Thomas Tadman & Family

Six Generations of TadmansThe tangled tale of the Tadmans.

It is almost impossible briefly to mention the connections of the Tadmans with Great Snoring and the Southgate family to which I belong. The interwoven stories and family links are just too many.

However, I will attempt an overview, starting with the current Undertakers "Tadman & Co" in London.

They are located in Stepney, Bethnal Green and Kings Langley, and have appeared in funeral scenes of TV programs and Films, such as Eastenders, Holby City, Silent Witness and many more. The company regularly works with the BBC and production agencies.

Their own potted history says:

quotes   The firm was originally conceived from the love of horses of the great-great-grandfather of one of the current directors of the company, Tim Tadman. Thomas Tadman was a horse trader working from his home in Bale in Norfolk. He imported Friesian horses from Belgium, trained them to pull a glass hearse and then sold them to the Funeral Trade, mainly in the London Area.

He, and his [second] wife Dorcas (nee LONG), moved to Stepney, East London in 1849, [this date is clearly incorrect as their children were born in the 1880's - see below] and slowly built a thriving funeral business. After their deaths, their son Alfred William and wife Annie continued to run the business successfully. He became a well known personality in the East End of London, not only as a Funeral Director, but also for his knowledge of Belgian Black Horses, which are the breed still used for Horse Drawn Funerals.

After Alfred William’s death in 1935, his widow Annie and sons, Alf and Con, added to the reputation of the family business and when Alf died in1980, Con went into partnership with his son Gordon. Towards the latter part of the 1990s, Gordon’s wife Maureen and son Tim took the reins. Gordon sadly passed away in 2006.

Great Snoring Connections

The history of the Tadmans mentions a number of names from Great Snoring. What it fails to note is the first marriage of Thomas Tadman to Phoebe SOUTHGATE.

Phoebe Southgate was the daughter of William Southgate (son of Robert the patriarch of all the Gt Snoring Southgates) and his wife Susannah Chatten.

She was born 5th October 1834 and lived in Gt Snoring on Thursford Road until 1871 at which time she is found in Shadwell, London. There in Lambeth, Phoebe had married Thomas Tadman Junior in 1862.

Thomas Tadman and his wife Phoebe were undertakers in Cable Street, Shadwell, London from the mid-19th century.  Thomas's father, also Thomas Tadman, who was born in Yorkshire appears to be the founder of the undertaking business being recorded as an undertaker in the 1851 census although from 1861 he is only recorded as a clog maker.

Just how Phoebe met Thomas I don't know. The Tadmans had Norfolk connections but Thomas and his father (Thomas Tadman Senior) came from Surrey. However, in the Southgate and Tuck families are many who are employed as grooms, horse-trainers and coachbuilders so it is possible the meeting took place through a common love of horses and coaches (Thomas Tadman being an Undertaker).

  • Thomas Senior was born in 1806 and died in 1889 in Shadwell, London from atrophy of the bladder for nine days and consequent uraemic poisoning. His daughter in law Phoebe died the next day!

Thomas Junior had been born in 1837 and christened in St John's Horsleydown, Bermondsey, Surrey. He followed his father's profession of clog pattern-making and undertaking and the family lived in Newington, Surrey.

Both Thomas and his father before him were in trouble with the law and appeared at the Old Bailey, as will be seen.

  • Wife 1  Phoebe SOUTHGATE, Born: 5 Oct 1834, Fakenham, Norfolk; Died: 19 Sep 1889, Stepney District, Middlesex; Married 1862 11 Harold Street, Holland Road, Lambeth, London
  • Wife 2  Dorcas Elvina LONG, Born: 1858, Bale, Norfolk; Died: 1929, Norfolk; Married 16 Jun 1892; Parish Church, St Peter, Stepney, London.(Dorcas's father not recorded)
  • Children: Alfred William Long 1882-1935; Ethel Susannah Long 1884; Richard Charles Long 1887-1951 Anna Long of Bale

STRANGE FACTS: Alfred William Long was born in 1881/2 in Bale, Norfolk.  He was the son of Thomas Tadman and Dorcas Elvina Long who were to marry after Thomas's wife, Phoebe Southgate, died in 1889.  Alfred married Annie Long in 1901.

Although Annie Long's father is not named on the marriage certificate, she is almost certainly the illegitimate daughter of Anna Long, one of Robert Long's daughters.  Anna was the first cousin, once removed, of Dorcas Elvina Long, Alfred's father's wife. 

This was not the only marriage of close relatives in this family. See below the marriage of  Thomas and Dorcas Long.

Criminal Activity

in June 1857, Thomas Tadman Junior was convicted of Larceny, and again in 1866 tried (but aquitted) of dealing in counterfeited coins. The details of those trials are not known, but on 10 Jul 1871 at the age of 30 he was again tried for counterfeiting:

MARY ROBBIE . I am a widow, and keep a corn-chandler's shop at Stepney Green—on 31st May, about 8 o'clock at night, I served the prisoner with a truss of straw, a truss of hay, a truss of clover, and a bushel of oats—they came to 11s., 9d.—he gave me a half-sovereign and a florin, and I gave him 3d. change—he took the goods away in his cart, and about three minutes after he had gone, I found the half-sovereign was bad—I kept it in my hand, and sent my lad to find the cart, but he could not, and I put the coin in a cupboard, and afterwards took it to the Police Court—I there saw the prisoner in a cell, with three more, and picked him out—he was not pointed out to me in any way—a man without an arm was in the cart with the prisoner, and another man held the horse.

He was found guilty and sentenced to 12 months inprisonment.

His father Thomas Tadman Senior was aquitted of burglary two years later, in May 1868. His trial at the Old Bailey mentions a burglary in the "dwelling-house of Jacob Othen, and stealing his goods" and he was arrested along with two other men, both in their 20's.

William Beer, a policeman giving witness at the trial, said that he "saw Tadman and Algers at the Lord Exmouth public-house, in Back Street—I stood back in a doorway of the Whitworth public-house—I heard a whistle—Tadman and Algers came within two yards of me, and I then turned my lamp full in their faces—I have known them both for years"

The men appeared to collude in passing stolen goods and " I afterwards went to 118, High Street, Shadwell, where Tadman and Algens lived—I found Tadman there in bed—I told him I should take him for being concerned with two others in breaking and entering the Lord Exmouth public-house that morning—he said he had been in bed since 12.0—I searched the room, and found a saltcellar in the drawer, and thirteen farthings—these two skeleton keys I found on a chest of drawers, and this key on the mantelshelf—it is marked for a skeleton key, but not cut out—I took Tadman to the station, and found on him two penny pieces, three halfpence, and a French coin, in his trousers pocket—"

The Pub owner's wife testified that the things found on Tadman were indeed those that had been stolen that night:

REBECCA OTHEN: "I am the wife of Jacob Othen, who keeps the Lord Exmouth public-house, Star Street, Shadwell—he is at present in Whitecross Street Prison—on the night in question I was awoke by the policeman Beer—I found the doors broken open, and a quantity of things missing—these (produced) are my husband's things, which he had placed on a chair in the bed-room at night—I found the window of the club-room open, and a few halfpence and a French coin taken—this coin is like it—there were thirteen farthings missing."

Exactly why Thomas Tadman was aquitted after this seemingly damning evidence I do not know, but he was "given a good character" and released.

Further Trouble with the Law

Again in November 1893, The Old Bailey was to see Thomas Tadman the younger in the dock but this time charging two other men with robbery with violence, which landed him in hospital

HERBERT CHARLES ELSMORE. I am a hospital surgeon—I was on duty on August 29th, when Tadman was brought in—he had a compound fracture of the right fore—arm; both bones were broken across, and there was a small wound in the skin by the bone coming through it, and bruising on the back of his arm by his elbow—the injuries were serious; he was under my treatment about a week, and then he was sent to the out-patients' department—I do not think he will have the use of his hand again.

EDWARD GARDNER (24) found guilty of robbery, with others, with violence, on Thomas Tadman, and stealing a watch and chain, his property.   Additionally, in 1894 at the Central Criminal Court, London, GEORGE ELLIOTT (30) was found guilty of robbery with violence, with Edward Gardner and other persons unknown, on Thomas Tadman, and stealing a watch, his property.

Thomas Junior died at the age of 67 in June 1903 from "cancer of liver & exhaustion" in Dilham, Norfolk. There are indications that both Thomas and his wife Phoebe Southgate were hard drinkers and the cause of death suggests cirrhosis caused by alcohol; his wife had died in 1889. She was "found dead from congestion of the lungs accelerated by drunkenness. Natural. Post Mortem" Certificate received from WE Baxter Coroner for County of London. Inquest held 21st September 1889. Registered 24th Sept.1889." She is buried in Great Snoring Church.

Earlier Southgate Connections

Thomas's second wife Dorcas LONG (1858-1929) did come from Bale, Norfolk (unlike the Tadmans.)

Her mother Ellen Long lived in Great Snoring for part of her life and she was ALSO connected to the Southgate family tree!

After having three children including Dorcas (either out of wedlock or from an early marriage) banns were read in Little Snoring church for a marriage to John BUGDALE in Sep 1856, but the marriage seems never to have taken place. Instead, Ellen married William SOUTHGATE of Gt Snoring in 1866. William accepted Ellen's previous children and they also went on to have Charles (1867) and Mary Ann (1872) at Great Snoring.

spotIF the second wife of Thomas Tadman (Dorcas Long) is the stepdaughter of this same William Southgate, he has married his brother in law's daughter, for Phoebe Southgate his first wife was the brother of William Southgate! However, it has not been conclusively proven that this was the same William Southgate as Phoebe's family although it is certainly one of the Great Snoring Southgates nonetheless.

  • The Tadman family history is recorded on the Tadman Undertaker's web site.
  • The Tadmans and all their connections are also thoroughly examined on the Ennever family tree site

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