When I think of this prompt, I immediately think of my paternal great, great, great-grandmother, Lucretia Susan Petherbridge Harding. I have always loved this name, and to me, it sounds like she was a person from the upper classes, but I think, in reality, she came from a hard-working, working class family. This is her story:
Lucretia was born on the 15th August 1847 in Horrabridge, Whitchurch, Devon, and she was the second of nine children born to William Harding, a mason (1823-1901) and Jane Ham (1824-1892). The Petherbridge part of Lucretia’s name originates from her paternal grandmother, Susanna Petherbridge (1789-1866).
Below is the 1851 census return, where you can see Lucretia living with her parents and older sister, Avice Ann in Horrabridge Village in Devon:
On the night that the 1861 census was recorded, Lucretia was visiting her grandmother, Susanna’s house, in Buckland Monachorum, Devon. Her father’s younger brother, Samuel, was living there, and his occupation was a tailor:
Ten years later, Lucretia can be seen still living in the village of Horrabridge with her family, and her occupation was a tailoress.
Lucretia’s family remained in the same area throughout their lives, whereas Lucretia moved to Hampshire. I have one possibility as to why she moved 180 miles away from her home, and that may be due to her husband’s work. James Francis Sparshott (1849-1924) was working for the removals firm, Pickfords in Portsea, Hampshire (his home town) in 1871. His work may have taken him down to Devon, which is where he may have met Lucretia. By February of 1872, he was back in Hampshire and had joined the army in Portsmouth, and on the 10th May 1874 they were married in Portsea, Hampshire.
Due to James being a private in the Army Hospital Corps, they were based at Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley, Hampshire:
In 1881, Lucretia was living in Victoria Road, Netley with two of her children. James isn’t recorded on this census return, so I would presume that he had been posted abroad at this stage:
Their eldest child, Edith had her mother’s name as her middle name.
In 1891, the family were back together again, and they were living at Netley Hospital:
According to Wikipedia, from the hospital’s construction until 1902, Netley Hospital served as the home of the Army Medical School, training civilian doctors for service with the army.
Lucretia last appeared on the 1901 census return, where she was still living at Netley Hospital with her family:
Lucretia passed away six years later at fifty-nine years of age.