m. 12 Oct 1795
m. 7 Feb 1824
m. 19 Feb 1834
Facts and Events
Mary Swallow was born on 22nd January 1803 at Wheathampstead in Hertfordshire, daughter of Sarah Swallow, formerly Hopkins, and her husband William Swallow, a labourer. She was the third of nine children, although two of her younger siblings died young, and her older sister Elizabeth died aged 16. The baptisms of some of her younger siblings record that from at least 1814 onwards the family lived at Hollybush, a row of cottages near the hamlet of Mackerye End to the west of Wheathampstead.
On 20th September 1823, a bastardy order was issued for Mary's unborn child by a labourer named Joseph Hornet, and a warrant for Joseph's apprehension was issued. The baby, a boy named John, was born on 8th December 1823. Joseph was presumably apprehended and persuaded to marry Mary - they married on 7th February 1824. Baby John was baptised a month later.
Sadly, John died young, being buried at neighbouring Kimpton on 4th May 1824.
Joseph and Mary went on to have another son named John in 1827, but he too died young, being buried when just over a year old.
Joseph and Mary then had three children who lived to adulthood, although baptisms have only been found for two of them: William in 1829 and Maria in 1832. There was also a daughter Mary Ann, whose existence is known from the fact that her marriage in 1846 said she was daughter of Joseph Hornet and who appears in the 1881 census living with her sister Maria's daughter, who was described as her niece.
Joseph did not live to see the children grow up. He died in 1833, just a few days after Maria's first birthday. He was 32 when he died. Mary was left with three children aged under five to look after. At the time of Joseph's death the family was living at Batford Mills on the River Lea, right on the border between Wheathampstead and the neighbouring parish of Harpenden.
Less than a year after Joseph's death, Mary remarried. Her second husband was Francis Warner, another agricultural labourer. They married at Harpenden. Francis was about ten years older than Mary and was a widower with several children from his first marriage. Mary and Francis appear to have had three children together: Susan, Sarah and Sophia, although no baptism has been found for Susan - but she appears with the family in both the 1841 and 1851 censuses.
In 1835, when Mary was 32 years old, her father William died. He had been living at Hollybush where Mary had grown up. After his death, Mary's mother Sarah moved to Gustard Wood just north of Wheathampstead, living next door to Mary's brother William.
The 1841 census finds Mary living with Francis and six children (two from his first marriage, two from her first marriage and two that they had had together) at Cold Harbour in Harpenden, with Mary working as a plaiter, plaiting straw to be used in the local straw hat making industry. Cold Harbour is only a mile or so from Hollybush, and just along the river from Batford Mills.
Francis died in 1844, aged 51. Mary therefore found herself a widow for the second time at the age of 41. Just three months after Francis's death Mary's youngest daughter, Sophia, died aged just under two years old.
Over in Gustard Wood, Mary's mother Sarah died in 1848.
The 1851 census finds Mary living with three of her children and a lodger at Upper Top Street in Harpenden. She was again described as a plaiter.
Later in 1851 Mary moved to the nearby town of Luton. On 22nd November that year she was married for the third time, this time to a labourer named William Myers. He was originally from Kimpton, just north of Wheathampstead. Unlike Mary, who was twice widowed, William was a bachelor. He was also twelve years her junior - when they married he was 36 and she was 48. At the time of their marriage, Mary and William were both living in Luton, but they later returned to Wheathampstead, where they lived near The Folly, a hamlet to the west of the parish.
Mary died on 15th May 1857 near The Folly. She was 54 years old. William remarried the following year, and was still living at The Folly in the 1861 census.