August 2011 – Alice Cross wife of John Crook Peapell
My mother, Beryl Richards Hurley (Maiden name Webb), always called her grandfather’s second wife Lizzie, but her real name was apparently Alice. Although on her marriage she gave her name as “Alice Sly” and her fathers name as “William Cross” and his occupation as “Butler” it still proved difficult to track down where she came from. My mother said about Lizzie, or Alice –
My grandfather married again in November 1921. Alice Sly was a barmaid at the local public house, the Carpenters Arms. The family did not approve as they said that my grandfather only saw Alice when he was drunk.
My grandfather took Alice Sly to meet his father and mother. His father Henry, who was by then stone deaf, pointed to Alice’s finger to indicate that he assumed she was a widow. The story goes that my grandfather had to hold up two fingers as she had been married and widowed twice but I have not been able to prove this.
And on visits to see her Grandfather
On one occasion we went as far as Bedford to visit Mr. Iles, someone connected with my grandfather’s second wife (known to me as Aunty Lissie.). I do not know whether it was a relation or friend, but I remember he laughed so much his false teeth fell out. My grandfather’s second wife was reputed to have worked at Windsor Castle – but was it the royal palace or a pub of that name? On her marriage certificate she gave her father’s occupation as butler.
Wednesday afternoons, being early closing day in Swindon, were usually spent at Stratton. That was also the day when my Aunty Lizzie went to her Mother’s Union meetings – something which puzzled me as she was not a mother.
Time to track down Alice if I could.
I looked at the 1911 Census for Alice Sly. Here I found a likely Alice married to Herbert Sly and both publicans in Wantage. This fitted with Alice Sly having met John Crook Peapell in the Carpenters Arms in South Marston where she was barmaid.
On FreeBMD I found in Quarter 1 of 1897 Alice Cross married Charles Hudson at Faringdon. The other couple on the same page was John Walker who married Emily Pitt.
Charles was a carpenter about 12 years older Alice and widowed with a son also called Charles. Although he came from Norfolk he had lived for some time in Buscot where his previous wife came from and his son Charles was born.
In Quarter 2 1907 (June) Charles Hudson died in Swindon age 53 (putting his date of birth as about 1854). The same quarter Herbert Edward Sly was widowed when his wife Emmeline Louisa Sly died age 41 in Swindon. Previously in the 1901 Census Herbert had been a licensed Victualler at Wellington Inn, London Road Wellington Terrace, Farlington (Havant)
One year later in Quarter 2 1908 Alice (Hudson) and Herbert Sly married in Swindon.
In the 1911 Census they are publicans running The Bill Inn Grove Wantage. However it did not last long and just before the first world war, in 1913 Herbert Sly had died in Swindon.
In 1921 Alice married John Crook Peapell
Her marriages lasted about 10 years to Charles Hudson, 5 years to Herbert Sly, and 25 years to John Crook Peapell. She outlived all three husbands.
I cannot find her in the earlier census or be certain about her birth at present. There are 6 possibilities for her birth as Alice Cross and 4 for Alice with a second name in London around the right time
So the family story that when Henry Peapell asked how many time she had been married and John Crook Peapell replied and held up two fingers would appear to be true.
1901 Census for 18, Westbury Road, Southgate
Charles Hudson Head Married, occupation carpenter, born 1855 in Holt Norfolk,
Alice Hudson Wife Married, born 1867 London
Charles Hudson Son Married, occupation carpenter, born 1882 Buscot Berkshire
Cook William Boarder Single Occupation carpenter, born 1879 Stratton Wiltshire
1901 Census for Wellington Inn, London Road Wellington Terrace, Farlington
Herbert Sly Head Married, Occupation Licensed Vituller , Born 1864 in Warminster
Emmerline Sly Wife Married, born1862 in Dagenham Essex
1911 Census for The Bill Inn Grove Wantage
Herbert Sly, Married 3 years, occupation publican, born 1864 in Warminster Wiltshire
Alice Sly, married, occupation publican, born 1866 in London
Possible Births of Alice Cross in London between 1865 and 1867
Jun 1865 Cross Alice Poplar 1c 659
Dec 1865 Cross Alice Beatrice Lambeth 1d 347
Mar 1866 Cross Alice Whitechapel 1c 414
Dec 1866 Cross Alice J Newington 1d 217
Mar 1867 Cross Alice St. Geo. H. Sq. 1a 265
Mar 1867 Cross Alice Selina Wandsworth 1d 507
Jun 1867 Cross Alice Emma Richmond, S. 2a 280
Sep 1867 Cross Alice Mile End 1c 560
Sep 1867 Cross Alice St. Giles 1b 515
Dec 1867 Cross Alice Bermondsey 1d 80