The Kings

This post and several others, all relate to a photograph album that was bought at auction in Barnstaple, North Devon (UK).

Two cabinet cards that are clearly related are identified as “W N King – born 1824” and “Mrs King”.

William Norman King   Harriette Anne Lanchester

Searching Ancestry brings up a William Norman King on the 1911 census, aged 86 and living in Great Barton, Suffolk. Since ‘Barton’ is inscribed on two other photographs from the same album, this seems to be our man. He is described as a ‘farmer and owner of land’ and was born in Gazely, Suffolk. Being widowed by this time, we have to go back to the 1901 census to find his wife Harriette, who was just two years younger and born in Fakenham, Suffolk. Furthermore, there is a marriage record for William Norman King and Harriette Anne Lanchester in 1847, in the district of Bury St Edmunds.

My impression of Mr. King is that of a relatively modest man, since it transpires that he was in fact a Justice of the Peace (J.P.). Three of his sons became Mayor of Bath, Bishop of Madagascar and Canon of Sydenham, as mentioned in his obituary from The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette,  11th April 1914.

Bath Chronicle 11 Apr 1914

Later in the year of his death, it was proposed that a memorial to Mr. King should be erected in Great Barton, one of the reasons being ‘there never was… a better life lived in a village’. The same article (from the Bury Free Press, 27 June 1914) goes on to say that Mr. King’s life ‘had been one long, good example’. I don’t know if the memorial ever became a reality, but it demonstrates how warmly the local community felt towards William King.

Bury Free Press 1914

Perhaps in a future post I’ll revisit this couple, Mrs. King in particular, who appears to be holding a photograph in her portrait; is this the image of another relative?

William Norman King - cabinet card   Harriette Anne Lanchester - cabinet card

Newspaper clippings are from The British Newspaper Archive  © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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