Edward Weller was the second son of a large family. His forebears had lived and died in Amersham for several generations as the gravestones in the churchyard testify. His father had owned a brewery in the little town and had also acquired many acres of property in the district. On the death of the father the brewery became the joint possession of the three oldest sons - William, Edward and George. William was not blessed with great ability and became "a sleeping partner" of the firm. He lived an easy life at "Springfield lodge" a few miles from High Wycombe. The youngest of the three, George, seems to have become responsible for the management of the brewery. He, together with his eldest son Gerard, in later years made a great success of the business and became wealthy men. Edward devoted his time and attention to the management of the property and farms. That the farms were extensive is evident from the fact that on the day of the above mentioned marriage there was a meal provided for the farm workers and seventy men shared in the feast. At the time of the wedding Edward was 28 years of age.
Edith Emma Aylward was the daughter of the late Adolphus Frederic Aylward who had been vicar of Chesham for 25 years (1846-1871). He died the victim of a typhus fever epidemic. His widow and two daughters, Gertrude Mary and Edith Emma continued to live in Chesham. Some fifteen months after the death of their father the two daughters were married at a double wedding. The edler daughter married John Foote Churchill, a doctor who had come to Chesham at the time of the fever outbreak. The younger daughter married Edward Weller, 2nd son of the late William Weller of Amersham. The mother of the two brides, Julia Aylward was previous to her marriage, one of several sisters - the Misses Morton. Her father had been an army doctor. During the Napolionic wars he had been stationed at Portchester Castle being medical officer to the French prisoners confined there. His daughter was born at Portchester in the year 1808.
The newspaper report of the double wedding on December 10 1872 records what a stir the event made in the little town and says that the church was filled to overflowing an hour before the commencement of the service.
Edward Weller and Edith settled in Amersham in a house opposite the family brewery. The White House. There in rapid succession were born three sons and three daughters; Fred, Mary, Margaret, Morton, Dorothy and Christopher, the compiler of these notes. When the sixth child had arrived it was realised that a large house was called for. So in 1879 a move was made to Blackwell Hall, Three miles from Amersham, a little less from Chesham. The family continued to increase and six more children were born during the next seven years. Two of these did not outlive the day of their birth. The others were Jack, Dick, Arthur and Frank.
During the ten years at Blackwell Hall the early education of the children was provided by a nursery governess. Her task could not have been easy as the children were at different stages of development. The time came when it was necessary for the older ones to go away to school. Fred, Mary and Morton were sent to schools in Brighton. But each year the educational difficulties increased and in 1889 it was decided to move the whole family to Brighton. A house was secured (34 St. Michael?s Place) and schools were selected for the various members though by that time Fred and Morton had been set as borders to Crewkerne Grammar school, of which their uncle Fred Weller was headmaster. The father began to divide his time between the care of is property in Buckinghamshire and residence in Brighton. This arrangement did not continue for long as he contracted pneumonia and died on 10 June 1890. He was then only 46 years of age. His widow was left with th task of caring for the large family, the eldest of whom was seventeen and the youngest was two and a half. For some two years longer the family continued to live in Brighton. The household was increased by "Grannie" Aylward. She and her maid came to share the house soon after the death of Edward. Grannie was then over eighty years of age and quite bedridden till her death in 1896. After about five years at Brighton there came the move to Bedford (1894). The move was undertake primarily because of the educational advantages the town had to offer. All five sons from Chris downwards were to become day scholars of what was then known as Bedford Grammar School. Later it abandoned the word "Grammar" and is now known as Bedford School. The house at Bedford was to be the last family home. From it Fred and Morton set out to Canada (later to make their homes in the States). From the home two daughters were to be married - Dorothy in 1902 to a parson - school master, Harry Gill and a year later Mary (from about this time generally called Mollie) was married to Keith Mitchell, a son of Archdeacon Mitchell, a near neighbour. From this home too, Chris went to Cambridge in 1898 and Jack set out on his first sea trip - to Ceylon. During the Bedford period the family connection with Aberdovey (N. Wales) commenced. Each August, so soon as the school term was over, a large party of Wellers, reinforced with school friends set out for what was then a tiny fishing village. There for six weeks or more they "took possession" of the place. There was bathing, sometimes three times a day. Some of us became expert divers from the jetty. A number of the village folk would assemble to admire our exploits. Jack was pre-eminent but most of us were able to show enough skill to please the onlookers. In the afternoon there were cricket matches. Home and away contests against Towyn, Machynlleth, Dolgelly and Aberystwyth. Several games were played too against the great cricketing family of Fosters, the Worcestershire Fosters. On the village. On the village wicket our party was able to hold its own against this notable family. Also there were amateur theatricals. The national schoolroom was packed out each year on two or three nights to watch our performances on behalf of local charities. Altogether the doings of the Weller family were such that when the writer of these notes visited Abudovey forty years later a tremendous welcome was extended to him and his two elder sons.
The Bedford days lasted till 1904. When they closed, the members of what had been a very happy family were scattered far and wide.
[Extract from the will of Edward WELLER of Chesham and Amersham in the County of Bucks, Brewer, 23 Nov 1882. FRom R.M.Weller]“All the real and personal estate of or to which I shall at my death be seized possessed or entitled or own which I shall then have any general testamentary power of disposition including my share in the business which I carry on at Chesham and Amersham or elsewhere in partnership with my brothers William Weller and George Weller ...”
Edward, born 8th August 1843, died 10th June 1890
and John, died April 1893 age 41
Edward Weller may also have been godfather to Victor Leonard RANCE who was born in 1887.
[From Vic RANCE]We have a very nice ivory christening mug given to my grandfather Victor Leonard Rance who was born in 1887, it was apparently carved from an elephants tusk. There may have been other links as my grandfather had a younger brother born in 1893 who was called Dennis Weller Rance. My great grandfather was called Alfred Rance and although originally from a family of builders in Beaconsfield became a farmer between the Lee and St Leonards in Bucks at a farm called Bruns Farm/ Old Bruns / and is now known as Brun Grange. This was a fairly substantial farm as the census returns show it amounting to 240 acres and my great grandfather employing many farmworkers aswell as domestic servants. I wonder if this was a farm owned by the Wellers as it is my suspiscion my great grandfather did not own it freehold as during the 1890's he moved to a farm rented from the Rothschild estate in Wendover which he later bought. Presumably he was a supplier of grain to the brewery in Amersham. If you ever come across my family or a reference to Bruns Farm in your research it would be interesting to know.
[From: Alison Pirouet] The 1891 census shows by g.g. grandfather, Benjamin Fletcher as Farm Foreman on Bruns Farm. He was married to Ann and had 3 children, Edward Fletcher (my g grandfather), Lizzie and William. My father can remember the farm being referred to as Weller's farm.