Eliza Ann Breakspear

Eliza Ann Breakspear was born in 1811 in Chipping Norton, the daughter of John Breakspear and Emma (nee) Salmon. Her father seemed to have moved around as her younger sister Emma was born in 1813 in Brill in Buckinghamshire and older siblings appear to have been born in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire. This could be because John Breakspear was a licensee of different pubs – we know that he was brought up in the Blue Boar in Chipping Norton.

On 20 May 1830 at the age of 19 she married Walter Showell, in Harborne Staffordshire. He was a licensed victualler, according to his surviving son’s marriage certificate. But this was a tragic and short marriage. Her first son William Henry Showell died at nine months and her husband died in 1835 leaving her with her second son Walter who was born in 1832.

Eliza Ann Showell remarried Thomas Francis, an engraver and printer, on 10 Jan 1840 in Aston. He was a widower and already had four children. It would appear that Walter did not join the new family and was brought up by his Aunt Mary Ann Hands. Later Walter certainly seems to have more family connections with the Hands family than he ever did with his step brothers and sisters in the Francis family. This estrangement from her son could either have been at the behest of the Showell family or possibly of Thomas Francis himself. Matters could not have got any better for Eliza as again her first born in her new marriage, William Breakspear Francis died before his first birthday and she appears to have had no more children of her own. She is not recorded as living with her husband in the 1851 census.

By the 1871 census Eliza Ann Francis is shown living with her sister Emma Kirby, both widows. Emma’s husband, Thomas Collins Kirby, was a Spirit dealer and this provides further circumstantial evidence that Eliza and Emma’s father had connections with the drinks trade. Another sister Jane Davis was married to a ‘Retail Brewer’. Eliza’s only surviving son Walter Showell, went on to become a major brewer in Birmingham in the 1880’s. All this makes it interesting to speculate that the Breakspears in Chipping Norton are quite closely connected with the nearby Breakspear dynasty of brewers in Henley. The parents of the founder of the brewery Robert Brakspear (1750-1812) were indeed married in Chipping Norton in 1748. But this is close as it gets as Breakspear is a strong regional name to the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire. Its roots connect back to the family of the only English pope Nicholas Breakspear (1100-1159) – Adrian IV


Family of Walter SHOWELL and Eliza Ann BREAKSPEAR

Husband:Walter SHOWELL (bap.1803, bur.1835)
Wife:Eliza Ann BREAKSPEAR (bap.1811, d.1875)
Children:William Henry SHOWELL (1831-1831)
Walter SHOWELL (1832-1901)
Marriage20 May 1830Harborne, Staffordshire

Husband: Walter SHOWELL

Name:Walter SHOWELL
Father:Joseph SHOWELL (bap.1769, bur.1835)
Mother:Sarah CADE (bap.1768, bur.1832)
Baptism28 Mar 1803St Martin’s Birmingham
Occupationbtw 1820 and 1830Victualler; (as per Walter Showell’s marriage certificate 1854)
Occupation1830Victualler of Price Street Birmingham
Burial4 Dec 1835St Pauls, Birmingham

Wife: Eliza Ann BREAKSPEAR

Father:John BREAKSPEAR (1777-1838)
Mother:Emma SALMON (bap.1775, d.1861)
Baptism24 Aug 1811Chipping Norton
DeathJul 1875Aston

Child 1: William Henry SHOWELL

Name:William Henry SHOWELL
Birth9 Mar 1831Birmingham
Baptism7 Apr 1831 (age 0)St Martin’s Birmingham
Death1831 (age 0)Birmingham

Child 2: Walter SHOWELL

Name:Walter SHOWELL
Spouse:Sarah Cheshire HARTILL (bap.1835, d.1910)
Birth26 Sep 1832Birmingham, Warwickshire
Baptism25 Oct 1832 (age 0)Saint Martin’s Birmingham
Residence1841 (age 8-9)Birmingham with Mary Ann Hands (an orphan?)
Occupationbtw 1851 and 1854 (age 18-22)Chemist’s Apprentice
Occupation1861 (age 28-29)Ale and Porter Merchant
Occupationbtw 1871 and 1881 (age 38-49)Brewer (Cross Wells Brewery, Oldbury)
Residence1881 (age 48-49)104 Hagley Road, Edgbaston
Politics1885 (age 52-53)Conservative Candidate for Bordesley Division of Birmingham
Residence1887 (age 54-55)The Dorridge, Knowle, Warwickshire
Residence1890 (age 57-58)Bell Hall, Belbroghton
Residence1901 (age 68-69)Stourton Hall, Stourton, Staffs
Death31 Jul 1901 (age 68)Stourton Hall, Kinver, Staffs
Will3 Jan 1902 (age 69)Bequeathed £2000 to St James Church, Rounds Green

Last updated on 27 October 2018 by JJ Morgan