On the same page as Ethel Louise de Fraine in 1901 [Bluestocking], I had spotted a Dorothy Emily Gillett.

There are many Gilletts around and not all are connected to our Gillett line, so she wasn’t necessarily going to be one of 'ours' but following her, I found that she was. In fact, she was the second cousin of  Susan Gillett. Ethel Louise was the second cousin of Thomas Turner de Fraine. The families were connected by marriage from 1890, so they may well have been aware of their ‘relationship’.

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for. Often they are of an age not to have appeared on the previous census and are not with their own families in the following census, but appear then as visitors with members of the families with whom they were at school or have even married into the family.

As early as 1841, I have found several different sets of two or three female, or very young male, Gillett cousins listed as pupils/scholars and staying in the house of an aunt or other older female relation who are enumerated as a schoolmistress. Rather then applying for posts as governesses, it looks though they may have made their income by educating their own relations. Finding these mixed households have often helped me to disentangle families who have a habit of marrying their cousins.

Later on the girls tend to appear in larger establishments which sometimes, but not always, are listed by the name of a school, and again familiar surnames appear on the pages. The families did not seem to send their offspring to the elite Public Schools, but to small independent schools. The boys seem to go at about 9 years old and the girls at 11. A fairly typical school at the time will have been the one included on this website (page 6) Mr Galland's Academy.

In 1851, GT de Fraine aged 9 was a pupil at what became Trinity School, Old Stratford, Passenham. Two of his sons, Thomas Turner, aged 14, and his younger brother Herbert George, aged 11, are listed there in 1881. Edwin Osborne Tompkins, then aged 12, was at the same school in 1871.

Thomas is listed as one of the pall bearers at the funeral of the headmaster:

The Northampton Mercury November 24th 1883

DEATH OF THE REV. JAMES THOMAS. We deeply regret to announce the death of the Rev. James Thomas, which occurred on the 12 inst., after an illness of only three days. On Saturday last the funeral took place in the pretty little churchyard of Passenham.

At a quarter past-two the sad procession started from the scene of so many years' loving labour. The order was as follows—The hearse, with coffin of plain oak, with brass mountings, consisting of a Latin cross, a star, and a shield bearing the following inscription;—" James Thomas. Feel asleep Nov. 12th, 1883. Aged  56." The following pupils —T. T. De Fraine, A. Barton, A. Plummer, G. Bailey. C. C. Wheldon, M. Mead -having requested to be allowed to bear the coffin from the hearse to the grave, as last token of love and respect for their late dear master, were allowed to act a pall bearers, their strength not being sufficient to bear the corpse. The carriers were old servants of the deceased and residents in Old Stratford. Then followed five carriages, containing the family and relatives of the deceased ; and after them the rest of the pupils and the household servants. The coffin was met at the churchyard gate by the Rev. G. M. Capell (rector of Passenham), Rev. J. Wood (vicar of Old Wolverton, and rural dean), Rev. F. W. Harnett (vicar of St. Georges Wolverton), with the choirs of Deanshanger and Old Wolverton. On entering the church the solemn strains of the " Dead March " in Saul were heard. The prayers were impressively read by the Rev. G. M. Capell. When the pall was removed the coffin was covered with wreaths of the choicest flowers, many of which came from a distance, as tokens of love and respect for deceased. Hymn 265," Thy way, not mine, O, Lord," was then stung, and after the two psalms were chanted, the lesson was read by the Rev. J. Wood. On coming to the grave, hymn 260, “Hark, my soul, it is the Lord,” was sung, and the remainder of the sad ceremony performed by the Rev. G. M. Capell ; then all that was left on earth of one who was endeared to everyone who knew him by hit kindliness and consideration was committed to its last resting place. When the coffin was lowered, the hymn 140, "Jesus lives," was sung, and then the beautiful service closed with the Blessing. Amongst those present were the Rev. B. Cadogan, rector of Wicken, and Rural Dean ; Rev. J. B. Sams rector of Grafton ; Rev. J. M. Lester, vicar of Stony Stratford ; Rev. P. G. Macdonall, rector of Cosgrove ; Rev J. W. Spark, W. H. Bull. Esq., Messrs. W. H. Robinson, J. Hudson, J. A. Scrivener, W. Reeve, H. Roberts, &c., and many ladies. © Old Stratford

The number of pupils at Trinity School was 22 in 1851 and by 1881 there were 35. The school had closed by 1891 when it was time for George Lee de Fraine to be sent away to school. He is listed then at the Grammar School, Oxford Road in Thame.

Having read Tom Brown’s Schooldays and Nicholas Nickleby, I wonder what the regime was like for the boys there.

The Victoria County History for Northamptonshire, quoting from Kelly's Dir. Northants. (1885), advts. p. 32., describes the school, which by that time also took day boys:-

In 1885 the bishop of Peterborough and the rectors of Wicken and Passenham were described as the school's 'visitors'; the classrooms and dormitories were said to be 'lofty and well arranged'; the 8 a. of grounds included facilities for football, cricket and tennis; there was a swimming bath; and the school had its own dairy. The fees were 35 guineas a term, 'strictly inclusive'.

Thomas later went to Osborne’s father to learn about farming and went on to marry Osborne’s sister. It would seem logical to think that this is how they met since the families had no connection other than through the school as far as we know. Herbert George later married one of the daughters of the headmaster of Trinity School in 1897.

The Northampton Mercury September 3rd 1897

MARRIAGE OF MISS E. A. THOMAS. An interesting wedding was celebrated at St. Giles' Church on Tuesday, the contracting parties being Miss Emma Sophia Thomas, third daughter of the late Rev. J. Thomas, of Trinity School, Old Stratford, and Mr. Herbert George de Fraine, second son of Mr. G. T. de Fraine, of Walton, Aylesbury. The bride, who was given away by her mother, was attired in a simple costume of white alpaca, and wore a large white hat trimmed with lace and roses. She carried a beautiful shower bouquet, the gift of the bridegroom. The bridesmaids were: Miss Thomas, Miss B. Thomas (sisters), and Miss F. de Fraine (sister of the bridegroom). They were dressed in costumes of grey cashmere, and wore white Toreador hats trimmed with pink roses. The officiating clergymen were Rev. J. Thomas, of Thornhill, Dewsbury (brother of the bride), and the Rev. C. H. Scott. Mr. G. de Fraine acted as best man. Miss Walford presided at the organ, and played Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" at the close. The presents were of a useful and handsome description. © Old Stratford

The Tompkins sisters were also sent away to school. In 1871, Sarah Jane Tompkins was a pupil in Paddington aged 13, and Annie Maria Tompkins, aged 14, was a pupil at Grove House, High Street North, Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Rosa Ellen Tompkins (later to marry Thomas) was a pupil aged 15 at Packfield College in Lewisham in 1881, and in 1891, their half sister, Alice, aged 13, was a pupil at a Ladies School at 133 Green Lanes, Islington – along with Constance and Edith De Fraine. They were 13 and 11 years old respectively.

Checking for other names in a census listing for a school threw up something else interesting just this week. Previously, I had idly wondered how Osborne’s niece Ethel Tompkins, brought up in London and Aveley, Essex, had met and married a William Grimwood Boocock, from Yorkshire in 1907.

When trying to track down another branch, I came across a Mortimer Eve in 1891 at the same school as a WG Boocock of Yorkshire. Mortimer’s family were in the vicinity of Aveley and they were related to the Mannings who were related to the Tompkins of Aveley. Maybe Mortimer took William home for the holidays?? Who knows …