A Comedian

1934_PEARSONmaude_flower containerMany years may have passed since flowers were placed in this marble container. Names on three sides remember Frank, Thomas C. and Maude PEARSON.

Maude, a first cousin three times removed to Wrightson Pearson but not blood-related to John of the Three Wives, (go figure), married a WILKINS from Essex. A recent additional stone remembers Ray, who died in 2006. Maude died eight years ago.

None of these St Oswald’s churchyard people has places on the FamilySearch Tree yet, so I set about putting their jigsaw pieces together. I found some of them in the nation’s capital.

Raymond Parker Wilkins was the son of Gerald Douglas Wilkins and Sabina UMPLEBY and grandson of Frederick Robinson Wilkins and Hannah Elizabeth GOLLEDGE.

In 1901, Gerald was three years old, living with his parents at 7 Cormont Road, Lambeth. Visiting the family and snared by the enumerator were Richard and Elsie DOUGLAS. Within minutes of wondering if Gerald’s middle name came from the Douglas family, I discovered Elsie was a Golledge. She was 28 years old and an actress. Her husband was the same age and an actor, but also a comedian. Elsie must have thought she needed a classier moniker for the stage and when she applied for the marriage licence…


The registrar would have none of it – the civil marriage record has her as Elsie. They married in 1894 and registered the births of two daughters in ’95 and ’96. The girls were not guests of the Wilkins family and I found no trace of any of them after 1901, until 1960 when the older girl died aged 65. Her death is registered in her birth name, but she had married one Arnold WALKER as a 19-year-old. Both life events occurred in Salford, Lancashire, where her father was born.

Salford may not seem the most romantic place to enter the world or leave it, but Richard Douglas was one of at least eleven children. He was the first to be Salford-born but his older siblings took their first breaths in Ireland, South Africa or Japan. (Their father was a bandsman in the army and their grandfather a sergeant in the same regiment.)

The “disappearance” of Richard and Elise/Elsie might be explained by an urge to travel to distant lands.

But another mystery remains. What relation was Elsie Golledge to Hannah Elizabeth? I haven’t found Elsie’s birth registration yet. Hannah’s father, Thomas Miles Golledge, was born in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Five years after he married Eliza Watkins SHEPPERD in Marylebone, a William J Golledge married Anna M DALE in Lambeth. Thomas worked as a boot machinist, William as a bootmaker. And William had also been born in Shepton Mallet. There is a gap in the arrivals of William and Anna’s children, between Eleanor Sophia and Walter Thomas, where Elsie would fit. Cousins then?

The Shared Tree, however, does offer the Golledge male line through Thomas Miles back to Stephen, born 1578, but Hannah is waiting at the altar – and Elsie doesn’t appear as a child of William Joseph Payne Golledge and Anna Maria Dale. Still a mystery.

And I wonder if the Golledge girls ever visited Filey.

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