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Strays to Headington: Warneford

Listed below are people from all over Great Britain who died in the Warneford Asylum on Old Road, Headington and whose families did not take their bodies back home. They were buried in the parish in which the asylum stood, which until 1849 was that of St Andrew’s Church in Old Headington and thereafter that of the new Holy Trinity Church in Headington Quarry.

Although the patients at the Warneford are listed in the Headington censuses, it is not always possible to identify them. In some censuses only the initials of patients are given, which makes identification too risky; and of course some of them may not have been there during an actual census year. Those in the list below who can be positively identified in the six censuses from 1841 to 1891 have had extra information added in square brackets next to their burial entry. The place of birth of a patient is not always given in the census; sometimes there is a dash, and sometimes the words “Not Known”.


Buried in St Andrew’s Church, Old Headington
  • 1830 Nov 9, George WING, 55
  • 1832 Dec 9, William JURDEN, 43
  • 1840 Jan 10, Mary BULL, 64
  • 1841 May 11, Mary JEYS, 63
  • 1841 Jul 25, Henry MONK, 76
Buried at Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry

Note: those whose names are shown in bold have a surviving and legible memorial stone in the churchyard, often giving many more details

  • 1852 Mar 4, Basil Melville FARRELL
  • 1854 Nov 6, Daniel MacMAHON, 62
  • 1857 Jan 21, Frances JOHNSON, 60
  • 1857 Mar 29, William SILVER, 80
  • 1860 Jul 16, Alfred Edward ROGERS, 50
  • 1861 Jan 18, Caroline COX, 59
  • 1863 Oct 8, Mary LAMBERT, 68 1861 Gentlewoman
  • 1863 Dec 5, Ann HUNTER, 48 1861: Governess
  • 1864 Dec 4, Edmund Walcott LYONS, 63 [1861: Land surveyor]
  • 1865 Jan 6, Henry SHEPHERD, 45 [1851, 1861: Cambridge student]
  • 1867 Mar 20, Catherine GIBBS, 76 [1861: Dressmaker]
  • 1868 Sep 26, Charles Henry STRAFORD, 34
  • 1869 May 4, Rebecca PHILLIPS, 79 [1861: Gentlewoman, b. Monmouth]
  • 1869 May 21, Eliza SHUTTLEWORTH, 60
  • 1871 Oct 12, John Day COOMBES, 51 [1861, 1871: Draper, b. Milverton, Somerset]
  • 1872 Apr 26, George WRENTMORE, 67 [1871: Farmer]
  • 1874 Feb 24, Elizabeth BLEST, 75 [1871: occ. not known]
  • 1874 Sep 22, Edward SHELFORD, 72 [1871: Clergyman’s son, b. North Taddenham, Norfolk: presumably brother of Robert SHELFORD below, buried 1893]
  • 1876 Mar 17, Fanny Pelham Reid GAUDET, 36
  • 1876 Aug 15, Emma Elizabeth SMITH, 50 [1871: Governess]
  • 1877 Jun 7, William CLAYTON, 80 [1871: Organist]
  • 1878 Jan 11, Hephzibah HOBSON, 55 [1871: Dissenting Minister’s daughter]
  • 1878 Apr 22, Luke SHEPHERD, 48 [1871: Attorney’s clerk]
  • 1878 Nov 15, Edward JOHNSON, 46
  • 1879 Jul 4, Charles Baker MOODY, 46
  • 1880 Jun 28, Mary JUDD, 72 [1871: Farmer’s daughter]
  • 1880 Oct 6, Henry MASLIN, 79 [1871: Stationer]
  • 1881 Jan 17, Edward GURNEY, 52 [1871: Clergyman’s son]
  • 1881 Feb 7, Jane LEWIS, 54 [1871: Gentlewoman, b. Brumstowe, Glos]
  • 1884 Sep 13, Charlotte FARNCOMBE, 64 [1871, 1881: Valuer’s daughter]
  • 1885 Feb 10, Clara Ann PARSONS 38
  • 1885 Jun 27, Elizabeth ARMITT, 77 [1871, 1881: Tradesman’s daughter, b. Banbury]
  • 1886 Oct 14, Edward Augustus DALGETY, 76 [1871: Lieutenant]
  • 1886 Dec 10, Henry Estcourt CRESSWELL, 64 [1881: No occupation, b. St Michael Coldfield, Somerset]
  • 1887 May 28, Grace Lindsay AUSTIN, 48
  • 1887 Aug 25, Martha Harriett HEWIETT, 67 [1871: Governess]
  • 1888 Jan 14, Matilda SMITH, 68
  • 1890 Feb 11, Elizabeth DYER, 68
  • 1890 Apr 21, William BILLINGS, 59 [1871: Land agent, b. Lynodon, Rutland]
  • 1890 May 26, Burton QUINCEY, 66 [1851, 1871: Clerk]
  • 1890 Dec 29, Henry Olivier ETONGH, 75 [1871, 1881: Law student, b. Croxton, Leics]
  • 1891 Jan 8, Edward Jackson DIXON, 71 [1881: Clergyman]
  • 1891 May 22, Alice Maud EDWARDS, 35 [1891: Architect’s daughter, b. Weston-super-Mare]
  • 1891 Sep 17, William Brasier SNOW, 64 [1871, 1891: Office clerk, b. Edgbaston, Birmingham]
  • 1892 Feb 2, Susannah HOLLIS, 57 [1881, 1891: Occupation not known, b. Sonning, Berks]
  • 1892 Mar 31, Emily Blanche BEASLEY, 37 [1891: Clergyman’s daughter, b. Bishopston, W.I.]
  • 1892 Apr 7, Harry Buller COLTHURST, 46 [1891: Retired colonial farmer, b. Bristol]
  • 1892 Apr 10, Charles MATTHEWS, 40
  • 1892 May 9, Thomas Edwin George BUNBURY, 51 [1891: Retired clerk in holy orders, b. Bath]
  • 1892 Aug 1, Sarah Ann PRATT, 60 [1871, 1881, 1891: Farmer’s daughter]
  • 1892 Oct 14, Charles Alexander WATSON, 30 [1891: No occupation, b. London]
  • 1892 Nov 30, Henry GODFREY, 81 [1861, 1871, 1881, 1891: Medical student, b. Charlbury, Oxon]
  • 1893 Feb 7, Robert SHELFORD, 90 [1871, 1881, 1891: Clergyman’s son, b. North Taddenham, Norfolk, presumably brother of Edward SHELFORD above, buried 1874]
  • 1893 Apr 26, Francis John SMITH, 73 [1891: Tutor, b. Dunkirk, France]
  • 1894 Mar 2, Rosa Ann PRATTENT 74 [1861, 1871: Governess]
  • 1895 Mar 29, Deborah RUSHER, 70 [1891: Lady, b. Tewksbury, Glos]
  • 1895 Dec 31, Henry Gaitskell NURSE, 66 [1861, 1871, 1881, 1891: Surgeon, b. Barbados, W.I., but later given as Yarmouth]
  • 1896 Dec 23, Elizabeth PRICE, 63 [1881, 1891: Governess]
  • 1897 May 22, Charles Albert LEAN, 37 [1891: Schoolmaster, b. Birmingham]
  • 1897 Nov 17, Kate PIKE, 70 [1871, 1881, 1891: Accountant’s wife, b. Fawley, Bucks]
  • 1898 Oct 26, Anna Bidwell MATSON, 43 [1891: Clergyman’s daughter, b. Antigua, W.I.]
  • 1899 Oct 19, Harriet Elizabeth SIMMONS, 81 [1881: Dressmaker, b. Oxford]
  • 1899 Nov 26, James ANDREW, 44
  • 1900 Feb 24, Rev. Herbert Harman MAYO, 69
  • 1901 Oct 7, Matilda HURFORD, 60 [1891: Matron]
  • 1902 Jan 23, Richard Potenger PENDLETON, 50 [1881: Clerk]
  • 1902 Sep 13, Harriet Angelina HOUGH, 75
  • 1903 Sep 23, Elizabeth Algerina MEAKIN, 71 [1881, 1891: Clergyman’s daughter, b. Downham Market, Norfolk]
  • 1904 Mar 4, Dora Georgiana HILL, 60 [1891: Clergyman’s daughter, b. Warwick]
  • 1904 May 27, Elizabeth Clare HODGES, 78 [1891: Widow of farmer, b. Long Marston, Glos]
  • 1904 Nov 9, Richard Ireland GIFFORD, 69 [1891: Clergyman’s son, b. Clifton, Bristol]
  • 1905 Feb 15, Nathaniel Whitchurch SLOPER, 89
  • 1905 Jun 27, Clement Alexander Craddock WATSON, 32
  • 1905 Oct 26, Jane Patience SIMMONS, 74 [1891: Lady’s companion, b. Reading]
  • 1905 Dec 29, George Orme WHITING, 82 [1891: Retired bank clerk, b. Upton-on-Severn, Worcs]
  • 1907 Oct 4, Edwin Oswald MILWARD, 54
  • 1908 Jan 17, Ethel Dodsworth HAYDON, 40
  • 1908 Feb 28, Joshua Arthur NUNN, 54
  • 1909 Apr 14, Eleanor Gertrude ASTON, 41
  • 1909 Dec 2, Susan ROBERTS, 99 [1871, 1881, 1891: Domestic servant, b. Swincombe, Oxford]
  • 1910 Feb 3, Rebecca Millie Amy PHIPPS, 51
  • 1910 Oct 19, Annie Prudentie LEWIS, 80
  • 1911 Jan 14, Arthur Percival HILL, 63
  • 1911 Mar 4, Granville Hawley SHARPE, 50
  • 1911 Apr 22, John PAYNE, 78 [1871, 1881, 1891: Son of solicitor, b. Milverton, Somerset]
  • 1912 Mar, Herbert Douglas MARSHALL, 35
  • 1912 Oct 28, Ellen HEATH, 77
  • 1913 Dec 21, Eliza Ann HICKS, 78
  • 1914 Jul 4, Katherine HILL, 74 [1891: Clergyman’s daughter, b. Rydall, Westmoreland]
  • 1914 Sep 22, Charles Edward DOBLE, 67
  • 1916 Jun 19, Newton Edward Sale GILBERT, 48
  • 1917 Feb 23, Tabitha Bingess MUNSTY, 85
  • 1917 Mar 15, George HALE, 76
  • 1918 Oct 25, Emily Jane KEMPTON 32
  • 1919 Nov 26, Frederick JOHNSON, 66
  • 1919 Dec 17, William Henry GREENWOOD, 59
  • 1920 Jan 8, Paul BOURSOT, 45
  • 1920 Sep 23, Amy Susannah, SMITH 73
  • 1920 Oct 30, James Francis CLARKE, 46
  • 1921 Jan 29, John Naylor GATHORNE, 41
  • 1921 Sep 17, Arthur George Eddy BUTT, 47
  • 1922 May 26, Rosa Clemency ASHWELL, 81
  • 1922 Oct 26, Percy MOORE, 67
  • 1924 Feb 22, Mary SHURLOCK, 83
  • 1925 Aug 28, Francis Douglas LANE, 66
  • 1927 Jan 25, Mary Ann FOSTER, 76
  • 1927 Feb 22, Arthur Horatio BROTHERS, 68
  • 1928 Jul 3, Edward Hamilton GATHORNE, 46
  • 1928 Mar 31, Eleanor Elizabeth PARKER, 60
  • 1928 Aug 7, James Frederick DRY, 63
  • 1928 Sep 12, Margaret PENROSE, 64
  • 1929 Jun 17, Alfred INSTONE, 76
  • 1931 Oct 24, Helen HANNAFORD, 69

The Warneford Asylum: Burials in Holy Trinity Churchyard

There are 113 adults buried in Holy Trinity churchyard in Quarry who never attended the church and had no family ties with Headington. They died in an eighty-year period from 1852 to 1931, and almost all came from the middle classes: they included five governesses, four clergymen’s daughters, two clergymen, two farmers, a retired bank clerk, and an organist.

They were nearly all strangers to Headington when they were admitted to what Gardner’s Directory for 1852 describes as “the Warneford lunatic asylum, opened in 1826, for the accommodation of lunatics selected from the higher classes of society”. The group of “lunatics” left behind in Headington for burial was particularly unfortunate: not only were they never cured and released, but their relatives had presumably written them off to such an extent that they had no wish to bring them home after their deaths.

In the nineteenth century the patients at the Warneford hailed from all over England and Wales, but here is a brief outline of two patients buried in Holy Trinity churchyard who came from Oxfordshire itself.

  • Henry Godfrey was born in Charlbury in 1813. The records of the Warneford reveal that when he was at Eton he absconded on a trip to Geneva with the money sent to him to pay his tradesmen’s bills. On his return, he was apprenticed to a medical man in Edinburgh, but ran off again before a year was up: he had a desire to be in the army, and cut off the tails off his coats to obtain a military appearance. He was admitted to the Warneford on 6 September 1832 at the age of 19 by Dr Thomas Silver, his uncle and guardian; he spent the next 60 years there, dying at the age of 79. He was buried on 30 November 1892 in Holy Trinity churchyard.
  • Susan Roberts, born in Swincombe near Watlington in 1810, was a servant, who was admitted on the recommendation of Lady L. Pusey and Dr Pusey, who presumably also paid for her stay. She became unusually irritable towards her fellow servants and suspected that they were poisoning her. The surgeon at Watlington, Mr Barratt, treated her by applying 12 leeches and dosing her with an active aperient, and then bled her, but she fainted after 12 ounces of blood had been taken away. She was admitted to the Warneford on 10 July 1843 by the authority of her brother-in-law, James Cole, when she was 33, and died there 66 years later at the age of 99. She was buried on 2 December 1909 in Holy Trinity churchyard.

Henry and Susan would probably never have met each other, as the Warneford was split down the middle into a male and female section (as also was the asylum chapel, built in 1851). But even if they had been of the same sex, they would not have associated, as Henry would probably have been rated as a “superior patient” and Susan a “third-class patient”. All three classes had separate parlours, bedrooms, public rooms, and airing courts, and paid different fees.

To end on a brighter note: once the patients had got used to the nineteenth-century regime of getting up at 5am and going to bed at 7.30pm (6.30pm in the winter), they probably enjoyed life more than might have been expected. They had games such as croquet, battledore, and shuttlecock on the lawn, or could stay indoors and read books and magazines or play the piano or cards. They were not permanently locked up, but had supervised visits to public entertainments, and some of the female patients did their own shopping in Oxford. They even had seaside holidays in rented houses in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight and at Southsea.

No mention is made of the Warneford, naturally, on the 35 memorial stones to its patients that stand in Quarry Churchyard. The inscriptions often attempt to explain the torment of the deceased, and examples of texts chosen include: “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten”, “They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away”, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (used on two graves), “Peace, perfect peace”, “In my father’s house there are many mansions”, “In thy light we see light”, and “The peace of God passeth all understanding”.

© Stephanie Jenkins

 

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