There’s Only One Alfred Clay

On the face of it, Mrs Clay nee WHITWELL gave birth to Jane Katherine at the age of 43. Alfred the Second appeared eight years later. Hmmm. What’s this all about?

There are two christening sources attached to Alfie Two and both are correct. There is a transcribed source online that gives “Joseph Lewis Clay” as the father but the parish register is clear.

(This is not a facsimile of the original. I have moved the Clay entry to the top of the page for clarity.)

A third source shows Alfred and his two brothers as beneficiaries of their father’s will. Also correct.

Most Victorian children were christened in their first year of life. I wonder why Alfred chose to be received into the Anglican church at sixteen. And how long did the family live in York, fifty miles from home ground?

Mother Jane died in December 1858 and on census night 1861 widower Joseph Travis Clay is at “The Crowtrees”, Rastrick, with five of his six children. Only Arthur Travis is missing – probably away at school. Alfred’s given age is 19, not three.

Alfred was forty-three years old when he married Harriet HUTCHINSON at Kirk Braddan on the Isle of Man. Though ten years younger than Alfred she did not have any children. She died aged 71 in 1923, at Darley Hall in Darley Dale. Alfred was then still active as the oldest Justice of the Peace in West Derbyshire, and known locally as “the father of the Bakewell Board of Guardians”. Twenty months after Harriet’s passing, on the 21st January 1925, he married his housekeeper, 55-year-old spinster Louise Violet MORGAN. Death separated them before the year ended, three days before Christmas.  

Alfred was the last of Joseph Travis Clay’s sons to die and he appears to have been the wealthiest. His gross estate was sworn at a little over £140,000, about £6 million in today’s loot. He “made provision for his widow and certain relatives”. The contents of the house were sold and, when the Register was taken at the beginning of the Second World War, Louise was living with three unmarried sisters in Abergavenny, not far from where she was born. She died there in 1948, aged 79, the widow of the one true Alfred Clay.  

Measure of Man 61 · Arndale

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