Person:Fanny Worbey (1)

Watchers
Fanny Worbey
m. 23 Jul 1831
  1. John Worbey1831 - 1856
  2. Alice Worbey1834 - 1906
  3. Fanny Worbey1842 - 1922
  4. James Worbey1848 - 1928
  5. Emma Worbey1850 - 1924
m. 29 Sep 1860
  1. John Thomas Moles1860 - 1861
  2. Eliza Moles1862 - 1863
  3. Herbert Moles1864 - 1928
  4. George Moles1866 - 1929
  5. John Moles1868 - 1926
  6. Annie Maria Moles1871 - 1944
  7. James Moles1873 - 1928
  8. Ernest Moles1876 - 1954
  9. Julia Moles1879 - 1958
  10. Minnie Moles1883 - 1939
Facts and Events
Name Fanny Worbey
Gender Female
Birth[1] 5 Apr 1842 Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England
Christening[2] 27 Apr 1842 Hitchin, Hertfordshire, EnglandSt Mary
Census[3] 30 Mar 1851 Hitchin, Hertfordshire, EnglandThe Riddy
Marriage 29 Sep 1860 Hitchin, Hertfordshire, Englandto Thomas Moles
Census[4] 7 Apr 1861 Hitchin, Hertfordshire, EnglandThe Riddy
Census[5] 2 Apr 1871 Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England1 The Riddy Mow
Census[6] 3 Apr 1881 St Ippolyts, Hertfordshire, EnglandIppollitts Folly
Census[7] 5 Apr 1891 St Ippolyts, Hertfordshire, EnglandThe Common
Census[8] 31 Mar 1901 St Ippolyts, Hertfordshire, EnglandOsier Bed Cottage
Census[9] 2 Apr 1911 Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England5 Blackhorse Lane
Death[10] 30 Dec 1922 Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England5 Blackhorse Lane
Burial[11] 20 Jan 1923 Hitchin, Hertfordshire, EnglandHitchin Cemetery

Contents

Early life: The Riddy

Fanny Worbey was born on 5th April 1842 at Hitchin in Hertfordshire, daughter of Ann Worbey, formerly Stokes, and her husband John Worbey, an agricultural labourer. The family did not live in the town itself but at a place called The Riddy, an isolated hamlet in the south-eastern part of Hitchin parish surrounded by agricultural land.[12] Fanny was the third of John and Ann's five children, although there were significant gaps between some of the children; Fanny's next elder sibling was over eight years older than her, whilst her next younger sibling was six years younger than her. Fanny's parents may have taken a little while to decide her name; no name is given on her birth certificate, although they had her baptised as Fanny when she was three weeks old at St Mary's Church in Hitchin. Fanny may have been named after her maternal grandmother, Frances Everitt, although she never met either of her maternal grandparents as they had both died before she was born. Her paternal grandparents, George and Charlotte Worbey, were both still alive when Fanny was born; they ran a beer shop in the Walsworth area of Hitchin, not far from The Riddy.

When Fanny was born there were only open fields between The Riddy and her grandparents' home at Walsworth, but when she was eight years old the railway which would become the Great Northern Railway was built through the area. The Riddy lay west of the railway whilst Walsworth lay to the east, with only one bridge under the railway at Wymondley Road.

The 1851 census finds Fanny living at The Riddy with her parents and three of her four siblings. (Her sister Alice had already left home and gone into domestic service in the nearby village of Great Wymondley.) Also living with the family was Fanny's cousin Hannah Stokes. Fanny's uncle Thomas Worbey lived next door but one to the family at The Riddy. In 1852, when Fanny was ten years old, her grandfather George Worbey died. In 1854 Fanny's sister Alice was married at Great Wymondley to an agricultural labourer named Samuel Dearmer, and the following year Fanny became an aunt when her sister Alice had a daughter named Julia Dearmer.

Young Julia was to be the only grandchild that Fanny's mother Ann would get to meet. In 1856 the family was struck by death twice in the same year. In May, Fanny's eldest brother John died as a young man of just 24 years old. Seven months later Fanny's mother Ann died aged 45, and was buried at Hitchin a week before Christmas 1856. At the time of her mother's death, Fanny was fourteen years old, whilst her brother James was eight and her sister Emma was only about six years old. With Fanny's older sister Alice having already left home, Fanny probably had to play a significant part in supporting their bereaved father John in looking after the family.

Marriage

On 29th September 1860, aged eighteen, Fanny was married at St Mary's in Hitchin to an agricultural labourer named Thomas Moles. He was 22 when they married and was originally from the village of Willian, a couple of miles east of Hitchin. Less than six weeks after their marriage, Fanny and Thomas had their first child baptised: a boy named John Thomas Moles. The 1861 census finds Fanny and Thomas with baby John living at The Riddy next door to Fanny's father and two younger siblings. The house next door but one which had been her uncle Thomas's ten years earlier was now occupied by another uncle, James Worbey.

Sadly, Fanny's son John died when he was only six months old. The following year, Fanny and Thomas had a daughter, Eliza, but she too died when only a few months old. Therefore, at the age of 21, Fanny had had two children but seen both of them die as babies.

In 1864 Fanny and Thomas had a son named Herbert, who was baptised at Hitchin the day after Fanny's 22nd birthday. Herbert was the first of Fanny and Thomas's children who would survive to adulthood.

On 25th January 1865 Fanny's father John died of phthisis (tuberculosis), aged 57. He died at The Riddy, where Fanny and Thomas were still living. Fanny's youngest sister Emma was fourteen when their father died, and she came to live with Fanny and Thomas. Fanny had therefore lost both her parents by the time she was 22, although her elderly grandmother Charlotte Worbey was still alive.

Fanny had a son named George in 1866. The following year Fanny's grandmother Charlotte died aged 81. In 1868 Fanny had a son named John, meaning she and Thomas now had three surviving sons. At The Riddy in 1870 Fanny and her sister Emma were both pregnant at the same time for a short while. Emma had a daughter named Clara in summer 1870, whilst Fanny had a daughter named Annie Maria in January 1871. The 1871 census finds Fanny and Thomas and their four children plus Fanny's sister Emma and her daughter Clara all living together at The Riddy. Fanny was described as a straw plaiter on this occasion, which was a common occupation for women in this area at that time, plaiting straw for the hat-making industry. Her uncle James was still next door but one at The Riddy.

Some time around the mid 1870s, the family left The Riddy. Indeed, The Riddy disappears altogether as a place between 1871 and 1881. No trace of The Riddy has been found in the 1881 census. Where the buildings stood (as depicted on the 1844 Tithe Map for Hitchin) is shown as open fields on the 1881 Ordnance Survey 1:2500 map. Riddy Lane, which led from the town to The Riddy, became a footpath rather than a road.

Fanny and Thomas had sons named James in 1873 and Ernest in 1876. James's baptism on Christmas Eve 1873 is the last traced reference to the family living at The Riddy. Fanny's uncle James died in 1874, and his widow and children moved to Great Wymondley. Fanny's son Ernest claimed to have been born in Hitchin, quite possibly at The Riddy, but by the time he was baptised aged about three in 1879 the family had moved to The Folly. Perhaps the landlord of The Riddy decided it was more profitable to demolish the three or four houses there and turn the land over to farming. Therefore, the place where Fanny had spent at least her first thirty years had disappeared.

The Folly

Fanny and Thomas's new home was The Folly, about half a mile south west of The Riddy. This was a hamlet to the south of Hitchin mostly on the main road from Hitchin to Stevenage. It had grown up around a brick field and gravel pits. It was a sufficiently populous area to have its own small infant school, Sunnyside School. Fanny and Thomas's children attended Sunnyside School until they were about eight years old, when they transferred to the British Schools over the hill in the town of Hitchin.[13]

Fanny and Thomas lived at a cottage called Osierbed Cottage (sometimes also referred to as The Common or Ippollitts Folly), which was a reasonable sized home, having nine rooms.[14] It was individually marked on the 1881 Ordnance Survey 1:2,500 map and stood on the south side of Blackhorse Lane close to where the street The Paddock was built in the 1970s. As Blackhorse Lane is the parish boundary between Hitchin and St Ippolyts, Osierbed Cottage was just in the parish of St Ippolyts rather than Hitchin. An osier bed is a place where willows are grown for basket making, and Osierbed Cottage stood on the banks of Ippollitts Brook where willows grow. A modern street called The Willows stands a little east of the site of Osierbed Cottage.

According to the 1881 census, Fanny and Thomas's daughter Julia, who was born in 1879, was the first of the family to be born at St Ippolyts. Whilst Julia was born in the parish of St Ippolyts, the family continued to have their children baptised at St Mary's in Hitchin. The 1881 census also gives Thomas's occupation in a little more detail than simply "agricultural labourer". He was described as a "mole and rat catcher" which is perhaps a case of nominative determinism. Fanny and Thomas's youngest daughter, Minnie was born in 1883.

The year 1886 saw the first of Fanny and Thomas's children marry - their second surviving son, George, who married an Eliza Hoffman at Hitchin. In 1887, aged 45, Fanny became a grandmother when George and Eliza's son Thomas George Moles was born. In 1890 Fanny's eldest surviving son, Herbert, was married at Hitchin to a Sarah Goodship. Around the start of 1891 Fanny's daughter Annie had a daughter named Ellen (or Nellie), who was brought up by Fanny, being only about eight years younger than Fanny's youngest daughter, Minnie. The 1891 census finds Fanny and Thomas living with their youngest six children and their granddaughter. The two elder children had left home. Herbert and his family settled in the Queen Street area of the town of Hitchin. George and his family had had their first two children in Hitchin but by 1891 had moved to Southgate in Middlesex, in the rapidly expanding suburbs of London, although with a direct link to Hitchin as they were both on the Great Northern Railway.

On 27th November 1895, Fanny's husband Thomas died from traumatic 24 hour tetanus. He was 57 years old, whilst Fanny was 53 when he died. He was buried on 2nd December at St Ippolyts, as their home was in that parish.

"Granny Moles"

After Thomas's death, Fanny supported herself by working as a midwife and "monthly nurse". A monthly nurse would help out with the confinement and look after the new mother and her family for the first month after a new baby was born. Fanny was clearly well known for the work she did locally, and remembered for it long after her death. Emily Larman (1899-1996) remembered Fanny as "Granny Moles" when interviewed in 1990: Old Squibey Kingsley from The Grange was a smartly dressed man, a bit eccentric, carried a walking stick which he waved at the children. They were a bit nervous of him. He would often shout at them as they went by to fetch the midwife Granny Moles. She lived in a cottage just inside Blackhorse Lane. As she went by the children would say, "Granny Moles has brought a baby to Mrs So and So in her black bag." Emily Larman (nee Chalkley) (A Parish Remembers: Ippollitts 1900-1950, Ippollitts Local History Group, 1990)

Also after Thomas's death, Fanny saw five more of her children marry, but four of them moved away from the Hitchin area before marrying. Her son James married Mary Ellen Chapman in the Southgate area in 1896, her daughter Annie married George Nicholls in Harpenden in 1899, her son Ernest married Alice Savage in the Southgate area in 1900, her daughter Julia married William Maynard Dimmock in the Hitchin area in 1900 and her youngest daughter Minnie married Charles Archer in the Barnet area in 1902. At the time of the 1901 census, four of Fanny's eight surviving children were living in the northern suburbs of London, and one was in Harpenden, leaving only Herbert, John and Julia in the Hitchin area.

The 1901 census finds Fanny living at Osierbed Cottage with her son John (the only one of her surviving children who did not marry), her granddaughter Nellie, her recently married daughter Julia, Julia's husband William Dimmock and two of William's brothers. In 1907 the Dimmock family found itself touched by tragedy when William's sister Emily was murdered in Camden Town in London. The case was sensational news at the time, all the more so because the only person tried for the murder was acquitted. The case never has been solved.

By 1911, Fanny had moved out of Osierbed Cottage. Instead she was living at 5 Blackhorse Lane. Whilst this was almost immediately opposite Osierbed Cottage, because Blackhorse Lane is the boundary between St Ippolyts and Hitchin this meant she had moved back into Hitchin. Her daughter Julia lived close by at 3 Blackhorse Lane.

When the First World War broke out, Fanny was 72 years old. No doubt many of her children, in-laws and 28 or so grandchildren would have served the war effort in some way. Certainly her son-in-law William Dimmock was involved; he was a private in the 17th Battalion Essex Regiment, and died whilst serving in 1917.

Also during the First World War, Fanny became a great-grandmother; her eldest grandson Thomas George Moles married in 1914 and became a father in 1916 in the Southgate area.

After the war Fanny lived for another four years. She died at home at 5 Blackhorse Lane on 30th December 1922, aged 80. She was buried at Hitchin's municipal cemetery rather than alongside her husband at St Ippolyts: her move to the opposite side of the road meant she had lived in the wrong parish to be buried at St Ippolyts. She was survived by eight children, probably 28 grandchildren and a fair number of great grandchildren too.

Image Gallery
References
  1. Birth certificate, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office)
    8 Apr 1842.
    REGISTRATION DISTRICT Hitchin
    1842 BIRTH in the Sub-district of Hitchin in the Counties of Hertford and Bedford
    No.When and where bornName, if anySexName and surname of fatherName, surname and maiden name of motherOccupation of fatherSignature, description and residence of informantWhen registeredSignature of registrar
    331Fifth of April 1842 at Hitchin-GirlJohn WorboysAnn Worboys, formerly StokesLabourerThe mark X of Ann Worboys, Mother, RiddyEighth of April 1842James Coleman, Registrar
  2. Baptisms register, in Church of England. Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Hitchin. (Hertford: Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies).
    BAPTISMS solemnized in the Parish of Hitchin in the County of Hertford in the Year 1842
    No.When BaptizedChild's Christian NameParent's NameAbodeQuality, Trade, or ProfessionBy whom the Ceremony was performed
    ChristianSurname
    1203Apr[il] 27FannyJno. & AnnWorboysRiddyLab[oure]rJames N. Heard
  3. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). England and Wales. 1851 Census Schedules. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class HO107; Piece 1710; Folio 231; Page 4, 30 Mar 1851.

    Address: The Riddy, Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    John Warboys, head, married, male, 42 [1808/9], Agricultural Lab[oure]r, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Ann Warboys, wife, married, female, 39 [1811/2], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    John Warboys, son, unmarried, male, 19 [1831/2], Shoemaker App[rentice], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Fanny Warboys, daughter, female, 9 [1841/2], Scholar, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    James Warboys, son, male, 2 [1848/9], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Emma Warboys, daughter, female, 4mo [1850], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Hannah Stokes, lodger, female, 11 [1839/40], Straw Plaiter, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire

  4. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). 1861 Census Schedules for England and Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG9; Piece 819; Folio 106; Page 22, 7 Apr 1861.

    Address: The Riddy, Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    John Worboys, head, widower, male, 54 [1806/7], Ag[ricultural] Labourer, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    James Worboys, son, male, 12 [1848/9], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Emma Worboys, daughter, female, 10 [1850/1], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    ~ next household ~
    Thomas Moles, head, married, male, 22 [1838/9], Ag[ricultural] Labourer, b. Willian, Hertfordshire
    Fanny Moles, wife, female, 19 [1841/2], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    John Moles, son, male, 6 months [1860], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire

  5. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). England and Wales. 1871 Census Schedules. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG10; Piece 1368; Folio 88; Page 23, 2 Apr 1871.

    Address: 1 The Riddy Mow, Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Thomas Moule, head, married, male, 33 [1837/8], Ag[ricultural] Lab[ourer], b. Willian, Hertfordshire
    Fany Moule, wife, married, female, 29 [1841/2], Straw Platter, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Herbert Moule, son, male, 7 [1863/4], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    George Moule, son, male, 5 [1865/6], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    John Moule, son, male, 2 [1868/9], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Annie M. Moule, daughter, female, 2mos [1871], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Emma Worbey, sister, unmarried, female, 20 [1850/1], Straw platter, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Clara Worbey, neice, female, 10mos [1870], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire

  6. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). 1881 Census Schedules for England and Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands: . (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG11; Piece 1420; Folio 62; Page 8, 3 Apr 1881.

    Address: Ippollitts Folly, Ippollitts, Hertfordshire
    Thomas Moules, head, married, male, 42 [1838/9], Agr[icultura]l Lab[oure]r (Mole & Rat Catcher), b. Willian, Hertfordshire
    Fanny Moules, wife, married, female, 39 [1841/2], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Herbert Moules, son, unmarried, male, 17 [1863/4], Agri[cultural] Lab[oure]r, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    George Moules, son, unmarried, male, 15 [1865/6], Agri[cultural] Lab[oure]r, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    John Moules, son, male, 13 [1867/8], Scholar, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Annie M. Moules, daughter, female, 10 [1870/1], Scholar, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    James Moules, son, male, 8 [1872/3], Scholar, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Ernest Moules, son, male, 5 [1875/6], Scholar, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Julia Moules, daughter, female, 3 [1877/8], Scholar, b. Ippollitts, Hertfordshire

  7. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). 1891 Census Schedules for England and Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG12; Piece 1108; Folio 71; Page 1, 5 Apr 1891.

    Address: The Common, St Ippollitts, Hertfordshire
    5 or more rooms occupied
    Thomas Moles, head, married, male, 56 [1834/5], Agricultural Labourer, employed, b. Willian, Hertfordshire
    Fanny Moles, wife, married, female, 51 [1839/40], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    John Moles, son, single, male, 22 [1868/8], Agricultural Labourer, employed, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Annie M. Moles, daughter, single, female, 20 [1870/1], General Servant, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    James Moles, son, single, male, 17 [1873/4], Agricultural Labourer, employed, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Ernest Moles, son, single, male, 15 [1875/6], Agricultural Labourer, employed, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Julia Moles, daughter, single, female, 12 [1878/9], Scholar, b. St Ippollitts, Hertfordshire
    Minnie Moles, daughter, single, female, 7 [1883/4], Scholar, b. St Ippollitts, Hertfordshire
    Ellen Moles, grand daughter, female, 4mo [1890/1], b. St Ippollitts, Hertfordshire

  8. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). England and Wales. 1901 Census Schedules: also for the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG13; Piece 1300; Folio 53; Page 12, 31 Mar 1901.

    Address: Osier Bed Cottage, St Ippolyts, Hertfordshire
    5 or more rooms occupied
    Fanny Moles, head, widow, female, 60 [1840/1], Monthly nurse, own account, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    John Moles, son, single, male, 31 [1869/70], Rat Catcher, own account, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Nellie Moles, granddaughter, single, female, 10 [1890/1], b. St Ippolyts, Hertfordshire
    Julia Dimmock, daughter, married, female, 22 [1878/9], b. St Ippolyts, Hertfordshire
    William Dimmock, son in law, married, male, 24 [1876/7], Bricklayer's Labourer, worker, b. Codicote, Hertfordshire
    Henry J. Dimmock, boarder, single, male, 21 [1879/80], Photographer, own account, working at home, b. Walworth, London
    Frederick Dimmock, visitor, single, male, 7 [1893/4], b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire

  9. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). 1911 Census Schedules for England and Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG14; Piece 7596; Schedule 216, 2 Apr 1911.

    Address: 5 Blackhorse Lane, Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    5 rooms occupied
    Fanny Moles, head, female, 69 [1841/2], widow, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    John Moles, son, male, 42 [1868/9], single, Labourer General - farm, worker, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire
    Thomas Moles, visitor, male, 23 [1887/8], single, Labourer General - farm, worker, b. Hitchin, Hertfordshire

  10. Death certificate, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office).
    Registration District Hitchin
    1923 DEATH in the Sub-district of Hitchin in the County of Hertford
    No.When and where diedName and surnameSexAgeOccupationCause of deathSignature, description and residence of informantWhen registeredSignature of registrar
    221Thirtieth December 1922
    5 Black Horse Lane
    Hitchin U.D.
    Fanny MolesFemale80 yearsWidow of Thomas Moles a Farm Labourer1: Valvular Disease
    2: Oedema
    Certified by H.R. Snellet L.S.A.
    J. Dimmock
    Daughter
    Present at the death
    3 Black Horse Lane, Hitchin
    First January 1923Arthur E. Lloyd
    Registrar
  11. Hitchin Cemetery Records, North Hertfordshire District Council.

    Buried 20 Jan 1923 in grave SE Extn 875

  12. The urban area of Hitchin has subsequently surrounded the former site of The Riddy, which stood roughly where the modern roads of Ninesprings Way and Manton Road were built in the 1960s.
  13. Fanny's daughter Annie Maria appears in the registers of the British Schools as having started there on 2nd May 1879, when she was eight years old. Her previous school is given as Sunnyside and the family's residence is given as The Folly.
  14. The 1911 census tells us that Osierbed Cottage had nine rooms. In 1911 it was occupied by a John and Sophia Izzard and their family plus two boarders.