The Clarabut Family
by Linda Ayres
Shopkeepers and Undertakers
Richard Clarabut and his brother, Alfred Bouchier Clarabut were two of the eight children of John Stone Clarabut and Mary Blaxland (née Love). John and Mary were both born at Sandwich, Kent and were married on the 27th February 1817 at St. Mary’s Church, Sandwich.
John was in partnership with William Drayson and they ran their own drapery shop at Sandwich. On the 30th September 1838 they dissolved their partnership by mutual consent. John became a clerk at the naval yard at Deal, Kent. On the 8th April 1866 John died aged 85 years at Deal. Mary died aged 83 years on the 17th July 1876 at West Street, Deal.
Alfred Bouchier Clarabut
Alfred was born in 1831 at Walmer, Kent. At the age 20 years, he was working for John Oakley who owned a tea and wine shop at 183 Piccadilly, Westminster, London.
On the 17th June 1857 Alfred married Lydia Smith at Kennington, Surrey. Lydia was born on the 3rd November 1824 at Southwark, Surrey, and was one of the eight children of Emma and Joshua Smith who was a baker.
Alfred and Lydia moved to Bedford in 1859 and set up their own grocery and tea shop at 66 High Street. They lived in the rooms above their shop. (Ryman the stationers now occupy the site).
On the 1st January 1863 their only child, Alfred Bouchier Clarabut was born. Sadly, he died on the 2nd March 1864 at Tavistock Street, Bedford. His burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section G11
In 1868 Alfred and Lydia had to leave 66 High Street because their landlord wanted to sell the property. They moved into 87 High Street. (The Bedford Cat Café now occupies the site). The 1881 census records that Alfred is a Master Grocer and Wine Merchant. He has thirteen men and two boys working for him.
In 1890 Alfred retired, and he and Lydia had moved to The Chase, Clapham, London. They subsequently moved to the Common at Sutton, Surrey, where they lived out the rest of their days. Lydia died on the 22nd February 1906 and Alfred died on the 12 December1906. Their burials took place in the grave with their son, Alfred at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section G11 7.
Richard was born in 1825 at Deal, Kent. At the age of 15 years he was serving his apprenticeship in the grocery trade. He was living at Lower Street, Deal, with his 20 year old brother John, a chemist and his 11 year old brother, Alfred.
The 1851 census for Faversham, Kent, records Richard working for Charles Smith, a Master grocer at Market Place, Faversham. Charles Smith was three times Lord Mayor of Faversham.
In 1856 Richard married Elizabeth Ann Hayman at Eastry, Kent. Elizabeth was born in 1829 at Deal, and was one of the five children of John Spain Hayman and Henrietta (née Graham). Richard and Elizabeth had five children, Annie Blaxland, Arthur Edward, Henrietta, William Alfred. Sadly, their daughter Elizabeth Mary died in 1868 at the age of 12 months.
By 1871 Richard and Elizabeth, with their four children, had moved to 6 Alexandra Place, Bedford. Richard worked for Thomas Kenworthy Green who owned the grocery shop at the Bank Buildings, 14 High Street, Bedford. In 1890 Thomas Kenworthy Green moved into 87 High Street when Alfred Clarabut moved out. Richard worked for Thomas Kenworthy Green until he retired.
The 1891 census for Bedford records Richard, Elizabeth and their son Arthur living at 29 Gery Street, Bedford. (Now known as Waterloo Road). Also visiting them was Arthur’s future wife, Annette Adams.
Richard and Elizabeth lived the rest of their days in lodgings at 150 Howbury Street, Bedford. Elizabeth died on the 2nd December 1897 and Richard on the 4th May 1907. Their burials took place in the same grave at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section E6 130
Annie Blaxland Clarabut
Annie was born in 1861 at Brompton, Middlesex, and was the eldest child of Richard and Elizabeth. On the 13th September 1892 Annie married Edwin Jackson at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Bedford.
Edwin was one of the five children of Mary Ann (née Ingle) and William Jackson, a grocer of Fitzroy Street, Cambridge. The family lived at 50 Kings Street, Cambridge. In 1865 William went bankrupt. He claimed the reason for his bankruptcy was that he had suffered ill health and could not meet his claims. By 1868 William had opened a grocery at Petty Cury, Cambridge.
At the time of their marriage Annie lived at George Street, Bedford. After their marriage Annie and Edwin moved to 85 Tennison Road, Cambridge. They had two sons. Edwin and Frank. Edwin Snr. and his two sons were partners in their own watchmaking and jewellery business.
In 1929 Frank married Florence Kathleen Sowter. Florence was the daughter of William and Emma Sowter who were five times the Mayor and Mayoress of Bedford.
Edwin died aged 73 on the 25th June 1938 and Annie died aged 79 on the 10th November 1940. Their burials took place in Cambridge.
Arthur Edward Clarabut
Arthur was born on the 22nd February 1863 at Brompton, Middlesex, and was the eldest son of Richard and Elizabeth. On leaving the Bedford Modern School, he became a clerk for a coal merchant and went on to become the manager.
In 1892 Arthur married Annette Betsy Adams (also known as Nettie) at Wolverhampton. Annette was born on the 21st September 1864 at Wolverhampton, Staffordshire and was one of the two children of Edwin Adams and Marian (née Francis). Edwin had run his own jeweller and silversmith firm since 1830 at 14 Queens Street, Wolverhampton.
Annette died aged 63 years on the 18th August 1928 at Dr. Ethel Stacey’s Nursing Home at 32 Kimbolton Road, Bedford. Arthur died aged 69 years on the 6th August 1932 at “Tettenhall” Days Lane, Biddenham. Their burials took place in the same grave at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section E6 121. They had no children.
Henrietta was born in 1864 at Brompton, Middlesex, and was the second eldest daughter of Richard and Elizabeth. Henrietta went to the Girls’ School at Well Street, Bedford, ( now known as Silver Street). On leaving school she was employed as a draper’s assistant.
On the 19th September 1883 Henrietta married George Harrison. George was born in 1852 at Renhold, Bedfordshire. He was the son of George Harrison and Sarah (née Wells). The Harrison family lived at Browns Farm Renhold, where George Harrison Snr. farmed 71 acres and employed three men.
At the age of 19 years George Harrison Jnr. was working as a carpenter and joiner. He lived at 21 Costin Street, Bedford, with his brother, William who was a cabinet maker. At the time of their marriage George lived at 36 Gwyn Street, Bedford. After their marriage George and Henrietta lived at 4 Rutland Road, Bedford. George ran his own building company.
George and Henrietta had three daughters: Mabel Henrietta was born in 1884. Sadly, their two youngest daughters died in infancy. Gertrude Clarabut Harrison died aged 3 years in January 1889 at Rutland Road, Bedford. Gwyneth Marjory Harrison died aged 7 weeks in 1891. Their burials took place in the same grave at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section E6. 69
Henrietta died aged 42 years on the 26th April 1906 at 17 Bushmead Avenue. Her burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. George died aged 82 years on the 25th January 1934 at 53 Pembroke Street, Bedford. His burial took place in the grave with Henrietta. E6 150
William Alfred Clarabut
William was born in 1869 at Tunbridge Wells, Kent, and was the youngest child of Richard and Elizabeth. On leaving school William trained as a carpenter and joiner.
On the 24th August 1893 William married Ellen Anna Clarke at the Wesleyan Chapel, Conduit Street, Bromham Road, Bedford. At the time of their marriage, Ellen lived at 65 Tavistock Street, and William lived at 126 Howbury Street.
After their marriage Ellen and William lived at 28 Hartington Street. On the 3rd December 1894 their daughter, Hettie Kate Elizabeth was born. Ellen and William subsequently moved to 74 Midland Road. On the 30th August 1900 their son George William was born.
Ellen died on the 4th March 1904 aged 33 years at 14 Britannia Road, Bedford. Her burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section E6 140
The early life of Ellen Anna Clarke and family
Ellen was born in 1871 at St. John’s Wood, Middlesex, London, and was one of the three children of George Solomon Clarke, a shoemaker, and Julie Elizabeth (née Stevenson). Soon after Ellen was born Julia and George left London and went to live with Julia’s sister, Emily and her family at Abbington Place, Northampton. While they were living in Northampton Julia worked in the shoe trade, and George was out of work.
A few months later George, Julia and Ellen went to America, and they settled in Newark, New Jersey. In 1873 their son George Horace Munro Clarke was born. Soon after George was born, and while she was pregnant with her third child, Julia and her two children returned to Northampton. Her daughter Florence was born in 1874. It seems that the reason why Julia returned to England so soon is that George had died. There are no records to confirm if George had died in America or England.
In 1878 Julia married her second husband, Frank Barker. The family lived at 109 Bailiff Street, Northampton. Frank was an agent for a washing machine company. The family subsequently moved to 44 Gwyn Street, Bedford. Julia worked as a sewing machine agent. In April 1889 Frank died aged 49 years. His burial took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section E6 62
After Frank died Julia moved to 65 Tavistock Street, Bedford. Julia married her third husband, Charles Mortimer Smith on the 24th August 1893 at St. Peter’s Church. Charles was a widower and a self-employed boot maker. After their marriage they lived at 62 Ford End Road, Bedford. Julia died in 1925 aged 80 years. Her burial took place in the grave with her second husband, Frank. Section E6 62
The second marriage of William to Ada Eliza Walker Clarke
On the 18th June 1905 William married his second wife, Ada at St. Michael of All Angels Church, Northampton. Ada was born in 1874 Northampton, and was one of the four children of George Walker Clarke and Ellen (née Bramley). The family lived at 77 Clare Street. Northampton. Ada’s mother and father worked in the shoe industry. George was a clicker; he would cut the leather into pieces needed for making shoes. Ellen was a boot closer, which involved stitching together all the parts of the shoe upper. On the 14th February 1881 George died aged 31 years.
On leaving school Ada worked in the shoe industry as a shoe fitter. She later left the shoe trade and worked as a barmaid at the Abington Park Hotel Northampton. After their marriage Ada and William lived at 7 Britannia Road, Bedford. In 1906 their only child, Phyllis was born.
Clarabut and Plumbe Undertakers
In 1895 William formed a partnership with Charles James Plumbe. Charles trained as carpenter and joiner. Not only did they become coffin makers and undertakers, but they also fitted and repaired venetian blinds and undertook house repairs. Charles lived with William and Ellen at 74 Midland Road, where they also had their workshop.
The early life of Charles James Plumbe
Charles was born in 1877 at Islington, Middlesex, and was one of the eight children of James Plumbe and Velebeth (née Chibnall). Velebeth was born in 1836 at Bromham, Bedfordshire, and was one of the ten children of Alice (née Henman) and Anthony Chibnall who kept the Swan Inn at Bromham. On the 24th December 1857 Velebeth married James Plumbe at All Saints Church, Kempston, Bedfordshire.
James was born in 1830 at Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire. At the time of their marriage James was employed by Messrs. Sanders and Williams ironmongers and iron-founders of 59 High Street, Bedford. (Café Crema now occupies the site). Soon after they were married James and Velebeth moved to 230 Upper Street, Islington, London. James set up his own ironmongery firm where he employed 3 men.
By 1891 James had retired and he and Velebeth had moved to 18 Gery Street, Bedford. In 1893 Velebeth died aged 56 years and James died on the 19th July 1894 aged 65 years. Their burials took place in the same grave at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section I2. 20
The marriage of Charles James Plumbe and Ellen Fensom
In 1903 Charles and Ellen were married at St. Leonard’s Church, Stagsden. Ellen was one of the seven children of Thomas Cockman Fensom and Elizabeth (née Burr) of North End Farm Stagsden. After their marriage Charles and Ellen lived at 74 Midland Road, Bedford. On the 17th March 1904 their only child, Kathleen May was born.
In 1898 George Moss and sons Undertakers join Clarabut and Plumbe
George Moss and Sons were funeral furnishers and funeral carriage masters. They ran their firm from 8 and 10 Great Butts Street, Cauldwell Street, and from the premises of Clarabut Plumbe at 4 and 74 Midland Road.
George Moss was born in 1821 at Hitchin, Hertfordshire. He was a carpenter by trade. In 1848 George married Elizabeth Foskett at Hackney, London. Elizabeth was born in 1821 at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, and was the daughter of Robert and Sarah Foskett. Robert was the publican of the Sugar Loaf Public House, Roxhill, Marston Moretaine, and Sarah was a lace maker.
George and Elizabeth had five children. Sarah, George Robert, Clara Eliza, Charles Foskett Moss, and Robert Foskett Moss. Sadly, Clara Eliza died aged 16 years on the 18th March 1877. Her burial took place in the Moss family grave at Hackney Churchyard.
The 1881 census records George and the family living at High Road, Hackney, London. George ran his own upholstery firm with his three sons. In 1887 George moved to Bedford and acquired the firm of G. Freshwater and Sons Undertakers at 15 Kings Place, Britannia Road Bedford. The firm became known as G. Moss and Sons. At the same time, George’s eldest son, George continued to run their firm in London. In 1891 G. Moss and Sons moved to 8 Great Butts Street, Cauldwell Street, Bedford. By this time George had retired.
Funerals of George and Elizabeth Moss
George and Elizabeth died at Great Butts Street. George died on the 3rd June 1893 aged 73 years. Elizabeth died on the 21st March 1898 aged 77 years. Their burials took place in the same grave at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section H3 194
The final years of G. Moss and Sons
After George died, his sons, Charles and Robert carried on the firm. Charles lived at 8 Butts Street and was a funeral furnisher. Robert lived at 61 Midland Road, and was an undertaker and blind maker. On the 12th May 1899 Robert and Charles dissolved their partnership by mutual consent.
Charles carried on the firm under the name of G. Moss and Sons until his death at the age of 44 years on the 29th April 1907. Charles died at 31 Cauldwell Street. His burial took place in the grave next to that of his mother and father at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section H3 184. His wife, Edith died aged 88 years at Barnet, Hertfordshire, on the 10th April 1964. Her burial took place in the grave with Charles.
In 1916 George Moss and Sons were no longer part of Clarabut and Plumbe. William and Charles continued to run the firm under the name of Clarabut and Plumbe Undertakers.
The final years of William and Ada Clarabut
William’s main interest was bowling. He was a member of the Kingsbrook Bowling Club. He was also a Freemason with the Harpur Lodge.
During the First World War Ada did voluntary work for the Red Cross. She made slippers for the wounded soldiers at the Paine Depot at 48 Harpur Street, Bedford. Eleanor Paine was the Honorary Secretary, Treasurer, and the Superintendent of the Bedford St. John Ambulance Association Depot. In September 1914 Eleanor was elected on the Queen’s Committee of Ladies of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. From 1914 to 1917 the number of slippers sent from the Paine Depot to hospitals in Great Britain and abroad was 22,226.
William died aged 58 years on the 21st August 1928 at 39 Cauldwell Street, Bedford. After the funeral service at St. Leonards Church, Bedford his coffin, in the enclosed carriage drawn by his pair of his favourite horses, made its way to Foster Hill Road Cemetery. His own firm carried out the funeral arrangement. Section I3 20
After William died Ada moved to 298 Ampthill Road Bedford. Ada died aged 87 on the 21st December 1961 at 12 Kingsley Road, Bedford. Her cremation took place at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. The burial of her remains took place at St. Mary and St. Helena Abbey’s Church burial ground, Elstow.
George William Clarabut
The only son of George and his first wife, Ellen, died on the 30th January 1954 at Santiago, Chile.
The funerals of Charles and Ellen Plumbe
Charles died in 1960 aged 83 years at 2a Shakespeare Road, Bedford. Ellen died aged 87 years in 1967 at the home of her daughter, Kathleen at 4 Shakespeare Road, Bedford. Their burials took place in the same grave at Foster Hill Road Cemetery. Section C3 79
Kathleen May Plumbe
Kathleen was the only child of Charles and Ellen. She died aged 86 years in April 1990 at Kimbolton Lodge Residential Care Home. After cremation her remains were buried in the grave with her mother and father. Section C3 79
In 1930 Clarabut and Plumbe were acquired by Frank Cirket
Frank Cirket was born at Elstow in 1893 and was one of the three children of William Arthur Cirket, a builder and Ruth (née Stapleton). Frank went to the Council School at Elstow. At the age of 11 years, he won the annual prize for attendance and proficiency. On leaving school Frank trained as a carpenter. By 1922 he ran his own joinery firm at 18 New Fenlake, Bedford. In 1925 Frank became an undertaker.
Five years later Frank acquired Clarabut and Plumbe. He traded from 39 Cauldwell Street, and 74 Midland Road. About 1965 he moved the firm to new premises at Kingsway Bedford. After Frank sold the firm in 1969, Clarabut and Plumbe expanded and opened two branches. One is located at 6 Bedford Road, Kempston and the other at 35 Chiltern Avenue, Bedford.
Clarabut and Plumbe is now part of Dignity which owns over 800 funeral locations and operates 46 crematoria in the United Kingdom.
Researched by Linda S. Ayres
The Bedfordshire Times 18th November 1932
London Gazette Part 2 Page 2235 1835
British Listed Buildings Charles Smith
The London Gazette 1838. Part Two Page 2235
Bedfordshire Mercury 4th July 1859
The Cambridge Independent Press 21st October 1865
The Kentish Gazette 17th April 1866
Cambridge Chronicle and Journal 28 Dec 1868
The Midland Counties Evening Express 21st December 1874
Bedfordshire Mercury 29th July 1876
1865 The poll for two knights of the shire to represent the County of Kent Page 135
Northampton Mercury Feb 10th 1881
Ampthill and District News July 21st 1894
Bedfordshire Times and Independent 6th September 1862 and 8th March 1864 and 25th April 1868 and12th February 1887 and 12th May 1899 14th July 1899 and 10th April 1903 and 16th April 1915 and 8th June 1917 and 31st August 1928 and 21st April 1939
Bedfordshire Times and Standard 30th January 1948
The British Red Cross Society
Marriage Certificates Ellen Anna Clarke and Ada Eliza Clarke
October 01, 2023
September 02, 2023
August 21, 2023