by Annette Edwards.
ROBERT HENRY DONE was born on New Year’s Day 1856 in Wrexham, he was the son of Robert Done from Bangor and MARY PARSONAGE who married on 31 October 1850 at Bangor on Dee. Mary was the daughter of Richard Parsonage and Judith Pritchard who was born in Llanferres near Mold. Her father died in 1838 and on 8 April 1844 Judith remarried to Edward Lewis at Bangor Is-coed.
In 1851 Robert was in St George, Hanover Square, Westminster, he was employed as a footman for Lord William Dinorben of Anglesey and his wife Lady Gertrude.
Meanwhile Mary was in Bangor with Edward and her mother Judith Lewis. Mary was described as a house servant’s wife.
By 1854 Robert and Mary were already in Bridge Street, where Robert was a publican, and the birth of a son was announced in the newspapers. In 1859 the announcement of the death of Alfred, son of Mr Robert Done, Carnarvon Castle Inn, Bridge Street aged 18 months, confirms which pub it was.
Mary Done died in January 1875 aged 56 and the following year Robert Henry left the Inn.
In February 1876 the license of the Carnarvon Castle was transferred from Robert Done to Mrs Jones, late of The Horn. Robert had retired.
Robert Done died in 1884, he was buried in Rhosddu Cemetery. The report of his death tells much about his life.
DEATH OF MR ROBERT DONE. We this week record with regret the death of Mr Robert Done who expired on Thursday morning at his residence. No. 3, Carlton Villas, Erddig Road, in his 65th year. Mr Done, although not a native, was born in the immediate neighbourhood of Wrexham, and was probably the oldest licensed victualler in the town, having kept the Carnarvon Castle in Bridge, street, for a quarter of a century. He was a member of the Board of Guardians for a number of years, representing the township of Wrexham Abbot, and he also filled the position of Overseer, at a time when the duties were by no means nominal, and when the office was anything but a sinecure. He was also a regular attendant at the Court Leets, and at these and elsewhere, he was always a welcome guest. Mr Done, who was attended by Dr. Eyton-Jones and Mr Worrall, had been ailing for a considerable length of time, and was confined to his bed with paralysis for fourteen months, and the deceased gentleman was much respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance for his genial disposition and many estimable social qualities.
FUNERAL OF MR ROBERT DONE. The funeral of the late Mr Robert Done, of Carlton Villas, took place on Saturday, when the remains of the deceased gentleman were interred in the Rhosddu Cemetery, amidst every mark of respect. The funeral was of a semi-private character, and in addition to the relatives several friends attended, including Mr H. V. Williams, Mr A. M. Gordon, Mr Councilor Richard Jones, Mr F. McRae, Mr Thos. Hughes, Mr Griffith, Roderick Terrace, &c. The Rev. D. Howell, B.D., Vicar, officiated, and the funeral arrangements were satisfactorily carried out by Mr Pierce, Bridge-street, the coffin being of polished oak, and the inscription on the shield ;— “ROBERT DONE, Aged 55, Died Dec. 18 1884. Beautiful floral wreaths were sent by various friends, including Mr H. V. Williams, Plas Tirion the employes at the Town Hall Vaults, with deepest sympathy Mr Pierce, Bridge-street; Mr Parsonage with other wreaths from surviving relatives.
(Above) Click to enlarge
ROBERT HENRY DONE was born in the Carnarvon in 1856; he was still there in 1871 when he was an apprentice. In 1881 he was in Bedfordshire with his uncle John Parsonage, Robert was a wine merchant, John was a house steward. By 1883 Robert Henry was a wine merchant at the Town Hall Vaults along with Henry Venables Williams.
In 1887 Robert`s marriage was announced in the Wrexham Advertiser
DONE – BIRCH April 19th, at St. Mary’s Church, Liscard, by the Rev. W. Pinhorn, curate, Robert Henry Done, of Carlton Villas. Wrexham to Louie, youngest daughter of the late Henry Ellis Birch, formerly of Gwersyllt Old Hall.
LOUIE ANN BIRCH was born in 1863, her mother was Elizabeth (Lizzie) Farmer, Henry Ellis and Lizzie were at living in Gwersyllt Old Hall in 1861 where he was a farmer. Lizzie died there on 7 October 1866 she was only 25.
On the census night 2 April 1871 Henry and Louie were living with his mother Jane Birch on her farm in Marchwiel. Henry Ellis died on 22 May at his mother’s home, he was 37. Jane left the farm and moved to Trevor Street in Wrexham. Louie was with her in 1881.
Jane died in 1886 aged 81. The following year Louie married Robert Done.
By 1891 Robert and Louie had 2 children, Reginald Parry 2 and Dorothy aged 1, and in 1893 Robert Henry Done was elected mayor of Wrexham.
Sometime after 1897 Robert Henry bought the Bersham Paper Mill.
“The Turkey mill was acquired by Henry Methold Greville of Worcester, who operated the mill under the style of H. M. Greville and Son. ‘The Old Turkey Paper Mill’, as it was known, specialised in the production of extra superfine hand-made bank-note and cheque papers of all descriptions. Indeed, the mill became famous for its production of bank-note paper and was contractor to the Government Stationery Office. It had four vats. Steam and water-power were used to drive the machinery. At the death of H. M. Greville, the business was carried on by his widow and son.
The Turkey paper-mill was burnt down in April, 1897. The fire was considered by the Prince of Wales Volunteer Fire Brigade to be ‘among the biggest conflagrations attended’ 47 by the brigade. It was rebuilt and sold to R. H. Done of Wrexham, who formed a company, the Henry Methold Greville Company Limited – to work the Bersham Paper Mill, as it was now called.”
Louie died in April 1898, her death was announced in the papers.
DONE April 20, at The Wrest, Percy-road, Wrexham. Louisa Ann, wife of Alderman B. H. Done aged 55 years. She made a will and left effects of £1032 8s 3d so was quite reasonably well off in her own right.
Robert married again on 7 December 1898 at St Giles. He was then 42 and his new bride was spinster FLORENCE MAUD MARY GRAY aged 28, Her father was entered as Andrew Gray, deceased, accountant.
Florence was born in Hambleton, Rutland in July 1870, her mother was Martha Searle who was from Cambridgeshire.
Her parents had married 1 February 1870, Upper Norwood, All Saints with St Margaret, Surrey. Andrew Gray of age, Father: James Gray, tailor
Martha Searle spinster, 20. Father Richard Searle, farmer.
The following year in 1871 Martha, who is married, and Florence are in Norwood, Croydon, but Andrew isn`t there.
In 1881 when Florence was 10 she was a visitor to the household of Robert Gillam who was at 41 Glasshouse St, Westminster. Her mother Martha was in Hackney in 1881, she is a widow and a dressmaker with two boys, Clifford 6 and Alexander 3 who was born in Scotland. Her husband’s death hasn`t been found and there are no clues to his age.
In 1891 Florence was a “companion” in Bengeo, Hertfordshire to Mary A. Carre a 40 year old widow from Hackney.
The same 1891 census Martha has an 18 year old son Andrew a printer (who may have been in the workhouse in 1881) and Alexander, they are still in Hackney.
It`s interesting that in 1901 when Martha is in Hampstead West End, Alexander is single and 22, but he is a “comedian”
Martha died on 10 February 1931 in Leigh in Sea, Essex, she made a will, probate to Andrew Gray manager.
In 1901 Robert, Florence and his daughter Dorothy aged 11 were in “The Wrest” Percy Road. Robert died there on 8 September 1901.
DEATH OF A WREXHAM EX-MAYOR. Mr. Robert Henry Done, of Wrest, Wrexham, died on Sunday evening, after a few days’ illness. Mr. Done was mayor of the borough in 1893, and during his mayoralty made himself very popular. He was proprietor of Messrs. Thomas Williams and Co., wine and spirit merchants, Town Hall, proprietor of the Turkey Paper Milk, Bersham, formerly belonging to Messrs. Greville and Sons, and chairman of the Board of Directors of Messrs. J. F. Edisbury and Co., Limited, the North Wales Aerated Water Factory. He was the clerk of the course, a steward, and a guarantor of the Wrexham Race Meetings. He was a Freemason and also a member of a number of other friendly societies, in which he took an active interest. He was about 47 years old, and his loss will be greatly felt in the town and district, as he was of a most charitable and generous disposition. He was an active Conservative and Churchman. The funeral took place at Wrexham on Wednesday. The mourners included Mrs. Done, Miss Dolly Done, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Grey etc.
Just a few months later Florence died at 2 Maryland Street Liverpool on 11 December 1901, she was only 31. It`s possible she was having some sort of medical problems, in the 1901 census a Julia Brett occupation – medical surgical was the head at that address. In 1911 Julia is still there and it was a nursing home with 5 patients and 3 nurses. Florence was brought back to Wrexham and buried with Robert Henry.
SIDNEY VAUGHAN WYNN CORNISH who died in Heswall on 29 October 1928 is also buried in the same grave. He was the husband of Dorothy Done.
Sidney was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1854. By 1861 he was in Devon with his grandfather Sidney Vaughan Cornish who was a headmaster at a private college.
Sidney became a schoolteacher in Sussex specialising in maths and classics before moving to London. Sidney married Dorothy on 19 October 1909 at St George’s, Hanover Square, he was about 28 years older. They sailed to New York on the Adriatic, leaving 29 December 1909 and their destination was Post Meade.
By 1911 they were back and living in Rudgewick, Sussex. Later that year a daughter was born on 5 November 1911 in the Prestwick district. (It`s really interesting to see on the Free BMD entry a note that on 9 November 2011 a silver bowl was seen for sale on eBay inscribed “Dorothy Gwladys Louisa Wynn-Cornish 5 November 1911)
In 1925 Dorothy and Sidney were in the electoral register at 9 Kremlin Drive, West Derby.
Sidney died on 29 October 1928 in Heswall. He was buried with his in laws Robert Henry and Louie Done.
Dorothy never remarried and lived to the amazing age of 101. Dorothy Birch Wynn Cornish died in Hove, East Sussex on 26 November 1990, by this time she seems to have been a wealthy woman. She made a will. Probate was less than £115000.
In 1976 her daughter Dorothy G L W Cornish married Frederick R Jones in the Salisbury district. She would have been 65. Dorothy Gladys L Jones died aged 89 in May 2001 in Salisbury.
Another family member in the grave is JOHN PARSONAGE who died on 19 April 1898.
John was born 28 December 1813, he was baptised in Ruabon and was the son of Richard and Judith Parsonage. Richard was a labourer and they were living in Rhosllanerchrugog.
John certainly did well for himself, he was employed by some of upper class families in England and lived in their stately homes.
John isn`t found until 1851, he is an unmarried valet employed by William Ince Anderton Esq. JP in Euxton Hall, near Leyland. Ten years on in 1861 he has risen in status and is at Panshanger House, St Andrews, Hertfordshire. He is now a house steward for the landowner Earl Cowper, Francis Thomas de Grey who was only 26 and his mother Countess Anne Cowper.
In 1871 the Countess lived in Wrest Mansion in Wrest Park, near Ampthill in Bedfordshire and John has moved there with her as a butler and house steward. In 1880 the Countess died and by 1881 John had retired but is still living on the Wrest Park, his nephew Robert Henry was visiting him.
John came to Wrexham by 1891 and was living in Carlton Villas on Percy Road with with his niece Louisa Done. He died there on 19 April 1898.
It`s quite interesting to see that his nephew Robert Henry named his house in Percy Road, the Wrest after the great country house that John had lived in for many years.
Annette Edwards. With help from Judy Roberts of Chirk. Gravestone photographs Graham Lloyd.
Grave ref: Wrexham Cemetery J-02376