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John was the third of five children born to John Vize (1776-1823) of Rotherhithe[1] and Esther Lockwood (1778-1838) of Stepney[2]. He was born in Rotherhithe, Surrey on 9 August 1804[3], probably in the family home on York Street. His father John owned a brewery in Rotherhithe, but his origins prior to this are not clear.

All of the Vize children were baptised at St Mary’s Rotherhithe. John had been preceded by John (1801-1801) and Harriet Bowen (1802); and was followed by Mary Ann (1806) and William Lockwood (1812). John’s baptism took place on 31 August 1804.

The Vize family lived in Rotherhithe through until John senior’s death in 1823. It appears that Esther sold the business and left Rotherhithe some time after this. There is no information on John’s life through this period or where he received his education.

In 1830 John applied to the Faculty Office in London for a marriage licence[4]. This was granted on 31 May 1830. He then travelled to Stratford On Avon where he married Matilda Lucy at the Holy Trinity Church Stratford on 5 June. Witnesses to the wedding were Matilda’s brother and sister, Charles and Caroline Lucy, and a third person whose name is undecipherable[5]. John is recorded as a schoolmaster in the parish register.

It is not known how John Vize of Surrey met Matilda Lucy of Warwickshire. One possibility is that John’s family was from the Studley Vizes of Warwickshire. Another is that he was educated in Warwickshire or with one of Matilda’s brothers. Most boys in families with some means would have been placed with a private tutor and lived in their house for a number of years whilst receiving their education.

Following the marriage Matilda and John received Matilda’s settlement from her father’s estate, which amounted to over £2,000, a significant sum in 1830[6].

To Mr William Lucy of Birmingham, Co of Warwick, miller.

I, the undersigned Charles Lucy of Stratford upon Avon in the Co of Warwick, miller, being the purchaser of the interest and dividends arising from the sum of 2039.13.3d invested in the 3 pound pa Consolidated Annuities under .... for a Deed of Settlement made upon the marriage of Mr John Vyse with Miss Matilda Lucy being date of 2nd day of June 1830 and which Interest and Dividends were lawfully and have become vested in me the said Charles Lucy for the life of the said John Vyse..... or certain.......of Assignment bearing date the 9th day of November 1833 do hereby give you “the said William Lucy” [this was crossed out] as the acting trustee under the said Deed of Settlement “made upon the name of the said John Vyse with the said Matilda Lucy” [this was crossed out] and of the ....in receipt (?) of the Interest and Dividends arising from the said sum of 2039.13.3d notice of the said purchase and assignment and I do hereby further give you notice and require you the said William Lucy to pay “the same to me accordingly” [this was crossed out] such Interest & Dividends to me during the life of the said John Vyse. As instructed by hand this ..... day of May 1839.[7]

John and Matilda settled at 39 Crawford Street St Mary-le-bone, where John invested their funds in establishing a bookshop[8] and circulating library[9]. A listing of John’s subscription to purchase an atlas[10] survives from this period.

John Vize, Esq
Edmonton, Middlesex

Subscribed to A Topographical Dictionary of England, comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate and market towns, parishes, chapelries, and townships, and the islands of Guernsey, Jersey, and Man, with Historical and Statistical Descriptions; illustrated by maps of the differenr counties and islands; A Map of England, shewing the principal towns, roads, railways, navigable rivers, and canals; and a plan of London and its environs; and embellished with engravings of the arms of the cities, bishopricks, universities, colleges, corporate towns, and boroughs, and of the seals of the several municipal corporations. Second edition. With an Appendix, describing the electoral boundaries of the several boroughs, as defined by the late Act. By Samuel Lewis Vol. I., 1833, LEWIS, Samuel. London, Andover
Printed by S. Lewis and Co., 87, Aldersgate-Street. Bensley, printer, Andover


In 1831 John and Matilda’s first child was born: John Edward Vize. He was born in St Mary-le-bone and baptised at St Mary’s Church on Bryanstone Square[11]. In January 1832, John Edward was again baptised, this time in Atherstone, Warwickshire[12].

By 1832 John’s business was in financial difficulties and in 1832 he filed for bankruptcy[13]. John and Matilda most likely lost all their assets at this time. John returned to teaching after this.

The family also left St Mary-le-bone after this, possibly staying with John’s mother in Edmonton (hence the address on the subscription) and in Mill Hill in the north of London, where Matilda and John’s second child, William Henry, was born in 1833[14]. By the time of William’s baptism in November 1833, the family had moved again to Guildford Place, Kennington and William was baptised at the nearby St Mark’s[15].

Another move before 1835 to Foster Place off Bedford Road in Clapham, followed by the birth of daughter Lucy Lockwood in 1835. Lucy was also baptised at St Mark’s Kennington[16]. Matilda and John’s youngest child, Charles Lucy Vize, was also born at Foster Place[17]. By this time William’s mother was quite unwell with tuberculosis[18], affecting both the health of the baby and her own. They both died within days of each other and were buried at St Matthew’s Brixton on 26 August 1837[19]. At this time John Edward was 6, William Henry was 3 and Lucy Lockwood was 2 years old.

John was left with three young children and needed to work to provide a living. He continued to work as a schoolmaster and moved the family to Tower Hamlets in South Hackney some time before March 1840[20]. Sharing the same tenement with the Vize’s was William Lockwood, probably John’s uncle, and his wife Ann[21]. William also worked as a schoolmaster and the Lockwoods may have helped with the children.

On 28 March 1840 John died, also from tuberculosis[22], leaving the three children aged 9, 6 and 5 years, orphans. It was William Lockwood that registered his death[23]. John was buried at St Matthew’s with Matilda and Charles[24].


[1] Will of John VIZE brewer of Rotherhithe 1823

[2] Will of Esther VIZE of Stepney 1838; St Mary’s Rotherhithe marriage and baptism registers 1800-1812

[3] St Mary’s Rotherhithe baptism register

[4] Faculty Office London, marriage licences

[5] Holy Trinity Stratford marriage register

[6] Transcribed by Judi Morrison from a document probably in the Shakespeare Centre

[7] Interesingly this is dated after Matila’s death (August 1837) and about one year before John’s death (March 1840).

[8] bookseller reference

[9] circulating library reference

[10] subscription reference

[11] St Mary’s Bryanstone Square baptism register

[12] church name Atherstone baptism register {C}

[13] Times of London 21 April 1832

[14] 1851 England Census – William Henry Vize, druggist apprentice Tunbridge Wells

[15] St Mark’s Kennington baptism register

[16] Ibid.

[17] Matilda Vize death certificate

[18] Ibid.

[19] National Burial Index; St Matthew’s Brixton burial register

[20] John Vize death certificate

[21] 1841 England Census – William and Ann Lockwood, schoolmaster South Hackney

[22] John Vize death certificate

[23] Ibid.

[24] National Burial Index; St Matthew’s Brixton burial register

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