Google+ Badge

Friday, December 5, 2014

38.5 Elias Durnford and Martha Gannaway Their lives in London

The lives of Elias Durnford and Martha Gannaway                   Part 2


When Thomas Durnford died in 1737, his four children would have been quite young .

Elias would have been 17, Elizabeth  14,Ann 13 and Andrew would have been 10.

Who then cared for the children?  As a minor he would not have been able to inherit his father's estate at that age.


 Elias was born 11th March 1720, in Ringwood Hampshire.  At the age of 18 he married Martha Gannaway at Rockbourne Hampshire.

To learn a little about Elias, his grandson (another Elias) reports from the Elias Durnford papers


Very little is remembered of Mr. Elias Durnford except that he lived at Norwood, Surrey, and frequently traveled thence in his carriage, attended by his coachman and footman, to London. 

The latter, while in town, frequented a public house, where, drinking freely, he boasted of and 

described his master's riches rather incautiously, since some of his hearers took advantage of the unguarded state the mansion was left in, to plunder it during the proprietor's absence of
plate valued at .£300, and some ladies' handsome dresses, which probably proved attractive to a woman, an accomplice in the burglary.



From that account, one can assume he was rather well off, and had in his service a coachman and a footman, which would indicate he lived in a rather splendid house and regularly traveled to London.


But before they resided in London they lived in different parts of Wiltshire or Hampshire.


He married Martha Gannaway 15th April 1738, in Rockbourne.  He was 18 she was 24, if the dates provided for their births is correct.

Did he in fact, inherit all the riches of Martha's family or another of his ancestors?

Their residences

In 1738, from the marriage they lived in Rockbourne, then in 1739 when Elias was born they were in Damerham, which was the home to Martha's family.

In 1741, it is shown they were living Ringwood parish and then when Andrew as born they were living in Fordingbridge parish, all in Hampshire.

(My searches of available online data bases show no records for the children, in order to prove the facts)


St Georges Fordingham

In 1748 they were living in London as others have provided with Clark's birth.



There was a reason that the family went to London.   Did he suddenly find himself a wealthy man, and the move to London coincided with his ambitions for his family and his lifestyle?

Or did it have to do with ensuring the future for his 4 sons.

At the time of moving to London the children would have been quite young.  Education was important, but not freely available in many areas.


Perhaps Elias had the benefit of education in one of the schools in Ringwood.


The first recorded school in Ringwood was founded in 1577 by Richard Lyne, Lord of the Manor of Leybrook who owned land in Burley and Ringwood. With the consent of the Vicar of Ringwood, a stone saxon built hut standing in the churchyard was converted into a school building and a teacher, Mr Richard Watrington, was appointed.  

The school was free to the children of residents of Ringwood, a charge being made on the Leybrook Estate for expenses. The school suffered good and bad times over the centuries. 

Some pupils went on to fame.   John Willis (1652 – 1725), was later to become an Attorney  and patron of the school.   By a strange quirk of fate his house “Church Hatch" in Market Square was later to become the new Ringwood Grammar School nearly two hundred years later.  

Bishop Edward Stillingfleet,  (1635-1699) who attended the school from 1648, was to become the Chaplain to the King and Dean of St Pauls.  Another to rise to high office was Sir James Mansfield  
(1734 – 1821)  who became Lord Chief Justice

One William Warn son of John a yoeman in Ringwood even went onto Cambridge aged 16

What was London like in 1748?    Certainly nothing like the London of today.

Time for a little bit of history, so as to understand the life and times of the mid-1700's.


1700 The population of London is about 600,000
Protecting the town against
the Jacobean uprising
1703 Buckingham Palace is built
1711 St Paul’s Cathedral is completed
1720 Westminster Hospital is founded
1724 Guys Hospital is founded
1734 The Bank of England moves to Threadneedle Street
1740 London hospital is founded
1749 Westminster Bridge is built
1757 Houses on London Bridge are demolished
1760-66 London town walls are demolished
1761 A Board of Commissioners is formed to pave and clean the streets of London
1770 Blackfriars Bridge is built

1801 London has a population of about 950,000. During the 19th century the population booms and many villages are 'swallowed up' and become areas of the city.



Perhaps best told in some amazing historical images:
Housing on the Old London Bridge








Next Elias and Martha were recorded  living in the parish of Farringdon Without, in London in 1754

Farringdon Without is a Ward in the City of London, the historic and financial centre of London. It covers the western area of the City, including the Middle Temple, Inner Temple, Chancery Lane, Smithfield and St Bartholomew's Hospital, as well as the area east of Chancery Lane.

As well as goldsmiths, in medieval times the Fleet Ditch attracted many tanners and curriers to the Ward. As the City became more populous, these trades were banished to the suburbs and by the 18th century the River Fleet had been culverted and built over. In its later years, the Fleet became little more than an open sewer, and the locality was given over to slums due to undesirable odours. The modern Farringdon Street was built over it, with the Fleet Market opening for the sale of meat, fish and vegetables in 1737.

In 1753 he held property in Long Lane, London, in the Farringdon Without parish, and was eligible for jury service.

In 1754, they are shown as living in St Andrew Holborn parish, for the purpose of paying taxes,


St Andrew Holborn was an ancient parish that until 1767 was partly within the City of London and partly in Middlesex, England

 The ancient parish included most of the Holborn area to the west, bordering onto St Giles in the Fields.

 As such it included both Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn which rented pews in the Church of St Andrew's, Holborn.


In 1770 he is recorded as holding property in Liberty St Stockton in the parish of Vauxhall, and again eligible for jury service.

In 1773 he is still in Lambeth parish.

In 1774, he writes his will, and he describes his address as Towers of London, not to be confused as some think that it means the Tower of London.


This old map shows the various streets of the Tower district, called because of its closeness to the Tower of London.


Elias died 22nd May 1774, and is buried at St. Leonard's Church.



St Leonards Streatham

On the north-wall are the monuments of Robert Livesay, Esq.
who died in 1608;


John Howland, Esq. who died in 1686; and Major Henniker, Esq. who died in 1789.
On the south-wall that of Priscilla Lavaysiere, a native of France, who left that kingdom
during the perfecutions of Lewis XIV. She died in 1748. In the middle of the church are the
tombs of Elizabeth, wife of Mr. John Fry, of the county of Devon, who died in 1770;
and Elias Durnford, Esq. who died in 1774.


Streatham (/ˈstrɛt.əm/) is a district in South London, England, mostly in the London
Borough of Lambeth but with some parts in the London Borough of Wandsworth.
It is centred 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Charing Cross.

The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London




Often when researching, there will arise some differences about what might have been passed down family lines in the past, or perhaps due to some misunderstandings.

For the whole time Elias was living in London, references about him, including his own will, refer to him as a "Gent",

Landed gentry is a largely historical privileged British social class, consisting of land owners who could live entirely off rental income. Often they worked only in an administrative capacity, in the management of their own lands, or in such professions as politics and the armed forces


  • Gentlemen, possessors of a social status recognised as a separate title by the Statute of Additions of 1413. Generally men of high birth or rank, good social standing, and wealth, who did not need to work for a living, were considered gentlemen.


  • There is no evidence at all, of his working at the Office of Ordinances.








    No comments:

    Post a Comment