The Story of Frederick Lines

This is a work in progress – which is not even complete on what I know of Frederick Lines, and there are many gaps, and areas I have not investigated. Some areas of doubt or uncertainty are noted inline, and at present it only covers his time in England, and only makes a start on his descendants.

I am not sure of my relationship to Frederick Lines, but his story is interesting, and Family History as as much about Stories and History as it is about Family.

He was the son of an agricultural labourer in the Buckinghamshire village of Steeple Claydon, but died, aged 75, in Jansenville, Cape Province, South Africa. where his descendants live to this day.

The beginnings – Steeple Claydon

Frederick was born in October 1857 in Steeple Claydon, in Buckinghamshire, the son of Thomas Lines (1826-1899) and Lydia Jennings (1833-1867). Thomas was an Agricultural Labourer, as was his father William Lines (1793-1850) before him.

Steeple Claydon was a small rural village, similar to Wheathampstead in Bedfordshire where another William Lines (1762-1840), grandfather of my Great Grandfather Joseph Lines, was born. I believe he too was an agricultural labourer.

Florence Nightingale and Claydon House

It is unlikely that Florence Nightingale would have ever met the child of a farm worker, but her sister Frances, lived at Claydon House from around 1858, and Florence was a frequent visitor. Although most famous as The Lady with the Lamp, nursing in Crimea, Florence’s most significant contributions were probably in the field of Evidence Based Medicine – a subject of interest to me personally. She was also a model for other women who travelled to conflicts as nurses, such as my Great Aunt Margaret. I am currently reading one of her many biographies.

Starting work – Servant at Charndon

Frederick’s mother, Lydia died in January 1867, possibly as a result of the birth of his brother Richard on 28th December 1866. Thomas, another brother for Frederick had been born in 1865. Frederick was only ten years old. His father Thomas remarried Eliza Green, a widow with a son George Green, daughter, Clara Harwood Green (1861-1902), and another son Tom Green (1865-?) some time in 1867. For an agricultural worker, or a widow, being a single parent was not an option. I assume Eliza was a widow, I have not been able to find much about a previous marriage, or even about a wedding between Thomas and Eliza

By the 1871 Census Thomas and Eliza were still living in Steeple Claydon, with George Green, Clara Green, Tom Green, and Thomas and Richard Lines, but there was no sign of Frederick.

Sticking with his brothers for a moment, Thomas died in 1879, aged 14, in Wootton, Oxfordshire, but Richard took a popular route out of agricultural labour and became a soldier, stationed at Alverstoke in 1891, and at Cowley in 1911, where he was at Caterer at the Officers Mess, and married and also spent some time in 1907 as a Chelsea Pensioner.

Thomas and Eliza had eight more children, half siblings to Frederick, but I have not followed their stories.

The Abbots at Charndon Lodge

Frederick can be found in the 1871 Census at Charndon Lodge, as a 12 year old Farm Servant. Charndon Lodge is a little outside the hamlet of Charndon, near the village of Twyford, and the Twystory web site has plenty of information about the area, including transcripts of the Census records. Charndon is only a few miles from Steeple Claydon.

Head of the household at Charndon Lodge in 1871 was Sarah Abbot, unmarried, 59, born in Kidlington and ‘Farmer of 78 acres employing 2 men and 1 boy’. Her nephew, William, unmarried, 21 and ‘farm bailiff’ also lives and works there. The boy being employed is presumably Frederick. The two men are James Williams, unmarried, 63 from East Barnett, Herts, and James Matthews, unmarried, 20, from Kidlington. The census also lists as visitors Helen Stevens, 9 from London and Anne Hawkins, 5, from Steeple Claydon.

It is interesting to look at some other Census records for Charndon Lodge.

In 1841 it was occupied by Charlotte WIlliams, 25, her 1 year old daughter Mary and Alice Paradine, 55, and Alexander Paradine, 13. Both women are Lacemakers, a common cottage occupation at the time, for example in the 1851 census Lydia Jennings, not yet married to Thomas Lines, was recorded as a Lacemaker, as was her mother and 12 year old sister.

In 1851 is was occupied by Francis Smith, 65, from Thurlaston whose occupation is shown as ‘Farmer 164 acres, Empl 2 Ag Lab’ . Sarah Abbot, unmarried, 35, from Kidlington is his Housekeeper, while Ann Abbot,unmarried,19 and also from Kidlington is a Servant. William Abbot, aged 7, and from Kidlington is shown as a cousin. James Williams, shown as married, aged 45 and from Whitston, Middlesex is shown as a servant – he is presumably the same James Williams as in the 1881 census, even if his place of origin differs. There is also Henery Clark, 22, servant from Steeple Claydon.

In 1861 Francis Smith is now 78, farming 80 acres and employing 4 men. James Williams is 54, still recorded as married, and now from Barnet. Sarah (shown as Jonah) Abbot is 50, still an unmarried housekeeper, and shown as coming from Kirtlington – which is closer than Kidlington, and I suspect is an error by the census taker. Ann Abbott, aged 19, and now from Stretton, Warwickshire was a visitor. Either this is a transcription error or different Ann, which seems unlikely. William Abbot, aged 11 – having only aged 4 years since the last census, is a boarder, also from Kirtlington. Louise Abbot, 6 months old is a visitor from Kirtlington.

I have already described the 1871 census, but will note that is interesting at Sarah Abbot has gone from Housekeeper to Farmer, William from boarder to farm bailiff, and that James Williams is now unmarried.

In 1881 Frederick had left Charndon Lodge and was living in Tackley, but Sarah Abbot was still head of the household at Chardon Lodge, now 70, and still a farmer of 80 acres employing 2 men and 1 boy. James Williams, now 73, was a Farm servant, and his birth place was not known. William Abbot was an unmarried 26 year old farm servant, and Ann Hawkins has gone from a 5 year old visitor to a 17 year old Domestic Servant.

I know Sarah Abbot was baptised in Kidlington on 14th April 1811, daughter of Charles and Ann Abbot, and that there is a probate record from 16th December 1899, stating that ‘Sarah Abbot of Steeple Claydon, spinster, died 19th September 1899. Probate to Thomas Brinkler, farmer. Effects £445 19s 5d. I do not know who Thomas Brinkler was, or his connection with Sarah, or what happened to William Abbot.

Marriage and children

Frederick married Hannah Elizabeth Smith (1861-1944) on 20th October 1877 in St Mary’s Parish church in Wootton, Oxfordshire.

Her father, Henry Smith (1835-?) was also a labourer.

I suspect Frederick was still working at Charnon Lodge at the time, as the inscription on the bible presented to him by William Abbot is dated 1878. It seems like the kind of gift which presented to a valued employee who is moving on to a new place.

Frederick Albert Lines (1878-1920)

Their first son, Frederick (after his father) Albert (possibly after Prince Albert, who had died in 1861), was born in Tackley on 25th April 1878 and baptised on 2nd June.

Elizabeth Lydia Lines (1880-1946)

Frederick was followed by a daughter, Elizabeth Lydia, born in Tackley on 9th April 1880, and baptised on 16th May.


Some time after the 1881 Census (on 3rd April) and the birth of Clara in January 1882, the family – Frederick, Hannah, Frederick Albert and Elizabeth Lydia emigrated to South Africa.

I have not yet found any documents to say when, or how they emigrated.

Birth and death of Clara Lines

Clara Lines was born on 7th January 1882, was baptised in Grahamstown Methodist Chapel in 1886 and died, aged 25 in 1908, having been ill for 5 years. Her father, Frederick was a Stock Farmer, and she was buried on the farm.

Death of Frederick Lines in Jansenville, South Africa in 1933

Frederick died on 4th May 1933, survived by Hannah and Elizabeth Lydia, who had married Daniel Mattheus Johannes Kinghorn. His normal place of residence was 20, Doyle Street, Port Elizabeth.

Frederick Albert was his only male descendant, so I will follow his story next.

Frederick Albert Lines – family and occupation.

The Second Boer War broke out in 1899, when Frederick Albert was 22 and had been married for 2 years, and it was a difficult time of conflicting loyalties in the Jansenville area.

Marriage and children

He married Susanna Catharina Van Lamp on 5th December 1897 in Jansenville, and his occupation at the time was Gardener.

They had 12 children.

I have not followed up all of the children, and much of the information comes from FamilySearch, which is not very comprehensive for South Africa, but does have links to images of some records. A good starting link in FamilySearch is

Maria Petronella Lines (1898-1945)

Hannah Elizabeth Lines (1899-1974)

Married Daniel Francis Brass (1883-1965) in 1919.

Frederick Albert Lines (1901-1947)

He was born in Martyrsford, and married his cousin, Maria Petronella Kinghorn (1903-1995) daughter of his aunt Elizabeth Lydia Lines and Daniel Matthew Johannes Kinghorn (1876-1959).

They had 5 children, Susan (1924-1984, married Ronald Turner), Lydia Elizabeth (1925-2003, married Oscar Wittwer), Hannah (1929-1930, died in infancy), Frederick Albert (1935-?) and Daniel (1942-?).

At the time of his death, aged 45, he was a bus driver for the Port Elizabeth Tramway company. His usual place of residence was also 20, Doyle Street, Port Elizabeth.

William Carl Lines (1902-1918)

Died aged 16, of Influenza – his occupation is recorded as soldier.

Stephen Albert Lines (1905-1958)

From his death certificate he died, single, aged 52, of T.B. Hip, Asthma and Collagen disease which had lasted for years. His occupation was invalid. Before admission to Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital he had lived at 14, Doyle Street, Port Elizabeth, the same address as Frederick Lines, his Grandfather, so presumably he lived with his Grandparents.

Clara Elizabeth Lines (1909-?)

Thomas Christian Lines (1911-1958)

Anna Catherine Lines (1912-1971)

Annie Elizabeth Lines (1913-?)

Richard Gordon Lines (1914-1968)

Susan Elizabeth Lines (1916-1928)

Daniel Matthew Lines (1918-?)

Death at Martyrsford Farm in 1920

Frederick Albert, or Albert Frederick as he is show on his Death Certificate, died on 5th January 1920, at Martyrsford Farm, where his occupation was Farm Overseer.

His boss would have been a member of the Hobson Family, who were possibly descendants of William Carey Hobson(1805-1870), who came to South Africa in 1820. A William Carey Hobson started the Martyrsford Angora goat farm in 1871, and it is still in the same family today.

His death certificate above shows him to be born in England, 41 years ago and that he had 12 children, as shown above.

His probate record, below, gives the names and dates of birth of the children.

To be continued…

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