Marriage in Marylebone – A Dickens Tale.

23 Mar

Parish Church of St Marylebone

On 13th March 1872, Hubert Brackenbury, an Inn Keeper of Horbling in Lincolnshire, England married Tailors daughter Dorothy Sophia Short in St Marylebone Parish Church, the church after which Marylebone is named. Curiosity caused me to visit this church and find out a little about its history.

The Parish Church situated close to Baker Street, the home to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, is in what would have been a thriving part of High Society Victorian London, yet close enough to the tranquillity of one of the City’s green areas; Regent’s Park. Noticeable too, are the many renowned public schools and colleges in the immediate area, in fact The Royal Academy of Music, Britain’s oldest degree-granting music school has been opposite the church since 1822. The world renowned ‘Harley Street’ is also in the same vicinity, and listed amongst it’s notable former inhabitants are Lionel Logue who successfully treated King George VI, who had a pronounced stuttering and who has since been depicted in the film ‘ The King’s Speech’

Marylebone was simply the type of place, you could imagine from the writings of Charles Dickens, who lived in nearby Devonshire Terrace. The Author, though born near Portsmouth, lived in Marylebone for some time and his son was baptised in this church. The ceremony is described by in his novel “Dombey and Son” and many of the characters in the novel ‘David Copperfield’ are said to be based on well-known persons then living in Marylebone.

A Rake's Progress V: The Rake marrying an Old Woman By: William Hogarth (1697 - 1764)

Though the Church has had three reconstructions, it has stood in the same location for centuries, and many famous persons from British history have walked the same path as Hubert and Dorothy, including the great Author and Philosopher; Sir Francis Bacon, who was married there in 1606. 18th century artist William Hogarth immortalised the church in the marriage scene from his famous series “A Rake’s Progress. Whilst Poet’s, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett were also married there in 1846 and the scene in the film ‘The Barrett’s of Wimpole Street’ was shot on location in the St Marylebone Parish Church.

This area of London has certainly been paved with the romance and artistry of musical and literary genius of by gone days, and just as many historic churches across the world, you never know in who’s footsteps your ancestors have followed.

Further Information about Hubert and his family can be viewed here

Images from this trip can be viewed here .

This week I am heading to London’s Camden Town to discover ‘A Mayor in the Family’ look out for images on Flickr

For more information Family Tree Services or any other Family History advice, please contact me. danny.billington


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