“... a most notorious poacher by the name of Ingersole” On Saturday 3d instant, whilst the gamekeepers of Lord Petre were engaged with a most notorious poacher by the name of Ingersole, some other poachers actually stole from the front of Thorndon Hall, Essex, ten beautiful gold and silver pheasants, from the wire cages. A spring gun was placed amongst them, which they carefully fired off. Norfolk Chronicle Saturday 24 January 1824 Poachers may have been the sort of villain that amuses the newspapers, but this decoy mission by John Ingersole probably led to his second appearance at the Essex Assizes, when for a Misdemeanor under the Game Laws, he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment in Springfield gaol in Chelmsford. His first appearance at the Assizes had been the previous year when for lack of sufficient evidence against him the case was dropped with a decision of “No Bill”. The gamekeepers obviously thought they knew what he was up to, and with his reputation, it was no surprise when just over two years after his release from prison, he was again convicted of poaching: John Ingersole, for poaching in Dame Helen's Wood, the property of Lord Petre. One of the keepers caught him in the act of shooting a pheasant. He had been twice before convicted of a similar offence. Bury and Norwich Post 30 July 1828 This time, on the 15th July 1828, he was sentenced to seven years transportation. He sailed on the Lord Melville  and on the 6th May 1829 he arrived in Sydney Cove. He never returned to Essex, but settled in Australia and started a new family. His life in Australia is well documented: he had six children, and married their mother, Catherine Bryant, when he was 81! His death was registered by his son William, and he says that his (John’s) parents were James Ingersole, a farrier, and Mary Paine. He had however left another family behind in Essex: a wife Ann, and six children. John had married Ann Foker in Childerditch on the 15th September 1811, and their first son, James was baptised at St Thomas’s Chapel in Brentwood on the 16th August 1812. Although the rest of his children claimed in later censuses to have been born in Shenfield, so far I have not traced any of their baptisms - and in the light of subsequent events and marriages I suspect a strong Catholic connection, but to check the registers from Thorndon and Ingatestone Halls requires a visit to the Essex Record Office as they are not online. Only Charles, who was born in 1821, links them to Shenfield, for he was buried there the following year. An   inquest   was   held   last   week   in   the   parish   of   Shenfield,   on   the   body   of   C.   Ingersole,   a   child   about   a year   and   a   half   old,   who   was   found   drowned   by   his   mother   on   Sunday   last,   about   two   o’clock,   in   a ditch of water, adjoining the garden of John Ingersole. Verdict - Found drowned. Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser Tuesday 03 December 1822 Ann and most of the surviving children appear in the 1841 census. Ann is living in Gower Street, and working as a servant to architect Charles Day and his young family. Son James (1812) is living in Liverpool and working as a currier. He married Amelia Depledge on the 10th September 1838 and they have a son, John, who was born in early 1839. Ann Ingersole (1815) is living in Ingatestone with her husband Thomas Roome, a carpenter, and two daughters, Ann, aged 2, and Elizabeth, aged 2 months. There’s another probable Catholic connection here: a Thomas Roome was confirmed at Ingatestone Hall by Bishop Griffiths on the 4th November 1840. John Ingersole (1817) is a police constable living in a section house at 16 Upper Crown Street, St. Margaret’s, Westminster. Mary Ann (1819) married Henry Jeffery in 1840 in St. Luke’s, Middlesex and they are living in Lamb’s Passage, St. Luke, near his parents. They had married “At the Register Office of the District of St Luke in the Parish of St Luke in the County of Middlesex ... Married in the Register Office as above according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Parties”. Henry’s father was Faustin Jeffery, and the family were almost certainly Catholic. Thomas (1823) does not appear in any of the censuses, and it would seem that he joined the merchant navy with ticket no 579411. He appears later on in New South Wales where he married Eliza Jane Ashworth on the 25th May 1874 in Kelso. Attempts were made in 1847 to find out what had happened to the transported John with an advertisement that appeared in the Times newspaper: Next of kin – persons wanted John Ingersole formerly of Shenford near Brentwood Essex, who in the year 1828 went to Sydney New South Wales and when last heard of in the year 1834 was servant to Mr. W. Thurlow, Wallis Plains. Any person who can give information if the above John Ingersole be living or dead is requested to communicate the same to Mr. William Parker, 1 Field Court, Gray’s Inn, Solicitor. (The Times 25 Sept. 1847) Shenford is obviously a misprint for Shenfield, while an apparent lack of response led to his wife Ann considering herself from then on to be a widow. Sophia Frances Ingersole and the fallen women of East London John and Ann’s youngest daughter, Sophia, born in 1827, would have been about 14 in 1841, and is probably working somewhere in London as a servant. She appears in 1851 living in Church Street, West Ham, with her mother Ann Ingersole and nephew Faustin Jeffery, aged 9, the son of her widowed sister Mary Ann who is working as a servant in Shoreditch. Sophia is a Milliner & dressmaker, while her mother, a widow (believing John to be dead, at least legally), aged 60, is a Shopkeeper (Fancy articles). In 1861 Ann is living in Deptford with her daughter Ann Roome and her family; Ann Ingersole is a widow aged 70, and a dressmaker. This would be the last census she appears in as she died in West Ham in 1868, probably moving back to be with her daughter Sophia who remained there until her death in 1914. In 1871 Sophia is still at 4 Church Street north in West Ham, and living with her is her brother John, 54, who is now a Police Pensioner. Sophia at 44 is still a Dressmaker, but her life took a strange turn over the next few years. In 1881 Sophia’s address is St. Mary’s Home, Water Lane, Stratford, and her relation to head of family is Superintendent. She’s still a dressmaker, and her assistant, Elizabeth Johnson, is a laundress; there are four other women living in the house as boarders. The Tablet archive is freely available to search online, and I found the following piece of forgotten Brentwood Diocesan history: ST. MARY OF EGYPT'S HOME, STRATFORD. —There exists at Stratford by Bow, a very laudable charity, important in its aim, though at present somewhat limited in its operations. This home was opened with the sanction of his Eminence the Cardinal to receive female penitents by two good Catholic working women. Fired with the Spirit of holy charity they conceived it to be their vocation to labour for the salvation of the souls of the fallen of their sex. Though short has been the existence of the establishment their efforts have been crowned with considerable success. The founders of the home not having at their command the means by which others, more favoured in the social scale, bring themselves and their works of charity prominently before the public, this most worthy undertaking has been buried in comparative obscurity. The importance of a work is not necessarily gauged by its limit of operation. Having rented a spacious house in Water-lane, Stratford, they fitted up a laundry at which they themselves toil for the support of the home, and the means adopted to bring back to virtue the poor Magdalen, bears about it the stamp of originality. Visiting the streets of East London they seek out the fallen humanity, and by counsel and the offer of a comfortable home they induce many to reform their mode of living. So well has this scheme operated that a number have been brought to their sense of duty, and having subsequently been provided with situations, are now respectable members of society, which otherwise would not have been the case. The extent of the work is restricted owing to the want of funds, but as the field of labour is large it may be confidently hoped the charitable Catholics will assist with their means so noble an undertaking as the Home of St. Mary of Egypt. The Tablet, August 11 1877 So Sophia is a good Catholic working woman running a home for fallen women and financing it by taking in laundry. The Home is next to the Manby Arms in the census so the building was probably on the site now occupied by the former “Deaf School” identified thus by the wall plaque very clearly seen on Google Streetview. The almost forgotten St. Mary of Egypt had an interesting life much added to by colourful legends. However nine years later The Tablet included the following: A correspondent writes : After twelve years of great struggle the vital question whether the work of St. Mary of Egypt's Home for Penitents, 17, Water-lane, Stratford, E., shall collapse or continue, must shortly be solved. The lease of the Home is expiring, the freehold can be purchased and the amount of the purchase money borrowed within £100. Towards this sum a generous benefactor has promised one-half. Must the work of rescuing those who have fallen and those in danger, be given up in the richest city of the world for the sake of £50? This work was commenced with the sanction and has the sympathy of the Cardinal Archbishop and of the Franciscan Fathers. The Rev. Father Francis, 0.S.F., the Friary, Stratford, will receive and acknowledge donations. The Tablet 17 July 1886 Sophia and Elizabeth are still there in 1891, with Sophia now Superioress and dressmaker. Living with them is a 9 year-old boy, Vincent Patrick O’Connor - was he the child of one of their rescued women whom they adopted? In 1901 there is no number 17 Water Lane in the census, instead is written in Board Schools, so presumably sufficient funds for the longer term running of the Home weren’t forthcoming. Sophia and Elizabeth have moved to 155 Romford Road and appear to be running a lodging house. Vincent, now 19, is still living with them and gives his occupation as Catholic organist. He married Flora Emma Ramsay in West Ham in 1903, and in 1911 with four children they are living at 12 Upton Avenue, Forest Gate. He is working as a General Correspondence and Advertisement Clerk for a church publishing and furnishing company and boarding with the family are two now very elderly ladies, Sophia Ingersole and Elizabeth Johnson. Sophia died in West Ham in 1914.
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