James Seaborne 1847-1912 - Father of 32 children
Updated: Jun 24
The Seaborne family have lived in the Vowchurch area of Herefordshire for at least 250
years. It seems most of mine were masons or timber fellers. In the second half of the 19th
century they were felling trees in various areas, probably for the coal mines of Glamorgan
and Monmouthshire. James Seaborne was born on the 12th February 1847 in Vowchurch to
John Seaborne and Lydia Price.
James had 2 sisters and a brother. He also had 5 half siblings from his father’s first marriage
to Mary Skyrme. He was to have a further 12 half siblings after his mother Lydia died in
1860. John Seaborne’s third wife was Hannah Monkley. It is possible John had fathered more
than 21 children.
James married my Great Great Grandmother Mary Ann Jones (of Eardisley) on the 10th
June 1867 Hay, Breconshire, Wales. Mary Ann Jones was 17 years old when she married,
with James being 20. I’ve spent a huge amount of time researching the family, this included
travelling to St. Mary’s Church, Hay, Breconshire and Hereford Records Office. Though
records weren’t difficult to access, the sheer number of children was immense.
I started my research almost 20 years ago, research was a lot more difficult back then.
Going through the censuses, collecting bmd certificates, baptismal records and very
importantly newspaper reports.
Children of James Seaborne & Mary Ann Jones.
Sarah Jane Seaborne b. 1868 Hay, Breconshire.
Mary Ann Seaborne b. 1869 Hay, Breconshire.
Isabel Seaborne b. 1871 Hay, Breconshire.
William Seaborne b. 1872 Hay, Breconshire. *Great - grandfather.
James Seaborne b. 1875 Hay, Breconshire
Lydia Seaborne b. 1877/78 Hay, Breconshire (Bapt. 1/1/1878)
Ansell Seaborne b. 1877/1878 Hay, Breconshire.
Emily Seaborne b. 1879 Hay, Breconshire.
Thomas Seaborne. b. 1881 Hay, Breconshire.
Elizabeth Seaborne. b. 1883 Hay, Breconshire.
Henry Seaborne b.1885 Hay, Breconshire.
John Arthur Seaborne b.1887 Hay, Breconshire.
Edwin / Edward Seaborne b. 1890 Llanbadarn Y Garreg, Radnorshire.
Frank Seaborne b.1892 Hay, Breconshire.
In various newspaper reports from the 4th of August 1900 James claimed to have had 20
children with his first Mary Ann Jones. I found records for only fourteen of the children.
There was no requirement to register stillbirths at this time. I did go through the parish
registers at St. Mary’s in Hay and a number of entries were very difficult to read. The family
changed address several times including a move to Llanbadarn Y Garreg.
I believe a number of children died at birth and or were stillborn. There would have been no
reason for James to exaggerate the number of children.
(South Wales Echo, 04 August 1900)
At least 9 children were born prior to the census of 1881. Records of the census show 5
children were with their parents in Hay. The eldest child Sarah Jane was with her mother’s
family on Newport Street, Hay. Isabella was living in Dowlais, Glamorgan with her aunt
Sarah South. Sarah was Mary Ann Jones' sister. Twins Lydia and Ansell died as babies.
The census of 1891 for Llanbadarn Y Garreg, Radnorshire doesn’t show any children that
were not mentioned in the fourteen recorded earlier.
Mary Ann died on the 11th March 1893 on Newport Street, Hay. James remarried on the
14th May 1893 at the Congregational Chapel in Hay. Just eight weeks after the death of my
Great, Great Grandmother. This was understandable considering the number of children in
the house. James’ second wife was Annie Powell, a 26 year old widow (maiden name
Children of James Seaborne and Annie Probert.
Charles Seaborne b.1894 Hay, Breconshire.
Matthew Seaborne b. 1896 Hay, Breconshire.
Lydia Seaborne b.1898 Resolven, Glamorgan.
Pretoria / Victoria Seaborne b. 1900 Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire (birth and death certs
John Seaborne b. 1901 Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire.
Annie Seaborne b. 1903 Staunton on Wye, Herefordshire.
Ethel Annie Seaborne b. 1905 Worcestershire.
Jessie Seaborne b. 1907 Worcestershire.
Joseph Seaborne b.1909 Tenbury, Worcestershire.
On the 3rd and 4th of August 1900 various newspapers reported on a Coroner’s inquest into
the death of a 10 week old baby Pretoria May Seaborne daughter of James Seaborne and
his second Wife Annie. James gave evidence that he had 20 children with Mary Ann Jones
and 6 with his second wife. James stated that 12 were living. To bring the total up to 32, In
the 1911 census the total for children being born to Annie was 12 with 5 still living.
Though I know the following years of most of the children, if you feel you may be a
descendant of the family please do contact.
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