Thursday, 26 May 2016

Martha James Brisco Sparks nee Ivall (1831–99)

Martha James Brisco Ivall was the eldest daughter of David Ivall, who was the younger brother of Thomas Ivall (1781-1835), my great great great grandfather.

Martha was born 30 September 1831 in St Pancras and christened on 2 May 1832 in St Pancras Church. She was the second child of David Ivall (1795-1850) and his wife Martha Ivall nee James (1796-1853). They had six other children namely David James (1830-73), James (1832-96), Laura (1833-39), Emma (1835-86), Kate Bainbrigge (1836-1917) and Albert (1839-97).

Martha’s father was a highly successful coach maker. In the 1841 census David Ivall’s family were living at 158 Tottenham Court Rd, the address of his business. Martha (aged 9) is listed as a pupil at a school in Chiswick Square, Chiswick. In 1845 the family moved to 14 Blomfield Road, Paddington, a large house that overlooked the Regent’s Canal. It is still there (but is now number 24).

Martha’s father died on 6 June 1850 when Martha was aged 18. The 1851 census shows David’s widow Martha Ivall (aged 55, an annuitant), David James Ivall (20, an artist), Martha Ivall (19), James Ivall (18, an apprentice coachbuilder) and two servants living at 14 Blomfield Rd.

Martha’s mother died on 13 June 1853. Martha inherited approximately £5,000 (equivalent to about £290,000 in modern day terms) in total from the estate of her parents.

On 3 April 1856, Martha married William Sheldrake Francis Sparks at St James Church, Sussex Gardens, Paddington. He was 24 (the same age as her). The witnesses included Martha’s brother David and her sister Emma.

William Sheldrake Francis Sparks had been declared bankrupt in May 1855. The announcement in the London Gazette described him as a waterproofer, dealer and chapman (ie pedlar) of 115 New Bond St, Middlesex. A dividend of 1s 10½d in the pound on his debts was declared in March 1856. At the time of his marriage in April 1856, William’s occupation was given as surgical instrument maker, as was that of his of father, Jonathon Sparks (they were in partnership).

London Post Office Directories for 1857 to 1865 list William S Sparks at 9 Beaufoy Terrace, Edgeware Rd, Marylebone. The 1861 census shows William S Sparks (aged 29, surgical instrument maker employing 3 men and 2 women), Martha (29), a daughter Minna aged 3, a son Eric aged 1 and two servants living at 9 Beaufoy Terrace.

The following notice appeared in the 19 January 1864 London Gazette :
“Notice is hereby given that the Partnership between us the undersigned Jonathon Sparks and William Sheldrake Francis Sparks, in the trades or businesses of Surgical Bandage and Truss Makers, at No 28 Conduit Street, Regent Street, in the county of Middlesex and elsewhere, under the firm or style of Sparks and Son, was, on the 31st day of December last, dissolved by mutual consent; and in future the said businesses will be carried on by the said William Sheldrake Francis Sparks on his separate account; and who will pay and receive all debts owing from and to the said partnership in the regular course of trade. Witness our hands this 15th day of January 1864.                                      
W. S. Sparks                   Jonathon Sparks           
Martha’s daughter Minna Martha Sparks died in 1867 aged 10 and her son Eric John William Sparks died in 1868 aged 8. I cannot find Martha in the 1871 census, but her husband William (aged 38, a surgical machinist) is listed as a lodger at South Lodge, Willesden, Kilburn.

William Sparks (Martha’s husband) died on 13 January 1880 aged 48. The death certificate gives the cause of death as "Anasarca Congestion of Brain". Anasarca is a medical condition characterized by swelling caused by effusion of fluid into the extracellular space. It is usually caused by liver, renal or heart failure. The entry in the probate index reads “The will of William Sheldrake Francis Sparks late of 2 St Andrew’s Villas, Church Rd, Watford, Gentleman, who died 13 Jan 1880 at 2 St Andrew’s Villas was proved at the Principal Registry by Louisa Birley of 2 St Andrew’s Villas, one of the executors. Personal estate under £2,000.” William’s will (dated 29 Nov 1879) leaves everything to Louisa Birley, spinster, his housekeeper. It makes no mention of Martha, who was by then was estranged from her husband. The death duty register says that Louisa received £1635 in total from William’s estate and was not a blood relation to him.

In 1881 Martha (an annuitant) was living with her brother James (a coachmaker’s clerk aged 47) at Thames St, Hampton, Middlesex. Also at the address were James’s wife Sarah (40) and their children William (12), Edith (11), Henry (7) and Percy (4).

In 1891 Martha was listed as a widow aged 59, living on her own means. She was a lodger at 105 Barnsbury Rd, Islington.

Martha in died in 1899 aged 67. The probate index reads “Martha James Brisco Sparks of 38 Noel St, Islington, widow died 17 Mar 1899. Probate to William Sweetland, solicitor £3,379. Resworn Feb 1900 £3,452.”

The record of the death duty due on her estate is in document IR 26/7490, folio 672, held at Kew. Martha’s estate was allocated as stated in her will (made in 1897). Martha’s sister Kate Legg received £500 on which duty at 3% was payable ie £15. The will released her brothers Albert and James from money they owed her and gave her nephew William Ivall (this must be William Albert Ivall, 1868-1948, a son of her brother James) the money she had advanced to him apart from £28 for funeral expenses. A note says “Exec can give no information as to sums owing to dec ?”. No duty on these sums was levied. The residue of the estate ie £2675-19-4 was left to the British and Foreign Bible Society on which they paid 10% duty ie £267-11-11. 

In 1866, Martha and her husband William were both named as leaseholders of a business property in Cardington Street, near Euston Station. It seems that there was uncertainty over whether William had remarried after he separated from Martha, which needed to be resolved after her death. Camden Archives have the following statement made by Sarah Ivall (wife of Martha's brother James) in July 1899.
The Louisa referred to is Louisa Birley.

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