Family tradition held that she came from Bath. However there is only one birth registration for a Ellen Sharp GREGORY. That certificate gives her birthplace as Hightown, nr Swindon, Wiltshire, and her mother as Hannah GREGORY. No father is mentioned. On the earlier Census records there was no trace of an appropriate Ellen GREGORY. However, searching round the Bath area uncovered an Ellen SHARP who appeard to fit the bill. It now appears that Hannah GREGORY became involved with a young man called John SHARP from Weston (next village to Lansdown) in Bath, Somerset, by whom she had Ellen out of wedlock. Ellen was thus the daughter of John SHARP and Hannah GREGORY.
In the earlier half of 1875 Hannah GREGORY gave birth to John SHARP’s child at her parent’s home in Stratton, Wiltshire. The birth was consequently registered in Hightown, nr Swindon, Wiltshire. Because this child, Ellen Sharp GREGORY, was born out of wedlock, the registrar would have given her Hannah’s maiden surname of Gregory. However, somewhat foresightedly (and as was often the case under such circumstances), the child was given her father’s family name as a middle name (thus allowing her to use either Ellen Gregory or Ellen Sharp as convenient). Details of the registration are as follows:
Registered 1875 June Quarter, Highworth, 5a, 8. Mother's name Hannah, Father's name not given.From a granddaughter of Ellen, comes the family tradition that 'Ellen celebrated her birthday in May, but she always said her true birthday was in April and that if the Queen could have two birthdays why shouldn't she - her reason being that too many other members of the family were March and April!!' From the same source comes the recollection that, according to her son Percy, she never discuss her parents.
Hannah appears to have travelled to Langridge, Somerset to marry Ellen’s father, for on 4 July 1875, at the Parish Church (St Mary Magdelene) in Weston, Bath, Somerset, she married John [Edmund] SHARP of Langridge (GRO ref 1875 Sep Q, Bath, Vol 5c, Pg 971).
John SHARP, full yr, bachelor, labourer, residing in Langridge. Father John SHARP, labourer.
Hannah SHARP, full yr, spinster, residing in Langrige. Father George GREGORY, labourer. In the presence of John SHARP & William TOGHILL
The Bath registry office's online index confirms these names and date, and adds the detail that the marriage was at St Mary Magdelene Church, Langridge and the day. The reference for this is C48/1/019.In the latter part of 1876 Hannah SHARP (nee GREGORY) appears to have died as there is a registration for the death of a Hannah SHARP age 20 (i.e born abt 1856), GRO ref June Q 1876, Bath, Vol 5c pg 471. Nor can she be found on the 1881 census.
According to family tradition Ellen moved from the Bath area to Loughton to take up a post in service, there she met Ernest Henry HICKS over the garden gate. One of her granddaughters confirmed the Bath connection, for both Dorothy ("Doll") DOREY (who married Ellen's son Frederick) and Bessie GINGELL (who married Ellen's son Percival) came from that area. They were both in service in London when Bessie's eldest brother, whose wife was a relation of Ellen, gave her the Loughton address.
On 25 Dec 1895 Ellen and Ernest Henry HICKS married in the Parish Church of the parish of Loughton, Essex. The account of their life together continues in the biography of Ernest Henry Hicks.
1964. Registration is HICKS, Ellen S., aged 89, Colchester, Sep Q 1964, Vol 4a, pg 556.
A newspaper clipping found in a scrapbook kept by her granddaughter Pamela Kirby (nee Hicks) gives brief biographical details, together with an announcement of her death and the funeral. It reads as follows:
Mrs E. Hicks
One of Loughton’s oldest residents, 89-year-old Mrs. Ellen Sharpe Hicks, of 145 Smarts Lane, died in St Mary’s Hospital, Colchester, on Monday. She had been taken ill three days earlier while on holiday near Clacton. [handwritten date “28/9/64” added after this by Pam]
Mrs Hicks, who had lived in Loughton for 70 years, was well known locally. During the war years she ran a small greengrocer’s business in Smarts Lane.
She was a member of St. Mary’s Church, Loughton.
Her husband, Mr Ernest Hicks, died in 1940. She leaves three sons, two daughters, ten grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held in St Mary’s Church, Loughton, tomorrow (Saturday) followed by burial in Loughton Cemetery. Arrangements are by Warriner and Sons. Loughton.