The Pettit Family 1823 - 2002

William Pettitt b 27 March 1844 - d

Wife - Sarah Ann Son - William Amos Daughter - Elizabeth Son - James Daughter - Bertha Son - Arthur Son - Randall Daughter - Hilda






Research Dates
19 Jun 06        3 Jul 06

19 June 06
William is a very interesting character.   He was first found in the 1851 census, where he appeared as the grandson of Lucy.   His parentage took a little while to be established, but after some careful research it transpires that he was the illegitimate child of Elizabeth, one of Lucy's daughters.   He seems to have done well for himself, particularly as his birth certificate shows that he was born in the workhouse at Nacton.   In the 1851 census he is aged 7, 10 years later on in 1861 he had become a journeyman bricklayer, but by the time of the 1871 census his life had taken quite a dramatic turn.  In this census he was married to Sarah Ann, and he was a soldier stationed at St George's Barracks, Charing Cross.   The couple also have their first child, William Amos, who was aged 4.   He is missing from the 1881 census, though the reason for this is not clear at the moment.   He had a child born in the Tower of London in 1880, and another in Chelsea in 1883, so his non-appearance may have been due to temporary service overseas.   The 1891 census shows yet another change in his personal circumstances, as he is shown as a beer retailer at the Staff of Life public house in Bramford Road, Ipswich.   His absence from the 1901 census led to the death records being searched, which turned up an entry which is likely to refer to him, the year of the entry being 1899.   Wife Sarah was found in the 1901 census however, she and some of the children had moved a short distance to Claude Villas in Bramford Road.

3 July 06
The receipt of two certificates have cast more light on the life and death of William.   The birth certificate of William's eldest son, William Amos, shows that on the 6th August 1866, William was a Corporal in the Coldstream Guards.   Whether he was present at the time of the birth of his son is not clear, it was his wife Sarah Ann who is shown as the informant on the certificate.   Other useful information that was found for the first time was Sarah Ann's maiden name of Middleditch, and an address where she was living, it being 72 St Helen's Street in Ipswich.

The death certificate was the second certificate received, and, as all other death certificates, it makes sad reading.   William died aged only 55, of phthisis (tuberculosis), and exhaustion.   At the time of his death his occupation was an Army pensioner, so it is quite likely that he had ceased to work as a publican in the Staff of Life in Bramford Road, due to his deteriorating health.   The death certificate shows that William had been suffering from his condition for some 14 months.   Wife Sarah Ann was present at the death, and was the informant.

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Birth Certificate

The birth certificate shows William being born to Elizabeth Pettitt on the 27th March 1844, at 4:00am at Nacton House, Boyton. The location given within this section is most likely incorrect, as the correct reference to Nacton House, Nacton, is made later on within the informants section of the certificate.   No father's name is given.   The informant for the birth was a ? Constable, Mother of Nacton House, Nacton, and the birth was registered on the 30th March 1844 by Thomas Miles, Registrar.

Death Certificate

William's death certificate shows that he died on the 3rd October 1899, of phthisis (more commonly known now as tuberculosis), and exhaustion. The death was certified by J F C Hossack, FRCS. The certificate does not state exactly where he died, so it is unclear whether he was still in the Staff of Life pub at the time of his death, or Claud Villas, but either way he was in Bramford Road.

At the time of his death his age was given as 55, with his occupation as an Army pensioner, which may indicate that he had already ceased to be a publican, and was living on his pension when he died. The informant for the death was wife S A (Sarah Ann) Pettit, widow of the deceased, present at the time of death in Bramford Road, Ipswich. The death was registered on the 4th October 1899 by George Swiner?, Registrar.

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1871 Census

This census shows that William's life has taken a dramatic turn, he is now married and a soldier. He has moved away from bricklaying, and is no longer living at home. His wife is Sarah Ann, she is also aged 27, and from Bury St. Edmunds. The couple have a child, William Amos, in this census aged 4.

Census Year Copy Found Certificate Type Copy Found Other Information  
1851 Yes



Kelly's 1892

Kelly's Directory 1892
1861 Yes



1871 Yes



1881 No        
1891 Yes        
1901 Yes        

1891 Census

There is another dramatic turn of events for William and Sarah. Missing from the 1881 census, possibly due to service in Ireland in his time as a soldier, William appears with wife Sarah back in Suffolk, this time in Ipswich as a beer retailer at the Staff of Life pub in Bramford Road. There are also a number of newly discovered children. William Amos who was found on a previous census has now flown the nest, but Elizabeth aged 18 (born in Dublin) and shown as a barmaid appears, as does James, 13, born in Shorncliff Camp, Kent. Another daughter is Bertha, aged 11 and born in the Tower of London, followed by 2 sons, Arthur aged 8, born in Chelsea, London, and Randall aged 5, born in Ipswich. Finally, daughter Hilda is shown as being aged 2, and also born in Ipswich. The family has grown, and hopefully will lead to a number of previously unknown and still living relatives!

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Kelly's Directory 1892

The 1892 edition of Kelly's trade directory finds William Pettit listed in the Beer Retailers section.   The address shows as Bramford Road, Ipswich, making the beer house almost certain to be the Staff of Life.  

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Sarah Ann Middleditch

Research Dates
19 Jun 06

No additional information about the early life of Sarah Ann has been found yet, but hopefully progress will be made when her surname has been established.   The 1901 census in which she is shown as a widow is shown below.

1901 Census

By the time of the 1901 census, Sarah Ann has become widowed, and she has moved from the pub. She is shown as living at Claude Villas, Bramford Road, so the move away was not too far. With Sarah in the house that night were children Arthur, 18, and Randall, 14, both shown as commercial clerks, and daughter Hilda, aged 12.

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