Marian COLEMAN (née REES) (1830-1926)
Marian Coleman, née Rees (1830-1926), referred to by the family as “Aunt George”, was the aunt of Julius Sladden.
Marian Rees was born on 22nd October 1830 at Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire, the third of six children of James Lee Rees, a surgeon, and his wife, Elizabeth (née Pocock). Marian was the cousin of the cricketer, W G Grace, and in widowhood, lived with him and his wife at Fairmount, Mottingham (Marian’s mother, Elizabeth Pocock, and W G’s mother, Martha Pocock, were sisters). In addition, Marian’s older sister, Elizabeth, married William Day and had a daughter, Agnes Nicholls Day, who married W G Grace.
Marian married George Coleman in 1849 in the Stratford upon Avon district. George was a captain in the Merchant Service. At the time of the 1851 census, Marian and George were living with George’s parents at Goss Hall, Ash-next-Sandwich in Kent.
By 1861, George had given up the Merchant Service and was now a landed proprietor and living with Marian at Eastry. The 1871 census records Marian as still being in Eastry, although George was away from home. By 1881 they had moved to Rosway House, Middle Deal Road, Deal, where they were to remain until George’s death in 1903. In both 1871, 1881 and 1891, various members of the Day family (Marian’s sister, Elizabeth, and family) were staying with them.
From 1882-1883, they also acted as guardians for their great-nephew, Lewis Coster Sladden, who came over from New Zealand to England to study at Dover College. Lewis was the grandson of George’s sister, Elizabeth, his father, Dilnot, having emigrated to New Zealand in 1860. According to Lewis’ granddaughter, Patsy Miller, Marian was distraught when Lewis went home; having no children of her own, she had thought of him as a son.
The Colemans were prominent in the town. As a Queen’s Golden jubilee gift, George arranged for a sixth bell to be added in the parish church of St Leonard when the bells were recast in 1887. George later became Mayor of Deal for several years
George Coleman died on 7th February 1903. At some stage after this, in about 1908, Marian left Deal and moved to Fairmount, Mottingham to live in the home of her cousin, Dr William Grace (W G Grace), who was married to her niece, Agnes. She was living with the Grace family by the time of the 1911 census.
During the First World war, though in her mid-80s, letters from Sladden family members reveal that Marian took an active part in the war effort. She was also very solicitous in sending letters and parcels to her great-nephews, Arthur, George and Cyril when based overseas.
W G Grace died on 23rd October 1915. Marian was still living at Fairmount the following April, but then moved to her own place at a later date.
Marian died at Griffin Cottage, Ash-next-Sandwich, on 10th April 1926, aged 95.