Mary Ann Barker

Mary Ann Barker (later Mary Ann Burnell, and Mary Ann Smith) was the third of the nine children of agricultural labourer William Barker and his wife Mary Head of the village of Barkway in Hertfordshire, England.

By the time of her second census, Mary, then 18 years old, was working as a kitchen maid for a Mr J H Phillips of Baldock Street, Royston. She was one of his seven servants - which included a butler, a page, a Lady's maid, a cook, a housemaid, and a nurse. The head of the house, Mr J H Phillips is noted as retired and as a widower, and his occupation (if any) or status, is not noted. However, on the previous census, he is noted as a 'J P for Herts and Deputy Lt for Cambs, and farming 400 acres, employing 19 men and 7 boys'. Mary must have used her experience here at this affluent household, to gain her move to working in London by the time she married in 1880.

Mary Ann was living in North West London in 1880 (or Middlesex as it was then) and was a live-in servant at 46 Abbey Road in St. John's Wood, Marylebone. It was whilst here that she married George Burnell, a servant living at the same house.

The couple soon settled down to have six children in St. John's Wood, before moving to Dunstable in Bedfordshire between 1887 and 1889. It was here that George became a publican, but sadly he died in 1891 just before their last child was born.

Widowed Mary Ann then moved the family north east to Littleport in Cambridgeshire, where her older sister Louisa Barker was now living. Mary and her family were able to start a new life, aided greatly by employment of the shirt factory Hope Brothers Ltd.

In 1896 she remarried to James Smith of Littleport, in a Calvinist ceremony at Ely. The couple went on to have a daughter the following year.

In 1901, the family are featured on the census at Littleport and it clearly shows James and Mary Ann with all their children at 2 Rose Cottages, Moors Road, Littleport.

Mary was pre-deceased by her second husband James, and appears to have died in June 1929.

Life Events


  • 23rd January 1854 at Barkway, Hertfordshire, England.


  • 12th March 1854 at St. Mary Magdalene's Church, Barkway, Hertfordshire, England.


  • George Burnell (1850-1891) on 9th May 1880 at All Saint's Church, Marylebone, London, England.
  • James Smith (1861-1925) on 31st October 1896 at The Countess of Huntingdon's Chapel, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.


Census and Residence

  • 1861: 8yrs, Barkway Street, Barkway, Hertfordshire, England.
  • 1871: 18yrs, Baldock Street, Royston, Hertfordshire, England.
  • 1880: 46 Abbey Road, St. John's Wood, Middlesex, England.
  • 1881: 29yrs, 37 Palmerston Road, London, Middlesex, England.
  • 1884: Abercorn Lodge Stables, Abercorn Place, St. John's Wood, Middlesex, England.
  • 1891: 37yrs, The Royal Oak Public House, Church Street, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England.
  • 1901: 41yrs, Rose Cottages, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.
  • 1911: 50yrs, City Road, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.


  • 1871: Kitchen Maid for J. H. Phillips (Retired JP for Hertfordshire)
  • 1880: Servant


  • 25th June 1929 at 30 Wisbech Road, Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England, aged 75 years.

Cause of Death

  • 1a. Cerebral Haemorrhage
    1b. Artery Sclerosis
    1c. Senectus
    2. Aortic Disease


  • 29th June 1929 at Littleport, Cambridgeshire, England.

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