The children

Ellen Warne(s) & James Henry Ellis


A visit to a Hampshire Hop Garden - some beautiful old slides of Hampshire hop picking gypsies

Ellen’s children are my great aunts and my grandfather.  I certainly didn’t ever know my grandfather who had died some ten years before I was born, nor my great-aunt Ellen who also had died many years before.  But I also don’t ever remember Great Aunt Lily.  Was this because she had become estranged from Frederick (see below) or maybe it was because she was my grandfather’s sister, not my grandmother’s.  Be that as it may Ellen and James Henry Ellis had just three children who survived into adulthood.  Here are their stories, such as I know.  The picture above is yet another of the Hampshire gypsy hop picker slides.  Could this even be them with their father James Henry?  It’s certainly a possibility.  Or they could be like the children splashing in the sea at right, looking for coins and other valuables.  Maybe they dived off piers for money - I remember small children doing this in Portsmouth in my youth.

I am indebted to my rediscovered cousins John Alexander and Susan Lee for assistance with these stories.

Ellen ca1872-1928

It’s a, probably remote, possibility that Ellen is not James Henry’s daughter, or maybe not even Ellen’s daughter (i.e. that only one of her parents is a blood parent), but until we find her birth certificate, or early records for her parents, we cannot possibly know for sure.  On her marriage certificate she claims James Henry as her father, so let us assume that she is indeed the firstborn child of James and Ellen.  The census records we have also state that she was born in Hastings, which perhaps ties in with the theory that Ellen and James were wandering gypsies, but with the arrival of children decided to settle in the seaside town of Hastings.

So Ellen was the first-born, but not for long because Frederick was born a year or so later.  At the age of six her two little siblings Letitia and James died which must have meant that she and Frederick were left to fend for themselves somewhat.  Their grieving parents would probably not have had much time for their other two children, and then the year after, Lily was born

Frederick John 1873-1932

My grandfather.  His story is told here.

Letitia 1875-1878

Born on the 9th of August 1875 at 5 East Hill Passage, Hastings.  Died, 22nd May 1878 at 14 West Street, down the hill near the beach, of TB and meningitis.  Aged 2.  How tragic.

James 1877-1878

Born on the 11th May 1877 in the same house as Letitia.  Died 1st May 1878 at 14 West Street, just over two weeks before her, of bronchitis and diorrhoea from teething at the age of just under one year.  Such simple diseases that would now be easily treated.  What a dreadful time that must have been for his parents.

Lily 1879-?

My grandfather.  His story is told here.

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