History of the Amersham Area

The Toovey family


This research was undertaken at the request of the Curator of Amersham Museum, Emily Toettcher, who wanted information about the Toovey family members who had lived in the building that now houses the museum.

Click here to see a pdf copy of the research

It was very soon apparent that much investigation had already been carried out.  The trigger-factor was probably the death of Ronald Frank Toovey on 14 August 1980 in Wycombe Hospital.  He was the last survivor of the four children of Frederick Samson Toovey and Sarah Ann Clare.  He was unmarried, childless and intestate and, although his solicitors twice attended to try to get a Will drawn, it was too late.

The solicitors commissioned a genealogist to act as heir hunter and eventually heirs were identified and the estate distributed.  This seems to have generated interest in their ancestry among the descendants of Ronald Frank’s grandfather Henry Toovey (1822-1910).  At that time there was considerable interest also in exploring the capabilities of computers for storing and analysing genealogical data.  The Toovey family featured in an article in Computers in Genealogy in March 1993[1]. In 1995 Richard Boyles wrote Toovey’s in Amersham, My Family History and kindly presented a copy to Amersham Museum.  While carrying out this research he became aware of Dr DW Jopling who two years later would publish The Descendants of Toovey of Watlington, born ca 1540.  A copy of this, accompanied by a roll pedigree, is in the Library of the Society of Genealogists in London.[2]

As will be apparent from the title, this followed the various Toovey lines back as far as was possible.

With all this information already available, what more could be done?  Since the 1990s considerably more information has been made accessible to family historians, much of it digitally searchable.  That makes it much easier and quicker to cross-check data and to follow the story of the various descendants into the first half of the twentieth century. Where previously the focus, naturally, had been mostly on the descendants of Sampson’s son Henry, and particularly his daughter Louisa, in a new study all branches would be given equal weight and individual lives could be followed further.  As well as a tree, which eventually included 320 individuals, being made publicly available by being placed on Ancestry,[3] the story of Sampson and Katherine’s descendants is told as a narrative.  This goes beyond what is possible with a data-base, allowing links and comparisons to be made and sometimes research strategies described, so that the reader can see how various conclusions or hypotheses were reached.

As Sampson was born in Watlington but made his home in Amersham from 1805 or earlier, it was possible to look at how the lives of one family changed over a period of more than 100 years and, moreover, a family very much involved in the important local industry of chairmaking.

Although extensive use has been made (where possible) of the 1939 Register, not all the information gleaned from combining it with other sources has been included, for reasons of privacy.  Similarly, the list of legatees of the estate of Ronald Frank Toovey has been used for cross-checking, but not included in the text as those people were all alive in 1980 and still may be.

The sources available for researching a Baptist family differ somewhat from those available through the Established Church.  Baptists did not believe in baptising infants, so baptism records, which sometimes record the date of birth as well as the date of baptism and parentage of the child, are not available.  Many Non-Conformists were aware that it was useful for their children to be equipped with proof of age and so opted to make their own arrangements, setting up Registries such as the one at Dr Williams’s Library, where a number of Toovey and Cooper births were recorded, and a separate Wesleyan one in London.  Fortunately the Amersham Baptists kept their registers efficiently and, after the introduction of civil registration in 1837, which removed the need for such records, they were passed to the Registrar General, and became part of Class RG 4 in the National Archives.

Perhaps as a result of of the antipathy between Non-Conformists and the Established Church, Toovey marriages often took place at some distance from Amersham, in London, Hillingdon or Uxbridge, for example.  Sampson himself and his son John, in 1806 and 1826 respectively, got married at St Mary’s Amersham.  At that time there was no choice.  After 1837 only one Toovey wedding was held there, that of Catherine, daughter of Henry Toovey, who married Walter William Arnold, in 1874.  Details have emerged of only one marriage which took place in the Lower Baptist Meeting House, that of Ann Toovey and Joseph Deeley.  The evidence for that comes from an announcement in the Baptist Magazine, not from any official register. 

Other members of the family seem to have been prepared to accept the extra hassle of getting married at some distance from home, quite often in some other Anglican church, rather than turn to their local church.  Perhaps the explanation is that Low Church practices may have been more acceptable to them than High Church ones, but with no evidence of where the Rectors of Amersham came on that spectrum, that can only remain a theory.

There was also a Baptist burial ground which lay between the Upper and Lower Meeting Houses.  Births were recorded in one end of the register, burials in the other, until they met somewhere in the middle and the book was full.  The last date I can find is the burial of William Line aged 25 on 9 Feb 1834.  The need for nonconformist registries may have disappeared from 1 July 1837, but burials would presumably have continued.  Details of burials of Amersham Baptists after this date do not seem to have been deposited anywhere.  A few tombstones remain, but many others may have been broken or removed.

Normally it would be possible to find burial records and perhaps gravestones, from which extra information can usually be gleaned, but where the Tooveys of Amersham went to be buried is still a mystery.  Only one Toovey burial appears to have taken place at St Mary’s Amersham, that of an infant whose parents are not named.  The Platt burial ground administered by Amersham Town Council seemed a possibility, but despite great efforts by Zoë Richardson, to whom warm thanks are due, to discover Sampson Toovey’s resting place in 1860, no such burial apparently took place there.

The burial of Non-Conformists in Anglican churchyards can sometimes present peculiar difficulties for the researcher, a distinction being drawn between those who were buried [i.e. had the burial service read as they were interred] and those who were simply ‘put in the ground’ with no service because they had never been baptised into the church.  The worry is that the interment of those who were not entitled to be buried might not therefore be recorded in the burial register.  The only way round that would be to cross-check with the sexton’s fee book or the register of graves showing who was put where, but the fee-books may have been discarded and the grave book is likely to be still at the church, if burials are continuing there, rather than having been deposited in a Record Office.

It still seems most likely that, if a Baptist burial ground was available, that is where Sampson and Katherine Toovey would have been taken, even though they died in Coleshill.  If their burials could be found, then details of other family interments should follow.

The study which follows has been divided into sections, one for Sampson Toovey and Katherine Shrimpton and one for each of their sons and daughters. Each grandchild’s descendants are then detailed as far as they can be traced before moving on to the next grandchild.  The exception is that the three unmarried daughters, plus another who did marry but was widowed early, have been grouped into one section because they lived together at various times. This avoided much repetition of census data.

The advent of digital searching makes fast genealogy possible, which makes barking up the wrong tree even more comprehensive and quicker than before. With a study of this size, involving over 300 people, it would be far too costly to order birth, marriage and death certificates for all of them.  Where that has been necessary to solve a problem, it has been done.  Wherever possible different sources have been combined to produce the likely answer and the account of the family written in such a way that the source of the information will be reasonably evident to anyone who understands the basics of family history.  Untested suppositions have been flagged as such by the use of ‘possible, probable, likely’ etc, and these have been included simply as starting-points to help anyone who may want to explore the family further.

While great care has been taken to proceed with due wariness, it would be naïve to believe that no errors or typos have sneaked through.  Should you spot such an error, please get in touch with Amersham Museum so that it can be put right.

Gwyneth Wilkie

January 2017

[1] ‘Creating descendant trees using Windows Write and PagePlus’ Vol 4, no 9, pp 377-382.

[2] Bound in Family History Tracts, Vol 138, in the Upper Library.  It was originally printed by the John Marcon Press of Nafferton near Driffield, Yorkshire.

[3] Most public libraries have a subscription to Ancestry, www.ancestry.co.uk, so the tree can easily be accessed.

Click here to see a pdf copy of the research

The page numbers given below refer to the main entry in the attached pdf copy of the research.  In some cases more details about children’s life before leaving home should be sought under the parents’ entry.
ALDERMAN, Frank Ernest 36, 59
ALDERMAN, Maria 54
ALDERMAN, William 54
ALLEN, Clara 25
ANDERSON, Charles 47
ANDERSON, Sarah 45, 47
ANSELL, Walter Henry 33, 34
ARNOLD, Edith Louise 92
ARNOLD, Walter William (father & son) 104
AUSTEN, Amy E 33
AXTEN, Brenda Gurney 25
BAILES, Arema Eileen 30, 32
BAILES, George 30
BAILES, Maud 30
BAILES, Percy George 30
BAILES, William 32
BARRY, Hilda Florence 23
BATES, Priscilla Jane 19
BEDDOW, Revd Henry 51, 60
BISHOP, Florence Helen 41
BLACK, Elizabeth H 85
BONHAM, William 97
BOURNE, Arthur Alfred 67
BOURNE, Dorothy 68
BOURNE, John Frye 69
BOURNE, Thomas Alfred 67
BRION, Alice Eliza 21
BRION, Elizabeth 21
BRYANT, Annie Beatrice 40
BRYANT, Daisy May 36, 42, 59
BRYANT, Elizabeth Mabel 41
BRYANT, Ethel Dorothy 41
BRYANT, Eva Mary 36, 40, 59
BRYANT, Grace Arema Eliza 38
BRYANT, James 38
BRYANT, James Thomas 39
BRYANT, John Toovey 41
BRYANT, Joseph Henry 41
BRYANT, Maria Hilda Rose 42
CARMODY, Anna J 70
CARTER, Captain Willoughby 89
CLARE, John 118
CLARE, Sarah Ann 118
COCKS, Revd John 12, 61
COCKS, Mary 61
COLE, George Charles 78
CONGREVE, Dr George Thomas 73
COOPER, Angelina Lewis 50
COOPER, Emma 54
COOPER, Jabez 54
COOPER, Revd James 7, 50, 54
COOPER, James 54
COOPER, Keith 79
COOPER, Maria Ann 54
COOPER, Timothy 54,56
COOPER, William Henry 54
COX, George 11
COX, James 44
COX, Sarah 11
DAVNY, James 6
DAVNY, Sarah 6
DEE, Albert Ambrose 41
DEELEY, Joseph 19, 48
DENT, John M 115
DOLOMORE, Emma 110
DORRINGTON, George Frederick 54
DRAKE, Captain, magistrate 51
DRAKE, Revd Edward T, Rector of Amersham 1863-1904, 51
DRAKE, Mr T T (Thomas Tyrwhitt) 19
DUMBARTON, Henry Toovey, see TOOVEY, Henry [Dumbarton]
DUMBARTON, Thomas 86
DUNN, Julia, see LLOYD, Julia
FENLON, Thomas Herbert 94
FEW, Florence Rhoda 117
FLEET, Francis 89
FLEET, Salome 89
FOWLER, Florence Jane Olive 92
FROUD, David James 27
FROUD, George Alfred 17, 27
FROUD, William B 27
FROUD, William James 17
GAMBLIN, Henry John 18, 46
GAMBLIN, John 28, 45
GAMBLIN, Mabel Mary Ann 45, 47
GEE, Florence Irene Ada 117
GIBBS, Frank Winkworth 18, 46
GIBBS, Phyllis M 18, 46
GILBERT, Eva Christine Gordon 36, 59
GILES, Minnie 105
GRACE, Alfred John 71
GRACE, Constance Kate 67
GRACE, Edith May 71
GRACE, Edward Sampson 61, 72
GRACE, Ernest Edward 66
GRACE, Florence Kate 64, 65
GRACE, Gertrude F 70
GRACE, Gertrude Mary 71
GRACE, Helen K 70
GRACE, James 61, 64
GRACE, Thomas 61
GRACE, Walter James 66, 70
GRACE, William 61
GRAY, Frank S 21
GREEN, Albert F 42
GREEN, Richard William 40
GREEN, Thomas 105
GRIMMETT, Minnie, see HILL, Minnie
HALL, Augusta Elizabeth 15, 17
HAMILTON, Frederick J 97
HARDING, Amelia 108
HARDING, Edward 108
HARDING, Florence Maud 108
HARDING, Frank 108
HARDING, Frederick John 108
HARDING, John 108
HARDING, Minnie Amelia 108
HELYAR, Frank Eric 93, 94
HETT, Edith Dorothy Norah 69
HILL, Edward R 40
HILL or GRIMMETT, Minnie 23
HINE, Elizabeth 5
HODSON, Alice K 109
HOLLIDAY, Elizabeth Fanny 115
HOOKER, Edward Henry 111
HOOKER, George Frederick (1867-1947) 110
HOOKER , George Frederick (1896-1916) 110
HOOKER, Jenny Edna 110
HOOKER, Kate (Catherine Maud) 110
HOOKER, Mary Louisa 110
HOPKINS, Maria 97
HOWLETT, Florence A 115
HULL, Elizabeth 114
HULL, Hugh 114
IRWIN, Martha 56
JAMES, Sarah Charlotte 75
JARVIS, Edmund C 101
JARVIS, Edward William 101
JENKINS, Agnes Emma 26
KEEN, Eliza 73
KEEN, William 73
KEETI, Pauline 31
KING, Henry 28
KING, Minnie 28
LEE, Emily 14
LLOYD, Julia Ann 113
McCALLUM, Revd Duncan 49, 51
MEAGER, Albert Ernest 99
MEAGER, Frank Henry 99
MEAGER, Thomas Henry 99
MILLER, Elsie 29
MINES, Sarah Jane 12
MOODY, Clifford George 84
MOODY, Florence May 80
MOODY, Francis James 82
MOODY, Gertrude Emily 78
MOODY, Mabel Isabel(la) 80
MOODY, Samuel 76
MOODY, Stanley C F 83
MOODY, Stanley Charles 78, 81
MOODY, Sydney Samuel 80
MOODY, Winifred Eliza 80
MOODY, Winifred F 83
MOORE, Norman J 100
MORRIS, Rose 22
MORTEN, William 7
MOUNTAIN, Lilian Ivy 97
NEWMAN, Fred 113
NEWNS, Jonathan 97
NEWNS, Rose 97
NICKOLAY, Clifford Archibald 35
NICKOLAY, Frank Frederick 35
PAGET, Dorothy B 16
PALMER, Florence Mary 94
PARSONS, Catherine Jewell 64
PARSONS, Ernest 66
PARSONS, Mary 64
PATES, Frank 100
PATES, Mary E 100
PATES, Peggy 100
PATES, Wilfred 100
PEARCE, Ann 55
PEARCE, Charles 55
PEARCE, Charles (1875-1884) 51, 55
PEARCE, Jonathan 56
PEARCE, Martha 51, 55
PEARCE, Reuben 56
PETTMAN, Cynthia Josephine 33
PICKETT, Minnie Elizabeth 27
PLUMRIDGE, Elsie May 23
REED, Clara Evelyn 95
ROBINSON, Donald W 29
RUTTER, Emily Amelia 72
RUTTER, Samuel 61
SAINSBURY, Kate Winifred (later WHEELER) 93
SAUNDERS, Kate 117
SAUNDERS, Mary Ann 30
SCHONE, Florence 31
SHEAREN, Maud 30
SHEAREN, Owen 30
SHOREY, Frances Nelly 89
SHOREY, James 89
SHRIMPTON, Elizabeth 61
SHRIMPTON, Katherine 5, 61
SMITH, Eliza Jane Willis 25
SMITH, Minnie Caroline 112
SMITH, Olga 83
SMITH, Pauline Janet 26
SMITH, Philip H 100
SMITH, William H 25
STATHAM, James 7
SUTTON, Alfred Toovey 94
SUTTON, Charles A F 95
SUTTON, Harold Henry 105
SUTTON, Henry 105
SUTTON, Herbert 105
SUTTON, Ivy Annie 105
SUTTON, Sophia Jane 94
TAYLOR, Gladys Evelyn 22
TAYLOR, Mary Elizabeth 14
THORPE, William Henry 111
TOBITT, Averil Mary 79
TOBITT, Doris Gertrude 78
TOBITT, John 78
TOBITT, John Eric Samuel 78
TOBITT, Mabel Nora Gwendolen 78
TOOVEY, Agnes Mary 117
TOOVEY, Albert Ernest (1869-1930) 114
TOOVEY, Albert Ernest (b 1900) 114
TOOVEY, Alfred 112
TOOVEY, Alfred Herbert 94
TOOVEY, Alfred Horace 113
TOOVEY, Alfred William 117
TOOVEY, Alice Mabel 14, 18, 46
TOOVEY, Ann 48, 62
TOOVEY, Arema Beatrice (1863-1890) 36, 59
TOOVEY, Arema Beatrice (1890-1972) 36, 51, 59
TOOVEY, Arthur John P 16
TOOVEY, Audrey E 115
TOOVEY, Basil Rupert 97
TOOVEY, Catherine (1817-1907) 61
TOOVEY, Catherine (1837-1891) 38, 45
TOOVEY, Catherine (b 1847) 104
TOOVEY, Christopher Ernest 28, 45
TOOVEY, Christopher Llewellyn 29
TOOVEY, Clement Thomas Mines 19, 27
TOOVEY, Clement William Stanley 25
TOOVEY, Dennis Frederick C 26
TOOVEY, Doris May 93, 94
TOOVEY, Dorothy Christine 36
TOOVEY, Dorothy Mildred 35
TOOVEY, Ebenezer 58
TOOVEY, Edith 120
TOOVEY, Edith Kate 17
TOOVEY, Elizabeth 61
TOOVEY, Elizabeth Julia Emma 37
TOOVEY, Emily 55
TOOVEY, Emily Mabel 16
TOOVEY, Emma (1834-1895) 44
TOOVEY, Emma (1856-1880) 107
TOOVEY, Emma Mary 105
TOOVEY, Eric Percy 23
TOOVEY, Ernest Walter 117
TOOVEY, Evelyn Elizabeth 114
TOOVEY, Evelyn Ellen 34
TOOVEY, Florence Joan Lily 94
TOOVEY, Frances Ann Louisa 105
TOOVEY, Francis Herbert 96, 97
TOOVEY, Francis William 97
TOOVEY, Frederick Samson 118
TOOVEY, George Sidney 24
TOOVEY, George Walter 14, 43
TOOVEY, Gertrude Eliza 76
TOOVEY, Gladys May 97
TOOVEY, Harold 33
TOOVEY, Henrietta Constance 101
TOOVEY, Henry 86, 110
TOOVEY, Henry [Dumbarton] 89
TOOVEY, Henry Maurice 26
TOOVEY, Herbert Frederick (1898-1928) 122
TOOVEY, Herbert Frederick (1916-2009) 117
TOOVEY, Herbert James 105
TOOVEY, Hilda Grace 17, 27
TOOVEY, Horace 21
TOOVEY, James (b 1778) 5
TOOVEY, James (1819-1973) 73
TOOVEY, James Clifford 75
TOOVEY, James Henry 92
TOOVEY, James Rowland 92, 94
TOOVEY, James Theophilus 36, 59
TOOVEY, Jane 116
TOOVEY, John (1806-1873) 11
TOOVEY, John (1829-1882) 12
TOOVEY, John Clement 21
TOOVEY, John Paterson 16
TOOVEY, John Walter Albert Eugene 14
TOOVEY, Jonathan 36, 59
TOOVEY, Kate 117
TOOVEY, Kate Eleanor 98
TOOVEY, Lewis 21
TOOVEY, Louisa 62, 86, 110
TOOVEY, Mabel Kate 121
TOOVEY, Maragaret 75
TOOVEY, Maria Ann 36, 54, 56
TOOVEY, Mary 61
TOOVEY, Mary Ann (1831-1895) 14, 43
TOOVEY, Mary Ann (b 1859) 108
TOOVEY, Mary Arema Minnie 30
TOOVEY, Mary Hilda 16
TOOVEY, Mary Jane 38, 45
TOOVEY, May Julia 96
TOOVEY, Minnie Caroline 112
TOOVEY, Minnie Rose 99
TOOVEY, Norman John Clement Frederick 21
TOOVEY, Peggy E E 29
TOOVEY, Reginald John 102
TOOVEY, Roland Wallace 33
TOOVEY, Ronald Frank 123
TOOVEY, Salome 100
TOOVEY, Sampson 5
TOOVEY, Samuel 50
TOOVEY, Sarah 48, 61
TOOVEY, Sarah Jane (1868-1949) 91
TOOVEY, Sarah Jane (b 1899) 114
TOOVEY, Stanley C F 83
TOOVEY, Stanley Ernest 25
TOOVEY, Veronica 113
TOOVEY, Walter 117
TOOVEY, Walter Percy 23
TOOVEY, William 103
TOOVEY, Winifred F 83
TOWERTON, Annie 105
TUCKER, William John Idris 78
WEBB, Percy W R 32
WEST, Doris Winifred 22
WHEELER, Henry J 93
WHEELER, Kate Winifred, née Sainsbury 93
WHEELER, Kathleen 78
WILLIAMS, Avrille Joan 98
WILLIAMS, Betty Joyce 98
WILLIAMS, Caroline 86
WILLIAMS, Richard John 98
WILLIAMS, Rosalie Jean 98
WILLIAMS, Thomas 86
WORLEY, Lillie 24

[1] ‘Creating descendant trees using Windows Write and PagePlus’ Vol 4, no 9, pp 377-382.

[2] Bound in Family History Tracts, Vol 138, in the Upper Library.  It was originally printed by the John Marcon Press of Nafferton near Driffield, Yorkshire.

[3] Most public libraries have a subscription to Ancestry, www.ancestry.co.uk, so the tree can easily be accessed.