Descendants of Ellen FOLEY (to contribute information, please email

First Generation

1. Ellen FOLEY was born about 1797 in Ireland. She died on 2 Sep 1867 in 1 Birds Cottages, Kensington, London. She was buried on 4 Sep 1867 in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London (grave no. 3282).

We know from the 1851 census that Ellen was born in Ireland and that, unfortunately, is all we know of the Foley family although it does appear that other members of the Foley family may have been living in London around the time of Ellen's marriage in 1828 as witnesses to the marriage were [name illegible but one possibility is Michael] Foley and Mary(?) Foley. It is possible that Ellen and her husband, William Hussey, had more children than those listed below.

A Rev. James Foley who died in New Windsor, Berkshire 5 October 1881 may have been related to Ellen as his estate was left to Ellen's son Thomas. We say this because an item in The Globe newspaper of 10 November 1894 invited "next-of-kin or any others with an interest in the personal estate" of James, of "4 Augusta-place, New Windsor... formerly of Newland-terrace, Kensington", to present themselves at the Principal Probate Registry of the Court at Somerset House, London, otherwise "Letters of Administration of the Personal Estate of the said deceased" would be granted to "Thomas Hussey of 14 Church-street, Kensington, Bulder, as a Creditor". Although the reference to the word "Creditor" indicates that Thomas did not have a family connection to James, it is possible James was a relative of Thomas's. They were born around the same time so one possiblility it that they were first cousins. Whether there was a family connection or not, the granting of probate in James's case was clearly not straightforward, taking over 13 years to sort out, with Thomas being left James's estate, worth £297 15s 2d, in 1895.

In case James was in fact related to Thomas's mother, Ellen, here is further information we have found on James:

The 1881 census tells us that James, aged 55 and Irish-born, was living as a lodger at 1 Albert Terrace, Kings Road in New Windsor. There appears to be no sign of James in the 1871 census but the 1861 census appears to show James, aged 39 and Irish-born, living with two servants on Upper Holland St. in Kensington. According to British History Online, St. Mary's Chapel on Holland St. was the principal place of worship at the time for Kensington Catholics but its small size encouraged Rev. James Foley, the priest in charge of St. Mary's to look for a larger site. A more suitable plot was purchased in 1866 and construction of the church of Our Lady of Victories commenced. One part of the church was bounded by the rear of two shops on Newland Terrace, indicating that the James Foley, "formerly of Newland-terrace" who died in 1881 was very likely the Fr. James Foley who oversaw the development of Our Lady of Victories church. British History Online also mentions that the new church was built largely on credit and "As a result Father Foley was soon deep in mortgages", which could explain how Thomas became a creditor, and also the lengthy probate process. The only other information we may have on James comes from the 1851 census which has a 28-year-old Fr. James Foley living on Virginia St., London and serving at Virginia St. Chapel. Was this the James who was at Upper Holland St. 10 years later?

Information from David Boon, whose wife's Foley ancestors were builders in Earl's Court and Kensington in the early 19th century, is also worth noting:

One of David's wife's direct  ancestors was James George Foley (also spelled Folley and Folly) who was baptised at St Mary Abbotts, Kensington in 1812. His parents were John and Mary Folley. John was a builder and most of his sons and grandsons went into trades such as bricklaying or plumbing. Unfortunately, both John and Mary died in their forties in the 1830s and no further information is available on their background, although the family is believed to have come originally from Ireland. Although we have no proof whatsoever, it is a possibility that David's wife's family could be connected to our Foley family.

Getting back to Ellen and her husband, William, we know that they and their children were living at 29 New St. in Kensington at the time of the birth of their daughter Ellen in 1838. By 1851 they were living at 13 Campden St., St. Mary Abbots, Kensington. There seems to be no trace of Ellen in the 1861 census, although her husband, William, appears in the return for the household of their daughter Mary. Ellen died at 1 Birds Cottages, Kensington. According to her death certificate, she died of "infirmities of age" aged 70. The informant was a Jane Browning of 6 Dukes Lane, Kensington, who was present at the death.

Ellen is buried with nine members of her family in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London, all of whom lie in grave number 3282, located by a pathway and near a large tree in the SN section of the cemetery. In the same plot are her husband, William (died 1870), her son Thomas (died 1919) and Thomas's wife Agnes (died 1913), her daughter Mary Wright (died (1871), her granddaughter Agnes Hussey (died 1860), grandsons William, Alfred and Jack Hussey (died 1866, 1899 and 1922 respectively) and brother-in-law Rev. James Hussey (died 1896). Although not buried here, Ellen's grandson Harry Hussey, who was killed in action at Ypres in 1917, is remembered on the headstone.   

Note: The Foley surname comes from the Irish surname 'Ó Foghladha', from 'foghlaidh' meaning 'pirate' or 'marauder'. The name originated in Co. Waterford and from there spread to counties Cork and Kerry. The name is most common now in these three counties, although it is numerous generally throughout the southern half of the country. Given the strong presence of the Foley name in Co. Kerry and seeing that Ellen married a man from Kerry, could our Foley family have hailed from Kerry?

Ellen married William HUSSEY, son of William HUSSEY and Julia 'UNKNOWN', in probably 12 May 1828 in St. James, Westminster, London. William was born on 1 May 1797 in Castleisland, Co. Kerry. He died on 27 Nov 1870 in 9 Mayfield Place, Kensington, London. He was buried on 1 Dec 1870 in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London (grave no. 3282).

As a young man William moved from Kerry to London where he worked as a policeman. Although family lore has it that William was born in the Dingle area of Co. Kerry, we now know from his police discharge papers that he was born in Castleisland, Co. Kerry, about 40 miles from Dingle. The discharge papers also tell us that he joined the Metropolitan Police on 19 May 1831 (this was only three years after its formation), and left the force (Kensington division, also known as 'T' division) on 29 April 1852 "on account of infirmity of body"; we are also told that he was 5ft 9inches tall with brown hair, grey eyes and a fair complexion, and that he had "a bad leg". The papers also provide the names of his parents.

In the 1861 census William is listed as a "police pensioner" in the household of his daughter Mary Wright at 26 Newland St., St. Mary Abbots, Kensington. William's wife, Ellen, was still alive at this time but she is not listed in the census return. William died in 1870 at the home of his son Thomas. The cause of death was "paraplegia, 6 years; effusion (secondary), 7 days", "effusion" meaning an abnormal build-up of fluid. On his death certificate William's occupation is given as "assistant to a builder", presumably to his son Thomas who was a builder.   

Regarding William's police work, there was a court case at the Old Bailey in London in January 1832 in which a policeman named William Hussey appeared as a witness in a case involving a theft of a gown from a washing line in Kensington the previous month.  This William Hussey could well be our William. On trial was twenty-year-old Charles Affleck who was charged with stealing the gown, worth three shillings, belonging to Ann Hawkins. A transcript of the case follows:

Ann Hawkins: I am single, and live servant to Mr. Marks, in Gore-lane, Kensington. On the 13th of December about three o'clock, I hung a gown to dry in the garden at the back of the house; I missed it about six - this is it; the prisoner lives within two doors of us.

William Hussey: I am a Police-constable. I took the prisoner in Gore-lane on the 13th of December, between seven and eight o'clock; I saw he had something under his jacket - I asked him to let me see what it was, and he would not; we had a scuffle, and this gown fell in the road.

Charles Affleck: I went home at twenty-five minutes before eight o'clock; I went into the yard - I saw this gown between our premises and the master's premises; I took it up, went out with it, and was taken - I did not prevent the officer seeing it, but I said if he would go to a fit place, I would let him see it.

William Hussey: He said if I would go to his father's he would let me see what it was, but I told him he must go to the watch-house; he would neither do one thing nor the other, and I knocked him down.

Charles Affleck was found guilty and transported to Australia for seven years.

Marriage Notes:

Only one record of a marriage between a William Hussey and an Ellen Foley around this time was found in the Westminster Archives. This marriage took place on 12 May 1828 in the parish of St. James in Westminster (now St. James's, Piccadilly). The date fits in nicely in that William and Ellen's eldest child - or the child we believe to have been their eldest - was born in February 1829. However, St. James's in Westminster was an Anglican parish which does not tie in with the Catholic beliefs of our William and Ellen. If the St. James's record does indeed relate to our William and Ellen, their Anglican marriage can be explained by Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1753 which, in an attempt to regularise English marriages, had made marriages outside the Anglican Church illegal (although Quakers and Jews were exempt). From 1753 until 1837, when Civil Registration was introduced, many Catholics complied with Hardwicke’s Marriage Act and married in Anglican churches to ensure that their marriage was valid under English law, although it was common practice for Catholic couples to also have a marriage ceremony in their local Catholic church. It was not until the introduction of Civil Registration in 1837 that all "non-conformist" churches could be licensed for marriages.

Assuming the above record relates to our William and Ellen, witnesses to their marriage were [name illegible but one possibility is Michael] Foley and Mary(?) Foley. Both Ellen and Mary(?) signed with an 'X'. Note that before Civil Registration was introduced, information on age, occupation, address or fathers' names did not appear on marriage records.

Ellen and William had the following children.

  2 M i
James Joseph HUSSEY was born on 23 Feb 1829 in Westminster, London. He was christened in Mar 1829 in St. Mary's Church, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, London. He died on 22 Jan 1896 in 23 St. Mary Abbots Terrace, Kensington, London. He was buried on 27 Jan 1896 in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London (grave no. 3282).

James's baptismal sponsors were Garrett Lynch and [what looks like] Mary Costelly.

James attended St. Edmund's Roman Catholic College near Ware in Hertfordshire where he studied for the priesthood. His obituary from the "The Edmundian" (the publication of the Edmundian Association of St. Edmund's College) mentions the "musical powers" he displayed while at the school.

James was ordained on 31 July 1862 and, perhaps after a spell elsewhere, was appointed to the parish of Moorfields in London where he spent seven years as a curate, six of which were spent at the Church of the Holy Family at Saffron Hill (at the time of the 1871 census he was at Saffron Hill). While at Moorfields James ministered at Newgate prison, and accompanied several condemned men on their walk to the gallows, including the 'Flowery Land' mutineers (executed in 1864) and the Fenian Michael Barrett (executed in 1868), convicted for his part in the Clerkenwell bombing and the last person publicly hanged in England.

After Moorfields James served in the parish of Kingsland, also in London, where he spent more than 17 years until ill health forced him into semi-retirement. He was in Kingsland at the time of the 1891 census but was working in Herfordshire by 1895, presumably engaged in lighter duties than previously. He died at the home of his brother Thomas in 1896, the cause of death being "disease of the heart" and "albuminuria", albuminuria being a urinary condition.
  3 F ii
Mary HUSSEY was born on 20 Oct 1831 in probably Westminster, London. She was christened on 27 Nov 1831 in St. Mary's Church, Horseferry Road, Westminster, London. She died on 20 May 1871 in 1 Melon Cottages, Kensington, London. She was buried on 24 May 1871 in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kensal Green, London (grave no. 3282).

Mary's baptismal sponsors were John Foley and Catherine Cummins.

Mary died at the age of 39 of "Phthisis (6 months)" and "Exhaustion", phthisis being a form of tuberculosis.
Mary married William Stanislaus WRIGHT in 1856 in Kensington, London. William was born about 1834 in Kensington, London. He died after 20 May 1871.

According to the 1861 census William was a photographer and artist. He and Mary were living at that time at 26 Newland St. in Kensington. By the time of the 1871 census, they were living at 1 Melon Cottages in Kensington (this was shortly before Mary died) and William was working as a photographer's assistant. There were no children listed in either census. The 1881 to 1901 censuses were checked on for further information on William but nothing was found.

In case it may relate to our William above, a William Wright, aged 16, is listed in the 1851 census. Details of the household are:

Address: Gregory Place, Holland St., Kensington
William Wright, head, aged 44, servant, born Ipswich, Suffolk
Susannah Wright, wife, aged 49? laundress, born in what looks like "Suardson" in Essex
William, son, 16, born Kensington
Charles, 15, son, born Kensington
Frances, 13, daughter, born Kensington
+ 4 M iii Thomas HUSSEY was born on 28 Feb 1834. He died on 1 Jun 1919.
  5 F iv
Ellen HUSSEY was born on 6 Jul 1838 in 29 New St, Kensington, London. She was christened on 26 Jul 1838 in Our Lady of Victories, High St., Kensington. She died on 8 Apr 1855 in 13 Campden St., St. Mary Abbot, Kensington.

Ellen may have been a twin as underneath her date of birth on her birth record is the number 2 (followed by one or two words that are illegible). However there is nobody by the name of Hussey on the same page of the register (as transcribed on the FreeBMD website). Could it be that her twin was stillborn (stillbirths were not recorded at that time)?  

Ellen's baptismal sponsors were John Hogan and Catherine Callingham.

Ellen died at the age of 16 of tuberculosis.

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