A York Memorial….

We recently visited a Van Gogh exhibition, held in a deconsecrated church – York St Mary’s on Castlegate in York. The exhibition was wonderful, but being a family historian I couldn’t help but notice the handful of memorials still visible on the walls. This one piqued my interest so I thought I’d see what I could find out about the family

In Remembrance

of Frederick Robert.

youngest Son of

W. Allen Esq. of this City.

who died Dec 3rd 1858

of Diptheria

after an illness of 48 hours.

aged 14 years.

William Allen Esq.

Father of the Above.

who died May 29th 1859.

aged 57 years

A search on FreeBMD reveals the birth of Frederick Robert Allen in 1847 and his death in 1858.

My next point of call is the 1851 Census where I find the family living at 7, St Leonard’s Place, Liberty of Mint Yard, York. William’s wife is Elizabeth and they have five children with them in this Census. Annette 15, Charles N 13, Emily S 11, William H 9 and Frederick Robert 6. There are also two general servants working in the family’s home. William Allen senior is a Teacher of Dancing which I find a little surprising!

I had a feeling that the family was well-off; the size of the memorial is a clue, so I searched for a history of the street they lived in to fill in a bit of detail. Mint Yard is so-called because it was previously part of St Mary’s Abbey and during the reformation was dissolved by the Royal Mint. St Leonard’s Place is a crescent of neo-classical Georgian houses, designed to bring some of the Georgian elegance of York to its less crowded outskirts. Very desirable housing had led to some desirable occupants. Alongside the Allen family in the 1840s and 50s were an attorney, a barrister, solicitor, proprietor of houses, a landed proprietor, a surgeon and a major in the artillery corps.

A search in the next census of 1861 and 1871 finds the widowed Elizabeth Allen still living in the same house. In 1861 her eldest son Charles is now the proprietor of the dancing school, her daughter Emily is also still living in the household. In 1871 Elizabeth and Emily are still in the house together with two servants

A FreeBMD search for a death for Elizabeth didn’t turn up anything obvious so I try to find out what happened to the rest of William and Elizabeth’s children.

  • Annette Charlotte baptised 8th March 1836 at St Olave’s in York. She married George William Marsden in June 1861 and died in the Wakefield district are of Yorkshire in 1889.
  • Charles Noke Allen baptised 19th October 1837 at St Olave’s. Married Hannah Parkinson in June 1863 and died in York in 1875.
  • Emily Sarah Allen baptised 24th March 1841 at St Olave’s. No further info.
  • William Milward Allen baptised 2nd September 1841 at St Olave’s. No further info.
  • Frederick Robert Allen baptised 1st March 1847 at St Olave’s. Died 3rd December 1858.
St Olave’s Church York

Interestingly, Charles Noke Allen went on to have two sons. Frederick Charles (1864-1934) lived a proportion of his life in Sri Lanka, becoming the managing director of P&O and the British India Line. Harry Millward (1866-1943) was a successful portrait painter in London.

© Caroline Cox and Caroline’s Chronicles. 2011 – current year

7 thoughts on “A York Memorial….

  1. Annette Charlotte Marsden was my great great grandmother, so I was fascinated to find your page. I have a print of the gravestone of Annette’s father and brother (who died aged 14). May I send you the image, and would you be able to tell me if the memorial is still there?
    I live in Oxford.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Caroline, lovely to hear from you. The memorial is still on the wall of St Mary’s church, although the church has been deconsecrated it’s still used. Were they buried at St Olave’s? I’m not able to check for a gravestone as I don’t live near York, but you could try billiongraves.com or findagrave.com to see if they’ve been photographed.


      1. I have a print of a stone memorial several feet high with the father mentioned on one side and the son engraved on another. You can only see two sides. I live in the south of England – but eventually I might get up there!

        Liked by 1 person

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