My Paternal Family
Caroline/Carrie Pell (nee Wray)
Caroline Carrie Pell (nee Wray) was the third child and first daughter of Alfred and Emily, born on 18 March 1886 at Preston. She was baptised on 10 October 1886 at St Marys, Hitchin. She featured a number of times in the school log book: 1895, ‘I publicly caned Caroline Ray for stealing three of the school’s lead pencils’; 23 April 1897, ‘Have sent Carry Wray’s name to the attendance officer as her mother has illegally removed her from school to plait at home. She is only eleven years of age’; 25 April 1898, ‘Caroline Wray has left to help her mother’. Three years later in 1901, aged about fourteen, Carrie was living and working at 21-3 Sun Street, Hitchin as a Domestic Servant. She then had a liaison with John Pell (who was from a long line of Bedfordshire farmers) and gave birth to Harold George Wray/PelI on 25 January 1907 at Barnet, North London. In 1911, she was a domestic servant at John’s parents, Joseph and Ann Pell’s farm, Wilden, Bedfordshire John wrote the details on the census form shown below:
Carrie married John/Jack Pell on 9 January 1912 at Barnet. But shortly after their marriage there was a hiatus involving where the couple were to live (see news report below) which resulted in Carrie taking their son, Harold, to her parents home at Back Lane, Preston and enrolling George Wray (sic) in Preston School on 15 January 1912, when he was five years old. She removed him on 19 February 1912 because she had left the village - presumably John had found suitable accommodation by them.
Harold Pell’s wedding - Carrie and John are to the far left of the photograph
Taken at face value, Carrie and John’s daughter, Annie, was born in May 1912 at New Barnet, around the time the couple married. By 1914, John had become licensee of ‘The Beehive’ at Colesden. Often, the public house was run by the licensee’s wife while her husband was farming. There were further examples of John and Carrie being less than conscientious about sending their children to school:
We next find Carrie living at Chequers Lane (presumably with her parents) from October to December 1916, because Harold George Pell (sic - originally his surname was entered as Wray, and there is a margin note ‘wrong name given for no apparent reason’.) was attending Preston School from 2 October to 21 December 1916 and then her family moved to Colesden, St Neots, Bedfordshire. In May 1920, John was fined for not sending his children to school:
In 1921, the household were still at Colesden, farming a small holding and the census provides us with this picture:
By the start of WW2 in 1939, the family had moved to Rectory Farm, Kimbolton Road, Great Barford, Beds.:
April 1933
‘The Beehive’ was of brick, stud, tile and thatch and containing 5 acres 1 rood 8 perches of garden land. When John Took over the beer house, trade was in steady decline, being given in the sale particulars as 62½ barrels of beer in 1912, 57½ in 1913 and 47½ in 1914.
A valuer visiting Colesden in 1927 discovered that ‘The Beehive’ was one of three cottages standing together. The beer house itself was, the valuer noted, "Very old Building and thatched". The occupier, John Pell, paid £16 per annum in rent to Wells and Winch. The valuer commented: "Been here 14 years, was £10". The building comprised a bar ("awful"), kitchen and scullery and two bedrooms downstairs with a further two bedrooms above. A loose box and an old cart shed stood outside. Trade averaged twelve dozen bottles of beer per week and takings were "very small".
Carrie died in 1942. When Jack died at Rectory Farm on 18 February 1963, his estate was valued at £35,609
February 1927