MADGE \ DART

This page is an attempt to outline what I know about my Madge \ Dart ancestry in as "readable" format as possible. This branch of my family tree has proved the most difficult of family trees to trace back for any distance. One of the main reasons for the difficulty is the fact, reflected in the title, that the surname of the family changed from it’s original MADGE to DART in the latter part of the 19th century, seemingly on their move from Devon to Newport, Wales.  In fact most of the sons seemed to have started using Madge-Dart, whereas my Great-grandfather stuck with Dart. Please note whereas I try to ensure that what I publish is correct, and to differentiate between what is supported by documentation etc, and what is, in my opinion, a reasonable assumption, everything should be treated with caution. IF you have come across information that you believe is relevant to your own research please either verify it independently or drop me a line to confirm its validity. Equally if believe something is incorrect, or if you wish to add any details or discuss please get in touch using the Contact Form.

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William Madge and Frances Dart - Madge from Devon to Madge and Dart from Newport

The earliest ancestor that we have been able to trace so far is a William Madge who married Frances Dart on 27th December 1812 in the parish of Crediton, Devon.

The baptisms of ten children to William Madge and Frances Dart were recorded in the parish register of Crediton, John, baptised on 27th December 1813, Joseph, the next generation in our family tree, baptised on 7th April 1816, William, baptised on 26th July 1818, Samuel baptised 26th August 1821, Susan, baptised on 9th March 1823, Jane, baptised on 31st July 1825, George, baptised on 20th July 1828, Mary, baptised on 11th September 1831, James, baptised on 15th June 1834, and Harriet, baptised on 28th August 1836. (For further details of the chidren of William Madge and Francis Dart - see Appendix H.)

There is a transcribed document available on line containing extracts from Trewman's Exeter Flying Post which contains an item dated Thursday 6 August 1835, which refers to the trial at Devon Assizes of a Mr Dart of Woodland Down, Crediton, who was accused of burning his own house down in 12th May 1835 in which there is a reference to a "WM MADGE"who stated that "I live near the prisoner’s house. I was at work within half a mile of the fire". Six years later the wife and family of "our" William Madge were recorded at Woodland Head for the census of 1841, so it would seem possible that this is "our" William beingg reported. In the same transcript there is also a reference to a "Samuel Madge, a boy", "an apprentice to Mr Ward at Crediton" who "was at work in a field of my master’s", and states that Mr Dart's "house was from 25 to 30 land yards from the field in which I was at work." Again it would seem possible that this was Samuel, our William's son, who would have been about 14 at the time.

I believe William Madge probably died four years after the birth of Harriet in Exeter Hospital on 2 October 1840. This is based on a death certificate for a William Madge, labourer, who died of the Dropsy, at Exeter & Devon Hospital on that date, and the burial of a William Madge, a Labourer, resident of Langridge, recorded in the parish records for Crediton two days later. Unfortunately the ages on the two records differ with the Death Certificate giving his age as 49 and the burial record as 55. However I have little doubt that these are one and the same individual despite this, although this discrepancy is less than helpful in identifying who William's parents were!! (For details of possible parents of William Madge - see Appendix A.)

For the census of the 1841 Frances (or Fanny) Madge and her younger children were recorded as living at Woodland Head, a few miles to the South West of Crediton. (Note - Woodland Head, and Langridge, farmsteads are within a mile or so of each other to the South West of Crediton township.)

1841 Census (7th. June) Crediton (215) Book 8 Page 6

Woodland Head, Crediton.

Name Age Occupation Born in County
Fanny Madge 48 Agricultural Labourer Yes
John Madge 28 Agricultural Labourer Yes
Susan Madge 17 Agricultural Labourer Yes
Jane Madge 16 Agricultural Labourer Yes
Mary Madge 9 Agricultural Labourer Yes
James Madge 7 Agricultural Labourer Yes
Harriet Madge 5 Agricultural Labourer Yes

Joseph Madge their son, the next generation in our family history, was living in South Coombe, Cheriton Fitzpaine, in the household of James Squire, recorded as an agricultural labourer.

1841 Census (7th. June) Cheriton Fitzpaine (209) Folio 6 Book 6 Page 7

South Coombe, Cheriton Fitzpaine.

Name Age Occupation Born in County
John Squire 30 Agricultural Labourer Yes
Mary Squire 25   Yes
John Squire 11   Yes
William Davy 15   Yes
Joseph Madge 26 Male Servant Yes
William Tucker 14 Male Servant Yes
James Elsworthy 14 Male Servant Yes
James Greenslade 10 Male Servant Yes

On 26th September 1842, in the parish church of Cheriton Fitzpaine, a small village North East of Crediton, Joseph Madge, the next generation in our family tree, married Ann Wotton. The marriage certificate identified Joseph as of full age, a bachelor, a labourer, resident in Cheriton Fitzpaine, and the son of William Madge, a labourer. Anne was recorded as of full age, a spinster, also resident in Cheriton Fitzpaine, and the daughter of Isaac Wotton, a labourer. Both Joseph and Ann signed the wedding certificate with their respective “marks”. Anne was baptised on 5th July 1819 in Poughill, Devon, and despite the fact that the baptismal register records her as the daughter of Isaac and Ann Wotton, I believe that she was actually the daughter of Isaac Wotton, a labourer, and Jane Haydon who were married on 26th February 1819 in St. Sidwell parish, Exeter. At the time of the 1841 census Ann had been working at High Waterhouse farm just up the road from where Joseph was recorded at North Coombe. (For further details of Anne Wotton and her forebears - see Appendix B.)

Joseph Madge and Anne Wotton seem to have settled in the village of Cheriton Fitzpaine, as it is there that we find them for the census of 31st March 1851, with their children, John, baptised 4th June 1843, Reuben, baptised 18th July 1847, and Daniel, the next generation in our family tree, born 15th June 1850, baptised 4th August 1850, all born/baptised in Cheriton Fitzpaine.

1851 Census (31st March) Cheriton Fitzpaine HO107/1887 Folio 442 Page 8

Cheriton Fitzpaine Village.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Joseph Madge Head 33 Agricultural Labourer Crediton, Devon
Ann Madge Wife 31   Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
John Madge Son 7   Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
Reuben Madge Son 3   Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
Daniel Madge Son 9months   Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon

Also at the time of the census of 31st March 1851, Frances, Joseph’s mother, and her remaining family had moved into Crediton village itself, with Frances, a widow, now employed as a "serge weaver". Her two eldest remaining children, George and Mary were involved in the shoe trade, (cordwainer is an old terminology for shoemaker), and the youngest Harriet was a servant.

1851 Census (31st March) Crediton HO107/1887 Folio 44 Book 2 Page 10

46 High Street, Crediton Village.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Fanny Madge Head (Widow) 63 Serge Weaver Crediton, Devon
George Madge Son 22 Cordwainer Crediton, Devon
Mary Madge Daughter 19 Boot Binder Crediton, Devon
Harriet Madge Daughter 14 Servant Crediton, Devon

A year after this census, Joseph and Ann had their fourth son, Isaac, born in Cheriton Fitzpaine. He was baptised on 18th April 1852.

On 20th November 1854 at the Exeter General Sessions Joseph Madge was sentenced to 4 months in jail for larceny. It would seem from an article in the Western Times of Saturday 25 November 1854 he was accused of "stealing a quantity of bark and mangel from his master Mr. Pridnam". (I suspect the value of the bark lay in its use in the leather tanning process. Crediton - shoes etc?). The North Devon Journal of 7 December 1854 reported that Joseph was sentenced to 3 months.

Western Times - Saturday 25 November 1854

The North Devon Journal - 7 December 1854

In 1857 Joseph and Ann had a fifth son, William, born in Cheriton Fitzpaine. He was baptised on 31st May 1857.

On 23rd February 1858 Joseph was once again in trouble for larceny, this time for "stealing hay from the Rev. W. H. Arundell of Cheriton Fitzpaine" on the 19th February. The case was reported in Trewman's Exeter Flying Post on 4 March 1858, and as a repeat offender the courts were not so lenient and Joseph was sentenced to 4 years penal servitude. After a just over a month in Exeter jail Joseph was sent to Millbank Prison in separate confinement where he spent 7 months and 17 days before being sent to Portsea, a "working prison". His prison record describes Joseph as being of a “proportionate build, with a fresh complexion, brown hair, grey eyes, and 5 feet three inches tall. (For Joseph Madge’s prison records - See Appendix G.)

Trewman's Exeter Flying Post - 4 March 1858

It is at Portsea that we find Joseph Madge recorded for the 1861 census.

1861 Census (8th April) Portsea Island, Portsea Island RG9/637 Folio 130 Book "Convict Establishment" Page 6.

Convict Establishment, Portsea Island, Portsea Town, Hampshire.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
W. Hosegood Convict in Custody 21 Labourer Bristol, Gloucstershire
J. Madge Convict in Custody 42 Labourer Crediton, Devon
J. McKenzie Convict in Custody 33 Labourer Inverness, N.B. Scotland

For the same census Joseph's wife, Ann Madge, was still living in the village of Cheriton Fitzpaine with her youngest son, William Madge, baptised there on 31st May 1857. Obviously with her husband in jail times must have been hard. This would explain the lodger and the fact that her two elder sons are in other households and the two younger sons were in the workhouse.

1861 Census (8th April) Cheriton Fitzpaine RG9/1474 Folio 31 Book 3 Page 18

Cheriton Fitzpaine Village.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Ann Madge Head (Married) 40 Agricultural labourer’s wife Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
William Madge Son 3 Scholar Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon

Her son, John Madge, aged 18, a "tanner's carter", was recorded at Upham Buildings in Cheriton Fitzpaine in the household of John Wotton, also a "tanner's carter"and his wife Sally (nee Mare?). This John Wotton was almost certainly the brother of Anne Madge, nee Wotton, and thereore John's uncle.

1861 Census (8th April) Cheriton Fitzpaine RG9/1474 Folio 54 Book 6 Page 3

3 Upham Buildings, Cheriton Fitzpaine Village.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
John Wotton Head (married) 39 Tanner’s Carter Poughill, Devon
Sally Wotton Wife 37   Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
Harriet Wotton Daughter 12 Scholar Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
Edward Wotton Son 11 Scholar Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
Henry Wotton Son 8 Scholar Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
Bessy Wotton Daughter 5 Scholar Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
John Wotton Son 3   Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
William Wotton Son 1   Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
John Madge Boarder 18 Tanner’s Carter Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
Henry Wills Boarder 21 Carter Silverton, Devon
John Yeo Boarder 18 Carter Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon

Reuben Madge, aged 12, was recorded working as a farm servant at Pitten Farm, Cheriton Bishop, for a George Snell.

1861 Census (8th April) Cheriton Bishop RG9/1471 Folio 66 Book 7 Page 2

Pitten Farm, Cheriton Bishop Village.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
George Snell Head 50   Lafford, Devon
Jane Snell Sister 39   Cheriton Bishop
Reuben Madge Servant 12 Farm Servant Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon

Daniel Madge and his younger brother Isaac Madge were recorded in the Union Workhouse in Crediton.

1861 Census (8th April) Crediton RG9/1473 Folio 20 Book 3 Page 6

Crediton Union Workhouse.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
William C. Leach Head 58 Master opf the Workhouse Morchard Bishop, Devon
Grace Leach Wife 60 Matron Washford Pyne, Devon
Elizabeth Leach Daughter 31 Schoolmistress Witheridge, Devon
Sophia Leach Daughter 21 Assistant Matron Crediton, Devon
John C. Leach Son 19 Medical Student Crediton, Devon
William Mules Porter 36 Porter / Shoemaker George Nympton, Devon
Joseph Channon Schoolmaster 24 Tailor Ottery St Mary, Devon
Daniel Madge Inmate 10 Scholar Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon
Isaac Madge Inmate 8 Scholar Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon

For the same census Joseph Madge’s mother, Frances Madge, nee Dart, was still living in Crediton at 167 Kiddicot with her youngest daughter, Harriet.

1861 Census (8th April) Crediton RG9/1472 Folio 18 Book 1 Page 30

167 Kiddicot, Crediton Village.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Fanny Madge Head (Widow) 70   Crediton, Devon
Harriet Madge Daughter 22 Servant Crediton, Devon

A month after this census Joseph Madge was released from Portsea Jail, having been in jail for 3 years and 3 months. The prison register records his discharge as “under licence” and his behaviour during his incarceration as “good”, so I assume he was out on “parole”. At least he would have got home to see his mother Frances Madge, nee Dart, before her death, in the March of 1862. Frances was buried on 9th of that month in Crediton Parish.  (For details of possible parents of Frances Dart - see Appendix A.) Five months later, on 17th July 1862, Joseph and Ann had their final child, a further son, Hermon, born in Cheriton Fitzpaine (For further details of the children of Joseph Madge and Ann Wotton - See Appendix D.)

This news item is almost certainly about "our" Joseph Madge and his wife Ann. Ann's age is as near as makes no difference correct, (she was actually 46), she and Joseph had had six children and she was resident in Cheriton Fitzpaine at least for the 1861 census. The fact that Joseph describes himself as a Fishmonger and Marine Store dealer is somewhat surprising but the title may have been slightly more impressive than the reality. The story itself is so strange that I will forebear any comment!!

The Taunton Courier - Wednesday 1st November 1865

The article does include one additional bit of information i.e. that Ann was "the mother of six children, one of whom is in the 6th Dragoon Guards. The only child of Joseph and Ann I have not been able to at least tentatively identify after his appearance in the 1861 census in the household of his (probably) uncle John Wotton is Joseph and Ann's eldest son, John, identified as aged 18 and employed as a Tanner's carter . There was indeed a "John Madge - Private - Service Number 314" recorded in the General Muster Books and Pay Lists of the 6th Dragoon Guards, serving in Dundalk, Ireland in 1871-72. (Source FindMyPast - Record set British Army, Worldwide Index). There was also a "Madge, John - Private - 6th Dragoon Guards" who died sometime between 1865 and 1876 as there is an entry for a this individual in the London Gazette of 26th September 1876 under the heading, "Soldiers Balances Unclaimed - LIST LXXXIX of the names of Soldiers deceased since 1865, whose Personal Estate is held by the Secretary of State for War for distribution amongst the Next of Kin or others entitled." The "Personal Estate" of this John Madge amounted to £1 and 4 shillings. I am incined to the belief that this John Madge was the son of Joseph and Ann Madge, and his death 1872-1876 would explain why I have been unable to find record of a John Madge of the right age, born in Crediton \ Cherion Fitzpaine in the 1881 or subsequent censuses. It is possible that the death may have occured in Ireland which would also explain or any obvious record of the death of a John Madge of an appropriate age in the BMD indexes 1861-1881. A record of age of the John Madge of the 6th Dragoon Guards would go a long way to confirming this belief! Ironically assuming this is our John Madge, and presuming he had not married, his next of kin, i.e. his parents, were busy making sure they could not be found in Newport. Consequently they may never have received his estate or possibly even have been informed of his demise.

London Gazette of 26th September 1876 - Soldiers Balances Unclaimed - Pages 5205-6

The year after this episode it would seem would seem that Joseph Madge was once again in trouble with the law. It would appear that he had been caught stealing two bundles of straw the property of a Mr. Knapman and was due to appear in court on Thursday 26 October. From the article from the Western Times the following day it looks as if he had a "partner in crime" Samuel Wootton. Certainly there was a Samuel Wootton charged with what seems to be the same offence and this individual received "one months imprisoment wth hard labour". Joseph however "did not appear and a sentence was issued for his apprehension". I suspect although the crime itself was not deemed too serious, the fact that Joseph had at least two previous conviction meant that this time round he was in serious troubleact that the justice system worked on a basis of ever increasing punishmnts. (First offence he got six moths - second offence he got 4 years - this time ???, remebering that they were still sending convicts to Australia!!. Hence he had "done a runner"!!

The Western Times - Friday 26 October 1866

The next record we have of Joseph Madge’s family is in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales, in the census of 3rd April 1871, but with the family having adopted the surname Dart, and the father Joseph now using the forename John. Dart was the maiden name of Joseph Madge’s mother, Frances. It would certainly look like Joseph (and presumably his family) had left Crediton and Devon to avoid Joseph being tried and presumably convicted for the straw stealing reported in the Western Times of Friday 26 October 1866. Certainly one would imagine that along with his name change, it would be much easier to disappear in somewhere like Newport, rather than in Crediton or even Exeter. Added to this there was work to be had in Newport with its expanding industrial economy, as opposed to rural Devon where the economy was depressed. As to John M. Dart being one and the same as Joseph Madge I am as certain as I can be that this is the case. (For a summary of the evidence that Joseph Madge was the same individual as John Madge Dart and latterly Joseph Madge Dart - Click here.

1871 Census (3rd April) Newport RG10/5347 Folio 115 Book 24 Page 49

9 New Street, Newport.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
John M. Dart Head 54 Labourer Coleford, Devon
Ann Dart Wife 49   Poufill, Devon
Reuben Dart Son 23 Lime Burner Cheriton, Devon
Isaac Dart Son 19 Labourer Cheriton, Devon
William Dart Son 13 Labourer Cheriton, Devon
Hermon Dart Son 9 Scholar Cheriton, Devon

It would seem that the family had arrived in Newport at least by 1869 as there is an article in the The Mounmothshire Merlin of 30 January 1869 which refers to a John Dart of New Street, and some affair concering a watch. As "our" John Dart, aka, Joseph Madge was recorded as resident in New Street, for the 1871 census this article would almost certainly refer to him. If any one can clarify what was going on I would be grateful, although I suspect an element of skulduggery on John Dart's part!.

The Mounmothshire Merlin - 30 January 1869

Daniel Madge Dart, the next generation in our family tree, although no longer living with his parents, was in fact living in the same street, just a few doors down the road at number 17 New Street.

1871 Census (3rd April) Newport RG10/5347 Folio 117 Book 24 Page 53

17 New Street, Newport.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Daniel M. Dart Lodger <20 Tailor Creton, Devon

Almost a year after the census of 1871, on 29th May 1872, Daniel Madge Dart, (the next step in our family history), married Myra Sibley. The marriage certificate identified her as Myra Sibley, a seventeen year old spinster, the daughter of Samuel Sibley, a sawyer, deceased, resident of Chepstow Road, Newport. Daniel was recorded as being a 21 year old bachelor, a Tailor, the son of John Madge Dart, a Foundry labourer, resident at New Street, Newport. Myra's age was given incorrectly as her birth was actually recorded in the BMD index for the April-June quarter of 1857, in Newport, Monmouthshire so in reality she would have been a month or so either side of 15.(For further details of  Myra Sibley, her family and other lines of descent - See Appendix E.)

However this marriage was not to last, as the next record we have of Daniel Madge Dart, is on the birth certificate of his son, Herbert Dart, born at 28 Palmer Street, Weston-super-Mare on 2nd July 1877, my grandfather and the next generation of our family history. However Herbert Dart's mother was a Maria Dyer noy Myra Sibley. (This is confirmed by Herbert Dart's later military records (of circa 1896) i.e. "Mother - Maria"). This Maria Dyer, was the daughter of Samuel Dyer, a carpenter, and Sarah Buller, born in Wellington on 30th March 1846. (SEE ONLINE DYER FAMILY HISTORY). Maria and her family were living in Newport a couple of miles from Daniel Dart's lodgings at the time of the 1871 census. It would seem that Daniel had left his wife and "run off" with Maria Dyer. I would assume that Daniel and Myra never actually divorced which would explain why Daniel and Maria never actually wed.

In the intervening years back across the Bristol Channel, there are a further three articles refering to what one would assume is the same John Dart. Two refer to the same incident in the June-July of 1873 i.e. his arrest and subsequent trial and sentencing for stealing milk or "Felonious Milking a Cow". These give his age as 60, and as an "old offender". It is unclear if the adjective old is used to describe his age or indicating he has been up in front of the bench prviously! The third from 1875 refers to his trial and sentencing for stealing coal and described him as an "elderly man". Once again as there would only seem to have been one John Dart in Newport in the 1860's-1870's and this would seem to be "our" John Dart, aka, Joseph Madge, and these articles suggest that his path continued to stray from the straight and narrow. However it has to be remembered that these were hard times with no welfare state. The options were probably as simple as starve, the workhouse, or a bit of petty larceny!

The South Wales Daily News - 2 June 1873

The South Wales Daily News - 3 July 1873b

The Monmouthshire Merlin - 12 November 1875

It would seem not unlikely likely that the sentence for the latter of these two crimes of six weeks hard labour in the November-December of 1875 may well have been instrumental in the death of Joseph Madge, aka John Dart as there is a record of his death seven weeks into the following year on the 18th February 1876. For this final event he was recorded as Joseph Madge Dart, aged 53, (actually 59), and the death occurred at 8 New Street, Newport, Monmouthshire, with the cause being "Bronchitis and debility".

It looks like a year after the death of his father his youngest son Herman was also in trouble for "coal stealing" as reported in the Western Mail of 29 March 1877. The article describes him incorrectly as motherless as Ann his mother was still alive, although his father was cerainly deceased. However there was only one Herman Dart recorded in the 1871 & 1881 censuses for Newport and as the age is also correct so I have little doubt this was "our" Herman.

Western Mail - 29 March 1877

The next record we have of Joseph Madge's son, Daniel Madge Dart, is on the birth certificate of Daniel's son, Herbert Dart, born at 28 Palmer Street, Weston-super-Mare on 2nd July 1877, my grandfather and the next generation of our family history. Herbert Dart's mother was Maria Dyer. (This is confirmed by Herbert Dart's later military records (of circa 1896) i.e. "Mother - Maria"). This Maria Dyer, was the daughter of Samuel Dyer, a carpenter, and Sarah Buller, born in Wellington on 30th March 1846. (SEE ONLINE DYER FAMILY HISTORY). Maria and her family were living in Newport a couple of miles from Daniel Dart's lodgings at the time of the 1871 census. It would seem that Daniel had left his wife and "run off" with Maria Dyer and as far as I can establish Daniel and Maria never actually wed, as to do so would obvoiusly have ben bigamous.

Three years later back in Weston-super-Mare, Daniel Madge Dart and Maria Dyer had a second child, a daughter Ella, born Between October and December 1879, and just under two years later, on 4th April 1881, they and their two children were recorded living at 2 Hill Road, Weston-super-Mare, for the census of that year.

1881 Census (4th April) Christchurch B RG11/2421 Folio 121 Book 14 Page 92

2 Hill Road, Weston-super-Mare.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Daniel Dart Head 42 Tailor Wellington, Somerset
Maria Dart Wife 38   Wellington, Somerset
Herbert Dart Son 8 Scholar Weston-s-Mare, Somerset
Ella F. Dart Daughter 6 Scholar Weston-s-Mare, Somerset

That this is the family there is no doubt, however Herbert would have been aged 3, NOT 8, and Ella 1, NOT 6. Daniel Madge Dart would have been aged 30 NOT 42, and Maria Dyer would have been aged 35, NOT 38. Why there should be all this confusion about their ages is a mystery!?

Back in Newport at the time of this census there is a record of what seems to be Ann Madge Dart, living with her son, Hermon Dart, in St. Woollos, Newport, in the house of William Jones, although she is recorded with the christian name Elizabeth.

1881 Census (4th April) Newport RG11/5264 Folio 39 Book 39 Page 12

21 Baldwin Street, St. Woollos, Newport.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
William Jones Head 47 Holder-up Hawarden, Clywd
Emma Jones Wife 56   Taunton, Somerset
William Miles Step Son 29 Hobbler Newport, Monmouth
John Miles Step Son 18 Hobbler Newport, Monmouth
Elizabeth Dart Mother 63   Cherton Pine, Devon
Hermon Dart Son 19 Dock Labourer Cherton Pine, Devon

The discrepancy in Ann Madge Dart’s forename, and the fact that her age is two years "over" may be the result of the information being given by "William Jones".

Anne Madge Dart died 4th April 1883, aged 63, at 22 Baldwin Street, Newport. Her death certificate records her age as 63, and that she was the widow of John Dart, Wharf Labourer. The certificate carries the mark of "Emma Miles" as informant, presumably the Emma Jones in the 1881 census.

Back in Weston-super-Mare in the next five and a half years following the census, Daniel and Maria had two further children,  Ann, born between January and March 1882, and Emily born between July and September 1886, both born in Weston-super-Mare. Sadly, on 1st November 1886, just after the birth of Emily, her father, Daniel Madge Dart, died. The death occurred at 29 Palmer Street, Weston-super-Mare, with the death certificate recording Daniel's age as 32, (actually aged 36) and his occupation as "Insurance Agent".

For the census of April 1891, the family had moved to 22 New Street, Weston-super-Mare, and Maria is recorded as a charwoman, although the reference to "parish pay" suggests she is in receipt of some form of poor relief. As a widow with four children, times must have been hard. The three younger children, Ella Francis, Annie, and Emmily are at school, but her eldest, Herbert, now aged 13, is at least supplementing the family income, working as an errand boy. (Possibly with Mr. Harse the butcher, to whom he was later apprenticed?). This census also gives the correct ages for Ella and Herbert.

1891 Census (6th April) Emmanuel RG12/1920 Folio 74 Book 12 Page 33

22 New Street, Weston-super-Mare.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Maria Dart Head 46 Charwoman, Parish pay Wellington, Somerset
Herbert Dart Son 13 Errand boy Weston-s-Mare, Somerset
Ella Francis Dart Daughter 11 Scholar Weston-s-Mare, Somerset
Annie Dart Daughter 9 Scholar Weston-s-Mare, Somerset
Emmily Dart Daughter 4 Scholar Weston-s-Mare, Somerset

On 6th November 1896, after a brief apprenticeship as a butcher with a Mr. Harse, Herbert Dart joined the Coldstream Guards, and on 9th March 1899 he set sail with his regiment for South Africa and the Boer War. After a sojourn of seven months in Gibraltar the regiment arrived in South Africa on 28 October 1899, where he saw active service with his regiment at Belmont, the Modder River, Dreifontein, Johannesburg, Diamond Hill and Belfast, sometimes as a mounted scout. Herbert Dart returned to England with the regiment on 20th July 1902, and five months later, on 16th December 1902, he was demobbed from active service and embarked on a career as a nurse.

 

Herbert Dart - Coldstream Cadet

 

Herbert Dart's Boer War Decorations

 

Herbert Dart somewhere on

the South African veldt

 
 

     

A year previous, at the time of the census of 1901, Herbert's mother Maria was still living living in Weston-super-Mare working a a charwoman. It would seem that only her youngest daughter Emmily was still living with her.

1901 Census (2nd April) Weston-super-Mare RG13/2325 Folio 80 Book 17 Page 27

33 Alma Street, Weston-super-Mare.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Maria Dart Head 56 Charwoman Wellington, Somerset
Emmily Dart Daughter 14 General Servant Domestic Weston-s-Mare, Somerset

Ten years on Maria aged 66, is still working as a charwoman, living at 9 Sidmouth Cottages, Weston-super-Mare. Her daughter Emily is still with her. The census records that she has had 4 children, one of whom has died. This refers to her daughter Ella who died on 23 February 1903 aged 23 after suffering severe burns when she accidentally set light to her cotton nightdress. (For further details of the children of Daniel Dart and Maria Dyer - See Appendix F.) Interestingly she records that she would have been married for 35 years which gives date of 1876 which would seem to be accurate for Daniel and her "getting together", but no record of a marriage has been found. Also she omits a fifth child Maud born a "natural child" on 8th October 1869 in back in Jones Street, Newport.

1911 Census (2 April) Weston-super-Mare

9 Sidmouth Cottages, Weston-super-Mare.

Name Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Maria Dart Head 66 Charwoman Wellington, Somerset
Emmily Dart Daughter 24 General Servant Domestic Weston-s-Mare, Somerset
     
 

Cerificate of Proficiency in 

Mental Nursing 1909 

awarded to Herbert Dart

presumably linked

to the Proficiency Medal 

from Cardiff Mental Hospital 

(below) also awarded 1909

 

In 1908 Herbert joined the staff of newly built Cardiff City Mental Hospital as a "Night attendant". He actual joined on 8 April 1908 (1 week before the official opening, on a salary of £39 per year plus £39 board, lodging, washing and uniform. He had previously worked in West Sussex County Asylum, Chichester between 14 July 1904 and 31 March 1908. The Cardiff City Mental Hospital was formally opened on 15 April 1908 and was a purpose built unit. It was far in advance of most other facilities for those with mental problems and was intended to provide accommodation for 750 in-patients, 414 women and 336 men. It had been built on the assumption that the wards would be locked, as up until then the function of mental hospitals had been chiefly of a custodial nature. However due to the forward thinking that went with the new building inmates were allowed to go more or less where they wanted to and the hospital was one of the first to recognise that mental illness in a lot of cases was a curable disorder rather than a permanent one. The weekly cost for an in-patient at that time was 13s 5d (67p). The nursing staff in 1908 consisted of a head male attendant, matron, their two deputies, a night inspector (male) and a night sister. There were 48 male attendants and 38 nurses on the day shift and four male attendants and five nurses at night. It would seem that as part of this forward thinking regime the staff were given training and encouragement, as in my possession I have a silver medal awarded by the Cardiff City Mental Hospital for "Proficiency in Mental Nursing - 1909", which I assume was awarded to Herbert.

Herbert resigned from Cardiff City Mental Hospital on 6 September 1910 and the next record we have of him is working as the "Head Lunatic Attendant" at Stapleton Workhouse, Fishponds, Bristol. It is not impossible that Included on the same census page is the reason he left Cardiff, a young lady - Elizabeth Mathieson. She has also been in the employ of the Cardiff City having commenced work on 7 April 1908 almost the same day as Herbert as a Sister. However she was dismissed on 14 April 1910. It is possible that this could have been as a result of a relationship having formed between Herbert and her and as relationships and even marriage between staff was not permitted this would have lead to dismissal.

1911 Census (1st April) Fishponds, Bristol RG14 Book 20 Page 1

Stapleton Workhouse, Fishponds, Bristol

Name

Relationship Age Occupation Where Born
Wilfred Daking Head 33 Master Of Workhouse Boxford, Suffolk
Ethel Daking Wife 38 Matron Of Workhouse Stainford, Lincolnshire
Cecil Daking Son 6   Shifnal, Salop
Emmeline Daking Daughter 5   Litchfield, Staffordshire
Edgar Davies Servant 34 Assistant Master Of Workhouse Bristol, Gloucestershire
Maria Hodgkins Servant 36 Assistant Matron Of Workhouse Brown Hills, Staffordshire
James Nettle Servant 50 Sick Ward Attendant Lulworth, Dorset
Herbert Dart Servant 32 Head Lunatic Attendant Weston Super Mare, Somerset
Alfred Shattock Servant 47 Lunatic Attendant Bristol, Gloucestershire
Ernest Richards Servant 35 Lunatic Attendant Bristol, Gloucestershire
William Shiner Servant 32 Lunatic Attendant Bristol, Gloucestershire
Margaret Nixson Servant 48 Workhouse Cook Bristol, Gloucestershire
Rosa Williams Servant 39 Labour Mistress Llandavenny, Monmouthshire
Elizabeth Leahy Servant 35 Sick Ward Attendant Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
Annie Coleridge Servant 45 Sick Ward Attendant Teignmouth, Devon
Florence Flook Servant 31 Head Lunatic Attendant Bristol, Gloucestershire
Ellen James Servant 38 Lunatic Attendant Washford, Somerset
Alice Griffin Servant 29 Lunatic Attendant Bristol, Gloucestershire
Elizabeth Mathieson Servant 25 Lunatic Attendant Hawick, Roxburghshire
Ethel Hippisley Servant 23 Lunatic Attendant Cleveden, Somerset

Whatever the circumstance that had re-united Herbert and Elizabeth at the Stapleton Workhouse, Fishponds, Bristol, six months after this census on 11th August 1911, Herbert Dart, a nurse, married Elizabeth Young Rutherford Mathieson, also a nurse, the eldest daughter of James Mathieson and Rachel Grieve, (SEE ONLINE MATHIESON & GRIEVE FAMILY HISTORIES). The marriage took place at Christ Church Stapleton, Fishponds, Bristol. The witnesses were Mr. William & Mrs. Emma Creagh, (also attendants in the Fishponds Institution in 1911), and Alexander Mathieson, the bride's younger brother. I was told by Elizabeth's sister Barbara many years later that she understood that Herbert Dart first met Elizabeth on a railway platform and it was "love at first sight", although she also believed that the size of Elizabeth Young Rutherford Mathieson’s chest formed a large part of that initial attraction!! (I suspect this may have been Cardiff railway station back in April 1908)

Not long after their marriage Herbert and Elizabeth would seem to have moved West Bromwich, as there is the registration of the birth of a birth of Rachel M. Mathieson Dart in the July- September quarter of 1913 in West Bromwich (Ref: Vol 6b Page 1802) but sadly it would seem that the baby did not survive as there is also the registration of the death of a Rachel M. Dart, aged 0 in the same quarter for West Bromwich (Ref: Vol 6b Page 951). I suspect that it was at the time of the move to West Bromwich that Herbert took and passed an examination in the "Workhouse Master's Books and Accounts" this "being Part 1 of the Examination in the duties of a Workhouse master". Whether he ever took and passed the remaining elements is unknown.

 
 

 

   

Herbert Darts WW1 Medals "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred"

ie. 1914 Star, Victory Medal and British War Medal.

Also his The Silver War Badge awarded to all of those military personnel

who were discharged as a result of sickness or wounds contracted or

received during the war, either at home or overseas and his

"Old Coldstreamers Association" lapel badge which he wore on his lapel at all times.

 

Herbert Dart WW1

 

I suspect 1914 must have started on a optimistic note as it would seem that Elizabeth had fallen pregnant again. Sadly things were to go horribly wrong both on a national and personal level. In the July of that year Europe entered into a huge and senseless conflict the scale and intensity of which were unprecedented. About 70 million soldiers took part in the fighting, and the war claimed over 40 million casualties, including approximately 20 million civilian and military dead! Herbert  re-enlisted in the Coldstreams (knocking a year of his age in the process!) to play his part, and on 7th October 1914 went with the battalion and the British Expeditionary Force to the front in France. In one sense he was one of the lucky ones as fifty days later Herbert was "back in blighty" having received a gun shot wound to the head, the result of which he was invalided out of the Army, 11 months later, on 1st October 1915. It is sobering to reflect that had the German rifleman who shot Herbert Dart been an inch or two more accurate, I would not be writing this today.

At the same time as Herbert was going of to war and coming within inches of loosing his life, at home Elizabeth was giving birth to a baby boy, as there is the registration of the birth of a Herbert Mathieson Dart in West Bromwich (Ref: Vol 6b Page 1637) in the October-December quarter of 1914. Sadly history seems to have repeated itself with the registration of the death of a Herbert Mathieson Dart, aged 0 in the same quarter for West Bromwich (Ref: Vol 6b Page 923)

Herbert Dart - "Honourable Discharge" on 1 October 1915 - having Served with Honour.

On 14th March 1917, Maria Dart, Herbert's mother, died, aged 70, whilst resident at 9 Sidmouth Cottages, Weston-super-Mare. She was buried alongside her husband Daniel Madge Dart in Weston-super-Mare graveyard, (plots 737 & 2436 respectively). There have been further burials in those plots, and the headstones on the plots refer to the later burials. It is likely that as a relatively poor family, they never had proper headstones, more likely wooden grave markers, long since gone.

The birth, two months later, of their one and only child to survive infancy, Dorothy Phyllis, must have alleviated some of the sadness felt by Herbert on the death of his mother. Their daughter, my mother, was born on 2nd May 1917, at 88 Hallam Street, West Bromwich, in the West Midlands, which was then a similar establishment to the Fishponds institution. At the time Herbert Dart was still working as a male nurse and I would imagine that Herbert and Elizabeth had taken up similar positions as to those they had at Fishponds back in 1912 when there first child was recorded as born in West Bromwich.

Herbert Dart with his wife Elizabeth Young Rutherford

Mathieson and their daughter Phyllis c 1918

 

 

1930's Herbert and Elizabeth were the Master and Matron of the children’s section of Sandfield House, Certified Institution and Infirmary, at Wordsley, near Stourbridge. It too was originally a Workhouse.

It is interesting to note that amongst my grandmother's qualifications was a certificate from the St John's Ambulance Brigade in "Air Raid Precautions and First Aid for Air Raid Casualties". What I find interesting is that it is dated 8th March 1937, showing that even two years before the outbreak of war with Germany, war and Air Raids were a perceived threat.

"Air Raid Precautions and 

First Aid for Air Raid Casualties"

8th March 1937

In 1937 was also the year that it would seem that Herbert and Elizabeth had lost their jobs (and their home?) due to the closure of the "Wordsley Instition for Mental Defectives" with the establishment to becomr a hospital. (It would seem that he also lost a pension that he had been paying into although the payments were refunded.) The couple were initially offered £100 each in compensation but Herbert felt this was insufficient and it would seem had gone to his MP. The Finance Committee had recommended that this should be increased to £260 each. Certain members of the council seemed to have objected to this, not on the basis that the couple were not worthy of the compensation but that they felt it was outside procedure and "strings had been pulled". I can not figure out from the article itself if the award was confirmed at £260 each of if they reverted to the original award. The initial couple of paragraphs plus an extract from further on. If you wish to read the full article click here.

The Staffordshire Advertiser - Saturday 30th July, 1938

Sometime after losing there jobs at Wordsley, Herbert and Elizabeth moved to Walsall where they were recorded in the 1939 register resident at 4 Harden Road, Walsall. The premises was listed as a "shop" and Herbert was identified as a "Retailer of Wines" with a date of birth of 2 July 1877. Elizabeth was identified as a "Nurse R.M.P." with a date of birth of 11 May 1886, and there is a third redacted entry which I would assume is their daughter Phyllis, my mother.

By 1940 within two months of its inception Herbert Dart had joined the L.D.V. more commonly known as the Home Guard. I have little doubt that he would have entered into this role with entusiasm taking into account his previous military experience. I have also little doubt that some at least of this particular part of hs life may have been not too different to that portayed in the BBC TV series "Dads Army". Certainly the reason we know of his involvement in the Home Guard is due to his involvement in an incidence, reported in the Walsall and South Staffordshire Chronicle of Saturday 27th July, 1940, where he seems to have been mistaken for a German Paratrooper by a drunk which resulted in an altercation and the arrest of the drunk! I guess as a result one could claim he saw active service in the Boer War, the First World War AND the Second World War!! The initial couple of paragraphs are included below. For the full story click here.

Walsall and South Staffordshire Chronicle
Saturday 27th July, 1940

Herbert and Elizabeth were still resident at the time of marriage of their daughter Dorothy Phyllis Dart to my father J.M.G. Hendry on 18 July 1945 as her address is given as 27 Harden Road, Leamore, Walsall .After the move to Walsall Elizabeth would seem to have continued nursing as I have her State Registered Nurse badge which bears the inscription on the inscription E.Y.R. Dart R.M.N. (Registered Mental Nurse) 12865 22.10.48 by which time she would have been nursing for 40 years.

E.Y.R. Dart's State Registered Mental Nurse badge

Both Herbert and Elizabeth came to live with us in Glasgow in the late 1950's but moved out to live on their own at 6 Caird Drive, off Byres Road in Glasgow after the death of their daughter, my mother in October 1960.

Herbert Dart on horseback circa 1959
when he wouldhave been in his early 80's
Probably at Limekilns Riding School, near East Kilbride

Elizabeth Dart, nee Mathieson died on 9 Oct 1963 in Glasgow. Herbert lived on at 6 Caird Drive until the last year of his life when he went into the Erskine Hospital for soldiers in Erskine, Renfrewshire, where he died on 13 March 1969 in aged 91.