The Reffell Family in the Census of 1861

Sunday 7 April 1861

In 1861 the population of Great Britain & Ireland was 29,070,930; made up of 9,776,259 males & 10,289,965 females in England & Wales, with a further 1,449,848 males & 1,612,446 females in Scotland. Thus the general male/female split at that time was approximately 48 males for every 52 females. The total number of people recorded in England & Wales with the Reffell surname was just 75, a minuscule proportion of 0.00025% of the total population. This consisted of 41 males & 34 females, very different from the national average. The most popular male name was William with Mary as the most popular female name. The average age was surprisingly low at just over 25 and the oldest was 78 years old. The family was largely based in the south east of England with large branches in London, Surrey and Buckinghamshire.  Smaller branches were to be found in Birmingham, Kent & Suffolk. All those in the family had been born in England. There were many varied occupations listed including; farmers, a working jeweller, some cabmen, an ironmonger, some gun makers, a number of watermen and rope makers. Also included were people connected with the brewing trade both brewers and publicans. There was no one listed as being in any of the the armed services, and perhaps the strangest occupation noted was a manure agent! It was predominantly a male working force, with only a few of the females having any occupation; a couple of dressmakers, a waitress, a shop assistant, a housekeeper and a pipemaker.

The 1861 England & Wales census was taken on the night of Sunday 7 April 1861. Each householder (called ‘the head’) was required to complete a census schedule giving the address of the household, the names, ages, sex, occupations and places of birth of each individual residing in the accommodation. The format was essentially the same as that taken in 1851, householders were asked to give details of the places of birth of each resident, to state their relationships to the head, marital status and the nature of any disabilities from which they may have suffered. The original census schedules were destroyed many years ago, but the enumerator’s books were kept in a  number of locations before eventually moving to the Public Records Office. They were microfilmed in 1970 to prevent the increasing usage from destroying these fragile records, and have subsequently been digitalised and transcribed for the Internet. Although there is the odd torn or mutilated page, in general the records have survived in remarkable condition considering the heavy usage that they have had. The main problem now found are the various marks made during the evaluation of the returns, sometimes obscuring important genealogical information.

North London
Henry Hatch Reffell had died the previous year and his wife Rebecca Burchatt would follow him three years later, although in 1861 she was living at 13 Langham Street in Marylebone running a lodging house. With her was five of her nine children, Henry, Mary Ann, John William, Susan Matilda & Edward. Eldest and only other surviving daughter Elizabeth Rebecca was married to jeweller Etienne Ernest Magloire Masset and living at 30 Clipstone Street. The other surviving son Charles was at the Diocesan School in the High Street at Great Dunmow in Essex. Henry Hatch’s parents Joseph Reffell and Elizabeth Hatch were living in the Union Workhouse in Fulham.
Also living in a workhouse, this time at Paddington, was Thomas Reffell aged 65 and a painter by trade, but he was to die later that year. His wife Joanna had died fifteen years before and of their six children it looks like only the youngest Annie born in 1841 was alive by then and was somewhat strangely baptised as late as 1864.
The lovely Madame Caballero was possibly past her best being aged 50 and living at her London home of 4 Gloucester Street in Marylebone, with two servants; Lizzy Stevens & Sarah Crittal, who was to live with her for the rest of her life. Her relation John Alfred Reffell was living at one of her other properties in Tunbridge Wells.
Samuel Reffell, the eldest surviving son of the Bury St Edmunds pipe makers family was living at 37 Moscow Road in Paddington and working as a jeweller’s assistant. With him was his wife Sarah Augusta Garnett, who would have been pregnant with their first child, to be called Samuel Frederick. Next door at number 36 was Sarah’s mother Amelia North aged 52 and a governess. The family would eventually return to Suffolk later in life.

South London
In Bermondsey the Waterman branch was becoming less involved with river transportation and would eventually in time leave the area as well. George Bush Reffell had began his waterman apprenticeship in 1846, although it looks like he never completed it. In 1861 he was earning a living as a rope maker and living at 30 Shippers Place in Blue Anchor Road at Rotherhithe. With him was his wife Martha Bartlett from Wiltshire and their two surviving children; William Henry & James John. The eldest child George Caleb had died the previous year aged six. Also living at Shippers Place was George’s elder brother James John Reffell and his family. He had married Mary Ann Walls in 1847 and when this James John died later in 1864 she was to marry again, quite late in life. With them were their children; Susannah, Henry, Emanuel, James & Daniel. It was a sad fact of life at that time that of their total of eight children in time, four would die in infancy and another one would be drowned at sea aged 19.
George’s brother Henry William Reffell was also a rope maker was living at 12 Elizabeth Terrace in Bermondsey with his in-laws. Again he had started a waterman apprenticeship but never completed it, and was now also a rope maker as were many of his relations. With him was his wife of three years Ann Bull from Somerset and their two eldest children; Annie Isabelle & Sarah. Also at Elizabeth Terrace were Ann’s parents Henry & Mary Bull, her brother Henry and sisters Elizabeth, Mary, Alma & Emma.

Members of the Reffell family had lived in the rural country of Surrey since the 18th century and in 1861 there were still a number of families connected with the brewery trade living there. The senior member of the family was Elizabeth Reffell, the widow of John, but the rift which was to result in legal proceedings upon her death had already started. William Joseph Reffell was living in Gomshall Villa, next to the Black Horse pub & brewery with his wife Emma and children Josephine, William & Alfred. His brother Henry Reffell had already moved away and was living in Station Road in Reigate near to the Somers Arms. Also with him was wife Mary Ann and their three sons; John, William Robert & Arthur Henry, the future founders of the Reffell Brothers Brewery in Bexley. Martha Reffell had never married and was living as a lodger in Shere Street, and was to die the following year. John Reffell was farming 65 acres at Gomshall. He had not married either. Henry Reffell was a gardener at Felday Moor. Sarah Reffell was aged 18 and working as a servant near Guildford, her parents were Samuel & Elizabeth from Bury St Edmunds.

Elizabeth Reffell, the widow of Joseph was still farming at Manor Farm in Horton, with her children; Mary Ann, James, Elizabeth & Edwin. Her other son Raymond Reffell was living on the High Road at Feltham in Middlesex working as a manure merchant. Living with him was his wife Ann and children Alfred, William, Raymond, Alice & Joseph.

John Alfred Reffell was living in one of Madam Caballero’s properties, Rock Lodge in Tunbridge Wells. He was aged 36 and listed as a gentleman. With him was wife Ellen and children Emma, Alexander and Albert Edwin.

Samuel Reffell the head of the pipe makers family of Bury St Edmunds had died some five years earlier. However, his widow Elizabeth West was still running the business at 12 High Baxter Street. Helping her in the business was son Frederick and daughter Caroline. Other daughters Sarah Ann and Sophia were dressmakers and the youngest daughter Rosa Jane was still at school. In all there were eight daughters and five sons, five of whom were to die young. The eldest surviving son Samuel was living in Paddington.

In the town of Birmingham there was a family of spectacle or gunlock makers. The eldest at 75 was Joseph Reffell who was living at 105 Hampton Street with his son William. Nearby at Brearley Street was his other son John and his wife Ann.