Posted by: Christine | February 5, 2013

A Small Tragedy

I recently needed to send off for a certificate, so I had a look at my list of Madder birth, marriage and deaths that I had found in the GRO indexes to see if there was any others I ought to get. Since it was a death certificate I wanted (more of that another time) I looked through the deaths and came across a death for a Thomas Madder in the third (September) quarter of 1863 in Kensington Registration District. I had not been able to fit him into any of my trees – dying in London he could have come from anywhere. Another problem was that I didn’t know his age – this was not given in the indexes at this time.

Before ordering the certificate I checked I hadn’t found a burial for him in the London PRs on Ancestry or in the PRs on Findmypast. Nothing there, so I decided to spend £9.25 to satisfy my curiosity and ordered the certificate from the GRO. Within a week my certificates arrived, in separate envelopes – no wonder they cost so much!

Thomas turned out to have died at the age of 2 weeks, of small pox. He was the son of Robert Madder, a butler, and his wife Mary Ann, who registered the death.

Death of Thomas Madder in 1863

Death of Thomas Madder in 1863

I already knew about this family and have a lot of information about Robert. He was the brother of Amelia Madder who I have written about here. He married Mary Ann Eliza BLIZARD in 1855 and Thomas was the last of their four children, only two of whom survived. I will write about them and more about Robert another time.

There is no birth registered for Thomas. Perhaps he died before he was registered and they didn’t think they needed to register the birth. Another reason may be because this is not the end of the tragedy. I have another death certificate – in fact it is one I have had for some time.

Death of Robert Madder in 1863

Death of Robert Madder in 1863

Fifteen days after Thomas’s death his father Robert died in Garboldisham in Norfolk. He was only 31 and died of Consumption (TB). What was he doing there? He had been born in Fakenham in Norfolk but had no family in the area. A quick search of the internet brought up a website, Norfolk Epitaphs and an inscription:

 3501 [Broken cross] Robert MADDER/ for some years the faithful servant/ of Comr F Wilmot HORTON Esq/ died Sept 19th 1863/ aged 30 years.

Commander Frederick WILMOT HORTON RN had died in 1855. Perhaps he left something in his will to Robert as later the same year Robert Madder married, and Robert’s third child, who like Thomas died as a baby, was named Frederick Wilmot Madder. I see there is a PCC will for him – I must have a look at that on my next visit to TNA.

Presumably Robert had been sent to Norfolk where the fresh air would have been thought to be better for his health than London. But why Garboldisham? Well, the Rector of that place from 1850 to 1876 was Rev Sir George Wilmot Horton – Frederick’s brother.

I wonder if Robert knew about the birth, and death, of his last child and how his wife felt about losing husband and child so close together. She married again five years later and both of Robert’s surviving children did well in life.


  1. Interesting post. As you probably already know, there’s a brief entry on Frederick William Horton in O’Byrne’s Naval Biographical Dictionary of 1849, which is on Ancestry.

  2. […] recently wrote about the death of Robert Madder and his son Thomas in 1863  and said that I would get a copy of […]

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