My paternal great-grandmother was Barbara Muriel Hargreaves.

Barbara's parents were James Hargreaves and Jane Brown.

James Hargreaves

James Hargreaves was born in 1849 in Appleton, county Cheshire. He was the son of James Hargreaves (senior) and Elizabeth Britch.

James was a Groom on his parents Dairy Farm in Appleton, county Cheshire. Sometime after 1871 he moved to Holdenhurst, county Hampshire, working as a Coachman/Cabman.
It is quite likely that he met Jane Brown in county Hampshire, however this cannot be proven. It would appear, despite exhaustive conventional research to find proof, that James and Jane did not ever marry. It would also appear that their two children, Barbara Muriel Hargreaves and Bruce Cyril Hargreaves were not baptised.
The 1881 census return shows James and Jane Hargreaves living (with their two children) in Holdenhurst Road, in Holdenhurst. James' occupation at that time was Cabman.
The Hargreaves family moved to Woodsford, county Dorset around 1885 where James took over the role of Railway Gate Keeper for the London South West Railway (LSWR) from the previous gentleman Thomas Chilcott, who had then recently died. The job included living quarters which was No.38 The Lodge.
Jane Hargreaves died in 1892 of Cancer. After her death it is claimed that James 'abandoned' his children and they were sent to a Workhouse, but this has not yet been successfully proven. To date it is merely a family story. However, it is known that James moved away from Woodsford and took up a new Railway Gate Keeper post, again with the LSWR, in East Stoke, co. Dorset. He died of Cancer in 1902.
Bruce Cyril Hargreaves remained in Woodsford as the 1901 census return shows him lodging with a family of Horse Farmers, working as a Railway Platelayer. In 1902 it is believed he married Emma Gale. They had at least four known children and lived in county Dorset. Little more is known of Bruce and his wife and family at this time, except that Bruce died in 1968, aged 88.
After her father James 'abandoned' her Barbara went to London to find work. There she advertised herself as a Domestic Servant and quickly gained a position in Hampstead working for Dr Thomas Grigor Brodie. The 1901 census return shows Barbara living and working at the Marlborough Mansions of Hampstead, where Dr Brodie and his wife and their two children Kenneth and Hugh lived.

Thomas Grigor Brodie

Sometime during the first decade of the 1900s, whilst Barbara was in Margate, county Kent (for reasons not yet known) she met her future husband, Arthur Ward. They married in 1909 and moved to his birthplace of Bungay in county Suffolk. The 1911 census reveals a mystery son I had no previous knowledge of. It is not yet proven but it could be possible that Barbara had an illegitimate child (either with Arthur or another man), and after 1911 this mystery son was adopted by Arthur's brother and his wife.


The Hargreaves ancestry has been so far traced back to William Hargreaves but there is little more known, except that he married around 1815 in county Cheshire. He had at least one known son James Hargreaves who was born in Aston, county Cheshire around 1817. James Hargreaves married Elizabeth Britch in 1839. They had at least five known children:
Elizabeth (1840)
Ann (1844)
Hannah (1847)
James (1849) My 2xg/grandfather (see above)
Joseph (1857)

James (senior) worked on a Dairy Farm in Appleton, county Cheshire and it is believed that every Hargreaves family member worked on the Farm to some capacity. Elizabeth died in 1858 and the following year, James married Margaret Dickens.
James and Margaret had two known children:
Margaret (1863)
Charles (1866)

James outlived his second wife who died in 1893. James died in 1900, and among his rather unique belongings, he bequeathed a case of Stuffed Birds to his son Joseph in his Will.

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