Rebecca married my wife’s great grandfather William Charles Allen on 21 May 1871 and they had thirteen children together across the next twenty years.
William Charles Allen (1851-1935)
Rebecca (Culliford) Allen (1851-1918)
On 10 Oct 1873 at twenty-two years of age Rebecca is recorded as receiving a two-month jail sentence in Shepton Mallet gaol, 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 gaol register recording this sentence shows that she could read and write ‘well’ but also adds her ‘priors’. In June 1867 Rebecca, just 16 years old, had been given six months in jail for stealing a dress and an umbrella. In July 1868 she was convicted of obtaining a dress worth ten shillings by false pretences from Sophia Wallace, and separately endeavouring to obtain a dress from Ann Webb. For this she was sentenced to nine months and a day. For this earlier offence 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, but the prior offences were made while she was single and living at home.
A few years after these first two offences, the 1871 census shows her occupation as ‘laundry’. She was aged twenty, living at home with her 54-year-old labourer father (Walter Culliford), and her 50-year-old charwoman mother (Rebecca [Brockbow] Culliford).
However, the later 1873 offence was when she had been married to William Charles Allen for two years and her first child was born that year too.
At the time of the 1881 census William and Rebecca lived at 24 Bathwick Place in Bath. William was a ‘draper’s porter’ – presumably working with his father William Charles Allen, Rebecca was shown as a laundress and they had four children living at home (Ada 10, William Charles [2nd] 6, Walter Thomas 4 and Alfred A 6mths. I found no subsequent records of any misdemeanours by Rebecca.
|Note on shorthand acronyms being used in the DFB:|
– GGF1 / GGM1 – means first great-grandfather /mother;
– GU11 / GA11 – means eleventh great-uncle / great-aunt;
– 1C3 – means first cousin three times removed