Personal information about Frances Ace

Below is all the information we have about Frances Ace. As far as we know, the information is correct. However, if you find any errors or have additional information, certificates or pictures, please contact us so that we can update this page. Thank you.

Burial Information

Name on burial register:
   Frances Ace
Burial register image
Click image to enlarge
Age at death:
Date of burial:
   18 October 1900
Abode at death:
(according to burial register)
Burial register information:
Book number: 1899
Page number: 019
Record number: 7348
Official at burial:
   E H Titchmarsh
Source of information:
  Burial Register
* This entry is awaiting verification.

Memorial Details

  Frances Ann ACE
  15 October 1900
  4 Kerbstones
  Marble Lead letters
  North Kerbstone: outer slope: In Loving Memory of Catherine Ace, born January 29th. 1858, died ,March 13th. 1899. // South Kerbstone: outer slope: In Loving Memory of Frances Ann Ace, born April 6th. 1878, died Oct: 15th. 1900. // East Kerbstone: outer slope: "To be with Christ which is far better." //
  Good. Very overgrown - now cleared. Footstone at end of West Kerbstone belongs to row behind
    Family story of Catherine and her niece, Frances can be found on the website. They were both, at different times, visiting Catherine's sister & family, the Morgans (buried in plot LS(G)13, in Burton Tce, Russell Rd, Newbury when they died. Catherine died of TB and Frances took her own life by hanging. Sources: NRC Bur Records & Ancestry Records. Family information.
Click here for more information on this memorial.

Other people list on this memorial

Catherine ACE



Obituaries and Newspaper announcements

Frances Ace
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser
Date of source:    18 October 1900
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News


Frances Ace
On Monday last a lamentable case of suicide occurred at 3, Burton-terrace, West-fields, the subject being a fine, good looking young woman, named Frances Ace, who was visiting her uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan. The suicide was peculiar from the fact that no reason whatever was given, or even surmised for the fatal act. The deceased had been visiting Newbury for over six weeks, and during that time had been in her usual health and spirits, beyond that she seemed rather quiet, and did not talk. She was aged only 22 years, and had had several situations at Southend, the loss of which seemed to rather upset her. The time of her visit had almost expired,and she had written to her mother to expect her home on Tuesday. On Monday she was missed at dinner time, and her uncle, Mr. John Morgan, searched for her, and found her in her bedroom hanging by her neck to a bed-post, about four feet high. She was quite dead. The matter was reported to the Borough Coroner, Dr. H. Watson, J.P., who ordered an inquest to be held on Tuesday in the Magisterial Chamber. 
The jury elected Mr. Lawrence Cleeves as foreman, and after viewing the body, evidence was taken. The first witness was:-
Elizabeth Ace, a widow, living at Lllanelly, identified the body as that of her daughter, who left home, April 2nd, to go to Southend. She was in service in two or three places, and since leaving the last situation about six weeks ago. She had been visiting her aunt, Mrs. Morgan. Witness had many letters from her daughter : in some of these she appeared anxious about her situations, saying she did not care for them and could not remain in them. She wrote Sunday briefly saying she would be home at Llanelly on Tuesday about four p.m., (letter produced and read). At times she suffered from dyspepsia: sometimes she was high spirited, and at others correspondingly depressed. There was no reason whatever to anticipate so terrible an end. No traces of insanity existed in the family on either side. Her father had been dead 15 years. 
John Morgan, a joiner, employed at Messrs. Elliott's, said the deceased came to Newbury about August 28th. She was very cheerful the first few weeks, but latterly she has been given to sitting down a long time and thinking, but not talking. She never gave any explanation of her gloominess. She was quite happy. It was mutually arranged she should return home on Tuesday. She started packing her box on Monday. When he went home on Monday to dinner, at ten minutes past one, he asked his wife where Frances was, and she said packing her box. He called her down to dinner, but could get no answer. Going upstairs, be found her hanging by the bed-post. She was partly sitting on the floor, with the handkerchief (produced), an ordinary lady's fancy necktie round her neck, and the end on the top of the post. She was quite dead, but not cold. He cut her down at once, and then, having called his wife, fetched the policeman. There had been no quarrel or unpleasantness amongst them at all. The handkerchief was one she used to wear round her neck.
Mrs. Susan Morgan, wife of the last witness, spoke as to deceased having been rather depressed, sometime she was cheerful. She had been to church the night before and came home quite bright. On Monday she did not get up until 10 a.m., but seemed in her usual spirits. She breakfasted, and shortly after eleven o'clock went to pack her box. Witness went to help her and left her about half-past twelve to get the dinner when she was still packing. On her husband's return she first heard of the suicide. She heard no noise whatever. Deceased had never expressed any intention of taking her life, or that she was in any difficulty whatever. 
Dr. Hickman spoke to having been called in to see the body of the deceased. Life was extinct. She looked quite placid, and her face was not distorted nor discoloured, an unusual circumstance. She was very pale. A postmortem examination showed that the lungs and the right side of the heart were congested, while the kidneys were congested, full of blood. There was no sign of pregnancy and no marks of violence except the mark round the neck. The cause of death was hanging. It would seem almost impossible to be hung on the bedpost as her feet would be on the ground all the time. The post of the bedstead was only four feet high. The girl was five feet two or three and was well nourished, and healthy. It was more a case of strangulation or suffocation than hanging. The symptoms of congestion pointed to strangulation. It was quite possible for the girl to have done it herself. The handkerchief was tied with a slip-knot. 
The Coroner briefly summed up, expressing his grief at the occurrence and emphasising the fact that no cause was stated, and the jury after a short consultation brought in a verdict of " Suicide whilst temporarily insane." 
Thursday 18 October 1900  Newbury Weekly News and General Advertiser 
FOOTNOTE:  The Aunt, Susan Morgan, and uncle, John Morgan, as well as the foreman of the jury, Lawrence Cleeves, all appear to be buried in Newtown Road Cemetery.
This obituary entry is awaiting verification.
Frances Ace
Article source:    Elizabeth Capewell
Date of source:   
Copyright:    © as stated




Plot P(B)7. Catherin Ace, 29 Jan 1858 – 13 Mar 1899; Frances Ace – 78 - 15 Oct 1900.

Progressing down the Row P(B) towards the Cedar tree in the Southern half of NRC, recording the Inscription on grave no. P(B)7 was impossible without removing  layers of cedar needles that had accumulated. Once digging stopped, a simple inscription on each side kerbstone showed it was the resting place of two women with the same surname but of different generations & dates of death. Researching women, without a man attached is often difficult, especially if their lives are brief and cover few census years. But something made me want to know more, not least whether they were mother and daughter. At least I had both dates of birth & death for each.

I guessed the uncommon name might help, not realising how many Aces there were in South Wales. It didn’t help that several Ancestry Family trees had muddled up Ace families and one census had Frances’s father’s middle name Jenkins as the surname, not Ace. But there was what proved to be one golden nugget of information. There was a Private tree with photos. I sent a message and the owner actually responded and has been generous with her information.

This is the story of Catherine & Frances Ace. They turned out to be Aunt & Niece from a respected family in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. But why were they buried in Newbury & a year apart?

William Ace, b.1817, was originally from Swansea & worked as a boot & shoe maker. He married Ann Jenkins, b.  , from Fishguard in the Llanelli Baptist Church & where they settled & raised a family of 4 boys and 4 girls. The eldest child was Thomas Jenkins Ace, b.1843, & the youngest was Catherine,b. 1858. By the 1861 census, William was working as a Photographer, a profession he continued until his death, assisted for a time by son Thomas who was learning the trade. In the 1871 Census William was also described as a Stationer. Meanwhile, several of his children were still living at home, 1 had died in infancy, two had gone to join an Aunt in America and three, including Catherine, were working as school or music teachers. The eldest daughter was, in 1871, teaching at the British School in Reading after training at Stockwell College & brother William was soon to become Headteacher of Wiston School in Fishguard.  Another sister, Susan Martha, was a Milliner.

Catherine started off as a Pupil teacher in local schools & gained her teaching certificate at Swansea Training College in 1879.  A local newspaper reported a presentation to her on leaving Old Road School to become an Assistant Mistress at Bigyn Board School, Llanelli. She also worked at Furnace St School. The records of the Market School, Llanelli, where she taught from 1886-90 stated that though diligent she struggled with discipline. This perhaps explains why she became a Governess, the occupation given on her death certificate. She was also a valued School teacher at Llanelli Baptist Church Sunday.

The clue to her arrival in Newbury lay with her sister, Susan Martha. She had worked as a Milliner in Llanelli and met a Journeyman Joiner from Talybont, Cardiganshire who came to work in Newbury in 1880. They had married in Reading and settled in Newbury at 3, Burton Terrace, Russell Road, which still exists.  Houses in Westfield had been built for workers at Elliott’s Furniture Manufacturers where John worked as a Joiner. At some point in 1899, Catherine was visiting her sister who the previous year had given birth to a daughter Gladys Frances. Sadly, during her visit, Catherine died on 13th March, 1899. Her death certificate records that she died of TB. Catherine was buried 3 days later in NRC plot P(B)7 by Rev. E. Titchmarsh.

Back in Llanelli their eldest brother, Thomas, had built himself an excellent reputation as a Photographer and by 1881 had added a Stationery shop & Music dealing, (Census records & daughter’s baptismal record),  selling pianos & harmoniums to his business interests (family info). He played the organ at the Baptist church and St Peter’s Church, Llanelli. He had also been accepted into the Prince of Wales Lodge of the Llanelli Freemasons.  But tragedy struck his family in 1885 with his untimely death from TB, leaving his wife Elizabeth, aged 35, and 6 children under the age of 9.  Elizabeth took up the reins of the Stationery shop and kept it going for nearly sixty years. The family say she was a good photographer in her own right & in 1891 she was listed as a Photographer in a local trade directory (in Genuki Victorian Professional Photographers of South Wales 1850-1925 website.)

Support for the bereaved family was particularly forthcoming via Thomas’s membership of the Masonic Lodge. The two eldest children entered a ballot for free boarding Scholarships at the Royal Masonic Institutes in London; Charles at the Boy’s Institute, then in Wood Green (recorded there in the 1891 Census), and Frances at the Girls’ Institute, then in Battersea Rise. She was recorded there in the 1891 Census & a Baptismal record for 1894. Their achievements were a source of great local pride.

Charles sadly did not get the chance to make use of his education, as he died of TB, like his father and aunt, aged 22.  According to family sources, Frances had an unsettled start to her career, perhaps burdened by the sense of responsibility to do well after her good education and her brother’s death. According to her mother at the Inquest into her death, she had left Llanelli in the April of 1900 to work as a Governess in Southend, but this had not gone well. The next formal record is of her death in Newbury on 15 Oct 1900 and her burial a few days later in her Aunt Catherine’s grave in NCR after an Inquest on 16th Oct. held by Dr H. Watson, the Newbury Coroner. He reported that her Uncle John told the jury that Frances had arrived in Newbury on August 28th, staying with her Aunt Susan and Uncle John at 3, Burton Terrace. Latterly, she had been less talkative and spent time sitting down and thinking but was generally in good spirits. On Sunday 14th Oct she had written to her mother saying she would return home that Tuesday at 4.30pm. She then attended St John’s Church in the evening, returning in good spirits. Frances then spent the Monday morning packing her box, helped by her Aunt Susan. Susan had left her at 12.30 to make a mid-day meal for her husband. When John came home, he called Frances at 1.10 pm to tell her that dinner was ready. There was no reply. He went upstairs to her room where he saw her at the end of the bed hanging &  partly sitting on the floor, with a silk neck-tie from the top of the bedpost & tied with a slip knot around her neck. She was not cold so he cut her down and called for a policeman. She was taken to hospital but pronounced dead. A telegram was despatched to her mother who immediately got on a train to Newbury with her son and spoke at the Inquest the next day. No note had been left by Frances and she had given no indication of her state of mind, apart from in letter to her mother telling of her unhappiness with her situation as a Governess with a family she did not care for. A verdict of “Suicide whilst temporarily insane” was brought in by the Jury. She was buried on 18thOct by Rev Titchmarsh at NRC in her Aunt Catherine’s grave.

There was consternation back home in Llanelli about Frances’s death. No one could understand why such a lovely, well respected & well known young woman “with a wealth of golden hair and an attractive appearance who made friends wherever she went “ would take her own life. Though suicide at that time carried a great deal of stigma and shame, both the Newbury & Llanelli local papers spoke with great sympathy and kindness about Frances and her family.

One can only wonder at the sadness for Susan & John Morgan in having two deaths of visitors to their home in two years, along with nephew Charles’s death in 1899 and her mother’s in 1895. Catherine’s may have been expected but Frances’s was not and the manner of it was tragic. The Morgans continued living in Russell Rd until they moved round the corner to 8, Gloucester Rd where John lived until his death in 1911, and Susan until hers in 1940. Gladys Frances became a teacher, remained single and lived in the house until her death in 1958. They were all buried in NRC LS(G)9, not far from Catherine & Frances.

So that is the story of how two young women with the same surname came to be buried in our cemetery under the Cedar of Lebanon which covers their grave each year in a carpet of needles.

I am so pleased that this young life, so tragically snuffed out at 22 years of age has been given some recognition and I shall place a flower on her grave on her Anniversary. This will not only be for her & her Aunt Catherine but for all the lives in the Cemetery that are barely recorded, especially the women who were often only defined by their menfolk, if they had any, and for all the young children who never had their names in a Census record. My informant from the family, who lives in Hertfordshire, is delighted to know their grave is now visible and that the two women are buried together, a fact of which she was unaware. In fact she had been unaware of Frances’s existence until researching her Family Tree as it was never spoken about by her great aunts to her mother. Her mother, a great granddaughter of Thomas Jenkins Ace, is the only member of the family left in Llanelli.



With grateful thanks to Maggie Jarman, Great Great Granddaughter of Thomas Jenkins Ace for supplying family information and copies of Newspaper Reports and Catherine’s death certificate and giving permission for passing it on in this article.


Census, birth, baptismal, death, marriage, local directory records obtained from Ancestry.

Burial records from website.

Catherine’s teaching information:

S Wales Daily News 19 Feb

Cardiff Times 17 Feb

Berks Chronical 20 Oct

NWN 18

Morning Post 17

Evening Exress 17

South Wales Daily Post 18





Some extra information if you want it:


(1)   I’ve had another look at the research my Mum did about 30 years ago when she was researching her family tree. Her notes say that Catherine went to Swansea Training College in 1879 to get a full teaching qualification. Unfortunately the school records for Market Street School in Llanelli where she was an assistant mistress between 1886-1890 suggested that, although she was extremely diligent and able as a teacher, she often struggled with maintaining discipline in the class, which might explain why she became a governess instead.


(2)   selling pianos and harmoniums, according to my Mum’s research in local newspapers of the time


(3)   Elizabeth jnr was only born in 1881 and probably only started helping in the shop in her teens (she’s not recorded as a helper in any census); her mother is listed as the newsagent and stationer in the 1939 Register, at the age of 87! Her newspaper obituary says she was doing the accounts almost to the end of her life at age 92. According to the Genuki Victorian Professional Photographers  of South Wales 1850-1925 website, Elizabeth also briefly took on her late husband’s photography business, as she’s listed as a photographer in an 1891 local directory but unfortunately I haven’t got a reference for that. This would be extremely unusual for a woman in late Victorian South Wales but my Mum’s oral family history is that she was an excellent photographer in her own right.


(4)   The schools were oversubscribed so entry was by an election. I found a newspaper report (now on the Ancestry gallery page for Frances) indicating that Frances and another girl were the two Western Division South Wales candidates in October 1887 – apparently successful candidates were seen as a source of local pride and so often reported in the press. Both girls got in, as they are both there in the 1891 census.


(5)   It’s only speculation but possibly Frances felt under enormous pressure to do well, given that her brother Charles had died just the previous year and three of her siblings did not get the same prestigious education as she and Charles did (although her youngest sister was also given a place at the Royal Masonic School)


(6)   I’ve just re-read the newspaper reports and noticed the section that says her mother received a letter from Frances on the Monday morning, saying she was coming home the following day, and then a telegram on the Tuesday to say that she was dead, at which point “the bereaved mother and son at once journeyed to Newbury”; the inquest was on Wednesday and the funeral on Thursday. Everything happened so fast! I’m also struck by how sympathetic the press coverage is, given attitudes to suicide at the time. Would it be unfair to ask you to mention the “Llanelly correspondent’s” description of her – it gives such a vivid picture of what she was like?







This obituary entry is awaiting verification.

Pictures and photographs

Click to enlarge
Frances Ace
Gravestone at Newtown Road Cemetery, Newbury
Frances Ace


Biographies & History

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