Chapter 10
“English” forebears

10.1 Joseph and Hugh Gore

As with the Titcheners so with the Gores, my curiosity about their origins was first aroused by an old document given to me by Grandpa Titchener. It was the certificate of marriage of Hugh Gore [G.1] and Martha Randles [G.1] in St Johns Church, Liverpool on 19.11.1844. This was the old St Johns that stood in Haymarket Square near the present city library. It is now gone, destroyed by bombs in World War II. Just when Grandpa gave me this certificate I no longer remember. It was probably during one of my periodic Wednesday afternoon visits to Queens Drive when there were no university classes and when I would sit and listen to him reminiscing about the past. For 35 years or more this certificate and my curiosity about it languished. Then in 1978, while Margaret and I were in Britain, we set off on a search for Hugh and Martha. As it turned out we took a wrong path, for I did not then remember, as I do now, that Grandpa had said something to me about Martha Randles not being Grandma Titchener’s grandmother.

When Hugh Gore married Martha Randles he was a widower [G.1] as the marriage certificate shows. His address is given as Christian Street, Liverpool. His father’s name and occupation are given as Joseph Gore [G.1], joiner. Hugh was 40. Martha Randles was a “spinster” of about 30. Her father was a Richard Randles, a farmer. One of the witnesses is recorded as James Foulas or Foules.

The surname Gore is very common in and around Liverpool. Among them, in the middle of the 19th century is a James Gore, a publisher of Liverpool maps and directories. Contrary to a family tradition among the New Zealand descendants of Joseph and Hugh, Gore there is no evidence of any relationship between James Gore the publisher and “our” Gores.

10.2 Hugh and James Gore in England

The name of “Hugh Gore [G.1], joiner” appears in “Gores Liverpool Directory” for the years 1845, 1847, 1849, at the address 40 Spring Place, Springfield; but not in the 1843 directory. In the 1851 census No.40 in Spring Place is not listed. However, there are many numbers missing from the census pages in Spring Place. Spring Place appears to have been a court opening off Springfield Street. These courts were a common feature of low-cost working-class housing in 19th-century industrial Britain. Presumably unlisted numbers in Spring Place represent vacant places - perhaps places of business unoccupied at night. On census night Hugh Gore and his son James Gore are found at 80 Acrefield Road, Much Woolton. Both are described as joiners. Hugh is recorded as a widower, the brother of the “head of household”, who is Lydia Foulks, a widow, aged 53. Hugh’s age is given as 47. Both are recorded as born at Halewood, Lancs. James’ age is given as 18, his place of birth as Liverpool.


Figure 10.1: Childwall church, near Much Woolton, and now within the boundaries of greater Liverpool. Photograph taken in the 1870s or earlier

We may deduce that Martha, Hugh’s second wife, has died, and that James, born about 1833, was the son, and presumably only child, of Hugh’s first marriage. I do not know the name of Hugh’s first wife, where she came from, or when she died. Nor, it seems, did anyone else at the time of James’ death in 1917, for these questions are unanswered on his death certificate.

Perhaps the spelling Foulas (or Foules) in the marriage certificate of Hugh and Martha is a mistake for Foulks, and this witness was possibly Lydia’s husband. I have not found a record of Martha’s death in the St Catherines register.

Much Woolton, now a suburb of Liverpool, was then a small outlying village. Halewood, the birthplace of Lydia and Hugh Gore, was another village nearby. An old photograph album, inscribed “J. Gore 1883” inside the front cover, and which, like the marriage certificate, came to me (though more indirectly) from Grandpa Titchener, has on the first page a professionally taken photo of an ivy-covered stone church labelled Childwall Church, and, underneath, the handwritten words “near Liverpool”. Childwall is close to both Much Woolton and Halewood. Though now part of greater Liverpool it must, like Much Woolton and Halewood in the mid-19th century, have been a village. The church is very old. It still stands, as we found in 1985, though denuded of its ivy, and barred and locked. Gores lie in the graveyard, though whether forebears of “our” Gores there is little hope of knowing.

The 1841 census does not show a Gore in Christian Street, the street Hugh gave as his address on his marriage certificate to Martha. In the 1851 census, however, there is a Joseph Randles at 10 Christian Street. He is a “master watchdial maker employing 2 men and 1 boy”. He is 45. (His household comprises wife, three daughters, two sons and a stepdaughter.) It may have been at this house that Hugh stayed on his marriage eve. Joseph, about 38 at that time, may have been an uncle or a much older brother of Martha.

What then of Martha? In the 1841 census she is found at 2 Rodney Street, a female servant (“F.S”) in the household of Robert Bickersteth, F.R.C.S., surgeon, and his wife, Catharine. Rodney Street is today perhaps the most distinguished street of Georgian town houses in Liverpool, and undoubtedly was an address of distinction in the 1840s. Robert Bickersteth’s household reflects this. On census night it comprised 22 persons, Martha being one of six female servants. Her age is given as 25. (In the 1841 census ages were generally rounded to the nearest five years.) A bible in my possession is inscribed to “Martha Randles from A and E. S. Bickersteth, Novr 15th 1844”. These would have been two of the nine Bickersteth children, Agnes and probably Ellen, the next girl. They would have been l6 and l4. It seems likely that Martha would have been their personal maid. The date is four days before Martha’s wedding day, and probably marks the day of her leaving the Bickersteth household. I do not know when Martha died or from what cause.

While Rodney Street has hardly changed in a century and a half, of Christian Street little is left. Whatever was there in the 1930s was largely wiped out by bombing in World War II. There is now no No.10. What of Much Woolton and Acrefield Road? The road pattern of the 1840s, which can be seen in the tithe maps of the time, can still be discerned 140 years on in the Liverpool “A-Z Street Map”. Acrefield Road still exists, but is a street of chiefly Victorian houses. We were unable to find a No.80. The village that was has been swallowed up by the expansion of Liverpool in the late 19th century and is now purely suburban.

According to notes written by Mick Gore [G.3] (a cousin of my father) and in the possession of Zeita Sonntag [G.1] (one of my second cousins), Hugh’s father left County Galway, Ireland when in his early 20s, and settled in Liverpool about 1790. Mick’s notes name Hugh’s father as James Gore. We know the correct name is Joseph Gore [G.1] from the marriage certificate of Hugh and Martha Gore. Zeita has an old map of Liverpool, presumably at one time in Mick’s possession, and carrying James Gore’s imprimatur. Doubtless this is the source of Mick’s mistake.

Mick writes of Hugh’s father starting in business in Liverpool as a builder and becoming “in time a contractor of some note. He married in Liverpool and had three sons, the youngest of them, Hugh Gore [G.1], born February 29th, 1804”. Mick does not name the other sons or mention Lydia.

More about Joseph Gore I do not know. He does not appear in the Gore’s Directories 1843 to 1849. Nor is he found in the 1851 census for Much Woolton and Little Woolton. By 1851, however, he would have been over 80. It is likely he was no longer alive. Indeed he may have been dead before 1843.

The 1851 census shows that at Much Woolton there were six households of Gores. In four of them the head of household is listed as a builder, carpenter, or joiner. In a fifth, that headed by Lydia Foulks, are Hugh and his son James; also a son of Lydia named John, aged 17, who, like Hugh and James, is a joiner. Only one of the various Gores in the first four households is of an age that could make him a brother of Lydia and Hugh. This is John Gore, living at 21 Halewood Road. He is 59 and was therefore born about l792. Lydia was born about 1798, Hugh in 1804. Perhaps John was Hugh’s eldest brother. His date of birth is consistent with Mick Gore’s account of the arrival of “James” (=Joseph) in Liverpool about 1790 and subsequently marrying there.

James Gore [G.1], Hugh’s only child, was born in Liverpool about 1833, and was educated there; “at private schools” according to his entry in the “Cyclopedia of Otago and Southland”. Most schools in England in those days were church or other private schools. State schools came later. In 1851 James won a school prize, now in my shelves. It is entitled “Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy” and is by Sir John Herschel. It is inscribed: “Presented to Mr James Gore as first in the order of merit at the Drawing Class”. About 1852, at the age of 19, James married Sarah Ann Humphries (or Humfries) [G.1], at Everton, Liverpool. She was 20. She was born at Staley Bridge, Rochdale. These details are on the birth certificate of their first-born child, Anne Gore [G.1], which is in the possession of Zeita Sonntag.

It seems that by this time the building business in which Hugh and James were engaged may not have been prospering. At any rate James seems to have caught the gold fever, and was able to persuade a father, possibly distressed at the loss of his second wife, to accompany him and his young bride on the long voyage to Melbourne, James having “the intention of trying his luck at the Victorian gold diggings”, as Mick Gore writes in his notes.