Martha Louisa GITTINS – Erddig Housemaid

Martha was born in 1870 in Frodesley, nr Acton Burnell, Shropshire

On the 1871 census she was living with her Grandparents Philip (a quarry man) and Mary Davies in Acton Burnell, Shropshire with her older sister Mary Ann age 8 and Sarah age 3.

On the 1881 census she was living in the same house with her uncle and aunt, Samuel (a stonemason) and grandmother Mary.

By 1891 Martha was aged 21 and was working as servant in Montrose House School for Young Ladies in Margate.

By 1901 census she was Housemaid at Henley Hall, near Ludlow and her fellow servants there including Lucy Hitchman, Housemaid and Sarah Rudge, Laundry maid, who would all come to work at Erddig in the next few years.

It was Martha who first got a job as Housemaid at Erddig in late 1901 or early 1902.

And in the following year 1903 she must have made her friend Lucy Hitchman aware that there was a vacancy for a children’s nurse at Erddig, and in the following year 1904 encouraged Sarah Rudge to also move as Laundry maid to Erddig.

In Dec 1903 Martha left Erddig to marry recently widowed William Gittins, the Erddig carpenter and they lived at ‘South View’, off Fennant Road, Ponciau.

On the 1911 census William and Martha were still living at Fennant Road with their two children

          William (Willy) b 1905

Dorothy b 1906

          They also had had a 3rd child who had died

William was by now Erddig Estate Foreman.

In about 1912 William was promoted to Agent of the Erddig estate to replace William Capper. In 1915 he fell from a wagon, causing a paralysis of one arm (this could have been a stroke?) He then caught a chill and died shortly afterwards (in the April – June period of the Wrexham death records) He was aged 60.

When Martha was widowed in 1915 life must have been difficult with 2 young children to look after.  She received a pension from the Yorke’s of £4 per annum, raised to £6 in 1917. (She was still receiving an Erddig pension till her death)

The Yorke’s also offered to pay for an advert for her to go back to work in service, but she declined the offer as she wrote her health was not good and she would not be able to afford to pay for care for her children while she worked as a servant which was inevitably a live-in job, and it would mean the family would lose their home.

Her son Willy Gittins was employed as an Erddig estate carpenter from 1921 (paid 4/2 a day, 6 days a week)  but left Oct 1923.

Martha died in 1952 age 84. She was buried on 26th September 1952 in Wrexham Cemetery in Grave G-01824.


ERDDIG SERVANTS RECORD SHEET

Servants Details

Christian Name(s): Martha Louisa

Surname: Gittins

Maiden Name: Harvey

Date of Birth: 1871

Job(s) at Erddig: Housemaid

Start Date: c1902

Finish Date: Dec 1903

Reason for leaving?   To marry William Gittins