The Hipwells, a scattered family

Benjamin Hipwell, a bricklayer, and Ann Farn were my great-great-grandparents and lived in Rugby, Warwickshire. They had 9 children that I know about, 8 of whom survived past infancy. After Ann died, in Harrall’s Court in 1874, Benjamin moved to Birmingham, where he married the widowed Hannah Birch (nee Hunt) in 1876. Benjamin died in Birmingham Workhouse in 1884. (My thanks go to Angela Greaves, who provided the information about Benjamin & Ann’s deaths.)


Mary Alice married Thomas Wall in 1873, and they lived in Cookley, Worcestershire. Mary & Thomas had 2 daughters and 7 sons. 4 of their sons were killed in the First World War: Alfred in 1915, William in 1916, Thomas in 1917 and Ernest in 1918. Another son, John, emigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1906. One of Mary’s granddaughters, Honor, married an Australian soldier, Frank Shenfield, & left England in 1919 to live in Fremantle.

Edward married Emma Smith and lived in Stafford. Their daughter Ellen emigrated to Canada in 1923. Their son Edward married Jane Fisher in 1898, but she emigrated to Canada in 1912, leaving behind Edward & their children. She later moved to Detroit where her children joined her a few years later. I found an interesting story in an Ohio newspaper about a Winifred Hipwell. In 1926 Winifred, aged 4, was left in Cleveland by her parents Mr & Mrs Joseph Hipwell as security for a $90 grocery bill! Her parents separated, with her father going to Detroit, and her mother to Chicago. One of Edward & Jane’s sons was called Joseph, and he was living in Detroit in 1930, so although I have no firm evidence, I think he might have been Winifred’s father. Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened to Winifred after 1926.

Ann married Alfred Sharman and lived in Shoreditch, London. They had no children. Alfred died in Claybury Asylum, a mental hospital in Essex, in 1895. Ann was the subject of a Removal Order in 1912, after she moved from her home in Shoreditch to 349 City Road, Islington. An extract from the order reads: Annie Sharman aged about 60 years, hereinafter called the “Pauper” is now inhabiting in the Parish of St Mary, Islington, not having gained a legal settlement therein, and is receiving relief therefrom. The Parish of St Leonard, Shoreditch is the place of her last legal settlement. These order you to remove and convey the said Pauper out of your said Parish to the Parish of St Leonard, Shoreditch, and her deliver at the Workhouse, or unto the Guardians of the Poor there. Strangely, Ann appears on the Electoral Roll at 349 City Road in the 1920s, so perhaps the Removal Order was not carried out? Despite all the hardships of her life, Ann lived until she was 76.

Elizabeth also lived in London. In 1882 she was staying with her sister, Ann, & had a son, Walter. In 1884, she was in Bethnal Green Workhouse & gave birth to Elizabeth. In 1886 she married Anthony Creedon, and had 2 more children. After Anthony died in 1892, Elizabeth was obviously struggling, as her 3 younger children were admitted to the workhouse in 1894. (I don’t know what happened to Walter.) Elizabeth got married again, to William Sear in 1900. In 1901, both her youngest children were in Industrial Schools.

Benjamin lived in various places in central England, and had 4 children with Annie McNeil.

Rosanna (also known as Rose Hannah) married James Batson and also lived in Shoreditch, London. James, a fret cutter, died in 1897, leaving Rosanna with 4 children under 10. In 1901, the children were all living at Hornchurch Cottage Homes, Essex. The eldest son, James, was sent to Canada in 1903 to work as a farm hand. He was one of over 100,000 British Home Children sent to Canada to work as indentured farm labourers and domestic servants. He later moved to Minnesota. His youngest sister, Ethel, joined him in Minnesota in 1915. Rosanna died in 1904.

Selina, my greatgrandmother, lived a relatively settled life, as far as I know. After moving to Birmingham and marrying my greatgrandfather William Eades, she had 11 children, 10 of whom survived infancy, and lived for over 54 years in the same house in Handsworth.

What happened to William, born 1848? He is living with his parents in Rugby in 1861, but after that, I don’t know. I’ve found a marriage for a William Hipwell & Mary Griffin in 1883 in Ardwick, Manchester. William’s father is given as Benjamin Hipwell, bricksetter, but apart from that I have no reason to think it’s the same one.

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