Female portrait placeholder image

Name: Martha Cannon

Burial Number: 0673

Gender: Female

Occupation: Hotel Keeper

Born: 00/00/1845

Died: 15/07/1912

Buried: 17/07/1912


Martha Sumpter was born on an unknown date in 1845 to Martha Wright and labourer John Sumpter. It was not until 29th November 1846 that she was baptised by Edward Griffin the Rector of St. Botolph’s, Stoke Albany. (A long delay between birth and baptism was not uncommon for poorer families.)

St. Botolph’s was a parish church serving the spiritual needs of mainly poorer parishioners (including shoemakers, labourers and servants.)

Stoke Albany had been a small Northamptonshire village since the 12th century when the land was owned by William de Albinni (or d’Aubigny) who fought for King Stephen and was rewarded by being created Earl of Arundel.

Nothing is known of Martha’s early life, but on 7th December 1865 she married James Cannon, a 25-year-old carpenter living nearby in Market Harborough. The wedding was witnessed by Thomas Berridge and Sarah Sumpter (presumably Martha’s sister) in St Botolph’s, officiated over by Edward Griffin.

James Cannon was born in Kedmarsh, Northants to gardener Phineas Cannon in 1839. The village name reflects Old Norse influences and means ‘marsh marked out by posts.’

Son George Tom was born to the couple in 1866 and baptised at St Botolph’s on 25th October 1868 (the same church his mother had been baptised in 22 years earlier.)

By 1881 Martha and James (with son George) were running The Swan Hotel, Newport Pagnell, a coaching inn dating back to 1597. Hotel keeper James employing 4 servants (a bookkeeper, a waitress, a barmaid and a cook.) Once frequented by Samuel Pepys, it had been destroyed by fire the previous year and was newly refurbished.

On 2nd December 1890 25-year-old son George (a veterinary surgeon) was admitted to the Jersey Lodge of the Bicester Freemasons.

In 1891 at The Crown Hotel/ pub, Bicester the family lived with a staff of one barmaid and three domestic servants. The Crown Hotel was one of two large coaching inns built in the late 17th century. By the 1840s the Towcester and Oxford Royal Mail left The Crown each evening at 6pm for Middleton Stoney, Brackley and Towcester. It returned to Bicester before setting out for Oxford at 8am the next morning. It was possible to hire a range of coaches and carts from the hotel’s stables at the side of the building in front of the Corn Exchange.

By 1901 their son George had moved out, married Florence Stuart from Halifax Yorkshire (1860-1932), and with three daughters and two sons was living at 1 Ambrose Place, Worthing.

In 1901 Martha and James were running The Queens Hotel, Snodland with a staff of four (three females and one male.) The females were employed as a domestic/ cook, a domestic/ housemaid and a barmaid. The male was a potman/ barman. The census records they were visited by Agnes Stuart, a 34-year-old barmaid from Halifax and a possible relation to their daughter-in-law.

No exact date exists for her husband James’ death, but it is recorded that Martha discharged herself (‘Relieved OR’) from the North Infirmary, Highgate on 20th July 1909, so it can be inferred he died prior to this date.

By 1911 Martha was residing at Lillian Villas, a seven-room house in Broadwater, Worthing, presumably to be nearer her son and grandchildren. She was living ‘on independent means.’ This meant that, like her eldest grand-daughter Florence, she did not need to work due to savings/ investments or was too old and infirm and was being cared for by her grand-children.

On 24th July 1909 vet and Freemason son George Tom (whilst still in Great Britain) had lodged a patent for a ‘jockey’ or ‘rope-grip’, an invention ‘usually employed for detachably attaching trucks or like vehicles to the endless rope or cable of mechanised haulage arrangements.’ A second patent was lodged on 14th October 1913 from South Africa.

Martha died on 15th July 1912 and was buried two days later by EWD Penfold the Assistant Curate of St. Pauls, Worthing, rather than the usual Rector of Heene JP Fellowes. At the time of her death she had been living at 8 Burlington Terrace, Rowlands Road. Probate was handled by her daughter-in-law Florence, and she left an estate of 761p 10s 2d.

On 4th October 1912 wife Florence, with daughters Florence, Ivy and Doris set sail from the Port of London on the ship Bulawayo (of the Bucknall Line) under master Jonathan W McMillan for Cape Town. The failing Bucknall Line had been bought by Britain’s richest man, the recluse John Ellerman in 1908.


Florence died on 17th September 1932 in Parktown, Johannesburg. Her body was returned to England to be buried in All Souls Cemetery, Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

Widower George Tom married Marion Glew Smith around May 1934. He died in Bethal, Transvaal on 8th October 1944.

Researcher: Matt Bury

The Grave

No headstone image available

Location in Cemetery

Area: SES Row: 9 Plot: 14

Exact Location (what3words): wiping.cried.august

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


In loving memory of Martha widow of James Cannon died 15th July 1912 R.I.P.

Further Information


Name: Martha Cannon

Gender: Female

Born: 00/00/1845

Town: Unknown

County: Northamptonshire

Country: England


Maiden Name:Sumpter

Marriage Date: 7/12/1865

Spouse First Name: James

Spouse Last Name: Cannon

Town of Marriage: Market Harborough

County of Marriage: Leicestershire

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 15/07/1912

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 1: Burlington Terrace

Address line 2: 8

Address line 3: Rowlands Road

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


No obituary has been entered.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £761 10 s 2 d

Current value of effects: Not calculated

Census Information


Living at The Swan Hotel, Newport Pagnell


Living at The Crown Hotel, Bicester –


Living at The Queens Hotel, Snodland –


Living at Lillian Villas, Broadwater –

Miscellaneous Information

No miscellaneous information is available for this burial record.