Dorothy Bennett and her Ancestors

Charles Light (1817 to 1877)

Charles Light was a great-grandfather of Rose Dorothy Bennett, who married Sidney Alfred Parsons. He was the maternal grandfather of Rose’s mother.

Charles Light’s known ancestors are shown in the diagram on the left.

The Light family had lived in or around Twyford, in Hampshire, since at least the middle of the 18th century. Charles’s father and grandfather, who were both called John Light, had spent their whole lives there, and had been involved in the brick making industry and bricklaying. Charles’s mother, Martha Tucker, had been born in Hursley, just a few miles away to the west.

Twyford, underlined in red on the map, is situated on the River Itchen about three miles south of Winchester.

According to the 1837 edition of Thomas Moule’s English Counties, Twyford contained 169 houses and 1048 inhabitants.

Twyford House was occupied in the 18th century by Dr. Jonathon Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph, and Benjamin Franklin is thought to have written his autobiography while staying there in 1771.

Twyford School is the preparatory school where the poet Alexander Pope was educated.

One of the chief industries in the village during the 18th and 19th centuries was brickmaking.

Charles was baptised in Twyford on the 23rd of February, 1817. He was the seventh of his parents’ eight children and their youngest son. Charles’s father John was a bricklayer who had married his mother Martha Tucker in 1801. Martha had been born in Hursley, a few miles south west of Winchester, but she was living in Twyford at the time she married John.

Charles’ brothers and sisters were — John (b.1802), Ann (b.1804), Henry (b.1806), Elizabeth (b.1809), Sarah (b.1811), Mary (b.1814) and Charlotte (b.1819).

Charles’ father died in 1840 (the cause was “stoppage of the bowels”) and he then went to live with his brother Henry and his wife in London. They lived in Clare Market in the Parish of St Clement Danes. Henry was a bricklayer and Charles took up the same trade. Henry lived in London for the rest of his life but Charles soon moved back to Hampshire.

Charles Light married Elizabeth Russell, who was known as Eliza, at All Saints Church in Southampton High Street in 1842. The witnesses were were John Parker who, like Charles, was a builder, and his wife Mary Parker. Neither of them were related to the bride or groom.

Charles and Eliza briefly lived in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey (presumably he found work there) before returning to Hampshire where they lived in Alresford and then in Meonstoke, which is in the valley of the river Meon.

Charles and Eliza’s only child Charlotte Ann was born in Kingston on the 28th of February 1843. Charlotte was eventually to become a grandmother of Rose Dorothy Bennett.

Sadly, Eliza died of typhus in March 1846 in Meonstoke. She was only 23 years old. Charles was left to bring up his three year old daughter alone.

In the following year Charles married again. His second wife was Emma Long, 23 years old, who had been born in Gatcombe, on the Isle of Wight, but was living in Warnford in Hampshire. Warnford is also in the Meon valley, a few miles north of Meonstoke. Their wedding took place at St. Maurice’s Church in Winchester, where Charles was living at the time.

Charles and Emma moved several times, presumably because of Charles’ work as a bricklayer. At first they lived in Warnford and their son Harry was born there in 1848. By 1850 they had moved a few miles south to Droxford where they had a daughter Kate. And in 1851 they were living about ten miles further south again, just north of Fareham. Two years later, in 1853 when their daughter Emily was born, they were in Islington in London.

By 1861 Charles was changing his profession. Although in the census of that year he described himself as a builder, he and his family were living at the Prince of Wales Inn in Cowes on the Isle of Wight where he was the licensee. The inn was very close to Queen Victoria’s Osborne Estate and from 1854 until the queen’s death in 1901 it was often used to provide accommodation and stabling for the staff of Royal visitors.

The Prince Of Wales in East Cowes (shown on the right) is still a popular pub and restaurant today. It is situated immediately opposite the main gateway to Osborne House.

Emma’s father John, a retired carpenter, also lived on the Isle of Wight, in Calbourne, about six or seven miles from Cowes.

Charles gave up the licence to the Prince of Wales Inn in May 1862 and moved back to the mainland, to Chilworth in Hampshire which was then a few miles north of Southampton but today is on the edge of the city. Charles became the licencee at the Clump Inn.

The Clump Inn was renamed as the Chilworth Arms a few years ago and is still a well known pub and restaurant.

By coincidence, nearly twenty years later Charles’ granddaughter Rose Smith would marry and move to Chilworth which was her husband George Bennett’s home village. They would live just a few doors away from the Clump Inn.

Charles’s wife Emma became very ill. She was suffering from consumption (known today as pulmonary tuberculosis) and died at her husband’s inn in July 1865.

In January 1866, Charles married his third and final wife, Ann Luana Vine. She was a local woman who had been born in nearby North Stoneham. She had never married before and she lived with her father, William Vine, who was the landlord of the Hut Inn on the Stoneham estate. The wedding took place in Winchester. Coincidently, Ann was a great-great-granddaughter of John Complyn of Morestead and Elizabeth Goldfinch of Compton whose descendant Sidney Parsons would, nearly forty years later, marry Dorothy Bennett who was a great-granddaughter of Charles Light’s by his first wife.

Charles and Ann had a son whom they named Charles William.

Charles became a respected member of the community and in 1867 he was appointed as an overseer of the parish. But in 1868 he helped to organise an illegal prize fight. The Western Gazette reported the event thus on the 24th of January :

A PRIZE-FIGHT. — On Friday a prize fight took place between Chandler’s Ford and Bishopstoke. The combatants, accompanied by seventeen or eighteen of their friends, came down by train and alighted at the Chandler’s Ford Station, from whence they wended their way to a field in a quiet spot, where a ring was formed, and proceedings at once commenced. The men fought for about an hour and a half without interruption, and were enabled to finish the battle, at the conclusion of which the police put in an appearance. It seems the parties acted rather judiciously, as they selected a day on which most of the police who are stationed near would be engaged at the magistrates’s meeting at Southampton.”

Charles was brought before the magistrates as one of the organisers of the prize fight. Another of the organisers was a special constable, a fact which caused some laughter when it was announced in court. The defendents were bound over to keep the peace for six months upon payment of £50 as security.

In March 1869 Charles’s 16 year old daughter Emily died and was buried in Chilworth.

Charles became relatively prosperous and managed to acquire several houses in the Shirley district of Southampton. They were listed in his will.

In 1877 Charles became seriously ill and in April he wrote his will. The beneficiaries were his wife, his young son Charles, and his daughter Charlotte (whom he called Ann). He died on the 25th of November 1877 at the Clump Inn with his son Harry present. The cause of death was recorded as “General Dropsy”.

The following announcement was placed in the “Deaths” column of several newspapers:

“On the 25th of November, at his residence, the Clump Inn, Chilworth, after a long and severe illness, Charles Light, aged 60.”

After Charles died his son Harry took over the running of the pub. His widow Ann moved to Shirley in Southampton where she lived on the income from her husband’s houses. She died on the 11th of February 1888.

Charles Light’s Children

Charles had five children. They were :

•  Charlotte Ann, who was the only child of Charles’s first wife, Eliza. — Charlotte was born in Kingston upon Thames in Surrey on the 28th of February 1843. Eliza died while Charlotte was still very young, and Charles re-married. Just before her 18th birthday, Charlotte married Frederick Smith, a baker from New Alresford in Hampshire. Charlotte and Frederick lived in Winchester for most of their married life. One of their children was Rose Smith, the mother of Rose Dorothy Bennett, who married Sidney Alfred Parsons.

•  Harry, who was the first child of Charles’s second wife, Emma. — Harry was born in Warnford, in Hampshire, on the 16th of October 1848. When he was 16 his mother died, and when his father died twelve years later, he took over as landlord of the Clump Inn. Harry married Elizabeth, who had been born in Littlebury in Essex, and they had a son, William, who was born there about a year later. But Harry became unwell. In 1883 he was summoned to the Magistrates Court for allowing drunkenness on his premises, but Elizabeth attended in his place saying he was too ill. Harry was admitted to the County Lunatic Asylum at Knowle Hospital near Fareham. Elizabeth move back to Essex where she gave birth to their second child, Ida. Later Elizabeth became a cook in London and later a lodging house keeper in Kent. Harry never recovered, and died at Knowle Hospital on the 27th of August, 1906.

•  Kate was Emma’s second child. — Kate was born in about 1850 in Droxford in Hampshire. Nothing more is known about Kate’s life.

•  Emily was born in 1853 in London. She died in Chilworth when she was only 16 years old.

•  Charles William was Charles’ only child with his third wife, Ann. — He was born at his father’s pub, the Clump Inn, and was baptised in Chilworth on the 27th of January 1867. His father died when he was just eleven years old after which he lived with his mother in Southampton. In 1888, shortly after his mother died, he married Patience Penfold who came from a family of travellers. She had been born in Portsmouth but at the time of her marriage her parents were living in a gypsy encampment near Exbury in Hampshire’s New Forest. Charles and Patience’s two children, Patience and Charles, were born in Southampton but then the family moved to the New Forest where, for a while, they lived near to Patience’s parents and Charles adopted the lifestyle of a travelling hawker. The family eventually moved back to Southampton where they lived in Church Road, Shirley. Charles died there in December 1897 when he was only just 31 years old. Patience married again eighteen months later. Charles and Patience’s son Charles died in or near Southampton early in 1914. Their daughter Patience married in 1917 but died just five years later.

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You are free to make use of the information in these web pages in any way that you wish but please be aware that the author, Mike Parsons, is unable to accept respsonsibility for any errors or omissions.

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The information in these web pages comes from a number of sources including: Hampshire County Records Office, Somerset Heritage Centre; Dorset County Records Office; Southampton City Archives; the General Register Office; several on-line newspaper archives; several on-line transcriptions of Parish Register Entries; and several on-line indexes of births, marriages and deaths. The research has also been guided at times by the published work of others, both on-line and in the form of printed books, and by information from personal correspondence with other researchers, for all of which thanks are given. However, all of the information in these web pages has been independently verified by the author from original sources, facimile copies, or, in the case of a few parish register entries, transcriptions published by on-line genealogy sites. The author is aware that some other researchers have in some cases drawn different conclusions and have published information which is at variance from that shown in these web pages.