James Arter

Author: Deirdre Duff
Date published: 01/01/2021


He was baptised on 7 April 1839 at Melksham, Wiltshire.  His parents were William Arter and Sarah (née Morris).   At the time of his baptism, his father’s occupation was given as Post Master.  His father’s other occupations over the years were common carrier, porter, and lastly a market gardener at Broadleas, Devizes.  James grew up in a large family of at least 10 siblings.

He married his first wife, Susannah Gerrish, in 1859 in Melksham, and they had 2 daughters:  Sarah Ann born in 1859 and Mary in 1863.  Susannah died in 1864 and 2 years later James married his second wife, Agnes Lansley, on 26 September 1866 at St. Nicolas Church, Newbury, the eldest daughter of Anthony Spyers, publican of the “Rising Sun”, Speenhamland. 

She was previously married to William Lansley, a baker from Speenhamland.  They had 2 sons: William Edward Lansley. who died a few months after he was born in 1853, and Thomas Spyers Lansley born in 1856.

By 1861 James, Susannah and their daughter Sarah Ann are living with his parents at King Street, Melksham.   James is 22 years old and a coach builder.

In 1871 he was recorded in the census at the age of 32, a master coach builder, and living at 7 Smith’s Buildings, Northrook Street, with his wife, Agnes, her son Thomas Lansley, and his 2 daughters Sarah Ann and Mary Arter.  His workshop was at the back of 16 Northbrook Street (now the Halifax branch).

From the death announcement in the Newbury Weekly News he had been suffering a long and painful illness and he died at the young age of 39 years on 19 August 1877 at his home:  he was buried on 24 August.

The 1881 census records that Agnes continued to live at Winchcombe Place with her son Thomas Lansley who was a coach painter.  She died on 27 October 1884, aged 52 years at Salt Hill, near Slough.


No Mrs. P. Code


Sources:  Wiltshire Baptism Index 1530-1917; Wiltshire Marriage Index for his parents; 1841 to 1871 census; Marriage Index (1st wife) 1859 (3Q);  Death Index 1864 (2Q) 1st wife and Birth Index of their daughter Sarah Ann 1859 (4Q) – no trace of Birth Index for Mary;  Marriage Index (2nd wife) 1866 (3Q) and Birth Index of her 2 sons from her first marriage; Death Index 1877 (3Q) and Berkshire Burial Index in the name of James Arter.

Sources:as above

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