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14th October 2018 researcher Barry Miller discovered the exact field in Arras where John Murch (pictured as a child left) was killed in the trenches in 1918. This discovery follows months of research and a dogged determination to find the real story of Johns death. 
Parish Records for Wiltshire
Now on Ancestry.com
For those of you with links to Wiltshire in the U.K. there is a new release of data on Ancestry.com. I have run a check on the name Murch and find there are about 19 entries in the Parish records. with links to other family members. The names that come up are:
Margaret
John
Anne Vinnecondbe
Frank William
William Thomas
Mary Jane
James Joseph
Ellen
William
Joseph Lock
Thomas
Elizabeth
John Junior
Samuel
Eliza
Matthew

The Workhouses of London

 

For centuries caring for the poor was a responsibility assumed by the Church. In 1572 each parish appointed an Overseer of the Poor to help with this. In 1601, the Poor Law Act added powers to the Overseers to collect a poor rate from wealthier members of the parish, and distribute the funds among the poor.

 

This continued until 1834 when a new law, the Poor Law Amendment Act replaced it. This settled parishes into groups called Unions with an elected a Board of Guardians, which was then responsible for the care of the poor across all the individual parishes.

Many Murch’s received help through these Poor Laws. These included elderly, orphaned, unemployed, sick and afflicted Murch’s. It wasn’t just money they were given – they also received other daily necessities such as food, clothing and work. Children from poor families were placed in apprenticeships, or sent to particular schools and other institutions.

 

The collection below is a small selection of the admission and discharge records for workhouses created and administered under the Poor Law Acts in London.  There were workhouses in every area and they were grim, unpleasant and a last place of refuge for the desperate.  This is just a snapshot of some of the Murch’s who fell on hard times. One of them may be your ancestor. The List includes name and admission and discharge dates. As you can see the same names appear time and again sadly.

 

Albert Murch                     12 Aug 1910

Alfred Murch                    9 Aug 1909                         

Edward Murch                   15 May 1896

Edward Murch                   7 Feb 1911

Edward Murch                   6 Mar 1911

Edward Murch                   4 Sep 1911

Edwin Murch                      2 Dec 1910

Elisth Murch                       27 Mar 1855

Elizabeth Murch                5 Dec 1907

Elizth Murch                       27 Feb 1855

Emily Murch                       14 Nov 1921

Henry Murch                      20 May 1840

Janet Murch                        25 Apr 1911

Janet Murch                        13 Jul 1911

Janet Murch                        18 Aug 1911

Janet E Murch                    11 Sep 1911

Jas Murch                            11 Jan 1894

Jeanette Murch                  15 May 1911

John Murch                         7 Jun 1902

John Murch                         11 Feb 1901

John Murch                         23 May 1902

John Murch                         5 Oct 1901

John Murch                         22 Dec 1901

John G Murch                     26 Feb 1901

John G Murch                     1 Mar 1901

Mary Murch                       20 May 1844

Samuel Murch                    5 Sep 1917

Samuel Murch                    8 Nov 1915

Elizh Murch                       11 Dec 1855

Elizabeth Murch               27 Feb 1855

Susan Murch                     17 Sep 1814

Stephen Murch                  16 Jul 1875

Mary Murch                      24 Jan 1861

Thomas Murch                 7 Apr 1868-1 May 1868   

Thomas Murch                 19 May 1868-20 May 1868

Thomas Murch                 6 Jun 1867-12 Sep 1867   

Maria Murch                     20 Jan 1857-24 Jan 1857   

Mary Murch                19 May 1844                                                       

Edward Murch                  11 Mar 1896-15 May 1896

Elizth Murch                      18 May 1869-19 May 1869

Matilda Murch                  19 Jul 1860                            Henry Murch                     19 May 1840                         

John Murch                        11 Feb 1879             

Emma Murch                    29 Oct 1867-13 Nov 1867 

Maria Murch                     20 Jan 1857-26 Jan 1857

Samuel Murch                    21 Oct 1910           

Samuel Murch                   3 Nov 1910               

Samuel Murch                   29 Jun 1912              

Samuel Murch                    22 Oct 1912           

Samuel Murch                   29 Oct 1913              

Samuel Murch                   26 Jul 1916               

Harriet Murch                    23 May 1868           

Wm Murch                         21 Aug 1839-23 Aug 1839

Emily Murch                      25 Jun 1921              

Hannah Murch                 15 Jan 1903              

Harriet Murch                     22 Oct 1901           

Harriet Murch                     26 Dec 1902          

Harriet Murch                     5 Feb 1903             

Harriet Murch                     21 Mar 1903         

Harriet Murch                    26 Nov 1903            

Harriett Murch                  7 Mar 1901               

Harriett Murch                  24 Apr 1901             

Harriett Murch                  23 Oct 1901              

Harriett Murch                  6 Nov 1901               

Harriett Murch                   19 Nov 1901         

Harriett Murch                  6 Dec 1901             

Harriett Murch                   28 Dec 1901          

Harriett Murch                  5 Feb 1902                

Harriett Murch                   15 Feb 1902          

Harriett Murch                  29 Dec 1902             

Harriett Murch                   14 Jan 1903           

James Murch                     11 Jan 1894              

Thomas Murch                 5 Jul 1905                 

Thomas Murch                  18 Jul 1905            

John G Murch                    27 Nov 1900-26 Feb 1901

Shones Murch                   7 Jun 1905                

Thomas Murch                  16 Apr 1904          

Thomas Murch                  3 Dec 1904            

Thomas Murch                  14 Jan 1905           

Thomas Murch                  1 Jul 1905              

Thos Murch                        26 Mar 1904         

Caroline Murch                 8 Sep 1891                

Catherine Murch               10 Dec 1896             

Harriett Murch                  26 Jul 1872-16 Aug 1872

Thomas Murch                  9 Jul 1904              

Willm Murch                      3 Aug 1882               

Harriett Murch                   6 Nov 1901            

Edwin Murch                     23 Oct 1910              

Jno G Murch                      27 Nov 1900-26 Feb 1901

John Murch                        11 Feb 1901-14 Feb 1901

John G Murch                    27 Nov 1900            

Emma Murch                    21 Oct 1895-25 Oct 1895

John Murch                        8 Feb 1901-11 Feb 1901

 John G Murch                   27 Feb 1901           

Harriett Murch                  4 Oct 1892                

Jno Murch                           23 May 1902        

John Murch                        23 May 1902           

John Murch                        4 Oct 1901-4 Nov 1901

William Murch                  17 Apr 1902-30 Apr 1902

William Murch                  19 Feb 1902-24 Feb 1902

Elizabeth Murch               13 Jan 1911              

John Murch                        21 Dec 1901              

Edward Murch                                  7 Feb 1911            

Edward Murch                                  6 Mar 1911           

Eliza Murch                                       13 Nov 1899         

Elizabeth Murch                                20 Nov 1899      

Elizabeth Murch                                18 Dec 1899       

Elizabeth Murch                                10 Mar 1900      

Elizabeth Murch                               14 Dec 1910          

Elizabeth Murch                                13 Jan 1911       

Elizath Murch                                    Nov 1899               

Elizth Murch                                      28 Mar 1899         

Elizth Murch                                       5 Apr 1899         

Elizth Murch                                      25 Apr 1899        

Elizth Murch                                      18 Dec 1899          

Elizth Murch                                      5 Mar 1900           

Elizth Murch                                       26 Jan 1911       

Elzth Murch                                        5 Mar 1900        

Edward Murch                                  27 Apr 1894         1 May 1894         

Julia Murch                                        23 Apr 1875         14 Jun 1875         

Albert Murch                                     5 Jan 1909            30 Mar 1909        

Eliza Murch                                       31 Aug 1907         

Maunder Murch                                24 Jan 1861          

Rose Murch                                       5 Apr 1879            

K Mary Wm Murch                          23 Feb 1870                                         

Charles Murch                                   23 Apr 1875         14 Jun 1875         

Ellen Murch                                       1902-1906           

Leonard O Murch                             9 Sep 1895           6 Oct 1895            

Leonard Q Murch                             9 Sep 1895           6 Oct 1895            

Janet F Murch                                   25 Apr 1911          

Albert Murch                                     11 Aug 1910         

William Murch                                  1 Jun 1893             

Norah Murch                                      1902-1906          

Janet Murch                                       25 Apr 1911          

Janet Murch                                       28 Aug 1911         

Janet M Murch                                    26 Jul 1911    

 

     

The Textile Worker

Samuel Murch (1778-1849)

 

Samuel Murch, Trustworthy and Faithful Servant

 

Samuel was born 11 April 1778 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England, where he was also baptised on 1 January 1779.  His parents were (another) Samuel and his wife, Margaret (late LITTLY, nee MARSHALL).

As his father before him, and his grandfather before him, and his great-grandfather as well, Samuel was apprenticed into the textile industry - and this Samuel seems to have been the first to work with silk rather than wool. Samuel would have been apprenticed in 1790 or 1791, but had to wait until his apprenticeship had been completed before he was free to marry, as he did in 1799 to Mary BENDING.

Four years after the wedding, in 1804, Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a loom which could weave complex designs, using cards with a pattern of holes on them.  I wonder if Samuel rejoiced at this progress, or felt uneasy for the security of his job?  In 1813 were the famous Luddite riots of weavers, afraid that this new technology would take away their livelihoods.  A mere three years later, and John Heathcoat arrived from the Midlands and set up a new lacemaking factory (and many of the Murches began their working lives as lacemakers when they were small children).

Samuel had his faith to sustain him.  Or did he? It seems as though the MURCHes were constantly searching for 'the truth'.  The MURCH family were nonconformists: Protestant Dissenters, then Presbyterians, then Congregationalists - and nonconformists were often associated with being hard workers and entrepreneurs.  One of the items which underlines this is a newspaper cutting, taken from the Exeter & Plymouth Gazette of 30 October 1841, in which the Agricultural and Industrial Association awarded Samuel £1 "To the Journeyman who has worked longest in the employ of the same master...38 years employed in the Ottery Factory, 18 years during the time of the present respected proprietor, Mr Newbery."

And the final newspaper clipping, which emphasises Samuel's goodness, is taken from the Exeter & Plymouth Gazette of 20 January 1849, recording Samuel's death:

"Jan. 16, at Ottery St Mary, Mr Samuel Murch, in the 71st year of his age.  He was employed 44 years in the Ottery Factory, the last 26 years in the silk department of the present proprietor.  He was a trustworthy and faithful servant."

 

© 2014 Ros Haywood.  All Rights Reserved.

Court Dressmaker

 

Emily Murch, who rose from lacemaker to Court dressmaker

 

Emily was born on 2 December 1837 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, England to Samuel MURCH and his wife, Joanna YATES.  The MURCH family have so far lived, worked and died in the same small Devonshire town, but gradually, the outside world and its inventions have entered their sphere and impacted their lives, with the advent of the railway in 1844 and the many developments within the textile industry.

She began as a lacemaker, as the rest of her sisters did when they were small, but is listed as a ‘silk weaver’ in the 1851 census when only 13.  She departed from the silk-and-wool trades of her ancestors, and in the 1861 census she is described as ‘Upper Nurse’ in the prestigious boarding school in West Teignmouth – Thorn Park School.  Previously known as Hillford House School, it had 24 students, not just from Devon but also faraway India and Ireland.  Since Emily was the head nurse there, this stood her in good stead when she was looking after her aged father in the 1881 census up until his death in 1887 from heart disease. At the same time, Emily was working as a dressmaker, and is listed in White’s trade directory of 1878 among many other dressmakers, straw bonnet makers, drapers, and tailors in Ottery St Mary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But in 1884 this clipping from The Western Times of 12 April shows how Emily has risen; she is now a Court Dressmaker:

 

These were ‘the people who made clothes for members of the general public who attended functions at Court, rather than specifically for the Queen and other members of the Royal Family’ [royal.gov.uk] and they worked for long hours, in poor conditions, and for little pay

 

© Ros Haywood 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

The Revolutionary!

 

Robert MURCH 1687

 

Robert MURCH was born in 1687 in Ottery St Mary, a town later described by White in his 1850 directory as "...an ancient and irregularly built market town...picturesquely seated on the east side of the river Otter, sheltered on the east and west by boldly swelling hills."  This makes Ottery sound as if it is a typically sleepy town, where nothing ever seems to happen.  However, in the 17th century, the population was swept up in the battles and skirmishes of the Civil War between the supporters of King Charles I and Parliament (Oliver Cromwell).

 

Names of battles at Nottingham, Edge Hill, Marston Moor, and Naseby are familiar to most.  But the Civil War was fought not only in faraway counties, it was also fought in Devon.  Royalist regiments under Lord Wentworth were camped at nearby Bovey Tracey, with Parliamentary forces under General Fairfax at Crediton and Moreton, and on 9 January 1646 was the Battle of Bovey Heath.  Able men were expected to join the fight, so it is likely that, while Robert's father, Richard, was still a small boy, his grandfather and male relatives participated.  The fighting was fierce, and it was said that up to 10% were killed, far more than had previously died during the dreaded cholera and the bad harvests, more even that in the plagues of the Black Death in 1348-1350 and the Great Sweat in 1551.

Struggles between the monarchy and Parliament were ongoing and evident - Charles was beheaded, while his son was exiled to France and England was briefly a republic; then Oliver Cromwell died at last and his son, Richard, was dismissed from office, while the monarchy was returned to power, with Charles II as king.  Charles died following a stroke in 1685, converting to Catholicism on his deathbed; only two years later, an Act of Parliament made Catholics unable to inherit the throne, while ironically another act - the Act of Toleration - granting freedom of worship to dissenters was passed.

 

But in 1688, when Robert was one, there was a revolution in England of a different kind.  This was a revolution of religions.  In 1689 the Declaration of Rights confirmed that Catholics were barred from the throne of England.  The Act of Toleration granted freedom of worship to dissenters - but upon conditions.  Dissenters were allowed "to hold services in licensed meeting houses and to maintain their own preachers (if they would subscribe to certain oaths) in England and Wales." (David Cody: The Victorian Web)  The term "Dissenters" is misleading, however; the Toleration Act applied to Baptists and Congregationalists, but not to Protestant Dissenters like Robert, which is why he had to marry in the local Anglican church.

 

© 2014 Ros Haywood.  All Rights Reserved.

The Actress

Margaret Murch, Charming Actress

 

Description of play The Prodigal Son, in which Margaret played the part of Helga, the temptress.

 

On 2 December 1907, The Prodigal Son opened in the prestigious Coronet Theatre in Southwark, London.  Hugh Montgomery played the elder son, Magnus 'with rugged manliness', as the London Standard put it.  Herbert Hewtson made Oscar (the prodigal son of the title) seem attractive, but innately weak.  And the temptress, Helga, was played by Margaret Murch.

The story is based on the parable from the Bible - adapted, of course, for the modern audience of 1907.  In the Bible, the elder son stays home and helps his father, while the younger son takes his inheritance and wastes it all in 'riotous living'.  He later regrets his actions deeply.

In the twentieth-century version, however, the story begins in Iceland, where the younger brother marries his sibling's sweetheart, Thora.  He then leaves her to die in childbirth while he enjoys himself in Monte Carlo, but he too later deeply regrets his actions.

The Prodigal Son was written by Hall Caine, one of the most popular and well-paid authors of his day.  The play moved from Douglas, Isle of Man via Drury Lane to Margaret's performance in Southwark.  She later reprised her role at the celebrated Northampton Opera House.

She was described as "charming as the temptress Helga".  Of course a temptress would have to be 'charming', wouldn't she, in order to be able to tempt?

 

© Ros Haywood 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Photos and stories are copyrighted and presented here courtesy of Ros Hayward. Please do not reproduce them without first requesting permission.

The Champion Swimmer

 

Livingstone Murch, who drowned in WWI.

 

Livingstone MURCH was the youngest of seven children born to Ebenezer MURCH and his wife, Sarah.  (The unusual name of 'Livingstone' is easily explained: it was the maiden name of his maternal grandmother - Flora LIVINGSTONE.)  He was born on 9 April 1895 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, and as a teenager worked for the Post Office as a telegraph messenger while living at home with his parents at 49 Collins Street in that city.

The Aberdeen Daily Journal of 19 June 1912 reports Livingstone, age 17, to be 'defending his title' as the champion of the swimming contest 'Scottish 100 Yards Junior Championship.  It seems only natural, then, that he should sign up for the Navy...

 

Three days before his 21st birthday in 1916, Livingstone signed up as a fitter.  Six months later, he was dead - drowned as his first (and only) ship, the HMS Flirt went down.  HMS Flirt was sunk as a result of a raid by destroyers and torpedo boats from the German navy on the Dover Barrage on 26 October 1916.

Livingstone's body was never recovered.  He is remembered on Panel 15 of the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.  He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal for campaign service, which were given to his family.

 

 © Ros Haywood 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

The Suffragettes
New Information released on Ancestry!

The women's suffrage movement enlisted the support of thousands of women in the late 19th and early 20th century.  The lists of members who joined these societies were kept and preserved and the listings were made public by Ancestry in 2018. The listings, some of which are displayed below, contain the names of women (and men) who joined a local Women's Suffrage Society.

  

There were numerous suffrage societies around the UK and most large towns had a suffrage group. The Murch ladies were not shy of joining up and as you can see below, many of our ancestors joined the movement. 

 

The main list issued on Ancestry,  contains the names of women arrested for protesting or taking some action from 1906 to 1914 - the Suffragette's.

 

The Suffragette's were a more aggressive part of the suffrage movement, opting to take physical and direct action, considered at the time to be nothing less than terrorist behaviour. Leading them was Emily Pankhurst. The stories of force feeding and the tragic death of a Emily Davison, under the Kings horse at the Derby in 1913, raised the profile of the movement.  However, in 1914 the movement decided to suspend any violent action or protest in order to concentrate on the war effort.

 

However, the listings below are of women with the name of Murch who joined a Suffrage Society but were not necessarily active with the Suffragette's, so they do not appear in the lists of those arrested for direct action.

 

To save you some searching here are the first five pages of listed (female) Murch members, as recorded with their birth year. 

 

Is your ancestor listed here? Let us know and tell us her story.

 

Matilda Murch B. 1830 Bristol

Jane Murch B. 1831 Battersea

Mary Ann Stowell Murch B.1831 Bristol

Miss E Murch B. 1831 Buckfastleigh

Fanny Murch B. 1841 Torquay

Rebecca B Murch B. 1842 Mile End Ldn.

Elizabeth Murch B.1845 St Pancras Ldn

Sarah Murch B. 1847 St. Thomas Exeter

Emily Murch B. 1848 Kenford, Devon

Elizabeth Murch B. 1848 Shoreditch Ldn

Selina Murch B.1849 St. Pauls, Bristol

Marion E. W. Murch B. Pinner, Middlesex

Eliza Murch B. 1852 Tacaolneston, Norfolk

Kate Murch B. 1854 Plymouth, Devon

Amma Murch B.1855 Dawlish, Devon

Elizabeth Murch B. 1855 Glastonbury

Elizabeth Murch B. 1855 Bere Ferrers, Dvn

Mary Murch B.1856 Holne, Devon

Ann Murch B.1857 Poplar, Ldn

Elizabeth Murch B.1857 Kentisbearne, Dvn

Emily Murch B.1857 Minster

Mary Murch B.1858 Ashburton, Dvn

Sarah Ann Murch B.1858 Bedminster, Bristol

Alice Murch B.1858 Reading, Berkshire

Ann Murch B.1858 Dover, Kent

Mary Murch B.1858 Devonport, Dvn

Alice Ann Murch B.1860 Bristol Somerset

Florence Weir Murch B.1860 London

Alice Ann Murch B.1860 Salford, Lancashire

Lottie E A Murch B.1860 London

Florence Weir Murch B.1860 Rochester

Marion E W Murch B.1861 Pinner, Middlesex

Caroline Murch B.1864 London

Maryann Murch B.1867 Portsmouth

Martha Murch B.1867 Chew Magna, Smset

Elizabeth Ann Murch B.1868 Aberystwith

Lucy Murch B.1868 Combeinteignhead

Annie Murch B.1869 Haddenhall,Shropshire

Florence Hannah Murch B.1869 Bradwell, Essex

Martha Murch B.1870 Westbury on Trym

Ellen Murch B.1870 Ilkeston, Derbyshire

Florence Hannah Murch B.1871 Exeter

Sarah Ann Murch B.1871 Bedminster, Bristol

Sarah Elizabeth Murch B.1871 Winston,Sfflk

Emily Ann Murch B.1872 Devonport

Margaret Emma Murch B.1872 Torquay

Emily Ann Murch B.1873 Brixham

Margaret Emma Murch B.1873 Ugborough

Emma Jane MurchB.1875 Dawllish

Lillian Murch B.1875 London

Minnie Elizabeth Murch B.1876 Hilperton Marsh

Emma Murch B. 1876 Lambeth

Ellen Murch B.1877 Nottingham

Louisa Murch B.1877 Bristol

Sarah ann Murch B.1878 Birmingham

Daisy Murch B.1879 St Kew, Cornwall

Annie Murch B.1880 Loughton, essex

Elizabeth Murch B.1881 Devonport, Plymouth

Annie Murch Bl 1881 Combeinteignhead

Daisy Murch B.1881 Atherington, Devon

Edith Murch B.1882 Kent

Elizabeth Murch B.1882 Lifton, Devon

Elizabeth Murch B.1884 Sydenham, Kent

Blanche Maud Murch B.1884 Totnes, Devon

Gladys M Murch B.1884 Ruislip, Mddsx

Ethel Esther Murch B.1885 Plymouth

Dora M Murch B.1885 Ruislip, Mddsx

Ellen Beatrice Murch B.1885 Witheridge, Devon

Janet Murch B.1885 Thornaby on Tees

Annie Murch B.1886 Stepney

Elizabeth Ann Murch B.1886 Ashburton Dvn

Florence Murch B.1887 Plymouth

Annie Murch B.1887 St. Georges

Blanch Maud Murch B.1887 Plymouth

Ethel Esther Murch b.1887 Plymouth

 

Men have been omitted as there is too little space to list them all.