1817 Info 2a for Martha Crompton
The life of Rachel Oxley LOWTHER, Martha's granddaughter

Rachel Oxley LOWTHER

Rachel Oxley was born on 11 October 1876 1 (GRO ref: Beverley 9d 99).

1891 Census   Sun/Mon 5/6th April 1891
Source:       FHL Film  TNA Ref RG12
              Piece: 3960; Folio: 23; Page: 35; Sched: 236
Dwelling:     2 Royal Crescent
Place:        Bridlington Quays, Yorks ER, England

Name            Rel Mar Age Occupation              Status    Birthplace
Rachel Oxley   Head  S  46  Lodging House Keeper              Yorks, Beverley
Rachel Oxley  Niece  S  14  Scholar                           Yorks, Beverley
plus 12 lodgers
It is assumed that Rachel OXLEY iS the sister of Rachel Oxley LOWTHER'S mother Sarah Elizabeth OXLEY and the Rachel OXLEY niece is the daughter of Sarah Elizabeth OXLEY living with her aunt for an unknown reason
1901 Census   Sun/Mon 31st March/1st April 1901
Source:       FHL Film  TNA Ref RG13
              Piece: 4530; Folio: 165; Page: 16; Sched: 116
Dwelling:     22, West Square
Place:        Scarborough, Yorks ER, England

Name               Rel  Mar Age  Occupation           Status  Birthplace
Rachel O Lowther         U  24   Living on own means          Yorks, Beverley
The census shows Rachel living on her own means in this three floor plus basement house with Mary Newton as the head and presumably the owner. Rachel appears to be the only tenant who has her own schedule number presumably living in either the roof or basement: there being no servants.

Right: Rachel Lowther 22 West Square, Scarborough
Rachel Lowther west square - 23kB jpg

Rachel was unmarried in the 1901 census and has been married in the 1911 census for ten years. However, there is no obvious record of her marriage in the years 1900-1902 and therefore no record of her husband. She has, however, taken his name.

1817info2a, sheet 2
1911 Census:      Sun/Mon 2nd April/3rd April 1911
Source:   TNA Ref:        RG14 PN  
          Reg. Gen. Ref:  RG78 PN  ; En.Dist: 526; Piece: 28894; Sched: 
          RegDist:  SubDist: Bridlington
Dwelling: South View, Vernon Road             
Place:    Bridlington, Yorkshire East Riding              
Rooms in dwelling, other than scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom: 10
Years married:          
Children:      Alive , dead none 

Name                  Rel  Mar  Age  Occupation            Status       Birthplace 
Rachel Oxley          Head  S   66   Lodging house keeper  Own account  Yorks, Beverley
Rachel Oxley Stuart  Niece  M   34   House keeper          Worker       Yorks, Beverley
Bertha Evelyn Manly   Serv      19   Domestic servant      Worker       Yorks, Nafferton
Charity Pierey       Board  W   74                                      Cheshire, Highfield
Maud Mary Pierey     Board  S   30                                      Yorks, Lowthorpe
On the death of her father on 28 May 1896 Rachel took responsibility for the family Beckside coal business. Having run the business for four years, in 1900 there appeared a series of 'Notices to the public', that ran for several weeks in all the Beverley newspapers announcing a partnership with Archibald R Stuart, probably 14 months before the birth of her child.

Right: Rachel Lowther partnership with Archibald R Stuart Source: Beverley Echo Wednesday18 July 1900
Rachel Lowther merger - 36kB jpg

Rachel Oxley's child, Gordon Lowther STUART, his origins

In the 1911 census (above) Rachel is again living with her aunt as per the 1891 census. Gordon Lowther STUART, was born on 01 September 1902 (GRO ref: Beverley 9d 98).

  Superintendent Registration District Beverley
 1902 BIRTH in Sub-District of Beverley in the County of York
When and
where born
Name, if any Sex Name of
Name, surname and maiden name of Mother Occupation
of father
Informant When
First September 1902
Crane Hill, Beckside
Gordon Lowther Boy Archibald
Ramsey Stuart
Oxley Stuart
Coal Merchant AR Stuart
Father Crane Hill Beckside Beverley
Sixth October 1902

It is significant that this registration names and is completed by Archibald Ramsey STUART. It gives credence to a marriage, which can not, at this time, be identified. The 1911 census records that Rachel had been married for ten years and has one living child, though she is not living with her husband and her child was not on the census. There is no obvious record of her marriage. In 1911 Gordon is boarding in Essex using his mother's 'married' name.

1817info2a, sheet 3
1911 Census:      Sun/Mon 2nd April/3rd April 1911
Source:   TNA Ref:        RG14 PN  
          Reg. Gen. Ref:  RG78 PN  195; En.Dist: 41; Piece: 10153; Sched: 337
          RegDist:  SubDist: Pritwell
Dwelling: The Nook 89 Leigh Road             
Place:    Westcliff on Sea, Essex              
Rooms in dwelling, other than scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom: 6
Years married: 9         
Children:      Alive none, dead none 

Name                      Rel  Mar  Age  Occupation          Status  Birthplace 
Charles Gladstone Stuart  Head  M   35   Railway accountant  Worker  Perth, Perth
Rosa Maud Stuart          Wife  M   34                               Middlesex, Tottenham
Archibald Ramsay Stuart  Board  M   52   Shipmaster                  Forfar, Kerriemuir
Gordon Lowther Stuart    Board  U    8                               Yorks, Beverley

It seems fairly certain that this Gordon Lowther STUART is Rachel's son: the middle name, the age and the birth place corresponds. Why Gordon Lowther STUART and Archibald Ramsey STUART are living in Essex is unknown. However, his host has the same STUART surname. It is noted that Charles and Rosa, after nine years marriage, have no children of their own, hence the possible boarder.

It is suggested that Gordon Lowther STUART's father is Archibald Ramsey STUART, is also recorded as a coal merchant of Beckside, Beverley in the 1901 census at the time of Gordon's conception in late 1901 or early 1902. There is no obvious record of a marriage.

1901 Census   Sun/Mon 31st March/1st April 1901
Source:       FHL Film  TNA Ref RG13
              Piece: 4462; Folio: 80; Page: 47; Sched: 123
Dwelling:     Beckside
Place:        Beverley, St Martin's, Yorks ER, England

Name               Rel  Mar Age  Occupation           Status  Birthplace
Margaret Stuart   Head   S   48  Living on own means          Scotland
Isabella Stuart   Sist   S   46  Living on own means          Scotland
Archibald Stuart  Broth  S   40  Coal Merchant                Scotland
Archibald R STUART died in the first quarter of 1927 GRO ref: Coventry 6d 988) aged 68. It should be noted that in his defence to the manslaughter charge, Gordon Lowther STUART, a World War 1 munitions worker in Coventry, mentions that his father 'was in an advanced state of phthisis and very poor' - see newspaper article below.
Rachel's progress

Rachel's brother, in his will of February 1918, left Mrs Rachel Oxley STUART of Tadworth, Surrey.

James Robert Lowther's will - 18kB jpg
Above: James Robert Lowther's will 1

When her brother crossed the US boarder on 12 December 1927, his sister Rachel STEWART (sic) of 31 Grove Road, Bournemouth was quoted as his next of kin. The 1939 Register records:

1939 England and Wales Register 29 September 1939
ED Area code:     EAN 
ED District code: F
Sched no:         300       
Dwelling:         Flat 7A 8 Wimbourne Road
Borough,UD,RD:    Bournemouth, Hampshire

Names            Sex   D of B   Status  Personal Occupation   Others
Rachel O Stuart   F   11oct1876    W    Hotel Cook

The National Identity Number, devised from this Registration, would have been: Enumeration Area code+Emuneration District code+Schedule number+position in house

1817info2a, sheet 4
Gordon Lowther Stuart's prison record - 40kB jpg Gordon Lowther Stuart's prison record - 40kB jpg
Above: A composite image of Gordon Lowther Stuart's prison record
Click on the image to open a larger pdf image a new window

In October 1918, Gordon Lowther STUART was charged with murder. The account is spread over a month in four Warwickshire newspapers. The story below is a compilation from these papers extracting from each a new detail of the events in the different reporter styles in a near chronological order.

    For several months past the man had been camping out with a youth, Gordon Lowther Stuart, sixteen years of age, and from facts which came to the knowledge of the police, Stuart was arrested by Inspector Lines and Police-sergt. Percival and brought before the Magistrates, charged with wilful murder. After hearing evidence arrest the youth was remanded.
    At the inquest it was stated that when the couple first came to the camp in the district Edwards appeared to quite normal and cheerful; but after time he seemed have suffered considerable ill-usage, and to very dejected. Several witnesses stated that they had seen Stuart ill-treating Edwards and a girl

More details were given at the inquest.

    At Rugby Police Court on Monday [7 October 1918], Gordon Lowther Stuart (16) who has been camping out at Brandon, was charged with the murder of his companion, Thomas Henry Edwards, aged 55 years. Inspector Lines stated that Edwards was found dead in a rickyard, at Lawford Hill Farm, Long Lawford, Rugby, on Friday. The body bore signs of ill-treatment; the nose was broken, and there were bruises and scratches on the legs, arms, and buttocks. The body was fully dressed, but there were no signs of struggle having taken place where the body was found. A post mortem examination was made by Dr. Hoskyn (Rugby) and Dr. Bing (Brinklow) and they were of opinion that the cause of death was septicaemia, following cellulitis of the arm, leading to empyema. [Also stated: A post mortem examination revealed the fact that death was due to a purulent fluid on the lungs, probably set up by injuries.] 2 – [Lines] “In company with P.S. Percival witness [I] arrested prisoner at Wolston, and I cautioned him. [The prisoner said], “I last saw deceased on Tuesday, October 1st. (sic) at twelve noon, at the camp. I was not on very good terms with him, and the state he was found in is my doings; because he did not behave himself last Monday and Tuesday. I bit him and kicked him. I hit him on the nose with my fist. The reason I used to knock him about was on account of his habits. I should never have hit him if he had behaved himself properly. I also kicked him on his leg last Monday night, and I also bandaged his leg up.” When arrested Stuart said; “I can see it now. I ought not to have knocked him about. I should have left him.” Stuart was remanded. 3

The Coroner’s report reduced the charge of murder to manslaughter. The following article describes Edward's character as an inoffensive man who had allowed himself to be dominated by youth. It explains that Stuart, because of the colder nights, was looking for lodgings in Coventry, which proved difficult to find.  Evidence was given that Edwards signed two of three papers assigning £14 and the contents of the tent to Stuart. Stuart argued that he had invested his earnings in the contents of the tent, though Edwards had had £25 in the bank.

1817info2a, sheet 5
    At Rugby on Tuesday [29 October], Gordon Stuart (16) [fitter of Coventry], was charged with the manslaughter of Thomas Henry Edwards (55), at Long Lawford. There was a further charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
    Accused was defended by Mr. Norris Foster, barrister, [and] Mr H. Lupton Reddish, for the prosecution, said the evidence would show an almost continuous course of ill-treatment of Edwards at the hands of the prisoner. It was not the case of youth being under the influence of an old man, but of an old man being under the thumb of a youth, by whom he was completely terrorised. - David Dewar of 5 Stone Stanton Road, Coventry, said Edwards lodged with him for a year previous to going to the camp with Stuart. He was a quiet, inoffensive old man, and the witness never knew him to quarrel with anyone. – John Wheeler, turner, Coventry said Edwards was always very melancholy in the presence of Stuart. On the one occasion Edwards was absent for a few days, and on his return Stuart said he had been away sleeping in the barn. – Israel Binder, 138 Spon Street, Coventry, saw Stuart punch Edwards on the nose and hit him on the back with a stick, and threaten to hit him with an airgun. Witness prevented him from doing so. He came to the conclusion Edwards was a little insane, because a sensible man would have resented such treatment. – Mrs Winnie Haddon, 59 Providence Street, Earlsdon, Coventry, said that on October 1st Stuart called at her home and asked if she could provide him with lodgings as the nights were getting cold. He told her Edwards was returning to his old lodging. (It was on October 1st that the deceased left the camp.) – Three documents were put in. One dated Sept. 27th and signed by the deceased read, “I the undersigned, agree to pay Gordon Stuart the sum of £14 within six weeks of the above date; failing this I agree to court procedure.” The other two were identical, except that one was signed by the deceased only, and the other by both parties. It read: “I the undersigned, disclaim all ownership of the tent and effects bought in partnership with Gordon Stuart, and make this declaration in favour of my late partner Gordon Stuart.” – Police evidence was given that the prisoner, when charged, said “I can see it now. I ought not to have knocked him about, I should have left him.” – The Bench found accused not guilty of the reduced charge of murder, [but on the charge of causing grievous bodily harm, to which Stuart pleaded guilty, committed 4] for trial at Warwick Assizes, to which he was recently committed on the charge manslaughter by the Coroner. 5

At the Assizes, on the direction of the Judge, Gordon is found not guilty of manslaughter, the causes of Edward's death being clarified, but guilty of Grievous Bodily Harm and sentenced to six months training with the modified Borstal system. STUART, of previous good character and respectability, had been working as a fitter within Coventry's munitions industry, hence the impossibility of finding rented accommodation and the necessity for a tent. The police clarified Edward's nature, describing him as a steady hard working man until his mistreatment, but Edward's sister recorded that her brother suffered from his nerves and was more or less helpless.

    At Warwick Assizes on Wednesday [13 November 1918] – before Mr Justice Sharman – Gordon Lowther Stuart (16) fitter, was indicted for the manslaughter of Thomas Henry Edwards, who was found dead in the rickyard at Long Lawford on October 14th. There was a second count of charging him with inflicting grievous bodily harm – Mr WE Bousefield, instructed by Mr H Lapton Reddish, Rugby, prosecuted. Mr Bousefield said, as the charge of manslaughter was dismissed by the Rugby Magistrates, he did not wish to offer any evidence in support of the charge. – Prisoner, who was not legally represented, pleaded not guilty to the first charge, and upon that count, by direction of the Judge, he was acquitted, but guilty to the second.
    The Judge: The medical evidence to me seems to show that death was caused by fluid on the lungs. I thought this condition was usually set up by pleurisy? Mr Bousefield: Yes, or by pneumonia. It is apparently urged that in this case however, it was set up by a condition known as cellulitis, which may or may not have come from an injury to the arm. The doctor would not put it any higher than that. Apart from this, it appears to be most extraordinary case. – The Judge: What [is] the explanation of it? It is utterly impossible to understand it. Dr CR Hoskyn (Rugby) was then called, and, in reply to the Judge, he said his opinion was that the fluid on the lungs was caused by cellulitis (inflammation of the dep tissues beneath the skin) of the left forearm. There was a strong probability that the infection had spread from this cellulitis until it affected the whole body, leading to blood poisoning, and ultimately causing the fluid (empyema) in the chest. – Dr Hoskyn: No: it is not fair to be confident. It is only fair to state the probability.
    The Judge enquired if Mr Bousefield could explain the affair and why Edwards allowed prisoner to treat him as he did. It seemed that there must be something behind it. Prisoner seemed to have hit Edwards over the head, and to have made him turn head over heels like a performing bear.
    Mr Norris Foster, who represented prisoner at the inquest and the proceedings before the Magistrates, said he had not been briefed for the hearing today, but if he could assist the Court he would do so. He understood the parties worked on munitions in Coventry and they agreed to live together in a tent at Brandons and sharing the expenses. On account of the older man’s conduct prisoner struck him on several occasions. – The Judge: It is that conduct which I want to understand. Is there any suggestion of indecency? Mr Norris Foster: Yes. Edwards never complained of being struck by the boy, except that he said the boy was of a rough temper at times. Prisoner struck him on the nose and back. – The Judge: And broke his nose? Mr Norris Foster: Yes; but the doctor informed the  ...
1817info2a, sheet 6
  ...  Magistrates that the broken nose had nothing to do with the cause of death. When Stuart was asked why he did not leave Edwards, he replied that he had spent all he had on purchasing necessary things for the tent. If he went away he would have to lose all that. Moreover, it was utterly impossible to get lodgings in Coventry. He therefore stayed on and on one occasion made Edwards stand on his head and turn somersaults. – The Judge: But when a man reaches 55 he is not necessarily an imbecile. - Mr Norris Foster pointed out that the suggestion of the Chairman of the Rugby Magistrates (Dr Clement Duke) was that Edwards contracted pneumonia through under-nourishment and exposure. Prisoner’s father was in an advanced state of phthisis and very poor. The boy, too was anxious to join the navy.
    Insp. Lines deposed that Stuart and Edwards became acquainted about four months ago, and at that time Edwards had £25 in the bank. There were other tents in the field in which the couple camped. – The Judge: I understand that they used to perform for the benefit of other? – Insp. Lines: Yes. – The Judge: Was the man (Edwards) of weak intellect? Witness: I understand he was a steady, hardworking man.
    Mr Bousefield said a letter had been received from Edward’s sister, in which she said he suffered with his nerves at times, and he was more or less helpless. With regards to the alleged reason for Stuart’s behaviour, he drew attention to the fact that witnesses were present when prisoner knocked Edwards about, and there was no suggestion of any misbehaviour. […]
    PC Hull (Wolston) said when he first knew Edwards (in July) he was very talkative, but afterwards became very quiet. He never complained of Stuarts’s ill-treatment. Except for these assaults, prisoner bore a good character, and was considered a very respectable youth.
    At the suggestion of the Judge, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on the charge of manslaughter.
    The Judge postponed sentence in the second case until Thursday morning [14 November], when prisoner was sentenced to six months imprisonment [and to be trained while in prison] within the modified Borstal treatment.

It is believed that the convicted 'hooligan' Gordon Lowther STUART was reincarnated as a Minister of Religion. The Lowther name is not common and the birth date of the 1939 Register corresponds. Gordon married Agnes CROLL in the third quarter of 1931 GRO ref: Oxford 3a 3837).

1939 England and Wales Register 29 September 1939
ED Area code:     EJF 
ED District code: O
Sched no:         372
Dwelling:         Kennieman, Barrowfield Close
Borough,UD,RD:    Hove, Sussex

Names            Sex   D of B   Status  Personal Occupation   Others
Gordon L Stuart   M  01sep1902    M     Minister of Religion
Agnes G Stuart    F  02oct1898    M     Journalist 
Agnes B Croll     F  11may1890    W     Unpaid Domestic 
Elsie K Newden    F  01dec1912    S     Domestic duties

The National Identity Number, devised from this Registration, would have been: Enumeration Area code+Emuneration District code+Schedule number+position in house

Gordon married Agnes Grace CROLL in the third quarter of 1931 (GRO ref:  Oxford 3a 3837). Alice, the daughter of William and Agnes CROLL, was born in the fourth quarter of 1898 in Ecclesall Bierlow in the West Riding of Yorkshire on the Derbyshire border (GRO ref: Eccleshall B. 9c 418). Agnes B CROLL, in the 1939 Register, was, therefore, Gordon L STUART's mother-in-law.

1911 Census:      Sun/Mon 2nd April/3rd April 1911
Source:   TNA Ref:        RG14 PN  
          Reg. Gen. Ref:  RG78 PN  27793; En.Dist: 15; Sched: 5
          RegDist: Ecclesall Bierlow SubDist: Ecclesall Bierlow
Dwelling: 1 Brentwood Road Brincliffe              
Place:    Sheffield, Yorkshire East Riding              
Rooms in dwelling, other than scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom: 8
Years married: 13         
Children:      Alive 2, dead none 

Name                 Rel  Mar  Age  Occupation                Status  Birthplace 
William Ramsey Croll  Head  M    50 Cashire Newspaper Office  Worker  Forfar, Dundee
Agnes B Croll         Wife  M    40                                     Haddingtonshire, Prestonpans
Agnes Grace Croll      Dau  S    12                                     Yorks, Sheffield
Margaret Mary Croll    Dau  S     8                                     Yorks, Sheffield
Mary Emma Cyler       Serv  S    20   Domestic servant                  Derby, Claycross

The Birmingham Daily Post of Saturday 02 October 1943 announced:

Rev. Noel F. Hutchcroft. Church of the Messiah at 11.0 and 3.30 preacher: 
Rev. G. Lowther Stuart, of Brighton Christadelphian,  Midland Institute at 6.3o
Mr. B. Norris. Christadelphian Hall, Suffolk Street at 4.00.
1817info2a, sheet 7

It is possible that Christadelphian would accept a reformed hooligan with more sympathy and less academic qualifications than the Church of England. Gordon could be either the minister or a lay preacher in a Brighton Christadelphian Hall 9 near his 1939 registered home.


Rachel Oxley STUART died in the second quarter of 1963 (GRO ref: Bournemouth 6b 105) aged 87.

Gordon L STUART died in the fourth quarter of 1968 (GRO ref: Southampton 6b 715) at 46 Rowans Park, Lymington, Hampshire, as a Clerk in Holy Orders, died on 03 October 1969 leaving £4445. 10

Agnes Grace STUART died in the third quarter of 1972 (GRO ref: Southampton 6b 1522).

End notes

  1. Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; CEF Personnel Files; Reference: RG 150; Volume: Box 5775 - 34 in Ancestry pp1839-1895
  2. Banbury Advertiser Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser Saturday 12 October 1918 page 3
  3. Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser Saturday 02 November 1918 page 4
  4. Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser Saturday 12 October 1918 page 3
  5. The Coventry Herald November 1 and 2 1918
  6. Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser Saturday 02 November 1918 page 4
  7. The Coventry Herald 15 and 16 November 1918
  8. In the 1908 Act there were major developments on how young offenders were dealt with. For those up to the age of sixteen, the new Reformatory system, named after Borstal in Kent, provided an alternative to prison. Some existing prisons, Birmingham as an example, implemented a 'modified borstal system, providing accommodation and treatment for those serving short sentences. The objectives of the borstal system was the all-round development of character and capacities - moral, physical and vocational - with a particular emphasis on self control. Borstal Institutions (Accessed: 20 January 2022)
  9. Christadelphians aim to get as close as possible to the faith and practice of the early Christian church. They describe themselves as "a lay community patterned after first century Christianity". Their name comes from a Greek phrase, Christou adelphoi, which means 'brothers (and sisters) in Christ'. Formerly Hove's Primitive Methodist Church, in 1933 it became in the ownership of a Christadelphian community, who registered it as Cliftonville Hall in July 1964. It closed before 1968.
  10. Find a Will (Accessed: 17 January 2022)
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