Mary Ann Barham (1809 – 1868)


Mary Ann was the first daughter of James Barham, Painter, Plumber and Glazier.. 

Mary Ann Barham was born on 20th September 1809, and christened at Swanscombe on 21st October, the first daughter of James and Mary Barham. She was 12 when her mother died in 1821, following which she and her siblings were cared for by Elizabeth Hazelton

She was 32 years old when she married Francis Viner, a gardener on 14th September 1840 at Sutton-at-Hone, and they appear there in the 1841 census. There is no record of any children and In 1851 she had moved to Bromley in Kent where she was working as a servant at the White Hart Inn. A Frederick Viner aged 33 (Mary was by this time 41) was also on the staff and this is presumably an error in recording her husband Francis.

There is no further evidence of Francis (or Frederick) but in 1861 she appears amongst those living at the Vicarage in Coleshill in Berkshire. It is not clear what she was doing there, but it is worthwhile listing all the residents.

Edward Bouverie Head Widower 77 Vicar of Coleshill
Fanny Bouverie Daughter Unmarried 48 Vicar's daughter
Catherine Berens Visitor Widow 80 Sister
Richard Winstanley Allsop Boarder Unmarried 28 Curate of Coleshill
Harriet Clargo Visitor Widow 69 Work woman (?)
Maryann Viner Visitor Married 49 Visitor Mute
Sarah Harmes Servant Unmarried 43 House Keeper
Mary Rebecca Leigh Boarder Unmarried 32 School Mistress
Elizabeth Steide Servant Unmarried 70 Upper House Maid
Jane Price Servant Unmarried 29 Cook
Jane Atkins Servant Unmarried 31 Under House Maid
Mary Jane Smith Servant Unmarried 16 Kitchen Maid
William Hughes Servant Unmarried 20 Groom
Daniel Tovey Servant Unmarried 17 Footman
Jacob Theobald Visitor Unmarried 71 Helper

Mary Ann is one of two visitors who are listed above the servants snd schoolmistress, but their reason for being there is unclear. Neither appear to be people of the "quality" of Edward Bouverie, the vicar, and his family who were related to the Lord Radnor who lived at nearby Coleshill House. In fact Harriet Clargo, Mary Ann's fellow visitor, was the widow of an agricultural labourer, but she did have a connection with the vicarage in that her eldest daughter, Mary, had been employed as Lady's Maid to the late Florence Bouverie, the vicar's wife..Florence had employed two Lady's Maids, the other one being Sarah Harmes who had been by now elevated to the position of Housekeeper. Mary Ann is intriguingly described as "mute" , the first time that there has been any hint of a disability. So could it be that the Vicar was offering some kind of care to these two ladies?  Whatever the reason the presence of Mary Ann there, a significant distance from Kent and her last know n residence in Bromley remains a mystery.    Also a mystery is the fact that she was described as "married" rather than "widow" suggests that Francis was still alive.

Whatever the reason for Mary Ann's presence at the Coleshill Vicarage she did not remain there as she died in 1868 back in the Swanscombe area. . 

To return to the family of James Barham and Mary Peskett follow this link