In 1911 in the village of Bletchingley, Sarah Jane Day was living with her husband John Colgate; she was born in Suffolk in 1855. her widowed father had brought her to Surrey via London, no doubt in search of work and a living to support his family.
Eleven years later in another part of Suffolk, Kezia Cracknell was born… and in 1911, she too was living in Bletchingley in Common Lane. Did the two women know each other? Did Sarah hear Kezia talking in the shop and recognize her Suffolk accent? Did they talk about the old place?
Kezia was a recent arrival having moved there in about 1902 with her husband Henry and her children James, Charles, and Arthur; she may have been pregnant with Herbert, and within a couple of years Florence and Alfred were born. Her daughter Alice lived not too far away in Godstone, and her other daughter, Edith lived in Reigate; both girls were in service. Her son Edward was in Reigate, the same as his sister, he was a gardener. Her eldest son, William was at least in the same county; he was a police officer in Epsom.
There is no way now to know what brought the family, including the adult children all the way from Suffolk to Surrey.
Her husband Henry had been married before he met Kezia; he had married Hannah Day (no relation to Sarah Day of Lidgate) They had at least four children, Annie Day, Henry, Offira and Christina in the twelve years they were together… Poor Hannah died young, just as her own mother had, in 1882. He married Kezia the following year.
When Henry moved to Surrey, his daughter Christina stayed behind, living in Ipswich, and her brother Henry junior was well-settled in Suffolk with his wife Lily and five children. His other son Offord/Orford, and wife Clara also stayed in Suffolk with their two children, Orford junior and Edith. His step-daughter Annie was also married with three children… Did Henry Kettle leave his elder children and his ten grandchildren with regret? Or was he more concerned with the well-being of his new young family?
However, the move to Bletchingley was not as happy as no doubt Henry and Kezia had hoped; tragedy struck in 1909, Henry died aged sixty. He left Kezia a widow at forty-three, a widow with four children under ten, and another two older sons at home. She probably had some financial support from her working children, but the younger ones were not without a father for long because Kezia married Joseph Trussler in 1912. It is hard to find exact details about Joseph, he may have been born in 1866… or he may have been born in 1871…
Her happiness did not last long because Joseph also left her a widow in 1919. To have been widowed twice in ten years… to marry twice in ten years, yes, she married again for the third time to Charles Coomber. As with her other two husband, Kezia outlived Charles, he died in 1930, she lived to be eighty-one, dying in 1948, five years after the other Surrey girl, Sarah Colgate.
So what brought me to the Kettles latterly of Suffolk, later of Surrey? My husband went to school with Kezia’s great-grandchildren, James granddaughters, and Charles’s grandson… and he remembers her sons Arthur, Bert (Herbert) and her youngest, Alf.