James Barham (1785 – 1846)

Painter, Plumber and Glazier


James Barham died on 10th October 1846, having made a will that included provision for Elizabeth Hazelton and her children until they reached the age of 17.  The aftermath of his death and fate of Elizabeth and her children are considered here. For other aspects of James' life see the following links:

The first opportunity to see what happened to James' family is the 1851 census. Elizabeth and her sons were to be found in Greenhithe, but there is no sign of Alfred or Susannah.  In fact no further trace of Alfred can be found - he simply disappeared. Charles was now described as the head of the household, working as Painter, Plumber and Glazier.  So it would seem that Charles was now running the business - not Alfred as their father had directed in the will.

So what had happened to Alfred?  At this point, as he was not carrying on his father's business "Plan B" of the will should have come into action, with the estate being divided into two portions, on half being divided between Mary Ann, William Alfred and Susannah and the other half going to Elizabeth Hazelton and her children. There is no record of Alfred's death, so either he had emigrated or he was a "missing person".

As for Susannah, there is a Susan Barham listed In the 1951 census, working as a servant in the household of a farmer in Crayford, who was born in Swanscombe in 1814, There is no other reference to this Susan, so it is most likely that this was Susannah. This is considered further in the section on Susannah.  As for their brother and sister, William had married and was living in Sutton-at-Hone where he was working as a plumber. Mary Ann meanwhile had moved to Bromley where she and her husband were employed at the White Hart Inn. There is no indication that any of them had come into any inheritance.

Looking at Elizabeth's children, the girls had all left home and were working in domestic service, including Louisa who at the time would have been just 16.  Their brothers were all living with Elizabeth, the two youngest (ages 11 and 13) were described as "errand boys", Richard (20) as "carpenter" and Charles (22) "plumber, painter and glazier".   So in addition to Charles running the business, all of his brothers and sisters (including young Frederick and Thomas) were in some form of employment.  

Over the next decade all the children married, apart from Elizabeth (who remained single until her death) and Thomas, the youngest. In 1861 only Thomas was left with his mother who was now 61 and making ends meet by taking in washing.. Thomas (21) is described as a "painter" but four years later he had married too and by 1871 he was a policeman.near Goudhurst  His mother, now 71 had been joined by her unmarried daughter Elizabeth (47) and a grandchild, Emily Edwards (10).  Emily was Louisa's daughter but we do not know what happened to her parents. Daughter Elizabeth was described as "schoolmistress" and maybe supporting her mother and niece.

Elizabeth died on 23rd March 1881, just before the next census. Her daughter Elizabeth was the informant and cause of death was "morbus cordis" (heart failure). She left 7 children (one of whom may have predeceased her), 32 grandchildren and at least one great-grandchild. She also left a number of questions.

Some of the possible answers are considered on the pages linked above.