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Richard Webster [we.9.1]

Richard Webster was the first child of Richard Webster & Mary Ann Cross born July-September 1842 at Hitcham, Bucks.

In 1851 & 1861 Richard was living with his parents & family at Hill Farm, Hitcham.

Richard married Emily Dinah Headington on May 4th, 1865 at the parish church of White Waltham, Berks. Emily was born July-September 1842 at White Waltham, Berks, the youngest daughter of Eleanor & William Headington, a farmer of Paley St Farm, White Waltham. Richard’s sister Emily Ann Webster was to marry Charles Headington, Emily's brother 3 years later!

The Reading Mercury of April 16th, 1870 reported that Richard was riding slowly down Queen St, Maidenhead when his horse fell at a crossing & threw him from the saddle.  Richard was taken home unconscious having suffered concussion.  Fortunately a doctor was soon in attendance & Richard had a narrow escape!

By 1871 Richard & Emily were living at Shoppenhangers Farm, Bray, Berks with 2 sons – Richard W (5), George A (2) & a daughter Emeline Gertrude (1). Richard was a farmer of 375 acres employing 10 labourers & 5 boys. The following reminiscences were discovered in the December 1937 edition of the Maidenhead Advertiser & included in an article written by Jack Saunders in May 1990 for the ‘Briginshaw One-Name Study’:


When most of us old stagers over 65 years of age first remember the farm Mr Richard Webster was the farmer. Then the old farm house had much the same appearance it has in the illustration herewith and which it retained until after the Great War.

Earlier in the Reign of Queen Victoria the farm was in the hands of a Mr John Brigenshaw, who besides being a farmer had a Butcher's business in the Maidenhead High Street.

Mr Webster did not follow his (Mr Brigenshaw's) lead in a town business, but he did a little business in retail farm produce at certain times of the year with some of his town associates or customers. To the writers knowledge and youthful pleasure as a lad, on several occasions, both at Michaelmas and Christmas, my elder brother and myself would be sent up to 'Shoppenhangers Farm' to fetch the seasonable goose.

Whilst Mr R Webster was at 'Shoppenhangers' he was twice awarded the Prince Consort's Silver Challenge Cup, namely in 1869 and 1873 for the best cultivated farm within the area covered by the Royal East Berks Agricultural Association. This cup was presented by the late Queen Victoria. Those of us who remember the acres and acres of golden corn and the fresh and healthy looking root crops will agree that the late Mr Webster deserved his award....

In 1881 they were living at Chambers Farm, Shottesbrook, Berks where Richard was a farmer of 1450 acres, employing 10 men, 4 boys, & also a brewer, employing 10 men, & also a coal merchant! Living at home were children Emeline (11) & John Percy (6). George was a pupil at Abingdon House School, Clewer, Berks at this time & Frederic Charles (9) was a pupil at Greys Green Boarding School, Rotherfield Greys, Oxon.

According to the London Gazette Richard went into business partnership with Robert Edwin Plummer, trading as Coal, Coke, and Salt Factors, and General Forage Merchants, at Bray, Cookham, and Maidenhead. They had taken over the business of John Smith & Co., corn merchants, Maidenhead in December 1890. They traded under the name of 'WEBSTER AND PLUMMER' & the partnership lasted until 1st March 1902 when it was dissolved – see notice in The London Gazette of March 21st, 1902.

NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore
subsisting between us the undersigned,
Richard Webster and Robert Edwin Plummer, carrying
on business as Coal, Coke, and Salt Factors, and General
Forage Merchants, at Bray, Cookham, and Maidenhead,
all in the county of Berks, under the style or firm of
"WEBSTER AND PLUMMER," has been dissolved by
mutual consent as and from the first day of March, 1902.
All debts due to and owing by the said late firm will
be received and paid by the said Richard Webster.—
Dated 18th day of March, 1902.

By 1891 Richard had become a corn & coal merchant & he & Emily were living at Heathside, White Waltham, Berks. Living with them were sons Richard (poultry fancier), George (agricultural chemist), Frederic (19) a bank clerk & daughter Emeline.

In 1901 they were still living at Heathside, now called Maidenhead Thicket, & Richard was described as a coal & corn factor. Still at home were Richard (35) now a farmer & George (32) described as a merchant. Son John had married Lucy Jane (Jeannie) Bertram earlier that year at Croydon & he was a seed merchant living at Maidenhead, Berks. Son Frederic was also married (to Edith Maud Cathleen Wilbey, at Fulham July-Sept 1896) & living in Maidenhead, his occupation was given as a bank clerk. Daughter Emeline had not married & was visiting Sarah Blakemore & family, a 63 year old widow, at 8 Augustus Rd, Edgbaston, Birmingham.

Richard had a serious accident in November 1901 as reported by the South Bucks Standard of November 8th 1901.  He had been enjoying a little shooting in Cumberland & was returning to Maidenhead with his nephew, Arthur Headington & Thomas Lunnon.  The train arrived at 9.13p.m. & slowed up near the signal box.  Richard, who was apparently a little deaf & whose eyesight was defective at night,  thought they had reached the platform & opened the door to the compartment & stepped out before his companions could stop him.  He fell heavily onto the line & the latter part of the train caught his left foot.  Richard’s foot was badly injured & he was much bruised but had had a lucky escape as 4 express trains were signaled while he was lying on the railway.

Daughter Emmeline married Arthur Villiers Blakemore, a solicitor of Edgbaston, in April 1903 at All Saints, Boyne Hill, Maidenhead.   The large wedding of attracted much local attention as the family was much respected in the area.  Emmeline only had to travel about 150 yards from ‘Kiora’ to the local church where she was given away by her father.  She wore an ivory white gown and a veil of Brussels lace which was worn by her mother on her wedding & carried a shower bouquet of roses & white lilac.  A large number of the guests were afterwards entertained at Kiora in the grounds of which a large marquee had been erected.  The list of gifts was immense and very impressive!  (Maidenhead Advertiser, April 29th, 1903)

Emily died at ‘Kiora’ in 1906 aged 63, & was buried on June 29th at All Saints, Boyne Hill, Maidenhead, Berks.

Son George Augustus married Helen Lufkin Saunders in London in 1910.  In the 1911 census George (42) & Helen (26) were living at 23 Mount Park Rd, Ealing West, Brentford, Middlesex & George was now a manufacturer’s agent of bedsteads.  It was noted on the census that they had 1 child alive, but none was shown on the census. Their child, Helen Mary Lufkin Webster, was with her grandparents, Martha & Edmund Saunders at the time of the census at Riverhead, Sevenoaks, Kent.

In 1911 widowed Richard was living at ‘Kiora’, All Saints Avenue, Maidenhead & was described as a forage & coal merchant.  Living with him were his son Richard, an agriculturist, his daughter Emmeline & husband Arthur Villiers Blakemore, a solicitor.  The Blakemore’s 3 children, Emmeline Villiers (7), Richard Villiers (5) & Percy Villiers (3) were also with them.  A niece Florence Harrison Longford (49) was living with the family at the time of the census.  They had a governess, a cook & a house parlourmaid.

Son Frederic had become a bank manager & he & his wife Edith were living at Lloyds Bank, 2 Queen St, Maidenhead in 1911. They had a manservant & a general servant.   Son John & his wife Lucy were living at Yafford House, Boyndon Rd, Maidenhead in 1911 & they now had 2 children – Audrey (6) & Richard Bertram (4).  John was now a coal merchant & they had a governess & 1 general servant to help look after their 11 roomed house. John & Lucy were still at Yafford House at the time of the 1939 register.

According to Ian Pope (author of several books on the Forest of Dean Railway system) Richard Webster had dealings with the Gloucester Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. Ltd for the purchase & repair of wagons until at least April 1918. Kelly’s directory of Berkshire in 1915 lists Richard Webster’s address as All Saints Avenue, Maidenhead. Webster R. & sons were also listed at 124 High St & 85 King St, Maidenhead & Station Front, Cookham Rise, Berks.

One of Richard Webster's coal wagons (courtesy of Ian Pope)

An entry in the London Gazette of January 31st, 1919 reveals that Richard was an executor of the will of Frances Charles Longford, a farmer of Alveston, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire who had died on February 16th 1916.

From Left: sons Richard William, John Percy, Frederic Charles & George Augustus

(Photo courtesy of Michael H H Bayley)

Richard died, aged 88, on October 6th, 1930 at Kiora, Bath Road, Maidenhead, Berks.  He was buried on October 9th at All Saints, Boyne Hill, Maidenhead. Probate was granted on December 9th, 1930 at Oxford to sons George Augustus, gentleman, Frederic Charles, retired bank manager & John Percy, coal merchant.  Richard’s effects were £16,706.18s.9d & resworn as £17,091.18s.9d. 

After Richard’s death sons Richard William (coal merchant) together with George Augustus, (managing director of a bedstead company) & his wife were living at Kiora, Maidenhead at the time of the 1939 register.


The children of Richard Webster & Emily Dinah Headington were:

we.9.1.1 Richard William Webster born February 5th, 1866 at Bray, Berks; died August 17th, 1943 at Kiora, Bath Rd, Maidenhead, Berks

we.9.1.2 Emily Headington Webster Webster born April-June 1867 at Shoppenhangers, Bray Berks; buried June 26th, 1867 at St Michael, Bray, Berks
we.9.1.3 George Augustus Webster born May 30th, 1868 at Bray, Berks; died April 26th, 1958 at 46 Woodville Gardens, Ealing, Middlesex
we.9.1.4 Emmeline Gertrude Webster born Oct-December 1869 at Bray, Berks; died April 15th 1938 at 18 Clarendon Rd, Edgbaston, Birmingham
we.9.1.5 Frederic Charles Webster born July-September 1871 at Bray, Berks; died September 13th, 1931 at Ashcroft, Albert Rd, Caversham, Reading, Berks
we.9.1.6 John Percy Webster born February 22nd, 1875 at Bray, Berks; died April 27th, 1964 at Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

we.9.1.7 Mabel Constance Webster born Jan-March 1882 at Bray, Berks; died Oct-December 1883 at Bray, Berks


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