Sarah Roydhouse ( nee Anstiss) Strong Woman

Sarah Anstiss was born on the 28th March 1809 in Upper Street,

Islington  to William and Sarah Anstiss ( nee Pearson.)

She was the eldest of six children, and was baptised aged 5 in

December 1814 with her brother Henry at Saint Marys,


Her mother Sarah died in 1825, leaving children aged from

Sarah 14 through to Ann as an  infant

She was 22 in 1833 when her father William Anstiss also died.

Sarah, 25, married Thomas Henry Roydhouse ,18, on the

26th May, 1836 at the Old Church, St Pancras.

Martha Ann was born in October 1836, and William George in

December 1837.

The family were living at 54 Rawstorne Street, soon to be

occupied by Thomas senior and his family.

On the 11th February, 1838, William died of smallpox aged

14 months, and his sister Martha on the  25th of the same

month aged 2 years and 6 months.

On the 19th June, 1839, their third child, Elizabeth Sarah was

born at 7 Sidney Grove, just a few  minutes walk from their old


Sarahs youngest sister Ann,16, was recorded as boarding with

her in the 1841 census.

In 1845 a child Mary Ann was born in January  in Sidney Grove

and died 13 days later, Ann died age 21  on the 11th May that


Their son Henry was born on the 3rd November 1841, and

a further addition to the family was Joseph Thomas born in

April 1844.

Elizabeth was buried age 5 years  10 months in May 1845,

and Thomas born in May of 1846.

Sarah gave birth to six children in 10 years, and 3 died in early

childhood in that time frame.

Life was a constant struggle, as workhouse records show the

family appearing for “Day Relief” several times.

Thomas was 33 years of age when he died on the 2nd of July,

1849, the cause of death listed as ulcerated stomach and

diseased liver.

Sarah was left as a widow with 3 children aged 8, 5 and 3.

By the census of 1851, Sarah had found work to support her

family, with her occupation listed as  char-woman. Joseph and

Thomas junior were baptised by Sarah in the same year at St

Marys,  Islington, before her father-in-law died in September.

In 1858, she farewelled her son Henry, who arrived in America

aged 17 and never returned to England.

By 1861 census Sarah lives at 44 Britannia Row with her sons

Joseph and Thomas, sharing the house  with a family of 6 from



Joseph married Charlotte Pocock in 1866, and by the census of

1871 Thomas , aged 24,was the last  son at  home, both Sarah

and her spinster sister Martha who was lodging with them were

listed as char-women. 3 of Sarah’s sisters did not marry, and

were employed in homes as general servants.

In February 1874, her mother-in-law Sarah died.

Later that year, on the 17th November, Sarah died aged 65, of

cardiac disease, chronic bronchitis and  pneumonia.

Her daughter-in-law Charlotte was present at the death.

I think Sarah represents a majority of women of the time who

lived their whole  lives on Struggle Street.

Born to parents struggling to make ends meet,  in a very poor

area, marrying into more poverty, low income housing, limited

access to health professionals and the cycle of birth, infant

deaths, and dying too young themselves.

If these women were not strong, they would simply not have

survived to reach age 65 or more.

Sarah Anstiss was my great, great, great Aunt by marriage.


Author: gorcat28

writing up my ancestors one week at a time

2 thoughts on “Sarah Roydhouse ( nee Anstiss) Strong Woman”

    1. I find some consolation in the fact that all around her she would have known and seen many other women whose lives were very similar, early exposure to loss of parent/s, working at menial jobs, marrying into similar circumstances, visits to the workhouse for day relief,losing babies and children early in their lives, and often the main bread-winner too.
      I think the song “All my trials” sums it up best- if living was a thing that money could buy, then the rich would live, and the poor would die.
      2:25 (Judith Durham)

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