Alice Sophia (Walton) STEWARD

Alice Sophia was the youngest of eleven children born to James STEWARD(123) and Alice Lacell (124). She was born on 14 Oct 1841 at Dover, in Kent 1, and died on 04 Feb 1931 at the age of 892.

The reason for the brackets around the name Walton above is, in Alice Sophia’s own words3 :

The name of Walton was from my grandmother. I was baptized by my father who disapproved of the church formula, and my aunt Mannning had me baptized at St. Pancras when I was about 7 years old and in her agitation she left Walton out. I was not believed but before my marriage a certificate was sent for and I was found to be right, my name being only Alice Sophia Steward.

Alice's baptism in on 19 Apr. 1848 at St. Pancras, Old Church is recorded 4. I have not checked the originals of these, but they agree with ASB’s memory).

In theory, Alice Sophia’s birth should be in the early records of the GRO, as civil registration in England started in 1837, but I have not found her there. In the early years registraton was not compusory, and many children were not registered.

Alice Sophia has quite a lot to say about her early life in the extracts from her diaries5. The family moved from Dover to West Cowes on the Isle of Wight when she was still young. She also remembered being at Reigate, Dorking, Brighton, Leamington and Tunbridge Wells. From there they moved to Bitterne, a village near Southampton. The move to Llandudno took place, ASB thought, in 1858, when Alice Sophia was about 17 and still at school in Brighton.

  Alice Sophia Steward thumbnail  
Alice Sophia STEWARD(6)

The marriage of Alice's older sister Jane to Philip RATHBONE (752) took place at Trinity Church, Bayswater, on 05 Jan 1853, and Alice was a bridesmaid, aged 11. Philip and Jane lived at Greenbank Cottage, Liverpool, of which Joy Robinson wrote6, "It was and is a lovely house, though hardly a cottage". There Alice spent some of her holidays from her school at Brighton, and it was to a ball there that she was invited, aged about 16, and where she first met Archibald BRIGGS, though she claimed to have no memory of this.

Archie knew Philip RATHBONE through the Social Science Association (a dodgy organisation promoting a very one-sided view of industrial relations and about as scientific as the arguments for the master race), of which Archie was Secretary (of the local branch?), and living nearby at his aunt Charlotte's house Elm House, Anfield, and was a frequent visitor at The Cottage. Both there, and in Llandudno, Archie must have had an eye on Alice, and it was at The Cottage, on 19 January 1860, when Alice was preparing to go to a ball at the Wellington Room, that he finally proposed to her7. They were married by licence on 11 Sep 1860 at Llandudno, the witnesses being their respective fathers, James Steward and Hanry Briggs. Archie was 27 and Alice 188. They spent their seven week honeymoon mainly in Scotland, a trip which Alice describes in some detail9.


1) Leaves from the Diary of A.S.B. - For her Family, by A.S.B. (Alice Sophia Briggs), privately printed, 1917. This book is about 320 pages long. I have scanned it and it is available as a pdf document, but not on the web. The birth place and date are on p.5.
2) National probate calendar 1931, p.424, via The entry reads: BRIGGS Alice Sophia of The Croft Dean Row Wilmslow Cheshire Widow died 4 February 1931 Probate Manchester 13 May to Donald Henry Currer Briggs mining engineer John Russell Scott newspaper manager and Dorothy Lacell Briggs Spinster. Effects £132443 0s. 1d. At today's prices this would amount to something over £6.5 million! Interestingly on the same page is BRIGGS Alice Louisa of Stanley Hall Yorkshire spinster died 25 July 1883 at Etoy near Lausanne Canton de Vaud Switzerland Administration Manchester 13 August to Dorothy Lacell Briggs spinster. Effects £305.
3) Unpublished notebook MS with additional notes on her family and relations. This manuscript I have transcribed, and slightly edited to improve its readability. It can be viewed.
4) Familysearch, based on FHL film 598171, which gives the date of her birth, erroneously, as 14 Oct 1843, which could be a transcription error. This film, one of several of the manuscript parish registers of St Pancras Old Church of which the originals are at the London Metropoilitan Archives, includes baptisms volumes 29-30, 1852-1854.
5) See note 1 above.
6) Relatively Rathbone, by Joy Robinson, Trotman and Co. Ltd., 1992, p.17.
7) Leaves from the Diary of A.S.B., see note 1 above. Pages 26 and 27.
8) Extract from the marriage register of Llandudno parish, and marraige certificate.
9) Leaves from the Diary of A.S.B., see note 1 above. Pages 30 to 38.

© John Stowell 2011             This file last edited on 19 June 2011.

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