Links to T. E. Lawrence
John Lawrence, born in 1842 in Chepstow, Monmouthshire was the son of Thomas Lawrence and Sarah Sargent. Sarah was the daughter of Joseph Sargent and Mary Yeats. Thomas was a shipping surveyor and by 1851 the family had moved to Durham where Thomas became a shipping surveyor for Lloyds. Although it appears from the 1851 Census that John had remained in Chepstow and is listed as living as a pupil with Thomas Jones, Baptist minister and schoolmaster, still in Chepstow. Perhaps he had stayed to finish his schooling.
However, in the 1861 Census John was back living with the family in Durham. Also living with the Lawrence family was a servant, Elizabeth Junner. In 1861 Elizabeth Junner gave birth to an illegitimate daughter. Sarah Junner was born on 31st August 1861 at 7, William Street, Sunderland, County Durham. On the birth certificate Elizabeth gave her name as “Elizabeth Junner formerly Junner” (probably a result of her nervousness at the time) and the father is named as “ John Junner” and his occupation is given as a “shipwright journeyman” which was the same occupation as that of John Lawrence as listed in the 1861 Census.
Elizabeth Junner died at a young age of alcohol abuse. Her daughter Sarah was brought up by relatives on the Isle of Skye. She later became a governess and went to work for the family of Sir Thomas Chapman, an Anglo-Irish baronet. Sarah was governess to his four daughters.
Thomas Chapman fell in love with Sarah and left his wife and family to be with her. Thomas and Sarah never married but they assumed the names of Mr and Mrs Lawrence ( the surname of Sarah’s biological father).
T.E. Lawrence (1888 – 1935), known to his family as Ned, was born at Tremadoc, North Wales, the second of five sons born to Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner, otherwise known as Mr and Mrs Lawrence.