Subject Name: Lucy Welland (b1872 – d1945)
Researcher: Viv Bennett
Lucy Ann Welland had a tragic start to life with the death of her father just days after her birth. A spell in the Guildford Union Workhouse followed, but she went on to have a successful marriage and raise a family in Tonbridge, Kent where she lived for almost 50 years.
Lucy was born on 22nd August 1872 in Limpsfield, Surrey (1), the second child of Mercy and Isaac Welland (2, 4). At this time, her father was critically ill with phthisis, the 19th Century term for tuberculosis (3). To make this awful situation even worse, the family were subject to a Removal Order from Limpsfield to Isaac’s birth parish of Godalming. This was because Isaac and his family were
deemed to be a financial burden on the local Union of Godstone, so as the rules of the time stated that the father’s home Union should be responsible for the family’s costs, they needed to be moved to Godalming. The Guildford Union Workhouse minutes for 6th July 1872, just a few weeks before Lucy’s birth, stated: “The Clerk produced an order for the removal of Isaac Welland, his wife and child (Lucy’s 2-year-old brother Walter (4)) from Limpsfield in the Godstone Union to Godalming
in this Union and reported from enquiries he had caused to be made it appeared
that no objection could successfully be made to the order” (5).
Lucy was born before this Removal Order could be implemented, but tragically, on 20th September 1872, just 29 days after her birth, her father Isaac died age 37 (3). He was buried at St. Peter’s Church, Limpsfield on 25th September (6). Four days later, his wife Mercy returned to St. Peter’s for the baptism of their month-old baby Lucy (2).
Despite her father’s death, Lucy, her brother Walter and their mother Mercy were still subject to the Removal Order. There are no records to show when they were moved to Surrey or when they were admitted to the Guildford Union Workhouse, but they were noted living there in the 1881 Census (7). Lucy, age 8 and Walter, 11, were both recorded as scholars. There was a school within the Workhouse, so they were most likely being educated there (8). Their mother Mercy was noted as a 40-year-old widow of an agricultural labourer. The children would have stayed with their mother in the female section of the Workhouse until they were seven, and then been transferred to the children’s ward. After that, the rules were that Mercy was permitted to see them once a day (9).
Education for Workhouse children consisted of formal lessons in the morning such as reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion. Classes were often large with few resources, so children learnt by repetition and by copying from the blackboard onto slates. In the afternoons, girls would have had practical lessons in for example knitting, sewing, washing clothes, cookery and general domestic skills (9).
Lucy next appears ten years later in the 1891 Census, in which she is noted working as a housemaid, age 18, at a ladies’ school in London Road, Stoke, Guildford (10) using the skills she had learnt in the Workhouse. This would have been the current Guildford High School which had opened three years previously (11). The job may well have been found for her by the Workhouse authorities.
Lucy’s mother Mercy was now back in Kent living in Sundridge, Sevenoaks (12), while Lucy’s brother
Walter had joined the British Army and was about to go on a posting to India (13).
The next record relating to Lucy was her marriage to William Charles Lambert in St Peter and St Paul’s Parish Church, Edenbridge, Kent on 15th August 1896 (14). Lucy, just a week before her 24th
birthday, had no employment recorded, while her 24-year-old husband was a compositor. William was born in Guildford in 1872 (15), and in 1891 had been living just a short walk away from the school where Lucy had been working and living, so it seems highly likely that they had first met in Guildford (16).
It is possible that Lucy’s mother Mercy was a witness to the marriage although the signature on the certificate is not clear (14). Whether it is her signature or not, she would certainly have been at the wedding as Edenbridge was her birthplace and was also where Lucy and William were noted as living. Maybe all three were under the same roof at this time?
Lucy’s mother was definitely was living with her daughter by the time of the 1901 Census (17). Lucy, age 28, and William, 29, had settled after their marriage at 18 Gladstone Road, Tonbridge, Kent where they were to remain together for almost 50 years. Mum Mercy was 62 and noted as a widowed retired housekeeper.
The first of Lucy and William’s two daughters, Winifred May, was born in Tonbridge on 25th March 1902 (18, 19). Winifred was baptised at St Mary’s Church, Guildford, on 18th May 1902, close to the home of William’s parents (19).
Their second daughter, Violet Lilian, was born in the summer of 1906, and baptised at St Stephen’s Church, Tonbridge on 21st October (20). Sadly, Lucy’s mother had very little time to enjoy the company of her grandchildren as she passed away on 11th June 1907, age 70 (21).
The 1921 Census gave more details about their personal lives at 18 Gladstone Road (22). Lucy, age 48, was responsible for “home duties”, while 49-year-old husband William was working as a compositor for Whitefriars Press in Medway Wharf Road, just a few minutes’ walk from home. Whitefriars Press was Tonbridge’s largest employer in its day. At that time, it printed the Punch satirical magazine, and went on to be the highly successful publisher of Penguin Books (23).
Both of their children were employed. 19-year-old Winifred was a shop assistant for Phillips’ Furniture Store and Violet, 14, appeared to be following her father’s profession, working as a bench hand for Truscott & Sons printers and bookbinders.
By the time of the 1939 Register, Lucy and William, both age 67, were alone at 18 Gladstone Road (24). William still appeared to be working as he was noted as a printer compositor, while Lucy was
given the “unpaid domestic duties” label. Both of their daughters had married locally – Winifred
to Albert Parks in 1926 (25) and Violet to Leonard Burns in 1937 (26). They remained in Tonbridge and provided Lucy with one grandchild each – Arthur William Parks in 1926 (27) and David R Burns in
Sadly, just a few months before Lucy and William’s golden wedding anniversary, Lucy passed away on 30th December 1945 at the County Hospital Tunbridge Wells, age 73 (14, 29). The local newspaper report, although incorrect about the timing of her wedding anniversary, noted that Lucy had for many years been a member of the Tonbridge Sisterhood, a community-based women’s group that met weekly for a wide range of activities, and helped raise funds for various charities (30, 31).
Lucy’s husband William remained at 18 Gladstone Road until he passed away in 1958 age 86 (32).
January 2021, updated April 2022
(1) ‘Lucy Ann Welland’ Birth Jul-Aug-Sep 1872 (22 Aug 1872), registration district Godstone, Volume
2a, Page 176. FreeBMD.co.uk / Copy of original certificate available from Gro.gov.uk
(2) ‘Lucy Ann Welland or Wellen’ 29 Sep 1872 Baptism. Surrey Church of England Parish Registers,
Limpsfield St Peter 1837-1900, reference P11/1/10, page 246. Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey. FindMyPast.co.uk
(3) ‘Isaac Wellen’ Death Oct-Nov-Dec 1872 (20 Sep 1872), registration district Godstone, Volume
2A, Page 101. FreeBMD.co.uk / Copy of original certificate available from Gro.gov.uk
(4) ‘Walter William Welland’ Birth Jan-Feb-Mar 1870 (27 Jan 1870), registration district Hambledon,
Volume 2a, Page 129. FreeBMD.co.uk / Copy of original certificate available from Gro.gov.uk
(5) ‘Walter William Welland’ 24 Apr 1870 Baptism. Surrey Church of England Parish Registers,
Shackleford St Mary the Virgin 1866-1917, reference 6588/1/1, page 6. Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey. Abode Eashing. Ancestry.co.uk
(6) ‘Isaac Welland’ 6 Jul 1872, Guildford Poor Law Union Minute Books 1836-1913, reference
BG6/11/17, page 45. Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey.
(7) ‘Isaac Wellend’ 25 Sep 1872 Burial. Surrey Church of England Parish Registers, Limpsfield St
Peter 1839-1883, reference P11/1/18. Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey. FindMyPast.co.uk
(8) ‘Mercy, Walter, Lucy Welland’ 1881 England Census, Guildford Union Workhouse, Stoke Next Guildford, Surrey. Reference RG11; Piece 778; Folio 91; Page 4. Ancestry.co.uk
(9) ‘Mercy, Walter, Lucy Welland’ 1881 England Census, Guildford Union Workhouse, Stoke Next Guildford, Surrey. Reference RG11; Piece 778; Folio 91; Page 4. Ancestry.co.uk
(10) ‘Guildford, Surrey. After 1834. Workhouse Locations. English Poor Law Unions. The
Workhouse, the story of an institution’ Workhouses.org.uk
(11) ‘Life for children in the workhouse. A brief history by Kay Handford’ Published by the Charlotteville Jubilee Trust Ltd., Guildford
‘Children in the Workhouse. The Workhouse, the story of an institution’ Peter Higginbottom. workhouses.org.uk
(12) ‘Lucy A Welland’ 1891 England Census, Stoke Next Guildford, Surrey. Reference RG12; Piece 559; Folio 170; Page 21. FindMyPast.co.uk
(13) ‘Guildford High School. Our History’ Guildfordhigh.co.uk/about-us/our-history
(14) ‘James Whitbread, Mercy Welland, Henry Turner’ 1891 England Census, Sundridge, Sevenoaks, Kent. Reference RG12; Piece 674; Folio 62; Page 16. Ancestry.co.uk
(15) ‘Walter Welland’ 6 Jun 1889 The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; War Office: Soldiers’ Documents, First World War Wo363. UK, British Army World War I Service Records, 1914-1920. Ancestry.co.uk
(16) ‘Lucy Ann Welland and William Charles Lambert’ 15 Aug 1896 Parish Registers, Ss Peter & Paul, Edenbridge, Kent, Marriages 1837-1899, reference P131/1/D/2, page 233. Kent History & Library Centre. FindMyPast.co.uk
(17) ‘William Charles Lambert’ Birth Jan-Feb-Mar 1872, registration district Guildford, Volume 2a, Page 70. General Register Office / Ancestry.co.uk
(18) ‘William A, Mary A, William C, George HJ Lambert’ 1891 England Census, Guildford Holy Trinity, Surrey. Reference RG12; Piece 560; Folio 54; Page 32. FindMyPast.co.uk
(19) ‘William Charles, Lucy Ann Lambert; Mercy Welland’ 1901 England Census, Tonbridge, Kent. Reference RG13; Piece 757; Folio 120; Page 2. FindMyPast.co.uk
(20) ‘Winifred May Lambert’ Apr-May-Jun 1902 England & Wales Civil Registration Birth Index, registration district Tunbridge Wells, Volume 2A, Page 806. General Register Office / Ancestry.co.uk
(21) ‘Winifred May Lambert’ 18 May 1902 Baptism. Surrey Church of England Parish Registers,
Guildford St Mary 1889-1912, reference GUM/4/3, page 55. Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey. Ancestry.co.uk
(22) ‘Violet Lilian Lambert’ 21 October 1906 Baptism. Kent Baptisms, Tonbridge St Stephen 1898-1914, reference P371D/1/B/4, page 108. Kent History & Library Centre. FindMyPast.co.uk
(23) ‘Mercy Welland’ Death Apr-May-Jun 1907 (11 June), registration district Tonbridge, Volume 2A,
Page 460. FreeBMD.co.uk. Copy of original certificate available from Gro.gov.uk
(24) ‘William C, Lucy Ann, Winifred May, Violet Lilian Lambert; Mercy Welland’ 1921 Census of England & Wales, 18 Gladstone Road, Tonbridge, Kent. Reference RG15 / 4196. FindMyPast.co.uk
(25) ‘Tonbridge History. Made in Tonbridge. Books by the Million’ Tonbridge Historical Society tonbridgehistory.org.uk
(26) ‘William C, Lucy A Lambert’ 1939 England and Wales Register, 18 Gladstone Road, Tonbridge, Kent. Reference RG101/1796b/009/2; letter code DIYN. FindMyPast.co.uk
(27) ‘Winifred M Lambert and Albert Parks’ Marriage Jul-Aug-Sep 1926 Registration district Tonbridge Kent, Volume 2a, page 2387. General Register Office / Ancestry.co.uk
(28) ‘Violet L Lambert and Leonard Burns’ Marriage Oct-Nov-Dec 1937 Registration district Tonbridge Kent, Volume 2a, page 2367. General Register Office / Ancestry.co.uk
(29) ‘Arthur W Parks’ Birth Oct-Nov-Dec 1926 Registration district Tonbridge Kent, Volume 2a, page 1327. General Register Office / Ancestry.co.uk
‘Arthur William Parks’ Death May 2006, date of birth 28 Dec 1926, Registration district Kent, registration number KDM7, district and sub-district 564/1M, entry 160. General Register Office / Ancestry.co.uk
(30) ‘David R Burns’ Birth Jul-Aug-Sep 1940 Registration district Tonbridge Kent, Volume 2a, page 2517. General Register Office / Ancestry.co.uk
(31) ‘Lucy A Lambert’ Death Jan-Feb-Mar 1946, registration district Tonbridge, Volume 2A, Page 1514. General Register Office / FndMyPast.co.uk
‘Lucy Ann Lambert’ death 30 Dec 1945, Tonbridge, probate date 3 Aug 1946. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. Ancestry.co.uk
(32) ‘Obituary. Mrs L A Lambert’ 4 Jan 1946 Tonbridge Free Press, page 4. FindMyPast.co.uk
(33) ‘Tonbridge Items. Sisterhood’s Successful Year’ 11 Feb 1944 Tonbridge Free Press, page 5. FindMyPast.co.uk
(34) ‘William C Lambert’ Death Oct-Nov-Dec 1958, registration district Tonbridge, Volume 5B, Page 912. General Register Office / FindMyPast.co.uk
‘William Charles Lambert’ death 14 Nov 1958, Tonbridge, probate date 16 Dec 1958. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. Ancestry.co.uk