Great Wakering church Maude Angelina Chittock was born in Great Wakering in Essex on 30th December 1881. She was called Angel as a child but, partly due to the confusing changing of surnames (see below) in the family, she went to work at Shoeburyness Barracks under the name Maud Burles. She was cook for Major Frederick Maxwell Close and his wife Florence, so perhaps her daughter Flo was named for Mrs Close.

Her marriage to Fritz Guye Browning in 1903 has been mentioned on his page. Apparently "Maude was the quick tempered half of their marriage and when she got going he would quietly say, “That’s enough, mother!” She was a character – very severe and strait-laced except where Albert and Gwen’s son John was concerned; with him she carried on where she’d left off with Albert, who had been spoiled rotten as a child. She was very fond of playing cards and as a kid I used to play a lot of whist and gin rummy with her"(Jean)

After Fritz Guye died, Maude went to live with her son Albert and his wife Gwen in Castlefields, Shrewsbury. Albert was a tall, gaunt, taciturn man. He was a keen gardener and very proud of his greenhouse, usually filled with tomatoes in the summer and cinerarias in winter. He and Gwen kept budgies, too. Albert worked at Little and Cooper's saddlers and leather goods shop and, when the owner died, he left the business to Albert, who worked there all his life apart from his spell in the Army during the war. As a young man he had been very interested in cat's whisker radio and then early television.

When the Morris family moved from No4 Copthorne Rise to No1, Maude (or Nan-down-the-road as she became known) moved into No4. She died in 1962.

Albert and Gwen's son, John, was a train spotter and brass band fan. He died of a heart attack while listening to the band at Shrewsbury flower show in the late 1970s or very early 80s.

Maude's father, Stephen, was later described as “a little man; he sat in the wash-house. He fathered the children but they had nothing else to do with him”. Oddly, Stephen and his wife, Rebecca Jefferies, married twice. For their first marriage, in Rochford in 1872, Stephen used the surname Burles (or, in fact, Burrells, in the register – which I like to think is due to his pronunciation of the name). In 1879 they re-married, with the surname Chittock, in Rebecca’s home town of Crayford in Kent. On the certificate for this second marriage he gave his father's name as Stephen Chittock, labourer. Whether this was to use his birth surname while trying to obscure his illegitimate origins or because he found out that Stephen Burles wasn't his father is unknown. The only obvious Stephen Chittock who could have fathered him seems to be his mother's uncle, who was only 6 years older than her.

Rebecca came from a lighterman's family but had crossed the Thames – perhaps on her father’s lighter – to work as housekeeper for a widower with 4 children in Great Wakering. Stephen and Rebecca lived in Great Wakering and South Shoebury all their lives, for many years in Earth Pit Cottages, which is on the road between the two villages. He was a general labourer, quite often working as a brickmaker in the Wakering brickfields.

26 Sea View Lane

They had nine children, including Maude, and the youngest girls, Rose and Clara, lived together in Shoeburyness at least into their 50s. "One year we went to Shoeburyness, near Southend, to stay with Clara and Rose who were my great aunts. Real characters – Rose quiet and timid and Clara a big woman with a loud voice". (Jean)
Stephen died at 26 Sea View Lane, Shoeburyness in 1929 of a heart attack while suffering from bronchitis. The widowed Rebecca survived until c1940(?). The photo shows 26 Sea View Lane today

Stephen's mother, Catherine Chittock, who died of a miscarriage at the age of 32, was the last of her line to be born on Foulness Island. Stephen Perryn Chittock was her firstborn and arrived in 1850, the year before she married Stephen Burles. She was living with Stephen’s widowed mother Mary Burles and his sister, Eleanor, at the time of young Stephen’s birth, so paternity doesn’t seem to have been in doubt, especially as Perryn seems to have been a Burles family name. Catherine was a seamstress and her mother-in-law a washer woman. Catherine’s grandmother, Elizabeth Chittock, was a 72 year old pauper living in the same street in Great Wakering in 1851.

Catherine’s mother, Sarah Chittock, had married Joseph Rippengale the year after Catherine’s birth in similar fashion, which may have been due to the practice of checking a woman’s fertility before committing to marriage.

Gestingthorpe church

The Rippengales originally came from Gestingthorpe (pictured) in the far north of the county, close to Sudbury in Suffolk. The line can be traced back to John Rippengale who was born in about 1560, and includes the wonderfully named Butcher Rippengale who was born in 1672. His grandson, Joseph, born in 1730, seems to be the one who moved to Foulness, which apparently had the reputation at the time of somewhere people went when they needed to 'disappear' for one reason or another.

One Rippengale - perhaps that Joseph's grandson and husband of our Sarah Chittock - was a bare-fist fighter and 'Marsh Waller', who, along with 'Bullock Bones' was one of the best opponents who fought the Foulness champion, John Bennewith. ('Running a Village Pub under MOD rules on Foulness Island', Frederick G T Farenden) Presumably a marsh waller is someone who reclaims marsh land but I have not found any information to confirm this so far.

One other item of interest, from a genealogical point of view, is that Sarah Chittock's mother, Elizabeth, was Stephen Burles' great aunt, and his grandmother was his wife Catherine's great aunt. So both Stephen and Catherine had the same great grandparents on the maternal side.