Cousins Edward and Elizabeth baptised at St Mary’s Rotherhithe

Ordinance map of 19th century Rotherhithe and the Pool of London

St Mary’s Church (A) Rotherhithe Google maps 2013

First Cousins and both children of master mariners, Edward Goldsmith (1836-1883) and Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914 ) were born in London and baptised at St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe, known as the Mayflower Church, one decade apart. Elizabeth Rachel Day arrived in Hobart Tasmania as an infant, where her sister Mary Sophia was born in 1853, and married professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin at Kangaroo Valley, Hobart on 12 July 1871. Edward Goldsmith made several voyages to Tasmania with his father Captain Edward Goldsmith, attended the Governor’s Levee there in 1855, went to Trinity College Cambridge in 1857, married, became a surgeon, managed his father’s estates in Kent and died young at Rochester, UK, just 46 yrs old.


  • Edward Goldsmith (b. Rotherhithe 12 December 1836 – d. Rochester UK 8 May 1883)

Father: Captain Edward Goldsmith; mother Elizabeth Day
Spouse: Sarah Jane Goldsmith nee Rivers

  • Elizabeth Rachel Day (b. Rotherhithe 26 March 1847 – d. Hobart Tasmania 18 June 1914)

Father: Captain James Day; mother Rachel Pocock
Spouse: Thomas James Nevin

British Museum
View of the church of St Mary Rotherhithe, in London, from the graveyard.
1802 Pen and ink with grey wash

Floating Dock, Rotherhithe, 1815
Floating Dock, Rotherhithe, 1815

Floating Dock Rotherhithe 1815,
Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in background
Drawn by L. Francia and engraved by J. C. Allen, published by W. B. Cooke, 1815.

1836: Edward Goldsmith
Edward Goldsmith was the second son and the only surviving son after the death of his older brother Richard Sydney in Hobart (1854) of master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) whose residence in 1829 was Rotherhithe when he married Richard and Edward’s mother Elizabeth Day (1802-1875). She was the sister of  master mariner Captain James Day (1806-1882), father of Elizabeth Rachel Day, wife of photographer Thomas J. Nevin.

Edward Goldsmith
Christened 24 December 1836 at St Mary’s Rotherhithe, Surrey UK
All records courtesy of the website FamilySearch:

Although just four years old, Edward was listed in the UK Census of 1841.

Edward Goldsmith may have attended The Amicable School established by wealthy sea captains at St Mary’s Rotherhithe. The school master lived and taught his pupils in this little house.

The Amicable School, St Mary’s, Rotherhithe
Photo courtesy: emm in london

In 1855, as a young man approaching twenty, Edward accompanied his father Captain Edward Goldsmith to the Governor’s Levee in Hobart. See this article here for those who also attended. But by 1856 he was back in the UK, enrolled at Trinity College where he matriculated at Michaelmas in 1857. He may have joined the Army – there is a listing for Edward Goldsmith in 1858 at the Crimean War – but afterwards studied medicine and became a surgeon. He married Sarah Jane Rivers from Deptford in July 1870.

On the death of his wealthy father at Gadshill Place in 1869, Edward Goldsmith contested the will in Chancery against the legatees, his cousins, Mary Sophia and Elizabeth Rachel Day. In 1872 both Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin were named in the suit which was lodged in the name of Elizabeth’s younger sister, Mary Sophia Day (Ref: National Archives UK C16/781 C546012). More about this extraordinary Chancery case in a future article.


Edward Goldsmith’s marriage to Sarah Jane Rivers
Morning Post London 18 July 1870


Goldsmith v. Goldsmith, Chancery, London Times, 3 June 1871


Death of Edward Goldsmith, 19 May 1883 Whitstable Times

In the 1881 UK Census, Edward Goldsmith, aged 44 yrs,  and his wife Sarah Jane Goldsmith , aged 43yrs, born at Deptford, Kent in 1838, were resident at 13 Upper Clarence Place, Rochester, Kent, next door to the house at No. 11 Upper Clarence Place where Charles Dickens’ mistress Ellen Ternan was born. Edward’s income was “HOUSES” in 1881. He had inherited extensive leaseholds and real estate from his father Captain Edward Goldsmith, and his mother Elizabeth Day, but by 1883, Edward was dead, aged 46yrs old. He was buried with his parents at Chalk Church, Dickens’ favoured venue for Sunday worship, daily walks, and fictional settings.

Edward was buried at Chalk Church near Higham, Kent in 1883, in the family grave where his father Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) and mother Elizabeth Day (1802-1875) were buried. His parents were not only contemporaries of Charles Dickens, they were neighbours at Gadshill Place, Higham, and Chalk Church was their common place of worship.

Chalk Church, Higham, Kent.
Aerial view above showing the churchyard graves

1847: Elizabeth Rachel Day

Edward’s cousin Elizabeth Rachel Day was born at Rotherhithe and baptised at St Marys Church Rotherhithe on the 28th May 1847. Her parents had married in Hobart six years earlier, at St Davids Church on 6th January 1841. She was the eldest daughter, and sister of Mary Sophia Day, who was born in Hobart in 1853. Her father, master mariner Captain James Day (1806-1882), born in Yorkshire where his sister married Captain Edward Goldsmith in 1829, had served as master, navigator and first mate in the Royal Merchant Navy until 1854 when he applied in Hobart for the Australian Ordinary Trade Service. Elizabeth Rachel and Mary Sophia Day’s mother Rachel Rose Pocock was a Wesleyan Methodist, born in Bristol, Gloucester UK, on 30 May, 1810, christened on 24th May 1812, the daughter of George and Elizabeth Pocock. Elizabeth Day married photographer Thomas James Nevin on 12th July, 1871, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley (Lenah Valley), Hobart.

Elizabeth Rachael [sic – she dropped the “a” on marriage] Day, christened on 28th April 1847 at St Mary’s Church Rotherhithe UK.

St Mary’s Church Rotherhithe London
In 1838, when the well-known ship Temeraire was broken up, some of her timbers were used to build a communion table and two bishop’s chairs in the Rotherhithe church.

St. Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe, London. The Mayflower Church
This is a charming handmade video narrated by Richard Goodwin, outlining the history of St. Mary’s Church Rotherhithe on a walking tour.

St Mary’s Church at Wikipedia

As befits a church near the merchant activity on the river, there are several maritime connections. The communion table in the Lady Chapel and two bishop’s chairs are made from salvaged timber from the warship HMS Temeraire. The ship’s final journey to the breaker’s yard at Deptford was made famous by Turner in his evocative painting The Fighting Temeraire, now in theNational Gallery.
In the church a memorial marks the final resting place of Christopher Jones, captain of the Mayflower, which took the Pilgrim Fathers to North America in 1620.
It is also the burial place of Prince Lee Boo of Palau, a Pacific Island prince.
Nearby are some of London’s Nordic churches and missions to seafarers.

The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1838 by J. M. W. Turner, 1838.