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March 25, 2014

52 Ancestors: Hannah Philpot Golding and George Norris - Friends With Benefits?

52 Ancestors: Hannah Philpot Golding and George Norris - Friends With Benefits?
Pluckley, Kent England
I'm writing about my 3rd great grandmother Hannah Philpot Golding as part of Amy Crow's Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks and also as part of Women's History Month Challenge

Hannah was born in 1805 in the little hamlet of Pluckley in Kent England to John & Susanna Philpot. 

Pluckley is said to be the most haunted village in England. At age 18, Hannah left Pluckley for Lenham, a nearby small town. There she married Edward Golding and over the next 14 years the couple had 6 children. When their youngest was 9 months old Edward died and Hannah was left a widow at the age of 28. 

Church in Lenham
Hannah had no family in Lenham but luckily she was able to take in laundry to support her young family. My mother went to Lenham to research my 2nd great grandmother Georgiana Golding who was born there in 1840. To our surprise Georgiana's mother Hannah was noted in the church record as "the widow Hannah Golding". My next find was the fact that Hannah's husband died some 3 years earlier in 1837. So obviously my 2nd great grandmother was an illegitimate birth. 

It took a few years to find out who had fathered Georgiana but eventually I had the proof that it was Hannah's next door neighbour, George  Norris. Hannah went on to have another child after Georgiana, and Georgiana named George as her father at her marriage to Charles Simpson, so obviously this was not a secret in the village. 

Hannah never remarried after Edward's death and George Norris remained single his entire life. I've always wondered what their relationship was. They never lived together so were they an early example of  "friends with benefits"? Was it a casual but consensual relationship? Or was it a long-lasting love that carried on over the years. I suspect I will never know. 

Kent County Insane Asylum
The last record of Hannah is the 1881 census where she is found as an 85 year old widow, an inmate of Kent County Asylum. Often paupers were sent to the Lunatic Asylum but it may also be that Hannah suffered from senility or some other disorder that labelled her as insane. It's very sad that none of her children could support her or take her into their own home. I have never found Hannah's death although she may be the Hannah Golding who died in June 1881 in Maidstone (which is where the Asylum was located).

As for George Norris he disappears after the 1861 census where he is found as a 50 year old single man living with his mother in Lenham.

1 comment:

Melanie Frick said...

Very interesting! Seems like Georgiana may even have been named after her father, so it really may not have been a secret. Thanks for sharing!