Eliza Brown 1813-1843

When Eliza Brown was born in January 1813 in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, her father, George, was 26 and her mother, Edith, was 28. She married James Browning on October 17, 1830, in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. She had six children by the time she was 24. She died as a young mother in July 1843 in Thornbury Workhouse, Gloucestershire, at the age of 30.

Eliza was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire in January 1813. Her father George Brown was a 26-year-old labourer and her mother Edith was 28. Sadly her life was to become one filled with tragedy.


  • Eliza married James Browning* on the 17th October 1830.
  • She was just 17.
  • Her husband was 12 years older than her.
  • Eliza’s mother, Edith, was a witness at the wedding.
  • Eliza must have been pregnant at the time as her first child, Ann, was born in early April of the following year.
  • By the time she was 24 she’d given birth to six children. (Listed below).
  • In January 1837 her husband James died.
  • At the end of January 1837 her son, George was born.
  • Eliza’s mother Edith died in March 1841 removing any help Eliza may have had in raising her children.

In the tiny hamlet of St Michaels Wood where Eliza was living with her father  prior to marriage there were  ‘Brownings’ in the 1841 census. It seems reasonable to assume these are relatives of the James Browning  who married Eliza Brown. And their proximity was the reason for them meeting.


Later in 1841, so bad was her plight she was forced to enter the local Workhouse at Thornbury with her children.



This is the workhouse in Southwell, Nottinghamshire. Not the workhouse where Eliza and her children were housed. You can get some idea of the accommodation from this. Not two beds along that wall but six. And six more on the wall opposite. And probably a couple down the middle of the room too. Work was hard. The food was frugal and conditions, though good for the day, would be considered brutal today. Picture PDBarton.

In July 1843 Eliza died in the workhouse.


At least one of the children was adopted, maybe more. We find George Browning, at 5 years old, the youngest of her children, being adopted in 1841.  Their father was dead. Their mother seemed unlikely to be able to provide for the children. Our guess is the children were put up for adoption as soon as they entered the workhouse.

Known children of Eliza Brown and James Browning:

  • Ann Browning 1831-1907; Died in Monmouthshire.
  • Emma Browning 1833-; Nothing known.
  • James Browning 1833-; Died in Hartlepool, Durham.
  • Daniel Browning 1835-1893; He became a coal miner, first in Wales and then in Oskaloosa, Iowa, USA
  • George Browning 1837-1918. He was adopted by Jeptha Bainham  in 1841 when he was just 5. Jeptha was a shoemaker from Chepstow. George too became a shoemaker (1851 census). Died in Hartlepool, Durham

This is a work in progress. If you have additional information on the person detailed on this page, or, for that matter, corrections to what is written then please make contact here.