It was while they were packing to move to Wickford that Mum found my grandmother’s birth certificate. We never knew but Nan was born in Wickford High Street at the weather-boarded houses by the village pump in 1879. This was about where Sid’s butcher shop is now. Her name was May Sarah Emeney. May Sarah lived in Wickford possibly going to the Runwell school which her brothers and sisters also attended. Runwell School was then opposite St. Mary’s Church Runwell, now a private house of dear June and Johnny, where I think many of the adults of Wickford and Runwell today remember going to dance school when they were children.
May Sarah’s father and mother, William and Sarah Emeney, had a boot mender shop and they lived there until 1891. The railway arrived in Wickford around 1887 and must have made a big difference to the town. As my grandmother and her family lived almost next to the line, perhaps they found it too noisy and they then moved to Nevendon, Wickford, leaving one son George Emeney in Wickford as he worked on the railway. Unfortunately poor George was only 22 when, as it said on his death certificate, “He was accidentaly run over by a certain Passenger Engine and train on the Great Eastern Railway there”. He was buried at Wickford.
I have since researched my family tree and found that most of my ancestors on my grandmother’s side came from in and around Wickford and Runwell back to at least 1749 and perhaps even further. So it seems Wickford and Runwell are in my blood and I have come back to my roots.