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Lawrence - by John Gray

Names are in alphabetical order, using birth names. Married names in parenthesis.   


          Alfred William

b 1869 in Higham Ferrers.

d poss 3rd Qtr 1915.

Son of William Lawrence & Mary Ann Vaughan (bc 1813 in Hannington).

Married to Violet Anne/Annie Burrows (b 1866 in Finedon) in 1894.

Father of Lilian/Lily Maud (Hobbs) (bc 1896 in Higham Ferrers).

1871 finds him living in High Street, Higham Ferrers with his parents and five siblings.

By 1981 the family has increased by four and they are still living in High Street. Alfred is a scholar and those of his family that are old enough are employed in the boot and shoe industry.

He has lost his father by 1891, he died earlier that year. His grandmother, Elizabeth Vaughan, has moved in to help her daughter. There are only four of his brothers and sisters still at home, the rest have presumably married.

Ten years on and Alfred too is married, living in Commercial Street, Higham Ferrers, with his wife and daughter Lilian, he is working as a clicker.

          Annie (Parker)

b 1st qtr 1864 in Higham Ferrers.

d poss 2nd Qtr 1921.

Baptised 31/5/1868.

Daughter of William Lawrence & Mary Ann Vaughan.

Married in 1889 to Thomas Parker, (bc 1861 in Higham Ferrers).

Employed as clicker in 1891/1901.

Mother of Olive, who in turn married Stanley Woods and had one child, Josephine.

Childhood home was High Street, Higham Ferrers. After marriage she and her husband moved to Wellingborough Road, Higham Ferrers, next door to Arthur Lawrence.

At some time her sister, Ellen/Nellie Lawrence lived with her.


b 1865 in Higham Ferrers.

d 1949 ?

Baptised 31/5/1868.

Son of William Lawrence & Mary Ann Vaughan.

Married in 3rd Qtr 1887 to Mary Rose Clements. (bc 1861 in Rushden daughter of Thomas and Ann Clements).

No known issue.      

In 1891 we find him employed as a clicker and living with Mary in the “New Estate”, Higham Ferrers. By 1901 he and Mary are living in Wellingborough Road, Higham Ferrers (this may be the “New Estate” renamed), he is still a clicker.

There is a story that in the early 20th cent he ran off with a housekeeper, never to be heard of again!

Note: It has been suggested that Mary Rose’s maiden name was Pendered. The census returns etc appear to confirm her name as Clements.

          Auguste / Gus Denton

b 26/10/1896 in Rushden.

d 3rd Qtr 1955.

Son of George Henry Lawrence and Mary Ann Denton.

Father of Robert / Bobby Auguste (b 27/4/1925, d 11/11/1992).

Childhood home was in Grove Street, Higham Ferrers. Later, Gus lived next door to the Shoosmith family in York Road, Higham Ferrers and introduced Stanley Bates to his wife to be.

Auguste Lawrence Bobby Lawrence
Gus Lawrence
& son Robert


b 1846 in Higham Ferrers.

d 4th Qtr 1910.

Son of Thomas Lawrence (bc 1809) and Ann Boddington (bc 1810).

Married to Mary Ann Lucas*, (b 1845 in Higham Ferrers) on 25/7/1864.

Father of Florence (b 1868) and Dora (b 1871), both born in Higham Ferrers.

Employed as ‘Bootmaker’ in 1861 and in 1871 ‘Clicker’, living in Bunkers Hill, Higham Ferrers

By 1881 he and his family have moved to Kettering, living in 61 Lower Street, he is employed as a Commercial Traveller. It seems he did not make a success of being a salesman, for ten years later he has returned to being a clicker.

*Mary Ann Lucas is the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Lucas of Higham Ferrers (see Lucas details)


b 1st qtr 1862 in Higham Ferrers.

d 14/1/1942, Brighton, Melbourne, Australia.

Baptised 31/5/1868.

Son of William Lawrence & Mary Ann Vaughan.

Married 1884 to Elizabeth Ann Osborn, of Clifton, Bucks (bc 1860 in Bow Brickhill, Bucks, later (1871) of 16 Buckwell End, Wellingborough).

No joint issue but Charles was natural father of Albert Ernest Bates (b 1879) with Deborah Bates.

At age 9 he was living in Bunker’s Hill, Higham Ferrers. After school, in 1881, we find him living with the Knight family in Cambridge Terrace, Rushden. Described as ‘Lodger’ (crossed out in census and replaced with ‘Boarder’) and working in the boot and shoe industry. The term ‘boarder’ may suggest he was an apprentice.  

Unlike most of his contemporaries he rose through the ranks and in 1893 he became a partner in the Knight’s footwear factory, Knight & Lawrence in Manton Road, Rushden. When later it became a limited company, he became a director.

After he marriage, he lived with his wife and son Albert Bates, in North Cottage, North Street, Rushden (1891) and later in 51 Grove Road, Rushden. Once he had made some money, in the early 1900s, he had a house built at 15 Essex Road, Rushden. The house was named “Menton Cottage”, reputedly after his favourite holiday spot in the Mediterranean.

He and his wife had no children together but he fathered Albert Bates (at age 16!). Following the death of Albert’s mother and grandmother, he and his wife, took Albert into their home, bringing him up as their own child. In fact in the 1891 census he is described as “Son”, without any reference to his correct surname.

In 1903 he is living in 51 Grove Rd, Rushden, which is also the first married home of son Albert and his wife, Lucy Elizabeth Lucas. It also implies that 15 Essex Road was not built at this time, confirming some views and contrary to others.

Around 1906, he decided to retire and go to Australia, leaving London on 11th January 1907 on the RMS Orotava of the Orient Line, bound for Sydney.

It is thought that his wife did not go with him initially, following around 1914, possibly after he had settled. They lived in 17 Cluden Street, Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne, where he was employed as a carpenter (see Note below).

As a consequence of this move, son Albert and family moved into 15 Essex Road. (See note under Albert Bates).

Charles Lawrence Charles & Elizabeth in later life in Australia
Charles Lawrence & with his wife in later years in Australia

          Charles Lawrence; a postscript.

It is the view of some that Charles has had a ‘bad press’.

Probably as a result of the story surrounding his dalliance with Deborah Bates, he earned a reputation as a good time boy and womaniser.

As for his ‘seduction’ of an innocent country maiden, it should be remembered that at the time of the deed Charles was only 16 and Deborah 22. The question has to be asked; who did the seducing?

It has been suggested that he was ‘retired’ from Knight & Lawrence Ltd following a falling out with his fellow directors and this was due to his womanising and / or money problems.

Was he kicked out by the Knight family in 1906? Present day members of the Knight family do not think so and are under the impression that the parting was on entirely good terms, possibly on grounds of ill health.

If so, how did the story come about? The following story was told, quite independently, by two current members of the Knight family and so is more than likley true.

About the time of Charles’ retirement, William, a member of the Knight family was accused of a misdemeanour, possibly stealing leather from the factory. As a result, he was banished to Australia. This seems a harsh punishment for what seems a simple theft, after all deportation was no longer in use but this theft may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back!

Apparently, Albert Bates was given the job of escorting him to Tilbury docks to make sure he left the country. Albert was also given a sum of money to be put into the safe hands of the ship’s purser, to be given to the errant Knight on arrival in Australia.

These circumstances are very similar to the story surrounding Charles’ departure, could it be that the characters have changed identity?

Unless further evidence comes to light, we may never know!

Notes: Charles travelled to Australia in the company of 21 year-old Charles Spencer, a clicker from 13 Vivian Road, Wellingborough. Did the two Charles’ intend to set up in the boot and shoe trade in their new home? The fact that their tickets on the Orotava were numbered 143 and 144 respectively suggests that this may have been the case.

On the passenger list for the voyage to Australia, Charles is described as a “Boot maker”. On his death certificate he is a “Carpenter”. Should that have read “Cordwainer” and the word was mis-heard or mis-read by an Australian official who had never heard the term?


b Dec 1894 in Rushden.

d Dec 1903 Rushden.

Son of Frederick Lawrence & Charlotte Morris.

Died of injuries some time after falling off a swing and cracking his skull.

Home for his short life was at 35 Queen Street, Rushden.


b June 1879 in Higham Ferrers.

d poss 3rd Qtr 1942.

Daughter of William Lawrence & Mary Ann Vaughan.


In 1881 she is living with her parents (as Ellen) and family in High Street, Higham Ferrers.

She became a shopkeeper in Higham Ferrers and later ran a jeweller’s shop for the Knight Bros.

Lived with sister Annie for at least some of her life.

          Frederick / Fred

b 23/3/1867 in Higham Ferrers.

Baptised 31/5/1868.

d 31/1/1944, buried in Rushden Cemetery on 3/2/1944.

Son of William Lawrence & Mary Ann Vaughan.

Married Sept 1892, to Charlotte Morris (b 11/2/1870 in Irthlingborough, d 37/2/1935 in Rushden).

Father of Frederick William (b 1892 in Rushden, died as a baby), Edgar (b 1894 in Rushden d 1903, see above), Leonard Frederick (b 1897, d 1898), Sydney Arthur (b 22/9/1900 in Rushden, d 16/5/1970 in Northampton) & Gladys M, (b 18/7/1913 in Higham Ferrers, d 13/3/2005 in Selby, Yorks. She was ‘best friend’ of Joan Shoosmith, wife of Stanley Bates).

In 1881 he is living with his parents in High Street, Higham Ferrers and working as a “clicker”, by 1891, is described as “Clicker Shoe” and in 1901 he is “Foreman Clicker boot trade”

With brothers Thomas and George, he had an interest in Boot & Shoe Mfgs; Lawrence Bros (Rushden) Ltd, John Street, Rushden.

Had property in Queen Street, Rushden, No 35 being his home, No 37 was occupied by his son Sydney and family.

Fred Lawrence
Frederick in 1936

          Geoffrey Alan

b 13/3/1927, at 37 Queen Street, Rushden.

d 7/2/2003.

Son of Sydney Lawrence & Phyllis M Sharman.

Spent some of his early years in Kettering, moving on to Birmingham, Leamington Spa then Selby. For many years he was French teacher, then deputy head, at Selby High School. He had a keen interest in the local United Reform Church acting as treasurer and later a lay-preacher.

Irene, Geoffrey & Gladys Lawrence in the 1980's
Irene, Geoffrey and Gladys Lawrence in the 1980s

          George Henry/Harry.

b 14/11/1873 in Higham Ferrers.

d poss 1937

Son of William Lawrence & Mary Ann Vaughan (b 1857/8 in Hannington).

Married in 1893 to Ellen / Nellie Denton (b 1873 in Rushden).              

Father of, Cecil (b 20/7/1893), Edith (b 1895, d 1900), Auguste/Gus Denton Lawrence (b 26/10/1896 in Rushden, d 1955) & Enid Dorothy (b 19/9/1908, d 23/1/1992).

In his childhood he lived with his family in High Street, Higham Ferrers, by 1901 living in Grove Street, Higham Ferrers.

In both 1891 and 1901 he is employed as a clicker.

Became partner / director of boot and shoe manufacturers, Lawrence Bros (Rushden) Ltd, John Street, Rushden in the early 20th century.

Enid, Nellie & George Lawrence
Enid, Nellie & George Lawrence

          Gladys M

b 18/7/1913 in Higham Ferrers.

d 13/3/2005 in Selby War Memorial Hospital.

Daughter of Frederick Lawrence and Charlotte Morris.

Never married.

She travelled extensively during her life. She went to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in the late 1940s and early 1950s to teach piano and singing. Went abroad to Tenerife when she was eighty-nine.

Worked until she was in her late eighties as a music and piano teacher, working much of the time from her home in Northampton.

She was a lifelong friend of Joan Shoosmith, who became Stanley Bates’ wife.

A ‘proper Lady’, who liked to be called 'Miss Lawrence’.

Moved to Selby, North Yorkshire from Northampton after her nephew Geoffrey Lawrence died in 2003. Celebrated her 90th birthday and died there. She was always very independent and her favourite pastime was talking! 

She is buried in Selby Cemetery in the United Reformed Church plot and has a headstone.

She hated her middle name and always used the initial only. She was named after her aunt Minnie Morris.

Gladys Lawrence in Napier NZ c 1950
Gladys Lawrence in Napier NZ c 1950


bc 1731 at Shelton.

d possibly 1792.

Married on 1/8/1756 to Mary Wise (b 11/7/1736 in Shelton, Daughter of James Wise & Ann Rands).

Father of John(2) (bc 1768 in Shelton).


bc 1768 in Shelton.

d ?

Married on 17/8/1792 in Chelveston, Northants to Sarah Knight (bc 1775). Could this be the first connection between the Lawrence and Knight families?

Father of William Knight Lawrence, (b 17/8/1792 in Chelveston), Thomas (1) (b 1809 in Shelton), & Ann (bc 1814, also Shelton).

1841 census shows him living with his wife in Denford, occupation; grocer.

Note: The date of of William’s birth is shown as being the same as his parent’s marriage! Just in time, born in the vestry?!

          Leonard Frederick

b 1897 Rushden.

d 1898 Rushden.

Son of Frederick Lawrence and Charlotte Morris, who tragically lost three children.

          Lilian/Lily Maud (Hobbs)

b 3rd Qtr 1895 in Higham Ferrers.

d Poss 1966 in Blackpool.

Daughter of Alfred W Lawrence & Violet Annie Burrows.

Married to Leslie Hobbs (Outfitter) on 7/5/1925 in the Higham Ferrers Methodist Church. His age is given as 22 and address as 40 Griffith Street, Rushden. He is son of William Harry Hobbs, possibly born in Cottingham, Northants in 1861. It looks as if William’s wife was Elizabeth (poss b 1961, Rothwell, Northants), if that is correct, they may have lived in 18 Tyrell Street, Leicester, if so, Leslie was probably born in Leicester in December 1902.

At the time of Lilian’s marriage her address was given as 7 Wellingborough Road, Higham Ferrers. She is described as a draper’s assistant. Presumably the same shop as Leslie.

Childhood home was in Commercial Street, Higham Ferrers.

 Lily Lawrence
Lilian / Lily Lawrence

          Sydney Arthur

b 22/9/1900, Rushden.

d 16/5/1970, Northampton Hospital.

Son of Frederick Lawrence & Charlotte Morris.

Married to Phyllis Mabel Sharman 6/3/1926, Park Rpad Baptist Chapel, Rushden.

Father of Geoffrey Alan (b 13/3/1927, d 7/2/2003).

Bank official at Midland Bank, Kettering for 44 years. Retired in 1960.

Interests were bowling & piano playing. Was in Home Guard in WW2.

Home for at least some of his lifetime was 37 Queen St, Rushden, next door to his parents.


b 1809 in Shelton, Beds.

d ?

Son of John Lawrence & Sarah Knight.

Married 8/6/1829, in Higham Ferrers to Ann Boddington, (b Aug 1811 in Higham Ferrers, d 1875). Daughter of William Boddington (b 15/7/1782 in Wymington, Beds, dc 1866 Higham Ferrers) & Mary? (bc 1779 Wymington, d 1837 Higham Ferrers).

In 1851 described as “Agric labourer”, with same occupation in 1861.

Father of William (b 1830, died in infancy), Thomas(2) (bc 1835 in Higham Ferrers), Mary Ann (b 1836, married a Mr Penn), William (The second son with this name, b 1839, d 1891), Elizabeth/Eliza (b 1840), Sarah (b 1841, d 1843), Charles(1) (b 1846), & Eleanor (b 1848).

Living in Newland Street, Higham Ferrers with his family, by 1861 daughter Mary Ann has married a Mr Penn, she and her children, Elizabeth A (bc 1855) and George W (bc 1860) are now living with her parents. After this date Mary Ann and her husband have vanished and their children are living with grandparents Surely they both cannot have died?

In 1881, at age 72, he is living next door to his son William and family in High Street, Higham Ferrers.    


bc 1835 in Higham Ferrers.

d 1st Qtr 1894.

Son of Thomas (bc 1809) and Ann ? (bc 1811 one of six children).

Married to Rebecca/Rebekah Parker on 24/3/1856 in Higham Ferrers.

Father of Eliza & Jane (both bc 1857, see below), Thomas (bc 1867), Sarah Anne/Annie (bc 1869) & Alice (bc 1875).

In 1851 living in Newland Street, Higham Ferrers, working as a cordwainer. By 1861 he was married, living in Bailiff Street, Northampton and working as a shoemaker. He has two children, Eliza and Jane both shown as being born c 1857, were they twins? The 1871 census reveals his house now has a number, 39 and there are two more children, Sarah Anne & Thomas. Strangely Eliza is now shown as two years older than Jane, with birth dates of circa 1857 & 1859 respectively - which do we believe?

Ten years on and the family have moved to 15 Lorne Road, Northampton and there is another daughter, Alice. Thomas is now working as a clicker.

In 1891 the family are still in 15 Lorne Road but Thomas is now a self employed Grindery Dealer. Alas, he died in 1894 but his widow and daughter Alice are carrying on his business in the grindery trade. By now, all but Alice and Sarah Anne have flown the nest.

Note: Grindery is the term for the nails, tacks, ‘sprigs’ etc. used in boot and shoe manufacture.

          Thomas Owen

b 1875 Higham Ferrers.

d ?

Son of William Lawrence & Mary Ann Vaughan.

Married in 1905 at Thrapston, to Brenda Annie Hewitt (b 7/9/1879 at Hargrave, d 16/3/1968 in Grantham).

No known issue.

He lived with his parents and siblings in High Street, Higham Ferrers, after marriage he lived next door to the Wesleyan Chapel in Higham Ferrers.

Thought to have had interest in Lawrence Bros (Rushden) Ltd with brother Frederick. After the factory was sold, he ran a garage; Lawrence & Richardson, The Spencer Park Garage, Rushden.


b 1871 in Higham Ferrers.

d ?

Son of William Lawrence & Mary Ann Vaughan.

Married in 1893 to Louise/Louisa Pack, (b 1866, Higham Ferers). Widow of Thos M Pack of Wellingborough Road, Higham Ferrers, (who’s maiden name may have been Patenall, possibly a member of the Patenall family, propretors of WA Patenall & Son who were in the boot and shoe industry) who lived next door to Annie Lawrence (Parker) (see above).

In the 1891 census Walter Lawrence is described as “visitor” in the Pack household.

No known issue.

In 1901 is described as “machine-sewer boots”. Living in Kimbolton Road, Higham Ferrers with his wife Louisa and her child from first marriage, Winifred A Pack. Either staying or living with them, is a nephew, Donald H Patenall.


b 1839 in Higham Ferrers.

d 1891 in Higham Ferrers.

Son of Thomas(1) Lawrence & Ann Boddington. Married on 24/4/1859 to Mary Ann Vaughan. (b between 1838 and 1840, (depending on which census return you read!) in Hannington, daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Vaughan of Orlinbury).

William was unable to write, signed his marriage certificate with “his mark”!

Father of Charles(2) (b 1862), Annie (bc 1864), Arthur (bc 1865) Frederick/Fred (bc 1867), Alfred (bc 1869) Walter (bc 1871), George (bc 1873), Thomas Owen (bc 1875), & Ellen/Nellie (bc 1879).

There was another son, William (b 1860) who presumably did not survive.

It is interesting to note that Charles(2), Annie, Arthur & Frederick were baptised all on one day, 31/5/1868, together with Florence, daughter of Charles(1) and Mary Ann Lucas, daughter of Charles Lucas.

In 1851, William is an agriculutral labourer, living in Newland Street, Higham Ferrers, by 1861 he was employed as “Shoemaker” (also thought to have been lamplighter) and Mary Ann as a “Shoe closer”. In 1871 they are “Leather cutter” and “Plain sewer” respectively with an address of Bunker’s Hill. 1881 finds them both as leather cutters, living in High Street. Following her husband’s death in 1891, Mary Ann is described as being employed on “Household duties”.

          William Knight

b 17/8/1792 in Chelveston.

Son of John Lawrence and Sarah Knight.

Alas, cannot find anything more about William at this stage.

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