Mary Ann Mumford The illegitimate daughter of Charles Grey direct descendant of the Greys of Stapleford Tawney, Essex and their connection to King Richard III

Mary Ann Mumford
2x great grandmother
The illegitimate daughter of Charles Grey direct descendant of the Greys of Stapleford Tawney, Essex and their connection to King Richard III

After the recent discovery of the bones found beneath a Leicester car park, of which have been confirmed as that of English King Richard III, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me share some of my/our family history with other members of the family. I have been an avid family historian for the last 17 years and have so far identified 25,000 family members.
Over the years I have stumbled upon some great stories and stumbled upon some incredible connections. Some of the tales learnt are as sad as Les Miserables, none more so than the story of Mary Ann and her mother Lydia Mumford, I’m going to tell you a little about that story in a moment. Below you will find a relationship chart showing my/our and Mary Ann Mumford’s connection to King Richard III who was our first cousin 17 times removed.

king-richard-skull RichardIII_2454940c

Richard III “King of England” PLANTAGENET (1452-1485)
Is my 1st cousin 17 times removed

Cecily “Lady” NEVILLE (1415 – 1495)
is my 17th great grand aunt and the mother of King Richard III

Ralph “1st Earl Westmoreland, 4th Baron Neville” NEVILLE (1364 – 1425) (18 x Grt Grandfather)
Father of Cecily “Lady”

Alice NEVILLE (1384 – 1415) (17x Grt Grandmother)
Daughter of Ralph “1st Earl Westmoreland, 4th Baron Neville”

Sir Ralph “Knight” GREY (1406 – 1442) (16x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Alice

Sir Ralph “Knight” GREY (1432 – 1464) (15x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Sir Ralph “Knight”

Sir Edward “Knight” GREY (1464 – 1533) (14x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Sir Ralph “Knight”

Sir Ralph “Knight” ‘of Chillingham’ GREY (1529 – 1566) (13x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Sir Edward “Knight”

Sir Ralph ‘of Chillingham’ “Knight” GREY (1552 – 1623) (12x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Sir Ralph “Knight” ‘of Chillingham’

John ‘of Tawney’ GREY (1588 – 1658) (11x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Sir Ralph ‘of Chillingham’ “Knight”

Thomas ‘of Plymouth, Massachusetts’ GREY (1620 – 1654) (10x Grt Grandfather)
Son of John ‘of Tawney’

Richard ‘of Stansted Mountfichet’ GREY (1637 – ) (9x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Thomas ‘of Plymouth, Massachusetts’

Richard GRAY (1655 – ) (8x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Richard ‘of Stansted Mountfichet’

James GRAY (1687 – ) (7x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Richard

Charles GRAY (1728 – ) (6x Grt Grandfather)
Son of James

William GRAY (1754 – ) (5x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Charles

Richard GRAY (1798 – 1877) (4x Grt Grandfather)
Son of William

Charles GRAY (1830 – 1898) (3x Grt Grandfather)
Son of Richard

Mary Ann MUMFORD (1853 – 1916) (2x Grt Grandmother)
Daughter of Charles

Ernest James JANES (1888 – 1942) (Grt Grandfather)
Son of Mary Ann

Rosie May JANES (1930 – 1997) (Grandmother)
Daughter of Ernest James

Stephen Robert KUTA (1956 – )
Son of Rosie May

Stephen Robert KUTA
I am the son of Stephen Robert

The Story of Mary Ann Mumford

Mary Ann Mumford or ‘Mountford’ was born in 1853 in Bocking, Essex she was one of 8 children born off her mother illegitimately and fathered by two different men. Her mother Lydia Mumford was herself illegitimate she was born in 1828 Wethersfield, Essex to a Sophia Mayhew who died young at the age of 35.

Lydia Mumford and Charles Gray had four or five illegitimate children, (the eldest may belong to a different father) three died young and only Charles and Mary Ann Mumford survived into adult hood, Charles Mumford the eldest son born in 1848 was the only child that Charles Gray took ward off, the other four children had either died or were placed into Braintree Workhouse.
Charles Gray abandoned Lydia sometime between 1853 –1859, he went onto marry an Esther Ann Sorrel in 1860 and between them they had 9 children.
By the time the 1871 census was taken Charles Gray had moved to Mayland-Sea, Essex and Lydia Mumford moved to its nearest market town. She is recorded as living in Maldon, Essex and was working as a Charwoman. She lied on the census and recorded herself as being a Widow, probably to hide the shame of being an unmarried mother.
Charles Gray moved himself and his family to St Giles, Berkshire sometime during the 1870’s. I know it’s easy to point a finger, but the evidence does suggest he moved to get as far from his past as possible; he died there in 1891 aged 61.

Mary Ann and elder brother Arthur Mumford spent many years in Braintree Workhouse (listed as Paupers) from about 1859-1868, Mary Ann was only 6 years old when her mother placed them there and her brother Arthur was about 9, sadly he died in the workhouse although no record of his burial has ever been found.

Mary Ann finally escaped her misery in about 1868 when she was taken in by a William Wood Janes a Bayman of Heybridge, Essex and his ill wife also called Mary Ann (Nee: Curtis). She died a year later on the 13th August 1869 of Diabetes she left behind two young children a William and Mary.

A relationship began between Mary Ann Mumford and William Wood Janes sometime before 1874 and an illegitimate son was born 20 September 1874 a Joseph Henry Mountford, descendants of Joseph have all claimed that Joseph was born with Syphilis and the stories told to them are pretty accurate because between 1874 – 1883 William Wood Janes and Mary Ann Mumford lost seven babies to syphilis.

They married at Maldon Register Office on the 3rd November 1878 and went onto have three more children, Alice Maud Janes (1883-1922), my grt grandfather Ernest James Janes (1888-1942) and Nelley Rose Janes (1892-1974).

William Wood Janes died on the 13 April 1906 from Cancer of the Prostate Gland / Exhaustion and Mary Ann died on the 16 December 1916 from (1) fatty degeneration of myocardium (2) anasarca.

Lydia Mumford had an equally sad life to her daughter Mary Ann Mountford, she was forced to move home to home in attempt to escape the truth of her past, living sinfully with Charles Gray. It was difficult for her to escape this and she fell into that same despair with a Samuel Dennis who worked as a Grocer along Maldon High Street. They had three children together and like Charles before him he abandoned her and the children and moved to East Grinstead, Sussex where he married a Phillis Wickenden. They had no children and he died there in 1886 aged 65.

Lydia Mumford died on her own in Maldon Workhouse on the 22 July 1888, her death certificate was registered by the Workhouse superintendent, suggesting she died with no family around her. A sad end to a very sad life, she died from Softening of the Brain of which she suffered for 2 years, so was probably insane.

Out of all my ancestors Lydia and Mary Ann Mumford top the list of my favourite ancestors, because of the life they were given and the life they struggled to lead. It makes all our worries today seem mundane and selfish.
Hats off to those two women, they had strength, courage and were heroes in their own right.


6 thoughts on “Mary Ann Mumford The illegitimate daughter of Charles Grey direct descendant of the Greys of Stapleford Tawney, Essex and their connection to King Richard III

  1. My spouse’s 17th great grandfather is also Ralph “1st Earl Westmoreland, 4th Baron Neville” Neville (1364 – 1425). so you are a distant cousin.

    • That’s very interesting and I am sure more then 50% of people with English genealogy can find a link to their medieval ancestors.
      In 1066 there were only 1 million people living in England and yet we descend from about 32 million people in that same time period.
      That’s very mind boggling and makes me wonder how many times over and over we descend from the same people.

      • It is mind boggling. Just based on the work I’ve done with my spouse’s family, the number of descendants from just one person is amazing. Thanks for the number of people in the medieval period, I hadn’t gotten around to looking for that yet, it’ll be helpful.

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