Emma Clifton was baptized in Oldbury on 24 Nov 1824. Her father was Edmund Clifton, a farmer, and mother Susannah Horton. She appears to have been the seventh of eight sisters. She married William Downing at the age of 18. William was not only three years older than her, but probably came from a better off farming family. Her eldest son George was born in late 1844, over a year after the wedding. Monumental Inscription at Holy Trinity Church, Smethwick (Courtesy Paul Thomas and Ros Ditchfield, Holly Lodge School)

The main information we know about Emma in her short life comes from a surviving letter she wrote to her sisters-in-law, Sarah and Eliza dated July 28, 1845. The mundane detail of shopping trips and George's teething remind us how young she was when she wrote it. It has a childish quality and is highly poignant that she was to die of tuberculosis (plithisis) six years later at the age of 26 on 10 June 1851. Her death certificate says that she had been consumptive for some years. William was present at her death in Oldbury Road, Smethwick. Emma's father had remarried in 1843 and lived on ten years after his daughter's death.

The letter is also significant because it mentions taking tea with Aunt Thompson who is William's father's sister Nancy Thompson. This piece of information helps to identify the correct John Downing as William Downing's grandfather. John Downing's will of 1810 identifies his seven children including George and Nancy.

Emma's two other children were Louisa Jane (b 1847) and William Edmund (b 1849) 


Family of William DOWNING and Emma CLIFTON

See also
William DOWNING's other family: with Susan LEE (1827-1920)
William DOWNING's parents: George DOWNING (1789-1848) and Elizabeth SHAW (1795?-1858)
William DOWNING's siblings: John DOWNING (1820-1840), George DOWNING (1823- ), Thomas DOWNING (1825- ), Sarah DOWNING (1828-1892) and Eliza DOWNING (1831- )
Emma CLIFTON's parents: Edmund CLIFTON (1776-1861?) and Susannah HORTON (1783?-bef1841)
Emma CLIFTON's siblings: Elizabeth CLIFTON (1807- ), Mary CLIFTON (1809- ), Sarah CLIFTON (1811- ), Edmund CLIFTON (1814- ), Susannah CLIFTON (1818- ), Alice CLIFTON (1820- ), Maria CLIFTON (1823- ) and Caroline CLIFTON (1827-1858)

Family of William DOWNING and Emma CLIFTON

Husband: William DOWNING (1821-1901)
Wife: Emma CLIFTON (1824-1851)
Children: George DOWNING (1844-1894)
 Louisa Jane DOWNING (1847-1918?)
 William Edmund DOWNING (1849-1939)
Marriage 15 Aug 1843 Halesowen

Husband: William DOWNING

Name: William DOWNING 1
Sex: Male
Father: George DOWNING (1789-1848)
Mother: Elizabeth SHAW (1795?-1858)
Birth 19 Apr 1821 Smethwick, Staffordshire
Baptism 8 Jul 1821 (age 0) All Saints, West Bromwich
Occupation 1871 (age 49-50) Maltster and Landowner (Employing 22 Men)
Residence (1) 1881 (age 59-60) 150 Holly Lane, Smethwick
Residence (2) 1891 (age 69-70) Hay, Herefordshire
Death 9 Jan 1901 (age 79) Holly Lodge, Smethwick
Burial 16 Jan 1901 (age 79) Holy Trinity, Smethwick

Wife: Emma CLIFTON

Name: Emma CLIFTON
Sex: Female
Father: Edmund CLIFTON (1776-1861?)
Mother: Susannah HORTON (1783?-bef1841)
Birth 1824 Oldbury, Worcestershire
Baptism 28 Nov 1824 (age 0)  
Artefact 1849 (app) (age 24-25) Letter to my sisters - Sarah and Eliza
Death 10 Jun 1851 (age 26-27) Smethwick, Staffordshire

Child 1: George DOWNING

Name: George DOWNING
Sex: Male
Birth Q4 1844 Smethwick, Staffordshire
Occupation 1871 (age 26-27) Maltster
Death 1894 (age 49-50) Llandudno
Book Inscribed to Noel from Uncle George

Child 2: Louisa Jane DOWNING

Name: Louisa Jane DOWNING
Sex: Female
Birth Apr 1847 Smethwick, Staffordshire
Baptism 18 Apr 1847 (age 0) North Harborne, Staffordshire
Education 1861 (age 13-14) Dallington Hall, Northants aged 14
Residence 1901 (age 53-54) Brighton
Death 1918 (app) (age 70-71) Lady Chapel, St Pauls Smethwick - built in commemoration

Child 3: William Edmund DOWNING

Name: William Edmund DOWNING
Sex: Male
Spouse: Hannah Pitt SHOWELL (1855-1941)
Birth 30 Apr 1849 Smethwick, Staffordshire
Death 3 Oct 1939 (age 90) Elm Lodge, Hagley 2


1"Website". http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=36176.
Text From Source: In 1816 Crockett's property was sold under a Chancery decree. The northern part of the farm, 30 a. surrounding the farmhouse at the corner of Oldbury Road and Holly Lane, was bought by Thomas Downing and his brother George; the remainder, 34 a. near the Halesowen boundary, was bought by William Spurrier, a Birmingham lawyer. (fn. 17) In 1848 Thomas Downing sold his share to his brother George, who died later the same year. George's widow and their son William continued to live at the farmhouse. The widow died in 1858, about the time that William was building Holly Lodge to the south-west of the farmhouse. In 1859 William sold the farmhouse, then known as Holly House, and moved into Holly Lodge. He continued to live there until his death in 1901. The house then seems to have been occupied by his widow and his son W. E. Downing and is said to have stood empty for a few years after the son's move to Hagley (Worcs.).

From: 'Smethwick: Other estates', A History of the County of Staffordshire: Volume 17: Offlow hundred (part) (1976), pp. 99-107. URL:
 2 "CMSHD Diary". Text From Source: Mills rang up at 8 to say Mr Downing died at 7.45am