The eldest surviving child of William and Maria Jaycock (nee Steer) Baynham, Maria Jane was born in March 1865 on Albany Street, Regents Park just eighteen months after the birth of her elder sister, Emma (September 1863) who died during Maria’s pregnancy with Maria Jane, in November 1864. After the birth of Ellen Laura in 1867 and Ada in 1870, William and Maria moved around the country in the 1870s with their only son, Whitby William George born in Whitby, Yorkshire in 1873 and the youngest of the flock, Margaret Theresa (known as Daisy) born in Cardiff in 1875.
The Baynham family returned to London prior to the 1881 census and were living in Islington at this time, but Maria, aged 16, was a servant in Pembroke Road, Kensington for Marianne Morgan, whose occupation was ‘investments’.
In 1891, Mary J. Baynham is a ‘cadet in the Salvation Army’ at 35 Netherwood Road, Hammersmith. Shortly after the census, she sailed to India. Information obtained from Major David W. Clark, Social Services Historian for The Salvation Army back in 2004, indicated that Captain Maria Baynham, late of the Training Home staff, sailed on the “S.S. Austral” on 29 July 1892. She was in the company of four other Salvation Army Officers. They boarded at Liverpool and Colonel Lucy Booth joined the ship on 4 August. This ties in with the information recorded on my grandfather’s tree that Maria Jane was ‘comp. [companion] to Lucy Booth, Salvation Army’.
Various photographs and letters from Maria Jane to her family have survived from her time in India, though there is no record of the Indian name which she adopted. This was the custom for Salvation Army Officers in India and without this information it is challenging to trace her career. She was commissioned a Lieutenant in 1890 and I am told that to be a Captain already by 1892, she must have been ‘exceptional’.
The next record of Captain Baynham is in February 1895 when she was appointed in charge of the Salvation Army Corps (Church) in Bromsgrove (Worcester). It is clear that she did not remain an officer for long but just how long is unknown.
In 1911, Maria is aged 46 and a servant cook at Lyons Hall, Great Leighs, Chelmsford though it is understood that she also worked for the ‘Army’ in their International Headquarters at 101 Queen Victoria Street on clerical duties for some time. She was living in a ‘bed-sit’ at 101 The Grove Ealing in the mid-1920s, but the house changed hands and the new landlord wanted the whole house to himself. On 26 September 1926, Maria Jane moved into The Salvation Army’s emergency accommodation at 259 Mare Street, Hackney and then their Hampstead Eventide Home, Adelaide Cottage on 13 October. It was recorded that she was only sixty-one years of age and interestingly, so was the Salvation Army.
Maria Jane transferred to Clock House when Adelaide Cottage closed. At first, a Mrs Gosling – her sister, Ellen Laura who married Arthur Gosling – paid for her keep but at some point, she could no longer and a Miss Baynham – Doris, the ‘daughter’ of ‘Whitby William George’ (excuse the inverted commas but both of those statements are more than a little dubious) – took over the responsibility.
In 1927, an unnamed relative deposited the sum of eight pounds for funeral expenses. Maria Jane was ‘in dire need’ and it was noted that ‘it would be a sad day if we allowed one of our former staff to go to the workhouse’.
Maria Jane died on 2 March 1943 at St Pancras Hospital aged 77 years of myocardial degeneration, her sister, Ellen Laura Gosling noted as the informant of her death.