Elizabeth Jane King

Author: Ros Clow
Date published: 20/04/2012
© Ros Clow

Click to enlarge

©John King

Elizabeth Jane King [photo]

Elizabeth died in Sandleford Hospital on 8th April 1973 and was one of the last people buried in the cemetery. Her gravestone can be seen just in front of the chapel door. [photo]

She was born in Reading as Elizabeth Jane Honey on 14th March 1886, and adopted, around 1891, by Thomas and Ann Alexander who lived in “Berries Bank”, Greenham and ran a laundry.

On October 30th 1913 she was married as Elizabeth Jane Honey Alexander to Leonard Charles King.[photo of wedding]. Their son William George was born 2nd May 1914. Leonard went to war and never returned.

We catch up with Elizabeth and her son again in 1925 when they were evicted from their cottage at the ???? Golf Club [scan of letter], to make way for the new professional. Later she became the housekeeper to Mr A W Cray at the Newtown Road Cemetery Lodge (now 65 Newtown Road) [ photo of Cray]

Her grandchildren Pam Dean and John King remember visiting the cemetery in the 1940s. Pam used to help her grandmother tend the graves, cutting the grass and washing to gravestones. It was Pam who explained to us how when the cemetery was running out of space for graves the wide curving drives were used for additional plots [photo of infill]

After Mr Cray died in 1951 Elizabeth stayed on at the Lodge for a while working as a laundress for Woodlands Laundry in Bartholomew Street. Later she lived in Hawthorn Road and then Hutton Close at Shaw.

Alfred Walter Cray, known as Billy according to his obituary [obit typed up] became sexton in 1925 after his wife died. Despite living at Newtown Road Cemetery he was buried at Shaw Cemetery.

Recently John King decided to research his grandfather’s war record to find out how he died and where he was buried. To his amazement he discovered that Leonard abandoned his wife and child and at the end of World War I moved with a new ‘wife’ to Cardiff where he had a second family. He was tried at Winchester for bigamy (along with many others!) and received a three month sentence (reduced because he had served in the war). That same record includes letters from Elizabeth asking his commanding officer why she was no longer receiving any money from him.


Ros Clow



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