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Ronald Basil Girdler

1925 - 2017


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Helene Girdler

1927 - 2020


Of the 11 children of George and Mary Ann, 6 of them (all female) died before they were in their middle twenties as follows: -

Mary Ann Buried 23rd March 1832. Aged 11.

Rebecca Buried 9th April 1845. Aged 23.

Martha Buried 13th June 1844. Aged 18. (Occupation-servant)

Sarah Buried 6th May 1847. Aged 19.

Eliza Ann Buried 26th June 1853, Aged 14.

Hannah Buried 27th June 1858. Aged 17.


One can only assume that diseases such as consumption (T. B.), which were rife in the poorer communities, took their toll in the Girdler family as above.


George and Mary Ann Girdler lived at Lower Home Farm (a farm just S. of Bosham village) and certainly had a very difficult life. Not only did they suffer the early death of 6 of their 11 children, but they had very little money and had to rely on the Overseers payments to the poor in order to exist. George's occupation was given as an "agricultural labourer" in the 1841 Census Returns for Bosham and on his Death Certificate in 1843, Details of the Overseers payments show that fairly regular monthly payments were made to George Girdler to help him and his family to survive, and these varied from 10s-0d to £1-5s-4d per month. Extra payments were made in 1829 when he was recorded as being ill. There are no records of any payments which may have been made from 1835 until he died in 1843 of consumption at the age of only 44 (a copy of the Death Certificate is in the Appendix - Certificate 4). After he died, it must have been even more difficult for the family. In the 1851 Census Returns for Bosham, the family were shown to be living in a house in Walton Lane, Bosham, and were described as follows: -

Name  Status  Age  Occupation

Mary Ann Girdler  Head (Widow)  50  Nurse and Outdoor Pauper

George Girdler  Son  21  Farmer's Labourer

Stephen Girdler  Son  17  Farmer's Labourer

Caroline Girdler  Daughter  15  Dressmaker

Eliza Girdler  Daughter  12  Dressmaker

Hannah Girdler  Daughter  10  Dressmaker



This shows that George's widow, Mary Ann, was receiving poor assistance as an outdoor pauper (meaning that she received financial assistance from the parish whilst living at home, i.e. not in the workhouse) and supplemented this by some kind of nursing work. In addition, her two sons were farmer's labourers and the three young daughters were not attending any school (the National School, Bosham, was founded in 1834) but were doing some dressmaking to help support the family income. Mary Ann Girdler died in 1852 at the age of 51 and was buried at Bosham on 16th October 1852.


Dealing with the 5 children of George and Mary Ann Girdler who survived after the early deaths of their 6 sisters, we start (in chronological order) with Harriet who married Stephen Kearvell, a wheelwright, of Bosham around 1854. Stephen Kearvell came from a family of wheelwrights living in Walton Lane. His father and eldest brother were both wheelwrights and he followed in their footsteps. When Harriet Girdler married Stephen Kearvell, she was about 30 and he was about 20. They had 6 children as follows - Mary Ann (b. 1855), Caroline Hannah (b. 1858), Stephen Girdler Kearvell (b. 1860), Harriet Rebecca (b. 1863) George Girdler Kearvell (b. 1865) and Anna Eliza (b. 1869). It is interesting to note the use of Harriet's surname, Girdler, as the middle name of the two sons. Stephen Kearvell was appointed to serve as one of the parish constables in March 1863 for a period of 12 months, Mary Ann Kearvell died in 1934 (aged 79), Stephen Girdler Kearvell was a carpenter and died in 1900 (aged 39), Harriet Rebecca died in 1879 (aged 16), and Anna Eliza died in 1878 (aged 9). Caroline Hannah Kearvell married Mark Reeves at Bosham Parish Church on 12th June 1888, had a son, Mark (b. 1894), and died in 1927 (aged 69), George Girdler Kearvell was initially a groom and later a wheelwright and married Agnes Mary Parvin at Bosham Parish Church on 18th September 1890. They had a daughter, Annie Caroline (b. 1893) and George Girdler Kearvell died in 1911 (aged 47). Their mother, Harriet, died in 1882 (aged 58) and their father, Stephen, died in 1898 (aged 64). At the time of his death, he was residing at the Berkeley Arms Inn at Bosham.


George Girdler (b. 4th February 1830), the elder of the two sons of George and Mary Ann Girdler, married Emma Puddick at the Union Chapel, Bosham, on 1st November 1851. Emma Puddick was the daughter of a dairyman and was born at North Mundham, Sussex (ca. 1824). She was about 6 years older than George at the time of the wedding. On the marriage certificate (Certificate 5), George Girdler's occupation was given as a "labourer" and Emma was a "domestic servant" in the house of Albert Cheeseman (farmer of 350 acres employing 14 men) in Walton Lane, Bosham. George and Emma had no children of their own, but later fostered my grandfather (Charles Kearvell Girdler) and moved to Shalford, Surrey The remainder of their life story will be described later.


Emma Girdler (b. 10th February 1832) married William Head and they had 3 children - George (b. 1862), Rebecca (b. 1863) and Stephen (b. 1867). For some unknown reason, there is an entry in the Union Chapel registers showing that she was "suspended (from the church) but re-admitted in 1858". She died October 1869 "happy in the Lord". She was buried on 14th October 1869 at Bosham, aged only 37.


Stephen Girdler (b. 11th January 1834) was a farmer's labourer according to the 1851 and 1861 Census Returns for Bosham. After his mother's death, he lived in the house of Stephen and Harriet Kearvell (his brother-in law and sister) and did not marry until he was 42 years old. He married a widow, Ann Phillips (formerly Thornton) at Bosham Parish Church on 23rd September 1876 (Certificate 6) and they lived at Broadbridge Cottages, Bosham. They had one child, a daughter Caroline Annie (b. 18th June 1880). By this time, Stephen Girdler had advanced in his job and was the "foreman to Mr. Heaver, farmer" according to the entry on his daughter's birth certificate, Mr. Heaver was the owner of Creed Farm, Bosham (marked on Map 3). Stephen Girdler died at the age of 68 and was buried on 3rd May 1902. His daughter, Caroline Annie, never married, became a lady's companion in Cambridge, and eventually died at Chichester, Sussex, on 5th February 1955 with an estate of about £100. A copy of her death certificate and a newspaper cutting asking for her next-of-kin, etc. are in the Appendix (Certificate 7).


Caroline Girdler (my great-grandmother) was born on 11th November 1835 and certainly had a difficult life as a young girl, Her father died when she was only 8 years old and she had to supplement the family's meagre income by working as a dressmaker. The 1851 Census Returns for Bosham list her and her two sisters, Eliza and Hannah as "dressmakers" aged 15, 12 and 10 respectively. Her mother (a nurse and outdoor pauper) died in 1852 and her sister, Eliza, died in 1853. There is an entry in the Bosham Rate Book for 24th June 1854 which gives "the misses Girdler - daughters, orphanage" as living in Walton Lane at a house owned by B. Binstead. Presumably at this stage Caroline and Hannah were left to fend for themselves (possibly helped by their brother, Stephen). Hannah died in 1858 leaving Caroline on her own. In the following year she produced an illegitimate son, Charles Kearvell Girdler (my grandfather), fathered by a Stephen Male, The entry in the baptism records of the Bosham Union Chapel reads as follows: -

Parents' Names Charles Kearvell Girdler Stephen Male - Caroline Girdler (servant) Child illegitimate. Baptized at the house of Stephen Kearvell, Dec. 1859.



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