The Elsmores Part 3: Apprenticeships

Searching the apprentice records on the Staffordshire Names Index reveals the names of nine Elsmores from the Colwich area: Ann, Francis, George, James, John, Mary, Sarah, Thomas and William. Either it was common for people to pay a fine for not taking apprentices, or some of the Elsmores proved, on occasion, to be unsatisfactory in some way. Looking at the dates of the apprenticeships it seems that 1828 was a crucial year.

In 1828, aged 11, Ann Elsmore the daughter of Mary Hawthorn (late Elsmore) was apprenticed to housewifery to farmer James Astley of Hixon. The apprenticeship did not actually take place as another source notes that Astley paid £10 instead of taking an apprentice.

With his parents deceased, in 1832 Francis Elsmore, aged 10, was apprenticed to farmer Charles Haywood. However, the following year Haywood paid a £10 fine instead of taking Francis. On this occasion Francis’ age was given as 13. Instead, Francis (13) was apprenticed in husbandry to Samuel Buttery, another farmer on 13 July 1833. In 1835 Francis, (age given as 11 so it might be another Francis Elsmore) was apprenticed to farmer William Smith. In all instances, however, the sources note that Francis was an orphan.

George Elsmore was apprenticed to Thomas Aylsbury of Taft Farm in July 1823, but like Ann and Francis, by December his master had paid £10 instead of taking George. The following year George (11) was apprenticed to cordwainer John Elsmore.

Nine-year-old James Elsmore was apprenticed in husbandry to William Masters in 1823 on the same date that George had first been apprenticed.

In 1808 John Elsmore, the son of Thomas and Ann Elsmore of Bishton was apprenticed to farmers John and Thomas Bould of Hixon until he reached the age of 18.

Aged 10 Mary Elsmore (parents deceased) was apprenticed to John Day, a butcher in Great Haywood, in 1819.

In 1827 Sarah Elsmore, aged 10, was apprenticed in housewifery to Viscount Thomas William Anson of Shugborough. This arrangement does not seem to have worked out as in the following year Sarah (of Sitch Lane) became apprenticed in lace-making and housewifery to Henry Cox of Great Haywood (who is recorded as a baker so perhaps it was Henry’s wife who was to instruct Sarah). After this Sarah was to be assigned to James Elsmore.

Thomas Elsmore was apprenticed to James Trubshaw at his new house in Little Haywood in 1821.

William Elsmore (11) son of Sarah Elsmore of Hixon was apprenticed in husbandry initially to Henry Churchill, a schoolmaster. The apprenticeship them seems to have been transferred to Walter Yates, a farmer, of Coley.


SRO, D24/A/PO/2809, John Elsmore, 9 Apr. 1808

SRO, D24/A/PO/2721, John Elsmore, 9 Apr. 1808

SRO, D24/A/PV/1, John Elsmore, 9 Apr. 1808

SRO, D24/A/PV/1, Mary Elsmore, 27 Oct. 1819

SRO, D24/A/PO/2722, Mary Elsmore, 27 Oct. 1819

SRO, D24/A/PV/1, Thomas Elsmore, 15 Sep. 1821

SRO, D874/7/6/23, James Elsmore, 5 Jul. 1823

SRO, D24/A/PV/1, George Elsmore, 5 Jul. 1823

SRO, D874/7/6/27, George Elsmore, 18 Dec. 1824

SRO, D24/A/PO/2833, Sarah Elsmore, 4 Jul. 1827

SRO, D24/A/PV/1, Sarah Elsmore, 14 Aug. 1827

SRO, D24/A/PV/1, Sarah Elsmore, 16 Jul. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PO/2838, Sarah Elsmore, 16 Jul. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PO/2723, Sarah Elsmore, 2 Aug. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PO/2723, Ann Elsmore, 16 Jul. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PV/1, Ann Elsmore of Princes End, 16 Jul. 1828

SRO, D874/7/6/29, Ann Elsmore, 16 Jul. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PO/2723, William Elsmore, 16 Jul. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PO/2839, William Elsmore, 16 Jul. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PO/2840, William Elsmore, 16 Jul. 1828

SRO, D874/7/6/30, William Elsmore, 8 Nov. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PV/1, William Elsmore, 8 Nov. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PO/2723, William Elsmore, 8 Nov. 1828

SRO, D24/A/PO/2723, Francis Elsmore, 21 Jan. 1832

SRO, D24/A/PO/2723, Francis Elsmore, 11 Apr. 1833

SRO, D24/A/PO/2723, Francis Elsmore, 13 Jul. 1833

SRO, D874/7/6/34, Francis Elsmore, 13 Jul. 1833

SRO, D24/A/PO/2723, Francis Elsmore, 11 Jul. 1835

This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research in conducted.


The Elsmore Family, Great Haywood, Shoemakers, Part Two: Who were the Elsmores?

The Elsmores were Roman Catholics. As a result of Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act, between 1754 and 1837 all marriages had to take place in the Church of England. The Catholic registers that do survive for this period contain records of illegal marriages. Several Elsmore marriages took place at the parish church of St John the Baptist, Tixall, Staffordshire. White’s 1834 directory notes, however, that adjoining the south wing of Tixall Hall ‘is a modern Catholic chapel, a handsome Gothic structure, with an octagonal tower, and beautiful stained glass windows. The parish church … is a small edifice dedicated to St John the Baptist’. For several centuries Tixall had been a safe haven for Catholics. In 1827 the Clifford family, who lived in the hall, built the chapel. By 1835 they had left the area giving the chapel and an acre of land to the Catholics of the area. In 1845 the chapel was taken down and rebuilt in Great Haywood.

William Elsmore (b.1783) married Susan or Susanna Dale on 13 February 1809. The marriage was recorded as having taken place at St John the Baptist church. Susanna was around six months pregnant at the time. Their son James was baptised 23 July 1809 at St John’s. Susan Dale and her sister Frances were confirmed on 5 May 1802 at Tixall chapel.

For Colwich, the 1841 Census (when ages for adults were rounded down to the nearest five years) lists William (55) a cordwainer, his wife Susanna (50) and five children: Stephen (25), Thomas (20), Mary Ann (16), Frederick (15) and Francis (13). Living next to them was another William Elsmore, (30) a joiner and carpenter; his wife Anne (32), and children Teresa, (4); Louisa, (2) and Ann (1).

The 1851 Census reveals that William, aged 68, was born in Stafford, and Susanna, aged 67, was born in Tixall. Stephen (38), born in Baswich, was a cordwainer like his father. No other children of William and Susannah are listed but living with them were two grandchildren, Cecily aged nine (born in Stowe) and Edward Brian, aged two, born in Campden, Gloucestershire. This may explain the connection with Chipping Campden of Thomas Elsmore, a bricklayer, lodging at an inn in High Street, noted in the 1851 Census.

Another child of William and Susanna was Charles, born 1814. At the time of the 1851 Census he was a ‘post’ boy living in St John Street, Lichfield, along with his brother Francis, an ostler and general servant; and an extended family that included their sister Mary A. Brian (37), a victualler’s wife, born in Great Haywood; her sons William (3), born in Longton; Charles (1), born in Great Haywood; and Henry (6 months), born in Lichfield. Also living at the same address was brother-in-law Edward Guy (36), an agricultural implement maker, born Boston, Lincolnshire; and niece Teresa Elsmore (14), a nurse. Visiting when the census was taken was cousin Harriet Dale (30), born in Tixall.

White’s 1851 directory informs us that William Brian was the innkeeper of the Lord Nelson, St John Street, Lichfield.

James Elsmore (b.1809)

Also in the 1841 Census for Colwich are James Elsmore, a cordwainer, his wife Pamela and their children James (b.1836), Robert (b.1837), Pamela (b.1838) and George (b.1840). James and Pamela (née Wood) were married at Painswick, Gloucestershire, on 15 July 1833.

In the 1871 Census James (61), a master cordwainer employing one man, and Pamela (60) and two of their children, Monica, aged 25, a machinist and Francis, aged 15, a cordwainer were all living next to Great Haywood Catholic school and chapel. On the other side of them were William Elsmore, (60) a joiner and carpenter; his wife Anne (67), daughter Martha, (28) a certified schoolmistress; son William (26) also a joiner and carpenter, and a grandson, Francis (3), born in Broughton, Yorkshire.

Jane, Brian and Ann Elsmore

1841 Census for Great Haywood at Norton Land are Henry and Mary Yates and their children John and Ann; and a Mary Elsmore (30). Henry was an agricultural labourer. Next to them at Swansmoor Farm were Robert Cliff [?] aged 70, a farmer; Jane Elsmore (60); Jane Elsmore (26); Brian Elsmore (24); and Ann Elsmore (20).

In 1861, at Swanmoor Farm, Colwich, were Brian Elsmore, (47) farmer of 114 acres employing one labourer and one boy; and Brian’s sisters Jane (49) and Ann (44).

White’s 1834 directory notes that Swanmoor was three miles north-west of Colwich with two large farms. One belonged to Sir T. A. Clifford, constable, and the other to William Moore.

George Elsmore (b.1814)

In 1861, at Billington, Bradley, lived George Elsmore (47), a cordwainer; wife Ellen, (38); Thomas (12), a cordwainer; and Ann (9).

By 1871 George Elsmore (57), born at Little Haywood, his wife Ellen (48), born Stafford, and their children (all born in Bradley) William (16); Thomas (22), an indoor farm servant; Ann Eliza (19); George (18), a ‘farmer’s son’; Ellen (15); Elizabeth (13); Emily Jane (11); Alice (8); and John (5) were still resident at Billington, Bradley.

By the next census (1881) many of George’s and Ellen’s children were no longer living in the family home. George (67) and Ellen (58) were living with their unmarried son William (26), an agricultural labourer; and a grandson Edward B. Elsmore (5) in Berry Ring, Bradley.

Joseph Elsmore (Farmer)

In 1826 Joseph Elsmore of Swanmoor was appointed as a juror for the Quarter Sessions.

Joseph Elsmore (b.1814)

Joseph was born in Fradswell and became a farm bailiff in the parish of St Andrew, Shifnal, Shropshire, living at Hatton School. His wife Elizabeth (b.1823) was the school mistress and was assisted by their daughter Margaret (b.1857). Living with them was Herbert Merriman (b.1853), and agricultural labourer; and Richard Wedge (b.1861), a groom and domestic servant.

Thomas Elsmore (b.1821)

In 1841 in the parish of St Mary, Stafford, shoemaker Joseph, born around 1821, was living with his wife Mary and their two children William, aged two; and Bernard, aged one.

Joseph Elsmore (b.1821)

Living in the same street in Stafford as Thomas Elsmore (b.1821) was shoemaker Joseph, his wife Caroline and their son Thomas, aged one.

Frederick Elsmore (b.1828)

Like his father William, Frederick became a shoemaker. He appears to have moved around a great deal. In 1841 he was an apprentice shoemaker in Stafford living in the household of his master Samuel Mountford. In 1851 he was lodging in St Peter’s parish Derby. Ten years later he had moved to Walsall Wood. He was still a shoemaker and still living in digs.

Robert Elsmore (b.1784)

In 1851 at Mavesyn Ridware, Staffordshire, Robert Elsmore (67), born in Colwich and his wife Sarah (51) were in receipt of parish relief. Their 14-year-old daughter Rebeccah was dressmaker’s apprentice, and their 11-year-old-son Henry was an agricultural labourer.

William Elsmore (b.1816)

Living at Ellastone, Staffordshire, were William Elsmore (35) a bookkeeper to a builder, (born in Bradley, Staffordshire); his wife Charlotte (42) born in Ellastone, and their children William H. (12), born in Colwich; Bryan T. (9); Jane (7); Frederick J. (4); and Louisa (1). The last four children were all born in Ellastone.

John Elsmore (b.1814)

John Elsmore was born in Great Haywood. By the time of the 1851 Census he was a widowed a farm labourer living in Armitage. His daughter Elizabeth (b.1828) was a laundress, and his son, Thomas (b.1829) was a farm labourer.


Birmingham Archdiocese Archives, P162/1/2, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Deaths, Roman Catholic Parish Marriages, 1798–1853

Gloucester Archives, P244, IN 1/16, Gloucestershire Anglican Parish Registers, Painswick

SRO, Q/Rjr/1826, Quarter Sessions Jurors Lists (Staffordshire Name Index)

The National Archives, ‘How to look for records of Catholics’

TNA, HO 107/994/11, Census 1841

TNA, HO, 107/1010/1, Census 1841

TNA, HO, 107/1999, Census 1851

TNA, HO, 107/2014, Census 1851

TNA, HO, 107/2015, Census 1851

TNA, HO, 107/2076, Census 1851

TNA, HO, 107/2143, Census 1851

TNA, HO, 107/2146, Census 1851

TNA, RG, 9/1908, Census 1861

TNA, RG, 9/1909, Census 1861

TNA, RG, 9/2018, Census 1861

TNA, RG, 10/2819, Census 1871

TNA, RG, 10/2820, Census 1871

TNA, RG, 11/2634, Census 1881

TNA, RG, 11/2687, Census 1881

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (Sheffield: 1834)

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (Sheffield: 1851)

This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research is conducted.

The Elsmore Family, Great Haywood, Shoemakers, Part One

The family name has various spellings including Ellsmere, Ellsmore and Elsmon. Most frequently it appears as Elsmore. Vouchers relating to the Elsmores survive for the period 1817–1834. The earliest, for the repair of shoes for Ann Gooding costing £0 1s 8d submitted by William Elsmore, is dated 2 July 1817.

The Elsmore name crops up frequently in the Colwich overseers’ vouchers, both as makers and repairers of footwear, and as recipients of parish relief. It was a very extended family so disentangling the precise relationship between one member of the family and another is not always straightforward. Nor is it always easy to determine precisely which member of the family was in receipt of poor relief. The first entry on the Elsmores looks at their visibility within the overseers’ vouchers for Colwich. The second is an attempt to establish the connections between the various branches of the family.

Some members of the family seem to have been prosperous; others relied more heavily on parish relief. Yet more dipped in and out of the parish system. Parson and Bradshaw’s, Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory, (1818) lists John Ellsmere and Thomas Ellsmore as shoemakers, whilst William Elsmore is listed as a shoemaker in White’s directory of 1834. Inclusion in a trade directory however, was no guarantee of business success.

The vouchers suggest that some of the Elsmores survived on the margins. Indeed, some rather poignant survivals indicate that whilst the Elsmores were shoemakers, they could not afford to provide shoes or even repair them for their own children without recourse to the parish. In 1821 John Elsmore was paid for repairing the shoes of four people including ‘William Elsmore’s Girl’. William and John Elsmore received work from Colwich’s overseers, usually in the form of carrying out shoe and boot repairs throughout the 1820s, if not always consistently. Perhaps, by providing work, it was in an attempt by the parish to reduce the number of occasions when the Elsmores sought parish relief. If so, it was not entirely successful. In 1828 Sarah, William and James Elsmore were the beneficiaries of two pairs of shoes and the repair of shoes. In the same year James Elsmore was paid for resoling and heeling Sarah Elsmore’s shoes and John Elsmore for shoe repairs for ‘Sarah Elmore’s girl’ and for Mary Elmore’s girl’.

In 1831 William was paid for repairing the shoes of ‘Francis’ and ‘Frederick’. Although many people had the names ‘Francis’ and ‘Frederick’, they were also the names of two of William’s children. One bill for the provision of clothes covers the period from 1823 until April 1832. Amongst the 34 names listed (some appear more than once) as beneficiaries, the Elsmore name occurs on four occasions: Widow Elsmore’s son; George Elsmore[‘s?] widow (it is not clear whether this refers to George himself or to his widow); Francis Elsmore; and Frederick Elsmore.

On one occasion a bill for repairs, dated 1830, was not settled until January 1832 when it was paid to a ‘Mrs Elsmore’.


William Parson and Thomas Bradshaw, Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory, (1818)

SRO, D874/1, St Michael’s and All Angels Parish Register, Colwich

SRO, D24/A/Po/1136b, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 2 Jul. 1817

SRO, D24/A/Po/1282, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 21 Jan. 1821

SRO, D24/A/Po/1561, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, Jul.–Aug. 1828

SRO, D24/A/Po/1519, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 28 Oct. 1827

SRO, D24/A/Po/1529, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 26 Feb. 1828

SRO, D24/A/Po/1567, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 21 Sep. 1827

SRO, D24/A/Po/1623, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 18 Oct. 1829

SRO, D24/A/Po/1641, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 9 Mar. 1830

SRO, D24/A/Po/1695, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 10 Mar. 1831

SRO, D24/A/Po/1748, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 6 Jan. 1832

SRO, D24/A/Po/1760, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 20 Mar. 1832

SRO, D24/A/Po/1761, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 20 Mar. 1832

SRO, D24/A/Po/1777, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 16 Apr. 1832

SRO, D24/A/Po/1778, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 21 Apr. 1832

SRO, D24/A/Po/1964, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 7 Mar. 1834

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (Sheffield: 1834)

This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research is conducted.

Jane Baxter (1792–1867) and the Brick-Makers of Uttoxeter

Uttoxeter had a number of brickworks situated on the Heath near to the workhouse. It is almost certain that most of the bricks were used locally. Indeed, Kingman has calculated that as around 40 per cent of a brick’s cost could be accounted for by its transportation the distance between production site and final destination was often short. The poor law vouchers contain payments for the digging out of clay, for the transport of other raw materials, particularly coal from Stoke-upon-Trent and Cheadle, and for brick production, but not for transportation. The latter costs may have been covered by the purchasers. Pitt’s history of Staffordshire (1817) notes that in the town ‘The houses in general are well built of brick, and commodious. The wharf belonging to the Grand Trunk Canal Company, with several large warehouses enclosed by a brick wall, … has contributed much to the prosperity of this small but flourishing town … There are several neat mansions of brick, built in the vicinity of the wharf’.

Until mechanisation in the nineteenth century, brick-making was both relatively small-scale and seasonal with manufacturers often engaged in other occupations. Clay tended to be dug between autumn and spring, with the actual process of brick-making occupying the summer and autumn months.

The only Utttoxeter brick-layer noted in the 1793 Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce and Manufacture was William Hubbard who also doubled as a maltster. No brick-makers were listed. What is perhaps surprising is that even by the time of Parson and Bradshaw’s 1818 directory although the number of brick-layers had increased there were still no brick-makers listed. John Allen of Balance Hill, John Allen of Pinfold Lane, William Blurton, John Chatfield, William Eglison, William Hubbard, Neville Newbold, and John Walker were all brick-layers. Edward Hooper was both a bricklayer and builder, and more unusually John Tunnicliffe of High Street was listed as a brick-layer, grocer and flour dealer. Thomas Salt is described as the ‘agent for the sale of tiles of all descriptions, fire and floor brick, & Quarrie’s patent water, etc, pipes’. Many of these items are listed amongst the overseers’ vouchers.

The situation had shifted considerably by 1834. Brick-layers included Joseph Blurton, Anthony Chatfield (who crops up many times in the vouchers), Edwin Chatfield, John Chatfield and John Chatfield junior. A number of brick-makers are also listed. They included Clement Baxter, John Hudson, Margaret Parker and (unless this was a place rather than a person) the unlikely sounding Parish Yard. All were located on the Heath. In Uttoxeter were John and William Hales.

Jane Baxter, the daughter of George and Jane Baxter, was baptised on 3 February 1792. Her siblings included Clement (1780–1841), George (1786–1852), James (baptised 13 October 1789), Peter (baptised 17 October 1796) and Edward (1794–1859). George Baxter, a yeoman, died in 1802. In his short, probated will (£100) he left all of his real and personal estate to his ‘loving wife Jane’ for her own enjoyment and disposal. No mention was made of any children. His executors were William Chatfield, yeoman, and William Rogers, gardener (see entry 2 Feb. 2018)

At what point Clement Baxter entered upon the brick trade is unknown. The earliest reference we have is in the 1834 directory. His will of 1841 (£200) described him as a brick-maker. He bequeathed all his real and personal estate to his sister Jane appointing her as his sole executrix. We may ask why Jane was bequeathed the brickworks ahead of her brothers. Although it is often thought that males always inherited businesses before females, this was not necessarily the case. If it was felt that the men in the family were already established in their own occupations, or regarded as feckless or lazy, women often inherited. It may also have been a way of securing an income for the unmarried Jane thus reducing or eliminating her dependence upon the family. She also had practical experience in the brickworks operated by Clement. Her name appears in a number of overseers’ vouchers showing that she was dealing with the accounts. On 14 July 1829 there is a settled bill for 300 bricks costing 8s, whilst in March 1830 she received £5 8s 0d for a delivery of dung. This involvement would have placed her in a good position. She knew who the customers were and more importantly those who paid on time and those who did not. She would have known where raw materials could be obtained and the price to pay for such items.

In both the 1851 and 1861 Census returns Jane Baxter is recorded as being unmarried and living alone on Uttoxeter Heath. In 1851 she is listed as a brick-maker mistress. She is also listed as a brick-maker in White’s 1851 directory alongside Porter and Keates who by then had added brick and tile making to their other activities as grocers, tea dealers, ironmongers, chandlers, hemp and flax dressers, and nail manufacturers.

Following Jane Baxter’s entry in the 1851 Census is the entry for Peter Baxter, a brick maker journeyman; his wife Charlotte and their son Isaac, a cordwainer journeyman, and brick-maker journeyman John Norris. In all likelihood Peter was working for his sister. Whilst Peter was a brick-maker journeyman in 1831 he applied to the overseers for a pair of new shoes for his wife costing 6s. In 1835 he received £1 0s 0d for clothes for an apprentice. Clearly, although in work, his income was insufficient at times. The 1851 Census also lists widow Elizabeth Baxter (69) living on the Heath with her sons Thomas (35) a carter and labourer, and Edward (33) a brick-maker journeyman. Both were unmarried. Elizabeth was possibly the widow of Jane’s brother George. Other brick-makers on the Heath were Thomas Parker and his son Charles described as a brick-maker/servant, and master brick-layer William Godrich.

By the time of the 1861 Census much had changed. Jane was out of business; Peter, now widowed, had become a servant, and Isaac has disappeared from the record. Norris was still a brick maker. Also listed as a brick-maker was G[iddeon?] Prestbury.

Jane died in 1867 and is buried in the churchyard of St Lawrence, Bramshall.


Peter Barfoot and John Wilkes, Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce and Manufacture (1793)

Bramshall, St Lawrence Memorial Inscriptions

Mike Kingman, ‘Brickmaking and Brick Building in Staffordshire 1500–1760’, (Unpublished PhD Thesis, Keele University, 2006)

Mike Kingman, ‘The Adoption of Brick in Urban Staffordshire: the Experience of Newcastle-under-Lyme, 1665–1760’, Midland History, 35:1, (2010)

C. C. Owen, The Development of Industry in Burton-upon-Trent (1978)

William Parson and Thomas Bradshaw, Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory, 3 vols (Manchester: J. Leigh, 1818), II

William Pitt, A Topographical History of Staffordshire (Newcastle-under-Lyme: J. Smith,1817)

SRO, D3891/1, Uttoxeter Parish Registers

SRO, D3891/6/34/12/040, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Vouchers, 14 Jul. 1829

SRO, D3981/6/36/1/22, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Vouchers, 7 Mar. 1830

SRO, D3891/6/36/6/21, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Vouchers, 20 Nov. 1831

SRO, D3891/6/43/3/7, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Vouchers, 30 Jun. 1835

SRO, D3891/6/42/19, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Vouchers, 6 Oct. 1835

TNA, IR27/360, Court of Probate, Wills and Probate

TNA, H.O. 107/2010, Census 1851

TNA, R.G. 9/1955, Census 1861

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (Sheffield: 1834)

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (Sheffield: 1851)

This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research is conducted.

Thomas Steeple Flint (1788–1851) part 2

In an earlier posting on Flint (15 Jan. 2018), it became apparent that he was much more than just a basket maker. An auction advert in the Derby Mercury in 1838 provides details of his premises in Uttoxeter’s Market Place and an explanation for his move to Spiceal Street.

Flint’s property had ‘two commanding fronts, one opposing the Market Place, having a frontage of 28 feet; and one facing the Sheep Market, with a very handsome Private Entrance and a Frontage of 45 feet’.

The house consisted of a ‘Front shop 21 feet by 16 feet … with a sitting room at the back …together with a handsome parlour, neatly fitted up with cupboards … There is cellaring under the whole; part thereof is now used as a workshop, and a kitchen well supplied with soft water … Over these apartments is an elegantly fitted-up dining room 20 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 6 inches … with marble chimney piece, and two sleeping rooms, one of which is 19 feet by 11 feet 6 inches’ also with a marble chimney piece. The other room was smaller but had a large closet attached. Above these rooms were another six sleeping rooms and above those an attic measuring 43 feet by 21 feet. Outside there was a garden and stabling for four horses.

Towards the end of the advert Flint availed ‘himself of this opportunity of returning thanks to the public at large, for the very liberal support he has received since his commencement in business, and respectfully informs them that he is now declining the same in favour of his journeymen John Wyatt and Simeon Johnson’.


Derby Mercury, 31 October 1838

Royal Approval for Uttoxeter Workhouse

In November 1840 the Derby Mercury reported, in glowing terms, the visit of Queen Adelaide (widow of William IV) to the new Uttoxeter Workhouse. At the time she was living at Sudbury Hall. With her ‘accustomed benevolence’, reported the paper, ‘Her Majesty … has graciously consented to become the patroness of the Uttoxeter Provident District Visiting Society [and] has intimated her intention of giving an annual subscription of ten pounds to the society’. The queen also ‘paid a visit to the Uttoxeter Union Workhouse, and conveyed … her … intention to bestow a substantial meal of roast beef, plum pudding, and ale, upon the poor inmates on Christmas day. Her Majesty was pleased to inspect the house, and to express her approval of the general arrangements made for the accommodation and convenience of the poor people, who, with numerous other objects of compassion, will have cause to bless the Christian sympathy of the Queen Dowager.’


Derby Mercury, 25 November 1840

Matthew Woodward (1794–1857), Woollen and Linen Draper, Haberdasher and Deputy Postmaster, Rugeley, Staffordshire

Between November 1826 and July 1832 Woodward submitted four bills to the Colwich overseers totalling £1 11s 0½d for flannel, linen cloth, worsted stockings and haberdashery items. Parson and Bradshaw’s directory does not list Woodward, however, Pigot’s 1828 directory reveals that he was a linen and woollen draper. Like many in his trade, his billheads show that he was also a silk mercer, hosier and haberdasher. He also had another occupation as Rugeley’s deputy post master.

The Rugeley post office was established in January 1830. The position of deputy (for which a bond of £300 was payable marking Woodward out as a person of means) was held initially by John Wood, but he resigned within 12 months. Woodward (listed as a draper in the post office appointment books) was engaged on 6 January 1831.

The roles of deputy postmaster and postmaster were ones that carried with them responsibility, and depended upon trustworthiness and creditworthiness so it comes as something of a surprise to note that in November 1831, less than a year into his new job, the London Gazette records that a commission of bankruptcy was issued against Woodward, ‘mercer and draper, dealer and chapman’ on 3 November 1831. The commissioners proposed to meet at 12 noon in the Talbot Arms, Rugeley, on 23 February 1832 to make a first and final dividend.

During this period, and indeed afterwards, Woodward kept the position of deputy postmaster. As limited liability in business did not come into being until the 1850s, those declared bankrupt were required by law to declare all their assets, not just those in the business affected by bankruptcy. Technically, therefore, the income derived from Woodward’s position in the post office would have been taken into consideration by the bankruptcy commissioners. They may have decided that the best and quickest way to ensure that Woodward’s creditors received a dividend was to allow him to continue to operate as the deputy postmaster. Indeed, it may be surmised that despite the bankruptcy proceedings, Woodward was not fundamentally poor at business. In a credit-dependent era, it is likely that his bankruptcy was occasioned by demand for payment by another person in the credit chain who was in difficulty. Whatever the cause, the outcome was that Woodward ceased to operate as a draper. White’s 1834 directory lists his only occupation as that of postmaster in Horse Fair, as does the 1841 Census (in a property owned by William Otty according to the tithe award). The 1844 Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons list Woodward as one of the people to whom ‘half-sheets of postage free paper will be sent for sale’. He resigned from his position in 1847; bookbinder Samuel Cheshire the younger was appointed in his stead.

Woodward married Jane Fortescue by licence at St Augustine’s, Rugeley, on 23 December 1823. The ceremony was witnessed by Rebecca Hart and Samuel Fortescue. All were literate. Samuel Fortescue was a surgeon in Horse Fair.

In the Census returns of 1841, 1851 and 1861 no children of Matthew and Jane Woodward are recorded. The 1851 Census records the pair as having a house servant, Elizabeth Marlow, aged 23. Intriguingly, the 1851 Census lists Woodward as a maltster, but he does not appear as such in any trade directory of the 1820s or ‘30s. In White’s 1851 directory, however, Woodward is listed as a maltster in Heron’s Nest Street. How Woodward moved from being a draper to post master to maltster is unknown, but he must have made or acquired money somewhere along the line to set up or take over a malthouse because malting was an expensive, highly regulated and heavily taxed trade. The law required commercial maltsters to be registered and to take out annual licences backed by guarantors. Few could afford the costs involved. Furthermore, the complexity of the malting process meant that it was not a business easily accessible to newcomers.

Woodward died in 1857. His funeral took place on 14 December at St Augustine’s, Rugeley. His widow, aged 70, was living alone by the time of the 1861 Census.


HMSO, Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons, 20 vols (1844), vol. XLV

Henry D. Barton, Analytical Digest of Cases Published in the Law Journal Reports, vol. XI, new series vol. II (London:  James Holmes, 1833)

British Postal Museum, POST 58/39, Appointments Register for Deputy Postmasters, 1777–1849

Peter Collinge, ‘A Genteel Hand in the Malt Business: Barbara Ford (1755–1841) of Ashbourne’, Midland History 39:1 (2014), 110–132

George Elwick, The Bankrupt Directory being a complete register of all the bankrupts with their residences, trades and dates when they appeared in the London Gazette December 1820–April 1843 (1843)

London Gazette, vol. 1 (London: 1833), 212

William Parson and Thomas Bradshaw, Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory, (1818)

Pigot, Directory of Staffordshire (1828)

Staffordshire Name Index, B/A/15/644, Tithe awards, 1836–1845

SRO, D24/A/PO/1496, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 17 Nov 1826

SRO, D24/A/PO/1510, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 27 Mar 1827

SRO, D24/A/PO/1705, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 7 April 1831

SRO, D24/A/PO/1816b, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 19 Jul 1832

SRO, D1454/1/12–17, St Augustine’s, Rugeley, Parish Register

TNA, HO 107/973/18, Census 1841

TNA, HO 107/2015, Census 1851

TNA, RG 9/1978, Census 1861

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (Sheffield: 1834)

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (Sheffield: 1851)

This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research becomes available.

Richard Hayne’s (1723–1787) Memorandum on Uttoxeter Workhouse, 1782

Amongst the papers of the Fitzherbert family of Tissington, Derbyshire, there is a bundle of miscellaneous items including a description of Uttoxeter workhouse, its management and the activities of its inmates in the second half of the eighteenth century. From the document, it is not clear why the memorandum was written or to whom it was addressed, but it may have been prompted by planned changes to the way in which workhouses were established as a result of Gilbert’s Act of the same year.

Richard Hayne was the second of five children born to John Hayne (b. circa 1688) of Uttoxeter and his wife Lettice Leighton (bapt. 11 Jan 1690). Richard was baptised on 26 March 1723. He was apprenticed to a Derby attorney William Turner in 1742 and appointed as a Justice of the Peace for Derbyshire in 1755, the year after he married Mary Newton at St Oswald’s parish church, Ashbourne. He spent some years living in Uttoxeter, but his main residence was Ashbourne Green Hall. The Hayne family also owned a number of other properties in Ashbourne including the Green Man inn and the Old House in Church Street used as a dower house. Richard died at Bath in 1787 and was buried in the churchyard of All Saints’, Weston. After Richard’s death, his widow moved to the Old House, remaining there until her death in 1802.

The memorandum offers one person’s perspective of the state of the Uttoxeter workhouse and its management before the construction of the one designed by Thomas Gardener which opened in 1789. Hayne’s views emphasise its poor state before his appointment as an inspector, the improvements made whilst he was in post and its decline once again after he left.

He starts the memorandum by recalling events of more than thirty years previously when Uttoxeter’s numerous poor were ‘constantly erecting cottages and enclosing small [plots] of land which they considered as their own, making careful not to change their place of settlement’. The workhouse itself was ‘mostly filled with old persons and children perhaps from 40–60’. Many other poor people received outdoor relief ranging from one to three or four shillings a week. The overseers, chosen usually from ‘the lower sort of Trades People’, sent provisions to the workhouse where ‘some of the old men there distributed it’, not just to the inmates but to others who came for their dinners. The problem was exacerbated, according to Hayne, because those who went to the workhouse for their meal had a tendency to pocket the victuals and carry them away.

Hayne’s other main concern was that the ‘Poor of the workhouse had no employ and ran about the town at pleasure by which habit the children were ignorant, idle and impudent’. The problem of how to ‘amend this bad and expensive conduct’ was discussed frequently by the gentlemen of Uttoxeter who attended the parish vestry. Remonstrating with the overseers proved ineffectual. Consequently the vestry proposed that ‘two Gentlemen should be added to the official overseers who could spare time to inspect’ the workhouse. Hayne and a Major Gardener were thus appointed. ‘Our first step’, wrote Hayne, was to ‘advertise for a person as Manager of the Workhouse’. They got one from Wolverhampton at £24 a year ‘or thereabouts for himself, his wife and his daughter’.

Hayne’s and Gardener’s next step was to inspect the workhouse where they ‘found a room full of broken spinning wheels … We directed these implements to be thoroughly repaired’. The boys and girls were then taught to spin and knit linen and wool, and the ‘old people as were able had their allotment of such work as suited them best’. The House was ‘whitewashed and cleaned in a wholesome manner’. Rooms were inspected on a weekly basis. As the workhouse manager was ‘qualified to instruct the children … in reading, writing and accompting’, copy books and reading books were procured for their education. For the sake of their health the children were permitted to play in a large yard attached to the workhouse where a palisade and locked gate were fixed. A boy, seated in a box, was to unlock the gate and admit in or out ‘all proper persons’.

Gardener’s and Hayne’s role as inspectors lasted for a year, during which time they alternated their duties every two weeks. Hayne claimed that he scarcely missed a day, sometimes carrying out unannounced inspections twice a day. He visited the market to see the butcher’s meat (usually animal muscle tissue) being weighed and put his mark next to the entry in the general account book. He also did this for the flour, wool, hemp and other materials brought into the workhouse. Outdoor relief (except during sickness) was stopped as was the practice of feeding any other than workhouse inmates.

As a result of the inspectors’ endeavours the workhouse was transformed: ‘From a most filthy, dirty place the House became perfectly sweet, clean and wholesome’. The inmates became industrious and the children ‘attained an attention to Business & were (from Parental Homebread (sic)  Brutality) Civilised and fited (sic) to be put out as Parish Apprentices into any decent families’. The spinning of linen yarn for shirts and worsted produced a sufficient amount to make stockings and ‘to be sent out to be woven into liney wolsey for coats and waistcoats for the Men and Boys and Gowns and Petticoats for the Women and Girls’.

After his term of office Hayne removed to Ashbourne, the major returned to his regiment and a contested county election ‘divided the friendship of the Gentlemen [of Uttoxeter and the] workhouse gradually sunk into its former state’.

How much of Hayne’s account we accept at face value is difficult to say. Frederick Eden’s State of the Poor certainly confirms many of the practices Hayne found on his arrival at Uttoxeter workhouse, but the extent to which the workhouse and its inmates were transformed within the space of a year is open to question.


Derbyshire Record Office, D239/Z/6, Fitzherbert of Tissington Papers, Memorandum Uttoxeter Workhouse 10 May 1782

Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor, A History of the Labouring Classes in England, 3 vols (London: 1797)

Adrian Henstock (ed.), A Georgian Country Town: Ashbourne 17251825:  Fashionable Society (Ashbourne: Ashbourne Local History Group, 1989)

Alannah Tomkins, The Experience of Urban Poverty, 1723–82 (Manchester: MUP, 2006) accessed 6 Mar 2018 accessed 6 Mar 2018

This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research is conducted.

The Poor Law: Small Bills and Petty Finance, 1700-1834 Elizabeth Higginbotham (b.1804), Seamstress, Colwich, Staffordshire

Thus far Elizabeth Higginbotham is one of the few businesswomen to emerge from the vouchers who supplied any of Staffordshire’s parish overseers with goods or services. The explanation for this is not clear at present. It is certainly not because it was unusual to find women in business at this time, but may reflect the types of goods and services required by the overseers and the nature of the businesses in which many women could be found. Occasionally, we come across bills signed by women working in a family business but whose names do not appear in trade directories or on billheads.

Between 12 March 1829 and 22 January 1835 Elizabeth Higginbotham submitted 16 bills to Colwich’s overseers of the poor for a range of items she made including petticoats, frocks, caps, dresses and shirts. She also supplied drapery items. The aggregated value of goods totalled £6 11s 2d. The highest bill, for making clothes for Thomas Buckley’s three daughters and two sons totalled £0 19s 8d. It was submitted on 26 November 1829 and settled on 29, a quick turnaround for a parish bill. The lowest value bill for drapery items, costing £0 2s 2d, was settled on 7 November 1834. Like the bill for Buckley’s children, most of the bills provide the names of the families in receipt of the goods including Jane Tooth, Widow Tooth’s daughter; Margaret Bowvin and Francis Elsmore (four times); Thomas Buckley; Mary Rocks child, John Ansell’s boys (twice), Mary Shelly (three times); Sarah Yates’ children (six times); Edward Ansell, and Richard Ansell.

Elizabeth, born in Staffordshire in 1804, was married to Joseph Higginbotham, (b.1805 in Warwickshire). The Higginbothams lived in Great Haywood. In the 1851 Census Joseph, a stone cutter, and Elizabeth were living with two daughters, Ann, a ‘servant at home’ aged 19, and Henryetta aged 13. Ten years later, Joseph described himself as an agricultural labourer in the census and Ann was the only daughter listed. No daughters are listed in the 1871 Census, but living with Joseph and Elizabeth was a granddaughter Henrietta aged seven. For the first time in the 1881 Census another daughter Elizabeth (b.1837) is mentioned; like her mother she was a seamstress. Elizabeth the elder was a widow by this time. In all the census returns, Elizabeth’s occupation is not listed.  Neither Parson and Bradshaw’s 1818 directory nor White’s 1834 directory has any listing for either Joseph or Elizabeth Higginbotham.


SRO, D24/A/PO/1592–2016, Colwich Overseers’ Vouchers, 12 Mar 1829–22 Jan 1835

TNA, HO107/1999, Census 1851

TNA, RG9/1909, Census 1861

TNA, RG10/2820, Census 1871

TNA, RG11/2691, Census 1881

This is a work in progress subject to change as new research is conducted.

Archangel Mats is not a Swedish Tennis Player

Archangel mats appear a number of times in the overseers’ vouchers for Uttoxeter prompting us to ask what they were and what they were used for.

Archangel mats (sometimes referred to as Russian mats in the vouchers) were produced in substantial numbers and exported through the port of Archangel averaging 905,000 pieces annually in the period 1837–1842. The mats, made from sedge and flags (aquatic plants with long narrow leaves), were durable and close textured. They had several uses including for packing around household furniture when moving and for covering trunks and cases. They were supplied to Uttoxeter’s brickyard where they may have been used to protect the clay bricks whilst they were being dried out before firing. They were also supplied to the workhouse garden where they would have been used to protect fruit trees and to cover cold frames and cloches to protect young and tender plants from frost and bright sunlight early in the growing season. Aquatias noted that, ‘Experienced growers only spread the mats when the bell-glasses turn white with frost, and take them away as soon as the glass is thawed. To save the trouble of shading with mats, certain growers prefer shading with limewash’.

Gardener and nurseryman William Rogers (see separate entry) supplied mats on three occasions between 1824 and 1834. On the last occasion ‘24 large Russia mats’ were supplied at a cost of £1 18s 0d. Rogers appears to have been making a decent profit on this transaction as in the early 1840s Archangel mats were being sold on the London market at £3 10s per 100 including duty at five per cent. Two years earlier Porter and Keates had supplied two dozen Archangel mats for £1 13s 0d.


P. Aquatias, Intensive Culture of Vegetables on the French System (1913. Carlisle, Massachusetts: Applewood Books, 2009)

Graham Brooks, ‘Industrial History of Cumbria, brick-making’, accessed 10/01/18

J. R. McCulloch, A Dictionary, Practical, Theoretical and Historical of Commerce and Navigation (London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1844)

SRO, D3891/6/32/4/11, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Vouchers, 31 Mar 1826

SRO, D3891/6/32/18/4, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Vouchers, 4 Aug 1824

SRO, D3891/6/39/5/15, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Vouchers, 31 March 1832

SRO, D3891/6/40/10/9, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Vouchers, 31 Jan 1834

The Tradesman or Commercial Magazine, vol.11 (July–December 1813) (London: Sherwood, Neely and Jones, 1813)

This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research is conducted.