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William Webster [we.12]

William Webster was the eighth known child of John Webster & Elizabeth Compton Hearne born January 11th & christened February 23rd, 1817 at Burnham, Bucks.

In 1841 William was living with his parents at High St, Burnham.

An announcement in the Windsor & Eton Express of April 22nd, 1848 by William’s father, John, informed the public that he had ‘declined the business in favour of his son William Webster’. 

William married Elizabeth Winder on March 4th, 1850 in the parish church of Saint Sepulchre, London. They were both described as ‘of age’. William was a corn factor at the time of his marriage. Elizabeth was the second child of William Winder & Mary Austin christened May 19th, 1827 at Burnham, Bucks. Witnesses at the wedding were James Austin, Elizabeth’s uncle & Emily Shekel.

In 1851 William & Elizabeth were living at High St, Burnham with their 5 month old daughter Elizabeth Compton Webster. William was described as a corn dealer & seedsman, & farmer holding 130 acres employing 9 men. The Post Office directory of 1854 lists William as a seedsman & corn dealer. William had been particularly well provided for (money, land & property) in his father’s will, his father having died in 1850. 

It was reported in the Windsor & Eton Express of December 31st, 1859 that an interesting discovery was made at Dorney Wood.  Whilst digging at a great depth for brick earth, some fossil bones were discovered which were from the Auroch Ox.  (The Auroch ox is the now extinct ancestor of domestic cattle.) Fortunately William, whose farm surrounded the wood, secured the bones for the antiquarian society.   

By 1861 they had moved to Dorney Wood Farm, Bucks where William was now a seedsman & farmer of 340 acres employing 16 men & 7 boys. Their family now had grown to include Mary Emma (7), Kate (5), Harriett (3), Alice Marion (1) & visiting was Elizabeth’s sister Harriett Ann Winder (31).

The Northampton Mercury of August 20th, 1864 records a destructive fire at Biddles Farm, Burnham, at premises also occupied by William.  Eight ricks of hay, oats & straw as well as well as other farm property were destroyed to the value of £700.  The cause of the fire was unknown. William published an open letter in the Windsor & Eton Express of August 20th, 1864, thanking all concerned who gave assistance at the fire.

They were still living at Dorney Wood Farm in 1871, now described as a farmer of 360 acres employing 11 men & 3 boys. At home were Kate, Alice, Rose (8), Florence (5), Ellinor (3) & Madeline (1) – they had now 9 daughters in all! Daughter Harriett was a pupil at Wycombe End School in Beaconsfield, Bucks at this time & daughter Mary was visiting wine merchant Henry Gold & family at Wooburn Common, Wooburn, Bucks.

An amusing incident was reported in the Bucks Herald of July 24th, 1875.  William was summoned for assaulting William Robert Langfield whose property adjoined William’s.  Langfield observed that William was walking with his dogs on the other side of a hedge with a stick in his hand which he said William had cut from the hedge which was not his property.  William replied that he could come & take the stick to which Langfield replied he would if William was on his property.  Upon this William stepped into the ditch & said ‘Now, I am on your property, come & take it’.  Langfield said he wouldn’t cross the hedge & William began to call him names, then crossed the ditch & struck Langfield a blow on the head.  William’s defence said that Langfield caught William & pulled his whiskers, a quantity being pulled out!  William was fined 20 shillings & costs.

At age 64 William was still farming as above at the time of the 1881 census. Still living at home were Harriett (23), Florence (15) & Madeline (11). Indeed he was still classified as a farmer & seedsman in 1891 & still living at Dorney Wood with wife Elizabeth & daughters Ellinor & Madeline.

In 1893 William left Dorney Wood & returned to the home of his birth in High St, Burnham.

Elizabeth died, aged 72, on February 4th, 1900 at Burnham.  Elizabeth  had been blind for a number of years before her death. 

By 1901 William had retired & continued to live at the High St, Burnham. With him at the time of the census was daughter Alice (41), now married to John Bradford, & granddaughter Maud E Bayley (25), daughter of Elizabeth Webster who had married Maurice Bayley.

William continued to enjoy relative good health in his retirement until about February 1904, when he caught a chill.  This resulted in him taking to his bed & ultimately his death on March 15th, 1904, aged 87, at the home of his birth on High St, Burnham.  He was attended by a number of his daughters.  The South Bucks Standard, March 18th, 1904 also mentions that he was one of the old stock of farmers & conducted the farms known as Dorney Wood Farm & Biddles Farm very successfully for many years.

The Slough, Eton & Windsor Observer of March 26th, 1904 recorded the funeral of the late William Webster.  It states that his remains were interred in the family vault in Burnham on March 19th.  The chief mourners in the first carriage were Mrs Maurice Bayley [we.12.1], Mrs George Webster [we.12.2], Mrs Barnett [we.12.3], Mrs Deane [we.12.4], Mrs Bradford [we.12.5], Mrs Alf Bayley [we.12.7], Miss Webster [we.12.9], Miss Maud Bayley [we.12.1.2].  Immediately behind the carriage on foot were Maurice Bayley, George Webster [we.9.3], John Webster [we.9.2], Richard Webster [we.9.1], J R Webster [we.9.3.1], Louis Deane, W M Bayley (husband of Ellinor Webster [we.12.8]), Alf Bayley,  William Bayley & Mr Winder [wi.4.7.1].  The newspaper mentioned that ‘the service was impressively conducted by the vicar & there were many floral tributes’.

Probate for William’s will was granted on April 18th, 1904 to nephew John Webster, retired farmer.  His effects were given as £1758.10s.

The children of Elizabeth Winder & William Webster were:

we.12.1 Elizabeth Compton Webster born October 29th, 1850 & christened December 15th, 1850 at Burnham; died December 28th, 1937 at 26 Southend Rd, Eltham, London
we.12.2 Mary Emma Webster christened February 5th, 1854 at Burnham; died January 1st, 1940 at Rose Lawn, College Ave, Maidenhead
we.12.3 Kate Webster born October 13th, 1855 at Dorney, christened November 11th, 1855 at Burnham; died March 11th, 1941 at the War Memorial Hospital, Henley-on-Thames
we.12.4 Harriett Webster born September 21st, 1857 at Dorney, christened November 8th, 1857 at Burnham, died November 1931
we.12.5 Alice Marion Webster born August 22nd, 1859 at Dorney, christened September 18th, 1859 at Burnham; died March 20th, 1941 at Maidenhead, Berks
we.12.6 Rose Webster born born April 15th & christened May 11th, 1862 at Dorney; died April-June1879 at Burnham
we.12.7 Florence Webster born September 2nd, 1865 at Dorney, christened October 29th, 1865 at Burnham; died November 18th, 1944 at Orchard Bungalow, Lent Rise, Burnham.
we.12.8 Ellinor Webster christened December 8th, 1867 at Burnham, died October 15th, 1952 at Withyfield, Green Lane, Farnham Common, Bucks
we.12.9 Madeline Webster born January 16th, 1870 at Dorney; died June 24th, 1923 at Slough, Bucks


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