Mary Ellen Fry was the fourth child of Elizabeth Brett & John Fry christened May 8th, 1875 at Ifield, Sussex.
In 1881 Mary Ellen was living at Peters Farm, Rusper, Sussex with her parents & brothers & sisters.
In 1891 Mary was a domestic servant for Alice & Henry Beaumont at Wimland Rd, Rusper.
Mary Ellen married Thomas Challen on May 25th, 1896, at Rusper. Thomas was born in Jan-March 1877 at Graffham, Sussex, the son of Fanny & Jas. Challen, a hoop maker.
In 1901 Mary Ellen & Thomas were both employed as servants for Brackley H B Barrington Kennet, a member of the Royal Body Guard & his wife & family. They were living at Burton Firs, Barlavington, Petworth, Horsham, Sussex & Thomas was coachman/valet & Mary Ellen was a housemaid. They had a 4 year old son Thomas J.
Sadly Mary Ellen died at the age of 28, her death being registered at Petworth in Jan-March 1904.
The children of Mary Ellen Fry & Thomas Challen were:
f.18.104.22.168 Thomas John Challen born July-September 1896 at Barlavington, Petworth, Sussex
Thomas remarried in Jan-March 1911 at Dover, Kent, his new wife being Florence Helen Bunting. Florence was born c1874 at Anmer, Norfolk, the daughter of Margaret & John Bunting, an agricultural labourer.
By the time of the 1911 census Thomas & Florence were living at Tillington, Petworth & Thomas was a domestic coachman. Thomas & Mary Ellen's son Thomas John was with his grandmother Elizabeth Fry at Sprinkitt Farm, Bolney, Sussex at the time of the census.
Son Thomas joined the Royal Navy on June 17th, 1912, aged 16, when he was post office boy. He served on the training ship, Impregnable, until November 14th, 1912 when he died from pneumonia at the Plymouth Hospital.
Thomas died on July 25th, 1937 at Furzefield Cottage, Wineham, Henfield, Sussex. Probate was granted on August 27th, 1937 to widow Florence Helen Challen. Thomas’ effects were £481.2s.2d.