Family tree: George Floyd hourglass tree
Letitia Floyd was born about 1819 and became a ‘bonnet sewer’ of Chenies; this was one of the processes of the straw plaiting industry that was common in the Chilterns. In 1839, The Lady’s Magazine: or entertaining companion for the fair sex… announced the marriage of Lord Wriothesley Russell to his cousin Elizabeth Russell. On the same page, we are given an insight into how Lydia’s creations may have been worn. “At rural balls, young females wear hat-bonnets of open straw; the caul is of blue lilac or rose-colored gros de Naples. Two rosettes of ribands are placed, one on the right side of the crown, the other at the base on the left. The hair is arranged à l’anglaise in corkscrew ringlets, or in the Chinese style, without any ringlets at all.” Letitia and her family also shared a page of the 1841 census, with the Russells occupying the Rectory in his capacity as clergyman and the Floyds at Manor House cottage.
William Anthony and Letitia Floyd were married in late 1838 in the Church of Chenies, St. Michael’s Parish Church with witnesses James Curtis and Sarah Floyd, a sister of the bride. William was age 23 and his bride about four years younger. Their first child was baptised in St. Michael’s in January of 1840. It is not known how long William served the Russell family, but as all his children were baptised at St. Michael’s Church in Chenies and he and his wife are buried there, it may safely be assumed that he spent his life tied closely with the Russells, owners, but rarely residents, of the Manor House.
Letitia was the daughter of Thomas Floyd, a labourer of Chenies according to her marriage registration. Letitia was the sixth child of eleven born to Thomas and his wife, Lydia née Winchester. They were all christened in St. Michael’s Parish Church, Chenies. An inquiry into the accidental death of Lydia Floyd appeared in the newspapers in 1858.
INQUEST. – On Tuesday last an inquest was held in this village by F. Charsley, Esq., coroner, on the body of Lydia Floyd, aged 70, an inmate of one of the Duke of Bedford’s almshouses. It appeared in evidence that the deceased’s grand daughter left her in bed in her cottage at a quarter past seven on the preceding Thursday morning, and having got the breakfast things ready, and lighted the fire and put the kettle on, the girl went out to get blackberries for a pudding. Shortly afterwards the poor woman was observed by neighbour at her back door with her shawl and cap on fire, upon which he hastened to her assistance and extinguished the fire, but the deceased was much burnt about her neck, face and arms. Some water was found in the teapot, and it is supposed that in endevouring to reach the kettle her shawl caught fire. Every attention was paid to, and medical assistance obtained for, the unfortunate woman, but she died on Saturday last. Verdict “accidental death”.
Bucks Herald – Uxbridge Advertiser – Windsor & Eton Journal
Saturday 11 Sep 1858
Lydia’s father was William Winchester, a labourer and one of 93 men named in the Buckinghamshire Posse Comitatus (able-bodied private citizens summoned to maintain public order) for Chenies in 1798.
William’s parents were Henry Winchester and Martha Timberleck (a variant of Timberlake).
Floyd of Pimlico
Letitia’s brother was George Floyd, who became a coachman and job master in London. In the case of Brooker v. Floyd, George Floyd had to pay £60 to the widow and child of a man killed by one of his cabs. Nevertheless, when he died in October 1875, he left an estate worth £400 p.a. and he was referred to as ‘Gentleman’. George’s widow Elizabeth died in mysterious circumstances which prompted an enquiry, the Richmond Mystery, solved when analysis showed no trace of poison in her body and it emerged that she was accustomed to carrying a bottle of spirits under each arm when she went to bed.
Regarding George’s son Thomas, t he story passed down through the family was that Thomas’ business failed after horses requisitioned by the government for war were returned infected with glanders. The London Gazette contains a reference to Thomas Floyd’s bankruptcy in August 1874, so if this story is correct, the war for which the horses were requisitioned would have been the First Ashanti War of 1873-74 (in the Gold Coast, or Ghana as it is today). The bankruptcy notice named Thomas’ stables as Chester Stables in Lower Belgrave Street – which was, and still is, next to Victoria Station. Once the business folded, Thomas became a butler. I am indebted to a Floyd cousin for this information and photos.