Back in the hazy summer days of August in between reuniting bibles and wedding veils with their original families, something in The Hereford Times caught my eye.
In Hereford the cattle market has been moved out of the city centre and in its place a brand new sparkling shopping mall with a cinema is being built and will appropriately be known as the Old Market.
As with all building sites, discoveries are made when old buildings are demolished and the earth disturbed. This often includes clay pipes, Victorian glass bottles and coins but this discovery was rather special.
A brass plaque measuring about 18" x 12" was uncovered and the building companies involved in the development were keen to see it returned to its original family if possible.
The plaque dedicated to Rosamond Emma Marillier, discovered during building work
I thought that the mystery would be solved quite quickly; partly because of the unusual surname but also because people seem so keen to help when appeals of this nature get published. Nobody came forward immediately, so I took on the challenge.
Luckily the combination of names were unique and I quickly learned that Rosamond Emma Marillier died in 1947 aged 90. Incredibly, this meant that she continued dedicating her time to the Temperance Canteen into her 80s.
Rosamond lived with her sister Martha at Brynmawr, 8 Grove Road in Hereford. Details of her estate worth £5,737 5s and 5d are provided on the national probate calendar available on ancestry.co.uk and a copy of her will could be obtained for just £6 from any probate registry.
Rosamond was born in 1857 and never married. She was one of eight children born to Jacob Francis Marillier and Rosamund Elizabeth Eland. Jacob was born in 1825 in Harrow where his father was a master in Mathematics at Harrow school.
By the time of the 1861 census Jacob Marillier was living at St Pauls Vicarage in Bedminster where his occupation is given as "Perpetual Curatee of St Pauls & Master of Arts at Trinity Cambridge"; a description of an occupation that I have certainly never come across in my life and continues to bemuse me.
The Temperance movement originally urged people to reduce or stop using alcoholic beverages and Rosamond was involved in encouraging the farmers to visit the cafe for a cup of tea rather than the pub for a pint!
The Temperance canteen closed in 1971 when the original cattle market was redeveloped and a charity was formed to help individuals within the city of Hereford moderate their behaviour when it came to alcohol or drugs. The Dean Leigh Temperance Canteen Fund charity still functions today and it is incredible to think that Rosamond's good work lives on.
Clipping from an article about the Temperance Canteen, sent by Glyn Marillier
Marillier was often misspelled in the indexes. I found it listed as Marillio and Maillier and so to avoid missing entries I decided to use a wild card. Simply entering an asterisk after 3 or more characters means that you can include all possible derivations of a name. So typing "Mari*" or "Ros*m*nd" results in more details being offered.
Luckily for me other people have also researched the Marillier family history including Glyn Marillier who lives in Australia. The magical powers of the internet meant that he was quick to respond to my email pleading for more information and photos.
Image of Rosamond Marillier, sent by Glyn Marillier
Sadly Glyn was too distant, not just in geographical distance but also in genealogical distance. He was a second cousin three times removed, descended from their common ancestor, Jean Frederic Marillier of Lausanne, Switzerland. And so the search continued for someone more closely related to Rosamond.
Her seven siblings were Horatio, Frank, Mary, Martha, Alice, Edmond and Gertrude and although you might expect a large number of issue from this many people, in fact, only two of Rosamond's siblings had any children.
Frank William Marillier 1856-1928 married Katherine Maude Brooke in 1891 and their second daughter Aileen married Percy St George at the end of World War One in 1918 aged just 18.
Aileen and Percy had three children, all of whom have now sadly died, but Aileen's granddaughter Claire Shacklock is proud and passionate about her Marillier ancestry. It was a pleasure to be able to meet her last weekend and be there when she received the plaque on behalf of all her Marillier ancestors.
Cat Whiteaway with Rosamond's grand niece Claire Shacklock receiving the plaque