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More about Montague

Anne-Marie Ford    -    31 March 2018

Montague Gray, the partner of Elizabeth Smith/Loveridge, claimed birth in c1832, generally in Bedfordshire, although occasionally he said his birthplace had been Hertfordshire. When he formed a union with his second wife, Margaret/Martha Sherriff, he informed the cleric that his father’s name was Charles.

Fascinatingly, there is a baptism of a Montague on 3rd May 1833 at Hexton, Hertfordshire, on the borders of Bedfordshire, the son of Charles and Elizabeth Maclaine, “vagrants and Gypsies.” The location and timescale are, at the very least, a tremendous coincidence in the naming of a child with this unusual forename. Could this be Montague Gray?

Charles Maclaine is probably the Charles who had wed Elizabeth Bradshaw in the registration district of Biggleswade in Bedfordshire on 5th November 1832, and maybe the Charles Maclaine who was buried at Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire in 1839, claiming to be 27 years of age. There are two Charles Maclaines of this vintage in the area, the son of Charles and Sophia, who was baptised in 1806 in Bedfordshire, “of the people called Gypsies,” whose father was a well-known Gypsy fiddle-player, and Charles, born in 1816, who was a cousin, the son of Samuel and Theodosia.

The Charles born in 1806 is the likely candidate for Montague’s father, who would have been about 26 years of age at his marriage, and his family had married into the Gray tribe. Charles Maclaine and his wife Sophia had a daughter, Caroline, who married a George Gray in 1825 in Cambridgeshire, a favoured location for the Grays, and one that Montague would also favour, as well as Bedfordshire, prior to his move to the Midlands during his second union.

Is this the baptism, then, of Montague Gray, who may have adopted the name because of a subsequent marriage by his mother, or because he was taken into the family of his aunt and uncle? It is surely too much of a coincidence - isn’t it?

Copyright © 2018 Anne-Marie Ford