Richard James Starling 1832 - 1922 Print

Richard James Starling 1832 - 1922

Richard Starling is my Great-Great Grandfather.

Richard is first seen in Hilton in 1841, staying with his grandparents, John and Charlotte Starling at the age of 8. He is shown as a scholar. He isn't to be found on the 1851 census (co-incidentally, neither is his future wife), but in 1854 he marries Ann Brown from Eltisley in Hilton.

The couple had 10 children in total - a small summary on each of them will follow this write up - in the form of 7 daughters and 3 sons over the years of 1856 to 1879.

Richard and Ann Starling lived their married lives in Hilton, entirely on Wraggs Row, with Richard working as a Farm Labourer.

There is a photograph of him on a brow, with a rake over his shoulder that was taken around 1912. My Grandmother, Ada (named after Richard's daughter and my Great-Grandmother Sarah Kate's sister) remembers that as a young girl, she would be called upon to get the men home for their food. This was fine if they were working on nearby farms, but sometimes the men would have gone for an after work drink at Kisby's Hut which meant that she would have to walk to the pub, inform them that they were to come home, and then wait around outside, kicking her heels until they were ready to leave.

Ann, Richard's wife, died in 1905. Her passing was recorded thus in a local paper - "The protracted suffering of Mrs Richard Starling has been terminated by death. Her mortal remains were laid to rest in our Churchyard on Friday the 9th of December, a day on which the rain was almost incessant. It does not appear that any of the numerous mourners caught serious colds. That might easily have happened for their clothes must have been very wet before the funeral procession reached the church. Mrs Starling's age was 67."

Richard was looked after by his daughter, Ada, for the rest of his days until his death in 1922.


Tamar Rosetta born in 1856 - marries Thomas Peek - died in 1930.

Tamar married Thomas Peek on 13th May 1874 in the Free Church of St Ives. Witnesses were Charles and Margaret Stevens. The couple had 5 known children, William Osborne Peek, Florence Ann, Caroline Elizabeth, Kate and Millicent Annie. Thomas Peek was a Painter, Glazier, Plumber and House Decorator for the years of their marriage up until 1901 where he is shown as a Tea Agent. They lived, firstly in Bridge Street, St Ives, then Peek's Yard, which my mother remembers was reached by walking down an alley way in between shops.

Annie Elizabeth born in 1858 - marries Henry Peak - died in 1915.

Known to my Grandmother as Aunt Tiz, Annie married Henry Peak (no relation to her sister, Tamar's husband) in 1891 in Hilton. It is believed that a photograph my family had in its possession, a copy of which is in the archives, is of this very event. The couple lived in Somersham, where, in 1915, Annie dies. There were no children from this marriage.

Rhoda Mary born in 1861 - died in 1883.

This daughter was apparently known as 'Dodie'. There are no details for her, other than that she died in the Berkshire registration district of Windsor and was unmarried. Grand-Auntie Doll thought she remembered that Rhoda may have died of Consumption whilst working in service.

Emily Jane born in 1863 - married John Riseley - died after 1933

Known to the family as Aunt Pem, Emily married John Riseley in 1884. Two daughters were born to this marriage before John's death sometime between 1886 and 1891. (At least, it is presumed he had died as by 1891, Emily is in Longstowe, staying with cousins and her status is showed as a Widow. I don't have a death certificate to prove it, however).

Pem already had an older daughter, Louisa, born out of wedlock in 1883. Louisa would go on to marry George Trundley in 1901 in Hilton.

Ethel Riseley - known as Et - born in 1886, married Joseph Roslyn in 1908 in Hilton. They had four children, Joseph junior born in 1909, Cecil born in 1912, Harold born in 1914 and Mabel born in 1918. I remember attending Et and Joe's 60th wedding anniversary at their home in Hilton, and watching Et being made ready for the party. Her hair that had been tied up in a bun, was unravelled and brushed and it was so long that it reached beyond the small of her back.

Florence Riseley, born in 1889, married a Charles Jolley in 1913 and had a number of children born near Peterborough.

There then followed more children for Aunt Pem, although she doesn't appear to have married the father (or fathers), and the children's births were registered under the Riseley surname.

Esmeralda Riseley, born in 1892, married James Rose in 1913, and had children born near Peterborough. William John Riseley was born in 1896, and may have married a Florence Baker in 1920. Alfred George Riseley was born in 1898 and died in the same year. Richard Frank Riseley was born in 1900 and Catherine Annie Riseley (Kath) was born in 1902. In 1911 it is shown on the census that at the age of 48, Emily J Riseley married an Alfred Saunders of St Albans. They are living on Potton Road, in Hilton with three of her children, William, Richard and Cath.

I am unsure as to when Aunt Pem died, although it would be sometime after 1933.

Alfred George born in 1865 - married Sarah Ann Gray - died in 1934.

Alfred was known by his middle name of George to the family. And whilst he was born a Starling, he married and died under the name of Starnell. In 1885 he married Sarah Gray from St Ives, and had four children - Alfred junior born in 1886 in St Ives, married a lady called Ethel Cook in 1912 and three years later he was killed at The Somme, France. He is commemorated on Thiepval Memorial as well as Fen Ditton's war memorial - A daughter called Rhoda married a George Bareford in 1910 in Cambridge - another daughter called Florence married an Edward Hayes in 1922 in Cardiff, Wales - Alfred and Sarah's last child was called Richard Starnell and he married an Ethel Sanfield in 1923 in Cambridge. George's wife, Sarah, dies in 1929 in Cambridge and at some point he travels to Cardiff in Wales to stay with his daughter Florence, where he dies in 1934.

Frank Harry born in 1869 - married Naomi Childs - died 1936.

Frank Starling married another Hiltonian in 1890, daughter of Henry Childs and Avery Bailey, Naomi, who would be known thereafter as Aunt Omi. Two daughters were born to this marriage, Julia Lily in 1892 and Laura May in 1895. Julia married Percy Yates and Laura (known as Laurie) married Sidney King. Sadly, Frank was killed in a road accident in 1936, whilst out cycling.

Ada Ellen born in 1871 - died 1943.

Aunt Ada was something of a legend in our family, being the one who looked after my Grandmother when she was a young child and away from her London home, and who also looked after my Mother when she was a baby and not expected to thrive. The difficult removal of a tooth from her jaw resulted in nerves being severely damaged which rendered her totally deaf in one ear. Ada never married and simply devoted her time to the upkeep of the house on Wraggs Row, looking after her father and brother and any other family members who came to stay.

Sarah Kate born in 1874 - married Henry Arthur Bedford - died 1933.

This is my Great-Grandmother. Sarah married under the name of Starnell at St Barnabas Church in Holborn, London, and her husband was Henry Arthur Bedford, whose family were also living in Hilton. Henry had a job with the Great Western Railways, and the couple lived in Royley Street, just off Old Street in Finsbury, London. Their three children were all regular visitors to the village, with my Grandmother staying for such a long time at one point that she was enrolled in the village school.

An adept needlewoman, Sarah was well known for being able to make clothes from pretty much anything, a real triumph being matching outfits for her two grandaughers(my mother and aunt) from a pair of velvet curtains. Sarah died in Ashmore Road, Paddington on 17th December, 1933 and she is buried in St Mary Magdalene's churchyard alongside her husband, Henry.

Click here for a photo of my mum, Kath (on the right) and her sister, Joan (on the left), in the velvet dresses that was made for them by my great grandmother, Sarah Kate.

Harriet Lily born in 1876 - married Oscar Dempster - died after 1933.

Known as Lil, it was through her marriage to Oscar Dempster that my grandmother met her future husband. Lil and Oscar had also moved to London as Oscar was employed by GWR. Oscar's younger brother came to stay with them when he was repatriated to the UK after spending 4 years in a P.O.W. Camp in Germany in 1918. Aunt Lil invited her niece to stay whilst Edgar was there, and the marriage between them a year later meant that a Bedford and a Starling had married into the Dempster line, thus making my mother my cousin also (albeit not a blood related one....).

Lil and Oscar had one daughter, Evelyn Lily born in 1910 in Paddington. She is still alive and living in Surrey.

Richard James born in 1879 - died 1912

Another Starling child that never married was Uncle Dick. He lived with his sister, Ada and his father in Wraggs Row.

In the local paper there was mention of one event in his life...


"Saturday 20th August was a dangerous day for Mr Richard James Starling. Early in the morning of that day the horse he was leading harnessed to an empty water cart suddenly took fright. The leading rein broke and Dick fell and one wheel passed over his right leg. Thinking more of the horse and cart than himself he limped off with great courage in pursuit of them. Fortunately his condition was noticed by a kind neighbour who persuaded him to give up the chase. He was brought into the cottage of Mrs Riseley, his sister, and promptly fainted from loss of blood. Since then he has had some five weeks of enforced holiday, with a grand opportunity for miscellaneous reading. Thus even a bad accident may have its agreeable and profitable side."

Uncle Dick was a favourite of both my Grandmother and her sister. They had fond memories of collecting buckets full of fresh honeycomb from the bee hives with him.

There is a lovely photograph (click here) of Dick in the Archives, standing with a flat cap on in front of the house on Wraggs Row. The photograph was taken by Dr Peters shortly before Dick died.

Last Updated on Monday, 12 October 2009 12:18