Thomas Tilbury (1802-1875)

Thomas & Sophia

Thomas Tilbury (1802-1875)

  • Father: Thomas Tilbury (1777-1857)
  • Mother: Ann nee Durden (ca1782-1861)
  • Born: 13 Oct 1802, St. Marylebone, Middlesex
  • Baptised: 7 Nov 1802, St. Mary's, St. Marylebone
  • Married: 12 Aug 1830, Sophia Rabnett, St. Marylebone
  • Died: 29 Apr 1875, 191 Euston Rd, St. Pancras, Middlesex
  • Buried: 4 May 1875, Highgate Cemetery
  • Occupation: Brassfounder
Thomas Tilbury (1802-1875)1

Sophia Rabnett (1806-1898)

  • Father: George (ca1779-1857)
  • Mother: Pheobe nee Thompson (ca1776-1847)
  • Born: 27 Dec 1806, St. Marylebone, Middlesex
  • Baptised: 1 Feb 1807, St. Mary’s, St. Marylebone
  • Married: 12 Aug 1830, Thomas Tilbury, St. Marylebone
  • Died: 5 Mar 1898, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
  • Buried: 6 Mar 1898, South Rockhampton Cemetery
Sophia (Rabnett) Tilbury (1806-1898)1


  • Marriage 1830 Thomas Tilbury, Sophia Rabnett
  • Death 1875 Thomas Tilbury
  • Death 1898 Sophia Tilbury nee Rabnett
Probate Notice of Thomas2

1830. Thomas married Sophia Rabnett on 12 Aug at St. Marylebone, Middlesex. The marriage was witnessed by George and Ann Rabnett, Sophia's father and sister.

Over a period of 21 years Thomas and Sophia had 11 children. The first five children were baptised in St.Mary's, Middlesex. Sophia Emma was born in Hanwell, Middlesex, Edward in St.Pancras, James in Bayswater and Florence and Augustus in St.Pancras.

Thomas, Sophia and the family lived in Hanwell, a suburb of Middlesex on the river Brent, about 10 miles from London. Thomas was a pillar of the church and was, like his father, a brassfounder.

1831. George Hayward Tilbury baptised.

1833. Anne Tilbury baptised.

1835. Thomas Tilbury baptised.

1837. Sophia Tilbury born. Sophia's birth wasn't registered and she died at the age of 30 months and was buried 7 Aug 1839 at St.Mary, Hanwell.

1839. Pheobe Tilbury was born and was baptised 28 Feb at St.Marylebone.

1840. Sophia Emma Tilbury was born 11 Oct 1840 in Hanwell and baptised 28 Feb 1841 at St.Mary, Hanwell. The parish registers in Hanwell, viewed by John of England, record her name as Emma at birth and baptism. The census taken 6 Jun for the parish of Hanwell records her as Emma, as does the death certificate of her mother, Sophia. However, her death certificate names her as Sophia Emma.

1842. Thomas, Sophia and the family moved to London and took up residence at 19 Sidmouth St, St.Pancras, Middlesex, where Edward Tilbury was born 8 May. The birth was registered 18 Jun by Sophia, who gave Thomas’ profession as that of messenger.

1844. Hannah Tilbury was born in Bayswater. She died three months later and was buried in Hanwell on 29 Aug 1844.

1845. The family was living at 31 Caroline Place, Bayswater, Middlesex, where James Thompson Tilbury was born 19 Oct. The birth was registered by Thomas, who gave his profession as that of gentleman. James was baptised 16 Nov 1845 at St.Mary, Hanwell (from Bayswater).

1849. Florence Mary Tilbury was born 14 Jan at 18 Ernest St, Regents Park, London. She was baptised 11 Feb 1849 at St.Mary, Hanwell (from St.Pancras).

c1850. The family had moved to 20 Manchester St, St.Pancras, Middlesex and Thomas’ occupation was that of a messenger in the Court of Bankruptcy.

[Thames & Medway Burials holds two additional records of Tilbury deaths in Hanwell: Martha Tilbury, buried 22 Nov 1846 aged 17 months, and George Tilbury, buried 24 Jun 1852 aged 13.]

1851. In the census taken 30 Mar at 20 Manchester St, St.Pancras, George (19) had become an organist, Thomas (15) was an apprentice organist. Also present were Pheobe (12), Emma (10), Edward (8) and James (5). The servant of the house was Elizabeth Clements (13, born Hanwell, Middlesex). Ann (17) was an assistant dressmaker living/staying with her grandfather George Rabnett (Sophia’s father) and her aunt Ann Rabnett, a dressmaker.

1852. Augustus William Tilbury was born 23 Apr at the family residence at 20 Manchester St, St.Pancras. He was baptised 13 Jun 1852 at St.Pancras, Old Church.

1868. A J.T. Tilbury (23) arrived in Melbourne, Australia 23 Apr aboard the White Rose. On 7 May a Geo.Tilbury was a passenger from Melbourne to Sydney aboard the Alexandra.

1869. A Thomas Tilbury, perhaps the son of Thomas & Sophia, was living at 34 Crown St., Sydney. Although Thomas was believed by some family members to have been lost at sea, the cirumstances aren't known - before, during or after journeying to Australia?

1871. The Census taken 2 Apr 1871 shows Thomas, Sophia and family living at 152 Euston Rd, St.Pancras. Thomas had retired from his position as messenger in the Court of Bankruptcy. Living with Thomas (67) and Sophia (64) were Augustus (18) and Florence (22). Also living/visiting were Edward (28), his wife Esther (23) and daughter of four months, Ettie Mary Sophia (born 7 Dec 1870), who was registered in the census as "Elia SM". The servant of the house was Mary Atkins (14, born Walsale).

1873. Son James Thomspon was married in Australia. The marriage certificate states that his father Thomas, a Gentleman, was living at Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill. In later years Thomas' daughter Florence Espenhahn nee Tilbury in 1883, and grandson Walter Espenhahn in 1935, stated Thomas’ occupation as that of brassfounder, even though he appears to have been a messenger for many years.

1875. Thomas (72) died as a result of cerebral congestion on 29 Apr at 191 Euston Rd, St. Pancras, Middlesex. His son Augustus William was present at his death. He was buried at Highgate Cemetery on 4 May. Thomas’ will left Sophia the beneficiary of £300.

1877. On 11 Jan 1877 a John Tilbury was a passenger from Melbourne to Sydney aboard the Adelaide.

1881. Census taken 3 Apr 1881. Following Thomas' death in 1875, Sophia (70) ran a boarding house at 26 Gordon St, St.Pancras and it was here that Florence met Friedrich Espenhahn, her future husband. Daughters Sophia Tilbury (41, age recorded as 32) and Florence Tilbury (31, age recorded as 26) were living with her. There were eight boarders in the house, all unmarried: Friedrich Edward Espenhahn (26, clerk with Cape Firm, born Anhalt, Germany); sisters Susan M. Weir and Elizabeth Weir (39 and 34, assistants, born Ireland); Hugh A.L. Kelham (28, bankers clerk, born Manchester, Lancashire); Arthur H. Wells (23, bankers’ clerk, born Lynwood, Norfolk); Edward Lebèque (23, born St.Cloud, France); Alexander Gürden (24, commission agents’ clerk, born Berlin), and Gerard Bendale (24, lithographer, born Isfield, Sussex). There were two servants in the house: Sarah Brummy (19, born Lynwood, Norfolk) and Maud Reeder (17, born Chelsea, Middlesex).

1883. Two and a half years later Sophia and some of her family migrated to Australia. On 2 Oct 1883 the Ivanhoe arrived at the Port of Melbourne with passengers Sophia (71), Sophie Tilbury (age recorded as 31), Florence Tilbury (age recorded as 27), Augustus Tilbury (31), his wife Georgina (30) and their children Augustus C. (8), George H. (6) and Florence Mary (4). They stayed in Melbourne for 12 days and on 14 Oct 1883 Florence, along with Augustus and his family, boarded the Leura, bound for Sydney. Also on board were a Miss D Tilbury and a Mrs George Tilbury. Noticeably absent are Sophia and her daughter Sophia Emma/Sophie.

Sophia spent her later years with her son James and daughter-in-law Esther in their house ‘Grantham’ at 22 Victoria Pde, Rockhampton, QLD. Shirley Hockings remembers Sophia living quietly upstairs in the house and helping with the mending and ironing.

1898. Sophia died 5 Mar in Rockhampton, Queensland at the age of 95 and was buried in the South Rockhampton Cemetery on 6 Mar. She was survived by children Phebia (60), Emma (58), Edward (56), James (52), Florence (48) and Augustus (45). Death Notice in Rockhampton Morning Bulletin 8 Mar 1898: "TILBURY.- On the 5th instance at Grantham, Victoria Parade, in her 95th year, Sophia, relict of the late Thomas Tilbury, of Gordon Square, London, W.C."

The Rabnetts
Alresford train station2
New Alresford map2

Sophia’s family may have been linked to Huguenot Rabinets who moved to England. Thomas and Sophia's granddaughter Esther Sophia (Ettie) Watters nee Tilbury believed that Sophia’s parents George and Pheobe Rabnett nee Thompson owned tanneries throughout England. George Rabnett was born in Alresford, Hampshire. Alresford lies approximately four miles to the east of Winchester which, itself, is about 12 miles north of Southampton. Alresford railway station is part of the Watercress Line, the cultivation and marketing of watercress being a significant occupation in the Alresford area.

[source Alan Tilbury]
George and Phoebe had ?seven children, all baptised at St.Mary’s, Marylebone:

  • Ann Rabnett, baptised 1805. Ann died 1882 in Brentford, Middlesex at the age of 77.
  • Sophia Rabnett (recorded as Rabnat), born 27 Dec 1806, baptised 1 Feb 1807, died 1898.
  • Maria Rabnett, baptised 1809.
  • Thomas Rabnett, baptised 1810.
  • George Rabnett, born 8 Jan 1813, baptised 7 Feb 1813.
  • James Rabnett, baptised 1817, died Apr 1883 at the age of 66 in Birmingham, Warwickshire.James may have married Mary Ann Osborne/Simmons Oct 1839, Marylebone. [Mary Ann Rabnett nee ?, baptised 1822, died 1879 (57), Birmingham, Warwickshire. Children: James, George b 6 Jun 1841, c 15 Aug 1841.]
    The 1881 Census for Ferndale Holly Lane, Aston, Warwickshire records James Rabnett (64, widower, Commissioner and Company Probate, born Marylebone, Middlesex), children James W Rabnett (35, unmarried, Clerk A.C.Probate, born London, Middlesex) and Theresa Rabnett (39, unmarried, born Islington, Middlesex), and servant Catherine Hagerton (18, unmarried, born Wednesbury, Stafford).
    The 1881 Census for High Street, Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire records George James Rabnett (39, married, Surveyor & Valuer, born London, Middlesex), his wife Harriette Rabnett (40, born Birmingham, Warwick.) and their children: Walter James Rabnett (16, born London, Surrey), Fredk. Wm. Rabnett (15, born Birmingham, Warwick.), Geo F. Rabnett (14, born Birmingham, Warwick.), Francis H. Rabnett (11, born Sutton Coldfield, Warwick.), Ellen Mary Rabnett (8, born Sutton Coldfield), Marian Elizth. Rabnett (6, born Birmingham), James Lee Rabnett (3, born Sutton Coldfield), John Herbert Rabnett (1, born Sutton Coldfield), and servant Louisa Amelia Williams (17, born Birmingham).
  • ? William Rabnett, died 1841 in St.Olave, Southwark London.

1841. Census taken 6 Jun in Parish of Hanwell. George Rabnett (60, of independent means) and Pheobe (65, ?Print to ?D) were living in Hanwell. With them were Hannah ?Oldaker (15, apprentice to dressmaker, born Hanwell), Harriet Morison (30, independent means) and her three children: Harriet ?Emma Morison (7), Isabella Morison (5) and Gabriel Morison (7 months). The household servants were Elizabeth Johnson (40, born Scotland), Sarah ?Woolvin (25, born Hanwell) and Ann Woodhouse (15, born Hanwell).

1847. Pheobe (71) died at Brentford, Middlesex.

1851. Census taken 30 Mar at Nashville ?Place, Hanwell lists George Rabnett (72, house proprieter, widower), his daughter Ann Rabnett (46, unmarried, dressmaker), granddaughter Ann Tilbury (17, assistant dressmaker) [?daughter of Thomas/Sophia (ie.Anne)?] and Mary A. Denton (25, unmarried, assistant dressmaker, born Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire).

1857. George (78) died at Brentford, Middlesex.

1881. Census taken 3 Apr at Clifton Lodge [location?] shows Ann Rabnett (76, unmarried) was renting out houses. With her were her niece Emily Tilbury (47, married, born Ludford, Lincolnshire), two grand-nieces: Emily Tilbury (25, unmarried, born Hanwell) and Sophia Tilbury (22, unmarried, professor of music, born Hanwell), two boarders: René de ?Ronnebect (pupil [of Sophia’s?], born Birmingham) and his son Gaston (4, born Westminster), and servant Mary McCarthy (17, born Ireland). It is likely that the Emily Tilbury recorded in the census was the wife of George Hayward Tilbury. Emily was born 7 May 1834 at Ludford, Lincolnshire and she and George Hayward had daughters Emily (born 1856 in Hanwell) and Sophia (born 1859 in St.Pancras). They were living in Kensington, London in 1871 and in Hanwell in 1881 and 1901.

Children of Thomas & Sophia

[1] Photos of originals held by the Hockings family

[2] Image and photos provided by Alan Tilbury

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