John Edward Down

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Date published: 15/09/2017
© FNRC

John Edward Down (1830 – 1898)

He was born in Saint Germans, Cornwall, in 1830, a son of William and Sarah Down. He was baptised on 16 May 1830. His father was a Cooper and by 1851 John Edward had followed his father’s trade. 

In 1855 he married Mary Bacon in Newbury and in 1859 he took over the business at the Furze Bush, East Woodhay, as confirmed in the Reading Mercury dated 15 January 1859:

“ FURZE BUSH, EAST WOODHAY - WILLIAM CANNING begs respectfully to inform his friends and the public, that he has relinquished the Brewing and Retailing Business of the above house in favour of Mr. John Edward Down on whose behalf he solicits the continuance of that liberal support which has been conferred on him for the last 24 years.

JOHN EDWARD DOWN having taken to the Public Business of Mr. W. Canning at the above house, assures the customers of his predecessor that nothing shall be wanting on his part to supply the public with good Beer and Spirits, and as the House is Free, he will be enabled to sell such an article that cannot fail of giving satisfaction.  Furze Bush, East Woodhay, Jan. 13, 1859.”

Later in June 1861 he appeared as a witness at an inquest being held at the Gun Public House, Wash Common, on the sudden death of Richard Nobes, cattle dealer of East Woodhay. John Edward Down said that “I am a licensed victualler, and live at the Furze Bush public-house, East Woodhay”. (Berkshire Chronicle 8/6/1861).

From this point research has revealed nothing until he gets married again to Ann Gates in 1869 in the Reading area.  There is a record of a burial in the name of Mary Down, aged 49 years, on 20 January 1869 at Kingston-upon-Thames All Saints, Surrey, but this will require confirmation that this is his first wife.  His life certainly took quite a turn as in the 1871 census he was a Coachman in the employ of John Rapp, late Consul-General  of the Swiss Federation, at Greys Court, Henley-on-Thames. His wife was employed as Cook Housekeeper. Their first child, John Edward, was born in 1871 and their daughter, Edith Annie, was born a year later (her father recorded as Farm Bailiff).

On 6 March 1879 the Newbury County Bench granted John Edward Down the licence of The Brewery Tap, Woolhampton. Byles, the former tenant, had absconded. The 1881 census records that he was an Agent of Wines & Spirits living next door to the Angel Inn. In April 1885 the licence was transferred from John Edward Down to James Talbot. By 1891, aged 60 years,  he had moved with his wife Ann to Bear Cottage, Bear Lane, and his employ recorded as  Ostler.  Tragedy struck when his only son John Edward went missing just before Christmas 1896. He was found drowned in the Kennet  below Ham Bridge on 22 January 1897.

A year later he died on 19 April 1898 aged 67 years, at Essex Place, Bartholomew Street; his occupation Barman.  On 21 April 1898 he was buried in the same grave as his son John Edward Down. His wife Ann went to live with her daughter Edith Annie, who married Thomas Redgewell , and she died in West Ham  in 1917 aged 91 years .

Mrs. P. Code NCh (G) 3   Page 84

Sources:  Select Births & Christenings 1538-1975; 1841 to 1891 Census; Marriage Index 1Q 1855 & 1Q 1869; National Probate; Death Index 2Q 1898. Reading Mercury 15/1/1859; Berkshire Chronicle 8/6/1861, 8/3/1879 & 4/4/1885.

Sources:Mrs. P. Code NCh (G) 3 Page 84 Sources: Select Births & Christenings 1538-1975; 1841 to 1891 Census; Marriage Index 1Q 1855 & 1Q 1869; National Probate; Death Index 2Q 1898. Reading Mercury 15/1/1859; Berkshire Chronicle 8/6/1861, 8/3/1879 & 4/4/1885.

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