jane galer

Holy Trinity, Cambridge

Jane was born at the family home on Kings Street in Cambridge and baptised at Holy Trinity church on 16 Mary 1817. She was the first daughter of George Galer and his wife Mary Odams. Little is known of Jane’s early life or when she left Cambridge but by 1836, she had moved to London and married George Robert Mallandain at St James in Clerkenwell. They had five children, one daughter and four sons, between 1838 and 1847 and lived in boroughs both north and south of the Thames. By the time their youngest son was born, the family was experiencing difficult circumstances highlighted by Thomas’ birth in the Renfrew Road Workhouse in Lambeth.

Their situation likely prompted George to decide to emigrate to South Africa with three of his children and take up a land grant in the Byrne Valley but Jane and her eldest son, John Elliot, remained in London. Jane disappeared from the records and the only available information appears in the Marshall Report where George’s second cousin, Emma, reported that Jane separated from her husband for reasons unknown, placed her son in the care of relatives and possibly joined a religious community.

When her brother Elliot died in 1901, his will made a reference to his ‘late sister Jane Mallandaine’ but her exact date or place of death remains unknown.

george galer + mary odams

George Galer married Mary Odams in 1813 at St Andrew’s in Toft, a village six miles west of Cambridge. Following their marriage, they left Toft and moved to Kings Street in Cambridge where George worked as a Shoemaker. Their second daughter, Mary Ann, was born two years after Jane and she was baptised at St Andrew the Less on 12 September 1819. Sadly, she died only 8 months later and was buried at St Andrew the Less on 5 May 1820.

By the time their son Elliot John Norman was born in 1823, the family had returned to Toft where Elliot was baptised on 24 August 1823 in the local church dedicated to St Andrew. But two years later, the family returned to Cambridge and were living in Castle End, where George worked as a labourer, when their fourth child, Richard, was born on 14 October 1825; he was baptised at St Giles two weeks later.

The family has not been located in the census records but by 1836, Jane had left home, moved to London and married George Mallandain. Elliot began his career as a vocalist in Cambridge and first appeared in the production of the opera Guy Mannering at the Cambridge Theatre in September 1853 and received positive reviews in the Cambridge Independent Press:  ‘Mr. Elliot Galer, as Henry Bertram, acquitted himself very well; he has an excellent tenor voice and his songs especially ‘Be mine dear maid’ gave much satisfaction.’

Eliot also moved to London where he met and married Mary Ann Hodson at St Dunstan in the West on 18 June 1859. He continued to appear in numerous musical theatre productions across the country and also helped his nephew, John Elliot Mallandaine, establish himself as a musician and composer. By the mid 1860s, Elliot was reported in various newspapers to be married to Fanny Reeves who also appeared alongside him in numerous productions but no death record has been found for his first wife Mary Ann nor a marriage record for Fanny so it is not know if they ever married. In the early 1870s, Elliot and Fanny settled in Leicester where he managed a local light opera house and continued to produce and perform in musical productions. After 20 years, they retired and stayed in Leicester until Fanny’s death in 1897 after which Elliot moved to Weybridge in Surrey where he died in 1901. Elliot left an estate valued at £40 000 with legacies to a number of charities including the Royal National Lifeboat Association, the Royal College of Music, the Home for Rest for Horses at Friar’s Park, the Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs at Battersea, and the London Anti Vivisection Society. He also left £500 legacies to four cousins including Ida Mallandaine, his late sister Jane’s grand-daughter, and a trust fund for his adopted daughter Annie Weston Wadsworth.

Richard remained in Cambridge and married Sarah Squires on 14 February 1849 at St Mary the Less. They had had two children — daughter Hannah Sarah was born just after they married and son George was born in the summer of 1850. They moved to Hertfordshire in early 1851 and lived in Kneesworth, a parish that was originally located in Hertfordshire but today lies within the boundaries of Cambridgeshire. Richard who was a gardener may have been employed at Kneesworth Hall. By 1853, they had moved to Exning in Suffolk where their son, Henry, was born before returning to Cambridge by 1854 when daughter Mary Ann was born. Two years later, their son William was born and he was baptised at St Mary the Less on 15 October 1856. They remained in Cambridge for the next twenty years, living first in Trumpington Street and later on Coronation Place.

Marriage records have been found for all of Richard and Sarah’s children except Mary Ann. Hannah Sarah was the first to marry, to Francis Jude who also worked as a gardener, and they had four children. George married Anne Maria Smith at St Paul in Cambridge but they moved to Wellingborough in Northamptonshire shortly after and went on to have ten children.

Son Henry also left Cambridge and settled first in Ashover, Derbyshire where he married Mary Ann Revill in 1875, and then in nearby Clary Cross near Chesterfield in the north eastern part of the county. They had eight children but sadly, Mary Ann died in 1889 following the birth of their youngest child. Henry married again one year later to Catherine Thornhill and they had two children together. William followed his brother Henry to Derbyshire and found a job working for the railway in Clay Cross. He married Elizabeth Cannon in 1877 and they had five children.

In 1881, Richard and Sarah were living alone in a cottage in the High Street in Swavesey, a small village 9 miles north west of Cambridge, where Richard continued to work as a gardener. But ten years later, they too were living in Clay Cross, Derbyshire near sons Henry and William. Richard died in Clay Cross on 19 April, only two weeks after the 1891 Census was taken, and left an estate valued at only £48. His wife Sarah died three years later.