SKERRY was born in about 1760 but nothing is known about his origins. He may have been the Jonas SHARY baptised in St Mary de Lode, Gloucester on 7th April 1765, son of Thomas and Mary, but there is no evidence to support this. Parish registers variously describe him as a stroller, gypsy, pauper, travelling man and itinerant tinker. He married Esther LOVERIDGE on 30th August 1784 in Olney, Buckinghamshire. She was born in about 1765. Jonas and Esther had at least nine children together – Hannah, baptised 9th December 1787 in Gayton, Northamptonshire, buried 28th March 1789 in Wolverton, Buckinghamshire; Thomas, born c. 1788 in Padbury, Buckinghamshire; Jonas, born 12th February 1790 in Great Coxwell, Berkshire; Esther, born c. 1792 and baptised on 13th February 1803 aged 10 in Bicester, Oxfordshire; Joseph, baptised 10th March 1794 in Sulgrave, Northamptonshire; Peggy, baptised 3rd April 1795 in Adderbury, Oxfordshire, buried 26th Mar 1813 in Banbury, Oxfordshire; George, baptised 10th August 1800 in Lower Lemington, Gloucestershire; Sarah, baptised 1st May 1803 in Hannington, Wiltshire, and Mary baptised 26th May 1805 in Tredington, Warwickshire.

Esther SKERRY (nee LOVERIDGE) was buried on 1st November 1829 in Barford St Michael, Oxfordshire and Jonas subsequently married Elizabeth COBURN on 2nd July 1832 in Newnham, Northamptonshire. Elizabeth was a widow and her maiden name is not known. It seems that Jonas and Elizabeth became estranged, as this article printed in the Oxford University & City Press on 25th August 1832 suggests: "This is to give Notice, - That I will not be accountable for any debts that may be hereafter incurred by my Wife, Elizabeth Skerry; and I hereby caution all persons against trusting her. Witness my hand, Jonas Skerry. Hempton, Aug. 22, 1832."

Jonas was buried in Barford St Michael on 2nd November 1836. His widow Elizabeth was perhaps buried in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire on 28th April 1847. Jonas was mentioned in an edition of Notes and Queries published in 1875: "Until his death, about a quarter of a century ago, Jonas Skerry of Hempton used to perambulate north Oxfordshire, leaving at each respectable house in any village he might visit a printed fly-sheet, headed, ‘Nothing so sweet as grain tin from the ore’. Having made his first round, he called a second time, asking for the return of his fly-sheet and for work, which he performed with celerity and skill at his customer's door, having a small forge on wheels for the purpose. He had mutilated him-self by chopping off one thumb in early youth to avoid serving as a soldier."

Thomas SKERRY (b. 1788) married Peggy LOVERIDGE on 12th August 1805 in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Peggy was born in about 1789 in Lutterworth, Leicestershire and was the daughter of William and Margaret LOVERIDGE. Thomas and Peggy had at least eight children together – William, baptised 23rd April 1809 in Kempsford, Gloucestershire; Margaret, born c. 1811 in Shutlanger, Northamptonshire; Esther, baptised 27th February 1814 in Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire; Aaron, baptised 21st April 1816 in Evenly, Northamptonshire; Mary, baptised 1st November 1818 in Oving, Buckinghamshire; Hannah, baptised 29th April 1821 in Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire;  Ann, born c. 1823, buried 27th April 1824 in Stoke Bruerne, Northamptonshire, and Eliza, baptised 3rd July 1825 in Paulerspury, Northamptonshire.

This is how Thomas and Peggy appear in the 1851 and 1861 censuses (the birthplace of their daughter Eliza is unclear in 1851 but there is a Cappenham Bridge on the road from
Paulerspury to Shutlanger):

Shutlanger, Northamptonshire (1851)

Thomas SKERRY aged 68 Tinker born Padbury, Buckinghamshire
Margaret SKERRY wife 67 Basket Maker born Lutterworth, Leicestershire
Eliza SKERRY daughter 25 Basket Maker born Cappenham Bridge

Shutlanger, Northamptonshire (1861)

Thomas SKERRY aged 82 Basket Maker
born Padbury, Buckinghamshire
Margaret SKERRY wife 73 Basket Maker born Lutterworth, Leicestershire
Eliza SKERRY daughter 33 Basket Maker born
Paulerspury, Northamptonshire

Thomas SKERRY died in 1868 and was buried in Stoke Bruerne on 7th July. His widow Peggy died the following year and was buried in Stoke Bruene on 1st August.


Jonas SKERRY (b. 1790) married Sarah ROBINSON on 26th February 1811 in Wardington, Oxfordshire. Sarah was born in Oxfordshire in about 1788. Jonas and Sarah had at least twelve children together – Jonas, baptised 20th  March 1814 in Wardington; Eliza, born c. 1816, died c. 1817; Rosanna, baptised 1st February  1818 in Cropedy, Oxfordshire; Jacob, baptised 13th February 1820 in Wardington; Matilda, baptised 21st October 1821 in Wardington; Sarah, baptised 22nd February 1824 in Napton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire; David, baptised 19th February 1826 in Napton-on-the-Hill; Moses, baptised 10th February 1828 in Napton-on-the-Hill; Emmanuel, baptised 21st March 1830 in Napton-on-the-Hill; William, baptised 13th May 1832 in Napton-on-the-Hill; Sarah Ann Esther, baptised 5th December 1833 in Napton-on-the-Hill, and John, born c. 1840. This is how Jonas and his family appears in the 1841 and 1851 (in 1851 Emmanuel appears to have recorded as Samuel):

Chapel Green, Napton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire (1841)

Jonas SKERRY aged 50 Brazier Born in County
Sarah SKERRY aged 45 
Born in County
Jonas SKERRY aged 25 Born in County
David SKERRY aged 15 Born in County
Moses SKERRY aged 13 Born in County
Emanuel SKERRY aged 11 Born in County
William SKERRY aged 9 Born in County
John SKERRY aged 1 Born in County

Chapel Green, Napton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire (1851)

Jonas SKERRY aged 65 Tinker & Grinder Brazier born Great Coxwell, Berkshire
Sarah SKERRY wife 57
Born in County born Wardington, Oxfordshire
Samuel SKERRY son 21 Tinker & Grinder born Napton, Warwickshire
William SKERRY son 19 Agricultural Labourer born Napton, Warwickshire

Sarah SKERRY (nee ROBINSON) died in 1859 and was buried in Napton on 11th May. In 1861 Jonas was still living in Napton:

Chapel Green, Napton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire

Jonas SKERRY widower aged 79 Tinker 
born Napton, Warwickshire
Emmanuel SKERRY son 29 Agricultural Labourer born Napton, Warwickshire

In 1871 Jonas was living with his son-in-law William CUCKNELL, the widowed husband of Rosanna SKERRY (his age was rather exaggerated):

Avon Street, Stoke, Warwickshire

William CUCKNELL widower aged 55 Labourer born Stoke, Warwickshire
William CUCKNELL son 14 Scholar
born Stoke, Warwickshire
Belter CUCKNELL daughter 11 Scholar born Stoke, Warwickshire
Jonas SKERRY father-in-law 98 Tinker born Napton, Warwickshire

Jonas SKERRY died in 1871. His death certificate shows that he was 100 years old but in reality he was around 90.

Jonas and Sarah's son Jacob (b. 1820) had several brushes with the law. On 12th January 1838 the Coventry Herald reported that he had been sentenced to 21 days imprisonment with hard labour for "stealing a ferret cub and a padlock, at Harbury". In March 1846 he was apprehended on the charge of stealing fowl, but while in custody he confessed to having been involved in a murder several years previously, as reported here in the Derby Mercury on 1st April:

"Supposed Discovery of a Murder Committed Years Ago. – About a fortnight since, Jacob Skerry, a wandering tinker of the gipsy tribe, was apprehended by Mr. Morgan, the constable of King's Sutton, Northamptonshire, on the charge of robbing a hen-roost, at Whichford, in Warwickshire, and which has long been advertised in the Police Gazette. The prisoner was safely lodged in Banbury Gaol. And confined in a room by himself. Here, either repentance for his past evil life, or a fear of detection preyed heavily on his mind. And he was heard by the governor of the gaol praying in deep distress within his cell. The governor on opening the door of his room discovered him on his knees, and on inquiry learned the cause of his distress, that he had been connected with a murder in Sept, 1842. It will be remembered by many, that in that month, as Mr. G. Mobbs, a respectable farmer of Dunstow [Duns Tew], was returning home from a sale at Steeple Aston, he was murdered in a lane not far from the former place. An inquest was held at the time, but though every exertion was used, the murderers have not been discovered. The jury, with the design of further inquiry, returned a verdict of ‘Found dead.’ In consequence of the prisoner's communication, which was afterwards repeated in the presence of Messrs. Walker and Morgan, magistrates of the county, warrants were immediately granted, and after the most praiseworthy and indefatigable exertions the officers succeeded in capturing J. Biddle and Isaac Sheriff, the one at Bicester, the other at Garsington. They are both of the gipsy tribe, and were remanded by the magistrates for further examination."

James BIDDLE and Isaac SHERIFF were tried at the Oxford Assizes on 14th July 1846. According to The Welshman dated 24th July 1846, Jacob SKERRY claimed that "he saw Biddle and Sheriff attempt to rob Mr. Mobbs, and on the latter saying that he knew them, Biddle struck him a blow on the head, which knocked him down … they then rifled his pockets." The Oxford Chronicle & Reading Gazette dated 18th July 1846 provided an extensive summary of the trial and included more details from Jacob's testimony. He claimed that when BIDDLE and SHERIFF heard him approaching they ran off, but he caught up with them near a stile where BIDDLE allegedly threatened to kill him if he told anyone what he'd seen and "then struck him on the head and left him senseless". The following morning Jacob saw the men outside a barn and BIDDLE gave him two half-crowns to keep him quiet. According to The Welshman, BIDDLE and SHERIFF "at first denied all knowledge of the murder, but afterwards said it was Skerry who had committed it." However Mr. MORGAN claimed that BIDDLE had admitted that all three of them had killed Mr. MOBBS when he was taking them to Oxford in a carriage. The following is from The Welshman:

"When Biddle, Sheriff, and Skerry were on their way to Oxford, in custody of the constables, when they came in sight of the house of the deceased, Biddle said, 'Now we be coming to the place where truth should come out; Mr. Morgan, you please tell the gentlemen, if I should be brought before them again, this is truth. Us are all three alike, and it was us as killed Mobbs, and no one else, and I will show the limekiln where we were warming ourselves when he came on to the gate. When Mobbs came on the gate we were sitting on the kiln and warning ourselves, and he said, "What are you scamps after?" Jacob made use of a gross expression, whereon Mr. Mobbs flew into a passion and told us to be off. We went into the turnpike-road; he followed us to the Fox. Jacob said he would go no further; they had words, but Isaac could not hear, as went down Dunstew-lane. When we got to the hollow, Mobbs overtook us, and said, "Do you think I am afraid of such scamps as you?" Jacob came up and struck him on the head; I struck him. Mobbs said, "So help me, Lord, for I know all three of them"; and he cried out "Murder" three times. He fought for life with a whip which he had in his hand. He cut this hole in my face, and loosed one of my teeth, which I pulled out in Painter's hovel the next day, and hid in the wall. He also hit Jacob with his whip on the head. Us should not have killed him if he had not followed us and been in such a passion … I have been many times on my knees to pray to be forgiven since that day.'"

According to Oxford Chronicle & Reading Gazette, the defence counsel said that Jacob's evidence "would not weigh a feather in the judgement of the jury" and that "it was but too evident that he was the leading actor in that murder, and had made up a tissue of lies to exculpate himself by accusing some other persons." The case then went to the jury who returned a verdict of guilty against both prisoners. The Judge "then put on the Black Cap … and pronounced the sentence of death in the usual form. Both prisoners continued to assert their innocence of the crime till they were removed."


On the very next day Jacob appeared in court again, this time charged with stealing a ewe, as reported in the Reading Mercury on 25th July 1846: "Sheep Stealing. – Jacob Skerry, a man who gave evidence against Biddle and Sheriff, for the murder of Mr. Mobbs, was charged with stealing one ewe sheep, the property of Mr. Robert Rogers, of North Aston. – The jury, after a short time, returned a verdict of guilty. The learned Judge commented on the vagabond life he had been living, telling him that in his opinion he was the greatest rogue of the three, meaning Biddle and Sheriff, and sentenced him to 15 years' transportation."

Jacob was one of 263 convicts transported to Tasmania on the William Jardine which left England on 9th August 1850, arriving in Tasmania on 14th November 1850. He was described as a Protestant who could not read or write, 5 foot 3¾ in height with fair complexion, light brown hair and light brown eyes. He was granted a ticket of leave on 24th May 1853 which was revoked on 11th April 1854. Jacob married Catherine HEATHERMAN on 16th October 1854 in Hobart. Catherine was born in Dublin, Ireland around 1823 and was also a convict, arriving in Tasmania in 1852. Jacob was again granted a ticket of leave on 16th February 1855, followed by a conditional pardon on 25th November 1856.

Sarah SKERRY (b. 1803) married Robert BATES on 19th April 1824 in Barford St Michael, Oxfordshire. Robert and Sarah had at least six children together – Elizabeth, baptised 17th January 1827 in Bloxham, Oxfordshire; John, baptised 27th May 1827 in Barford St Michael; Sarah, baptised 20th September 1828 in Bloxham; Matthew, baptised 12th April 1830 in Bloxham, died 14th October 1831 also in Bloxham; Emma, baptised 23rd March 1832 in Bloxham, and Charles, baptised 7th November 1833 in Bloxham. 

Mary SKERRY (b. 1805) married George TIMMS on 21st September 1826 in Barford St Michael. George was born in Barford St Michael in around 1801. George and Mary had at least seven children together – Mary, baptised 13th September 1829 in Adderbury, Oxfordshire; Eliza, baptised 8th February 1833 in Adderbury; George, baptised 31st August 1834 in Adderbury; John, baptised 1st March 1837 in Adderbury; Sarah, baptised 18th June 1839 in Adderbury; William, born c. 1845 in Adderbury, and Anna Maria, born c. 1849 in Warwickshire. This is how the family appears in the 1861 census:

Wilton Road, Erdington, Warwickshire

George TIMMS aged 60 Farmer's Waggoner born Barford, Oxfordshire
Mary TIMMS wife 50 born Bicester, Oxfordshire
George TIMMS son 26 Agricultural Labourer
born Barford, Oxfordshire
John TIMMS son 24 born Barford, Oxfordshire
Anna Maria TIMMS daughter 11 Scholar born Napton, Warwickshire
William TIMMS son 15
Agricultural Labourer born Barford, Oxfordshire

Joseph SKERRY (1794-1872)

Joseph SKERRY was baptised in Sulgrave, Northamptonshire on 10th May 1794 and was the son of Jonas SKERRY and Esther LOVERIDGE. He is described in parish registers as a pedlar, travelling man, brazier and tinker. He married Mary SCARROTT on 5th September 1814 in Heston. Census records suggest that Mary was born in Great Wyrley, Staffordshire in about 1794 and she may have been the daughter of John SCARROTT and Ann HALL who married in 6th February 1790 in Stoke Lyne, Oxfordshire. When John and Ann's eldest daughter was baptised in Cannock, Staffordshire in 1791 their abode was recorded as Cheslyn Hay, which is near Great Wyrley.

Joseph and Mary had at least nine children together – Ann, baptised 5th November 1815 in Brightwell, Berkshire; Eve, baptised 11th January 1818 in Charlbury, Oxfordshire; Esther, baptised 24th September 1820 in Shipton under Wychwood, Oxfordshire; Thomas, baptised 11th April  1823 in Thame, Oxfordshire; John, baptised 11th September 1825 in Longcot, Berkshire; Sarah, baptised 2nd March 1828 in Great Milton, Oxfordshire; William, baptised 7th March 1830 in Great Milton, Oxfordshire; Peggy, baptised 8th September 1833 in Oakley, Buckinghamshire, and Jonas, baptised 12th June 1836 in Garsington, Oxfordshire. The 1841 census shows a Joseph SKERRY born around 1822 living with the family, but it isn't known if he was another son or related to the family in some other way. Thomas SKERRY is missing from the census and it is possible that his name was incorrectly recorded as Joseph. This is how the family appears in the 1841, 1851 and 1871 censuses:

In Tents, Stanford Lane, West Challow, Berkshire (1841)

Joseph SKERRY aged 18 Brazier Not born in County
Mary SKERRY aged 47 Not Born in County
Peggy SKERRY aged 7 Not Born in County
John SKERRY aged 15
Not Born in County
Sarah SKERRY aged 13
Not Born in County
Joseph SKERRY aged 50
Not Born in County
Jonas SKERRY aged 5
Not Born in County

Smith Square, Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire (1861)

Joseph SKERRY aged 68 Tinker born Sulgrave, Northamptonshire
Mary SKERRY wife 66 Tinker's Wife born Great Wyrley, Staffordshire
William SKERRY grandson 21 Tinker born Ambrosden, Oxfordshire

Thame Union Workhouse, Thame, Oxfordshire (1871)

Joseph SKERRY aged 81 Tinker born Northampton
Mary SKERRY aged 79 Hawkert born Wyrley, Staffordshire

Joseph SKERRY died in 1872 and was buried in Thame on 13th June. His widow Mary moved to Eastney in Portsmouth close to where her son Jonas was living and died there on 5th August 1873 in Highland Street.

Eve SKERRY (b. 1818) had an illegitimate child by an unknown father in 1840 – William, born in Ambrosden, Oxfordshire. She subsequently married George Orchard on 3rd October 1842 in Wallingford, Berkshire.

Esther SKERRY (b. 1820) married James ROSE on 8th March 1839 in Bicester, Oxfordshire. James was baptised on 15th July 1818 in Amport, Hampshire and was the son of Swithin ROSE and Sophia JAMES (see above for further details about James and Esther).

Thomas SKERRY (b. 1823) appeared at the Petty Sessions in Abingdon in June 1843 accused of burglary, as reported here in the Reading Mercury on 10th June: "On Monday last, four rough looking characters, named Thomas Tritten, Jesse Tritten, Henry Tritten, and Thomas Skerry were charged before T. Duffield, Esq., M.P., with a burglary at the house of Mr. James Busby, at Appleton. Mr. Busby, who is a baker, rose according to his custom, at an early hour on Saturday morning last, and found that his shop had been broken open, and a quantity of bread, ham, cheese, and other articles stolen. He and his brother immediately commenced an examination, and discovered about his premises the footmarks of several persons, one or two of whom must have been without shoes. They proceeded to trace the marks for upwards of four miles, when they came to a barn, belonging to Mr. Bullock, at Garford, where the prisoners were found fast asleep with two women and a child. There was also some of the stolen property. The prisoners were remanded until Monday next, when they will, without doubt, be fully committed for trial at the assizes."

Thomas and his companions appeared at the Berkshire Assizes in Abingdon on 10th July, the outcome of which was reported in the Oxford University & City Herald on 13th July: "Thomas Tritten, 21, sweep, Jesse Tritten, 23, sweep, Henry Tritten, 17, sweep, and Thomas Skerry, 20, sweep, charged with having, on the 3rd day of June last, at the parish of Appleton, feloniously broke and entered the dwelling-house of James Busley [sic], and stolen therein a quantity of bread, bacon, and other articles, his property. Thomas Tritten and Thomas Skerry pleaded guilty, and were sentenced, the former to 15 years and the latter 10 years transportation; the other prisoners were found guilty, and Jesse Tritten was sentenced to 2 years, and Henry Tritten to 15 calendar months imprisonment, hard labour."

Thomas spent two years on a prison hulk moored in the River Thames before departing on 31st July 1845 aboard the convict ship Stratheden. The ship arrived in Tasmania, then called Van Diemen's Land, on 25th December 1845. The Cornwall Chronicle dated 5th December 1846 reported that Thomas had been granted a ticket of leave, but this was revoked by the Lieutenant-Governor on 14th September 1847 due to misconduct and was not restored until 20th February 1849. Thomas was refused a conditional pardon on 21st July 1849 and again on 12th February 1850, but on 23rd November 1850 the following article appeared in the Irish Exile & Freedom's Advocate : "Convict Department. Comptroller-General's Office, 18th November, 1850. It is hereby notified to the under-mentioned individuals, that it is the intention of His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor to recommend them to the gracious consideration of Her Majesty the Queen for Conditional Pardons." Thomas SKERRY was one of the names which appeared in the subsequent list, however his pardon was not granted until 3rd February 1852.

Thomas married a widow named Maria SOUTHALL in Launceston, Tasmania on 29th March 1852. Maria was born in about 1815 but her birthplace and maiden name are unknown. What became of Maria is also unknown as on 23rd July 1852 Thomas departed from Launceston aboard the steamer Shamrock bound for Melbourne, and there is no mention of Maria in the passenger list. Thomas subsequently married Ellen YENDELL in 1857 in Victoria, Australia. Ellen was born in about 1828 and was the widow of Charles COLLINS. Thomas and Ellen had at least nine children together - William Joseph, born c. 1859 in White Hills, Bendigo, Victoria, died c. 1860; John Jonas, born c. 1861 in Epsom, Bendigo, Victoria, died c. 1867; Mary Ellen, born c. 1862 in Epsom; Helen Ann, born c. 1864 in Epsom; Sarah, born c. 1866 in Epsom, died c. 1867 in Epsom; Albert Thomas, born c. 1868 in White Hills; Helena, born c. 1869 in White Hills; Fanny, born c. 1869 in White Hills, and Belinda Ann, born c. 1871 in White Hills. Thomas and Ellen appear to have married for a second time in 1870, again in Victoria, for reasons as yet unknown.

Thomas began calling himself William Thomas after he was pardoned, and was referred to by this name in this article published in the Bendigo Advetiser on 6th May 1858: "Found a white Goat, with three Young Ones. The owner can have the same by giving description, on application to William Thomas Skerry, near the Old Junction Camp, Seventh White Hill." The Ellen SKERRY mentioned in the following article which appeared in the Bendigo Advertiser on 8th December 1870 was probably Thomas' wife: "Huntly Police Court. Wednesday, 7th December. Insulting Language. Ellen Skerry charged Ellen Hamilton with using abusive language, namely calling her a thief, and nothing but a thief. A fine of 5s, with 5s costs, was inflicted, or in default twenty-four hours' imprisonment." William appears to have worked as a miner but unfortunately became insolvent, as reported here in The Australasian on 14th June 1879: "William Thomas Skerry, of Epsom, miner. Causes of insolvency - Sickness in family, loss as a tributer, and pressure on creditors. Liabilities, £57 9s 2d; assets £2 10s; deficiency, £54 19s 2d. Mr. John Hasker, assignee."

It would seem that Thomas later became a fireman, as the following death notice appeared in the Bendigo Advertiser on Thursday 1st October 1891: "Death of a Fireman. - Watchman W. T. Skerry, who for some time past has been on duty in the fire tower, expired yesterday morning at his late residence in Grattan street. The deceased, who was 71 years of age, had been ailing for some time past, but was taken seriously ill on Saturday and had to take to his bed. Mrs. Skerry is confined to her bed at the present time, and, as might naturally be expected, is very much distressed over the loss of her husband. The deceased was a registered member of the No. 1 Brigade, and by an advertisement in another column, active and honorary members of that body are requested to follow his remains to their last resting place in the White Hills Cemetery this afternoon at three o'clock." The advertisement mentioned in this article read as follows: "No. 1 S.V. Fire Brigade. Active and Honorary Members of the above Brigade are requested to Meet at the Depot, at two o'clock, This Day, to Attend Funeral of our late Member, Mr Wm. T. Skerry. Sister brigades are respectfully invited. Geo. Pownall, Captain."

Sarah SKERRY (b. 1828) married William ROSE in Abingdon, Berkshire on 25th October 1858. Please see above for more information about their family.

Peggy SKERRY (b. 1833) appeared at the Berkhire Quarter Sessions in Abingdon on 16th October 1854 accused of robbery, as described here in the Berkshire Chronicle on 21st October: "Robbery at Fernham. William Atterwell, 23, Peggy Skerry, 21, charged with having, on the 22nd August, at Fernham, stolen a canvas waggon cloth, the property of John Heath. Mr. Carrington was for the prosecution. Mr. Williams defended the prisoner. The two prisoner, described as labourers, were forlorn looking creatures, evidently having been in the habit of leading a wandering life. The prosecutors, two brothers, are farmers and brickmakers, residing at Fernham, in the parish of Shrivenham. The waggon-cloth in question was marked with the letters 'L.H.' in an upper line and 'F' in a lower line. This cloth was safe on the evening of the 21st oif August, having been in use that day. The prisoners were seen by one of the prosectors' servants, named Rogers, with a cart; the tilting or covering of the cart presented an appearance the worse for wear, as though it had long withstood the raging of the storm. The following morning the cloth had disappeared. Nothing was seen or heard of it until the 7th of October, when Rogers saw the prisoners with their cart much improved in appearance, having been newly painted, and a much better covering placed on the top. He looked, and looked again; when, lo! he saw the magical letters L. H. and F, though it had evidently been newly tarred. He at once gave information to one of his masters, and a search was made for the prisoners. They were not seen until two days afterwards, when on examining the tilt the letters had disappeared, and a hole cut in the cloth where they had been. The male prisoner said he had sold to his sister in misfortune the cart and cloth, and that there was never any name on it. Mr. Heath accused them of the theft; this they stoutly denied, the male prisoner saying, 'Well, if you want me, you will find me in Gipsy-lane,' - a great rendezvous of that romantic, yet roguish tribe. This statement was found correct, as the prisoners were found there encamped and taken into custody.

"Mr. Williams contended that the identity of the prisoners with the robbery had not been sufficiently developed, that a case of recent possession had not by any means been made out, and that their conduct throughout had been consisent with innocence. The jury deliberated for a few moments and found the prisoners guilty. The Chairman quite concurred with the verdict; he had not reason, however, to suspect their previous conduct as tainted with crime, therefore he should pass the lenient sentence of three months' imprisonment."

Peggy married William MORGAN at St Helen, Abingdon on 25th October 1858. William was born in Buckhorn Weston, Dorset in about 1832 and was the son of David MORGAN. The marriage took place on the day as Sarah SKERRY's, and William ROSE and William MORGAN acted as each other's witnesses. Peggy and William had at least three children together – Daniel, born 7th June 1855 at Abingdon Common, Berkshire; Sarah, born c. 1858 in Cholsey, Berkshire, and William, born c. 1863 in Berkshire. The 1871 census also shows Peggy with a son named Morgan WILLIE, born c. 1853 in Berkshire, though nothing is known about his parentage. This is how William and Peggy appear in the 1871 census:

2 Stanhope Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

William MORGAN aged 39 Basket Maker born Buckorn, Dorsetshire
Peggie MORGAN wife 33
Basket Maker's Wife born Oakley, Buckinghamshire
Morgan WILLIE son 18 Basket Maker born Berkshire
Daniel MORGAN son 15 Basket Maker born Abingdon, Berkshire
Sarah MORGAN daughter 12 Scholar born Cholsey, Berkshire
William MORGAN son 7 Scholar born Berkshire

Jonas SKERRY (b. 1836) joined the Royal Marine Artillery and was stationed in Portsmouth in 1861, as seen here:

HMS Geyser, Portsmouth Harbour

Jonas SKERRY aged 24 Gunner, R.M.A. born  Winchester, Oxfordshire

Jonas married Fanny CHISWELL on 20th January 1864 in St Paul, Devonport. Fanny was born around 1843 in Landrake, Cornwall and was the daughter of William CHISWELL. Jonas and Fanny had at least five children together – William John, born c. 1875 in Eastney, Hampshire; Anne Elizabeth, born c. 1877 in Eastney; James Albert Chiswell, born c. 1879 in Eastney; Esther Mary, born c. 1882 in Menheniot, Cornwall, and George Henry, born c. 1884 in Menheniot. This is how Jonas and Fanny appear in the 1871 and 1881:

Royal Marine Artillery Barracks, Eastnet, Portsea, Hampshire (1871)

Jonas SKERRY aged 34 Corporal, R.M.A. born Garsington, Oxfordshire
Fanny SKERRY wife 28 born Landrake, Cornwall
Fanny THOMAS niece 4 Scholar born Morice Town, Devon

Wesleyan Soldiers Home, 2 Grosvenor Road, Aldershot, Hampshire (1881)

Jonas SKERRY aged 45 Pensioner in Charge of House born Garsington, Oxfordshire
Fanny SKERRY wife 38 born Landrake, Cornwall
William J. SKERRY son 5 Scholar born Eastney, Hampshire
Anne E. SKERRY daughter 3
born Eastney, Hampshire
Albert J. SKERRY son 1 born Eastney, Hampshire
Fanny P. THOMAS servant 14 General Servant born Devonport, Devon

Jonas and Fanny moved to Menheniot near Liskeard in Cornwall around 1882 and this is how they appear in subsequent censuses:

Village School Green, Menheniot, Cornwall (1891)

Jonas SKERRY aged 54 Pensioner, R. Artillery born Garsington, Oxfordshire
Fanny E. SKERRY wife 48 born Landrake, Cornwall
Annie E. SKERRY daughter 13 born Portsmouth
Albert J. C. SKERRY son 11 Scholar
born Portsmouth
Easther M. SKERRY daughter 8 Scholar born Menheniot, Cornwall
George H. SKERRY son 6 Scholar
born Menheniot, Cornwall

Menheniot, Cornwall (1901)

Jonas SKERRY aged 64 Naval Pensioner born Garsington, Oxfordshire
Fanny E. SKERRY wife 58 born Landrake, Cornwall
George H. SKERRY son 16 Gardender (not Domestic) born Menheniot, Cornwall
Esther M. SKERRY daughter 18 born Menheniot, Cornwall
Martin L. PASCOE boarder widower 25 Railway Signalman born St. Austell, Cornwall

Menheniot, Cornwall (1911)

Jonas SKERRY aged 74 Pensioner R.M.A. born Garsington, Oxfordshire
Fanny SKERRY wife 68born Landrake, Cornwall
Margaret Annie BALL granddaughter 8 School Girl born Lostwithiel, Cornwall

Jonas died on 16th Mary 1927 at Doddycross, Menheniot, Cornwall.

John SKERRY (1825-1866)

John SKERRY was baptised on 11th September 1825 in Longcot, Berkshire and was the son of Joseph SKERRY and Mary SCARROTT. He may have been the John SKERRY accused of stealing no less than 288 sheep in July 1843. The incident was reported in the Reading Mercury on 15th July 1843: "John Skerry, 18, charged with stealing, at Frilford, on the 4th of July instant, 288 sheep, the property of Mr. William Aldworth, junior. A man named Corss, the shepherd of the prosecutor, stated he lived at Kingston End, and that he counted the sheep and left them all safe on the evening of July 4. There were 150 ewes and 138 wether sheep in the field. Joseph Fox, a farmer's labourer, in the service of the prosecutor's brother, stated that he saw the prisoner in Mr. William Aldworth's fold the same night, at about a quarter before nine o'clock. Witness stood by and watched, and saw him drive out all the sheep into the road, upon which he went out and overtook him; the prisoner had gone two or three furlongs. Some other evidence was given in corroboration of the above, and the prisoner, in his defence, stated that he was passing by the fold and saw the sheep had got out, upon which he endeavoured to put them back again. His Lordshop summed up, and the jury, after consulting together for a few moment, returned the verdict of not guilty."

Unfortunately did not get away scot-free as this article published on the same day in the Oxford Chronicle & Reading Gazette reveals: "John Skerry, charged with having, at Frilford, feloniously stolen 288 sheep, the property of William Aldworth, jun. Acquitted. On the prisoner being discharged, he was brought before the Rev. N. Dodson and another magistrate, charged under the wilful trespass act, and sentenced to 2 calendar months' imprisonment and hard labour."

John had at least two children with Ann ROSE, though they don't seem to have married. Ann was born in around 1825 and may have been the daughter of Swithin ROSE and Sophia JAMES, though the 1861 census shows her birthplace as Farnham, Surrey, while Swithin's daughter was baptised in Brightwell, Berkshire. John and Ann's children were Elizabeth, born c. 1845 in Farnham, Surrey, and John, born 16th May 1858 in Old Moor Lane, Wallingford, Berkshire. This is how the family appears in the 1861 census (the enumerator may have confused Farnham with Fernham, which is about a mile from Longcot):

A Van, Wallingford, Berkshire

John SKERRY aged 36 Tinman born Farnham, Surrey
Ann SKERRY wife 36 born Farnham, Surrey
John SKERRY son 2 born Wallingford, Berkshire
Elizabeth SKERRY daughter 15 born Farnham, Surrey

John SKERRY died in 1866 and was buried in Wallingford on 17th May. The burial register describes him as a 'tramp' living at Old Moor Lane. His widow Ann appears to have been an inmate at Wallingford Workhouse at the time of the 1891 census (her birthplace in this instance was recorded as Brightwell, suggesting that she was the daughter of Swithin):

Wallingford Union Workhouse, Wallingford, Berkshire

Ann ROSE widow aged 65 Pauper Inmate born Brightwell, Berkshire

Elizabeth SKERRY (b. 1845) married Charles LEE on 30th April 1883 in Silchester, Hampshire, though they had already had several children together by then. Their marriage certificate shows Elizabeth's maiden name as ROSE, probably because her parents were unmarried. Charles was baptised in Arborfield, Berkshire on 13th February 1842 and was the son of Mercy LEE. Charles and Elizabeth had at least eight children together -  Charles, born c. 1869 in Stratfield Saye, Hampshire; Elizabeth, born c. 1871 in Stratfield Saye; John, born c. 1873; Henry, born 28th March 1876 in Silchester, Fernette or Fairnett, born 23rd June 1878 in Shinfield, Berkshire, died 20th June 1880 in Lyne, Surrey; Albert, born c. 1880; Rosa, born 19th October 1882 in Silchester, and Belcher, born 18th November 1885 in Shinfield. Rosa's birth certificate shows her as the illegitimate daughter of Betsy ROSE, but she is believed to be Charles and Elizabeth's daughter. This is how the family appear in the 1881 and 1891 censuses:

In Tent, Stone Hill, Mortimer West End, Hampshire (1881)

Charley LEE aged 40 Gypsy born Farley Hill, Berkshire
Betsy SKERRY aged 37 Gypsy birthplace not known
Charles LEE son 12 Gypsy birthplace not known
Elizabeth LEE daughter 10 Gypsy birthplace not known
John LEE son 8 Gypsy birthplace not known
Harry LEE son 4 Gypsy birthplace not known
Albert LEE son 10 months Gypsy birthplace not known

In Tent, Burnt Common Encampment, Mortimer West End, Hampshire (1891)

Charles LEE aged 50 No Occupation birthplace not known
Elizabeth LEE wife 40 birthplace not known
Charles LEE son 21 birthplace not known
Elizabeth LEE daughter 19 birthplace not known
Johnny LEE son 17 birthplace not known
Henry LEE son 15 birthplace not known
Albert LEE son 12 birthplace not known
Rosie LEE daughter 10 birthplace not known
Belcher LEE son 7 birthplace not known

Charles LEE died sometime before 1911 as Elizabeth was shown as a widow in the census for that year (Elizabeth's children are both shown as being ten years younger than they actually were):

25 Tyrrells Buildings, Maidenhead, Berkshire

Elizabeth LEE widow aged 62 No occupation born Wallingford, Berkshire
Elizabeth LEE daughter 30 Dealer born Stratfield Saye, Hampshire
Charles LEE son 32 General Dealer
born Stratfield Saye, Hampshire
Rosina LEE granddaughter 12 born Three Mile Cross, Berkshire

Elizabeth LEE (nee SKERRY) died on 21st July 1917 at 20 Tyrrells Buildings, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

John SKERRY (b. 1858) appears to have called himself John ROSE, again probably because his parents were not married. All his children were recorded with the surname ROSE when their births were registered, and he also appears in the 1891 census as ROSE. However when his daughter Priscilla died in 1900 her surname was recorded as SKERRY, and the family appear as SKERRYs in the 1911 census.

John had a number of children with a lady called Caroline AYRES, though they don't appear to have married. Caroline was born in Farley Hill, Berkshire in around 1861. John and Caroline had at least eleven children together - Hezekiah, baptised 13th June 1881 in Botleys and Lyne, Surrey, died c. 1881; William Henry, baptised 5th June 1882 in Botleys and Lyne; John, baptised (as John SKERRY) on 27th January 1884 in Brightwell, Berkshire, died c. 1884; Ann Selina, born c. 1885 in Ilsley, Berkshire; Edwin, born c. 1886 in Bramley, Hampshire; Priscilla, baptised 14th August 1889 in Botleys and Lyne; Betsy, baptised 24th October 1895 in Botleys and Lyne; Sophia, born c. 1897; Kezia, baptised 14th May 1899 in Horsell, Surrey; Thomas, baptised 17th Jan 1901 in Botleys and Lyne, and Charlie, baptised 29th April 1904 in Botleys and Lyne. This is how the family appear in 1891 and 1911 (Thomas and Charlie are the wrong way around in 1911):

In Tent, Burnt Common Encampment, Mortimer West End, Hampshire (1891)

John ROSE aged 29 No occupation born Wallingford, Berkshire
Caroline ROSE wife 30 born Farley Hill, Berkshire
Henry ROSE son 9 born Lyne, Surrey
Anselina ROSE daughter 6 born Ilsley, Berkshire
Edwin ROSE daughter 4 born Bramley, Hampshire
Priscilla ROSE daughter 1 born Lyne, Surrey

Potters Field, Crookham, Hampshire (1911)

John SKERRY aged 43 Gipsy birthplace not known
Caroline SKERRY wife 42 Gipsy birthplace not known
Betsy SKERRY daughter 17 Gipsy birthplace not known
Sophia SKERRY daughter 15 Gipsy birthplace not known
Kezia SKERRY daughter 13 Gipsy birthplace not known
Charlie SKERRY son 11 Gipsy birthplace not known
Tom SKERRY son 7 Gipsy birthplace not known

The findings of the inquest into the sudden death of John and Caroline's daughter Priscilla were reported on in the Middlesex & Surrey Express on 23rd June 1900: "Sudden Death of a Young Gipsy at Staines. An inquest was held at the Town Hall, Staines on Wednesday, by Mr. Reginald Kemp, touching the death of Priscilla Skerry, a gipsy, aged eleven years, who expired suddenly on Saturday last. The deceased lived with her parents in a caravan at Lock's Farm, London-road, Staines. - Mr. F. Floyd was chosen foreman of the jury. Caroline Skerry, mother of the deceased, identified the body. The deceased was taken ill on Saturday morning. She had pains in the head, and witness sent for some brandy. The deceased had not complained before. Witness went for the nearest doctor, but he was not at home. She then went to Dr. Tothill, and he was not at home, but she eventually saw him, and he made up a bottle of medicine. The deceased was in a parambulator, and witness wheeled her home. The doctor said she was not in a dangerous condition. Witness put her to bed. She did not speak after the medicine had been given her.

"Mrs. Rose said the girl was quite well on the Friday. Witness was with her all the time, and corroborated the mother's statement. Dr. Tothill said he saw the girl on Saturday afternoon, when she was in a very collapsed state. He prescribed for her. She complained of pains in the head and in the right side. He had made a post-mortem examination, and found all the organs healthy. The liver was large. The primary cause of death was congestion of the brain and an enlargement of the liver. A verdict to this effect was returned. The jury gave their fees to the mother."


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