William Charles ALLEN – Jane’s GGF1 – 1851-1935


William C Allen

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GGF1 – William Charles Allen
GGM1 – Rebecca Culliford
William and Rebecca’s children
The Major
William Charles Allen II
William and Mabel’s children
William Percy Charles Allen (1908-1983)
Francis Ralph Allen (1910-1944)
Reginald Herbert ‘Bertie’ Allen (1884-1957)
Dennis Roy Allen (1910-1944) – RAF navigator
William Charles Allen I – moving around Bath
Walcot, Bath



William Charles Allen was the eldest of the seven children of GGF2 – Thomas Allen and GGM2 – Caroline Baker. He was born on 30 Jan 1851 and baptised on 11 Feb 1851 at the Holy Trinity, Combe Down, Bath.

Holy Trinity, Combe Down, Bath



The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations opened in Hyde Park London in 1851.

Isaac Singer patented his invention, the sewing machine.

Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein died.


GGF1 – William Charles Allen (1851-1935)

William Charles Allen married Rebecca Culliford on 21 May 1871 at the Parish of Widcombe church.

William Charles Allen and Rebecca

St Thomas à Becket, Widcombe

By 1881 they lived at 24 Bathwick Place, Bath. William Charles is a 30 year-old draper’s porter (more below) and Rebecca (30) and Ada (10) are laundresses. They have three sons William Charles (II) (6), Walter Thomas (4) and Alfred A (6mths). [Where were Henry Frederick and Dennis, both born in 1879 (twins or Irish twins?), perhaps Dennis died in infancy but Henry Frederick lived until 1961?]

By 1891 they lived at 4 Margaret Buildings, Bath – William C and Rebecca were both 40, he was still a draper’s porter, Ada had moved on, William C (II) was a 16 yr old butcher, Walter T at 14 was an errand boy, Henry F has reappeared for this census as a 12 yr old scholar, as were Alfred A (10), Rebecca (8), Reginald P (6), Elizabeth (5) and there were three infants, Caroline (3), Frank (2) and Elsie 3 mths.

In 1901 they are still at 4 Margaret Buildings, Bath, They have been joinned by Elizabeth Amy Allen (wife of Walter Thomas) and their 2 yr old son William, William Charles and Rebecca are 50, they still have at home Reginald P (17) a fishmonger, Elizabeth (15) a domestic servant, Caroline (13), Frank (10), Elsie (9) and Kate (8).

In 1911 they have moved to 11 Gay Buildings Walcot, Bath. Wiilaim Charles is shown as 60 and Rebecca has suddenly gained two years to be shown as 62 – in error? They have only two of their children living with them – Kate (23) who is a cook and Frank (22) a motor mechanic (surely quite early for that?). But they also have a 9 yr old schoolby, Henry Lucas – perhaps a grandchild?




GGM1 – Rebecca Culliford (1851-1918)

Rebecca was born in July 1851 and baptised on 16 Jul 1851 at St Swithins, Walcot, Bath, Somerset. She appeared on the 1851 Census, as the third and youngest child of Walter (35) and her namesake mother, Rebecca Culliford (28), living at 19-20 Cornwell Buildings, Bath. In 1861 the family had moved to 3 Margaret Buildings, Bath.

Rebecca had a past, and had served several sentences at Shepton Mallet County House of Correction, which sounds more like an American name – it was where the movie The Dirty Dozen was filmed.



Shepton Mallet jail yard

At 16 years old she was admitted to the gaol on 17 Jun 1867 on a six-month jail sentence for stealing a dress and an umbrella.

On 23 Jul 1868, at 17 years old, she was again 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 at this time was shown as ‘servant’. These two terms were while she was unmarried, still living at home with her 54-year-old labourer father (GGF2 – Walter Culliford), and her 50-year-old charwoman mother (Rebecca [Brockbow] Culliford). In the 1871 census her occupation was shown as ‘laundry’.

In 1871 the family was still living at 3 Margaret Buildings, Bath, but this now also housed Rebecca’s daughter Ada at 7 mths old, we noted that she is named as Ada Culliford, not Allen. Ada Louisa was born in July 1870, and they did not marry until 21 May 1871.

However she offended again, stealing another umbrella at Bath on 3 Oct 1873, worth ten shillings and sixpence, the property of Matilda Slade. By then she was 22 yrs old, married, and already had two children – Ada Louise born in 1871 and William Charles II baptised on 16 Sep 1873. She was imprisoned on 10 Oct 1873 and released 12 Dec 1873, serving just two months. The register recording her sentence shows that she could read and write ‘well’. I found no subsequent records of any misdemeanours by Rebecca.

It is easy to consider these as trivial thefts under a harsh regime applied to someone who was clearly very poor. But caught three times?

Rebecca died in 1918 at age 66, and was buried at Locksbrook Cemetery in Lower Weston, Bath at plot no 222857509.



The two had a total of thirteen children across the next 21 years – and 46 grandchildren!

Ada Louisa Allen [Blay] (1871-1915)
George Blay (1871-bef 1901)
married bef 1892
Dorothy Blay (1893-)
John Reginald Blay (1897-)
– John served just 41 days of 1914 in WWI, was sent to Rouen but was discharged for having fits and a fractured hand.
George Noel Blay (1898-)

William Charles Allen II (1873-1938)
(more below)
Mabel Annie Stanton (1883-1962)
married 1908 in Bodmin, Cornwall
William Percy Charles Allen (1908-1983) (below)
Francis Ralph Allen (1910-1944) (below)
Mabel Rose Allen [Adams] (1912-1991)
Anthony Herbert Allen (1914-2003)
Audrey Agnes Allen [Sandle] (1918-1937)
Victor Bernard Allen (1921-1999)

GF – Walter Thomas Allen (1877-1930)
GM – Elizabeth Amy Perry (1880-1967)
married 10 Mar 1898 in Bath, Somerset
William Charles Allen (1898-1917)
Walter Reginald Allen (1902-1931)
Leonard Alfred Allen (1903-1939)
Percy Douglas Allen (1906-1956)
Reginald Allen (1908-1975)
Dennis Roy Allen (1910-1980)
Dorothy Gertrude Mary Allen [Iles] (1913-2005)
Phyllis Emily Allen [Eades] (1915-2009)
Margaret Ruby Allen [Macfarlane] (1917-1994)
F – Ivanhoe Wilfred Allen (1919-1996)
Henry Frederick Allen (1879-1961) no data on spouse or children
Dennis Allen (1879-?) no data on spouse or children

Alfred A Allen (1880-1967) (more below)
Florence Mary Ann Cox (1881-1947)
married 1906 in Hackney, London
Florence Irene Allen (1907-1907)
Gladys Rebecca Allen [Taylor] (1909-2000)
Albert John Allen (1911-1911)
Lillian Maud Allen (1913-
Alfred Allen (1914-?) died as a child
Doris May Allen (1919-1995) – went to USA?
Florence Margaret Allen [Franklin] (1920-1974)
Rebecca Allen (1882-?) no data on spouse or children

Reginald Herbert ‘Bertie’ Allen (1884-1957)
Rosina Emily Primmer (1884-1976)
married 26 Dec 1906 in Widecombe, Bath

Reginald George John Allen (1908-1992)

Dennis Roy Allen (1910-1944)
(more below)

Elizabeth Maggie Allen [Piles] (1886-1961)
David Robert Piles (1887-1956)
married 26 Dec 1908 at St Swithins, Walcot, Bath
Dora Piles (1910-1942)
William J Piles (1910-1910)
Daniel J Piles (1912-1965)
Charles Edward Piles (1914-2001)
Lorraine Piles [Terrett] (1915-2018)
Caroline Louisa Allen [Power] (1888-1978)
John Streatfield Power (1888-1954)
married Jul 1912 St George Hanover Sq, London
Georgina Mary Power [Humphries] (1914-1994)
Kathleen Power [Russell] (1919-2000)
Joan Power (1921-1921)
Ronald Power (1923-1923)

Frank Allen (1889-1938) Lance-Corporal
Emily Jane Dewey (1884-1977)
married 1915
Ethel May Allen [Jarvis] (1916-2014)

William Percy Allen (1921-2007)
Kathleen Alexandrina (1924-1988)
Betty Rebecca (1928-1996)
Elsie Ellen Allen (Humphries) (1890-1992)
Sidney G Humphries (1891-1939)
married Jul 1926 in Frome, Somerset
Katherine ‘Kate’ Allen (Millar) (1892-1977)
Ivan Paul Millar (1892-1955)
married 9 Dec 1916 at St Augustine, South Croydon, Surrey, England
Joan Millar (1918-)
Dorothy M Millar (1919-) – emigrated to Canada
Ivy D Millar (1923-)
Elsie M E Millar (1929-)
Joyce E Millar [Newcombe] (1931-)





William C Allen obituary in Bath newspape

Working for R Kings & Sons

The above local newspaper obituary for William Charles Allen, identified that he had worked as a porter for R King & Son of Milsom Street, Bath – for fifty years.

Milsom Street illustration c 1803

Milsom St and Bond St, illustration
from Jane Austen’s time in Bath

The buildings on Milsom Street were originally built in 1762 by Thomas Lightholder, they were grand town houses, built with three storeys, plus attics and basements, they featured mansard roofs and Corinthian columns. Most were later converted into shops, offices and banks. Today, #2 to #22 are Grade II listed.

On one side of Milsom Street was a terrace of twenty-one houses. Numbers 7 and 8 were redesigned to be used by R King & Son, ‘Costumes, Mantles & Millinery‘, running their store from c1850-1954.

The rather more famous Jollys drapery store was set up by James Jolly in Deal Kent during the 1810s. In 1830 he used his profits to to set up a seasonal store, to be run by his son Thomas, at 20 Old Bond Street, Bath. It proved successful and became a permanent store, moving to No.12 Milsom Street in 1831, where it traded as `The Bath Emporium‘ selling linen, toys, silk, cutlery, etc.

The R King & Son premises were later subsumed by Jolly & Co stretching to encompass Nos 7-14 Milsom Street. In 1970 Jollys was purchased by Dingles, and in 1971 Dingles became part of House of Fraser. The House of Fraser declined and was purchased by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct and, as I write this, there is still a revived Jollys trading in Bath on the site, but it is unclear if this will be sustained.


William C’s Death and legacy

William Charles died on 20 Jun 1935 at the age of 84. A local obituary suggested that he was known as ‘the Major’ presumably because of that moustache and the jaunty hat, pictured above.

The obituary identified William as then living ar 16 London Place, Walcot, Bath (this no longer exists) and that he left five daughters and four sons, all of whom had served in WWI.




William Charles Allen [II] (1873-1938) – Infantryman


William Charles Allen 1873-1938

William Charles (I)’s eldest son (Jane’s granduncle), and his namesake, was baptised at St Swithins Walcot on 16 Sep 1873,

William Charles II was a serious military man. He joined up at twenty years of age on 07 Jun 1893, enlisted in the 2nd Battallion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (‘DCLI’) and was initially posted to Dublin and later to Belfast as Ireland began in earnest to seek independemce. Gladstone had returned to power in 1892, and introduced the Second Home Rule Bill for Ireland in 1893. Despite the lobbying of Ulster Unionists it passed the Commons, but had been defeated in the House of Lords, by its Conservative pro-unionist majority.

In 1895 he was posted to India, earning medals for his 1897-8 service on the Punjab frontier and the Tirah valley (close to the Khyber Pass).

In 1899 he won the South Africa Medal having being posted to the Cape Colony and Orange Free State, where he would have participated in the Oct 1899 – May 1902 South African (aka Boer) War. The batallion’s engagements included Paardeberg, Driefontein, Johannesburg, the capture of Pretoria and the defence of Ladysmith.

William C Allen II with wife Mabel

British soldiers wading a South African river during the South African War 1899-1902



William Charles and Mabel Annie Stanton (1883-1962) from Bodmin Cornwall. married in 1908 at Bodmin, they had six children:


William Percy Charles Allen (1907–1983)
born in Cardinham, Bodmin, Cornwall
Gwenda Annie Giddings (1906–1990)
married 1935 (aged 28 and 29)
they had one child (name not published on Ancestry)

William in the Royal Artillery at Nottingham, and at age 60.

Francis Ralph Allen (1910–1944)
served in the Navy 1928-1944 – more below
Died on 23 Jan 1944, aboard HMS Janus, sat off Anzio, Roma, Lazio, Italy.

Mabel Rose Allen (1912–1991)
John Edward Adams (1913- )
married 1938
They had four children

Anthony Herbert Allen (1914–2003) born in Tidworth Wiltshire

Dorothy Drury (1916-1957)
married Apr 1940 at St Barnabas, Swindon, Wiltshire
They had two children
Audrey Agnes Allen (1918–1937)  
Victor Bernard Allen (1921–1999)  

In the 1911 Census Mabel was shown as visiting the Stantons in Cardenham Cornwall. The head of household is shown as Mabel’s brother Percy Stanton (30 yrs), a farm labourer, and their widowed mother, Jane Stanton (74 yrs old). Mabel was said to be of private means (presumably William’s army pay), she had Percy (3 yrs) and Francis Ralph (7mths).

On 3 Dec 1913 William C II was discharged at his own request and took a pension. But he reenlisted in the DCLI on 1 Jun 1915 and served through the rest of WWI. On 23 Feb 1919 he was transferred to the Army Reserve. On 28 Aug 1919 he was mentioned in despatches (London Gazette Vol 1 1920 p503). On 20 Mar 1920 he was discharged under General Demobilisation at 47 years of age.

By 1922 he was living at 63 Edinburgh Street, Swindon, Wiltshire, working as a general labourer at the Great Western Railway Works.

William C II died, in 1938 at age 65, of a haemorrhaging gastric ulcer at the Medical Fund Hospital in Swindon. This progressive hospital was to prove instrumental, and used as an exemplar, when the National Health Service was formed a decade later in 1948.



William Percy Charles Allen (1908-1983) – Royal Artillery

William C Allen II’s eldest son followed his father, by working at the GWR Woks in Swindon and in WWII joined the Royal Artillery.

William pictured on a GWR outing

William in the Royal Artillery at Nottingham

William portrait (young)

William at around 60 years old

He died of a stroke in 1983 and was cremated at Kingsdown Crematorium, Stratton St Margarets, Swindon, Wiltshire.



Francis Ralph Allen (1910-1944) – Royal Navy

Francis Ralph Allen (1910-1944)

HMS Janus of the Royal Navy

William C II’s second son (and Jane’s 1C1R), Francis Ralph Allen, joined the Royal Navy for WWII and was killed with many others on 23rd June 1944. He was aboard HMS Janus, a J-class destroyer, which was sunk by a German torpedo bomb after it had fired some 500 x 4.7″ shells into Italy across two days, This was action in support of the Anzio landings in Italy, coincidentally, earlier that same year Jane’s father Ivanhoe Wilfred Allen became involved in the battle for Rome and Monte Cassino in his Royal Engineer’s role.



Reginald Herbert ‘Bertie’ Allen (1884-1957) – Infantryman

Bertie was William Charles I’s sixth son, and also served the army, with the DCLI for thirteen years from 5 Jan 1903. This included a six-month stay at Gibraltar in 1905

His early military records show several minor offences – in 1903 at Bodmin he was drunk and used abusive language, in 1905 on Gibraltar he left the barracks without permission to get a tattoo. For the latter he was confined to barracks for seven days and lost a day’s pay.

In WWI he spent over a year in France from 4 Dec 1914 – 28 Dec 1915, being appointed a Lance Corporal on 26 Sep 1915. He received a World War I Medal, this recorded his service number as 7289.



Dennis Roy Allen (1910-1944) – RAF navigator

Bertie’s son Dennis Roy Allen, was a sergeant navigator in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in WWII.

Sgt Dennis Roy Allen
beside a Wellington Bomber

Dennis Allen’s crew: FO Thomas Curphey of Canadian Air Force (CAF); FO Gordon Sholte of CAF; FO Lloyd Lovering of CAF; Sgt. I W Lewis of Glamorgan (flight engineer); Sgt. Dennis R Allen of Bath; Sgt. Herbert Lambert of Leeds (wireless operator/gunner); Sgt Robert Wilson RAF of Midlothian.

On 11 June 1944 he and his Wellington Bomber crew had been assigned to 50 squadron, see the picture above it consisted of three Canadians, someone from Wales, one from Scotland, a Yorkshireman and a Westcountryman. They flew missions in June 1944: to Watten 19th June, Gelsenkirchen on 21st, Limoges on 23rd, Prouville on 24th, Vitry on 27th and Beauvoir on 29th. After an eight day break, in July: to St Leu de Esserent on the 7th, Thiverny on the 19th, Courtrai on the 20th, Kiel on the 23rd, Stuttgart on the 24th, St Cyr on 25th, Givors on the 26th and their thirteenth mission was to Stuttgart on the 28th.


Dennis’s Wellington VN-D is the one pictured in the foreground

They did not return from their fourteenth operation, on the 29 July. After bombing Stuttgart they were lost over Huchenfeld.

I owe all this fascinating detail to Dennis’s daughter Mary who had been told nothing about her father’s death but tenaciously delved into the records to establish this material. Her mother had remarried and discussion of Dennis had become suppressed, but Mary still had the desire to know what happened. Flying Officer Thomas Curphey, who was also lost, was her godfather.

Dennis had prepared a note to be sent upon his loss to advise that ‘he wanted his family to know that he went with a very brave band of men, and was honoured to do so’.

Mary received a letter from a local German Jeorg Mezger, who had been at the crash site in 1944. She travelled to meet with him and was shown the indentation in the forest where VN-D had come down. Jeorg had brought with him a metal detector and they collected the pieces (below) of the aircraft.


Bomber fragments that Mary discovered

Headstone –
Plot: Coll. grave 9. G. 23-28

The site is a national forest which was the reason it had remained undisturbed although many ‘treasure hunters’ had removed the larger ‘souvenirs’ of the wreckage.

She obtained eye-witness accounts (in German) provided by someone described as the ‘grave-digger’ and learned that the aircraft had broken up. The tail had broken away and the tail gunner was found attached to it by his parachute; he was nineteen. Bizarrely she met the grave-digger and shook the hand of the man who had removed her father’s corpse from within the wreckage.

Finally she went to the war cemetery at Durnbach, Gmund am Tegernsee, Miesbacher Landkreis, Bavaria (Bayern), Germany, it is located beside the north shore of the Tegernsee Lake.

The memorial says ‘sweetly sleeping, in God’s safekeeping, always in our thoughts’ – Dennis was just 25 years old.




William Charles Allen I – moving around Bath census to census

1861 Census

William is shown living with his parents in Bath Street, at 8-years-old he is declared as a scholar.

Bath Street, Bath

1871 Census

No luck, as yet, finding William or his famly at this time.

1881 Census

We find William and Rebecca living at 24 Bathwick Place, Bath.

Bathwick Hill, Bath

He is recorded as a draper’s porter (see obituary above), presumably working with his father, and Rebecca was a launderess.

They are shown as having four children living with them – Ada (10), William Charles (6), Walter Thomas (4) and Alfred A (6 mths). This is odd because we have Henry F and Dennis who would have been two years old (twins?). We could find no death date for Dennis, so perhaps he had died at birth. But we have a much later death date for Henry (1961). See below that he is however listed in the 1891 Census. So was he in hospital? Or was there some other reason for his not being in the house for the census count? Or was it a clerical error?

1891 Census

They are now living at 4 Margaret’s Buildings, Bath.

Margaret’s Buildings with the Royal Crescent to the left and The Circus to its right

The building was built in 1773 by John Wood the Younger, the architect who shaped much of Bath’s Georgian city. It formed an urban link between The Royal Crescent and The Circus. Wood, with Beau Nash and Ralph Allen, were prominent in helping to transforming Bath.


Today’s Margaret’s Builldings

Today it is a popular shopping area featuring many independent retailers. It is described, by some, as the ‘Covent Garden’ of Bath.

William is still working as a draper’s porter, but Rebecca is not shown with any occupation (if you can disregard raising eleven children!).

Ada, at 20, has left the home, but William Charles (16), still at home, is working as a butcher, Walter Thomas (14) is listed as an Errand Boy. Of school age were Henry (12) (who reappears!), Alfred (10), Rebecca (8), Reginald (6) [aka ‘Bertie’], Elizabeth (5), Caroline (3), Frank (2) and Elsie (3 months) [or Elise?].

1901 Census

They are still at 4 Margaret’s Buildings for the 1901 census as William and Rebecca enter their fifties. William is still a draper’s porter and Rebecca shows no occupation. Reginald (17) is still at home working as a fishmonger’s assistant, Elizabeth (15) is shown as a general domestic servant. Also shown as living here are Caroline (13), Frank (11), Elsie (9) and Kate (8).

1911 Census

The 60-year-olds now live at 11 Gay Buildings in Bath.


Gay Street, Bath – many now offices

Gay Street links Queen Square to The Circus. It was designed by John Wood the Elder in 1735 and completed by his son John Wood the Younger.

No 40 Gay Street is the location of the Jane Austen Centre, though she actually lived at No 25. Austen also lived in fashionable Sydney Place for three years, then had shorter stays in Green Park, Gay Street and Trim Street.

William is shown as a porter to a silk mercer, Rebecca as a housewife. Caroline is 20, still single, living at home and shown as a cook, Frank is shown as an unemployed mechanic, and they have a 9-year-old schoolboy living with them called Henry Lucas, who was born in Walcot (I could find no more details).



Walcot in Bath

A number of Allens lived and worked in Walcot, which was quite disreputable for many years.

The evidence from excavations showed that people settled in Walcot shortly after the Roman invasion in 43 CE but before the Baths and Temple were built beside the springs. The Romans founded a settlement that grew rapidly in the first two centuries into a bustling small town, capitalising on the tourist trade provided by the Temple and Baths.

The influx of people from the Roman Empire included highly skilled stone masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, potters, and glass makers, bringing with them new skills in stone carving, metal working and glass blowing. Trade and industry flourished and the area around the ‘Hat and Feather Yard’ grew to become a mix of workshops and domestic dwellings that remained in use until the fourth century CE.

In the 18th century, Bath was not just about its ‘Age of Elegance’, but was also the centre of unashamed licentiousness. A past where the great city’s historic streets were literally teaming with prostitutes. Walcot Street, Avon Street and the Holloway district of Bath were notorious as centres of the sex trade.

Prostitution was so rife in fact that by 1805, while Jane Austen was a Bath resident, a Female Penitentiary and Lock Hospital was founded in Walcot to address the problem. The Penitentiary offered prostitutes salvation from walking the streets in return for ‘honest toil’. The charity took in washing and ironing and the large garden behind Ladymead House in Walcot Street provided them with excellent drying grounds.

The first women admitted were Eliza Davey and Jane Matthews, both aged seventeen. The youngest, in March 1820, was described as an ‘unconsenting little sufferer of only nine years old’. 

St Swithins, Walcot

The girls of the town lived amongst people struggling to make an honest survival against all the odds of the time in places such as Hat & Feather* Yard off Walcot Street, described at the time as a ‘harbour of thieves, prostitutes, and characters of the worst descriptions, and a receptacle for stolen property’ where the language was ‘most offensive to persons passing by, particularly on Sabbath days’. [Source: BBC]

The ex-Hat & Feather, Walcot, Bath

[Aside Margaret Ruby [Allen] Macfarlane (Ivan’s sister) was the landlady of the Hat & Feather for many years.]




Go to Allen Family TreeForward to GGF2 – Thomas AllenBack to GF – Walter T Allen
Go to Culliford Family TreeForward to GGM1 – Rebecca Culliford
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