Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Tisdalls of Bloomsbury

William de Villiers of Cape Town, who sent me the latest information on Bishop Andrew McLaglen, has revealed a Bloomsbury ancestry! His great-great-great grandparents, James Tisdall (b.1795) and Martha Tisdall (née Purchas, b.1793), lived in Queen Street (now Museum Street), Bloomsbury, during the early 19th century. James was employed as a ‘hot presser’ (someone who worked a hot press, used in a number of occupations such as paper making). The Tisdall’s eldest daughter, Caroline Martha, was born in 1817 and christened in St George’s, Bloomsbury, the sixth and final London church designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor (c.1661-1736). Their second daughter, Martha Sarah (1818-1895), was christened at St Giles-in-the-Fields, Bloomsbury. By this time, her parents were living in Brownlow (now Betterton) Street, just outside the borders of Bloomsbury, off Drury Lane. James had changed his occupation to that of dry-salter (usually refers to someone who traded in preserving chemicals, including salt, but also in dyes and other chemicals). Martha Sarah was William’s great-great grandmother. The couple had two further children, Sarah (b.c.1821) and James Nathanial (c.1826-1865), both of whom were christened at St Giles-in-the-Fields.

Martha Sarah was married at St Giles church in 1841 to Richard Payze (1818-1915), a successful corn factor and land owner of Leytonstone, then in the Essex countryside but now part of East London! Martha’s own granddaughter, Martha Amy (always known as Jane) Payze, was born at Whitchurch-on-Thames, a picturesque village in South Oxfordshire. William takes up the story: ‘My grandmother, seeking adventure, went out to Tanganyika shortly after the First World War, and there met my grandfather, a good-looking young South African, and married him!’

The picture directly above shows the British Museum in 1805. This is the view that James and Martha Tisdall would have seen from their home at the north end of Museum Street (this was the Queen Street end). The top picture is a summer view of the east face of St Giles-in-the-Fields (taken by Mark Charter, Flickr). This disguises its position in the centre of a busy London thoroughfare and shows how it might have looked to the Tisdalls of Bloomsbury as they took their children to be christened.