So That's Where I Get It From

June 29, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Stephen and Elizabeth Read

I took this photo of the tombstone for Stephen Read and his wife Elizabeth (nee Sanders) in 2000 and although I had no idea then that he was actually one of my ancestors, I sort of had a feeling that he was.

They are buried in the churchyard at Great Milton in Oxfordshire and at the time Stephen and Elizabeth were the only Reads I could find buried there.  (It wasn’t until a few years later that I discovered that my ancestors Edward Read and his wife Mary (nee Tanner) were also buried in the same place although we did not come across their graves.

Stephen became a bit of a brick wall.  I found him and Elizabeth in the Censuses.  They did not appear to have had children.  He worked as a Harness Maker and in the various Censuses there are one or two others living with Stephen and Elizabeth who are apprentice Harness Makers or assistants etc..  Also living with them in one Census (1851) was Elizabeth Larner.  She also became a bit of a brick wall too.

I found her in an earlier Census (1841) living with a different Stephen Read and his wife Ann (Nanny) (nee Rose) in Thame, Oxfordshire.  This Stephen was the youngest of all my 6 x great grandfather Cozens Read’s twenty children and was the only one to appear in a Census.  So, I wondered, is the Harness Maker Stephen related to Cozens Read’s youngest child?  Especially as at one time they each had Elizabeth Larner living with them?

Time went on and I looked at this photo often to see if there were any clues as to who Stephen belonged to.  At the time I did not know his wife’s maiden name either!

original photograph taken by me in Great Milton, Oxfordshire in 2000 - copyright 2010

More time and more searching went on and eventually I found that Stephen the Harness Maker was in fact the grandson of Stephen and Ann (Nanny) Read and so also the great grandson of Cozens Read.  It also turned out that Elizabeth Larner was the Aunt of Stephen the Harness Maker!  (And so at more or less the same time the brick wall I managed to break down with Stephen was also the same wall I managed to break down with Elizabeth Larner as she is the daughter of Stephen and Ann (Nanny) Read.

Stephen’s wife Elizabeth was a Great Milton girl and they married there on 2nd December 1850 and lived there for the rest of their lives.  I have never found any children for them and as they are in all the Censuses until they each die, there have never been any children living with them at all, so I think it is fairly safe to say they were childless.

The Inscription on their tombstone is:


The Memory Of

Stephen Read

who died Jan. 31. 1888

Aged 74 years

Also of


wife of the above

who died (and this then goes down into the grass – but Elizabeth died in December 1878)

There is also a footstone which reads:

S. R.   1888

E. R.   1878

(next wording is unreadable)

Stephen was about four years old when his own father, also Stephen, died aged 30.

It took a number of years to discover who Stephen the Harness Maker belonged to, but the original feeling that I had that he was one of mine proved correct!!



  1. I have just read your artical and thought this would be of some interest to you.
    Alfred Burrows of Great Milton took over the busniness of Saddler and Harness Maker from his Uncle Stephen Read Christmas 1885.
    Alfred Burrows is also buried at Great Milton and was my Grand father

    Comment by diana camilletti — August 31, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

    • Hallo Diana, Thanks so much for your comment and I hope you will forgive the very long delay in replying. I’ve had awful internet connection problems for ages and could not get into the blog until today!!

      I am delighted to “meet” you. It is so good to hear that Alfred Burrows took over Stephen’s business. I had seen Alfred with Stephen and Elizabeth in the Census but have not done too much research yet on Elizabeth’s family so wasn’t too sure where Alfred fitted in. I will be happy to share any info with you and because I am so into ancestor photos, would love to know if you have any photos of Alfred, his family and just maybe even anything to do with the Saddlery business?

      Kind regards,

      Christine (rootsresearcher)

      Comment by rootsresearcher — January 24, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  2. From: Diana Camilletti
    Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 2:55 PM
    To: Chris Read
    Subject: Re: Alfred BURROWS and Stephen READ

    Dear Christine,
    Thank you very much for your mail.I was also very pleased to hear from you. I`m afraid I don`t have any information on Stephan Read only that my Grandfather took over his business in 1885 after working with Sephan Read for over 16year`s.So he must have started as an apprentice .Alfred Burrows married twice he had 4 children with his first wife ,his second wife was Lilian Cocks of Chinnor who was my Grandmother she was the distict nurse for the villages around Great Milton they married in 1918 my Mother was born in 1920 Majorie Burrows.I have a lot of news paper cuttings on Alfred Burrows as he took an important part in the village life he was assistant Overseer and Collector of Rates .Clerk and Treasurer to the Parish Council .I also have a lot on his son Herbert Alfred Burrows who joined the Special Service Branch of Scotland Yard.I have pictures of him with Sir Anthony Eden,Samuel Hoare ( home secretary)and for a short period he was Winston Churchill`s Body Guard all very interesting .My nephew Mark Camilletti has been trying to gather information on my Great Grandfather James Burrows who owned a Pub in Oxford ” The Bird in Hand “he moves to Southamton and dies in 1872.Mark has come to a brick wall he hasn`t been able to get anymore information on James Burrows .I have told him to have a look at your blog so maybe he will get in touch with you for some tip`s .Well that`s about all for now hope to hear from you again.Best Wishes Diana Camilletti Hamburg Germany
    From: Chris Read
    Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 1:49 PM
    Subject: Alfred BURROWS and Stephen READ

    Hallo Diana,

    I see you visited my blog So That’s Where I Get It From as long ago as August last year! I have had a very long gap from my blog because of terrible internet connection problems which prevented me from getting to the blog and emails and everything!! I can’t believe how lost I was without the internet!!

    Recently I have been able to get back to the blog (hopefully the connection problem is fixed) and have been concentrating on getting stuff on the blog and also catching up with all the many emails waiting for me. So I hope you will forgive this very long delay in getting back to you.

    I am absolutely delighted that you found the blog and that Alfred Burrows is your grandfather. I haven’t got a great deal of info about Stephen Read and his wife Elizabeth but had seen Alfred mentioned in the Censuses. To now find someone connected with this little family group is wonderful for me. I am happy to share what info I have with you, although I suspect it might not be much compared to what you have and if you are happy to share what info you have I will be most interested in learning more about Alfred, and Stephen and his wife.

    I apologise once again for the terribly long delay in getting back to you. I look forward to hearing from you again.

    Kind regards,

    Christine Read
    Cornwall, UK

    Comment by diana camilletti — February 23, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

    • Hallo Diana, Thanks so much for your message with so much detail in it! And isn’t Herbert Burrows an interesting guy!!
      Please let your nephew Mark know he can contact me either here on the blog or at the email address I wrote to you from anytime.

      I shall have a look and see if I can find anything to do with your great grandfather James Burrows, and let you know if I come up with anything.

      Thanks so much for getting back in touch. I was worried that the long delay in me replying to your first message might have made you give up on me!!

      Now that we have found each other, I’m sure we’ll be keeping in touch.

      Kind regards,


      Comment by rootsresearcher — February 23, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

      • Hallo Christine,
        Thank you for your message lovely to hear from you.If you find anything on James Burrows it would be great if you could let us know.I will also mail my nephew again and ask him to get in touch with you,he is really very interested in our family history.
        Best Wishes Diana

        Comment by diana camilletti — March 9, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

      • Hallo Diana, Thank you for popping over to my blog. 🙂 I am trying to find out more about James Burrows. Do you know who his parents are? Is his mother maybe the sister of Stephen Read’s wife Elizabeth? I would be very pleased to hear from your nephew and it’s great that you have someone else interested in your family history as well as yourself. None of my immediate family are interested apart from hearing what I find out!!

        Kind regards,


        Comment by rootsresearcher — March 9, 2011 @ 11:42 pm

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