A tribute to the life and work of Brian Torode
WALTER NORTON alias SANTLEY alias WYNNE
FROM BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, TO LLANELLY, CARMARTHENSHIRE, VIA LONDON, RHYL AND ABERYSTWYTH
On 7th September 1911 James John Parrish, a thirty-nine-year-old Master Billposter, married an Amy Santley at Aberystwyth Register Office. The couple settled in Llanelly (later Llanelli), Carmarthenshire, where they brought up their children.
For years the family has wondered about the identity of Amy Santley, not helped with her marriage to John C. Griffiths, in 1922, after the death, during the year before, of James John Parrish. ‘Granny Parrish’ was now, confusingly, ‘Granny Griffiths.’
So, who was Amy Santley?
At first sight the wedding certificate for James John Parrish and Amy Santley looks entirely straightforward. We have details of a father, namely, Charles Santley, a Hairdresser – and the added bonus of a signature of another member of the Santley Family as witness, namely, Elwy. Both Elwy and Santley are relatively unusual names.
My immediate reaction was to look for a Charles Santley in Aberystwyth for the 1911 Census but there wasn’t one. However, I did find a Charles Santley – but the one I found was not Amy’s father but was, more likely, her brother.
1911 – Boarding at 8 Crynfryn Buildings, Aberystwyth:
Charles Santley, married for two years, 25 years, no children, barber, working on his own account, born London.
Eleanor Santley, his wife, 26 years, born Darwen, Lancs.
I then discovered that Charles Wilton Santley married Eleanor Mayoh in Aberystwyth Registration District during 1909. Finally, I found a death in 1954 of a Charles Santley in Llanelly (now Llanelli), Carmarthenshire. Well, I seem to have found a brother for Amy but what about her father?
Looking again at the 1911 Census I had a surprise because I found a family called Wynne living at an address in Aberystwyth with striking parallels:
Walter Wynne, aged 67, married for 28 years with 8 children, Hairdresser working on his own account, born in Boston, U.S.A., British (Naturalised)
Emma Wynne, aged 50, assistant in business, born in London
Amy Wynne, daughter, aged 21, single, assistant, born London
Elwy Wynne, daughter, aged 16, assistant, born Rhyl
Sarah Wynne, daughter, aged 3, single, School, born Aberystwyth.
In a 1910 Trade Directory for Aberystwyth I have found that a Walter Wynne was operating a ‘Fancy Repository’ in Arcade Terrace Road and a Walter Wynne working as a Hairdresser at 4, Northgate Street. Does this represent two different people or just two businesses?
Walter Wynne was, again, listed in a 1901 directory as a Hairdresser of 4 Northgate Street.
Going back from the 1911 Census to the 1901 Census, we find the Wynnes living at 4 Northgate Street, Aberystwyth:
Walter Wynne, 48, Hairdresser, Married, born Boston, America,
Emma Wynne, 36, wife, born London
Charles Wynne, 13, born London
Amy Wynne, 12, born Rhyl, Wales
Elwy Wynne, 9, born Rhyl, Wales
Sarah Wynne, 2, born Aberystwyth
At this point, I thought I might find out more about Walter and Emma but with no success. However, low and behold, in the 1939 Register for England and Wales, Emma Wynne, born 21st May 1861, was living at 97 Station Road, Llanelly with her daughter, Amy Griffiths. Clearly, we have the correct family!
When Emma died in Llanelli in 1944, aged 83 years, she would appear to be listed in the Index of Deaths as both Santley and Wynne! Why is this family using the name Santley and, also, Wynne?
Going backwards to Rhyl what do we find there? Well not what would be expected! At 2 Elwy Street, Rhuddlan, Flintshire there is this family:
Walter Norton, 38, Hairdresser, born Boston U.S.A. British Subject
Emma Norton, 29, wife, born London, Middlesex
Charles Norton, 3, born London, Middlesex
Amy Norton, 1, born London, Middlesex
We also find that in 1895 the birth of Elwy was registered in St Asaph R.D. as ‘Elwy Norton Santley’, this district probably included Rhuddlan. Oddly, Elwy would seem to have been named after the street in which the family was then living! In addition, a Gladys Norton Santley was born in 1892 in St Asaph Registration District and she died in Aberystwyth in 1897, aged 5 years. The family names get better as a Rhyl Norton Santley died in the Bury area of Lancashire in 1894.
Staying with Elwy, she may well have married an Ernest Davies and lived in Thomas Street, Llanelli in 1939.
Finally, a Walter N. Santley, born in 1841, died in Llanelli in 1919. Presumably this is Amy’s dad? Progress has been made but still there are no references to the family that I have found in either London or in Boston, Massachusetts.
Returning to my initial question, this is certainly a very complicated family with members using three surnames. However, I think we can be confident that Amy’s dad was from Boston, Massachusetts, and that he worked as a Hairdresser. Amy’s mother was certainly Emma and she died whilst living with her daughter in 1944. Were they fleeing the law, did they owe money?
Please contact me if you can shed further light on this Family: firstname.lastname@example.org