The Slatters of Oxford

Written by Howard Slatter.

To see a family tree of the Oxford Slatter family, click here.

My father Francis Slatter (1906-1997) was never allowed by his family to know much about his grandfather, who he simply knew to be Charles Slatter. He had picked up a few hints that he was Italian, and changed his name, but no more than this. He also gleaned that the Slatters came from Oxford. When his older sister, my maiden aunt Winifred, died in 1989, my brother Andrew and I went down to Littlehampton to go through her things for our entitlement of her jewellery and items of family interest, before the house and contents went to one of her friends. Deep in the back bedroom, full of packages still wrapped from when she went down to the south coast from London about 15 years previously, I found a small briefcase with a few photographs (all unnamed, of course) and a scrap of paper in it. On the paper, in our grandfather's (Charles Edward Slatter) handwriting was a little family tree:

Slatter father of Miss Slatter m. Huggins, Miss Slatter m. Count Carlo Bregazzi Major General, Rev John Slatter

On the back of this paper were a few notes (torn off at one edge):
 

ch Oxford (Infirmary) So here was Charles' Italian name, and a possible link with Oxford. It looked as if my father had not been led down the garden path about his family after all.

There is more about the Bregazzi connection on another page of this website. But my attempts to discover more about the Slatters on this scrap of paper have led to some fascinating problems, and I will try to present as coherent a picture as I can of my research so far.

Charles was born, I thought, in 1836, too early for a birth certificate to help me. In fact, I later discovered via the 1871 and 1881 Censuses, he was born "in Italy, a British subject" in 1833. He married my great-grandmother Louisa Carrington Breward, from Leicester, at Monkstown, near Dublin, in 1865. On the marriage certificate he appears as Carlo Slatter Bregazzi, and his father is given as "Carlo Slatter Bregazzi, general in the army".

This suggests that it was Charles' grandfather rather than his father who married (?) Miss Slatter. A slip of generations in my grandfather's record might be explained by his picking up fragments from his father, and piecing them together in the wrong order. Charles changed his name from Charles Slatter Bregazzi to Charles Slatter some time between May 1868, when their second child was born (to die that same year), and July 1869, when my great-aunt Florence (an Italian city!) was born.

Rev John Slatter then became the focus of my attention. He could belong to one of two generations - that of Charles' father, born maybe about 1800, or a generation earlier, maybe about 1770.

The Clergy Lists (later Crockford's), which were only published from 1817 onwards, show two John Slatters: T.R.John, who first appears as curate of Syresham (Northants) in 1841, and John, listed in 1852 as "M.A. Rose Hill, near Oxford".

T.R.John appears in Foster's "Alumni Oxonienses" as: "Rev. Thomas (Richard John), s. William, of Oxford (city), pleb. Pembroke Coll., matric. 3 Nov., 1797, aged 18; B.A. 1802, died at Chelsea, 1 July, 1852." He married Elizabeth Andsley in 1812 at Bampton, Oxfordshire. The later Clergy Lists have him as curate of St James Leeds in 1845/6 and of St Peters Leeds in 1847. He does not seem to have a will in the PCC indexes. I have not yet found any more information about T.R.John, in particular whether he had any siblings or children. A further visit to the Oxfordshire Archives is needed.

John (Rose Hill) appears in Foster as: "Slatter, John, 1s William, of Iffley, Oxon, cler. Lincoln Coll., matric 19 March, 1835, aged 18; exhibitioner 1835-42, B.A. 1838, M.A. 1841, perp. curate Sandford-on-Thames 1852-61, vicar of Streatley, Berks, 1861-80, hon. canon Christ Church, Oxford, 1876, rector of Whitchurch, Berks, 1880." The Clergy Lists show him as 1863 Vicar of Streatley, Berks and by 1890 Rector of Whitchurch.

There is a third Rev John Slatter in Foster. "Slatter, John, s. John of Oxford (city), pleb. St Alban Hall, matric. 16 Dec., 1784, aged 27; B.A. 1788, usher Magdalen College School 1788-91, M.A. (from Magdalen Coll.) 1791, master of New College School 1791-1806, chaplain New College, vicar of Stanton Harcourt, Oxon, and of Cumnor, Berks, Dec. 1798, until his death 11 July, 1810, father of William 1803. See Bloxam, iii.244." This John was baptised at St Peter in the East, Oxford, in 1757, the son of John Slatter and Catherine (Weston).

Bloxam's "History of Magdalen College, Oxford" contains the following information:

John Slatter succeeded Price as Usher at the school Aug 9 1788, and continued until 1795, when he resigned to become Master of New College School, which post he resigned in 1806. He was presented to Cumnor in Dec 1798. According to the Gentleman's Magazine, he died Aug 11 1810, aged 53, vicar of Cumnor and of Stanton Harcourt, and chaplain of New and Merton Colleges. The stone in the centre aisle of Cumnor church bears the inscription "John Slatter MA, died Aug 11 1810, aged 52 years"

His will (PCC) mentions the following people:

Lucy Slatter was a witness (probably his sister-in-law, William's wife).

It is possible that this Cumnor John is the one I am looking for, though he is a bit on the elderly side. He had two children (will), possibly including a daughter. No Huggins, though; is it possible that "Butler" got mis-remembered as "Huggins"? He has a rather mysterious sister (Elizabeth, otherwise Catherine Tyrell) resident in Ireland. Was this the "Miss Slatter" who "married" a Bregazzi? The Irish connection is tantalising; was Carlo visiting a descendant of his grandmother in 1865?

Jonathan Mallam-Clark, whose family is descended from John's sister Jane Butler, has provided me with much information on that branch of the family; this also confirms that John's sister Catherine married Mr Tyrell, and that they had a daughter Catherine.

So the connection is yet to be finally established. All theories gratefully received - email Howard if you have something to offer!

return to Slatter family history page

Last updated January 2017