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Ann Oldridge (1802-1853)                                                       

2 x great grandmother of Henry Austin Lane - Generation 5.                                                                                                   

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Ann was the second of eleven children born to her parents. Although she was born in Talaton, east Devon, she and her siblings were raised in Ottery St. Mary, a market town in east Devon, located 162 miles (261 kilometers) south west of London. There is no way of knowing exactly what kind of childhood Ann had, however, with thirteen people sharing the living quarters above a public house, conditions would have been overcrowded with little privacy.

​Her father was the owner and landlord of the 'Volunteer Inn', Broad Street, Ottery St. Mary, east Devon. As a publican, he would have played an important role in the community. Inns and beer houses were gathering places for leisure and pleasure, but were also sites for illegal trading, gambling, sport and brawling. Publicans who allowed the drunkenness and rowdiness of their patrons to spill over onto the village streets were not well-liked or respected. Those who did not run an 'orderly house' risked not having their annual grant for the right to trade in alcoholic beverages renewed by the local magistrate.

Ann's mother died at the age of 51 years, and her father died a year later at the age of 50 years, leaving her family reasonably well provided for, especially her 6 younger siblings aged between 4 and 21 years.

After marrying Barnaby Bartlett Lane in 1825 at the Old Church, St. Pancras, Camden, London, Ann spent 8 years living in abject poverty with her children while he was working in the United States of America (U.S.A.). During Barnaby's absence, she miraculously kept herself and her children out of the parish workhouse on what she earned from dressmaking. Something that speaks well of his character, is that Barnaby did not desert his family in Britain and start a new life in the U.S.A.

Ann and Barnaby had a life of mixed fortunes:

  • 1825-1833: POOR: Lived in Aldgate, East End of London. Ann lost two children.

  • 1834-1835: VERY POOR: Lived in Hackney, East End of London. Barnaby worked as a beerseller.

  • 1836-1836: VERY POOR: Lived in Tower Hamlets, East End of London. Barnaby voyaged to New York, U.S.A. where he worked as a cordwainer.

  • 1836-1839: POOR: Lived in Westminster, West End of London. Ann lost her youngest child.

  • 1840-1843: DESTITUTE: Lived in Tower Hamlets, East End of London, in a run-down docklands district.

  • 1844-1850: POOR: Lived in Hackney, East End of London. Barnaby returned from the U.S.A. and worked as a warehouseman.

  • 1851-1853: COMFORTABLE: Lived in Camden, West End of London. Barnaby worked as a cordwainer.

As a result of this, their children did not fare well:

  • Her daughter, Mary Ann Lane, died in the Whitechapel Union Workhouse Infirmary when she was 61 years old.

  • Her daughter, Jane Elizabeth Lane, died at home when she was 1 year, 3 months and 15 days old.

  • Her son, William Henry Oldridge Lane, died at home when he was 11 months and 6 days old.

  • Her son, Henry James Barnaby Lane, died at his place of work when he was 38 years old

  • Her daughter, Caroline Lane, died at home when she was 1 year, 3 months and 24 days old (Caroline was born and died while her father was in the U.S.A., so he never knew her).


Despite the rigours and heartache she endured, Ann showed herself to be a strong, resilient and fiercely loyal lady. Sadly, 2 months after Barnaby’s death, she died from nervous system failure (neuron cephalus).

Note: If you would like to know more, or have information that improves this history, we would love to hear from you.

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