I mentioned yesterday (and on several occasions before that) that my 3x great-grandfather Thomas Gasson spent a short time a constable in the Metropolitan Police.
What I haven’t done until now is put together a timeline for this particular period of his life, bring together the evidence that I have for his time in the Metropolitan Police.
His exact dates of service are not known, so every little bit of evidence helps build up a picture, and may hopefully lead to further records.
28th July 1858 (Slaugham, Sussex)
- Alfred Gasson son of Thomas and Harriet Gasson is baptised in St Mary’s Church, Slaugham. This is the last record of the family that I have in Sussex before Thomas joins the Metropolitan Police. Thomas is recorded as a labourer.
Q3 1860 (Edmonton Registration District, Middlesex)
- The birth of their son Edward Gasson was registered in Edmonton Registration District, Middlesex. This places the family in Middlesex, but without checking the actual birth certificate I can’t tell whether Thomas was serving with the Metropolitan Police at the time.
7th April 1861 (Winchmore Hill, Edmonton, Middlesex)
- Thomas, Harriet and their four children are shown in the 1861 census in Winchmore Hill in the parish of Edmonton, Middlesex. Thomas is recorded as a “Metropolitan Police Constable”.
16th May 1861 (N Division, Middlesex)
- The Metropolitan Police Orders for the 16th May 1861 record that P.C. 265, Gasson was dismissed for being drunk on duty. This doesn’t provide enough information to confirm that P.C. 265 was my Thomas Gasson. I am also not sure what made up the boundaries of N Division, but I don’t think this matches Winchmore Hill.
Q1 1863 (Cuckfield Registration District, Sussex)
- The birth of their daughter Harriett Gasson was registered in Cuckfield Registration District, Sussex (later census returns give her place of birth as Bolney or Warninglid, Sussex). This places the family back in Sussex, although it is not conclusive that Thomas had lost his job and they had permanently moved back home.
The only real evidence of Thomas’ service is the 1861 census, but it looks like he probably joined between July 1858 and Q3 1860, and he left between April 1861 and Q1 1863, probably in May 1861. With a bit more work I might be able to narrow these date ranges down a bit, especially with the purchase of a couple of birth certificates and a couple of baptism records.
As I am on a bit of a GASSON theme at the moment, here is another postcard of St Mary’s Church, Slaugham.
Back in March 2011 I showed you a similar image, in black and white and perhaps slightly older, but in writing about it I said that the family connection wasn’t particularly strong. Now I know that the connections are much stronger than I imagined back then. My 4x great-grandparents were buried here, my 3x great-grandparents were married here (I did know that before) and my 2x great-grandfather was baptised here (but I already knew that).
There a caption in the bottom-left corner, but it is not particularly clear either on this digital image or the original postcard, as the red ink merges with the green grass. It is possible to make out the word “Dolphin”. That is enough to identify the publisher as Harry Tullett of Haywards Heath, Sussex.
Postcards of the village of Slaugham, Sussex are not that easy to come by, so I snapped up this one when it came up even though it is not in top condition. It shows the interior of St Mary’s Church, Slaugham.
The Interior of St Mary's Church, Slaugham, Sussex
I visited the church earlier this year (see the photo below) before I got this postcard and to be honest it took me a while to verify that this was the same church, such were the changes that have been made to the interior.
The Interior of St Mary's Church, Slaugham, Sussex (30/04/11)
The quality of my photo is rather poor (I will take more care next time and perhaps find the light switch) but it is good enough to see the similarities in the structure of the building even if most of the furniture and fittings have changed. Although not included in my photo the font on the right-hand sign is definitely the same.
The postcard itself is unused but it does have printed on the back that it is part of “The Dolphin Series” which almost certainly means it was the work of Harry Tullett of nearby Haywards Heath, Sussex, and probably dates the card to somewhere around 1910. It may be possible to date the picture more accurately if the changes inside the church were recorded and carried out over a number of years.
There are a number of family connections with this church, including the marriage of my 3x great-grandparents Thomas GASSON and Harriet MITCHELL, the burials of my 4x great-grandparents Henry and Catherine GASSON and the baptism of my 2x great-grandfather George Thomas GASSON.
Catherine GASSON (née HOLMAN) was the wife of Henry GASSON, making her my 4x great-grandmother. I ordered her death certificate at the same time as I ordered Henrys and largely for the same reason, to make sure that I had found the correct individual.
Looking at the certificate there isn’t really any doubt. Catherine died on the 2nd December 1858 aged 64 years at Warninglid, Slaugham, Sussex. Her occupation is given as “Wife of Henry Gasson an Agricultural Laborer”. So her age, address and her husband’s name and occupation all match up.
The cause of death was recorded as “Disease of Liver 2 Years Jaundice Certified” and her death was registered by her husband Henry (who was present at the death) on the 6th December 1858.
So the certificate served it’s purpose, or at least the purpose I had intend. I am now confident that this Catherine was my 4x great-grandmother and was the same Catherine buried at Slaugham on the 12th December 1858.
The Warninglid mentioned on the certificate is a small community within the parish of Slaugham rather a particular house or farm, so the certificate doesn’t really help to pin-point where they were living a great deal, but it is better than nothing.
I am pretty certain that I have previously checked monumental inscriptions for St. Mary’s Church, Slaugham but I certainly need to check again and if possible make another visit to Slaugham and Warninglid. Last time I visited I was just passing through and not fully aware of the GASSON connections, now I have some concrete evidence I can go back and explore some more.
I’m taking a break from a bout of railway mania to have a look at the death certificate of Henry GASSON (my 4x great-grandfather) which arrived a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t expecting any big surprises with this certificate, but rather to be able to confirm that I was looking at death and burial of the correct Henry GASSON.
The certificate showed that Henry GASSON a farm labourer aged 78 years died of pneumonia on the 27th November 1862 at Stable Houses, Lower Beeding, Sussex. The death was registered on the 1st December 1862 by Edward GASSON of Nuthurst, Sussex who had been present at the death.
The certificate pretty much proved I had the correct details. The age ties up with my Henry, and the place of death ties up with the burial in nearby Slaugham, Sussex where his wife had been buried. Everything seems to fit together quite neatly.
As well as proving that I was looking at the correct Henry GASSON it has also added another detail to the story of Henry’s life, that is the address in Lower Beeding. I didn’t know that Henry had spent some time in Lower Beeding, although it must only have been a brief time because in 1861 he had been living in Slaugham.
A quick bit of map research revealed the likely location of Stable Houses, Lower Beeding and it turns out that I go past it every day on the bus on my way to work. When the weather dries up a bit I might have to get off the bus on my way home and get a photo or two.
I don’t yet know whether there were any other GASSONs living in Stable Houses, and the certificate has raised another question, who was the Edward GASSON who registered the death? It is most likely that he was the son of Henry GASSON but there may well have been other Edward GASSONs around that could equally have provided the information.
All in all buying this certificate was a worthwhile investment, it has allowed me to confidently tie-up the loose ends around the death of Henry GASSON and has given me another piece of information to add to the story of Henry’s life.