Subject Name: Edward Sutlieff (b1838 – d1897)
Researcher : Steve Kirk
Edward Sutlieff, following the tragic loss of both parents, became isolated from the rest of his family, seemingly wandering the streets for years before ending his days in the Guildford Union Workhouse.
Edward, officially registered as ‘Edward George Sutcliffe’, was born on 29th December 1838 in St Mary’s, Guildford, the seventh child of Joseph, a shoemaker, and Maria, née Freakes (1).
Edward was given a Non-Conformist baptism on an unspecified date as part of a non-Parochial community called Irvingite, also known as the Catholic Apostolic Church, which was a Protestant sect formed by Scottish preacher, Edward Irving (2, 3). Local MP Henry Drummond was a devotee of Irving, with congregations initially gathering at his Albury Park home, just outside Guildford. This is where Edward’s baptism was most probably held. Edward’s sisters Naomi Maria, Maria and Rebecca were also baptised into the Irvingite sect, although his other siblings were not (4). Drummond had a church built for the ever-growing congregation in his grounds in 1840. The church still stands there today, although unused.
The 1841 Census showed 2-year-old Edward living with his family at Angel Gate, Guildford, a cobbled thoroughfare which looks today very much as it did then (5).
Edward’s father Joseph, age 39, was a cordwainer (shoemaker) and would almost certainly have worked here. Mother Maria was 34, with Edward’s five siblings being Thomas (11), Josiah James (9), Arthur Charles (7), Maria (5) and Jane (2 months).
No records have been found to show further births following Jane, however, Edward’s mother did become pregnant seven years later in 1848. For whatever reason, Maria, now into her 40s, had an abortion around 14th August (6). This was a highly illegal procedure at that time, with severe punishment including potential life sentences for those involved (7). It was only in 1837 that the ‘Offences Against the Person Act’ abolished the death penalty for abortion, in favour of imprisonment or transportation. The abortion was to prove fatal for Maria, as she died eleven days later on 25th August in Guildford from ‘phlegmonous erysipelas’, a bacterial infection, age 41.
Edward was just nine years old and his sister Jane seven. The tragedy of their mother’s death would have left his father Joseph in the difficult position of trying to work and raise his family. His problem was borne out by the 1851 Census, which showed Joseph, 48, as a widower cordwainer ‘receiving parish relief’. It is not clear whether Joseph was actually working (8). The family were now living at 4 Castle Arch, Guildford, just a few hundred metres from their previous home. Joseph’s oldest son Thomas, 19, was an apprentice bricklayer and Josiah, 17, an errand boy. Edward, 10, Maria, 13, and Jane, 8, were all noted as scholars. Why all Joseph’s children’s ages were two years under what they really were is not known. Third son Arthur had moved out, probably listed as Arthur Sutcliffe, a servant on Park Farm at nearby Artington (9).
Further tragedy followed just two years later when on 9th April 1853, Joseph committed suicide at the family home in Castle Arch, age 51 (10). The death certificate noted the verdict of the Deputy Coroner for the Borough of Guildford that Joseph had ‘hung himself while insane’. Edward was now 14 and would likely have been in employment. It’s not known if he and any other members of the family were living at Castle Arch at the time.
Edward’s younger sister Jane received a six-week prison sentence in December 1858 for stealing money from her employer. The detailed newspaper report said that she had been placed in her position of work from the Guildford Union (11).
Generally, a child would leave the workhouse around the age of 14 when old enough to enter employment (12). It is likely that Jane would have been in the Workhouse from around the time of or just after her father’s death until that age. Edward also could have been there too and received help from the Union to find employment, but no records exist to prove this. The same newspaper report remarked that older brother Arthur was ‘up at the Union house’ when Jane was charged in 1858.
The next record traced for Edward is the 1861 Census, showing him as an unmarried 20-year-old (actually 22) lodging in Bridge Road, East Moseley with the family of a builder (13). Edward’s occupation was noted as an engine cleaner, most probably at the Hampton Court Railway Station terminus just a few minutes walk away. The job involved climbing inside the steam engine’s boiler to remove the ash, a difficult and extremely unpleasant task (14).
What happened to Edward over the next decade or so is unclear. All of his siblings had already settled down or would do so by the time of the 1871 Census (15), but this did not happen for him, with no trace of him found in that Census.
It is not until the West Surrey Times of 19th September 1874 that Edward’s name appears again, reporting that he had received a six-week prison sentence in Wandsworth Gaol (16). The article said that a policeman had found Edward drunk and sleeping in a Guildford field. Sleeping rough in itself was an offence at that time (17), but Edward made matters worse when he ‘struck the policeman on the side of the head and knocked his helmet across the road’. His Wandsworth Gaol record described him as a 34-year-old labourer, 5 feet 3 inches (1.60m) tall with a fresh complexion, brown hair and eyes, scars on his right eyebrow and left thigh and warts on the back of his right hand (18). His weight was 8 stone 9 pounds (55 kg) on admission on 14th September 1874, dropping five pounds (2.3 kg) during his six weeks imprisonment there.
It appears that Edward may have been a vagrant for some time, as four years later in October 1878, he was again imprisoned in Wandsworth Gaol for sleeping rough (19). Now 39, he received a seven-day sentence after a policeman found Edward (mistakenly called Henry in the newspaper) sleeping in a farm outbuilding on October 12th (20). The prison record noted that he had three previous convictions. The newspaper refers to him as ‘a tramp’, which might explain why there is no record of him in the 1871 census.
The 1881 Census showed Edward to be an inmate at the Guildford Union Workhouse, described as a 42-year-old unmarried ‘labour in Iron Works’ (21). The Filmer and Mason Iron Foundry in Millbrook, Guildford, now the site of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, was a thriving business at that time so it is possible that Edward was telling the truth and was employed (22).
There are no records to show when Edward entered or left the Guildford Union. He was not there at the time of the 1891 Census (23), and cannot be found elsewhere in that census, indicating that he may have continued to live as an itinerant. In fact, Edward is not traced again until his death back in the Guildford Union on 31st October 1897, age 57 (24). Noted as a general labourer from Stoke-within-Guildford, he had been suffering from ‘chronic phthisis’, another name for tuberculosis, for ‘many years’.
1) Edward George Sutcliffe Jan-Mar 1839, England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, Guildford Union, vol 4, page 202. Ancestry.co.uk
Copy original birth certificate from GRO.gov.uk
2) Edward George Sutlieff born 29 Dec 1838 England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Register, 1567-1936. Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths Surrendered to the Non-Parochial Registers Commissions of 1837 and 1857, London, Irvingite, Chelsea (College St) 1837-1840, class RG4, piece 4143. Ancestry.co.uk
3) Catholic Apostolic Church Alburychurches.org
Catholic Apostolic Church en.Wikipedia.org
Albury and the Catholic Apostolic Church, an Updated version of a talk given to the Albury History Society, 21 March 2007 Dr Tim Grass. Alburyhistory.org.uk
4) Thomas Sutcliffe 10 May 1829 Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1917, Guildford St Mary, reference GUM/4/1-3, page 73. Surrey History Centre, Woking / Ancestry.co.uk
Josiah James Sutlieff 22 May 1831 Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1917, Guildford St Mary, reference GUM/4/1-3, page 81. Surrey History Centre, Woking / Ancestry.co.uk
Arthur Charles Sutlieff 4 Nov 1832 Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1917, Guildford Holy Trinity, reference GUHT/4/1, page 75. Surrey History Centre, Woking / Ancestry.co.uk
Naomi Maria Sutlieff 3 Aug 1834 (born 27 Jun 1834) England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Register, 1567-1936. Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths Surrendered to the Non-Parochial Registers Commissions of 1837 and 1857, Surrey, Albury, The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church 1833-1840, class RG4, piece 3099. Ancestry.co.uk
Naiome Maria Sutliffe 23 Aug 1834 National Burial Index for England and Wales, Guildford St Nicholas. West Surrey Family History Society / FindMyPast.co.uk
Maria Sutlieff 16 Aug 1835 (born 20 Jul 1835) England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975, The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church or Irvingite, Albury, Surrey. Ancestry.co.uk
Rebecca Sutlieff 18 Jun 1837 (born 22 May) England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Register, 1567-1936. Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths Surrendered to the Non-Parochial Registers Commissions of 1837 and 1857, London, Irvingite, Chelsea (College St) 1837-1840, class RG4, piece 4143, page 2. Ancestry.co.uk
Rebecca Sutcliffe 30 Nov 1837 London Church of England Parish Registers, Deaths & Burials 1813-2003, Parishes not in a Borough, Guildford St Mary, reference Dw/T/5493 (Bishop’s Transcript) Ancestry.co.uk
Jane Sutlieff 2 May 1841 Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1917, Guildford St Mary, reference GUM/4/1, page 127. Surrey History Centre, Woking / Ancestry.co.uk
5) Joseph, Maria, Thomas, Josiah James, Arthur Charles, Maria, Edward George, Jane Sutcliffe 1841 England Census, St Mary The Virgin, Guildford, Surrey, class HO107, piece 1082, book 3, district 2, folio 44, page 31. Ancestry.co.uk
6) Maria Sutlieff Jul-Sep 1848, England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915, Guildford, Surrey, vol 4, page 128. Ancestry.co.uk
Copy original death certificate from GRO.gov.uk
7) Abortion in the United Kingdom en.wikipedia.org
Termination of Pregnancy, Procuring a Miscarriage 2 Feb 2016 British Journal of Midwifery Britishjournalofmidwifery.com
8) Joseph, Thomas, Josiah, Maria, Maria, Edward, Jane Sutlieff 1851 England Census, Guildford St Mary, Surrey, class HO107, piece 1594, folio 492, pages 31/32. Ancestry.co.uk
9) Arthur Sutcliffe 1851 England Census, Artington, Guildford St Nicholas, Surrey, class HO107, piece 1594, folio 649, pages 39. Ancestry.co.uk
10) Joseph Sutlieff Apr-Jun 1853, England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915, Guildford, Surrey, vol 2A, page 29. Ancestry.co.uk
Copy original death certificate from GRO.gov.uk
11) Borough Bench, Stealing Money 25 Dec 1858 The West Surrey Times, page 2. FindMyPast.co.uk / BritishNewspapeArchive.co.uk
12) Children in the Workhouse Children & Education, The Workhouse, The Story of an Institution Workhouses.org.uk
13) Edward Sutlieff 1861 England Census, East Molesey, Surrey, class RG9, piece 457, folio 140, page 7. Ancestry.co.uk
14) Engine Cleaner The Worst Jobs in History: Victorians Timeline-World History facebook.com/TimelineWH/videos/engine-cleaner-the-worst-jobs-in-history-victorians
15) Thomas Sutlieff and Caroline Jones Jan-Mar 1856, England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915, Farnham, Surrey, vol 2A, page 80a. Ancestry.co.uk
Thomas, Caroline, Eliza, Caroline, Maria, Rebecca, Jane, Laura Sutlieff 1871 England Census, Windlesham, Bagshot, Surrey, class RG10, piece 806, folio 86, page 30. Ancestry.co.uk
Josiah James Sutlieff and Emily Burgess Jul-Sep 1857, England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915, Guildford, Surrey, vol 2A, page 56. Ancestry.co.uk
Josiah J, Emily, George A, Frederick, Sidney C, Ada F Sutlieff 1871 England Census, Guildford St Mary, Surrey, class RG10, piece 812, folio 18, page 27. Ancestry.co.uk
Arthur Charles Sutlieff and Anne Stevens Oct-Dec 1860, England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915, Guildford, Surrey, vol 2A, page 60. Ancestry.co.uk
Arthur C, Ann, Arthur C, Jane H M Sutlieff 1871 England Census, Stoke-Next-Guildford, Surrey, class RG10, piece 811, folio 13, page 19. Ancestry.co.uk
Maria Sutlieff and Samuel Brown 17 Apr 1870, Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1937, Windlesham St John the Baptist, reference WIN/2/4, page 199. Surrey History Centre, Woking / Ancestry.co.uk
Samuel, Maria Brown 1871 England Census, Windlesham, Surrey, class RG10, piece 806, folio 92, page 6. Ancestry.co.uk
Jane Sutlieff and James Lovell 13 Dec 1868, Surrey, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1937, Stoke-Next-Guildford St John the Evangelist, reference STK/2/6, page 25. Surrey History Centre, Woking / Ancestry.co.uk
William, Sarah, Thomas, Jane, William Thomas, Arthur Edward Lovell 1871 England Census, Guildford St Mary, Surrey, class RG10, piece 812, folio 40, page 24. Ancestry.co.uk
16) Drunkenness, The County Bench, Saturday 19 Sep 1874 The West Surrey Times, page 2 FindMyPast.co.uk / BritishNewspapeArchive.co.uk
17) Vagrancy Act 1824 Legislation.gov.uk
Everything you need to know about the Vagrancy Act Centrepoint.org.uk
18) Edward Sutlieff 14 Sep 1874 UK Prison Commission Records 1770-1951, The National Archives, Kew, London, England. Reference PCOM 2: Metropolitan Police, Criminal Record Office : Habitual Criminals Registers and Miscellaneous Papers. Wandsworth Prison Register of Prisoners 1874. Ancestry.co.uk
19) Edward Sutcliff 14 Oct 1878 UK Prison Commission Records 1770-1951, The National Archives, Kew, London, England. Reference PCOM 2: Metropolitan Police, Criminal Record Office : Habitual Criminals Registers and Miscellaneous Papers. Wandsworth Prison Register of Prisoners 1878. Ancestry.co.uk
20) A Dangerous Practice, Guildford County Bench, Saturday 19 Oct 1878 The Surrey Gazette and West Surrey Times, page 6. FindMyPast.co.uk / BritishNewspapeArchive.co.uk
21) Edward Sutlieff 1881 England Census, Guildford Union Workhouse, Stoke Next Guildford, Surrey, class RG11, piece 778, folio 92, page 6. Ancestry.co.uk
22) Yvonne Arnaud About Guildford website Guildford.daiyanyingyu.co.uk
23) 1891 England Census, The Workhouse, Stoke, Guildford, Surrey, class RG12, piece 560, folio 203, pages 1-12. Ancestry.co.uk
24) Edward Sutlieff 31 Oct 1897 Guildford Workhouse Deaths 1887-1914, Reference BG6/38/1, page 56, record 485, Surrey History Centre, Woking. Surreycc.gov.uk
Edward Sutlieff Oct-Dec 1847, England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915, Guildford, Surrey, vol 2A, page 46. Ancestry.co.uk
Copy original death certificate from GRO.gov.uk