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Anne-Marie Ford    -    3 August 2018

Patience was a common enough name in the nineteenth century, particularly favoured by the Windsor Coopers, and Matty Cooper, “the Royal Rat Catcher,” had a grand-daughter named Patience, the daughter of his son Perrin, born c1896, to Perrin’s wife, Elizabeth Williams.  Perrin and Elizabeth had married in the late autumn of 1890 and Elizabeth already had a daughter, Queenie, who was about four years of age, by a previous partner.

It is tempting to see this Patience Cooper as a possible partner of William Stanley, baptising a son, Sampson, in 1914, at Locks Heath, Fareham (see the main story Strawberry Fields).  Three years before, at the 1911 census, Patience and her mother made rather a sorrowful little family, found in a caravan in Donovan’s Yard, in Battersea, for Perrin is no longer with them; instead he resides in a “lunatic asylum.”  Queenie is absent, too, perhaps travelling with her future husband, George Hearn, the son of Solomon, whom she would marry in 1914. Perrin was to die just two years later, at the London County Lunatic Asylum, “aged 62.” Actually he was about 55 years of age, having been baptised at West Molesey, in Surrey, in 1856, the son of Matty and Eliza Cooper.

This Patience Cooper is certainly the right age to be the partner of William Stanley, indicating a relationship begun when she was about 17 and William about 23, but, if it is this Patience, the relationship with William certainly did not last.  Exactly one year later, in August 1915, Patience Cooper, the daughter of Perrin Cooper, a flower seller (deceased), wed Sidney Webb Samuels, the son of Arthur Samuels, a wheelwright and smith. One of the witnesses to the wedding was her sister, Queenie Hearn.

So discovering another marriage of a Patience Cooper during the war years at Fareham indicates a different path to follow. The Patience who weds Thomas James in 1816 is perhaps a more promising candidate, especially because of the location. She is 32 years of age in 1816, daughter of Walter and Reine, marrying the 37 year old Thomas, son of William, who is serving as a private in the Devon Regiment. This would make her about five years older than the William Stanley who fathered a son with a Patience Cooper.

It is the regimental documents for Thomas James that give this idea the lie. He is indeed a Traveller, but he and Patience had been together for some considerable time, legalising their union in 1916, presumably, because of the war. His army record shows Thomas and Patience are parents to Violet, Amy, Ivy, Jemima and Freedom, this last child being born in 1914, the same year in which a Patience Cooper and a William Stanley baptised their son Sampson in Locks Heath, Fareham.

Both these Patience Coopers are indeed Gypsies, but not likely to be the mother of little Sampson Stanley . . .

Copyright © 2018 Anne-Marie Ford