Born 20th March 1852 to parents William and Eleanor “Ellen” Ransom (nee Eyre) in the Union Workhouse at Old Windsor, Berkshire. He had two younger siblings Charles and Arthur. Charles died at just over 3 years of age. Arthur would later spend time living apart from the family in the workhouse and as a young man he emigrated to Australia where his descendants still live to this day.  The first residence the family are listed at is 19 Thornton’s Yard, Brentford, Middlesex in the 1861 census but just the year before the birth of Charles was recorded at the same address. Both his parents were agricultural labourer’s at the time. His grandparents were William and Frances Ransome (nee Bacon) and they were born in Holkham, Norfolk and worked for the Holkham Hall estate for Thomas Coke, the 1st Earl of Leicester, William was a gamekeeper and Frances was a housemaid. Their life here is fairly well documented in the Holkham archives. Frances’s parents are buried on the estate. They later moved from Holkham to work as a gamekeeper and Frances working on the gate to the Portnal Park estate for Colonel C.B.Challoner JWE though was to spend his whole life in Brentford 

JWE Ransom was known through at least his adult life as William.  

In 1871, age 19 and a travelling confectioner, he was living at 48 High Street, Brentford with his aunt Frances Dear (nee Eyre). Frances’s husband Charles Dear was a local Waterman and was killed in a boating accident a few years before on the Thames at Cuckold’s Point. His barge laden with goods was hit by a steamer and he was trapped underneath and drowned. 

Just before JWE married Mary Eliza Meads he was living with her in Albion Road, Hounslow and during the same year on 29th October 1876 JWE married Mary Eliza Meads at St. Peter’s in Hammersmith, Mary was the daughter of James Stocker Meads, a hairdresser who was also a well known constable and beadle of the parish of Heston. When her father died in 1905 he made the papers including in France for being the oldest serving constable in the country at age 95. It was reported hundreds attended his funeral.

In 1881 JWE, still a travelling confectioner and his wife Mary Eliza were living at 270 High Street, Brentford with their first child, daughter Florence.  

By 1885 the family had moved to 27 Orchard Road, Brentford and By August 1887 they moved to where JWE would spend the rest of his life – Linden House, 23 The Butts, Brentford.  

Around 1885 JWE started a business called Pescud & Ransom together with William Pescud who was also a well known Brentford businessman. In the late 1890’s JWE was listed in relation to Pescud & Ransom as having residence at 23 The Butts, 203 High Street, a factory, freehold houses at The Butts and and Credlands cottages, The Butts, Brentford. My grandfather Sidney Ransom once or twice mentioned to my father Clive Ransom of his grandfather having a ‘sweet factory’ down London way.

Pescud & Ransom was in business from around 1885 until 1904, eventually going bankrupt. The family continued living at 23 The Butts  until the death of JWE in 1928 

JWE and Mary had 8 children and their dates of birth are all written in order by JWE in the Ransom family bible.

Mary Eliza died on 27th December 1895. Her daughter Florence was present and registered it. The death certificate says Mary died of Apoplexy after 30hrs. This would be described as a Stroke now. 

JWE married his second wife Mercy Jenner (nee Martin) on 24th January 1899. Here is a photograph of them both. Mercy had no children with JWE: 

JWE and Mercy Ransom
JWE and Mercy Ransom

Also here is a photograph of 6 of James and Mary’s children outside 23 The Butts, Brentford – this must be 1903 or before going by the ages of their children – this is JWE and Mary’s children Ernest, Maud, Herbert (my great grandfather), then front: George, Beatrice and Arthur. Florence is not present in the photo: 

Linden House – 23 The Butts, Brentford, around 1904

Here is myself and my Dad Clive Ransom recreating the same scene over 100 years later in 2019: 

Linden House – 23 The Butts, Brentford, around 1904 and 2019

Pescud & Ransom tin (1904 or before): 

Pescud & Ransom tin, dates from pre 1904

JWE in the news

First mention – 1885 – the passing of one business to another: 

William Pescud and William Ransom – Pescud & Ransom

Christmas Present’s 1885: 

Feb 1886: 

May 1887: 

May 1890 – Traveller’s Strike: 

Burglary of Pescud & Ransom premises: 

1890 – A Defaulting Apprentice:

Cruelty To A Horse: 

August 1891 – Pescud Attacked By A Horse – Maybe this was a horses revenge for the above cruelty to a horse!: 

1895: Collision!



July 1903 – Serious Accident to William Ransom (JWE): 

1904 – Bankruptcy, Eventually things caught up with them and the business went bankrupt: 

May 1905 – Employee not keeping his wife: 

Here is what (very briefly) happened to their children: 

Florence married into the Harris family who were a well known Brentford family of coach builders, she later ran the business as Mrs. Harris when her husband died. We have no photo’s of Florence. 

William sadly died aged 9 days. 

Ernest emigrated to Canada with his wife – also of the Harris family. Their descendants still live there to this day. 

Maud married an Arthur Savage and emigrated to Canberra, Australia with Arthur working in the early Parliament House. A chapter in a Canberra history book was written about Maud and Arthur. Their descendants still live there to this day 

Herbert, my great grandfather moved to Birmingham shortly after he got married to Maud Lunt who we are told JWE did not approve of. We know that Herbert’s children did on occaision visit JWE as children at 23 The Butts, Brentford. Herbert died in 1938. My family still reside in Birmingham to this day. 

Arthur married Mary Ann Samuel and they moved to Teddington. We have met one of Arthur’s descendants and keep in regular contact. 

Beatrice emigrated to Australia also but instead of living close to her sister Maud in Canberra she moved to a small town called Moora, then onto Dumbleyung and Wagin. We know through the descendants of Maud though that the two of them did meet up and we have some photographs of the two of them in Perth on a shopping trip in the 1940’s. She married tow men through her life but neither of them worked out, eventually she lived alone but she did have children earlier on. 

We have various evidence that the move to Australia for Maud and Beatrice was related to the church, not sure if it was St. Lawrence but that did seem to be their local church. During their time in Australia they were both deeply involved in church activities. 

George married Eliza Kate Middleton and lived in Southampton and Portsmouth ending up in Birmingham although my family did not know of him. He was close to Arthur’s family though and appears in many family photographs through the years. 

Memories of JWE (William) Ransom. As recalled by family members.

Janet Coley, grandaughter of JWE says that her mother Beatrice ‘Beat’ Ransom recalled being taken on visits to Brentford with her father Herbert to see the family in Brentford. As she was the eldest of her generation this may be why she had memories of visiting. She recalls her grandfather JWE was some kind of preacher and was very strict. Whilst visiting she was not allowed to play out with the other kids who lived in the street and could only sit on the wall of the garden and watch the other kids play in the street. She was never allowed to play with them. The wall she spoke of is very likely this one as it runs alongside the garden of 23 The Butts and below the other side is the street. it looks a low wall but there is a considerable drop the other side, around 6 to 7ft.

Clive Ransom in the garden of 23 The Butts – 2021

Chris Cole, daughter in law of Doris ‘Dos’ Ransom provided this: “Doris didn’t know any of her dads family.  Her siblings visited London with their dad to see his family but Doris never did, or didn’t remember that she did.  She had quite a complex about it because her siblings, especially Beatty, would tease her, even as an adult, saying she had been disowned and her grandparents didn’t want anything to do with her, and her dad had been told never to take her with him.  In truth, she was still very young when her grandparents died so her age may have been the reason she didn’t go or doesn’t remember ever going.”