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  • Writer's pictureJessica Feinstein

Mary Anne Tilley

One of Ari’s ancestors (a 4x great-grandmother) was Mary Anne Tilley. Her christening record at St James in Poole helpfully gives her date of birth: 9 February 1812 (in the Dorset, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538–1812 collection on


The magnificent Georgian interior of St James comes as something of a surprise to visitors who know little of its history. Its building in 1819–21 resulted from the old parish church having deteriorated beyond repair, and the hazard to public health of the quantity of human remains in the vault beneath. Some of the old memorial tablets from the old building were transferred to the new church. An unusual feature of the interior are the pine columns in groups of four that support the vaulted roof. They were brought over from Newfoundland, probably on the decks of Poole ships engaged in the Newfoundland trade.

Her parents were Henry and Hannah Tilley. After the christening, the first record we have of Mary Anne is her marriage on 16 December 1834 to Joseph Allen. The marriage took place at Kinson, which was a chapelry in the parish of Canford Magna and is now a suburb of Bournemouth. Mary Anne’s brother Samuel Tilley was a witness to the marriage, as was Elizabeth Allen, possibly a sister of Joseph’s.

In the 1841 census they are living in Christchurch Rd, Parkstone, with their children Sarah Ann (5), Alfred Augustus (3), and 9-month-old Walter Sydna. By 1851, four more children have been born: Joseph Samuel (7), Justin Edward (5), Emily Leodine (3), and Elizabeth Mary (10 months). An aunt of Joseph’s, Elizabeth Redway (75), is also living with the family.

By 1861 their youngest child Edwin Frederick has been born, Sarah Ann has married and had a child of her own, and Alfred has also married and left home. In the 1871 census Mary Anne is staying with Sarah Ann and her family in Christchurch, and she is also listed there as a visitor in the 1881 census, after the death of her husband Joseph in 1876.

Mary Anne died in 1886 and was buried on 4 February, probably in St James’ churchyard, Poole.


Re-erected gravestones in old burial ground, alongside West Street. The burial ground replaced an earlier one in St James’ churchyard, which was prone to flooding, with the risk of corpses being resurrected.

Ari, this is how you are related to Mary Anne:

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