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When I set out to research my ancestors little did I realize I would discover a secret that my grandfather and his siblings hid from their descendants?
It all started with my great grandmother Annie Wotton, who was born in Swanley in Gloucestershire the daughter of a farm laborer Henry Wotton and Eliza Cooke. Annie met and married my great grandfather Charles Bennett in 1866 in Dursley, Gloucestershire. Charles was born in 1846 in Frome in Somerset the son of John Bennett a Weaver and Elizabeth Snell from Wiltshire.
My first hint of a scandal arose when I researched Charles on the censuses, I found him living on his own in THE RING OF BELLS in Frome whilst Annie was working as a WOOL WEAVER living with baby Florence Emily and Boarder George Neal an AG LABOURER, in POUND GROUND, TITHING SIMWELL & BRADLEY W.U.E.
This is where the scandal starts.
On the1881 census I found Annie now with surname of Neal but is a listed as a widow living with Millicent (child of George Neale according to birth cert) and Frank & George Twins (only mother´s name on birth certificate) and William (father is George Neal on birth certificate.) They are all listed on the census with the surname Neal and living in RAILWAY TERRACE, CAM, GLOS. I discovered that George Neale died in February 1881, he died a slow and agonizing death and he was crushed between a gatepost and a loaded cart and lived for half an hour before dying.
I have researched for many hours through the 1881 census but could not find Charles Bennett, then a few months ago my cousin Yvonne in Australia found him and he was a soldier, he signed up in 1876, so he was around and could have fathered the twins, but we will never know for sure, the only thing that confirms I am a Bennett for me is, Yvonne and another Bennett descendant sent me photos of Bennett descendants and they all have one thing in common and that is the distinctive shape of their faces and my son Philip looks very much like my cousin Yvonne´s father…………so I consider myself a Bennett and not a Neal.
1891 census Annie (surname now Bennett) living with husband Charles, Frank,George, Millicent ?, Willie and Agnes (all with surname Bennett) living in 9 PALEBURN RD, MELKSHAM, TROWBRIDGE,WILTS.
After death of Charles who died in 1893 Ann married her brother in law Ephraim Robert Box in 1895 in Melksham Wiltshire. Ephraim was previously married to Charles´s sister Sarah Bennett who died in 1894.with their daughter Emily aged a few months
I have now discovered (through research from my Cousin Yvonne Scrivener) that Charles signed up as a soldier after the twins were born and served for 16 years
9th October 1876 enrolled in first Somerset militia 20 Nov 1875 discharged 3 October enlisted 3rd October 1876 taunt on without bounty and free kit
Signed with mark
22 years old...5 FOOT 4 and half with fresh complexion
Blue eyes and brown hair
36 inch chest
Vaccinated left arm as a baby
Pulse 68 respiration 20 muscular developments ...good
revaccinated 16 Oct 1876

Embarked Portsmouth 27 July 1877 served 7 months
Embarked Malta for Bombay 21 Feb. 1878 arrived 14 march 1878

1876 to 1888


Information about my Gt Grandfather Charles Bennett and his wife Annie Wotton

File namehistory.png
File Size7.89k
Dimensions50 x 48
Linked toCharles Bennett

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