Elizabeth Dunkin Francis
Elizabeth Dunkin Francis (1787-1825) married Henry Francis (1781-1857) of St. Aldermanbury, London, at St. Giles, Camberwell, on 17 May 1803, when she was sixteen. The Francises were a prominent Baptist family in Southwark in the latter part of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth. A William Francis joined the Baptist congregation at Carter Lane in 1783, living at Aldgate, High Street, Southwark (f. 53), possibly a relation of Henry Francis. In 1801, a Henry Francis, living at the Paragon, Walworth, subscribed, along with John Dunkin and Dunkin’s eldest son and father, to Samuel Lowell’s Sermons on Evangelical and Practical Subjects. This is most likely the father of Henry Francis, since the Henry Francis who married Elizabeth Dunkin would only have been 21 at that time, and probably too young to have had his own residence in the fashionable townhomes of the Paragon, the former residence of John Dunkin and, for a time, Mary Hays when she and her mother and siblings lived with the Dunkins at 2 Paragon Place. According to information in Eliza Fenwick's letters to Hays between 1810 and 1812, Elizabeth Francis was involved in teaching, either with her own school or with another woman, for Fenwick discusses certain children either being taught by Francis or wishing to be taught by her. Hays had already instructed her three nieces for a time when she lived in Park Street, Islington, and was also instructing some of the children of her brother, Thomas Hays, when she lived with his family in Wandsworth from 1809 to 1813, during the same time that Francis was teaching. By the fall of 1819, Elizabeth and Henry Francis (he was a solicitor, like Crabb Robinson) had relocated to Maze Hill, very close to Vanbrugh Castle, Blackheath, Greenwich. Mary Hays moved into rooms in Vanbrugh Castle in 1823 as a tenant in a school operated there by a Mr. Robert Browne and his wife. In 1819, Vanbrugh House, next door to the castle, had become the residence of Elizabeth’s sister, Marianne [Marianna] Dunkin Bennett, and her husband, William Bennett, about the same time the Francis family arrived at Maze Hill. Elizabeth Francis died on 22 January 1825, just a few days prior to Elizabeth Lanfear’s death (6 February 1825). Henry Francis would remain at Maze Hill until his death in 1857. By 1825, the Francises had 12 children, according to a letter from Eliza Fenwick to Hays, although only 11 can be accounted for at present: Sarah Francis, Joanna Dunkin Francis, Elizabeth Francis, Ann Francis, Kate Francis, Henry Dunkin Francis (b. 1806, married Anne Dunkin, most likely his cousin), Marianna Palmer Francis (b. c. 1810, married Andrew Murray), Mary Palmer Francis (married John Rogers), John Dunkin Francis (b. 1813), Christopher Dunkin Francis (b. 1814, d. 1890, at Warwick, m. Isabella King), Robert Dunkin Francis (b. 29 March 1821, married Elizabeth Dunkin).