William Allen Ure wasn’t anyone extraordinary. His story is just one of kindness by a local community, and a small puzzle as to how things ‘worked’ in the early 1870s.
As the main illustration shows, in May 1872, an appeal was placed in the Carlisle Journal for money to help a young orphan.
Some 16 people had already pledged a total of almost £28 towards a rather high total of £100, with a view to placing the destitute boy in an Orphan Hospital.
It’s somewhat puzzling. Surely the point of orphanages was that they took in children in need: why did the kind folk of Silloth and elsewhere need to raise what was then a substantial sum of money?
Should anyone know more about this, do let Cumbrian Characters know.
(‘Hospital,’ by the way, would have been in the old sense of ‘hospitality’ rather than a medical institution).
But let’s look at who the literally poor child was.
William Allen Ure
William Allen Ure isn’t actually named in the appeal. The notice does tell us that his father was Charles Marshall Ure, who was a baker in Silloth, with his wife keeping a lodging house at 3 Park Terrace. They’d made a little money and used it to open an eating house in English Street, Carlisle, opposite the gaol.
But they’d have have been better off staying on the Solway shores, as first Charles, then his wife, died of consumption, leaving their son destitute.
You can read more about consumption in this post.
Charles Marshall Ure
Charles Marshall Ure was born in Binfield, Berkshire, where he can be found on the 1851 census as Marshall Ure. He was 21, a journeyman baker, and living with him were his sister Mary Ann (at 17 a school mistress) and Mary Haddaway, 62, married, nurse.
On 27/10/1859, at Holy Trinity, Paddington, he married Jane Milburn. His address on the marriage certificate is still Binfield, Berkshire. Hers is hard to decipher, but she was born (1861) at Moorbank, Cumberland, in 1827. She was in Hayton in 1851, with her parents.
At Trinity Church, London, on the 27th ult, by the Rev John Miles, incumbent, Charles Marshall Ure, son of the late Joseph Ure, to Jane, eldest daughter of Joseph Milburn, South Street, Carlisle.
By 1861, Charles and Jane Ure were living in Calder Street, Silloth. They had a baby, Mary Ann, and were doing well enough to have a domestic servant. But any happiness soon fell apart, for Mary Ann’s death is recorded within weeks of the census being taken.
More children followed: Joseph Millburn Ure was born in the June quarter of 1862, but sadly died aged five early in 1868.
Emilie Jane Ure was born in March quarter 1867 – and died the same quarter the following year.
The lone survivor
But between them came William Allen Ure, born in 1864 and baptised at St Paul’s, Silloth, on February 21 that year. The only child of four to survive, and the eight-year-old left orphaned by his parents’ death in 1870.
October 7, 1870.
In the affairs of Charles Marshall Ure and Jane his widow. All persons having claims or demands against the estate of Charles Marshall Ure, late of the city of Carlisle, eating house keeper, deceased, or of Jane his widow, also deceased, are requested to sent the particulars thereof to Mr McAlpin, solicitor, 6 Devonshire Street, Carlisle.
So, who looked after William Allen Ure (six when his parents died)? Did the money from his parents’ estate keep him going a little while? Why was he destitute in May 1872? Where was he in 1871?
Well the answer to that, at least, looks to have been ‘with his maternal grandparents’. For 1871, Silloth has: 15 South Street, Joseph Milburn, 70, railway porter. Wife Ann, 76. Grandson William Milburn (sic), 7, and granddaughter Sarah Ann Dews, 3.
(Mary Milburn had married William Dews in 1866. Mary had died in Carlisle in 1870).
Ann Milburn, and Sarah Ann Dews were together in Botchergate in 1881. But the key event for William Allen Ure was that his grandfather Joseph Milburn died in 1872.
Leaving the kind folk of Silloth looking to raise money for young William to go into an orphanage.
Did they raise the £100?
For sure, by 1881, William Allen Ure, then 17, had a job as a waiter at the County Club, in Lowther Street, Carlisle. By 1891 he had progressed to the role of commercial clerk, and had a wife, Elizabeth, ‘occupation grocer’.
William and Elizabeth had a son, Allan Richard in 1892. And another sad story: Nutsford Marshall Ure, born and died 1893.
Sadly, William died in 1894, aged just 30. His widow Elizabeth (née Johnston) married again five years later (football trainer William Louis Norman) and had three more children.