Why am I interested in Wadeys?
Maria WADEY was my great-great-grandmother.
As can be seen from my PLANK ancestry a very pregnant Maria WADEY
married George PLANK, my direct ancestor, at Brighton in 1843.
Maria was 26 years old and had already given birth to an illegitimate
daughter, Winifred, at Brighton three years earlier. The father was almost
certainly George even though Winifreds birth certificate named the father
as John PLANK.
Maria WADEY's ancestry
Newhaven, where Maria was born, must have seemed
a backwater compared to Brighton just 9 miles along the coast. The
1831 census showed that the population of Newhaven was 904 whereas that of Brighton
was 40,634. Like many others (including my PLANK,
BARTON & FOGDEN
ancestors) she must have been attracted by Brightons growing fame but
Maria did not have an easy life. Her marriage broke down (in fact it might
always have been a bit rocky) and her only claim to fame (?) was when the inquest
into her death was reported in the local newspapers.
So what do I know about her life:
- Maria was born at Newhaven on 27th April 1817,
the last of seven children to Richard &
Elizabeth WADEY. There is no reason to believe that the
family was classed as poor. Richard was a carpenter and, in his later
years, was the Parish Clerk of Newhaven.
- By 1840 Maria was in Brighton as, on 21st April
she gave birth to an illegitimate daughter named Winifred (named after one
of her sisters). Although George PLANK must have been the father she
did not take his name. At Winifreds marriage to James
RANDELL at Brighton in 1864 her name on the marriage certificate
was Winifred WADY.
- At the time of the census in 1841 Maria was
back in Newhaven she had probably gone back home after the birth of
Winifred but she might just have been visiting.
- By 1843 she was in Brighton again as she married
George PLANK on 9th January. As she gave birth to a
son, John (my great-grandfather), only a week later it is
a fair assumption that George was not the most willing of grooms.
- The 1851 census showed that the family were
together but the birth of a third child, William, in 1855
may have been the final straw for George. The 1861 census shows that
Maria, a charwoman, was the Head in fact only William, aged 6, was
at home with her. So it seems likely that George left Maria between
1855 and 1861. He made his way into Kent as I eventually found him at
the Tonbridge Workhouse in 1881 and he ended his days in 1888 at the workhouse
in Minster, Kent,
- There is no Maria PLANK (or WADEY) in the 1881
census for Brighton or, indeed, Sussex. The only possibility, going
by age and place of birth, is that of Maria RALPH who was
the wife of Robert RALPH. He was a 58 year old bricklayer
who had been born at Waldron in Sussex. There is no record of a Robert RALPH marrying a Maria in Sussex.
- Maria died on the 7th February 1892 of heart
disease. According to the inquest
held the following day she had been living as the 'wife' of Thomas
TASKER (confirmed by the 1891 census) so it is possible she was doing
the same with Robert RALPH a decade earlier.