The STRATFORD family

[Apologise for the abominable formatting on the blog.  The software refuses to budge when I edit even when editing HTML]

Once again I set off on doing a 'quick' biography for a headstone I snapped in February.  Every time I say this I end up jinxing myself and it turns into a long snaking journey around many more members of the same family.  This time was no exception with the STRATFORD family.

I had originally spied Charles Edward STRATFORD's headstone at Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch on 27 February.  

 In loving memory of
A beloved husband & father
Charles Edward STRATFORD
Died 3rd August 1956 – Aged 58 years
Late No. 7/2157 World War 1
Also Agnes Mary STRATFORD
A beloved wife & mother
Died 1st February 1976 – Aged 75 years
Block 23 Plot 139 [3] 

Charles was living at 24 Baker Street, Christchurch at the time of his death and was an upholsterer.

Plaque to right of headstone:
Maurice Joseph STRATFORD [Mossie]
1929 – 1934
Died 4 August 1934 [1]
Block 23 Plot 138

Born: Christchurch
Address at death: 41 Winton St, Christchurch

Charles looks so young in this newspaper clipping from The Star, 12 April 1918 which would have been taken a few years earlier.

He was born c1897 in New Zealand and so would have enlisted around the tender age of 18 - he certainly looks younger than this in the photo. 

He fought in the Somme and Messines according to his Cenotaph database record.

On the 12 April 1918, a casualty notice appeared for him stating he had been wounded in action.

Sapper C. Stratford.
Mrs Stratford of 33, Suffolk Street, Linwood has received advice that her son Gunner Charles Stratford, has been admitted to hospital in England suffering from a severe gunshot wound in the left thigh.  Gunner Stratford left with the Ninth Reinforcements.  He took part in the battles of the Somme and Messines.  He was educated at the Marist Brothers’ School and later was on the staff of A.J. White, Ltd.  He is twenty-one years of age.
Charles came home from the war and eventually married Agnes Mary SHARLICK c1920[4].  An account of their wedding was printed:

At least 2 sons were born to Charles and Agnes - Bernie and Maurice, although on searching the internet, I came across a family tree showing the birth of 2 daughters, Patricia and Kathleen.[28]

Bernie was born c1925.  There is a Bernard Charles STRATFORD, upholsterer, living with his wife Catherine Margaret at 26 Queensbury Street, Christchurch on the 1954, Avon electoral roll.[13]

Maurice  Joseph born c1929.  He died in rather tragic circumstances aged 4 and is buried with his parents here in this grave.  The Auckland Star reported at the time of his death:


Two Boys Injured

One dies in Hospital

Two boys, Bernie Stratford, aged nine, and Maurice Stratford, aged seven, [sic] fell down Scarborough cliff, Sumner, on Saturday morning and were seriously injured.  Yesterday Maurice died.  He had internal injuries and Bernie severe head injuries.

An operation was necessary in both cases.  The older boy is still in a serious condition.  They were both unconscious when admitted to the hospital.

The boys went to Sumner with their father, who had some bricklaying work to do. There they left him to go and must themselves alone, and wandered off to the beach.  From the beach it is believed they climbed the cliff, a hazardous climb for experienced men.  After achieving most of the ascent, they slipped and fell to the roadway about sixty feet below.

When the boys were found they were both bleeding from cuts on the head and face, and were unconscious.  They were at once given medical attention and rushed to the hospital.  Their father was not located until some time later.[2]

 ~~~~ *** ~~~~

 Parents and Siblings

Charles Edward was the son of Charles Abraham STRATFORD and Ann Agnes nee HURST who wed circa 1891[5].   Charles Senior was, in his time, a well known horse racing identity and it appears that they had rather a tumultuous relationship. 

In June of 1895,  Ann [now living at Upper Riccarton], gave birth to Ambrose James STRATFORD at Swindon Lodge in Linwood, Christchurch[18] and only 14 months later on 26 August 1896, Charles senior was fined 5 shillings after having been charged that:
On August 29th, [he] used obscene language in Linwood, with having assaulted Anthony HURST, and with having broken a pane of glass, value 10 shillings, the property of Anthony HURST.  The accused, who pleaded guilty, was ordered to be imprisoned till the rising of the Court for using obscene language, was fined 40 shillings for the assault, and ordered to pay the value of the broken window, and also the costs incidental to the proceedings.[14]
Interesting to note the assaulted was a HURST.  Maybe a relation to Ann?

A few months later, Charles [buried in this grave] was born, and it appears his parents relationship continued on its rocky course, as his parents separated in 1898 and Annie applied for a separation under the Married Persons’ Separation act on the ground of his persistent cruelty to her.[6]  

Charles Senior was getting into strife in his professional life also.  In 1899, the fifth year of the Christchurch Racing Club's meetings the following appeared in the papers:


Charles senior and his wife Ann, during this time got back together and had a daughter, also named Ann born c1899,[5] [see more about Ann at bottom of page] but things were still rocky.  In 1900 the Stratford’s graced the Courts with their presence again:


In August 1901 Charles senior had a charge of obscene language dismissed over an incident when some friends were in his house to which Agnes objected.  When she tried to “get her small boy away” Charles senior had obviously voiced his opinion.[7]  One wonders what emotions Ann must have been going through as she was pregnant around this time and gave birth to a daughter Margaret Mary in 1901. More about Margaret and her cad of a husband further down the page.

Archives New Zealand have a Canterbury “Recognizance [sic] of the Peace” file for Charles Abraham STRATFORD dating 1904. These were from what I can find, similar to posting bond, which him being in and out of court is not surprising!

In 1910 Charles Abraham was again charged with obscene language.  You have to love the way it was reported in ‘The Truth’ and again, his wife was the centre of his anger:


Charles Abraham STRATFORD died 21 June 1927 aged 60 and was living at 33 Suffolk Street, Christchurch.  It is noted in the Christchurch Cemeteries database that he was a stable hand born in Australia and had been in New Zealand 40 years at the time of his death.  His obituary hints at someone who appeared to have a bit more clout than a stable hand.  It seems his many transgressions were overlooked by the racing fraternity, as a month after his death, the ‘annual inter Island jockeys’ football match was held and some of the takings went towards “erecting a memorial stone” to him[10] and his obituary stated:

“…in his day [he] was one of the most capable and certainly the most vigorous finisher in New Zealand, says a Dunedin writer.  “Charlies” was the last of the “long legs,” and persevered with the old-time seat to the last, as he still used it when noticed riding exercise on the eve of the last Great Autumn meeting at Riccarton,  In 1893 he won the Stewards’ Handicap on Au Revoir, and in 1894 the Dunedin Cup and Wanganui Cup on Liberator.  He also won the Wellington Cup on The Poet.  These we his most notable wins and he also scored on Artillery in the D.J.C. Champagne Stakes.  One of the most notable finishes that ever took place on the old Forbury Park course was between Stratford on Au Revoir and T. Buddicombe on Beadonwell.  They fought out a battle royal nearly all the way up the straight, with both riders hard at it over the final 100 yards with demonish vigour.  They flashed past the post together, and the judge could not separate them.  Such finishes are not seen nowadays, because the average rider sits too short to get the last ounce out of a horse, who not infrequently has to finish on his own and just for the love of a battle.  Charles Stratford was very popular with the old brigade and his death will be deeply regretted by all who knew him.”[11]
Ann Agnes STRATFORD nee HURST died 13 Sept 1946 aged 77 years and was still at 33 Suffolk Street at the time of her death. Her probate is available  
Charles and Ann may have been disgruntled with each other in life, but in death their family saw fit to place them together for all eternity.  I wonder how they both feel about that!  They are both buried in Linwood Cemetery Block 38 Plot 129.[8]  Also buried in the same plot is Henry Anthony STRATFORD [probably a son and therefore brother of Charles Edward] who died 20 November 1918 aged 24 years - did the influenza get him?  His occupation was stated as driver and he had been born in Christchurch.[9]


Ann STRATFORD born c1899
Ann married Arthur Patrick O’LEARY c1921[5] and died 31 December 1969 aged 70.  She was buried with her husband Arthur, in Ruru Lawn Cemetery Block 8 Plot 351.  Arthur, who was born in Christchurch and lived with Ann at 12 McCombs Street, Christchurch and was a Council Labourer aged 69 years at the time of his death, died 14 May 1962.[12]

Margaret Mary STRATFORD born c1901
In all probability, Margaret married Treavo GARDNER in 1920[21]. Margaret died 1 July 1988 aged 86. Treavo died 16 Nov. 1976 aged 78 and was a drainage board employee at the time of death.[22] They are both buried in Ruru Lawn Cemetery. Margaret in Block 12 Pot 299 and Treavo in plot 298. Buried in Block 12 Plot 298 is Noel Mariest GARDNER who died 19 Oct 2006 aged 67, a labourer born in Christchurch. Quite probably their son.

Interesting to note that Treavo Gardiner[sic] had a sentence passed in Dunedin court in 1917 to be detained for reformatory treatment for a period of not more than three years for breaking and entering in Oamaru[24] then a few years later in 1927 when he was married to Margaret was accused of indecently assaulting [raping? – got to love the wording of ‘The Truth’ newspaper back in those days] a 20 year old domestic.[25] He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.[26]



Marriage registration 1920/307 – Dept Internal affairs historic BDM database and for a connection for her tree see
Dept Internal affairs historic BDM database
Press, Volume LV, Issue 10057, 8 June 1898, Page 3
Star , Issue 7180, 19 August 1901, Page 3
Manawatu Standard, Volume XXXVIII, Issue 6849, 14 November 1900, Page 3
Dept Internal Affairs historic BDM indexes - [birth registration 1895/6880]
Dept Internal affairs historic BDM’S – Birth registration 1901/769
Dept Internal affairs historic BDM’S – Marriage registration 1920/10037
Charles' Cenotaph Database record 



  1. Very interesting reading this information. Charles Edward and Agnes Mary Stratford are my Grandparents. Charles Ambrose Stratford was born in Australia and is the son of William Stratford who was sent to Australia as a convict. Enjoyed reading the description of the wedding as I have a black and white photo now have an idea of the colours. Bernie and Morris are my uncles. Thanks again

  2. Hello!

    Oh how fabulous! So glad you enjoyed it! I originally just began doing a small bio to upload to flickr like I do most of my photos but this story just kept growing and changing so I felt it deserved a proper blog post, I thought it might enable someone to connect with family apart from the fact the connection to the racing world was interesting also in relation to Christchurch history.

    Cheers! Bless Charles Edward this Anzac Day also.

  3. Interesting that I should be reading this Anzac day 5yrs later. I received an email via Ancestry yesterday from Stratford relations in Melbourne Australia, endeavouring to complete their family tree. My connection is to Anne Stratford, I am her grandaughter on the OLeary side through her son Arthur Denis.

  4. To be reading this 5yrs later on Anzac day is a coincidence perhaps due to contact 24hrs ago from the Stratford family of Melbourne Aust. I am connected as the grandchild of Anne Stratford through her 3rd child Arthur Denis.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

1:12 scale Genealogists study - part 2

The COGAR children