Thomas Coxon 1788-1871


Stafford Record Office Document Ref. D 3891/6/35/1/25 (Overseers Voucher) 1833

mar signature cropped

Signature from the marriage record. 1809

Thomas Coxon was baptised on 24th Aug 1778[i] and was the son of Thomas and Hannah Coxon. Thomas Coxon Senior was also a Hairdresser, having served an apprenticeship to John Mottram of Uttoxeter with duties paid in Newcastle under Lyme, on 30 July 1752.[ii]

Thomas Coxon junior married Frances Tooth Dilks on 25 Dec 1809 at St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter and they had 8 Children.

  1. 3 Oct 1810 Hannah. Uttox. 5 Aug 1818 age 7
  2. 5 Jan 1812 Thomas
  3. 3 May 1814 Frances
  4. 16 Sept 1816 Sarah
  5. 1 Oct 1818 Hannah Ann bur. 4 Oct 1818 age 4 days.
  6. 27 Sept 1823 Elizabeth
  7. 23 Oct 1824 Edward Tooth Coxon bur Uttox. 10 July 1825 aged 9 months
  8. 12 June 1829 Edwin Coxon s/o Thomas and Frances at St Mary’s, and curiously enough also at High St. Wesleyan Chapel, Uttoxeter, Edwin born 10 Jun 1829 Bapt. 11 June 1829.

In the early 1830’s Thomas Coxon was working as a Hair dresser and being paid to shave the poor by the Uttoxeter, Overseers. (See voucher above) “The History of Shaving” points out that this was usually a very unhygienic process.[iii]

Whites 1834 Uttoxeter Directory lists Thomas Coxon, Hairdresser in Church Street whereas a year later Pigot’s, 1835 Directory has Thomas Coxon, Church side, Uttoxeter as a Hairdresser and Lace Agent so perhaps at this point Thomas is expanding his business interests.

Frances Coxon (his wife) was buried in St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter, on 12 May 1840 aged 54

Around that date the family move to Nottingham and the hair dressing appears to be dropped. In 1841, 1851 and 1861 Thomas is living with his son Thomas and family. In 1841[iv] Thomas says he is of Independent means, in 1851[v] he says he is a retired Pawnbroker and that is the same in 1861[vi]

However in 1871[vii] Thomas Coxon has left his son’s home and is a lodger with a family who appear to be unconnected to the Coxons, and he gives his occupation as a Rent Collector.  As Thomas Coxon dies shortly afterwards in the June Quarter 1871 in Nottingham age 93, I did wonder if he needed care which was too much for his daughter in law who would have been around 59 and who was probably helping in her Husband’s business,  which  by this time was employing 3 men[viii]. Checking the 1881 Census for the family he is lodging with reveals that they again have a lodger – an elderly woman who was deaf from birth.

Thomas Coxon, son of Thomas and Frances Coxon was the son that Thomas  lived with for over 20 years. Thomas married and had a family and continued to run a watch making business in Nottingham even until 1891[ix] at the age of 79. The London Gazette has a notice of the dissolution of the Partnership of Thomas Coxon and John Johnson on 17 April 1888, who had been trading as Watchmakers and Jewellers at 41 Broad St., and as Lace Gassers at Halifax place. John Johnson is probably the son of Thomas’s sister Frances. Thomas died in Sept Quarter 1892 at the age of 80. Predeceasing his wife who died Dec Quarter 1893.

Frances, daughter  of Thomas, also married a Clockmaker, Richard Johnson in Dec Quarter  1837 in Nottingham and was widowed before 1851 when she is recorded as an Infant School Teacher in Nottingham, where she remained until the 1871 Census reveals that she is in Newcastle on Tyne, but she returned to live with her son John in Nottingham before dying there probably in 1900.

Sarah, daughter of Thomas and Frances married Joseph Norman, a tailor, on 13 June 1836 at Uttoxeter with the consent of her parents as she was only 20. They raised a family and moved around quite a bit before Joseph died March Quarter 1866 and then Sarah also ended up in Newcastle on Tyne in 1881 with one of her sons, when they were probably living over a Tailor’s shop.[x]

Sarah died in Newcastle in the Dec. Quarter 1888.

Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Frances married Daniel Booker a book keeper, in Nottingham in 1846. By 1861[xi] Daniel had become a Lace Manufacturer. Elizabeth died June Quarter 1888, probably without having children.

Edwin the youngest child of Thomas and Frances Coxon became a shoemaker, married and raised a family. By the 1871 Census Edwin was employing 3 men. However in 1881 he has changed occupation and become a Cab Driver.[xii] The 1891 Census also has his occupation as Cabman (corrected to Groom by the census officials). Then in the 1901 Census he is a widowed resident of Nottingham Union Workhouse.[xiii] Edwin Died in the Sept. Q. 1908.

[i] St. Mary’s Uttoxeter Parish Records

[ii] Registers of Duties paid on Apprentice Indentures 1710 to 1811. National Archives series IR1.



[v]  HO107/ 2132/folio 435

[vi] RG09/ 2456 Folio 62

[vii] RG10/3521 folio 46

[viii] RG10/3510 folio 60

[ix] RG12/2706 folio 69

[x] RG11/5063 folio 128

[xi] RG9/2459 folio 129

[xii] RG11/3360 folio 125

[xiii] RG13/3180 folio 153









James Spooner Greenwich Pensioner.

Pension assigned cropped

Stafford Record Office Doc. Ref. D3891/6/37/10/29

James Spooner was baptised on 26 Dec 1776 at St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter the son of  James and Mary Spooner.

Greenwich Hospital out-pensioners 1814-1846 records viewed online[i] reveal that James Spooner, service no 2578, served 17 years 6 months, when he was awarded a pension in 1814 with the first payment being at Christmas 1814. The last ship served or wounded was recorded as Portsmouth DM, and the pension award was  £8 pa. paid quarterly.  [A google search for Portsmouth DM brings up a web page relating to Portsmouth, Dominica]

1829 onwards has a notation on the pension records – Assigned to Uttoxeter PO.

The 1842 Register of candidates for admission to Greenwich Hospital lists James Spooner age 66 M.[married?]  Remarks- Rheumatism. [NB this gives  a date of birth of 1776]

The pension register for 1843-6 has James Spooner crossed out and D?? 4 May 1843. This I assume was the date he died.

Deducting the length of service from the Date of Pension he must have signed up around 1796.

The Parish Records for St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter have a marriage for James Spooner  on 29 Nov 1814, to Mary Ryder and they were both single so the assumption is that he retired from the Royal Marines and got married, but no record of children were found.

What is most surprising is that the above document was used as scrap paper by Wm. Williams the Constable to put in a bill for several expenses he had incurred.


Advertising a global outlook

Thomas Brindley was a grocer, tea-dealer and seedsman in Uttoxeter during the 1830s.  Directories place his business in the High Street, and he supplied the workhouse with basic foodstuffs.  For clientele beyond the parish poor, though, he sought to attract people with a taste for the exotic, for luxuries or for high-quality goods.  To leave customers in no doubt of his global reach, his bill-heading featured illustrations of both his suppliers, and of his goods being used.



Of particular interest to me are the images of the two men, one a Chinese tea merchant and the second apparently a Scottish customer taking snuff. The Chinese character is depicted in stylised ‘oriental’ clothing but with a pale and narrow face emphasised by his long moustache.  His hair is not visible, so the traditional Chinese male queue is missing. He is seated with his arms open in welcome and to display his mercantile practice, gesturing to a ship at sail in the bay behind him.  In short, he looks like a British citizen aping a Chinese merchant, and is consequentially a domesticated, unthreatening and placid depiction of otherness. The image of the Scottish man is similarly contradictory, his full Highland dress and bonnet at odds with the sedate practice of inhaling snuff.

Brindley’s vouchers relate to parish payments in the early 1830s, and his bill-head was a product of its time. China was the only country to export tea until 1838, and the first Opium War did not begin until 1839. Therefore British impressions of Chinese people were not yet heavily overlain with negative associations relating to narcotics or military opposition.  Instead the western impression of China drew on largely uncritical stereotypes, and tea advertising often used scenes of ports, ships, or palm trees, populated by men or boys in triangular hats and flowing costumes.  Perceptions of China probably benefited by association with the popularity of tea as a non-alcoholic beverage.

Similarly the Scottish figure is a sympathetic one; the man sits relaxed with his knees wide apart.   The threat of Jacobite rebellion had long faded by the 1830s, and Scottish heritage was being successfully rehabilitated and valorised for the nineteenth century by the novels of Sir Walter Scott.

The imagery used above successfully conveys an impression of bounty and exoticism from near and far, but cannily avoids troubling or unsettling images of the foreign.  These two figures are uncontroversially part of an ordered, British world.