William Tavenor Wilkey of Stepney and his four sons from 1821

William Tavenor Wilkey was christened in Bath on the 23 March 1921 in St Mary's Church, Bathwick and was one of four children born to William Wilkey and Mary Ann Cooper and the grandson of the illustrious Tavenor and Ruth Wilkey of Bath in the 1700's. William Tavenor Wilkey married Mary Anne Jones (however, no marriage record has been found) and moved to London sometime between 1855 and 1860, he was a brewer by trade. He had four sons who were to establish the Stepney branch of the family.

William Wilkey and his marriage to Alice King in 1880

The first son was William Wilkey, named naturally after his father; he was born in the December quarter of 1857 and became a clockmaker. On the 13 November 1880 at the age of 23 he married the 21-year-old Alice King who was the daughter of an engine driver by the name of Thomas King. William's own father was deceased at the time of the marriage. Son William lived at 4 Fair Street at the time of his marriage whilst Alice lived at the family home of 63, Stacey Road. They were married at the Parish Church of St Thomas in Stepney and witnesses at the marriage were Charles Thomas Thwaites and Annie Brown.

William and Alice Wilkey are known to have had at least three children, and by Stepney Wilkey family standards this was a very small family. First born of their children was Frederic William Wilkey (this Frederic was always misspelled). Frederic married in Jun 1900 and had at least one child, Annie Maude Wilkey. Next was Alice Wilkey, born in 1882. Daisy Maud Wilkey born in the Jun qtr of 1891 followed this; she was a late child whose birth was registered in the district of West Ham. She was to marry a Henry J Patterson in the September quarter of 1916.

Walter Tavenor Wilkey and his marriages to Mary Dillon (in 1881) and Norah Brien (in 1898)

Walter Tavenor Wilkey was William and Mary Anne's second son and was born in the March quarter of 1859. His first wife, the former Mary Dillon whom he married on the 28 February 1881 was of Irish descent and it is not known at the present time why she died so young (before she was 40).

Mary's parents Lawrence and Elizabeth Dillon, along with her younger brother Charles lived next door to the married couple at 2 Marchant's Row at the time of the 1891 census. At the time of their marriage 10 years earlier they also lived in the same street, Walter, who was described as a labourer at the time lived at 12 Stepney Causeway, whilst his young Irish bride lived at 7 Stepney Causeway. He was later to become a gasometer builder. They married at St Thomas's Parish Church in Stepney like his brothers and witnesses at the wedding were a Daniel Brian and Amelia Matilda Wilkey, neither of whom could read or write. Amelia had married Walter's brother two years previously and was only 22 years old at the time.

It is known from the 1891 Census that from his first marriage Walter and Mary had at least two children. Charles Wilkey was born c1884 and Louisa Wilkey born c1890.

Walter was a widower when he married Norah Brien, a 26-year-old spinster on the 13 March 1898. At the time Walter (and presumably his children) lived at 7 Piggott Street, Limehouse, whilst Norah, the daughter of one Patrick Brien and a catholic, lived at 10 St Anne's Row, Limehouse. They married in the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St Frederick in Stepney. It is quite likely that Norah was also of Irish descent, like Walter's first wife, Mary. Norah was also destined to die at the relatively early age of 48 in the March quarter 1919 in the district of Poplar.

Frederick Wilkey and his marriage to Amelia Matilda Duke in 1879

The third child was Frederick Wilkey who was born in the December quarter of 1860. He was a carman by profession and on the 10 February 1879 at the tender age of 20 he married Amelia Matilda Duke, also 20, and the daughter of Thomas Duke who appears to have been a cigar maker and lived at 1, Stepney Causeway. Frederick lived at 21 Stepney Causeway at the time. Amelia could neither read nor write. They too were married at the Parish Church of St Thomas in Stepney almost a year before his elder brother William. Witnesses at the wedding were one James Brunick and Mary Annie Wilkey, Frederick's mother, the former Mary Anne Jones.

Frederick and his wife Amelia had no less than eight children but did not start their family for another four years when both had reached the age of 24. The children are as follows: George Charles Wilkey, born in the September quarter of 1883; Alfred Walter Wilkey, also known as Wallie Wilkey and born in the June quarter of 1885. He married one Harriet Goody on the 8 April 1912. Wallie is said by the Goody family to have been quite a character and is said to have met Churchill at one point. Wally died in the September quarter of 1942 whilst Harriet outlived him by eight years; she died in the September quarter of 1950.

Amelia Catherine Wilkey was born in the June quarter of 1888 and remained a spinster until her death in the December quarter of 1965. Catherine Beatrice Wilkey was born in the September quarter of 1890 and little is known about her life.

Thomas Wilkey followed in the September quarter of 1895 though the registration of his birth is a little close to his sister Louisa Wilkey, who was born in the March quarter of 1896. Maybe Thomas's registration was made late.

Alexander William Wilkey was the next child to be born in the September quarter of 1897. He married Ellen Louisa Wood in the December quarter of 1921 (in Poplar) and they went on to having five children. Ethel Beatrice Wilkey was Frederick and Amelia's last known child, though registered in the June quarter of 1901; it is believed she was actually born in the February of 1901. The parents were 40 years old when Ethel was born. Again, little is known about this Wilkey or her status in life.

Bearing in mind that Frederick and his wife Amelia Matilda were the same age when they married they also died within months of each other. Amelia died in the March quarter of 1915 whilst Frederick died in the December quarter of that same year. Both were aged only 55 years of age.

Charles Ambrose Wilkey and his marriage to Martha Caroline Williams in 1886

Charles Ambrose Wilkey was the youngest of William and Mary Anne's children and was born in the June quarter of 1862. A mill stone builder by trade he married Martha Caroline Williams on the 26 January 1886 and was the daughter of John Williams, a general dealer. Martha was known more commonly as Caroline Wilkey, she never used her first name. Charles Ambrose was 22 at the time and his young lady just 18 years old. On the marriage certificate his father William Tavenor is described as a cellarman rather than a brewer or brewers labourer. Witnesses at the wedding were Benjamin Clarke and a Miss Smith (first name is unclear). The marriage took place in the Parish Church in Poplar but no further detail is given.

Charles and Martha were probably one of the most prolific of the Stepney families in the sense of family propagation and out of their own six children came at least 19 grandchildren (from the four boys).

The story of the children and some of the grandchildren of Charles Ambrose and Martha Caroline Wilkey is covered in the article 'The Family of Peter John Tavner Wilkey of Stepney from 1891'. (CLICK HERE)