Family Numbers

Oldest Person Known/Longest Widowhood – Maud Mary Reffell lived to be 104. She was born on 4 August 1887 at 10 Buckingham Street Westminster to Richard Reffell and Emma Ellen Noble. She married David Frank Underwood on 28 May 1906 at St. Mark Battersea when she was 19 and he was 26. Ironically given that they emigrated the following year, they both gave their address as 19 Auckland Road. He died in 1932 at the age of 52 and she was a widow for fifty nine years. She died on 10 August 1991 in Auckland New Zealand and was cremated at the Waikumete Cemetery & Crematorium in Auckland.

Centenarians (Female) – There are four known centenarians; Maud Mary Underwood nee Reffell (1887-1991) as above, Elsie Leila Brooks nee Reffell (1899-2001), Margaret Reffell nee Jones later Gordon (1905-2005) and Phyllis May Reffell nee Grange (1915-2015).

Almost a Centenarian (Male) – John William Reffell (1891-1991) nearly made it to a hundred, dying just one month short of a century.

Biggest Age Gap/Oldest Father – Alexander Reffell (1858-1947) married Lucy Maria Vinall (1857-1908) in 1884 at Tunbridge Wells. They had five children, three of whom died in childhood. The other brothers were George Stanley Reffell (1891-1917) who was killed in the First World War and Arthur Sidney Reffell (1897-1992) who also served in the First World War as a Private in the Royal Sussex Regiment. After Lucy died, Alexander married Maud Irene Agnes Wagstaff nee Berry (1889-1941) in 1920, he was 61 and she was 30. Maud had a one year old child, Frances Brenda Wagstaff, when she married and then gave birth to Joan Alexandra Reffell two years later. Alexander outlived his first wife by thirty nine years and his second by six.

Second Biggest Age Gap/Longest Widow – Esther Thornton Dawson Reffell (1903-1995) married Henry Joseph Schweitzer (1873-1943) at St Pancras in 1935, he was 61 and she was 31. He was born in Lemberg Austria and was naturalised in 1939 and had previously been married to Rosa Glentzspiegel (1870-) having five children together. Esther’s brother Fitzroy Alfred Reffell (1899-1918) was killed in the First World War. Henry and Esther had one child together and in 1941 changed their surname to White. She was a widow for fifty two years, never remarrying.

Second Longest Widow – Albert William Reffell (1834-1886) married Charlotte Ellen Hunt (1841-1928) in 1877 at Redhill. They only had one child, Percy Albert Reffell (1878-1966). She never remarried and was a widow for forty two years.

Third Biggest Age Gap/Joint Third Longest Widow – Bertha Annie Parsons (1888-1979) was the granddaughter of Jane Elizabeth Reffell. When she married James William Smart (1860-1938) in 1929, she was twenty eight years younger than him. In fact, he was two years older than her father, who was one of the witnesses at the wedding. Both men were retired railwaymen and probably knew each other. She also gained a stepdaughter who was almost her age. Bertha outlived her husband by forty one years having never remarried.

Joint Third Longest WidowJohn William Reffell (1844-1897) married Mary Ann Jones (1857-1938) in Paddington during 1890. He died at the age of only 53 and she outlived him for 41 years.

Another Long Widowhood – Irene Maud Reffell (1917-2013) married Leslie Arthur Grantham (1907-1974) in Lewisham in 1943. He had already been married before, but she outlived him for 39 years.

Most Children/Child DeathsHerbert William Reffell (1867-1953) married Amelia Ellen Coulter (1871-1963) at Wandsworth in 1893. Over the next twenty nine years they had sixteen children, but in 1900 lost four of them to illness in the space of only six days, with two children dying on the same day. A further three children did not make it to adulthood.

Most MarriagesJames Reffell (1784-1842) was married three times at St. Saviour Southwark; 1) Mary Waghorn (1783-1833) on 14 February 1809, 2) Caroline Finley (1793-1836) on 19 September 1833 and 3) Mary Ann Smith (1800-) on 24 October 1837.