Caroline Culling (1826-1873)
Great grandmother of Henry Austin Lane - Generation 4.
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Caroline was the third of seven children born to her parents, following their move to London from the rural county of Somerset. She and her siblings were raised for the most part in Lambeth, Surrey, a district in central London across the river opposite the Palace of Westminster.
Her father worked as a stone mason, and earned little more than a subsistence level income, which might account for the childhood deaths of four of her siblings. Her family’s circumstances deteriorated further, after her father’s untimely death when she was 7 years old.
On 29 January 1833, 7 days after her father was buried, the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of the Parish of Lambeth, requested an Order of Removal for Caroline's mother and her four surviving children. In short, Lambeth didn't want to accept responsibility for the payment of Poor Relief to Caroline's family. An Order of Settlement was then issued for Caroline's family in St. Leonard, Shoreditch, Middlesex.
On 2 February 1833, Caroline's family was admitted to the Shoreditch Workhouse, pending the Order of Settlement being overturned on the grounds that 7½ years earlier, her father had taken on the entire house at 36, New North Street, Finsbury, at £20, and occupied it for 18 months with no requirement for subsequent settlement. In other words, residency had been established and Lambeth was obliged to support her family.
From the content of various parish documents, it is clear that Caroline’s mother is to be admired for standing her ground, and ensuring that an unfair system worked to her family’s advantage. By 1841, her family was working as glove makers for Elizabeth Davies, a furrier, who also provided them with a decent place to live.
Caroline’s mother was not fortunate in her choice of husbands, her first (Caroline’s father) died after 14 years of marriage, and her second died after only 3 years of marriage.
Caroline married Thomas William Hankinson when she was 23 years old. She had eight children with him, before her untimely death from fibrous peritonitis (probably caused by a ruptured appendix), at the age of 47 years. It is sad knowing that Caroline’s relatively short life was overshadowed by deprivation and hardship.
On a more positive note, it is worth mentioning that Caroline's own family, with the exception of her youngest child Richard Frederick Hankinson, married and raised families of their own before dying at a goodly age.
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