Wilson Lomer

(Extract from my Great Grandfather, Harry Wilson Sowdon's dairy).

Here I might mention that Mr Wilson Lomer was a native of Southampton and a member of a family long connected with that town and the county of Hampshire, he had been left ample means which he improved by trade but retired early in life and after his daughter Louisa's marriage came to live in Reading at Wilton House in the King's Road nearly opposite Swiss Villa in the year 1847. His wife who was rather infirm was crossing the road on Castle Hill when a coach and four horses ran over her and she died of the injuries. Mr Lomer her husband took the matter to heart and said, "I shall not live very long", he was then 72, "but I will give" he said to his daughters, "each of you your fortune then you will not wish for my death and I will buy an annuity". He gave them each 30,000 which he settled on them and their children as they should by will appoint and bought an annuity of 1,200 a year in the Norwich Life Assurance Co and a Government annuity, he lived to enjoy that from the year 1847 to the year 1877, a period of 30 years. He was 72 when he insured and 102 when he died, after the death of his daughter Mrs Sowdon. He went to live at Bayswater in London and his other daughter Mrs Caird and her husband Dr Caird of Exeter who had just retired from business came to live with him. He kept his health until the age of 102 and used to walk out by himself but got very deaf and almost blind, he had, however, a great objection to any one going with him, and would if he could get away by himself, he went out one day unbeknown to his daughter to make some little purchases for Christmas and in crossing the road was knocked down by a cart and broke his thigh. He lingered for about 6 months bedridden but the bone would not unite and he died at last from exhaustion, he is buried in a vault with his wife in Reading Cemetery just opposite the grave of his daughter and son-in-law, Louisa and Harry Sowdon.

He went after he came to London to live, to the head Office of the Norwich Assurance Co. for his annuity himself, but when he was 100 years of age the Company refused to pay him alleging that he could not be 100 looking so well and healthy and that he must have given a wrong age on entering, he was very indignant and said he had never been accused of such a thing be and he should never come to the Office again to be insulted or ever ask them himself for the money and he took no further steps in the matter but the Rev. White of Weyhead then who had also insured Mr Lomer's life in the same Company took steps to get the certificate again of his baptism and sent it to the Office, of course they at once paid the demands.

When Mr White some time afterwards came to London to see Mr Lomer he said I am obliged to you for getting my annuity paid, I did not intend to trouble about it, at my age one does not want to be worried, it's worry that kills, I can do without it and I had made of my mind not to be troubled with any business, but you are one of my executors and I gave directions in my will that you should see that the Norwich Life Co. paid up all arrears and 5 per cent interest, but you have seen to it before and any expense you have been put to, I shall be pleased to pay; showing that Mr Lomer still kept all his faculties. When he was 100 he gave a birthday party and after dinner he returned thanks to the company present for drinking his health saying in the course of his speech that he felt very well and hoped that he should meet them all on his 200th birthday. He left most of his money to his surviving daughter Mrs Caird, she lived about 6 months after her father and dying without a will it came to her husband Dr Caird and left it at his death to his three children, young Dr Caird, Mrs Southby of Newbury, wife of Mr Southby a partner in the Bank at Newbury and member of a very ancient Berkshire family, (spoken of further in this book) and another daughter Mrs Oliver.

(A photograph of Wilson Lomer exists, taken around 1856 when Wilson Lomer was already 86 years of age. The photograph is in reasonable condition considering its age, having been found stuck face down in the diary of Harry Wilson Sowdon for some considerable time. It is hoped to restore the photograph to some of its original condition.)

Wilson Lomer (taken about 1856)