Great Grandfather Mingaye


 stained glass window closeup

 Stained glass window in south aisle of St Laurence’s Church, Winslow.

Made by Mingaye in 1868, makers mark is Mingaye Pinxit Londinium

Dedicated to the Reverend John Miles 1866.

The subject is “Agony in the Garden; Crucifixion; Resurrection; Ascension”.

My Great Grandfather

My Mother’s surname is Mingaye after her father and grandfather but I couldn’t find my Great Grandfather Mingaye – where was he and what had he been doing?  After many years of fruitless searching and, subsequently, waiting for the 1901 and then the 1911 Census to arrive, I finally found him – that ‘Eureka!’ moment.

It turns out that my Great Grandfather was born Augustine Joseph Mingaye Richardson.

In the 1851 Census he is recorded as a scholar aged 5 living with his father Joseph Richardson, a Teacher of Painting, born in Birmingham, his Grandmother Anna Richardson and his Aunt Anne Richardson. There is one other child – Rosa – aged 3, both children recorded as living in Oxford. My Great Great Grandfather Joseph appears in the 1841 Census in Oxford aged 35, an artist with a wife Sarah Agnes aged 30. There is a possible death for Sarah Agnes in Oxford in the June quarter of 1843.

I digress, we must follow the fortunes (?) of Augustine as he “flirts and diverts” us with his name(s) and age(s).  His possible birth year was 1846 and I finally tracked his birth as 27 May 1846 at 7 Park Street, St Mary Magdalen, Oxford. Father = Joseph Richardson, Artist. Mother = Rosabell Georgina Richardson formerly Mingaye Syder.

BINGO – a piece of the puzzle at last – Mingaye is from the female line of the family tree!

Why did my Great Grandfather use the surname ‘Mingaye’ and not his true surname of ‘Richardson’?  Was it for professional reasons, as he is variously described as a painter, artist, cartooner and a stained glass window painter and designer, or was it because, as further research proves, he married three times?

I am a descendant of the second marriage.

In 1865 Augustine Joseph Mingaye married his first wife, Emma Goodship, aged 23, and on 7 May 1884 they had a son Newton, born in France. (Newton died in San Diego on 27 January 1967.)  The 1871 Census shows the couple living at 246 Headington Hill, Headington, Oxford, and Augustine’s occupation as an Artist and Ecclesiastical Glass Painter.

In 1894, at the official age of 48, Augustus Richardson Mingaye, Widower, married his second wife Emily Hawking, age 23. On the marriage certificate, his age is recorded as 36 and his father is listed as being Joseph Richardson Mingaye (deceased) of Independent Means. Of course, the Registrar could have entered the surname as Richardson and then been asked to put in Mingaye – we will never know. Interestingly, in the 1901 UK Census Newton is recorded as being aged 17 and an Art Student living with his father and stepmother at 19 Clifton Gardens, Chiswick, Turnham Green, and step-brothers and sisters: Franklin [my Grandfather] age 6, Halley, 4 and Dahlia, 2. At this time, Augustus declares that he is 42, an Artist, Painter and Cartooner. A son, Faraday, died aged 9 months on 15 September 1901 – residence Hammersmith, London. Why did Augustus lie about where he was born? The 1901 Census records his birthplace as Italy – British Subject. Another diversion perhaps?

In 1902 a Diocese of London, Surrey Marriage Bond and Allegation, shows Augustus Mingaye married his third wife, Gertrude Fanny Biden, age 22, whilst still married to Emily, who died in Hammersmith in the June quarter of 1926 aged 54. Was this on the rebound following the death of his son Faraday?

How do I know this? Well, the 1911 Census records Gertrude F Mingaye, age 30 and Married, with a son, Augustus (8) and daughter, Rosa (6), living with her parents Godfrey and Fanny Biden at 85 Campden Street, Kensington. It also records Emily Mingaye, Widower, Charwoman, with Franklin (16), Halley (14) and Dahlia (12) living with her Widowed Mother Margaret Hawking at 22 Bradmore Grove, Hammersmith.

Sadly, such a talented artist and ecclesiastical glass painter and designer died in the Headington Workhouse in the March quarter of 1912. He is listed as Married and aged 65 so it is possible he was in the Infirmary, but I don’t think so – was he hiding again?

Oh, what wicked webs we weave in our efforts to deceive!

Whatever his reasons, our Great Grandfather Augustus has left us with a glorious example of a stained glass window in the church of St Laurence in Winslow. We have visited the church, by appointment, and taken the photograph shown following a very warm reception by the Congregation.

I now know why I have always had and still have an abiding love for churches and their stained glass windows.

Dahlia Harrison