Sophia Parsonage and her Daughters

Sophia Thomas was born about 1819 in London. Her baptism has not been found but in 1841 there is a Sophia Thomas of the right age employed as a servant for the Duke of Cambridge in Piccadilly, Mayfair, London. This was in the parish of St George, Hanover Square.

The Duke of Cambridge, (Adolphus Frederick; 24 February 1774 – 8 July 1850) was the son of the British King George III. It`s possible that after his death Sophia left London and came to Chirk.

Could this be the same Sophia, she had the right background for to be taken on at Chirk Castle and probably both the Duke and Robert Myddleton Biddulph, who was born in London had a connection.

In 1851 she is one of 23 servants employed by Colonel R. M. Biddulph, M.P at Chirk Castle and the entry shows her birthplace as St George, Hanover Square.  This may not have been true, but just a reference to her former workplace and perhaps “gilding the lily” a little.

Sophia married Thomas Parsonage, a farmer on 8 November 1854 at St Mary’s Church, Chirk.

The marriage certificate states that her father was William Thomas, a Livery stable keeper.

It was announced in the Wrexham Advertiser. 18 November 1854

MARRIAGES. On the 8th inst at Chirk Church, by the Rev. J: Mande, vicar, Mr. T. Parsonage of Gwersyllt, to Sophia Thomas housekeeper at Chirk Castle.

The witnesses were Joseph and Mary Anne Mulliner.  Joseph was a veterinary surgeon in Wrexham and was related to Thomas`s previous wife Sarah Mulliner who died aged 34 in 1847.

It would be nice to think her employers laid on a nice little reception for the couple.

In 1851 only Thomas and two daughters – Eliza and Mary were at the farm but by 1861 when Sophia and Thomas are in his farmhouse in Gwersyllt, none of his other children are there. It was then called Parsonage`s farm. Thomas was 60 so quite a lot older than Sophia. They had 3 daughters, Isabella 5, Lydia 3 and Elizabeth 1.

By 1866 the family were in Wrexham,  it seems Sophia was the landlady as Thomas isn`t named, she would have had experience of running a household.  It`s possible Sophia didn`t take to being a farmer’s wife after life at the Castle and wanted something a little more civilized!

11  August 1866 Wrexham Advertiser.

KING’S HEAD VAULTS, HOPE-STREET. Mrs. T. Parsonage begs to inform her Friends and the Public generally, that in consequence of the Farmer’s Inn, having been taken down by the Proprietor for the purpose of making extensive improvements, she has removed to the King’s Head Vaults (next door to the Black Lion Inn), where she trusts to meet with a continuance of those favours that have heretofore been so liberally bestowed upon her.

Old Vaults advert from 1876

Parsonage Farm was now split into 5 separate dwellings and in 1871 each was occupied by a collier.

In February 1869 Thomas was on the guest list for the magnificent banquet in celebration of the return of Sir Watkin W. Wynn, Bart, in a splendid pavilion, erected in the vegetable market.  I wonder if Sophia was invited.

Tragedy struck the Mulliner family in 1869, In December Edwin Mulliner a veterinary surgeon (nephew of Joseph the vet) had attacked Inspector Lamb who had gone to his  house after a report that he was “killing his children” . Edwin was arrested the next day but was allowed bail which was given by Thomas Parsonage. Edwin was then admitted to the North Wales Asylum but died there a week later aged 37.  The only information about his  mental state from Denbigh records , is that he is ‘at one time sullen and refuses to answer any questions, or does so in an incoherent manner; other times is in an excited state, struggling to get away’ but he was not subject to epilepsy or suicide but considered dangerous to others.

In 1871 Thomas and Sophia are at 15 Hope Street where he is a wine and spirit dealer. They have another 2 daughters, Sophia 9 and Anne 5. We know from his gravestone that this was the Nelson Arms.

Thomas died later that year on 13 November 1871; he was buried in the family vault at Gresford. The inscription on his grave reads –

“In Affectionate Remembrance of Thomas Parsonage, The Nelson Arms, Wrexham and formerly of Gwersyllt Farm, Summerhill, who died Nov 13th 1871 aged 70”.

Isabella married Richard William Evans a wine and spirit merchant at St Giles on 5 May 1876, his father had run the Old Vaults and Richard took over after his death.

In the following year Anne Parsonage died aged just 11, she was buried on 14 February 1877 with this lovely inscription.

She is not dead the child of our affection

But gone unto a school

Where she no longer needs our poor protection

And Christ himself doth rule

In 1881 Sophia is still at 15 Hope Street and is now running the business as a wine and spirit dealer, her other daughters Lydia, Elizabeth and Sophia   are still with her.

Sophia married George Richard Everett at St Giles in 1882.  He was an Inland Revenue Officer.

Sadly on 30 January 1884  Lydia Parsonage  died aged just 26 and was buried with her sister Anne.

Sophia later retired and was  living with her daughter Isabella and her husband Richard W Evans  . They are at 5 Chester Street, which is the Old Vaults and he is a wine merchant.

The Old Vaults now is better known locally as the “Long Pull”

Elizabeth has not been found for sure in 1891, but as she was known to be  mentally ill it`s possible that this is her, E Parsonage, single , aged 31 born Wrexham , she is a patient in Haydock Lodge Lunatic Asylum, Warrington.

Sophia Parsonage died on 28 October 1896 at Glenochie Terrace, Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, Scotland

It`s probable she was with her daughter Sophia and Richard Everett as in 1901 they were living in Alva, Clackmannanshire, she was brought back to Wrexham and buried with her daughters.  On her probate it says she was of the Old Vaults, Wrexham.

Another sad event is that Elizabeth Parsonage was admitted to Denbigh Asylum in  December 1895 as a private patient but was transferred to pauper class in  June 1896, she remained there until her death on 8 December 1900 when she  was returned to be buried with her mother and sisters, she was aged 41.

Headstone at Wrexham Cemetery 14th March 2018 by Graham Lloyd

Grave 02785

Researched by Annette Edwards with some help from Judy Roberts of Chirk.

Listed Buildings of Wrexham website.