John and Ann Chatterton hightail it out of Uttoxeter

By 1851 John & Ann Chatterton had left Uttoxeter for Burton upon Trent and were living in Bridge Street. John was a pawnbroker and Chelsea pensioner, born in Lichfield.  Ann was 25 years younger and originally from Atherstone. They had married in Uttoxeter in 1847 following the death of Jane Chatterton, John’s previous wife, in 1845. Jane had been matron of the Union workhouse in 1841, while John was governor there. Ann had known John for some time as she had been governess at the workhouse in 1841 under her maiden  name of Ann Wootton.

John and Ann continued to live in Burton moving to Union Street by 1861. They died in 1861 and 1871, respectively, both leaving wills. He left his estate to her. Her will is somewhat lengthier and includes reference to 2 cottages on the Heath in Uttoxeter.

Did life in Uttoxeter become too hot for them?


Another Thomas Norris!

The 1841 census listed another Thomas Norris in Uttoxeter besides the one who was a relieving officer. This second Thomas was a printer and bookseller living in the Market Place and was somewhat younger, having been born in 1809. He was at this stage unmarried and living with his mother Ann and sister Jane. He married Ann Caroline Fowler of Leominster in 1845 and went on to be steward of the Wesleyan Methodist church in Uttoxeter. His sister Jane married a Wesleyan minister (John Peaviour Johnson) in 1844.

However, it is their mother Ann who is the most intriguing figure. She was born Ann Schofield and married Thomas & Jane’s father John Norris at Leek in 1806. Sometime after Thomas’s birth in 1809 and that of Jane in 1814 the family decamped to Pentwyn in Llanfair Kilgeddin, Monmouthshire. John Norris had been a baker but became a farmer in Wales. By 1834 Ann was a widow and was living in Uttoxeter again. In May of that year she requested to register a printing press and thus the firm of A. Norris & Son of Uttoxeter was born. This must have been quite a departure from her life as the wife of a baker then farmer. What happened in those 20 years between 1814 and 1834 remains to be uncovered.

Ann died in Uttoxeter in December 1848 aged 72. Her son continued the business in the name of A. Norris & Son until the 1860s when it hit the rocks financially.

Thomas Norris (1787-1848)

Thomas was baptised in Uttoxeter in 1787 (7 March or 30 May), the son of Thomas and Ann Norris. His father was a farmer. He married Charlotte Kiernan Collins at Stone by licence on 26 May 1821. In 1836 he advertised his intention in local newspapers to stand as candidate for Relieving Officer to the Uttoxeter Poor Law Union. He had had considerable experience of the old pre-1834 Poor Law system as his signature appears on many of the receipts among the Overseers  Accounts for Uttoxeter parish in the late 1820s and early 1830s. He was successful in his candidature as the 1841 census shows his occupation as Relieving Officer. His wife Charlotte listed her occupation as dressmaker, which proved important as she would need to support herself and her children after Thomas died in October 1848.

Thomas and Charlotte had 6 children: daughter Charlotte became a dressmaker, too, Ann and Mary became milliners and Elizabeth became a governess at Blore Hall and at Croxden Abbey. Son Henry eventually became a station master. Their other son, Thomas Henry, died aged 17 months in 1830. Henry became head of the family, gathering his womenfolk in his home at Dove Bank, including his aunt Harriet, Thomas’s sister, who had been a witness at Thomas and Charlotte’s wedding in Stone.

Thomas’s widow Charlotte died in Uttoxeter in September 1872 at the age of 82.

Ann Froggatt (c.1795-1857)

Ann Froggatt was a lace maker, born at Newborough in Staffordshire to Robert and Margaret Froggatt. In 1825 she suffered a period of poor mental health, attributed to grief at the death of her father.  Ann was first admitted to the Staffordshire lunatic asylum on 26 September 1825 and experienced at least a further four admissions up to August 1834, perhaps prompted by events like the death of her brother John aged only 23.  The parish paid for the cost of her residence at the asylum and it is likely that Ann moved in and out of poverty for the remainder of her life. She was living in the Uttoxeter Union workhouse at the time of the 1851 census, and died in 1857.

NB: this biography is a work in progress and will probably be amended in future as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.

Sources: Staffordshire Record Office (SRO) D 3891/35/6/5/9 Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers 1830-1; SRO D 4585/6 St George’s asylum case book 1818-27, p. 111; SRO  D550/63 St George’s asylum weekly returns of patients 1826-36; burials of Robert Froggatt 2 August 1825 and John Froggatt 19 January 1826, both recorded St Mary’s Uttoxeter; 1851 census.

John and Ann Chatterton

John Chatterton made a career of servicing the poor law, both before and after 1834.  John was the master of the Uttoxeter workhouse by at least 1830 at a salary of £25 per annum, and went on to be the master of the Uttoxeter Union workhouse; the promotion was worth a raise, and in the late 1840s John and his wife Ann took £60 a year for their work as master and matron respectively.  The couple’s poor-law career in Uttoxeter ended in 1850 when the Guardians of the Union dismissed them ‘for inattention to the orders of the Board and general inefficiency’.

John earned money for sundry services beyond his salary, however; in 1830-1 he received at least a further £6 12s 6d for supplying sundry goods for the use of paupers such as shoes, brewing items, and funeral supplies including ale.  Notably he was also paid fees for pig-killing!

Sources: SRO D3891/6/35/1/6, 26, 33; D3891/6/35/2/3, 10, 29; D3891/6/35/3/12, 27, 37, 39; D3891/6/35/4/13, 22; D3891/6/35/5/8b; D 700/AG/8a/1 Uttoxeter poor law union minute book 1847-53.

NB: this biography is a work in progress and will probably be amended in future as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.

Return to Uttoxeter

It seems that George Haslehurst was determined to return to Uttoxeter following his removal to Eckington. We can see from the 1851 census that he was living with his wife Fanny in Buntings Yard off the High Street in Uttoxeter. With them was Fanny’s son Enoch Overton aged 18. George had married Fanny Overton nee Baker on 28 March 1846 at St Oswald’s church in Ashbourne. He continues to be a nail maker by trade.

The State of the Union, 1831

Uttoxeter has had several parish workhouses. One of them  was built on the Heath in 1789 and remained until it was replaced in the late 1830s. To be strictly accurate, it was not a union workhouse in the sense that such places were to become after the 1834 Poor Law Act, but in addition to the paupers it received from Uttoxeter, it also accommodated paupers from Doveridge and Rocester. White’s 1834 trade directory informs us that the workhouse had a brickyard and a garden extending to one and a half acres in which the inmates were employed. The assistant parish overseer at the time was Thomas Norris. A summary of the workhouse’s finances at the end of March 1831 provides a glimpse into this world. There were 44 inmates: 18 men, 13 women, 8 boys (of whom, 4 were under nine years of age), and 5 girls all under the age of nine). We know that 2 of the inmates worked in the kitchens and 8 of the men worked as labourers or scavengers. The remaining adult inmates were listed under headings of ‘infirm’, ‘sick, lame and blind’ and what to modern minds is the rather offensive ‘idiots’.

The brickyard account shows a total of £270 1s 6d received, and £248 10s 8d paid out. The inmates working in the  yard earned £19 18s 6d, although it is unclear whether they actually received this amount or whether it went into the overall workhouse coffers. In addition, the workhouse received money from the sale of butter and vegetables and for the carding of wool. The existence of the brickyard and garden offer a different perspective on how workhouse paupers occupied their time. More common images are  of stone breaking (which is also mentioned in the accounts) and of picking apart old ropes to make oakum, used in caulking ships.

Amongst the workhouse expenses, more than £308 was spent on provisions, £25 on the governor’s and matron’s salary, £32 17s 10d on clothing and shoes, and £9 8s 8d on coffins and funeral fees. These figures do not include the amounts expended on the out poor (parish paupers who were not in the workhouse).

Will the real overseer of Uttoxeter please stand up?

Parish overseers were appointed to administer the poor law under legislation of 1598-1601, and Uttoxeter’s ratepayers stepped up to the task to act as overseers for the town in the 1820s and 1830s as follows:

1827-8 Thomas Flint and William Walker

1828-9  J. Tomkinson and William Porter

1829-30 Samuel Brassington and J. Burton

1830-31 George Foster and Thomas Riley

1831-2 Thomas Bunting and Ralph Adams

1832-3 William Woolley and William Fletcher

1833-4 William Rogers and Francis French

1834-5 John Burdett and John French

Separate overseers were appointed for the villages of Crakemarsh, Creighton and Stramshall, and for Loxley.  But this wasn’t the whole story for the town, as at some point after the Sturges Bourne Act of 1819, Uttoxeter took up the opportunity to employ a salaried ‘assistant’ overseer to undertake the majority of the day-to-day work.  White’s Directory for Staffordshire of 1834 identified one Thomas Norris as the incumbent assistant overseer and the vouchers confirm that Norris was paid a salary of £42 a year. But this wasn’t all: the same Directory lists William Porter as the ‘parish cashier’, which was not a title endorsed by legislation.  This raises the intriguing question of what William Porter’s duties were, and how far did his work overlap with Norris or indeed with either of the formally-elected overseers for each year?  We are hoping the vouchers will tell us…

Anna and Thomas Turner

Anna and Thomas Turner baptised six children in the parish of Colwich between 1785 and 1794.  They earned a total of £63 13s 4.25d from supplying the parish poor with cloth and haberdashery in the decade 1786-96 (or nearly £6 per year).  Their dealings with the parish were much more lucrative than those of their business rivals, Richard and Elizabeth Wootton, but the Turner family members are more difficult to trace in other sources.  Some of the payments intended for the Turner couple were sent via a Luke Turner, for example, but it has not yet been possible to work out the relationship between the men.  In all probability he was Thomas’s father or brother, or perhaps an older son not baptised in Colwich, but this remains speculation.


NB: this biography is a work in progress and will probably be amended in future as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.

Richard and Elizabeth Wootton

Richard and Elizabeth Wootton lived at Great Haywood in Colwich from at least 1762 until 1790s and possibly later.  The couple may have married in Birmingham in September 1757, when a Richard Wootton married an Elizabeth Hipwood.  The timing of the marriage fits well with a first baptism (a daughter called Ann, baptised in Stafford in June 1758).  The couple who appear in the Colwich overseers’ vouchers baptised a daughter called Mary in the parish in January 1762, a son called William, and two more daughters called Peggy and Lydia.  The Woottons made part of their living by supplying the paupers of Colwich with clothing.  In the decade 1786-96 they received a total of £25 16s 5.75d from overseers of the poor for fabric, hats, coats, and haberdashery.  They were not the only ones to receive money from the Colwich overseers for clothing and their competitors included another couple, Thomas and Anna Turner, who appear to have all but supplanted them for parish business 1788-91, but the Woottons returned to the accounts in the 1790s.

NB: this biography is a work in progress and will probably be amended in future as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.