top of page

The Fox and House Inn .... oddly, there seem to have been two Inns with this name in Colerne in the 1871 census - the other one was called "The Old Fox and Hounds Inn" and seems to be on the other side of the village.

NOTE: the term 'Nurse child' was frequently used to describe a baby who was being cared for by someone outside the family - today such a child might be described as being fostered.  It seems to often be the case that the child was illegitimate, so not welcome (or even not known about) in the mother's own family (having a baby out of wedlock was looked on as shameful back in those days).

mastelfamily banner 1

Mastel Family History

Mastel Family History

Ward/Kent generation 3: my great-grandparents ?John WARD and Mary Ann KENT

Frank's Birth Certificate names his father as John WARD, commercial traveller and his mother as Mary Ann WARD (nee Kent) - although Frank himself had told his family various stories about his origins, this wasn't one of them (even though we know that he had obtained a copy of his birth certificate when aged just 12).  However, although there is no record of Mary Ann Kent ever having married, given that she had stated her correct maiden name on the birth certificate, it seems worth following up the possibility that Frank's father was indeed a John WARD, commercial traveller.  The important information that is missing, is where Mary Ann was living nine months before Frank's birth - around Christmas time of 1879!  Was she still working at her brother's Inn in Colerne, Wiltshire or had she already moved to Bristol to stay with her married sister Emily Brown and possibly work for Emily's husband Kennedy Brown (a draper)?


There were several men named John Ward, occupation commercial traveller, who could fit the bill in the 1871 and 1881 censuses - though none were from the Bristol or Wiltshire area.  I am working my way through the list to find out more about each of them, and hoping that one day I will find an autosomal DNA match with a descendant of one of them, that could confirm Frank's father's identity. [Stupidly, I never took the opportunity to ask my father to take a yDNA test, as he was the ONLY surviving male direct line descendant of Frank Ward]

Father of Frank Ward - name uncertain!

Mary Ann KENT

Mary Ann Kent was christened on 5 feb 1843 in Marshfield, Gloucs (parish register).  Her parents were Thomas Kent, saddler, and Harriet Howes.  Mary Ann was the couple's second child and soon after her birth the family must have moved to Colerne in Wiltshire, where their next six children were born.  After leaving school, Mary Ann worked as a dressmaker, but by 1871 she was the housekeeper at her brother's Inn - the Fox and Hounds (see image below).  

In 1881, shortly after Frank's birth, she was living in Bedminster with her married sister Emily Brown and her occupation is shown as 'dressmaker and milliner'. In the same census, Frank was also living in Bedminster - with the Grainger family where he was described as a 'nurse child' (see note) aged 9 months. 


Mary Ann died on 3rd May 1887 in Colerne, the cause of death was pneumonia and pleuritis - she was only 44 years old (death certificate).  Her mother Harriet died just six days later.


Mary Ann KENT in the census:


1851 and 1861 census - Mary Ann was living at home with her parents (see next generation)


1871 census: at the Fox and Hounds in Colerne -

Aram Kent, head, 25, inn keeper

Mary A Kent, sister, 27, housekeeper

Asenath Kent, sister, 17

John Woodham, servant, 18, inn servant


1881 census: at 25 Centre Redcliff Cres, Bedminster -

Kennedy Brown, head, 29, draper, (b. Scotland)

Emily A Brown, wife, 30, b. Colerne, Wilts

Emily K Brown, dau, 4, b. Bristol

Mary F Brown, dau, 3, b. Bristol

Hugh B Brown, son, 11m, b. Bristol

Mary A Kent, visitor, 35, unm, milliner and dressmaker, b. Marshfield, Gloucs

Robert Elliott, servant, 30, draper's asst, b. Scotland

William Thorne, servant, 20, draper's asst, b. Scotland

David Brown, servant, 13, messenger, b. Scotland

Laura Squires, servant, 17, dom.servant, b. Wick, Gloucs

Mary A Flower, servant, 13, dom.servant, b. Westbury on Trym  

fox and hounds colerne
bottom of page