Mary Ann Jane Dutton #17

Mary Ann Jane Dutton, known as Jane, was born in 1848 in Deptford, Kent. She was the second of eleven children, the eldest daughter of Edward Warner Dutton and Mary Ann nee Lannagan.

The most likely birth registration I have found for Jane is an unnamed female in the Greenwich Union. The registration shows that she was born on the 14th of November 1848 at 7 Flood Street, Deptford, the daughter of Edward Warner Dutton, a labourer, and Mary Ann Dutton nee Lannigan. It seems very likely that this is the right little girl. Mary Ann was the informant and could not sign her own name. Jane was baptised on 26th Feb 1851 at Saint Paul’s, Deptford. At this time her family were living in Gravel Pits, Deptford.

St Paul’s Deptford in 1835

Jane moved home many times in her childhood. By the time the census was taken on 30th March 1851, the family had moved to 2 North Street, (now Norval Street). They moved to Creek Street some time between May and December 1851. By 1861 the family were living at 8 Peter Street. By now Jane’s father was working as an agricultural labourer, and her mother, too, was working as a labourer at [work?] from home. Twelve year old Jane must have been kept busy helping her mother with the younger children. In January 1863 the family were living in Church Fields, and by 1865 they were living in 2 Giffin Street where Jane’s parents remained until at least July 1866.

Jane married John Joseph Green on the 25th July 1870, at St. Pauls, Deptford. Witnesses to the wedding were Mary’s siblings, Edward William Dutton and Eliza Dutton. At the time of their marriage John and Jane stated that they were both living at 20 New Street with John’s parents. They were probably better off here with Jane’s in-laws than with her parents. Jane’s father is named as a greengrocer on her marriage certificate, and although today we would associate this job with having shop premises, there is no reason to suppose that Edward ever had a shop. A cart, barrow, or even a basket, is far more likely. Edward was listed as a hawker the following year, and later as a labourer and a rag sorter.

Jane must have been about six months pregnant when she married John, because their first child, my great grandfather John George Green, was born at 20 New Street on 29th October 1870. My DNA matches via John’s parents have confirmed that John was indeed the father.

By the time the census was taken in 1871 John and Jane were staying at 16 Frederick Street, Portsea, Hampshire, with their five month old baby. They were lodging with William Ellis, a Greenwich pensioner, and his family. John was working as a boilermaker and may have been sent to Hampshire by Penn’s to work at Portsmouth Dockyard. By 1873 John and Jane had returned to live in Deptford, where their second son Edward Henry Green was born. When he was baptised in 1874 they were living at 12 Frenches Fields. They were living at 15 Berthon Terrace by 1881, where their next son, Charles George Green, was born. (No baptism found for him yet). By 1883 they had moved to 86 New Street, Deptford, where their next son, George Thomas Green, was born.

In July 1887 their fifth son, William Ewart Gladstone Green, was born at 191 Church Street, Deptford. In 1891 the London Electoral Register shows John’s address as 95 Evelyn Street. Jane’s father died in 1892. At the time Jane was pregnant. John and Jane’s sixth and last child, Alfred Wynn Green, was born in Deptford on 2nd June 1892. I have not yet seen the original baptism to confirm the address. In 1895 the London electoral register gives the family address as 23 Napier Street, Deptford. In 1896 William’s school admission record for Canterbury Road School gives the family address as 44 Canterbury Road, Lewisham (now Ilderton Road).

Jane’s mother was admitted to the workhouse on 18th Nov 1898 and was listed as the daughter of Mrs Jeffreys of Canterbury Road, (Jane’s sister Kezia). She died between about April and June 1899. Jane’s husband John died later that same year, at 23 Albury Street, Deptford, on 24th Nov 1899, at the age of 53. She was the informant for his death and was unable to sign her own name.

Without John’s income things must have been hard for Jane. In 1901 she was still living at 23 Albury Street, with her sons Charles, William and Alfred. This once pleasing terrace of Georgian townhouses had grown less respectable in recent years. Some houses were still occupied by better off families, but at number 23, Jane was the eldest of fourteen people whose four families were crammed together in this eight-roomed house. She was a wardrobe dealer, dealing in second hand clothes, and the older two boys, aged 19 and 14 years, were helping in their mother’s trade. The second hand clothes business was not lucrative, but a meagre way to scratch a living. It is likely that Jane dealt in clothes which were threadbare and scarcely useable. She may have learned the trade from her father Edward, who was a rag sorter in 1891.

Few persons have a better insight into the hard side of life than the dealers in old clothes; for it is to them that are brought the refuse apparel which has been rejected by the pawnbrokers as unsuitable guarantee for even the smallest loan.


‘Street Life in London’ by J.Thomson and Adolphe Smith, 1877
I wonder whether Jane put her wares out in the street like this clothing dealer in Newcastle? NEMiPA โ€“ Collection of the Society of Antiquaries, Newcastle

I noticed that by coincidence a couple named Charles Henry and Violetta Dutton were trading at the opposite end of the second hand clothes market, at 79 Church Street. They do not seem to be related to my Duttons, as this Charles was born in Petworth, Sussex.

Woolwich Gazette – Friday 23 October 1908

The last few years of Jane’s life may have been more comfortable than the lean period after her husband’s death. By 1911 she and her youngest son Alfred were living at 102 Cranbrook Road, Deptford, with her son William. William was working as a metal perforator, and was married with a baby daughter.

Jane’s youngest son Alfred, who was now 18, was working as a zinc tube maker. He was sentenced to probation for 12 months for his involvement in a robbery of a jewellers shop in 1913 when he was 21. I will write up his story one day – there are some excellent newspaper reports of the case to refer to.

Jane died on the 5th of October 1914 at the age of 65, at 7 Dacca Street, Greenwich. She is listed as the widow of John Green, a boiler maker. The cause of death was cardiac failure and diarrhoea. Her son Edward Henry Green, then living at 1 Benbow Buildings, was in attendance at her death.

Jane was buried on October 9th in Brockley Cemetery, Lewisham, plot K-1452. This was the same cemetery as her husband, but they were not buried together. She was buried in a shared, consecrated grave, with eight other people. She was listed as ‘widow of John, a boilermaker’.

Although I have researched some of Jane’s ancestors, I have not been able to confirm any DNA matches which link me to any ancestors beyond her.

Children – six sons

  1. John George Green, my great grandfather (1870-1926).
  2. Edward Henry Green (1873-1956). Born 28th Sep 1873 at 18 New Street, Deptford, married 5th July 1896 to Martha Ann Stevenson at St Nicholas Church, Deptford. Died 7th March 1956 at 1 Benbow Buildings, Benbow Street, Greenwich.
  3. Charles George Green (1881-1916). Killed in action in WW1 on 1st July 1916. 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment (1525). Remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.
  4. George Thomas Green (1883-1952?) Joined the Royal Navy (205738) on 2nd August 1899, age 15, and remained with the Navy until 1926 when he became a shore pensioner. Possible death in Winchester, Hampshire (unconfirmed).
  5. William Ewart Gladstone Green (1887-1970).
  6. Alfred Wynn Green (1892-1980). In the Great War he served in the Machine Gun Corps, Regimental number 87678. He served in France and was wounded and gassed, but survived.