top of page

The Slaughter Family

This appendix contains details of 4 members of the Slaughter family, who have strong links to Fox Corner.  They farmed at Bakersgate, Pullens Farm and Hockford Farm between 1867 and 1902.  And various members of the family lived at Pirbright Cottages, Brook Farm, Rickford, and Kelvin Cottages in Rickford until 1962.

It was written, after much painstaking research, by a direct descendant of the Slaughter family, Val Patrick, to whom we give thanks for allowing us to publish it here.

There are 4 sections in this appendix, dealing with the following:

  • THOMAS SLAUGHTER (1823-1901)

  • WILLIAM SLAUGHTER (1856-1941)


  • MOSES COOKE (1857-1944)


                                         THOMAS SLAUGHTER b 1823, bapt 23 Feb 1823, d 19 Jul 1901.

Thomas Slaughter was almost certainly born at Russell Place Farm, Wood St (on Frog Grove Lane at what is now called Wood St Village), Worplesdon.

His parents were certainly there by 1820 when his elder brother William came into the world. Their father William Slaughter was a native of Worplesdon, and mother Jane, nee Etherington, of Ash.  Thomas was eventually to have 2 older and three younger brothers and two younger sisters. The family would not have been well off as by 1851 the father had only risen in status from “agricultural labourer” to “farmer of 5 acres” (per the census).

Very little is known of Thomas's childhood, except that he learnt to read and write.  At 13 he would have experienced the severe gale and snowstorm in which many lives were lost and roads impassable for several days. It happened on Christmas Day 1836 and lasted until Boxing Day, with snow up to 15 feet deep in places.

When he started work isn't known, but by 1841 he was a servant at Frogrove House, Wood St, the Queen Anne house he was to inhabit as a gentleman farmer for the last ten years of his life.

Local directories later described him as one of the principal residents of the area at the time, but in 1841 he was a lowly worker there, together with his younger brother George.

Five years later, on December 5 1846, Thomas married Eliza Hartfree who lived at Flexford, close to Wood St.  She was a native of Worplesdon and was herself in domestic service.  In 1841 she had been a servant at Wildfield Farm to the east of Frogrove, and her family lived at Backside Common, adjacent to Russell Place Farm so it is eminently possible that the young couple met at this time.  Solomon, an agricultural labourer, and Elenor Hartfree, her parents, were both Surrey-born, originating from Frimley. Thomas whose father was a carter in 1846 lived at Rydes Hill Worplesdon and described himself as a labourer.  The young couple stood before the altar of St. Mary's Church Worplesdon to seal their vows.

During the 1840s, the country as a whole was going through a relatively peaceful period. In 1841, for the first time, a specific address for Thomas's family was given in the census.

William & Jane and their children Henry, Elizabeth, Jane and John were all at Russell Place where William and Henry worked as agricultural labourers. There was no farmer in residence, as the Farm was part of the Frogrove estate, and managed from there.

Eliza was much the same age as Thomas and over the next 26 years was to bear him 11 children, the last when she was aged 48.

Two years after they married, she and Thomas were living at Woodbridge Hill, Stoke next Guildford, where her husband’s occupation was, until 1850, given as agricultural labourer, but in the 1851 census he suddenly became a farmer. This last fact does not agree with the baptismal records of his first 3 children born 1848, 1850 and 1852 at Stoke, in which he stated he was still an agricultural labourer.

The extended family was all around.  Eliza's brother, George, from Stoke had married in 1847 Tryphena Andrew from Woodbridge Hill. They probably all lived in the area at the same time.  Not far away, in 1851 were Thomas's elder brother William and his wife Mary nee Baker from Ash, who had married in 1844. They lived at Heathers, Wood St, behind Russell Place Farm with their four children, Elizabeth, Mary, William and James.  Parents William and Jane Slaughter were still at Broad St, Backside Common, Wood St, which would have been Russell Place Farm. They still had two sons at home: John, who worked for them, and Frederick who was still at school.  Also at Broad St were son Henry (Thomas's elder brother), his wife Elizabeth nee Etherington from Ash, who he had married in 1846 and their two young sons, Edward and William.  Henry too was an agricultural labourer.

On 14 Sept 1865 a sad event occurred when Eliza the eldest child died “in Brookwood”, aged 17 and a half years of apoplexy (ie stroke) and heart disease.  Thomas was present at the death.  As Brookwood Asylum was not functional at the time, I think it safe to say she died at the Nag's Head.  There is no evidence that she had a prolonged illness.  

This must have been a bad year for the family, as Thomas’s father had died seven months before.  He had earlier that year done jury service at the County Court, Guildford in the case of William Chalcroft v John Ellis.

In September 1867, they moved to Bakers Gate, Pirbright, a rambling old farmhouse, originally a medieval hall house, which was to be their home for the next twenty seven or so years.

Daughter Rosina was born there in 1867. Thomas held the house and farm, and also, grazing land on Pirbright Common from 1891-93, he only retained the house, having moved to Frogrove House, Wood St. by the end of his tenancy.  In 1861 the farm was 100 acres.  Below are 2 pictures of the Slaughters at Bakersgate.

Slaughters - Bakersgate 2.jpg
Slaughters at Bakersgate.jpg

Life didn’t always run smoothly for Thomas who, on 29 May 1875, found himself in the Magistrates Court charged with watering down the milk from his farm. Mr. George White, solicitor of Guildford, appeared for Thomas saying there was strong evidence the milk was naturally weak due to the class of food with which the animals were supplied.  Thus Thomas was fined the sum of 40 shillings.  (London Daily News)

At Bakers Gate, he farmed 130 acres, employing 2 men and 3 boys.  Helping him were his sons Alfred, Thomas and William (1871 census).  Also there were Eliza, Elizabeth (12), Jane (10), Frederick (8), Alice (6), Rosina (3) and Isabel (0.5).

During the ensuing 10 years, 15 more acres were taken on, bringing the total to 145. 

From 1876, 2 years after the death of his mother, Thomas was mentioned in the Guildford almanac as being one of the principle residents of the area, and thereafter every year until his death in 1901 (He was also mentioned in 1902).

Pirbright School Log Book records that on 27 Nov 1871, a letter was sent to Mr T Slaughter re the fees for his children.  On 30 Nov 1811 the head teacher called on Thomas Slaughter regarding the fees.  On 28 Feb 1878 Thomas supplied the faggots for the school fire, but sent in a bill for 12 shillings.

During their residence at Bakers Gate, various family groups came to stay with Thomas and Eliza, and then moved on. They were joined in early 1874 by their son Alfred and his wife Margaret nee Mansell who were expecting their first child.  Alfred Edward was born in April 1874, and they stayed there for up to 4 years.

During this time Margaret gave birth to 2 more children.  They moved in 1879 to White House Farm, Send, where Thomas is reputed to have set his son up on the farm.  He had leased it in 1868, together with the Hon Frances Scott of Send Grange. Also Great and Little Pound Fields in Send from the Earl of Onslow at a cost of £16 17s 6d pa.  The lease expired in 1879, which was when the move took place, the lease probably having been renewed.  The year before, on 5 Oct 78, Thomas advertised 40 dog-split rods (hurdles) for sale.  Below left is a photo of Alfred, Margaret and their family:

  • Back row (l to r): Alfred (father), Alfred (son), Margaret (mother), Margaret (daughter). 

  • Middle row (l to r): Louisa, Dora

  • Front row (l to r):  Mary Ann, Emily


Below right is a photo of Margaret in her later years.

In 1875 Margaret's 75 year old aunt, Ellen Mansell also lived at Bakers Gate, and on June 9th gave that address when she placed an ad in the Times for a position as parlourmaid, with no sewing!  Thomas’s son William, his wife Elizabeth née Partrick and small son Thomas junior returned from London EC to live at Baker's Gate 1882-84.  They had been banished to London for the child's birth as Elizabeth was six months’ pregnant when they married. Now all was forgiven, and she gave birth in 1884 to Annie Martha. They stayed at Bakers Gate for up to two years before moving on.

The following month the South Wales Echo reported that Thomas had been fined for shooting on the common next to his farm. The shoot was let by the War Office to a distiller. In Thomas's defence, another Surrey farmer had said that game birds feed on farmers' land, and that the hunt damages the land.

Thomas and Eliza still had 5 of their own children living at home in 1881, the year that Thomas was fined for trespass for game shooting.  William aged 25, Frederick 18, Elizabeth 22, Fanny 18 and Isabel 10. Ten years earlier they had had 9 children at home, but by 1891 with son Frederick 28, daughters Alice 26, Rosina 23, Isobel 20, and a friend Kate Hills in the house they were rapidly approaching the end of their time at Bakers Gate, and moved later that year to Frog Grove, Wood Street, where there were 400 acres to be farmed.

The Guildford Almanac for 1892 and 1893 gives Thomas's address as Frogrove.  Frederick moved with them, and they were all joined at the same time by brother Alfred, his wife, and possibly 7 of their 9 children, all of whom stayed until 1892 when they took up residence at Brook(s) Farm, Rickford, Worplesdon.

While still at Bakers Gate, Thomas was advertising 3 Alderney heifers near calving for sale (Surrey Ad 1885) and in 1890 he wanted a carter, married man preferred (Surrey Ad 1890).

Eliza died at Frogrove on 11 Oct 1892 of a stroke (apoplexy) and was buried at Worplesdon on 15 Oct 1892.  Frederick had been present at the death.  Thomas lived on until 1901, at first farming both Frogrove and Russell Place farm next door with his son Thomas who lived there, and his unmarried son Frederick who continued to live at home. Thomas Junior had moved to Russell Place Farm from Bowers Farm, Burpham (where Sainsbury’s is today) in 1893, and remained there until shortly after Thomas Senior’s death.

Alice Frances, known as Fan or Fanny, had returned home in 1891/92 to look after her aging parents and those left on the farm. She cooked, washed, baked bread, made wine and generally worked extremely hard.  After her mother's death she nursed her father until he too died, of heart disease.  When the 1901 census took place, Thomas had only four months to live.  Fred aged 37 was still working on the farm and didn’t marry until 1918.  Fanny and his Granddaughter Dora aged 18 were also at Frogrove.

Margaret and Emily, two other granddaughters came to assist Fanny at this time.

Thomas died on July 19 1901 at home, aged 77 years.  The Surrey Advertiser Obituary merely states:  “SLAUGHTER on July 19 (Fri) at his residence Frogrove, Worplesdon, Surrey, Thomas Slaughter, aged 77 years”.  His son Fred was with him when he died, and the death certificate states “softening of the brain two years”.  He also had heart disease.  He was buried with his wife outside the south door of Worplesdon church.  A photo of Thomas is shown (right).

His will stated that upon his death possession of the farms which had been in his occupation, ie Russell Place Farm and Frogrove, to be given up as soon as reasonably possible.  This necessitated the move of sons Alfred and Thomas & their families from Brook Farm and Russell Place respectively.  On July 27 Baden Powell visited Woking on his return from Mafeking.

During Thomas's lifetime the following had happened:

  • 1829 - Lucifer matches were first manufactured

  • 1830 - The Swing Riots.  Labourers earned less than they had 100 years before, ie 7d per day, and thought they should receive 2/6d per day.  There was more mechanisation and therefore fewer labourers.  The labourers focused their hatred on the machines.  Active in and around Guildford.

  • 1834 - Poor Law amendment Act.  It was now difficult for an able-bodied man to obtain relief unless he was admitted to a Workhouse.  Only in sickness or through accident could a man now obtain out-relief from the Parish.  A central Authority was set up to direct administration and unite parishes.  This resulted in Union Workhouses and the spreading of resources.

  • 1837 - Queen Victoria crowned.

  • 1846 - Repeal of the Corn laws. Bread became cheaper.

  • 1854 – Crimean War

  • 1874-1894 - Depression in the countryside, owing to bad seasons with poor harvests, low prices and losses of livestock.  Many farmers went out of business in the South East.  The harvest of 1879 was the worst of the century.

  • Jan 1881 - The worst snow storm of the century

  • 22 Jun 1887 - Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee

  • 1899 - Boer War Dutch settlers in the Transvaal & Orange Free State declared war on Britain.  They did not want British interference or influxes of British gold prospectors.  Women rode bicycles!

  • 22 Jan 1901 - Queen Victoria died at Osborne House.

  • 1901 - Marconi made his first transatlantic radio signals from Poldhu in Cornwall to Signal Hill in Newfoundland.


The probate register states:  Slaughter Thomas of Frog Grove Farm and Russell Place Farm both in Worplesdon, Surrey, died 19 Jul 1901 at Frog Grove.  Probate London 14 Aug 1908 to Thomas Slaughter (son) and James Collins, farmers.  Effects £1,107 2s 6d.



                                       WILLIAM SLAUGHTER  b 6 Jun 1856, d 21 Feb 1941


William was born at the Harrow lnn, The Street, Compton, Surrey, the 5th child of Thomas and Eliza (nee Hartfree).  His father was publican there, & two years later in 1858 when the next child was born, was described as farmer and by 1861 was farming 45 acres and employing 2 men 2 boys (William’s daughter stated that he was born at the Harrow as she had heard this from her mother.) Those acres were probably part of the Compton Manor Estate.  From then on the family began to prosper, but before they left Compton, 3 more children were born.

The move to the Nag’s Head on the boundary between Brookwood and Knaphill, near Woking, took place in 1864 when William was 8. That year sister Alice Frances was born there.  The following year William's sister Eliza died at Brookwood, aged 17.5, almost certainly at the Nag’s Head.

Sometime between 1865 and 1867, when William was 9 or 10, the family moved to Bakers Gate, Ash Road Pirbright, a rambling old farmhouse, originally a medieval hall house which was to be their home for 25-27 years.  William was there in 1871 and in 1881 working for his father on the farm.

In 1882 he married Elizabeth Partrick daughter of William and Martha née Fidgeon, at St Lukes Church, Finsbury, London, EC.  At census time (1881) Elizabeth had been working as a Lady's Maid in Pirbright at Byron Lodge for the wife of Admiral Sir Sidney Davies, and remained in their employ until she married, even though she was 7 months pregnant at the end of her time there.  She married from her mother's house 10, Paradise St, London EC, her father being deceased.   (Paradise St has been demolished - Info 1994).  After the wedding, Elizabeth remained in London for the birth and William returned to his work on his father's farm at Bakers Gate.

During her youth Elizabeth had lived with a Fidgeon aunt and uncle at Aldershot, the uncle reputedly in the military band there.  She and William must have met at Pirbright, as Byron Lodge and Bakers Gate are not far apart.

By 1884 when daughter Annie Martha was born, William, Elizabeth and son Thomas were all back at Bakers Gate, and may have been there for up to two years. William would have been needed on the farm, and the disgrace of the pregnancy before marriage, a thing of the past.  By all accounts his father kept his sons short of money.

Henrietta Mildred was born in 1886, but now the family was at Brook Farm, Rickford Worplesdon, which William had taken over from Thomas Whitman.  Kelly's Directory for 1887 gives the address as Rickford, but bearing in mind that directories are always a year late, 1886 is correct.  Also son Thomas started at Perry Hill School in June 1886 from Brook Farm, but left on 5 Sep 1886 when the family moved to Attfield Farm, Littlefield Common Worplesdon.  (In 2008 the author discovered that the farm had been demolished to make way for a modern bungalow).

Daughter Elizabeth was born at Attfield in 1881, followed by Mabel Winifred, William Robert and Robert Percy in 1889, 1894 and 1896 respectively.  There had also been a stillborn infant c 1892 who family rumour says was buried with his or her grandmother, outside the south door of Worplesdon Church.  Grandmother had died in Oct 1892.  The gravestone bears no memorial to the baby.

The 1899 Kelly's Directory shows that Attfield Farm was still the family home, but in actual fact they were installed in Pirbright at Pullens Farm by 1897 (sometimes spelt “Bullens", sometimes known as Pirbright Place Farm). This was the year in which Lord Pirbright purchased the Old House and land which was part of Cobbetts Hill Farm, from John Mason, a relative of William's sister in law. Pullens was later sold to create the Pirbright Institute, the animal research centre opposite Bakers Gate, in Ash Road, and demolished.

According to the Guildford almanac, the Slaughters were there in 1903.  The 1901 census shows William senior, his wife Elizabeth, son Thomas who helped on the farm, Henrietta, Maud, Mabel, William junior and Robert, all living there.  William junior didn't leave Worplesdon School until 1910, and his address is even then given as Pirbright Farm.  Right is a photo of Pullens Farm with (L to R) Elizabeth, Mabel and Maud.

During the time the family was there, renting from Lord Pirbright throughout, William senior was on the Pirbright Parish Council, and was one of the Overseers of Smiths Charity (Pirbright Rate Books 1894-1912) and in fact, an Overseer of the Poor (Parish Council Minutes, Pirbright. 18 Apr 1900).  Below are photos of William and Elizabeth in their prime.

The 1911 census shows William and Elizabeth at the Farm (Pullens), stating that they had been married for 29 years, with their son Thomas aged 28!  They had in fact been married for 28 years and had had seven children, all of whom survived to adulthood.  Sons Thomas and William were working on the farm while daughter Mabel was a cook/ domestic for them all.  Five offspring were still living at home.  

Between 1912 and 1913 a move took place to Lower House Farm, Cranleigh, Surrey, whose land included Cobblers Brook, and stretched as far as Wonersh Park.  William was still assisted by his sons.  Tom was forced into farming by his father, having always wanted to be an engineer.  He hated milking the cows, but loved his two old carthorses.  The 1918 Electoral Roll for Cranleigh I at Lower House Farm, shows Elizabeth William, Robert, Percy,, Thomas and William Robert.

William and Elizabeth were visited several times there by their grandchildren from Derbyshire, Elizabeth Maud's children Ethel and Roger Smith.  Ethel remembered being put on a train at Derby and left in the charge of the guard.  She was met at St Pancras by her Uncle Bob and Aunt Mabel and taken to Lower House Farm c1916.  Soldiers were playing cards and handing round sweets on the train.  She also remembered riding the farm horses, while women came out of their houses to watch.

Ethel stayed two or three times and remembered her grandparents as being strict but nice.  Her grandfather did not get on very well with his son William, who bet on the horses and later got into trouble over this. 

On 26 May 1916, the Surrey Advertiser reported that William Slaughter, farmer at Cranleigh, had obtained exemption for two months from military service for his farm under-carter, 26 year-old George Lee.  After the two months he would have had to join up. 

On 17 Nov 1916 the Woking News and Mercury reported that William had applied for exemption for his 20 year old son Billy who was the farm stockman. The case was adjourned until 6 Jan 1917.

The family always went to church on Sunday, in the early days to Pirbright or Worplesdon Church, and later to Cranleigh.  No sewing or knitting was allowed on Sundays, but the children had to do something and were not allowed to be idle.  William never worked on Sundays, not even during hay making.

Grandmother was a kind, dear, cuddly old lady.  She wore her hair up and was a real country person. She milked the cows when her husband went to market, and killed the pigs and made black puddings.  The geese were killed on Michaelmas Day.

She was well covered, and not very tall.  William was taller and more wiry.  Elizabeth died of a stroke at Lower House Farm on 9 April 1924.  For a while William stayed on at the farm until the lease ran out on 29 Sept 1926/27.  (He was still there with his son Billy in the 1927 Electoral Register, but these are prepared the preceding year). His daughter Mabel, who had married in 1920, at first helped to keep house for him, and was succeeded by Amy Greenfield from Smithwood Common until she left to have a baby.

At around the time of her grandmother's death, Mabel's daughter Betty (born 1923), was sent to Lower House Farm to be looked after by Grandfather Slaughter and his son Billy and daughter-in-law Jean.

Mabel didn't like children and couldn't cope with child rearing.  Betty was also with them when they moved to Run Common, Cranleigh.

Betty stated in 1997 that she thought her grandfather was lovely.  He was stern but kind, and could be amusing.  She was more or less brought up by her grandfather and uncle Billy and Auntie Jean. She stated that her grandfather was a quiet man, not disagreeable, and in good health until latterly. He was of average height with white hair which was receding. He enjoyed a cigar on Sundays, was keen on the Church and helped with the local band.  He enjoyed a beer, and had had his nose broken by a cricket ball.  This last piece of information may be incorrect and apply to his brother Thomas instead.  A photo clearly shows Thomas with a broken nose.

After giving up Lower House Farm, William ran Rowley Farm, Rowley Drive, Cranleigh, for Mr Lyon, a dentist in Guildford, and took his son Billy on to help manage it.  William senior was by then about 71.  They were running both farms in the change-over period.  The job at Rowley Farm lasted for about 2 years.  Billy swindled some of the farm money and spent it on the horses. They had to leave. His brother Tom saved him from going to prison and bailed him out.

Billy then rented Run Common Dairy in the parish of Shamley Green, and William lived with him and Jean and helped on the farm, hoeing mangles and milking the cows until he was over 80.  His granddaughter Ethel stated that he worked very hard indeed.  In the end he had to give up due to failing health. He had gangrenous feet but never saw a doctor.  He had always cut his corns with a cut-throat razor, so maybe they became infected or perhaps he was an undiagnosed diabetic.  He smoked cigars occasionally.  Below is a picture of an elderly William at work in the fields.

Slaughters - William in field.jpg

William does not appear in the 1939 Register at either Alton or Cranleigh, but his daughter-in-law, Martha Jane Slaughter is at Run Common Dairy, Shamley Green, near Cranleigh, with one “closed” person who could have been William.

William then went to live with his daughter Annie Martha and her husband Jack Sayers at The Dell Five Ash Lane, Four Marks, Hants, and was looked after there for 3 years by Patti (Annie Martha) and her sister Maud (Elizabeth Maud).  His feet were so gangrenous that they were in danger of falling off.  He died there on 21 Feb 1941 and was buried in a double grave with his wife in Cranleigh Cemetery on 25 Feb 1941, Grave #114 22B.  He was 84 years old.

His niece Alice Collins recalled that he was a nice old man, and a typical Slaughter to look at.

William left a will and in it named his sons Thomas William and Robert Percy as his executors.  Probate at Llandudno was granted to them to administer the £1,606 19s 11d left by their father.

2005 update: Lower House Farm has for the past fifty years been owned by the Chandris family.  Mr. John Chandris is the current owner, and he has two sons, Dimitri 21, and Michael.  His father who bought the farm is now dead, but his mother is still alive.  Father came from the island of Heros, south of Limnos, and owned Celebrity Cruises, which he sold to Royal Caribbean. John Chandris owns tankers and bulk carriers, and lives with his family in Eton Square, London.  Lower House is only used at weekends and then not very often.



                    ELIZABETH SLAUGHTER - LATER MRS MOSES COOKE - b 15 Jul 1858, d 1887

Elizabeth was born in “The Street” at Compton, Surrey, at the Harrow lnn where her father farmed the Harrow Farm and ran the lnn.  She was the 6th of the eleven children of Thomas and Eliza nee Hartfree.  By 1861 Thomas was farming 45 acres and employing 2 men and 2 boys on land which may have been part of the Eastbury Manor estate or the Loseley Estate.

By 1864 when sister Alice Francis was born, the family was living at the Nag’s Head, on the boundary of Brookwood and Knaphill, where Thomas was both Innkeeper and Farmer.  The following year Elizabeth's eldest sister, Eliza died aged 17.5 at Brookwood of a brain haemorrhage, almost certainly at the Nag’s Head.  

During 1865-67 When Elizabeth was 8 or 9, the family moved to Bakers Gate, Pirbright, Surrey, where her parents were to live for the next 25-27 years.  Elizabeth was still living there at the time of the 1881 Census for Pirbright.

Of her schooling little is known.  She may have briefly have attended Compton School and then Knaphill or Brookwood school, but these have not yet been verified.  However, the Log Book for Pirbright School on 11 Nov 1872 states that she was admitted there.

This is interesting because she would have been 14 and 4 months, older than the statutory school leaving age of 14.  In 1871 she still lived at home with her parents and siblings Alfred, Thomas, William, Alice, Jane, Frederick, Rosina and Isabel, & appears to have remained at Bakers Gate until she married (census).

In 1883 Elizabeth married Moses Cooke at Worplesdon.  He was a market gardener of Ockford Farm, Bullswater Common, Pirbright, and son of Abraham Cooke of Pirbright.  He was too by repute, an alcoholic.  They had 3 children:  Sidney, Laura and Aubrey, the latter born in 1887.

Elizabeth died on 24 Feb 1887, at Ockford Farm of diphtheria, which she had had for a week.  Her baby was only three weeks old. Her husband registered the death the following day.  They had been married for just four years and two days. Aubrey followed her to the grave at 8 weeks old and was buried in Pirbright Churchyard on 31 Mar 1887, a month after his mother.

Family rumour had it that Elizabeth was kicked and battered by her husband. He was certainly not popular around the family.

In 1891 Moses was a widower, living at Ockford Form with his two remaining children, Laura aged 7, and Sidney aged 5.  When their grandfather Thomas died in 1901, the children inherited their mother's share of their grandfather's will direct.

Elizabeth's Monumental Inscription in Pirbright Churchyard reads:  Elizabeth Cooke, wife of Moses Cooke, died 24 Feb 1887 aged 28. She was buried on 28 Feb 1887.



                                                             MOSES COOKE b 1857, d 1944

Moses was born at Pirbright Surrey, the son of Abraham Cooke, a market gardener, and his wife Elizabeth, nee Palmer, and was the 5th of their 8 children.  In 1861 the family was at Merrist Wood Farm, where Abraham was a market gardener.

Abraham almost certainly grew up at Ockford Farm Pirbright, and attended Pirbright School, as did his first two children in later years.

The 1871 census shows Abraham 56 Elizabeth 56, Moses, 23, Elizabeth 19 and Aaron 16 all living at Ockford Farm, Bullswater Common, Pirbright.  The family was still there ten years later, with Moses working as a carter and his 16 year old brother Aaron as a cowman.  Sister Elizabeth 19 was there too and Abraham now farmed 26 acres.

All were born at Pirbright.  At the Fox Inn along the road Edward Dawson was the publican.  On 26 Sep 1874 Abraham was advertising an Alderney cow for sale (Surrey Advertiser). 

Two years later, on 22 Feb 1883 Moses married Elizabeth Slaughter of Bakers Gate Pirbright at Worplesdon Church.  She had been born at Compton, Surrey, the daughter of Thomas and Eliza née Hartfree) and was the same age as Moses.

After a marriage of only 4 years, during which 3 children were born, Elizabeth died of diphtheria in 1887 at Ockford Farm 3 weeks after giving birth to their son Aubrey.  Aubrey himself died at 8 weeks and was buried at Pirbright on 31 Mar 1887.  

Abraham had died 3 months before Moses married.  It took almost 3 years for his estate to be sorted out.  Finally, by order of his trustees, a sale was held on 26 Sep 1885 at The White Lion Hotel in Guildford, of his freehold properties at Guildford, Worplesdon and Merrow.  The sale lasted at least 3 days, and on Monday 28 September his household furniture was sold.  The Surrey Advertiser reported the details of the sale on 3 October, and who bought what.  Moses bought Lot 2 for £320 and Lot 3 for £340.  It would appear that his drinking habits were not yet draining him of cash.  Each of these sums is worth around £30,000 today, and would have been large enough to buy a property – one of which would surely have been Ockford Farm.

In Feb 1888 the Guildford Bench fined Moses for being drunk in change of a horse and cart at the Dolphin Inn (Surrey Advertiser 27 Feb 1888).

Moses was a farmer/market gardener for most of his working life and was reputed to have been an alcoholic.  A family relative stated in 1998 that family rumour said he kicked and battered his wife.  “He wasn't a very nice gentleman”.  She remembered him from her childhood in the 1920s. He drove a cart, and after a drinking session would put the reins back and let the horse take him home.

In 1891 Moses was still at Ockford Farm with his two remaining children, Laura 7 and Sidney 5.  His sister Naomi kept house for them.  Her elder brother Henry was farming at West Hall Farm Pirbright (1887, 1890 Kelly's Directory).  The same year on 6 June Moses was fined 10s for furiously driving a horse in Woodbridge Road, Guildford.

Despite this conviction, Moses was later able to hold down a responsible position in his home locality.  Around 1873 he became an Overseer of the Poor for the Parish of Pirbright.  How long he held the post isn’t known. 

On 14 Jan 1898 it was reported in the Woking News and Mail that Moses had hit the landlady of the Royal Oak pub in Pirbright, Mrs Sayers, across the face and had been asked to leave the pub because he was drunk.  He refused. There followed a Court case and Moses got off with a fine and a warning.  The Surrey Advertiser reported this story on 12 Jan 1898, but they appear to have got the wrong pub, as Mrs. Sayers was landlady of the Fox for 28 years until 1911 (when the licence was transferred to Walter Edwin Liley of Reading).  She was not associated with The Royal Oak.

Moses, Laura and Sidney were still at Ockford Farm in 1901, but without Naomi.  Sidney worked on the farm and “Lora” (as written in the census) presumably kept house for them.

For nearly 19 years Moses was a widower then, in the last quarter of 1905 he married Harriett Ann Stevens (b 1861 in Pirbright) in Guildford.  She had been baptised on 1 Sep 1861 in Woking and was the daughter of James and Ann (nee Warner) Stevens.  Her father worked as a cemetery porter.  She was the second of 6 children.  By the time the fourth child had been born, James had become a beerhouse keeper.   In 1871 the family lived at Swallow Cottage, now Newmans, which was the beerhouse, in the centre of Pirbright, opposite Swallow Pond.

Harriett and Moses were married for nearly 35 years until she died in the 2nd quarter of 1940 in Surrey SW. They appear to have had one daughter, Olave Ann, born 6 Mar 1906, when Harriett was 46. She must have been at least 4 months pregnant when she married Moses.  

c1912 Moses was living at Cobbetts Hill Cottages, formerly Park Farm, Cobbetts Hill, Nomandy in the parish of Ash.  These cottages were owned by Maria Mason and Thomas Heel of Pirbright, and were at the time worth £832.  28 acres of land went with the cottages and these were possibly managed by the 54 year old Moses.  Maria, whose maiden name was Mansell, was an aunt of Moses’s sister-in-law Margaret Slaughter née Mansell.

The 1911 census shows Moses, Harriett and Olave Ann at Rickford Cottages, Worplesdon

In 1918, Moses and Harriet were living at Chinthurst Hill Farm in Shalford, just south of Guildford.  Today the farm is part of Bramley and is close to Moses’ final home at Lawnsmead, Wonersh (see below).  He was then 61, and during the ensuing nine years, gave up farming.

In 1927, they were at Drayton, Eastwood Road, Shalford, and seem to have signed the electoral register twice, once for Shalford, and once for Bramley.  He and Ann (that was Harriet’s second name) were at Eastwood Road in both cases.  Today, it is in Bramley, but may previously have been in Shalford.

The 1937 Electoral Register shows Moses and Harriett at 1a Lawnsmead, Wonersh.  The houses at Lawnsmead were built in 1872 by Edward Ellis for his tannery workers.  1a was originally built as a small reading room next to number one.

In the final quarter of 1943 Olave married Herbert Dicketty of Middle Bourne, Farnham in the Surrey SW district.  Olave and Herbert may have met when Herbert came to visit his brother and sister-in-law in Wonersh. 

Olave had been living in her family home at 1a Lawnsmead, Wonersh, and looking after Moses.  How long the family had been there isn't yet known, but shortly after the marriage on 2 Feb 1944, Moses died in Farnham Hospital, 23, Hale Road.  Olave registered the death the next day and gave Lawnsmead as their home address.  Did she and Herbert continue to live there after Moses died?  The following year their son Gordon was born.  The 1952 Electoral Register for Bramley shows Herbert and Olave living at Jasmine Cottage, Snowdenham Road, Bramley, where Herbert had lived with his first wife.

Despite his drinking habits Moses lived to the age of 86 and died of pneumonia and cardiac degeneration in 1944, without leaving a will.  Harriett died in 1945 at Wonersh.   

As late as the 1960s, older members of the Slaughter family were still talking about Moses in derogatory terms, but they kept in touch with Laura and Sidney.  In February 2010 Gordon Dicketty said this of his grandfather:  “He was a right boozer and a right so and so. He had a fair bit of money at one time". 

His daughter Laura left home because of him and went to live with her paternal aunt and uncle, Naomi (nee Cooke) and Thomas Wonham at 14 Pirbright Cottages, Pirbright.  Sidney sailed to Canada in 1909, to live in the US.  He never returned to the UK. 

Harriet is buried in Blackheath Cemetery, adjacent to Wonersh, which is owned by the church.  There is no memorial, but the grave has been identified by the gentleman in charge of the Cemetery and of its plan, as being second row from the central path, and six paces down from the chapel, in a southerly direction.  Moses too is buried there.

bottom of page