VOL. IV - CHAPTER 12

James William Veness and Charlotte Edith Pocock

James William Veness was born on 4 December 1871 at The Common, Hooe, the son of James Veness, grocer and Margaret Cornford (Chapter 11). Father James registered the birth. He was christened on 25 February 1872 at Hooe Parish Church.

The 1881 and 1891 censuses show 'William' living with his parents, firstly at Hooe Common and then at Sandhill Farm, Hooe. By 1891, aged 19, he is working as a butcher. It seems that following his father's death in 1898 it was his mother Margaret who continued with the business rather than her son. In "Kelly's Directory" of 1899 for Hooe, Mrs Margaret Veness is listed as a butcher. His sister, Miss Edith Veness is listed a shopkeeper.

The 1901 census shows Mrs Margaret Veness living at The Common, Hooe and still running a "butchers and general shop". She is described as an 'employer'. Her son James William Veness, now married was also living at The Common and was a butcher. He describes himself as a "worker" which I take to mean   'employed' and so presumably 30 year old James was employed by his mother?

"The Bexhill Almanac" from 1901 through to 1905 lists Mrs James Veness and William Veness as butchers and a Miss Veness as running a grocery and general store at Victoria Villas, Hooe. No Veness's are listed in the 1906 or 1907 additions. 

James William Veness had married Charlotte Edith Pocock on 28 February 1900 at Hooe Parish Church. James William is described as a 28 year old bachelor, a butcher, the son of James Veness, butcher. Charlotte is described as a 26 year old spinster daughter of Thomas Pocock, labourer. Both parties signed the register. The witnesses were Mary Louisa Pocock and George James Pocock, Charlotte's brother and sister.

Charlotte Edith Pocock was born on 15 January 1874 and baptised on 22 February 1874 at Hooe Parish Church. Her line has been traced back to 1812 and can be found at Appendix E.

The couple had four children all baptised at Hooe Parish Church:

  • Margaret Mary Veness. Born 17 March 1901 at Hooe.
  • William Douglas Veness. Born 24 July 1902. Baptised 28 September 1902 at Hooe Parish Church
  • Agnes Charlotte Veness. Born 21 April 1904. 
  • Edith Annie Veness (Reg Gen Dec Qtr 1906 Hailsham 2b 84).

The 1901 census shows the family living at The Common, Hooe. The entry reads:

  • James Veness, head, aged 29, butcher, born Hooe
  • Charlotte E Veness, wife, aged 24, born Hooe
  • Margaret M Veness, daughter, aged 1 month, born Hooe

James and Charlotte with their three eldest children are pictured below. It is believed that James's mother Margaret Cornford is also pictured. I had been told that James' mother tried to dissuade Charlotte from marrying her son, but to no avail. Also that he "liked a tipple" and would set off from the family butchers shop with meat deliveries only to get waylaid at the pub and by the time he came out all the meat was gone. 

James and Charlotte's daughter Edith Annie Veness died in 1908 aged 1 year old (Reg Gen March Qtr 1908 Hailsham 2b 67))

James Veness had left the family home by 1911 and was seemingly never heard of again.  When he first left Charlotte went on parish relief until after her youngest daughter had died and then she took in laundry. Again I had been told that when Charlotte approached the local police, they were reluctant to look for him suggesting that she was better off without him and her eldest daughter "Meg" agreed. A slightly different version has come down through James's sister Bertha (Chapter 11). She recalled that her brother was not happy and that he'd always talked of going to Australia; that his horse and cart was last seen by the river at the bottom of the hill before Boreham Street where Bertha and her husband were living at the time and that a big search was made for him and the horse and cart, even dragging the river, but he and horse and cart were never seen again. Bertha was always convinced that he was in Australia. I can find no evidence of what happened to James William and doubt we'll ever get to the truth of it.  

By 1911 Charlotte Edith Veness and her children were living at The Old Toll House, Ninfield. Charlotte, 37 shows herself as married and her occupation as 'charring'. Daughter Margaret was 10 years old, son William, 8 and daughter Agnes 6 years old. The property consisted of 2 rooms including the kitchen, but excluding the scullery, landing, lobby, closet and bathroom.

Toll houses were built by turnpike trusts in England, Wales and Scotland during the 18th and early 19th centuries to house the toll collector. In 1840, according to the Turnpike Returns in Parliamentary Papers, there were over 5000 tollhouses operating in England. These were sold off in the 1880s when the turnpikes were closed. Many were demolished but several hundred still survive as domestic houses. The old toll house in Ninfield has not survived, but was demolished for road widening. 

The remaining family is pictured below:

After the toll house was demolished Charlotte Veness worked as a housekeeper for "Old Mrs Scott" at Hollis Street Farm.  The open entries in the 1939 register include:

  • Ellen Scott. Born 25 March 1854. "Private means"
  • Adrian G Scott. Born 6 August 1892. Architect F.R.I.B.A
  • Barbara A Scott. Born 8 October 1893
  • Charlotte Veness. Born 15 June 1874. Domestic servant.  

To take a look at Hollis Street Farm - https://media.onthemarket.com/properties/1173117/doc_0_4.pdf

My mother recalls polishing the brass there at the weekends as a child. 

Ellen Scott was the widow of George Gilbert Scott Jnr (Born 8 October 1839. Died 6 May 1887), a gothic revival architect responsible for buildings such as Norwich Catholic Cathedral,  Chapels at Windsor & Kings College, Cambridge, etc. They had two surviving sons, 

George Gilbert Scott Jnr had married Ellen King Sampson in the 1870's. He was the son of Sir George Gilbert Scott (Born 13 July 1811 at the Vicarage, Gawcott, Died 27 March 1878 at South Kensington), also a gothic revival architect responsible for Midland Grand Hotel, at St Pancreas, the Albert Memorial and the London Chapel, Kings College. 

For a time during World War II it is believed that Charlotte lived at Recovieu, her son's house with "Old Mrs Scott", whilst William was in the forces and his wife and children were in Scotland. Had Hollis Street Farm been requisitioned?  

Towards the end of her life she went to live permanently with her son William Douglas Veness and his family at Recovieu. 

Charlotte  Edith Veness of Recovieu, Ninfield, married woman, died on 25 May 1956. Probate was granted to William Douglas Veness, butcher. 

My grandfather, William Douglas Veness is the subject of  Chapter 13. There is some information about his surviving sisters below:

Margaret Mary Veness

Margaret Mary Veness "Meg" was born on 17 March 1901 at The Common, Hooe. Her father James occupation is 'journeyman butcher'. Her mother Charlotte registered the birth on 19 April 1901 (Reg Gen June Qtr 1901 Hailsham 2b 89).

"Meg" went into service, remaining with the same family throughout most of her life, working most latterly for the Adderley's in Chinnor, Oxfordshire. 

However at the time that the 1939 register was taken she was staying with her sister Agnes at 39 Aurelia Road, Croydon. 

"Meg" died on 31 March 1982 at Watlington & District Hospital. Her usual address had been "Two Shires", Sprigs Alley, Chinnor and her occupation is given as domestic service (retired).

Agnes Charlotte Watson nee Veness

Agnes Charlotte Watson "Peg" was born on 21 April 1904 at Hooe (Reg Gen June Qtr 1904 Hailsham 2b 91)

"Peg" married Walter Watson in 1926 in Eastbourne. Walter had been married before and had a son, Tony who was killed in the World War II. They had no children of their own.

In 1939, Walter, a 38 year old plasterer and his wife Agnes were living at 39 Aurelia Road, Croydon. Agnes' sister Margaret was living with them.   

Walter Watson died in 1978.

Agnes Charlotte Watson died in 1994 aged 90 (Reg Gen October 1994 Croydon B73B 189)

Click here to go to "Chapter 13 - William Douglas Veness and Alice Emma Stranack"

To find out more about the Pococks click here to go to "Appendix E - Pocock"

Click here to go back to "Chapter 11 - James Veness and Mary Cornford"