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Richard Webster [we.9]

Richard Webster was the fifth known child of John Webster & Elizabeth Compton Hearne born June 30th, 1809 & christened September 17th, at Burnham.

Richard married Mary Ann Cross on April 27th, 1841 at the parish church Taplow, Bucks. Mary was the daughter of Ann & John Cross a farmer of Taplow, born c1815 at Winkfield, Berks. Witnesses at the wedding were George Robert Cross & Elizabeth Mary Hook.

At the time of the 1841 census Richard & Mary were living at Hill Farm, Hitcham, Bucks where Richard was a farmer. Visiting them was niece Emma Webster (15), daughter of Richard’s half brother Charles Webster.

In 1851 Richard & Mary were still living at Hill Farm, & Richard was a farmer of 280 acres employing 7 labourers. They had 4 children – Richard (8), John (7), George (5) & Emily Ann (1). Living with them was a nursemaid & 2 agricultural labourers.

Richard benefited substantially from his father’s will proved in 1850. According to his great grandson Percy John Greaves, Richard devoted his life to spending his inheritance on good living & sporting pursuits, chiefly hunting & shooting. Richard & Mary were still living at Hill Farm at the time of the 1861 census & the farm had grown to 960 acres employing 30 men & 20 boys. Children at home were Richard, John, George & Emily Ann. They had a servant, a groom & a cow boy listed with them.

In 1862 Richard allowed the use of some of his land for the annual Whit Monday holiday celebrations in Hitcham.  The festivities included a greasy pole, running blind-fold with a wheel barrow, donkey racing, eating rolls & treacle, etc (ref ‘Yesterday’s Town..Burnham’ by Dorothy Blackman).  The 1862 holiday was unique in that it was the first time that the local gentry joined the working classes to celebrate.

By 1871 Hill Farm was 420 acres employing 12 men & 5 boys. Richard & sons John & George were at home at the time of the census, but Mary was visiting her daughter Emily, now married to farmer Charles Headington, at Remenham, Berks. They had 2 domestic servants & 2 farm labourers.

In 1881 Richard & Mary were still at Hill Farm. Son John (36) was still at home, as was George (35) who had married Mary Emma Webster, the daughter of Richard’s brother William Webster [we.12] & Elizabeth Winder, & therefore his cousin! George, whose occupation was a coal merchant & farmer, & Mary Emma had a 3 month old son John Richard. There was also a cook & a housemaid.

Mary Ann died aged 67 just after the census, her death being registered at Eton in July-September 1881.

Richard Webster c1885?

(Photo courtesy of Michael H H Bayley)

In 1891 widower Richard was now retired but still living at Hill Farm with his son John who had taken over the farm. Son George, a coal merchant, & wife Mary Emma were still living at the farm & they now had a daughter Kathleen Mary, aged 2, but John Richard was not listed in the census. They had 3 servants & a groom.

Richard died aged 85 on September 23rd, 1894, at Taplow.  The South Bucks Standard of October 5th, 1894 reported on Richard’s funeral & remarked that he was well-known & very highly respected in the district.  He was interred in the family vault at Hitcham Church.  The funeral was attended by a large number of family, servants (many of 40 years standing) & friends.  His coffin was of polished elm. 

The children of Richard Webster & Mary Ann Cross were:

we.9.1 Richard Webster born at Hitcham & christened September 11th, 1842 at Taplow, Bucks; died October 6th,1930 at Kiora, Bath Rd, Maidenhead, Berks
we.9.2 John Webster christened January 9th, 1844 at Hitcham, Bucks; died December 19th, 1933 at Tatton House, Ray Park Ave, Maidenhead, Berks
we.9.3 George Webster christened September 21st, 1845 at Hitcham, Bucks; died May 29th, 1926 at The Knowle, Taplow, Berks
we.9.4 Emily Ann Webster christened December 23rd, 1849 at Hitcham, Bucks; died May 6th, 1890 at Westcott. Dorking, Surrey


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