1881 agricultural labourer and shepherd…but tragedy looms
By 1881 the Merediths, Joseph and Ann were living at Checkhill – not far from where Ashwood Nurseries are today. The Hills were alive and well and living at Highgrove – between Kinver and the Whitington pub.
But tragedy was not far away for the Meredith family. Two young children were to die, whilst there mother was to suffer a still born child within two months.
The family bible records that Ellen L Meredith, just 1 year old when recorded in this sentence, was to die on January 12th 1884. Within a month on 5th February a second blow hit the family. George Meredith, aged just eight days short of his third birthday. Two months after that and a child was delivered still born to Joseph and Ann. A truly tragic time.
The excellent website A Vision of Britain Through Time produces statistics based on enumeration districts gives a good breakdown of age in Kinver at this time. This shows that the distribution of ages was not unusual. Many families did have young children.
Sadly though the infant mortality rate was also high. One can only assume that the child death rate was also high. But it is doubtful whether the higher child death rates at the time made the loss any less traumatic for the parents of those involved.
1881 Census – Checkhill Kinver
Joseph Meredith, Head, Married, 39, Ag La, Staffordshire, Wollaston
Ann Meredith, Wife, Married, 39, Staffs Enville
Joseph, Son, 10, Scholar, Staffs Kinver
Maria, Daughter, 8, Staffs Brierley Hill
Caroline M Meredith, daughter,6, Scholar, Staffs Brierley Hill
Edward Meredith, son, 3, Staffs Brierley Hill
Ellen L Meredith, Daughter, 1, Staffs Enville
1881 Census – Highgrove, Kinver – High Grove Farm (Ecclesiatical District of Whittington)
Alfred Hill, Head, Married, 28, Shepherd, Staffordshire, Wolverley
Alice Hill, Wife, Married, 26, Warwickshire Stratford on Avon
Ada K Hill, Daughter, 4, Worcestershire, Hagley
Alice M Hill, Daughter 2, Worcestershire, Hagley