William KNIBBS, son of Robert KNIBBS and Elizabeth MARKHAM , was born 13 December 1866 in Clifton, Oxfordshire, England. He married Rebecca SHIRLEY bet. April and June, 1889 in St. George Hanover Square District, London, Middlesex, England. He died January 1940 in Coventry District, Warwickshire, England. Rebecca SHIRLEY was born 18 March 1868 in Fencott, Oxfordshire, England. She died bet. July and September, 1946 in Coventry District, Warwickshire, England.


Children of William KNIBBS and Rebecca SHIRLEY are:
1. Mary Eveline KNIBBS, b. 06 May 1892 See Frederick GRUNAU & Mary Eveline KNIBBS
2. Herbert Fred KNIBBS, b. 01 July 1894 See Herbert Fred KNIBBS & Annie GARDNER
3. Henry Robert KNIBBS, b. 07 March 1896 See Henry Robert KNIBBS & Ethel Florence SANDERS
4. John Shirley KNIBBS, b. 09 June 1901 See John Shirley KNIBBS & Dorothy Lowndes HAVARD
5. Walter James KNIBBS, b. 25 September 1906 See Walter James KNIBBS & Elizabeth GANSON
6. Elsie May KNIBBS, b. 01 September 1909 See Thomas Francis Pears ROLLASON & Elsie May KNIBBS
7. Emma Elizabeth KNIBBS, b. 27 July 1897
8. Arthur William KNIBBS, b. 13 April 1891 See Arthur William KNIBBS & Kathleen Mary COLEMAN
9. Florence Mabel KNIBBS, b. bet. April and June, 1900
10. Alice Winifred KNIBBS, b. 19 October 1889 See Albert E TENNANT & Alice Winifred KNIBBS
11. Ernest Markham KNIBBS, b. bet. January and March, 1905

Marriage Notes for William KNIBBS\Rebecca SHIRLEY:

I've seen a hand written note from Edna May Knibbs, a granddaughter of William, that William and Rebecca met when they were in service. William was a footman and Rebecca, a cook.


Notes for William KNIBBS:

It is understood from Barbara, William's neice, that William and his family lived in Coventry, West Midlands, England. The rest of the family didn't see a great deal of them.
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In 1891, William was living ast 4 Exeter Building, Chelsea, London, Middlesex:
William Knibbs Head Mar 24 Club Servant Oxon Clifton
Rebecca Knibbs Wife Mar 23 Oxon Clifton
Alice W Knibbs Daur 1½ Chelsea
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William and his family appear at the 1901 census, living in Coventry, Warwickshire, England:
William Knibbs 34 Clifton Oxon Warwick Coventry Corporation Labourer
Ribekah Knibbs 33 Fencott Oxon Warwick Coventry 
Alice Winifred Knibbs 11 London Warwick Coventry 
Mary Eveline Knibbs 8 Clifton Oxon Warwick Coventry 
Herbert Fred Knibbs 6 Clifton Oxon Warwick Coventry 
Henry Robert Knibbs 5 Clifton Oxon Warwick Coventry 
Florence Mabel Knibbs 11M Coventry Warwick Warwick Coventry

Their son Arthur William was seen age 9 years, staying with his uncle James at the 1901 census.

Living with them was Ernest Edward Cottrell, a 22 year old builders labourer from Staffordshire who was boarding with them.
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We see William and his family in 1911 living at 16 Russell Street, Coventry, Warwickshire:
William KNIBBS Head Married M 44 Roadman Coventry C C Oxfordshire
Rebecca KNIBBS Wife Married 23 years F 43 Home Work Oxfordshire
Alice Winifred KNIBBS Daughter Single F 21 Printer London Middesex
Arthur William KNIBBS Son Single M 19 Butchers Assistant London Middesex
Mary Eveline KNIBBS Daughter Single F 18 Domestic Servant Deddington Oxon
Herbert Fred KNIBBS Son Singe M 16 Butchers Assistant Deddington Oxon
Henry Robert KNIBBS Son Single M 15 Butchers Assistant Deddington Ox
John Shirley KNIBBS Son Singe M 10 School Lad Coventry Warwick
Walter James KNIBBS Son Single M 4 Coventry Warwick
Elsie May KNIBBS Daughter Single F 1 Coventry Warwick

The census tells us that Rebecca had 12 children before 1911, and 4 of them died.
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We see William and Rebecca living at 16 Russell Street, Coventry, Warwickshire, at the time of the 1939 Register:
William Knibbs 13 Dec 1866 General Permanent Way Labourer Retired Married
Rebecca Knibbs 18 Mar 1868 Unpaid Domestic Duties Married
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From the Coventry Standard, Saturday 03 February 1940:
IN MEMORIUM: William Knibbs, 73 years, 16, Russell Street.

Sources for William KNIBBS:

  1. Letter from Sarah Ethel re Amy Elizabeth's estate.,
  2. GRO England & Wales, GRO England & Wales gives 4Qtr1866 
  3. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983 
  4. 1939 Register,
  5. 1901 British Census,
  6. 1911 British Census,

Notes for Rebecca SHIRLEY:

Also known as: Beccy

Rebecca can be seen at the 1881 census living at Deddington, Oxfordshire, England with her parents and siblings.
Henry SHIRLEY Head Mar 45 Hay Binder (Ag Lab) Fencott Oxford,
Emma SHIRLEY Wife Mar 44 Horton Buckingham
William SHIRLEY Son UnM 18 Carter (Ag Lab) Fencott Oxford
Harry SHIRLEY Son 14 Hay Binders Helper (Ag Lab) Fencott Oxford
Rebecca SHIRLEY Daur 13 Scholar Fencott Oxford
Emma SHIRLEY Other 10 Scholar Fencott Oxford
Alice SHIRLEY Other 4 Scholar Fencott Oxford
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From the Coventry Evening Telegraph - 17 September 1946:
KNlBBS—Rebecca. beloved wife of the late William Knibbs, passed peacefully away on Sept. 16, at 28a Jenner St., after a long illness, patiently borne, aged 76 years. Funeral. Friday afternoon.

Sources for Rebecca SHIRLEY:

  1. Personal Contact with Barbara Stacey, Personal Contact with Barbara Stacey who gave me the Christian name Of Rebecca 
  2. 1881 British Census,
  3. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983 
  4. 1939 Register,
  5. 1911 British Census,

Notes for Emma Elizabeth KNIBBS:

Emma Elizabeth was baptised privately. The PR transcript for Deddington stated that she was "born Jul 27, died". From this, and the fact that there is no reference to her in her aunt Amy Elizabeth's estate documents, confirms that Emma died as a very young infant.

Sources for Emma Elizabeth KNIBBS:

  1. Oxfordshire Parish Register - Deddington,
  2. GRO England & Wales,
  3. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983 

Notes for Florence Mabel KNIBBS:

Sources for Florence Mabel KNIBBS:

  1. 1901 British Census,
  2. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Birth Index: 1837-1983 
  3. FreeBMD,
  4. Ancestry.com. - Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, 1813-1910,

Notes for Ernest Markham KNIBBS:

From the Coventry Evening Telegraph - 11 October 1909:
Coventry Child Drowned
Inquest and Verdict
Coroner (Dr. 0. W. Iliffe) held an inquest at the Board Room at Coventry Workhouse on Saturday afternoon concerning the death of Ernest Markham Knibbs. aged four years and eleven months, son of William Knibbs, 8, Russell Street, whose body was recovered from the canal near Priestleys Bridge on Friday afternoon.
Mrs. Rebecca Knibbs, the mother, said her son was in good health on Friday morning and went out with his elder brother, Jack, about 8.45, for the purpose of going to the John Gideon Schools. She saw him alive no more, but about 1.20 heard, that he had fallen in the canal. He was brought home dead about 3.30 that afternoon.
In answer to the Coroner the witness said it was something like half a mile to the school; they had always gone safely before, and usually returned home by 12.30.
Continuing, Mrs. Knibbs said that Jack, when he came home, told her Ernest refused to go home with him, but wanted to go with another little boy named Frank Smith.
The Coroner's Officer (Mr. T. Dolby) remarked that there was no necessity for the boys to go along the side of the canal to get home.
A juror to Mrs. Knibbs: How was it the boy. whose age was only four, went to school? I thought they would not admit children under five.
Mrs Knibbs: He was four years and eleven months.
The Coroner: I don't suppose they are particular to a month or two.
Mr. Knibbs said the boy was sent to school at that age because they thought it was much safer when his mother was ill, as he had previously fallen into the Swanswell Pool. Deceased bad liked school exceedingly.
Mrs. Annie Stanley then led in the little boy Frank Smith, who said they were near Priestley's Bridgel when Ernest went to procure a paper dart which had fallen in the water. Whilst he was kneeling down he slipped and fell in. Witness did nothing until he got home, when he told his mother.
Mrs. Annie Stanley said she went to the canal, but her search proved fruitless. She then fetched the boy Smith, who showed her the place where deceased fell in. The police were informed, and after hunting for non time the body was found.
Answering the Coroner, the lad Smith said desceased risked him to go to the canal and two more boys accompanied them.
The Coroner then pointed out to Frank Smith how dangerous it. was for boys to go to the canal by themselves. Smith thereupon promised not to go near again.
P.S. Wright spoke to finding the body in the canal. He obtained two drags, and after working with them for about a quarter of an hour the boy was recovered. He was quite dead, fully dressed, with the exception of the cap, which could not found. The sides of the canal were perfect. in his opinion Knibbs must hive tried to reach the paper dart and overbalanced.
In answer to the Coroner, witness said the fence was very bad, and it was very easy for anyone to get through. ln reply to a juror, witness said there was a gate near by. The gaps were's. large in places that one could walk through without stooping. The place was about 200 yards from the school. He thought it. was very badly fenced.
The Coroner in summing up, said the question the jury would have to consider, was as to the condition of the fences, whether the side of the canal where the children played was properly protected, and whether the fences were in proper repair. Many people walked along the side of the canal daily, although it was private property and not public property.
He was sure the canal authorities would see to any repairs they were notified of, as they always did, but he wished to point out that the canal side was private property and not public property.
The jury returned a verdict of "Accidental Death," and added that. attention should be called to the canal authorities of the very indifferent state of the fences especially near that bridge, and they ' seriously asked them to remedy it.


NOTE: The newspaper reported that Ernest went out that morning with his brother Jack and it was Jack who left him by the canal with the other boy named Frank Smith.
The true account of the incident has been passed down through the family of another of Ernest's brothers, Henry. There was no brother named Jack.
Henry's account was that he was supposed to have collected Ernest from school but Ernest didn't wait for him. .
Henry was blamed for Ernest drowning because he was supposed to be looking after him.







Sources for Ernest Markham KNIBBS:

  1. Ancestry.com, England & Wales, Death Index: 1837-1983