When you look at the transcriptions of the Church of England Churches in Weston-super-Mare you can get an overview of what life was like in Weston in the second half of the 19th Century.
St John the Baptist (the original Parish Church) – it
was active in 1226 - rebuilt in 1824 and enlarged in 1838
The town grew rapidly after the Enclosure Act and with the advent of the Railway in 1841 the population had outgrown even the enlarged Parish Church so the following churches were built and transcriptions of most their records can be seen on our site – with the exception of St Saviour’s Church
|Emmanuel Church 1847||All Saints 1887|
|Christ Church 1855||Holy Trinity 1861|
|St Saviour’s 1892||St Paul’s 1912|
With the decline in Church attendance in the 20th century, Holy Trinity was sold to the Elim Pentecostal Church in 1983 and St Saviour’s was converted to residential use in 2005.
I’ve been looking at the transcriptions for Holy Trinity and its position on the hill surrounded by large Victorian Villas had a great effect on its congregation.
Looking through the baptisms at Holy Trinity and considering the occupations of the fathers gives some idea of the population of that area of Weston. By far the majority were of some substance, Gentlemen, Solicitors, Doctors, Army Officers etc - only a handful were labourers or workmen. An intriguing entry is on the 5th February 1878 when an Alice BURROWS d/o Jeremiah & Elizabeth BURROWS was christened with her birth date of 10th May 1861.
It states that she is living in Weston but her parents reside in Jersey and her father’s occupation is unknown but probably a sailor! Was she at school in Weston or living with relatives? Why was her father’s occupation unknown and why can’t I find her on any census?
This map of 1885/6 shows Holy Trinity north west of the town on South Road.
'Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland' - http://maps.nls.uk/index.html
The Parish Registers reveal that the first marriage at Holy Trinity took place on 17th June 1862 between a gentleman, Frederick William BAEDEKER, aged 39, a widower, to Anne Jane Leigh ORMSBY, aged 39, who was a widow.
The name BAEDEKER rang bells with me and a little research showed that F. W. BAEDEKER had been born in Germany in 1823 and that it was his cousin, Karl BAEDEKER who wrote the “Baedeker Tourist Guides”, thought by some to be an inspiration for the bombing of some prominent English towns during WW2.
It is believed that Frederick may also have contributed to the guides following his own travels in Europe.
The marriage was recorded in the Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Wednesday 25 June 1862..
WESTON-SUPER-MARE.. Fashionable Wedding.
On Tuesday last the first marriage which had taken place in the new district church of the Holy Trinity was solemnised. The contracting parties on the occasion were Frederick Wm Baedeker, Esq, son of F. W. Justin Baedeker, Esq, and Ann Jane Ormsby, widow of Capt. Ormsby, and daughter of the late Capt. Benjamin Leigh Lye. The Rev Wm Hunt officiated. The bride was given away by Langton Browell, Esq, and the wedding party consisted of Miss Fanny C. Leigh Lye, Miss Ellen Frond Seagrim, Mrs M. A. Browell, the Rev P. V. N. Filleul, and Henry Leigh Ormsby, Esq.
Frederick William BAEDEKER had spent some years in Australia for the sake of his health but arrived in England in about 1859 later taking up an appointment to teach at a school in Weston-super-Mare. He is described in the 1861 census as a teacher of Languages and Mathematics. One of his pupils was Henry Leigh ORMSBY, then aged about 14, and it was his widowed mother that BAEDEKER married.
He had no religion and described himself as a “German Infidel” until 1866 when he attended a meeting organised by the 8th Earl of Cavan (who lived in the Lodge on Upper Bristol Road) which was addressed by Lord Radstock – a British Missionary - actually Granville Waldegrave, 3rd Baron Radstock. From then he considered it his life’s work to spread the word. Dr F W BAEDEKER travelled a great deal with his Missionary work distributing Bibles, supplied freely by the British and Foreign Bible Society, to all parts of Europe and even into Russia where he had special permission giving him access to all the prisons of Russia and Siberia.
He and his wife lived in the lower part of Queen’s Road overlooking Grove Park in a house which still stands today.
He gave his first Gospel Address in the Village of Kewstoke in 1866 and by a coincidence his last Sermon was also given in the Iron Rooms at Kewstoke on the 30th September 1906. He died a few days later and was buried in Weston Cemetery, with the inscription:
In loving memory of Friedrich Wilhelm Baedeker, Ph.D. who went to see the King in His Beauty saved by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus, October 9th 1906, aged 83 years
You can read more of his life story here