During their extensive visit to London in autumn 1884, Thomas and Frances Harriett Ruddy visited the Pamplin family graves in Newington and Walthamstow, where Thomas copied the inscriptions on various tombstones and rehearsed the stories of his wife’s near relatives and ancestors.
Thursday 4th November Before dinner we went up the Causeway, saw new Kent Road, Walworth Road, we went into the churchyard where the church of St Mary Newington stood before it was pulled down. It was gay with chrysanthemums and it is a pretty bit of pleasure ground for the people of the district. I examined the marble tablet which some of the parishioners elected as a token of their esteem to the memory of the Father of Frances.
The inscription on it is:
“In memory of William Williams,
25 years Clerk of this Parish.
Who died on 9 November 1866
aged 59 years.
This tablet is erected by several Parishioners
in testimony of their esteem and respect. “ I also saw the tombstones and graves of the father of the above and other relatives.
After dinner Thomas, Frances and baby and Mr Williams went to Walthamstow. They looked at the gravestones of the Pamplin and Dench family and Thomas copied the inscriptions. Among them were William Pamplin 1740-1805 (see above) Frances Pampin nee Wildsmith 1744-1830, Mary Rawson nee Pamplin 1773-1805, her sister Susanna who died in 1857, William Pamplin 1768-1844 and his wife Harriott nee Dench 1774-1832. Of this William, Thomas says:
He was for some years gardener to Mr. Crawshay the iron master in South Wales, and afterwards had nurseries, first at Chelsea and afterwards at Lavender Hill, Wandsworth. He was a man of no ordinary intelligence, for various of his writings in manuscript show that he read much, studied hard, and made good use of his time. I have seen a letter of Mr. Crawshay in which he begs of him to return to his old master after he left him.
More can be found about this William Pamplin at http://williampamplin.co.uk/wm-pamplin-elder/
The first Pamplin (his father) had a nursery garden in Walthamstow, this nursery was carried on after his death by a son named James who died on the 31st December 1865. The nursery (Whipps Cross) is now carried on by his son William.
The acquisition of a wife whose family history could be traced back over several generations would have been in great contrast to his own family. He had turned his back in his Irish ancestors with his decision to account himself as Scottish on census forms from 1871 onwards, his mother had died in 1883, and although his brother James lived on in Jedburgh as an agricultural labourer, there is no record I have yet discovered of any ongoing relationship with him. Indeed, from evidence of death registrations, James may not have been able to write. I understand that it was the eldest daughters of Thomas and Frances Harriett who discovered and traced the Ruddy family’s origins in Murrisk, Ireland.