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Ronald Basil Girdler

1925 - 2017


Helene Girdler

1927 - 2020

Concerning the children of Robert and Elizabeth Gorham, no further records have so far been found for Harry, Stephen or Edward. Rebecca married William Waite in 1868, Sarah died in 1875 (aged 26), James died of “fall from load of straw” in 1897 (aged 45), Emma died by fire at home in 1869 (aged 14) and George died in 1913 (aged 51). Information from elderly relatives suggests that Robert married an Emma  but no further data has been found. William Stephen, however, was my mother's father and he was born at Trimley St. Martin on 16th Feb 1860 (Certificate 2). William Stephen had quite a varied sort of life and was working as a "carter" when he married at the age of 26. He married my grandmother, Mary Ann Topple, at Walton Parish Church on 23rd April 1666. Mary Ann was the daughter of Ephraim Topple and his wife Susannah nee Brett) of Trimley St. Mary and came from a family of 7 girls and 3 boys. The Marriage Certificate of William Stephen and Mary Ann (Certificate 3) shows that were both living in Walton at the time and that they could both sign their names on the certificate. Mary Ann was also 26 at the time and although William Stephen's age was given as 25, he was actually just over 26 as shown by the date of birth on his Birth Certificate.

William Stephen and Mary Ann lived in Walton and had 11 children in all, as follows:-

John (b.1882)

Elizabeth (b.1884)

Lily Maud (b.1885)

William (b.1886)

Sarah Rebecca (b.1889)

George (b.1890)

Benjamin (b.1892)

Mabel (b.1894)

Frederick (b.1896)

Catherine (b.1899)

Louisa Annie (b. 15th June 1900)

The first three children took the surname "Topple" rather than Gorham, presumably as they were born before the wedding of William Stephen to Mary Ann in 1886. As mentioned before, William Stephen was working as a carter when he was married in 1886. One of my aunts told me that after he was married, he and his father each had a horse and cart, and stables, and ran a cab service. Ten years later, as shown in Kelly's Directory for 1896, a Stephen Gorham was recorded as being a "cab proprietor" in Walton. This could well have been William Stephen as he seemed to be connected with some form of horse transport all his life. On my mother's birth certificate in 1900 (Certificate 4), his profession was given as a "donkey proprietor". I was told that he used to give donkey rides to holiday makers and children on Felixstowe beach. My aunt, Sarah Rebecca, told me that he was once badly injured by being kicked by a horse. He was evidently a very sociable and generous man and quite fond of regular liquid refreshment at the local ale-house. He died when he was only 42 years old from "chronic nephritis and uraemia" according to his death certificate (Certificate 5), which also shows that he was then only a "general labourer" and living in High Street, Walton. His father and mother both survived him. His wife, Mary Ann, lived in Walton most of her life, and at one stage was living at 43, King Street, Walton. I also remember that she stayed with my mother and father at Colindale for a short time in the 1930's when I was about 10 years old. Her photograph is shown opposite. She died in 1939, aged 78.

Concerning the children of William Stephen and Mary Ann in order of birth, we have:-

John (b.1882)

John Gorham (known as Uncle Jack) never married and was a landscape gardener by profession. He presumably lived with his parents in Walton and is buried in the same grave as they are in Walton Cemetery. The inscription reads "Mary Ann Gorham and William Gorham and her beloved son John who died December 7th 1949” (aged 67).

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