Walter Mead 1862 – 1908


1862 Born 2/06/1862  Great Dunmow (have birth cert BM3). Parents: Thomas Mead 1821 – 1887, an Innkeeper and Elizabeth Savill 1830 – 1893, living at Causeway, Gt. Dunmow. He was the sixth child of nine, births ranging from 1852 - 1873. His father was married previously so he also had a half brother, William, 1849. He was only one of three of the children for whom I did not find a baptism in G.D. church records: the other 2 were Elizabeth 1859 & Sarah 1871.



1863. Entry in Great Dunmow National school book about his mother and 3/4 elder brothers (Dorothy Dowsett book in Great Dunmow Library - formerly the National School).

White's Directory 1848: The NATIONAL SCHOOLS occupy a commodious building, erected in 1836, and are attended by about 120 boys and 100 girls. The dividends of £191.2s.2d. three per cent. Consols, derived from the legacy of the Rev. John Mangey, in 1782, are paid towards the support of the girls' school.

1870. Walter Mead would be one of the small boys in the above photo! Brothers Abner,1856, & Alfred,1866, maybe there too.

There was an annual fete for all the school children in August each year - held in the vicar's garden - Chelmsford Chronicle FMP

1871 Census. Living at Causeway, Gt. Dunmow.

Thomas Mead    49 Brewer & Beer House Keeper
Elizabeth  40  
William  21    Shoemaker
George    18 Bricklayer
Thomas  16   Painter & Glazier
Abner  13  Scholar
Elizabeth  12 Scholar
Walter Scholar
Susanna   6    Scholar
Alfred    4    Scholar
Sarah  1  


1881 Census   His parents and some of his siblings are living at North Street [ Causeway renamed ], Dunmow at the Wheatsheaf Inn..

Thomas Mead  60   Brewer & Beerseller
Elizabeth      51  
Abner      24    Chimneysweep
Susannah   16   Brewers daughter
Alfred    14  Scholar
Sarah  11 Scholar
Benjamin  Scholar
Thomas  26 Painter


Walter, along with William [who is to be found living next door to his parents!] & George are missing from this. Only finding for Walter in 1881 census is as a Footman, [states as a visitor rather than a servant - but other servants also listed as visitors, so feel he was working there] aged 19, in Clara, Lady Rayleigh’s household at 90, Onslow Gardens, Kensington. He is listed as born in Drummond, Essex; but no such place exists, so probably Dunmow was misheard and this is our Walter. The Chelmsford Chronicle has an article on 8/4/1881 about a robbery from the coach of lady Raleigh on 5/4/188: " Rayleigh's carriage was outside the premises of the Society of Arts, John-street, Adelphi, when the prisoner was seen by Walter Mead, Lady Rayleigh's footman,to open the door of the brougham and runaway. The footman pursued the man, and the box was thrown away ".

His brother, George, 27, bricklayer, is meanwhile lodging at 41, George’s Road, Islington & is listed as a widower.


1887. He took over, aged 25, the Wheatsheaf from his father, Thomas, on 9/9/1887, the transfer of licence reported in the Chelmsford Chronicle. . Presumably his elder brothers were all settled in their lives and did not want a change! Between 1881& 1883 a D. Taylor owned the Wheatsheaf, but by ~1900 it is thought that Col. Tom Gibbons, of Randall Brewery owned it. This latter was chairman of the rural council for many years.

Walter outside the Wheatsheaf, c1887, aged ~27 St Lukes Church, Chelsea


1887 Walter Mead marries, aged 26, on 8/10/1887 to Ellen Annie Robinson, aged 24, at St. Luke’s Church, Chelsea. He is listed as a Publican at Great Dunmow on this & his father, Thomas, is down with no occupation. So the Wheatsheaf must have been passed to him prior to the marriage. And, maybe, he met his wife to be whilst working in London. She is resident at 50 Elm Park Gardens, Chelsea & her father Frank Robinson is a horse keeper. Witnesses are Charles Howard Robinson & Florence Isabel Robinson, her siblings. Have m.c. MM2.Banns were read on Sep 4,11 & 18 in G.D: 'Walter Mead of this parish & Ellen Annie Robinson of St.Lukes, Chelsea'. Elm Park Gardens is just to the other side of the Fulham Road, very close to Onslow Gardens where Walter was probably [ some doubt as Census actually says he is a visitor, as opposed to servant,] a footman in Lady Raleigh's household in 1881C. In 1891C, a widower, W J Harris, is living at 50 Elm Park Gardens, with 2 grandsons and 5 servants, so Ellen Annie no doubt was a servant there. And St. Lukes is in Sydney street, just to the east. Walter seems to have left, were he actually employed there in 1881, Lady Raleigh's household before the marriage: Banns were published in Dunmow on Sep 4,11 &18 .


Why Chelsea? The Robinson family moved 1876-1881 from Hatfield Broad Oak to Clapham, where Ellen Annie was also working in 1881C: had she changed jobs to one in Chelsea? Walter meanwhile had probably worked as a butler in nearby Onslow Gardens in 1881, so maybe they met whilst working in the same or neighbouring houses.

2012: We walked down Elm Park Gardens and visited St. Lukes, photos below.

st-lukes-old st-lukes-interior st-lukes-dickens st-lukes-2012
Old print inside church
2012: Interior of Church
Celebrating Dickens who also married here 1838
Exterior today of St.Lukes


chelsea map

This marriage, plus the following death, is recorded in the family bible started this year.

1887 Father, Thomas Mead, dies 17/11/1887, aged 66, at Church End, Dunmow. Seemingly ill prior to Walter’s marriage and this was the reason for handing over the pub before the October marriage. . Kelly’s still have Thomas as a Beer Retailer in 1886.

1888. Florence Helena Mead  born 25/10/1888. (from family bible). She was baptised on 28/11/1888 in G.D. church, her father a publican


Walter centre, Benjamin and Alfred with jug - this improved photo from Mike

1890. Edith Constance Mead born 11/02/1890 at the Wheatsheaf. Father given as InnKeeper. Have b.c. BM4. She was baptised on 19/3/1890 in, her father a Publican.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Great Dunmow Prison

1891 Census. Living at North St, Dunmow at Wheat Sheaf. All born Gt. Dunmow except Ellen – Ongar.

Walter Mead  28
Ellen.A.    27 wife 
Alfred  24 brother, Brewer
Florence I. 2  
Edith C. 1  


1891. October,

"Fall from a Bedroom Window. on Sunday morning a child about three years old, belonging to Mr. W. Mead, landlord of tho Wheatsheaf lnn, fell from bedroom window the front of the house, a distance cf 15 feet, to the pavement below. Luckily the only injury was a contusion of the forehead"- Essex Newsman. The child would have been Topp - Florence.

1891-1894. Several articles on FMP Newspapers including him The Wheatsheaf provides the catering for 2 Easton Lodge parties of gamekeepers and staff - his father had worked as a servant there, 1841 up to , maybe, as late as 1859. One do in the Wheatsheaf, the other in the national schoolroom Also probably won prizes- for vegetables: rhubarb, dwarf beans - , as had his father, in the Easton Lodge Annual Cottage and Garden Show . The Innis family had been succeeded by the Earl and Countess of Warwick- maybe one and the same? . His younger brother benjamin was workong at easton Lodge as a gardener.. Walter was also elected to the Dunmow Branch of the Licensed Victuallers Protection Society.

1893. He wrote a Will on 8/12/1893, leaving all his estate property and effects to his dear wife, Ellen Annie Mead, she being the sole executriz .

1894. Possibly an unnamed daughter who was born and died in the first quarter. This child was neither christened nor buried in Great Dunmow.

1895. Ellen Annie Mead born 18/10/1895. All 3 daughter' births are recorded in the family bible, entries starting with the death of Ellen Annie Robinson’s brother, Walter H.L.Robinson on 4/08/1887.She was baptised on 20/11/1895 in G.D. church, father a publican

Just Walter, and not Alfred as well, listed as Beer Retailer in Kelly’s in 1895, 1899, 1902, 1906. 1899 entry also lists 'traps for hire'.

1901 Census. Living at Wheat Sheaf Inn, North St, Dunmow . This had been rebuilt in 1901 [date can be seen up high under the roof on top photo: have been unable to find out anything about this rebuilding - maybe Electoral Roll books might show something?]. No staff shown.

Walter Mead   38 Publican 
Ellen.A 37  
Florence I.  12  
Edith C.  11  
Ellen A. 5  



1905. C/E 1/2/17 Electoral Roll has Walter Mead at the Wheatsheaf Inn G.D.

1908 Dies Wednesday 4 March 1908 in Dunmow. (ref.4a.493). Aged 45. D.C.DM7 . Died 4/3/1908 at the Wheatsheaf Inn, Great Dunmow of Pulmonary Tuberculosis. Informant was his brother Alfred Mead of North Street, G.D. Recent 1987?, headstone is wrong . He was ill for some time, and his wife had straw put down in the street outside the pub so that the noise of cart wheels would not disturb him (from his grand-daughter Margery Davies 1918, Ellen Annie's 1895 daughter, still alive in 2012). He was buried on March 7th, his funeral card, below, surving 107 years in Ontario, where his daughter Florence took it when she emigrated in 1920. .There was a notice of his death in the Chelmsford Chronicle on the 6/3/1908, stating that he had been born at the Wheatsheaf, and was suffring from consumption . . He left a will, written 8/12/1803, for which probate was on 7/4/1908, London, in which he left £ 195.16s, probate to Ellen Annie Mead, his widow.


He was buried on 7/3/1908 in G. D. Churchyard, aged 45. The gravestone of him and his wife is in Great Dunmow churchyard[ his birth year and death year are incorrect]. Also there, but in a different place and almost illegible, is that of his youngest daughter, Ellen Annie Davies 1895 - 1987.

walterfun1 .walterfun2

Mead grave great Dunmow

Pictures of Funeral card - from Nancy - & of grave, photo taken 2008: obviously gravestone has been replaced since 1928


His widow, Ellen A. Mead is listed in Kelly’s as proprietor of the Wheatsheaf in 1908, 1910, 1912, 1914, & 1917. So obviously the Wheatsheaf continued in business at least until 1917. Aged 48, she is still the Innkeeper at the Wheatsheaf in 1911C: see her entry, Ellen Annie Robinson. She died in 1928, leaving £ 385.19.7d. - so, she too left a will. ERO.

Details on her page.

Edith Mead 1890

Thomas Mead 1821

Return to family fan chart

2013 ERO search. To do in the ERO. Not digitised on SEAX

T/P 181/15/2 Dunmow newspaper cuttings 1894-1930

E/P 41/1  Plans: Ground and section plans of GREAT DUNMOW Church of England Junior School
D/P 11/1/41  Banns register

A6176 Ledger & Account Book of the Crown Brewery 1890-1904 Randall Gibbons

A12074 National school 1857-1888 Committee meetings