Caroline Willis

Author: Gerald Soper
Date published: 26/01/2022

Robert Willis (1845 – 1908)

                                    Caroline Willis (1844 – 1930)

                                    William Willis (1878 – 1878)


Robert Willis was born in 1845 in Newbury the son of Robert and Harriet, nee Callis, Willis. He was recorded with his parents along with sisters Harriet aged 7 and Mary Ann aged 1 and brother George aged 4 at 5 Simmons Yard in Newbury in the 1851 census, Robert senior was a flyman. Robert’s father died in 1858. In the 1861 census Robert was living with his mother Harriet and siblings Harriet aged 17, George aged 13, Mary aged 11, Clara aged 5 and Louisa aged 3 in Bartholomew Street in Newbury. His mother was a shoe shop keeper and Robert a shoemaker apprentice.


Caroline Brown was born in Shefford and baptized on 20 September 1844 at St Mary in Great Shefford, the daughter of Moses and Jane, nee Dodd, Brown. In the 1851 census Caroline was living with her parents, Moses and Jane and brother Henry aged 3 and a visitor at Boxford Common. In the 1861 census Caroline was living as a servant in London Road in Speen and was recorded as a house servant.


Robert and Caroline married on 7 August 1869 at St Andrew in Boxford. Robert was recorded as a shoe maker resident in Newbury and Caroline as a resident of Boxford with no occupation.


In the 1871 census Robert and Caroline were living at 24 West End in Newbury with son Robert aged 10 months with Robert recorded as a shoe maker.


In June 1878 a son William Willis was born. Sadly, he died aged only 8 hours and was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on 11 June 1878.


A few years later in the 1881 census Robert and Caroline were recorded still living at West End with children Robert aged 10, George aged 9 and Caroline aged 4, with Robert still a shoemaker. No trace of son Henry aged 9, perhaps an error by the enumerator as Henry would have been 9 & George 6 so perhaps he recorded Henry’s age and George’s name.


In the 1891 census Robert and Caroline were living at 5 Speen View Terrace, Russell Road in Newbury with children Henry aged 19, George aged 16, Caroline aged 14 and Alice aged 9. Robert was recorded as a shoemaker, Henry a shoemaker’s apprentice, George a cabinet maker’s apprentice and Caroline a dressmaker’s apprentice. Robert and Caroline were still at the same address in the 1901 census with son George and daughter Alice also in the house. Robert was recorded as a bootmaker, George a clay moulder and Alice a dressmaker.


Robert Willis died in April 1908 aged 62 and was buried on 29 April 1908 at Newtown Road Cemetery.


Caroline was still living at 5 Speen View Terrace in the 1911 census along with her sons Henry and Robert, who were both recorded as bootmakers. Caroline was recorded as a housekeeper but this entry had been crossed out.  Caroline and her son Robert were recorded at 22 Russell Road in Newbury in the 1929 electoral register.


Caroline Willis died in February 1930 aged 85 still living at 22 Russell Road and was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on 28 February 1930.


Robert and Caroline’s son Henry Willis was buried at Newtown Road Cemetery on 10 July 1923.


Robert’s parents were both buried at Newtown Road Cemetery, his father Robert on 4 June 1858 and his mother (who remarried) Harriet Groves on 3 March 1875.


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