Montague Gray

Montague Gray, the partner of Elizabeth Smith/Loveridge, claimed birth c1832, generally in Bedfordshire, although occasionally he said his birthplace had been Hertfordshire. When he formed a union with his second wife, Margaret/Martha Sherriff, he informed the cleric that his father’s name was Charles.

Fascinatingly, there is a baptism of a Montague on 3rd May 1833 at Hexton, Hertfordshire, on the borders of Bedfordshire, the son of Charles and Elizabeth Maclaine, ‘vagrants and Gypsies.’ The location and timescale are, at the very least, a tremendous coincidence in the baptising of a child with this unusual forename. Could this be Montague Gray?

Charles Maclaine had married Elizabeth Bradshaw in the registration district of Biggleswade, in Bedfordshire, on 5th November 1832; he was the son of Charles (a well-known Gypsy fiddler) and Sophia Maclaine. baptised on 14th December 1806 at Willington, Bedfordshire, ‘of the people called Gypsies.’

There is certainly a connection with the Gray family for the Maclaines, since their daughter, Caroline, baptised on 6th April 1800, married a George Gray in 1825 in Cambridgeshire, a favoured location for the Grays, and one that Montague would also favour, as well as Bedfordshire, prior to his move into the Midlands, following his second union.

Is this the baptism, then, of Montague Gray, who may have adopted the name because of a subsequent union by his mother, following the death of his father, or because he was taken into the family of his aunt Caroline Gray? It is certainly worth pondering.