Judy Zipursky delves into her past and finds Walhampton!

From her home in Canada, Judy found that her ancestors used to live and work at Walhampton. She came over to visit and tell us more...

Judy Zipursky visiting her ancestors home Judy Zipursky visiting her ancestors home
From across the Atlantic came a message from a lady looking for more details about Walhampton where her great grandfather had worked and grandfather had been born. She’d found some photos of Walhampton on the internet and whilst identifying which ones were the school I asked her about the connection. Judy Zipursky has delved into her family’s English past and revealed some interesting details about the workers at Walhampton in the late 19th century.
 
Here’s Judy's account:
 
My great grandfather was Thomas Osborne Adams born 1st January 1846 in Aynho, Northamptonshire. He was born out of wedlock so took his mother’s maiden name Adams. His mother went on to marry a William Robbins so my great grandfather is listed in future Census as Thomas Robbins - such is the case when working and living at Walhampton.
 
In the 1871 Census Thomas and his wife Elizabeth are recorded as living at The Lodge, in Aynho. Thomas is reported to be a Gardener by profession.
 
By the 1881 Census (taken April 3rd) he is living at Walhampton House, Stable Yard, with his wife and three children (born 1873, 1876 and 1877 back in Aynho). My grandfather Charles Frederick Adams was born one month later, 29th May 1881, at Walhampton. He was, however, baptized back in Aynho on July 31st 1881. Not sure if they just returned for the baptism or they had by then left Walhampton but his father is again recorded as being a Gardener.
 
By the Census of 1891 it appears that they had moved north as Thomas Osborne Adams is recorded as a Publican in Charlton, Northamptonshire. 
 
So my great grandfather, Thomas, lived at Walhampton House sometime between 1877 and the Summer of 1881.
 
Charles, my grandfather, went on to live the rest of his life in Charlton (aged 82 when he died in 1928). He owned a small farm and became a publican. Charlton was the home during those years for F.E Smith, the 1st Earl of Birkenhead who was one of Churchill's closest friends.
 
Walhampton Staff in 1881
 
Taking a closer look at the 1881 census I see that David Fullerton was the head of the House at the time. He lived there with his wife Susan, four daughters Susan (30), Georgina (28), Helen (26), Emily (25). Susan appears (to be or had been married) and had 2 children William (7) and Maude (6).
 
They had 17 household staff:
  • Walter Campbell (73) was the bailiff and head gardener while my great grandfather worked under him as a gardener........being 38 years younger I would guess he did most of the actual gardening!!
  • They had a coachman (Henry 28) and a second coachman and groom (John 48)
  • One head footman (William 25) and a second footman (also a William 46)
  • One housekeeper (Charlotte 64) one ladies maid (Elizabeth 23). 
  • One 77-year-old needle woman Sarah and second one Ellen aged 20.
  • One head laundry maid Elizabeth aged 27 and a second laundry maid Mary aged 20.
  • One head housemaid (Susan 29) and a second housemaid (Bertha 19)
  • One cook Elizabeth aged 27. (She must have been busy with such a large household to feed!!)
  • One kitchen maid Mary aged 18 and one scullery maid Elizabeth aged 16.
They all appeared to be single and living in the house. My great grandfather appears to be the only one with a family of 3 children at the time.


Although Judy has lived in Vancouver, Canada, for the last 46 years, she went to college in Exeter and was over for her graduating class's 50th reunion. Whilst in southern England she was able to visit Walhampton and see where her ancestors would have lived and the beautiful (and extensive!) garden and grounds they would have looked after.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Judy.