Surname Saturday : Bruce

This week, the name that is the focus of my Saturday post is the one that I’ve (rather ashamedly) given the most time, the most thought.  Part of my reason is down to the story of Robert the Bruce…. Braveheart!!!  What a family story that would be!  However, the realist in me says that is never going to happen.  I’m not THAT deranged.  😉

The earliest Bruce in my tree is William Bruce.  William’s place of birth is still eluding me, as is his year of birth.  However, by 1785, he was living in Easton Neston, Northamptonshire.  He married his first wife, Rosamund Gardner, on 22nd September 1785.  The couple continued living in Easton Neston while raising their children, John (1786), Robert (1787), Joseph (1789), William (1792), William (1798) and Jane (1799).
Rosamund was buried on 11th Mar 1799, just 7 days before her daughter, Jane, was baptised.  The following year William married Mary Cross.  He died 11 years later.

William and Rosamund’s 2nd son, Robert Bruce, was born in 1787 and baptised on 28th October 1787 in Easton Neston.  Sometime before 1810 he married Frances.  They also continued to live in the locality and had children, Mary (1810), William (1812), Charlotte (1814), James (1816) and Joseph (1819).  Frances died in 1821 in Easton Neston and 2 years later, Robert married his 2nd wife, Jane Newton, on 5th May.  7 years later, Jane, too, died.  Robert lived out the remainder of his life in Hulcote, Northamptonshire, working as an Agricultural Labourer.  He died in 1865.

James Bruce, the 2nd son of Robert and Frances, was baptised on 5th January 1817 in Easton Neston.  He married Elizabeth Redley, on 13th June 1842 in Great Brington, Northamptonshire.  He brought his wife back to Hulcote where he worked as an Under Game Keeper and they brought up their children; Frances (1843), Martha Redley (1845), Sarah (1847), Robert (1850), Rosannah (1852), Rebecca (1854), Elizabeth (1856), Mary Charlotte (1858), George (1861) and Joseph (1862).
James died on 5th April 1895 in Hulcote and his wife, Elizabeth, died in February 1897.

The youngest child of James and Elizabeth was Joseph Bruce, born during the last half of 1862 in Hulcote.  He, like his father before him, grew up in Hulcote.
In 1886, he married Selina Haynes in the Towcester Registration district.  Joseph and Selina lived in Hulcote until sometime between 1898 and 1900, when they moved to Wood Burcote.  The couple had around 10 children, including; Rosa (1887), Rebecca (1888), Joseph (1890), Sarah (1892), Maude (1894), James (1896), Jane (1898), Frances Mabel (1900), Phyllis May (1904) and Lizzie Mary (1908).
Joseph worked as an Agricultural Labourer until the later 1890’s when he was unable to work due to an illness.  Quite what his illness was is still a mystery to me.  He and his family were in the receipt of Outdoor Relief from December 1896 until his death on 11th January 1911.  On the 1911 census, Selina, a recent widow, was recorded at her daughter, Rebecca’s, marital home.  She passed away in 1928 in London.

My great grandmother, Maude Bruce, was the fifth child of Joseph and Selina.  She was born on 23rd November 1894 in Hulcote.  I know little of her life before she met my great grandfather.  They met, like many young couples at the time, as a direct result of World War One.
My great grandfather, Edward Evans, was a soldier with the Monmouthshire Regiment.  Maude was in service, living in Bedfordshire.  Edward and Maude married on 30th October 1915 at St Paul’s, Bedford.  Soon after the wedding, Edward went to the front line and, disowned by her family, Maude moved to South Wales to live with her in-laws.
According to family stories, Maude was disowned by her own family because she married a Welsh man.  She received a frosty reception from her in-laws because she was English.  My poor great grandmother had an awful lot.
Edward and Maude lived in Pengam, South Wales where they raised their family.  Edward died in January 1940 from pneumonia.  Maude died in December 1985.

Maude completes my Bruce line.  She came from a long line of Agricultural Labourers who were born, lived, worked and died in Hulcote.  The Bruce’s have held many of my fondest thoughts for a long time.  My biggest brick wall here though is, where did William Bruce come from?  Was he a Northamptonshire boy born and bred?


  1. Kate Clark.

    January 15, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I am a lacemaker living in Northamptonshire and recently acquired a lace bobbin with the name Selina Haynes Greens Norton. I looked this up on google and found quite a bit of information along with the posting I am now replying to. Selina is listed on the 1881 cencus as a lacemaker. Hopefully this will be interesting to you.

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