THOMAS BALDOCK ROSS

 

Mayor 1848 – 1849.

Member of the Liberal Party.

Primarily a Nonconformist – Protestant Dissenter but later became a member of the established church – Church of England.

Thomas came to Ipswich in 1825 for business as an auctioneer and estate agent. He was elected in 1835 as one of the Councillors for the Borough and continued as a member of the Council up to the time of his death.

 

Born: 2nd June 1804, St. Nicholas, Rochester, Kent.

Baptised: 2nd July 1804, Zoar Chapel, High Street, Strood, Kent.

 

Father: Charles Ross, born January 1767, Dean Street, Shadwell, London – died 11th June 1808, London.

 

Mother: Mary Ross (nee Baldock), born 3rd August 1765, East Malling, Kent – died 6th March 1847, Stoke Newington, Middlesex.

 

ACORN WHARF

Charles Ross setup his business at Acorn Wharf Rochester in 1791, he successfully built his first warship for the Royal Navy, in October 1806. Charles died in June 1808, without a Will, leaving his widow, Mary with seven children from ages 16 to 4, and a business under binding agreement with the Royal Navy to build two more warships. Mary decides to act independently, by not hiring a manager for the shipbuilding yard, she took on the management and challenges herself. Under Mary’s management the private yard at Acorn Wharf completed the two large warships under agreement between her late husband and the Royal Navy. She challenged the boundaries of a woman in a male orientated ship building world, by winning five more contracts with the Royal Navy which she accomplished.

Ross Street, Rochester was named after Mary Ross.

 

Siblings:

 

Thomas and his siblings were recorded in the Dr. William’s Library Registry – births within the Protestant Nonconformity – 13th May 1817:

Edward Ross – witnesses – Richard Thomson – surgeon & Mary Ross.

Charles Ross – witnesses – Richard Thomson – surgeon & Mary Bailey.

Stephen Ross – witnesses – Richard Thomson – surgeon & Mary Bailey.

Sarah Ross – witnesses – Richard Thomson – surgeon & Mary Bailey.

Mary Ross – witnesses – Richard Thomson – surgeon & Mary Bailey.

Rebekah Ross – witnesses – Richard Thomson – surgeon & Mary Bailey.

Thomas Baldock Ross – witnesses – Richard Thomson – surgeon & Mary Bailey.

 

Edward Ross, born 14th October 1792, St. Nicholas, Rochester, baptised 25th November 1792, Zoar Chapel, High Street, Strood, Kent. A Farmer with houses and dividends. Edward married Rebecca Nixon, October 1789 – 1872, daughter of Robert Nixon, a miller. Edward Ross died 17th December 1861. Both laid to rest at St. Margaret’s Churchyard, Rochester, Kent.

 

Charles Ross, born 17th September 1794, St. Nicholas, Rochester, baptised 10th October 1794, Zoar Chapel, High Street, Strood, Kent. On the 1st February 1816, St. George’s Church, Gravesend, Kent, Charles married Bennett Rackstraw, 1796 – 1874, 7, Albion Grove, Stoke Newington, daughter of George Gamble Rackstraw & Mary Wilson Rackstraw (nee Bumstead), of Gravesend. Charles Ross died 1843, Stoke Newington, Hackney.

 

Stephen Ross, born 14th April 1796, St. Nicholas, Rochester, baptised 31st May 1796, Zoar Chapel, High Street, Strood, Kent. An Independent Minister. Stephen was called to the pastorate in 1855. Failing health necessitated his retirement in 1865, from the Broadway Meeting Chapel, Somerset. On the 17th February 1818, Stephen married Grace Gatwood, 1796, Tonbridge – 1876, Taunton, Somerset, daughter of Joseph Gatwood & Elizabeth Gatwood (nee Brandish), a Goldsmith & Watchmaker, of London and Kent. Stephen Ross died 1st January 1880, Taunton, Somerset.

 

Sarah Ross, born 16th October 1797, St. Nicholas, Rochester, baptised 1st December 1797, Zoar Chapel, High Street, Strood, Kent. On the 6th December 1821, at St. John’s Church, Hackney, Sarah married Horatio Charles Anthony Hardy, 1788 – 1850, Islington, proprietor of the Jerusalem Coffee House, London. Sarah Hardy, of 24, Sunderland Terrace, Westbourne Park, Paddington, Middlesex, formerly of 37, Gerarrd Street, Islington, died 8th August 1859, buried 12th August at St. Margaret’s Churchyard, Rochester.

HORATIO CHARLES ANTHONY HARDY – ‘that grand pompous bit of mud.’

After the death of his father, Charles Hardy, in 1810, Horatio became the proprietor of the Jerusalem Coffee House, Cowper’s Court, Cornhill, London. The Jerusalem Coffee House was frequented by merchants and captains engaged in the trade with China, India, and Australia. Horatio also continued the responsibility for publishing the Register of Ship’s Employed in the Service of the Honourable, The United East India Company – which provided the names of ships’ owners, agents and captains. The publication continued until 1834, when the maritime service ceased to exist.

 

In 1995, letters written by Horatio between January 1833 – February 1835 were discovered. The letters kept partners William Jardine & James Matheson, of Canton, China informed of all the developments of the dismantling of the East India Company’s operations, which would allow private merchants like Jardine, Matheson & Co. the chance to import tea to Britain, which up until 1834, all tea was shipped to Britain by the East India Company.

 

In his book ‘London Coffee Houses,’ Bryant Lillywhite quotes from a letter in which Horatio Hardy, of the Jerusalem Coffee House, Cornhill is described as “that grand pompous bit of mud.”

THE PROCEEDING of the OLD BAILEY – 1674 – 1913.

11th June 1829, before Mr. John Ansley Esq., Alderman, prisoner Bryan Kennedy.

On the 25th April 1829, at about 2p.m., Horatio Hardy, of Stoke Newington, was walking from the Jerusalem Coffee House, Cornhill to the East India House, near Angel’s pastry cook shop, when he perceived his handkerchief, with his name in full length was gone. On his return journey to the Jerusalem Coffee House, he met James Blake Gordon, a Cooper, and Ship Owner, who had seen the prisoner take the handkerchief, with two others, out of a gentleman’s pocket. James Gordon laid hold of the prisoner, as the other two immediately went away. He gave charge of the prisoner to an officer at the Cornhill. The officer Thomas Herdsfield charged the prisoner with stealing the handkerchief. He was sent to Newgate jail to await his trail.

The prisoner’s defence – I saw it on the ground in Rosemary lane and took it up.

Bryan Kennedy was found Guilty of Pickpocketing Horatio Hardy’s handkerchief, value 3s. He was sentenced to Transportation for Life.

Bryan was born in Limerick, Ireland, a 15 years old, Roman Catholic. He was a 2nd year apprentice Shoemaker, 4ft 10ins in height, with a ruddy complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. Bryan was held as a hulk prisoner abroad H.M.S. ‘Euryalus,’ a prison ship for boys moored at Chatham, Kent. On the 28th September 1829, Bryan travelled aboard H.M.S. ‘Dunvegan,’ with 179 other convicts, 56 like Bryan with life sentences. On the 30th March 1830, the ship arrived at Sydney Cove. He was assigned to Mr. Edward Gostwyck Cory, of Patterson Plains, New South Wales, Australia. Later to Mr. Moorehouse at Newcastle. On the 3rd June 1843, at Maitland, Bryan was granted his Ticket of Leave. On the 1st August 1850, Bryan Kennedy was given a Conditional Pardon – he was 35 years old.

 

On the 6th November 1852, at St. Peter’s Church, Islington, Thomas gave away his 30 year old, niece Sarah Ross Hardy, daughter of Sarah & Horatio Hardy, of 37, Gerrard Street, Islington, at her marriage to 31 year old, James Isaac Bennett, a Shipbroker, of 77, Cornhill, London.

 

Mary Ross, born 15th July 1799, St. Nicholas, Rochester, baptised 6th August 1799, Zoar Chapel, High Street, Strood, Kent. On the 24th August 1825, at St. John’s Church, Hackney, Mary married George Christopherson, 1795, St. Clement’s, Ipswich – 1871, Ipswich. An Iron Monger, Justice of the Peace & Alderman, of Ipswich. George also served as Mayor of Ipswich for two terms – 1855-1857.

Mary Christopherson died November 1831, Ipswich, laid to rest 30th November 1831, at Stoke Green Baptist Church, Ipswich.

 

Rebekah Ross, born 20th October 1800, baptised 14th November 1800, Zoar Chapel, High Street, Strood, Kent. On the 24th March 1817, at St. Nicholas Church, Rochester, Rebekah married John Foord, 1797, Chatham, Kent – 1868, Rochester. A Builder & Plumber employing over 400 men. A Justice of the Peace and Alderman of the City of Rochester. Rebekah Strood died 25th January 1864, at Acorn House, Rochester, laid to rest at St. Margaret’s Church, Rochester.

 

On the 28th June 1864 – Coronation Day, a memorial drinking fountain was unveiled along the Esplanade, to commemorate the life of Rebekah, for her usefulness and kindness to the poor of Rochester. The drinking fountain, manufactured by Walter MacFarlane & Co. Ltd., Saracen Foundry, Possilpark, Scotland, had been funded by public subscription. It stood at a height of 9ft 6ins, with fine ornamental work, and included versus 14, of chapter 14, from the Gospel of John.

https://memorialdrinkingfountains.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/rebekah-foord-memorial-fountain/

 

JOHN FOORD & SONS.

John Foord, was a plumber and builder. By 1821, John had taken control of Mary’s Acorn Wharf, and used the yard to store building timber. Mary moved to Stoke Newington, London, allowing John and Mary to reside at Acorn House, Acorn Wharf. John and Rebekah had 5 sons and 3 daughters, all worked for the family business, which expanded into building and renovating. John Foord & Sons gained contracts from the War Department, the Church, and the Admiralty. They acquired land and set about manufacturing their own materials. John Foord & Sons prospered and became financially successful. John Foord became Mayor of Rochester in 1859.

 

Nephew – Rebekah & John’s eldest son, John Ross Foord, born 9th March 1820, Rochester. He was a Builder, Contractor, and partner in the family firm Foord & Sons, employing 580 men. John was also a Landed Proprietor, and an Alderman and Magistrate. He became the Mayor of Rochester in 1869 and 1870. John, formerly of Acorn House, died 23rd November 1902, at his home – Bridge House, Esplanade, Rochester.  He also had a home at Belderg Lodge, near Ballycastle, County Mayo, Ireland.

 

Nephew – Rebekah & John’s second son, Charles Ross Foord, born 1821, Rochester. He was a Builder, Contractor, and partner in the family firm Foord & Sons. Charles was also a Town Councillor and a Justice of the Peace for Kent.  He became Mayor of Rochester in 1872 and 1883. He died 14th July 1884, at his home – Satis House, Rochester.

 

Nephew – Rebekah & John’s third son, Thomas Hillyar Foord, born 18th October 1823, Rochester. He was a builder and contractor, and resided at The Botleigh Grange, Hedge End, Hampshire, a 100-acre estate he had purchased in 1868. Thomas successfully ran the London office, winning many contracts for the family business. By 1896, only Thomas and his eldest brother, John Ross Foord were alive, only two of their siblings had married. Upon the death of John, in 1902, Thomas was alone. He began to give his wealth away to the town and people of Rochester. He added to the funds at Rochester Hospital – for a children’s war, an operating theatre, and a hydraulic lift. He gave money to reconstruct the tower and spire at Rochester Cathedral (dedicated in November 1904) and paid for two more bells to be added to the existing six, and the restoration of the Cathedral’s clock. Thomas bequeathed money for the purchase of Eastgate House and to provide the reception of furniture and other articles from Acorn House and Botleigh Grange. At his request funds from his estate paid for Foord’s Almshouses, at Priestfileds, Rochester – opened in June 1927.

 

Thomas Hellyar Foord died 12th March 1917, at Botleigh Grange, Hedge End. He was laid to rest at St. Nicholas Church, Rochester. His name was recorded on the Foord family’s memorial at Section C of the churchyard. Hellyar Court and Foord Street are both named after Thomas.

 

When completing the 1911 census, 87 year old, Thomas wrote for his personal occupation – No occupation according to Lloyd George, I am one of the “Idle Rich.”

 

On the 12th May 1829, Suffolk, Thomas married Lydia Bullar, born 3rd March 1810, St. Clement’s, Ipswich – daughter of William Bullar & Lydia Bullar, of Ipswich.

 

Father: William Bullar, born 1773, Castleton, Dorset – died April 1858, Ipswich. A Gentleman, a Fire Office Agent, Landowner, houses and tenements owner (from Lydia’s moiety inheritance), at Patch Pightle in the parish of St. Clement’s, and an Alderman of Ipswich.

Mother: Lydia Bullar (nee Raymond), born 1786, Ipswich – died 9th August 1864, Ipswich.

 

Thomas & Lydia had 2 children:

 

Emily Lydia Ross, born 22nd September 1831, St. Clement’s, Ipswich, baptised 19th October 1831, St. Clement’s Church, Ipswich. In 1860, Ipswich, Emily married Horace Barker, 1817 – 1869), a Newspaper Printer – Bury & Norwich Post and Suffolk Herald, and Secretary of the West Suffolk Alliance Life and Fire Assurance Office. Emily Barker died 11th January 1904, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk.

BURY & NORWICH POST & SUFFOLK HERALD

In 1852, Horace Barker started to work for the Bury & Norwich Post. The newspaper had been established in 1782, by it’s first editor, Peter Gedge. Peter died in January 1818, and the role of proprietor and editor went to his son, Johnson Gedge. When in 1863, Johnson Gedge died, Horace became the proprietor and editor. Only six years later, in August 1869, Horace Barker died, and just like her paternal grandmother Mary Ross, Emily Lydia Barker, of 39, Northgate Street, Bury St. Edmund’s, stepped up to become the publisher and printer of the Bury & Norwich Post and Suffolk Herald, employing 17 members of staff, until 1885.

 

Walter Bullar Ross, born 17th August 1832, St. Clement’s, Ipswich, baptised 5th September 1832, St. Clement’s Church, Ipswich. A Solicitor and Clerk to Magistrates, Coroner of Suffolk, Vaccination Officer, and the Guardians of the Ipswich Union. During 1869, in his role as Clerk for the Ipswich Union’s Vaccination Officer, Walter worked hard and was instrumental in causing Ipswich to rank as one of the best, instead of as formerly one of the worst, vaccinated Unions in England.

Walter wrote two booklets about compulsory vaccination – quoting the legalisation passed in 1869, giving information and advice. In March 1871, the ‘Compulsory Vaccination – Hints for Its Systematic Enforcement.’ Followed by ‘The Vaccination Officer’s and Public Vaccinator’s Handbook,’ in 1875. Walter was also the author of ‘Occasional Verses,’ 1875, and ‘Compulsory Vaccination.’ Walter Ross died 27th June 1877, of ‘Firbank’ Dalton Road, Ipswich.

 

Nephew – Emily & Horace Barker’s eldest son, Horace Ross Barker, born 1863, Bury St. Edmund’s, Suffolk. When he first left Bury Grammar School, he entered the office of the Bury & Norwich Post and Suffolk Herald newspapers. He also taught Latin & Shorthand at local schools. In 1900, Horace took on the role as Curator of Moyse’s Hall, Bury St. Edmund’s, after Mr. John Jennings had resigned from the appointment he had had since Moyse’s Hall had open as a museum in May 1899. Horace catalogued and printed the museum’s collections; he gave short informal talks to children Saturday afternoons. In 1902, the excavations begun on the site of the Charter House, Horace joined the committee, and also helped with the digging. Horace became a well-known Bury figure, and an authority on local history. In 1885, he wrote the ‘History of, and guide to Bury St. Edmund’s. After his retirement, Horace continued as a Librarian at the Cullum Library, he was also a Sidesman at St. John’s Church for many years, and three years as Churchwarden. Horace died 21st September 1941, at 41, Northgate Street, Bury St. Edmund’s.

 

CENSUS

 

1841   Fore Street, Ipswich.

Thomas was 35 years old, an Auctioneer. He was married and head of the household.

Lydia, 30.

Emily, 9.

Walter, 8.

 

1851   St. Nicholas Street, Ipswich.

Thomas was 46 years old, a Magistrate, Town Councillor and an Estate Agent. He was married and head of the household.

Lydia, 41.

Emily, 19.

Walter, 18, in a Solicitor’s Office.

1 cook.

1 housemaid.

 

Thomas Ross died 8th December 1860, Ipswich.

 

Probate to Lydia Ross – widow.

 

Lydia Ross died 28th August 1891, Bury St. Edmund’s, Suffolk.

 

Probate to Emily Lydia Barker – daughter, of 41, Northgate Street, Bury St. Edmund’s, Suffolk.

 

SOURCES:

Image courtesy of Mr. A. Gilbert – Ipswich Borough Council.

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