When we published the memorial we had no information on this lady, on the plaque as “Mrs J. D. Allcroft”, but Deborah Hart Stock contacted us via Facebook with the gen:
I suspect that she was the wife of John Derby Allcroft. He is listed in the electoral registers between at least 1875 and 1891 as having the vote in respect of Harlington Lodge, Bath Road, Harlington, which is not far from Harmondsworth. He also appears to have property-related votes in other places in Middlesex at the same time, including 108 Lancaster Gate, Paddington, which is where he and his family were recorded in the 1891 census. His occupation at that time was JP for Salop. His wife was listed as Mary I. Allcroft, aged 58, born in Timsbury (I think), Hampshire. They had 2 sons and 2 daughters, aged 19 to 25, all born in Paddington. The household also included a housekeeper, 4 housemaids, a kitchen maid, a lady's maid, a butler and a footman! So Mrs Allcroft would certainly seem to be the sort of person who might be asked to lay the Vicarage Hall stone!
Excellent, thank you, Deborah. With this to go on we found John in Wikipedia: John (1822 – 1893) philanthropic entrepreneur and MP. He started work in his father's glove business Dent, Allcroft & Co. This was where the Methodist Francis Lycett also started work and both men, separately, went on later to establish churches. Wonder if they knew each other? Allcroft founded: St Matthews in Bayswater, St Judes in Courtfield Gardens Kensington and St Marks Gospel Oak, and co-founded the Harlington, Harmondsworth and Cranford Cottage Hospital in 1884.
He had two wives conveniently both called Mary. At the time of the plaque, 1885, the Mary in situ was Mary Blundell, daughter of John Blundell, of Timsbury Manor, Hampshire. That’s “our” Mary. At Ancestry we found her dates. They had married in 1864. She died at home 108 Lancaster Gate after having produced 11 children. Here her name is given as Mary Ann. Perhaps the "I." that Deborah found was a mistranscription in the census returns.
At Landed Families her name is given as Mary Anne Jewell Blundell and only 6 children are listed but that could be just the ones that survived childhood.
Enough. We've gone from nothing to too much! But thanks to Deborah for providing the key.