Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Taphophile Tragics - Henry and Elizabeth Hunter - The Reform Public House

Monument to Henry and Elizabeth Hunter, St Luke's Churchyard, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England.
"In Loving Memory Of Henry Hunter who died October 11th 1883 added 57 years - Asleep in Jesus - Also Elizabeth Hunter wife of the above who died June 26th 1903 aged 75 years."
Henry Hunter was born in 1827 in North Pickerham, Norfolk to John Hunter, an agricultural labourer, and his wife Elizabeth Simmons.
Henry first appears on the 1841 Census aged fifteen living with his parents and siblings, William, Harriet, Charles and Edward, in North Pickerham, Norfolk.
In 1851 Henry has left the family home to work for the Reverend Henry Say, the Rector of North Pickerham, as a groom.  Working in the same household as a cook was Elizabeth Mason, Henry's future wife.
Elizabeth Mason was born in 1828 in Wiggenhall, St Germans, Norfolk to John Mason, an agricultural labourer, and his wife Mary Ann Smith.
Elizabeth first appears on the 1841 Census aged thirteen years living with her parents and siblings, Mary, Sarah, Martha and George, in Wiggenhall, St Germans, Norfolk.
In the October of 1857, Elizabeth and Henry married.  Their first child, a son John Henry arrived soon after in 1858, followed closely be another son, George in 1860.  A daughter, Susan followed in 1862 and in 1863 a second daughter, Sarah arrived.
In 1861 Henry and his family have moved to Water Oakley Lodge in Bray, Berkshire, where Henry is working as a coachman for Sir Richard Hall-Say, the nephew of the Reverend Henry Say and the builder of Water Oakley Mansion (now called Oakley Court Hotel).  Living with the family at the time is Elizabeth's sister Frances.
1871 and the family is still living at Water Oakley Lodge where Henry is continuing his employment as a coachman for Sir Hall-Say.  Visiting the family at the time was Elizabeth's aunt, Susan Smith.
However in 1879 Henry had decided on a change of career and had become the Inn Keeper at The Reform, 44 Bridge Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire. John Henry had left the family home to work as a 2nd Coachman in London.  George is working as a barman at The Vine Hotel in Reading, Berkshire. I am unable to locate Susan on the 1881 Census. 
Sadly, just two years later, Henry was to pass away on 11th October 1883.
In 1888 Susan Hunter married Thomas Wright, a carpenter and joiner, in Maidenhead, Berkshire.
1891 and the widowed Elizabeth has taken over the running of The Reform public house, along with her son George.
Elizabeth and George are still running The Reform together in 1901, this time employing a live in bar keeper, Ernest Wheeler.  Just two years later in 1903, Elizabeth followed her husband to the grave.
The Slough, Eton and Windsor Observer reported on 4th July 1903 -
"Death Of An Old Resident - We regret to have to record the death of another old Maidenhead resident, Mrs. Elizabeth Hunter, that occurred at her residence, The Reform, Bridge Road on Friday Last.  Mrs. Hunter, who was 75 years of age, had resided at The Reform for over 20 years.  The house was kept by her late husband, Mr. Henry Hunter, from 1879 until his death in October 1883.  since the latter date, Mrs. Hunter has carried on the business with the help of her son, Mr. George Hunter.  The funeral took place on Tuesday at St. Luke's church.  The body was interred in the grave where lie the remains of the deceased's husband.  The mourners included Mr. George Hunter (son), Mrs. Wright (daughter)and Mr. Grinstead; and the following members of the Maidenhead Licensed Victuallers Society were also present:  Mr. J. Meeks (Chairman),  Mr. J. Maio, Mr. J. T. Cotton, Mr. Smith (Green Dragon), and Mr. W. A. Thompson (Secretary).  There were a large number of very handsome wreaths, including one from the Maidenhead Licensed Victuallers." 
George Hunter continued the run The Reform until 1907.


  1. Great to see where he worked as a groom. Are the pubs still there

    1. Unfortunately The Reform no longer exists. The original building that was The Vine Hotel in Reading still stands, but is no longer a public house.

  2. Beautiful old stone- and what an interesting story of this couple. Thanks for sharing their dash!

  3. 75 is a good long life. :) Thanks for sharing on Taphophile Tragics!!!


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