Rebecca (Culliford) Allen
Rebecca Culliford was born in July 1851 at Bath, Somerset. Rebecca married GGF1 – William Charles Allen on 21 May 1871 at the Parish of Widcombe church. Much of the material on Rebecca is detailed on William Charles page.
At her wedding Rebecca already had a chequered past, serving several sentences at Shepton Mallet Jail. First, in June 1867 Rebecca, just 16 years old, had received a six-month jail sentence for stealing a dress and an umbrella. Then, in July 1868 she was convicted for obtaining a dress worth ten shillings by false pretences from Sophia Wallace, and separately endeavouring to obtain another dress from an Ann Webb. For this she was sentenced to nine months and a day. Her occupation was shown as ‘servant’.
It is easy to dismiss these as trivial thefts by a ‘child’ and reflect on the harsh regime applied to someone who was clearly very poor. A few years after these first two offences, the 1871 census shows her occupation as ‘laundry’. She was aged twenty, still living at home with her 54-year-old labourer father (Walter Culliford), and her 50-year-old charwoman mother (Rebecca [Brockbow] Culliford).
However this excuse is less applicable for her subsequent charge on 10 Oct 1873. She was now twenty-two years of age, had been married to William C Allen for two years and her first child, Ada, was two years old. She received a two-month jail sentence in Shepton Mallet gaol. This was for stealing an umbrella at Bath on 3 October, worth ten shillings and sixpence, the property of Matilda Slade. She served her sentence until 12 Dec 1873. The register recording her sentence shows that she could read and write ‘well’. I found no subsequent recors of any misdemeanours by Rebecca.
The two went on to have thirteen children across the next 21 years – and 46 grandchildren!