Sarah Oriel

Friend of the Borrows in London

Please note that although the dates and places in this note come from usually reliable sources, no checking has been done and there may be mix-ups.

On 19 September 1792 Mary Ann Oriel was born to Philip and Elizabeth Ann Oriel at Sunbury, and was christened at Sunbury on 22 October 1792. [1]  Nothing further is known of Mary Ann, and it’s presumed she died in childhood.

On 27 January 1795, Philip and Elizabeth Ann had a second daughter, Elizabeth, who was christened on 29 June 1796 at Saint Botolph without Aldersgate, London. [2]  As their next two children would be christened in Sunbury, Elizabeth might have been born in Sunbury, but for some reason not christened for over a year.

In the late 1700’s Sunbury, Middlesex, was a small settlement on the north bank of the river Thames, some 14 miles S.W. of Kensington.  The area was largely arable with a few large mansions, such as Kempton Park.  It was here, on 9 February 1797 that the Oriel’s third child was born: Maria Francis Oriel, being christened on 21 April 1797. [3]

At this time the Enclosure Act had not been applied to Sunbury but domestic pressures (the Napoleonic Wars were taking place) led the government to survey Sunbury in 1801, with a view to applying the act.  The survey found Sunbury to have 870 acres with the major uses being: [4]

Crop

Acreage

Wheat

312

Barley

290

Peas

99½

Oats

58

Beans

48

The Government applied the Enclosure Act in 1803, but just before it did, and into this rural scene, Sarah Oriel, the last child of Philip and Elizabeth Ann was born, on 26 April 1802 and duly christened, probably at St. Mary’s, the parish church which overlooks the Thames, on 7 July 1802. [5]

On 11 August 1809, Eliza Bloxholm was born in Sunbury. [6]  The Oriel’s must have known the Bloxholm’s and it would seem that Eliza and Sarah Oriel became lifelong friends.  Eliza would remain in Sunbury for many years: she was still there in 1861. [7]

Nothing further has been found about Philip and Elizabeth Ann Oriel, but as they had been living in Sunbury since 1792 it’s probable that they both died before 1837 (when more detailed civil records begin) and were buried in St. Mary’s church.

Saint Mary’s church, Sunbury on Thames, March 2015

Whatever happened to the parents, the first record of the daughters is the 1841 census, when all three are living at 48 Upper Manor Street, Chelsea.  Elizabeth’s age is given as 46, Maria 44, and Sarah 39—note that they are all unmarried.  Chelsea at this time still had fields, but was a more developed Thames-side settlement than Sunbury. [8]

All three sisters are missing from the 1851 census, and it’s possible they had gone abroad for a time.

In 1860 Elizabeth Oriel, the eldest of the sisters, died, and was buried on 3 December 1860 in the newly-opened Brompton Cemetery. [9]  When the 1861 census was taken, Maria Francis and Sarah were still living together, but were now at 4 Seymour Place, Brompton.  Seymour Place was later renamed Seymour Walk and is just off the Fulham Road, and so on the Brompton/Chelsea “border.”  As would be expected, Maria Francis is the “head” of the household, being the elder sister. [10]

The 1863 Simpson’s Chelsea and Pimlico Directory has “Miss Oriel” at 4 Seymour place, with Miss Oriel presumably being Maria Francis Oriel.

In 1864 Maria Francis died, and was buried in Elizabeth’s grave in Brompton cemetery on 20 May 1864. [11]

At some point (would have to be between 1846 and 1865) George Borrow wrote a letter to his wife:

To Mrs. George Borrow
Oxford, Feb. 2nd.

Dear Carreta,—I reached this place yesterday and hope to be home to-night (Monday).  I walked the whole way by Kingston, Hampton, Sunbury (Miss Oriel’s place), Windsor, Wallingford, etc., a good part of the way was by the Thames. There has been much wet weather. Oxford is a wonderful place. Kiss Hen., and God bless you!

source: George Borrow and His Circle, p. 319

So whenever the letter was written, both George and Mary Borrow were friends with at least one of the Oriels, and knew them well enough to know about the Sunbury connection.  In a properly dated letter (26 July 1866) Mary Borrow, then in Belfast, wrote to George, then in Scotland:

“I have heard a satisfactory account of our house in Hereford sqre from our kind & trusty friend Sarah Oriel”

source: Forthcoming Lavengro Press book

By this stage Sarah would have been the only remaining Oriel, and was certainly living in the vicinity of Hereford Square, Brompton, the Borrow’s home.  It’s reasonable, though not certain, that George’s early reference to “Miss Oriel’s Place” was with Sarah in mind.

In the 1871 census Sarah, now 69, [12] is living as a lodger at 308 (possibly 309) Ifield Road, Brompton, which was the road next to the east side of Brompton Cemetery.  Interestingly,  Eliza Bloxholm, then 55, from the old Sunbury days, is living with her as a border.  The head of the house is William Ogalbe, 36, whose occupation looks to be “Clicker.” [13]

Sarah Oriel died in early 1871 and was buried on 17 April 1871 in Brompton Cemetery, in the same grave as Elizabeth and Maria Francis. [14]  Mary and George Borrow are also buried in Brompton Cemetery.

For Further Research

1.  Tracing the Oriel sisters in Chelsea/Brompton via the rate-books.  This will hopefully give the years they occupied the properties: the current census/directory dates are too wide.  Could also do with a few photographs of the properties.

2.  Given Borrow’s reference to “Miss Oriel’s place” it sounds as if the Oriel’s still owned property in Sunbury.  Need to check at the London Metropolitan Archives (pre-1960 Sunbury records at not at the Surrey History Centre, Woking).

3.  Need to check the Chelsea newspapers around the possible death date of Sarah Oriel to see if anything turns up - unlikely.

4.  At the time of writing I (David) think the Borrow’s attended Saint Mary the Boltons church.  Given the Oriel addresses, and that they were obviously a Church of England family, it’s likely they would also have attended Saint Mary’s.  Hence this is the most likely place where they would meet.

5.  Where did the Oriel’s get their money from?  There’s no sign of them working so far, and perhaps they were living off inherited income?  If so, the Philip Oriel would have to have been a man of substance (unless there’s a rich uncle!)

6.  Was their a will for any of the Oriels?  If so, that would give some idea of the money they had.

7.  Where were they in 1851?

8.  Exactly where in Brompton Cemetery is the grave?  Could do with a photograph and the inscription might have further information.

Notes and Sources

A very useful history of Sunbury is Sunbury, Shepperton and Littleton 1800–1961 by Stephen Goddard (the Project 80 Appeal reprint).

[1]  Source: FamilySearch.org: Mary Ann Oriel, born 19 September 1792, parents Philip and Elizabeth Ann Oriel.  Christened at Sunbury, 22 October 1792.

[2]  Source: FamilySearch.org: Elizabeth Oriel, born 27 January 1795, parents Philip and Elizabeth Ann Oriel.  Christened at Saint Botolph without Aldersgate, London on 29 June 1796.

[3]  Source: FamilySearch.org: Maria Francis Oriel, born 9 February 1797, parents Philip and Elizabeth Ann Oriel.  Christened 21 April 1797 Sunbury on Thames.

[4]  Sunbury, Shepperton and Littleton 1800–1961 page 5.

[5]  Source: FamilySearch.org: Sarah Oriel, born 26 April 1802, christened 7 July 1802, [Ancestry.com has St. Mary], Sunbury on Thames.  Parents Philip and Elizabeth Oriel.

[6]  Source: FamilySearch.org: Eliza Bloxholm, born 11 August 1809, christened 12 September 1809 Sunbury on Thames.  Parents Robert and Sarah Bloxholm.

[7]  Source: FamilyHistory.org 1841 census: Eliza Bloxholm is still in Sunbury at this point, aged 30.  Sunbury is in the Staines registration district.  In the 1861 Census (also FamilyHistory.org) she’s aged 48 and is head of house, in the parish of Saint Mary, Sunbury.

[8]  The 1841 census reference is Chelsea north west, piece 688, book 4, folio 14, page number 22.  Manor street has been completely redeveloped since that time, and if the street numbering hasn’t changed 48 (south of King’s Road) would have been on the west side, about where the Peabody Trust flats and Flood street now stand.  If on the north side (likely as it’s Upper Manor Street) of King’s Road it was perhaps near the church.

[9]  Source: DeceasedOnLine.com: Elizabeth Oriel buried in Brompton Cemetery 3 December 1860.

[10]  The 1861 census reference is Brompton, ED 13, Piece 22, Folio 9, Page Number 10.  The record for 4 Seymour Place being:

Name

Role

Condition

Age

Occupation

Birthplace

Marie Francis Oriel

Head of family

un.

64

Land[?] holder

Sunbury

Sarah Oriel

Sister

un.

59

ditto

Sunbury

The “Land” bit above is not very readable and a guess: the second word is certainly holder.

[11]  Source: DeceasedOnLine.com: Maria Frances Oriel is buried 20 May 1864 in Brompton Cemetery.

[12]  The 1871 census reference is Kensington/Brompton, ED, institution or vessel: 17; Piece (bundle): 55; Folio 30; Page 51.  The full household being:

Name

Role

Gender

Age

Occupation

Birthplace

William Ogalbe

Self

M

36

Clicker

Holborn, Middlesex

Jane Ogalbe

Wife

F

38

 

Clerkenwell, Middlesex

Jane Ogalbe

Daughter

F

16

Servant

Islington, Middlesex

William Ogalbe

Son

M

12

Page

Holborn

Ellen Ogalbe

Daughter

F

8

 

Holborn

Mary Skinner

Wife

F

46

None

Alwington, Devonshire

Ellen Skinner

Daughter

F

15

 

Bristol, Gloucestershire

John Skinner

Son

M

13

 

Bristol, Gloucestershire

William Skinner

Son

M

11

 

Bristol, Gloucestershire

Louisa Skinner

Daughter

F

4

 

Kensington

Sarah Oriel

Lodger

F

69

 

St. Michel [Pesese?] Sunbury

Eliza Bloxholm

Boarder

F

55

 

St. Michel [Pesese?] Sunbury

Mary P H Press

 

F

64

Nurse

South Molton, Devon

Emma Perry

 

F

16

 

Lambeth, Surrey

Unfortunately the microfilm copy has lost the left-margin and the house number is not available, but there are six uninhabited houses after the above, and the next page starts with house 314 (inhabited): hence the guess at 308 or 309.  The previous page ends with 308.

[13]  The census enumerator’s writing is not very clear.  The first part of the word is “Clic” and the rest could be “ker”, “vier” etc.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines a clicker as being:

a.  A shopkeeper’s tout;

b.  A foreman shoemaker who cuts out the leather;

c.  A compositor in charge of a companionship who distributes the copy etc.

[14]  Source: DeceasedOnLine.com: Sarah Oriel was buried in Brompton Cemetery on 17 April 1871.  There were 2 other people in the grave.