Ann FEAR (1840-1908) &
the Holmes family

Grave with pointy top and ivy symbol.

Life story retold by Tina Bilbe

Who was Ann Fear and why are so many of the Holmes family recorded on her gravestone? was a question my mother-in-law asked me.

Ann Hone was born 17 June 1840 at Adderbury East in Oxfordshire, her father was a weaver. After she left school, she became a domestic servant and in 1861, age 20, she was working in Banbury for retired ironmonger Richard Edmunds and his wife.

She moved to Reading and was working in Kendrick Road for the Huntley family at the time of her marriage to grocer Edwin Holmes at the Wesleyan Chapel, Church St. Reading on 1 June 1868 and their son Thomas was born at 19 Princes St. a year later. They returned to his home town of Pewsey where Edwin died at the age of 33 on 7 Feb 1871 from kidney failure.

Ann returned to domestic service with the Huntley family in Kendrick Rd. while her parents and siblings took care of her young son. She was able to retire and the 1901 census lists her, age 60, living with her son and his family with a small income of her own.

During the last quarter of 1902 Ann married Mr James Fear, a well known retired boot manufacturer ten years her senior, a widower. He was very active in the Oxford Rd. Methodist Church, which is probably how they met. They lived at 45 Russell St. and were married for five years before he died in March 1907, leaving a considerable estate. Ann did not become a wealthy widow and at her death on 14 July 1908 was living at 67 Norfolk Rd. Her effects were valued at £376 6s when her son Thomas was granted administration of her estate.

Thomas and his wife Mary and his son Howard Hone Holmes are buried with Ann.

On the kerb of the grave the name of Howard Hone Holmes in lead lettering.

Buried in Section 12, Row O, Number 4