William Briggs, Agricultural Labourer.

William Briggs was probably baptised at St. Margaret’s, Great Barr on 10 Sept 1797 the son of William and Mary Briggs. Although there is an alternative baptism in St. Giles, Cheadle, Staffordshire on 24 Nov 1788 for William the son of George and Elizabeth Briggs but this is less likely because of the relative distances of the two places.

(The name William Briggs was not very common and only 3 have been found in a 10 year span.)

Very little has been found about him as he does not appear to have married or to have had children.

William survived long enough to be recorded in the 1841 Census HO107/977 folio 22

Address – Rose cottage, Township of Great Barr, Aldridge.

Joseph Newell age 70   Occupation Ag. Lab. Born Staffordshire

Sarah Newell   age 65                                       Born Staffordshire

Elizabeth Newell age 13                                   Born Staffordshire

John Smith      age 70   occupation Ag. Lab    Born Staffordshire

William Sharrod  age 30 occupation Ag. Lab.  Born Staffordshire

William Briggs     age 50 occupation Ag. Lab.  Born Staffordshire.

Bearing in mind that in 1841 the ages were rounded down to the nearest 5 or 10 this gives William a date of birth of 1787 – 1791


William was not found in the 1851 Census but a death was found in the Walsall Union Registration District in the March Quarter 1842 for a William Briggs age 55.

Amongst Aldridge Pauper’s vouchers at Stafford Record Office is one (ref. D120/A/PO/231) dated 29 Sep 1822 which was The Parish Constable’s (William Prince) Account or bill for various items including summons, warrants, journeys to Wednesbury and Wolverhampton etc. Total £1 19s 6d.  Amongst the brief details was a summons for William Briggs for Bestiality[i] and a journey in search of him.

It is assumed that this is a follow on from a Vestry Meeting recorded in the vestry minute book (ref. D1104/4/1, 1807-29) entry for 31 August 1821 which records a meeting ‘to take into consideration the best mode of prosecuting a certain individual for committing an unnatural crime upon a Bruit[ii] Beast.’  The meeting was dissolved without coming to a decision!  No names were given.

No Newspaper Reports have been found to show that William was actually brought to Court and his name is not recorded in the Calendar of Prisoners for Stafford.  However the social stigma would have been horrific at the time if the accusation was made public.  An indication of public opinion about the offence is shown in:-

Google Books. “The History and Results of the Present Capital Punishments in England. Saunders and Benning, 1832” which has a chapter on Sodomy and Bestiality and does not appear to differentiate between the two and gives a brief history of the penalties against bestiality and sodomy.

“The punishment of death has been, however, awarded against it for many generations. So strong indeed was the vengeance which men entertained against the criminals, that the measure of punishment was the chief thing thought of. The old Goths either burnt or buried alive the victims and these tokens of vengeance continued for many centuries. But there was an interval, for although Alfred included the crime of bestiality amongst his class of capital offences, it seems that in the reign of Edgar, both that and sodomy were visited by the ecclesiastical discipline of fasting, and abstinence from the Lord’s Supper. However, matters did not long continue thus. In the reign of William I, it is probable that castration was the penalty, and very soon afterwards, we are assured that the old custom of burning and burying were the law of the land in this respect, But when Richard I. came to the throne, the punishments were again altered, and it was the rule to hang a man and drown a woman. Notwithstanding this, it is said that the Lombards introduced the vice into England in Edward the Third’s time. Probably they revived it here, and it is likely that it continued more or less until the days of Henry VIII., when an act passed, making it felony without benefit of clergy, and although the repealing act of Queen Mary interrupted the course of punishment for a moment, the fifth of Elizabeth re-enacted the statute of Henry entirely and absolutely. Women then suffered by the rope as well as men, and the law on the subject has remained the same to this present day [i.e. 1832], the consolidating act of Lord Lansdowne merely declaring that the two offences under consideration shall be punished with death.”

The offences do not appear to have had a high incidence if the table they published for London and Middlesex are an accurate indication.

table of Sod.& Best.

[i] OED definition of Bestial is an Unnatural connection with a beast. Or the quality of being bestial which could mean behaving in a cruel, brutal, beastly or obscene manner.

[ii] OED definition of Bruit is noisy.


Sarah Johnson 1823-1837

Sarah appears to have a slightly late baptism as she was nearly 7 years old when baptised at St. Giles, Whittington on 5 September 1830 resulting in her date of birth also being recorded (22 Jan 1823). She was the daughter of Ann Johnson of Whittington. No Father was recorded so the implication is that she was illegitimate.

Sarah died at the young age of 13 and was buried at St. Giles, Whittington on 17 Nov 1837 with an abode of Fisherwick.

The Burial Record does not show how she died but from the Pauper’s Vouchers for Whittington (at Stafford Record Office) it appears that she died as a result of Burns.

Voucher reference number D4834/9/3/22/3, dated 23 Dec 1837 is a Quarterly statement of receipts and payments by the Parish Officers of Whittington totalling £46 15s 3d. This Pre-printed form has the handwritten addition of travelling expences, postage, collecting Rates, Oil Cloth and Dressings for Sarah Johnson who was burnt, and collecting Bastardy Payments.

Another voucher number D4834/9/3/22/12 is a Settled Bill sent by W. Norman to the Overseers for 1½yds of Oil Cloth costing 6s 6d  dated 3 Nov 1837.

Sarah’s cause of death could be confirmed in her death certificate as she died in the first 6 months of civil registration.. https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/indexes_search.asp  

Name: JOHNSON, SARAH   Age at Death (in years): 13.  GRO Reference: 1837  D Quarter in LICHFIELD UNION  Volume 17  Page 43

So far I have not found any record of Oil cloth being used when dressing burns.

Sarah’s Mother Ann may have been one of the twin daughters of John and Ann Johnson of Whittington, baptised on 12 July 1807 (with twin sister Susanna) at St. Giles, Whittington. With siblings Richard baptised 21 Aug 1803, Catherine baptised 5 Apr 1805 and John baptised 31 Dec 1809.  If she had been born shortly before baptism in 1807 then she would only have been around 16 years old at the time of Sarah’s birth.


John Beard 1766-1839

John Beard was one of at least six children born in Wichnor parish to Thomas Beard and Mary (nee Smith).

John was a tailor who also, at the age of 60, took on the task of salaried or ‘assistant’ overseer in Whittington for twelve guineas a year.  As a result he is a signatory to many of the receipts paid for relief to the poor, and to numerous other parish documents such as apprenticeship indentures.  He also took apprentices himself into the tailoring business, including towards the end of his life twelve-year-old William Birch.  He did not receive an apprenticeship ‘premium’ or payment with this child, suggesting that he took the lad on willingly without financial inducement as mutually beneficial: Birch obtained training, while Beard continued in work into old age.  It may have been significant for Beard’s personal finances that the role of assistant overseer came to an end in the mid 1830s with the implementation of the reformed poor law.

Beard died from ‘schirrus of the stomach’, a form of stomach cancer, in early December 1839.  His will left everything to his niece Elizabeth Elson, daughter of John Beard’s younger brother Thomas Beard and the wife of Joseph Elson.  William Birch’s apprenticeship had years left to run, so he was transferred to Joseph Ellson for the completion of his term.

Sources: Tatenhill marriage of 27 June 1756; Wichnor baptism of 26 January 1766; Staffordshire Record Office D 4838/9/1/1-3 appointment of assistant overseer 1826-34; D4384/9/7/51 apprenticeship papers 1839-40; death certificate of 14 December 1839; PC 11 (1840) will of John Beard.

Susanna Teather

Born circa 1810. She may be Susanna Dublin, baptised 1 Aug 1809 at Brierley Hill, Staffordshire the daughter of Joseph and Mary Dublin[i].

Susanna Dubling married William Tethers on 2 Mar 1829 in St. Thomas, Dudley[ii]

Susannah died in 1877 and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Galena, Jo Daviess, Illinois, United States of America[iii]

Tettenhall Poor Law vouchers contain three items relating to Susanna Teathers. Firstly a Letter dated 4 Sept 1835 by [blank] Brockmore, gent to “certify that Joseph Shakespeare had read W. Teather’s letter to his wife Susanna about a fortnight ago desiring  his wife and 2 children to join him with your assistance as he has no intention to return to England”.[iv]

A Receipt dated 4 Sept 1835 for Passage Liverpool to New York £13. Susan Teather paid £7 and overseers £6.[v] There were no dates for the journey.

A settled bill for 5 shillings, dated 5 Apr 1835, for a Journey to Dudley by W. Warr regarding Susan Teathers’ emigration.[vi]

The Ships passenger lists on Ancestry.com  indicate that William Teathers must have returned to the UK as the Ship “Manes” from Liverpool arrived in New York on 12 June 1837 and included:-

William Tether age 27 a miner, (DOB 1810) Susan Tether age 27 (DOB 1810), Ann Tether age 7 (DOB 1830) and Phebe Tether Age 5 (DOB 1832). They appear to be intending to travel to Philadelphia.

Therefore there was some delay in Susanna and the Children emigrating. The bill for the journey to Dudley looks as if the Overseers were trying to recoup some of the expenses from another Parish.

It appears that both children must have died the same year which was 1845.

Greenwood Cemetery Galena, Jo Daviess, Illinois, United States of America has a grave for Ann Tethers born 1829 died 1845 together with Phoebe 1831-1845 and the parents’ grave. There was no indication of other children born in the USA.

30 Sept 1850 US Census

Benton, Lafayette, Wisconsin, United States schedule number 159

William Tethers age 39 a Miner born in England No Value under the real Estate

Susana Tethers age 39               born in England

Gambrose Offord aged about 6 born in Illinois with real estate value $500

James Sewell aged about 30 a Miner born in England No Value under the real Estate Joseph Henry aged 20 a miner born in England No Value under the real Estate column

William Hutchins age 27 a miner born in England No Value under the real Estate column


20 July 1860 US Census

Vinegar Hill Township, Jo Daviess, Illinois, United States page 310

Wm Tethers age 50 Hotel Keeper born England real Estate value $800 personal estate value $575

Susanna Tethers age 50    born England

Gambrose Offort age 17 House Steward? born Ill[inois] no estate value

Kate Wood age 18  House Steward?  Born Eng[land] No Estate value

William Wood age 15 Farm hand born Ill[inois]  No Estate Value

Willam Sodin age 14 House servant born England No Estate Value

William Tethers may have been the child of Moses and Sarah Tether baptised on 20 May 1810 at Brierley Hill, Staffordshire[vii]

William Tethers died 1870 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Galena, Jo Daviess, Illinois, United States of America

Photographs from Billiongraves.com

Wm.TethersGrave3  Ann&Phebegrave

BestGravephotoWm    Best GravephotoSus.

[i] Familysearch.org

[ii] Familysearch.org

[iii] Findagrave.com

[iv] SRO ref. D571/A/PO/72/20f

[v] SRO ref. D571/A/PO/72/20d

[vi] SRO ref. D571/A/PO/72/3b

[vii] Familysearch.org

Thomas Cotes, Shoemaker.

Thomas Cotes was a Shoemaker doing shoe repairs and supplying shoes to the Paupers of Tettenhall and may be either Father or son as it is impossible to tell from the Paupers’ vouchers. However comparing the signatures off the marriage records with the one on the Paupers’ vouchers I think it is most likely to have been the elder Thomas. (See the bottom of the page.)

Thomas Cotes senior was born circa 1766 but so far I have been unable to identify his baptism. However he may have been the older brother of John Cotes the tailor.

There is a first marriage for Thomas Cotes, senior to Ann Smith on14 Oct 1787 at Tettenhall with the burial on 12 Apr 1791 of Ann Cotes wife of Thomas, at Tettenhall. However I have been unable to identify a marriage to Mary.

St. Michael and all Angles, Parish Records, Tettenhall have the following baptisms for the children of Thomas Cotes senior.

  1. 24 Mar 1799 Lucy d/o Thomas and Mary Cotes.
  2. 20 June 1801 Elizabeth d/o Thomas and Mary Cotes.
  3. 25 Dec 1802 Fanny d/o Thomas and Mary Cotes
  4. 21 Aug 1803 Mary Handley d/o Thomas and Mary Cotes. (Another entry says Mary Stanley Cotes)
  5. 13 Oct 1805 Thomas s/o Thomas and Mary Cotes
  6. 8 Jan 1809 Henry s/o Thomas and Mary Cotes.
  7. 14 Oct 1810 Sarah d/o Thomas and Mary Cotes
  8. 30 Jun 1811 Ann d/o Thomas and Mary Cotes
  9. 5 Aug 1812 Jane d/o Thomas and Mary Cotes
  10. 11 Sep 1814 Benjamin s/o Thomas and Mary Cotes


1841 Census HO107/998 folio 7

Address Upper Green, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton & Seisdon, Staffordshire,

Thomas           Cotes Age 75 Shoemaker  born Staffordshire

Mary                Cotes   Age 70                     born Staffordshire

Thomas           Cotes  age  35 Shoemaker born Staffordshire

Henry               Cotes  Age 30 Shoemaker   born Staffordshire

Benjamin         cotes  Age  25  Shoemaker  born Staffordshire


The Parish Records of St. Michael and all Angels record the burial of Thomas Cotes senior aged 83 on 29 May 1847. His wife Mary had predeceased him shortly before and was buried 5 March 1847.


Thomas Cotes Junior carried on the business.

1851 Census HO107/2017 folio 82

Address – Upper Green, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton,

Thomas           Cotes  Head age  45 Cordwainer born Tettenhall, Staffordshire

Henry               Cotes  Lodger Age 42  Cordwainer  born Tettenhall, Staffordshire

On 20 April 1854 Thomas Cotes junior married Caroline Powis a spinster at St. Michael and All Angels, Tettenhall. There is no record of any children.

1861 Census RG9/1984 folio 32

Address – Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire

Thomas           Cotes  Head age  55 Boot & Shoe maker  born Tettenhall, Staffordshire

Caroline           Cotes, wife age     57                                  born Tettenhall, Staffordshire.

Thomas Cotes junior died 1867 and was buried aged 61 on 18 Feb 1867 at St. Michael and All Angels, Tettenhall.


Ref D571/A/PO/72/3d Signature of Thomas Cotes Shoemaker in the Paupers’ vouchers.


Thomas Cotes Junior signature from his marriage in 1854


Signature of Thomas Cotes senior from his marriage in 1787

John Cotes Tailor.

It has been impossible so far to determine which John Cotes was supplying clothing and repairs to clothing for the paupers at Tettenhall.  It could be either Father or son or both.


ref D571/A/PO/41/4

John Cotes senior claims to have been born in Tettenhall but no baptism has been found in that Parish. There is a possible baptism in Wombourne on 18 Aug 1771 with a father John and mother Mary. This is probable as John’s Grandparents would have been Richard and Elizabeth Cotes and John called one of his sons Richard.

1841 Census HO107/998 folio 16

Address – Lower Green and Church Lane,  Tettenhall

John    Cotes age 70   Tailor                          born Staffordshire

Ann      Cotes age   60                                    born Staffordshire

John    Cotes age   40  Tailor                         born Staffordshire

Eliza    Cotes age   60*                                   born Staffordshire

William Cotes age   20 Tailor                         born Staffordshire

William Albright Cotes age 18 Ag. Lab.          Born Staffordshire

George Cotes               age 12                                   born Staffordshire

*NB I think there is an error in recording this age.

1851 Census HO107 /2017 folio 65

Address Church Lane, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire

John    Cotes Snr        Head                 age 81            Tailor               born Tettenhall, Staffs.

Ann Cotes                   Wife                 age 73                                     born London, Middlesex

John Cotes Jnr.           Son  Marr        age 49             Tailor               born Tettenhall, Staffs

Elizabeth Cotes Daughter in Law       age 48                                     born Enville, Staffs

Richard Cotes             son                  age 46 unm. Bricklayer           born Tetettenhall, Staffs

William Alwright Cotes son                 age 28 unm. Bricklayer           born Birmingham, Warw.

George Cotes                         son                  age 22 unm. Traveller             born Tettenhall

John Cotes Senior married Ann Hayward on 6 Mar 1797 at St. Michael and All Saints, Tettenhall Regis and was buried in the same place on 30 June 1851 aged 81 years.

John Cotes Junior was baptised at St Michael & All Angels, Tettenhall Regis on 3 Jan 1802 confirming his father was John and Mother Ann.

His marriage was again at St Michael & All Angels, Tettenhall on 19 July 1830 when John Coates married Elizabeth Coates of Brewood. This has not been investigated but is probably the marriage of cousins.

The Index of Civil Registration of Death indicates that John Cotes junior’s Death was registered in the Wolverhampton district in the April Quarter 1869 aged 69

Paupers’ vouchers have so far been found recording his bills from 1819 to 1835 but as they have not all been recorded yet there may be more.

John had rather unconventional spelling (see voucher above) but we could usually work out what the bills were for eg Neeing and sitting Trousers, Altering pare of trousers, Mak pare trousers, mak 4 smock frocks for men in house.

Mary Willington and family of Tettenhall

Mary was probably baptised on 16 Oct 1774 at St. Michael’s, Tettenhall and she was the daughter of William and Esther Nichols.

Mary Nichols Married Charles Willington at St Michaels, Tettenhall on 26 Dec 1803 when both signed X.

Charles Willington of Tettenhall Wood was buried on 23 Dec 1837 at St Michael & All Angels, Tettenhall Regis, aged 58.

Mary Willington of Tettenhall Wood was Buried 12 Jan 1852 at St Michael & All Angels, Tettenhall Regis, age 77

Charles and Mary had 3 children. (Tettenhall Regis, St Michael & All Angels Parish Records)

  1. Ann baptised 24 Oct 1804
  2. Joseph baptised 14 Feb 1808
  3. Mary baptised 13 May 1811

Tettenhall Poor Law Vouchers include a Receipt (ref D571/A/PO69/1) dated 30 Jan 1833, when Mary Willington was paid 5s 0d for “Attendance at Sarah Blakemore’s Labour”, it was paid by the Overseers and Mary signed X.

On first seeing the receipt it was assumed that Mary was a Midwife but as she lived until 1852 she was found in the 1851 Census[i] listed as a widow aged 75, occupation Pauper/ laundress

Adjoining folios showed more laundresses so the whole of the Tettenhall parish census folios were examined to find how many more laundresses were there, and to see if there was any indication of a commercial Laundry or one belonging to the Workhouse. Nothing indicated either. No laundries are listed in the trade directories either. (Data added to a separate post)

The 1841 Census does not list many women’s occupations therefore just the 1851 Census was used and the following figures were found.

There was a total of 80 Women who listed themselves as either laundresses or washer women. Of these 16 were widows, 16 unmarried and 47 married women. In addition there was one woman with no marital status.  Two laundry maids working in the very large households were ignored as they were obviously working for just one family.  According to the Victoria County History Vol. 1 the total population of Tettenhall parish in 1851 was 3394. (This includes men, women and children) Therefore laundresses formed 2.5% of the total population.

Not knowing how this compared to other places, Uttoxeter Parish which also has a large number of Paupers Vouchers remaining was used to compare the 1851 Census.  Uttoxeter had a total population of 4990 people which was 1596 larger than Tettenhall. (i.e. nearly half as big again) However Uttoxeter only recorded 25 women working as laundresses, washer women or mangle keepers which was 0.52% of the total population.  8 were widows, 5 unmarried and 12 married women.

Of the 80 women listed in the laundry trade in Tettenhall in 1851 several were related although not all have been investigated. Using the Census Data and Parish Records available on findmypast.co.uk and Familysearch.org together with the General Register Office Mary Willington ‘s descendants who were working as Laundresses are on the Chart below.


The information on Tettenhall Laundresses agrees with the findings in:- LAUNDRESSES AND THE LAUNDRY TRADE IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND by Patricia E. Malcolmson 1981. Copyright of Victorian Studies is the property of Indiana University Press Extracts below.

She quotes Prosperity and Parenthood, “J. A. Banks has shown that the smaller the family income the greater the proportion spent on food, and that when there was a rise in income it was immediately followed by a disproportionately large increase in expenditure on washing and mangling”.

She continues that “throughout the Victorian period laundry work was predominantly married women’s work. According to one historian, “it seems to have been taken for granted that laundry work was the prerogative of married women.”[ii]

Patricia Malcolmson found that the married women had husbands in rather seasonal work. “In certain areas, then, this juxtaposition of seasonal employments formed an established part of the local economy. Most working-class women could expect to work for wages at some time during their married lives, but on the whole they worked regularly only when pressured to by necessity; thus, areas where laundry workers predominated were marked by poverty”

Throughout the Victorian period washers in full-time work earned 2s. to 2s. 6d. per day whilst ironers, who were generally pieceworkers, earned from 3s. to 3s. 6d.

“Areas in which laundry work was prominent reinforce these conclusions: the West London communities in which laundresses were most heavily concentrated were characterized by close proximity to substantial upper-middle-class residential areas; these areas generated employment for women in laundry work, charing, and to some extent needlework and prostitution.”

“An old watercress seller told Henry Mayhew that when he was at home he assisted his laundress wife by turning the mangle for her (Mayhew, III, 307).”

“Other husbands helped out as dollymen, punching or pounding clothing with a wooden instrument known as a dolly, and along with other male relatives might help with the fetching and carrying of wash, water, or coals. A husband who had a pony and cart or hand truck was invaluable since such transport would allow a laundress to take on a greater quantity of washing.”

“By far the greatest asset a woman forced to support herself and her family by laundry work could have, however, was the labour of her children, especially daughters (or occasionally other female relatives), for those will be best off who have the most of them.[iii] With the help of their daughters, many widows and wives whose husbands were unable to provide support were able to support themselves entirely by laundry work, but usually only at the cost of extremely long hours. Many mother-and-daughter teams worked until midnight or even all through the night during the busy season. Older children laboured at the washtub, mangle, and ironing board while younger children sorted and packaged bundles, carried in dried clothes for ironing, and helped to carry the laundry to their mothers’ customers and to collect work for the following day. The report of the interdepartmental committee on the employment of school children observed that “some of the worst cases of overworking of little girls of which we have heard occurred in the small laundries, which are exempt from the Factory Act.” Being “mother’s helper” was frequently the focal point of the life of the laundress’s child.

[i] HO107/2017 folio 105

[ii] Leonard Davidof, “The Employment of Married Women in England, 1850-1950” (M.A. thesis, London School of Economics, 1956), p. 216.

[iii] ‘Evelyn March-Phillips, “Factory Legislation for Women,” Fortnightly Review, 63 (1895), 735-


Francis Taylor, Constable and Governor of the Workhouse.

The Francis Taylor in question is probably the third child of Richard and Elizabeth Taylor, baptised on 24 Nov 1799 at St. Lawrence, Darlaston.

Married at St Peter’s, Wolverhampton, on 30 Jan 1820. Francis Taylor, bachelor married Mary Wheeler, spinster after Banns. Both signed, Witnesses Jno. and Mary Wood. (No children found to this couple.)

Died 15 July 1843, and Buried 19 Jul 1843 at St. Bartholomew, Wednesbury, age 43.

Francis Taylor first came to notice as he signed a large number of Paupers Vouchers in Tettenhall.  (Stafford Record Office ref. D571/A/PO69)

These covered a variety of expenses such as these examples in 1832/33                D571/A/PO69/25 a Receipt dated 28 Mar 1833 for 1 quarter’s salary £6 5s 0d signed Fras. Taylor.

Further entries in 1832-3 show the variety of items Fras. Taylor claimed for; –

  1. 5 Inquests, summary W’hampton, Pattingham & Codsall. Inquest and witness.
  2. Warrant and taking Thomas Carter to Lunatic Asylum in Stafford
  3. 9 Inquests from 30 Nov1832-Jan 19 1833
  4. Paying magistrates clerks fees
  5. Paying workmen for repairs to workhouse
  6. Serving notices [unspecified).
  7. Removals of Paupers.
  8. Paying to get up 17½ roods of potatoes in Workhouse Garden
  9. Providing clothes and tea, beer, milk, brandy etc. for sick paupers.
  10. Butter & Milk for 4 weeks, Barm for 4 weeks, Beesoms, Thread & Tape, 3 Tin cans mended, Blacklead & Corks, 2 Inquests
  11. Journeys to check up on people – presumably either apprentices or families receiving relief. EG. A journey to Wordsley by order of the meeting.

In 1828 According to his application to run Wednesbury Workhouse (see below) he became Governor of Tettenhall workhouse. At the same time he was obviously working as Parish Constable as a report of one or two Inquests he attended shows.

Presumably it was only the most newsworthy Inquests which got reported such as the one reported in the Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser 15 October 1834. This was the report into the Inquest on Mary Wright of Tettenhall who rumour believed had been burnt to death by her husband. The husband had been tried 14 years before for the murder of his son aged about 5 or 6 by drowning but had been acquitted on grounds of insanity and detained in Prison. They heard evidence from various people including that of Francis Taylor, constable of the Parish, who had arrested John Wright and had examined his hands and seen signs of singeing and blisters. John Wright claimed that he had been trying to put out the flames when his wife’s sleeve caught fire. The coroner’s verdict was accidental death.

Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser 29 October 1834 (Stafford Quarter Sessions. Prisoners indicted for riot at Willenhall and destroying Parish Books on 6 Aug. when parishioners were required to elect a Clergyman for perpetual curacy of that place.)                 Francis Taylor, constable of Tettenhall, was employed at Willenhall on the 6th of August, to keep the peace. He saw Foster coming to the chapel with the books. He saw the books thrown to Watkin who pulled the leaves out, and threw them to Turner. He saw Turner tear them to pieces.  He could not swear to the other prisoners.

In 1836 The West Bromwich Union required a Master and Matron for the workhouse at Wednesbury. There was presumably a series of knock out elections as Aris’s Birmingham Gazette on 19 September 1836 had 8 notices for applicants as below, and Aris’s Birmingham Gazette on 26 September 1836 had 3 notices for applicants as transcription below.



And Guardians of the Poor for the Parishes of West Bromwich,  Handsworth, Wednesbury, Oldbury, Worley, and Worley Wigorn.


I Take the Liberty of respectfully soliciting your votes and interest on behalf of myself and Mrs Taylor, for the situations of Governor and Matron of the Workhouse to this Union.                    The satisfactory manner in which we have filled similar situations in the parishes of Tettenhall and West Bromwich for the last eight years, will be offered to your notice in proof of our fitness for the discharge of the duties,

I remain, Gentlemen,     

Your obedient servant,


Workhouse, West Bromwich. Sept. 13 1836.

This was obviously a much bigger Union than Tettenhall as the figures in the Annual Poor Law Commissioners report shows.

Year ended 25 March 1837.

1.Total money levied – Tettenhall £934, West Bromwich £2483:

2.Expended for the relief of the Poor – Tettenhall £807, West Bromwich £1350;

3.Expended in Removals of Paupers, Law Charges etc – Tettenhall £12, West Bromwich £112;

4.Payments for or towards County Rates – Tettenhall £82, West Bromwich £67

5.Expended for all other purposes – Tettenhall £107, West Bromwich £740

6.Total Parochial Rates expended – Tettenhall £1008, West Bromwich £2269

Francis obviously got the job – 1841 Census- HO107/977 folio 40

Address- West Bromwich Workhouse, Wednesbury, West Bromwich

Francis Taylor age 40 Master born Staffordshire

Mary     Taylor age 35  Matron  born Staffordshire.

Elizabeth Martin Wheeler aged 4, A visitor. Born Staffordshire.

   Followed by a Clerk and a list of inmates.

However all was not well within the Union. Aris’s Birmingham Gazette on 17 June 1839 was reporting that in West Bromwich Poor Law Union 26 Guardians were refusing to Act in consequence of the restrictions of the Poor Law Commissioners.  Unfortunately it did not go into details but the Staffordshire Gazette and County Standard on 15 June 1839 had a similar report with the addition of – “The elder part of the inmates of the West Bromwich and Wednesbury workhouses are restrained from tobacco, and the whole from beer.

Whether it was as a consequence of this or not but when Francis wrote his Will on 10 Dec 1842 he is described as a Victualler of Walsall and he appoints his wife Mary and her brother Aaron Wheeler as executors. However it is possible that he continued to work as Master until his death on 15 July 1843 as the Guardians advertise for a new Master on 26 July.

I am confident that it is the same Francis writing the Will as was Master of the Workhouse. There were 2 marriages for a Francis Taylor to a Mary before 1841. However Francis’ application to be Master of the Workhouse in 1836 was also for his wife to be Matron, indicating that he was already married and therefore must be the one married in 1820. The other possible marriage had been in 1838 which was after the application. Mary Wheeler was baptised at St. Bartholomew, Wednesbury on 2 Feb 1802 and was the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Wheeler. Aaron her younger brother was baptised 25 Mar 1810.  The signature on the marriage appears similar to that on the Tettenhall vouchers. (Just to confuse the picture another Francis Taylor also married to a Mary had moved to Tettenhall by 1842 and was working as an Ag. Lab. but he was born in Shropshire and signed his name with an X at his marriage in 1838.)

On 5 Jan 1844 Mary obtained Probate on Francis Taylor’s Estate; value under £100

marriagesignatures     voucher-signature-cropped    willsignature    Signatures marriage 1820                voucher 1833                                    Will  1843

marysigprobate                                                                                                                  signature on Probate 1844

Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser 26 July 1843



  the West Bromwich Workhouse, to enter upon their duties immediately.  The salary is £65 per annum, with the rations of the house.                                 Security with two individuals and the Governor in the sum of £200 will be required.                                                                                                                                The day of election is fixed for MONDAY, the 31st instant, at the Board Room at the DARTMOUTH HOTEL, WEST BROMWICH, at twelve o’clock in the forenoon. Testimonials, free of expense, to be sent to the Clerk on or before the 29th instant.                                                                                                                    Candidates must attend at the Board Room personally on the day of the election.  

Signed by order of the Board.

John Marshall, Clerk

Francis’ widow Mary married again at St. Bartholomew, Wednesbury on 30 Jan 1845. Marriage, Mary Taylor, age 42 a widow, her father Joseph Wheeler, a Coachsmith, to John Cumpston age 39 a widower, a miner, his father John Cumpston also a miner. Witnesses were Aaron Wheeler and Susannah Lees.

William Harper Brickmaker.

William Harper was born circa 1794 but his baptism is not obvious in St. Mary’s Parish Records, Uttoxeter. There are 2 baptisms but neither corresponds exactly to his calculated date of birth from the 1851 Census or his age at death. He was baptised either on 28 Aug 1782 the son of Thomas and Jane, or 1 Apr 1798 the son of John and Mary.

St. Mary’s parish records do record his marriage on 27 Jul 1813 when William Harper, bachelor (signed X) married Elizabeth Woodward spinster, both of this parish.

Eight children were baptised in St. Mary’s Uttoxeter, to William and Elizabeth. Most record William as a labourer but in 1815 and 1830 William is recorded as a Brickmaker

  1. 21 Oct1813 James
  2. 04 Dec 1815 Mary
  3. 03 Dec 1816 Ann
  4. 21 Nov1819 Emma
  5. 28 Oct 1821 Eliza
  6. 10 Nov 1821 William
  7. 30 Sep 1823 Elizabeth
  8. 16 Jun1830 Harriet
  9. 1842 Louisa does not appear to have been baptised in Uttoxeter but is in the civil registration index gro.gov.uk with a mother’s maiden name of Woodward.


William Harper was buried in St. Mary’s Uttoxeter, on 8 Oct 1859 aged 67

Elizabeth Harper was buried in St. Mary’s Uttoxeter on 26 April 1863 aged 75


1851 Census HO107/2010 folio 90             Address – Uttoxeter Heath, Uttoxeter                William    Harper, head age 56, occupation Brickmaker,      born Uttoxeter, Staffordshire        Elizabeth Harper, wife age 57,                                                       born Uttoxeter, Staffordshire     Harriet     Harper, daughter, age 21 unmarried                         born Uttoxeter, Staffordshire     Louisa     Harper, daughter, age 9 Scholar                                   born Uttoxeter, Staffordshire

(Next neighbour is George Wigley, butcher, of the Wigley Family Blog and supplier of meat to the Workhouse)

1861 Census RG9/ 1955 folio 19 sees Elizabeth recorded as a widow and she has moved to Church St. Uttoxeter with her daughter Louisa who married that day and had the dilemma of how to record her name. The enumerator added a note of explanation under the entry and recorded her name as Skett as she married the lodger William Skett, a joiner and carpenter.

The paupers vouchers in bundles D3891/6/35 and D3891/6/37 include several payments to William Harper in the 1830s relating to Bricks and Tiles at the Workhouse Brickyard. However by 31 Oct 1837 Thos. Parker’s name appears instead. The 25 Feb 1832 receipt has “X mark of William Harper” implying that he could not write.

Brickmaking appears to have been a source of income for the Overseers of the Poor of Uttoxeter.

For the most part, the entire process of brickmaking was carried on in the open air and was subject to the uncertainties of the weather. The clay usually was dug in the autumn or winter and left in heaps to break down the lumps and make it more easily worked. Tempering and moulding only commenced in March or April after the danger of winter frosts had passed. From then until the following autumn brickmakers worked extremely long hours, sometimes as much as thirteen hours a day, to maximize production during the spring and summer months (British Parliamentary Commission, hereafter BPP, Childrens’ Employment Commission 1866, p.103).

The newly moulded “green bricks” especially were vulnerable to damage. Before burning these usually were stacked in open-air hacks to dry for up to six weeks, protected from the weather by a covering of straw matting, tarpaulins and, later, wooden boards with louvres (Cox 1989, p.9).

[After drying they were burned either in open clamps or in Kilns. Uttoxeter Overseers allocate some payments to “Brickiln”]

Excise duties were levied on bricks and tiles. The tax was originally imposed by William Pitt in 1784, along with a similar duty on seabourne shipments of stone and slate, in order to repay debts incurred by the American War for Independence. But whereas taxes on stone and slate were eventually repealed (in 1823 and 1831 respectively), the brick duties were continually amended and increased. From the original tax of 2s.6d. per thousand, the amount had doubled by 1802 with 5s. 10d. charged per thousand on ordinary bricks and 12s. 10d.for polished bricks (24 Geo. III.c.24. and 45 Geo.III.c.30.). In 1839 the Commission on Excise Inquiry repealed the previous acts and replaced them with new duties containing exact specifications relating to their collection and payment (2 & 3 Vic.c.24.). The new acts placed a duty of 5s. 10d, on all bricks not exceeding 150 cubic inches and 10s, on bricks over that size. Each brick manufacturer was required by law to register with the excise officer in his district who then was allowed to enter the brickfield at any time to inspect and count the bricks while they were drying. In addition, the act stated that “all bricks whilst drying shall be placed in such a manner that the officer may readily and securely take an account of them; penalty for placing the bricks irregularly, £50.” (2 & 3 Vic.c.24. Clause viii). All bricks found to be burned before being charged with duty also were subject to a fine of £50. While computing the duty to be paid, ten per cent was automatically allowed for bricks that were subsequently damaged. An immediate effect of the duties was a substantial increase in the price of bricks. The regulations that were intended to facilitate the administration of the act also placed particular hardships on the manufacturers. The precise requirements for arranging the bricks while drying may have assisted the excise officers in their calculations, but they also had the effect in many cases of hindering production. During the campaign to repeal the duties in the 1840’s, one author commented: “Even when the officers visit the works once a day, the inconveniences and loss to the operative at work are ever recurring. They are bound to lay their moulded clay down on certain spaces, and on those only, from which they must not remove the pieces until account had been taken of them for duty. Nor must they lay more on those given spaces than the officer allows; if full, they must stop work” (The Builder 1849, p.449). There were attempts to evade these restrictions despite the risk of penalty. One brickmaker described how sometimes false floors to conceal bricks were made in the drying sheds, but they were discovered frequently by a surprise visit by the excise official, who then ordered the brickfield owner to forfeit the fine (Wescombe 1893).[i]

Using the information above, the Duty on ordinary Bricks in 1802 was 5s 10d per thousand and the vouchers record a payment of duty on bricks on 27 July 1837 as £12 16s 8d this would work out as Duty on 44,000 bricks so it was quite a large production.  There were various other costs involved such as coal to burn the bricks as per voucher[ii] dated 28 Aug 1830 when they bought 7 loads of Coals for the Brickyard at £11 13s 9 ¼d from Charles Hales. Then there was the payment on Jan 1831 for 280 yds of clay costing £2 13s 4d[iii] and Aug 1831 for 150 yds of Clay and Sunday Work costing £3 17s 11d[iv]. Another voucher[v]  dated 9 Aug 1830 bought Cloths for Brickyard from Sam. Turner at £1 12s 0d. and a Voucher[vi] dated 30 Dec1830 bought Shovels & Spades for Brickiln from Porter & Keates at £1 12s 8d (presumably to dig the clay)

The Annual accounts 1830-1[vii]  show that the amount of cash received on the Brickyard Account was £270 1s 4d and £248 10s 8d was expended which gave a profit of £21 10s 8d. Whilst 1831-2[viii] shows that the amount had risen to £420 4s 3d received, and £318 5s 7d expended giving a profit of £101 18s 8d.

[i] BRICK Making  – Nineteenth century brickmaking innovations in Britain: building and technological change by Kathleen Ann Watt (A Thesis Submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy The University of York The Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies September, 1990) http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/4248/1/DX094368.pdf

[ii] D3891/6/35/2/26

[iii] D3891/6/35/3/17

[iv] D3891/6/37/5/18

[v] D3891/6/35/2/25

[vi] D3891/6/35/3/22

[vii] D3891/6/35/5/9

[viii] D3891/6/37/Accounts

Wigley Family of Uttoxeter.

Henry Wigley born circa 1756.

Henry was married at Uttoxeter, St. Mary’s on 26 Mar 1783. Henry Wigley was a bachelor when he married Sarah Dutton at Uttoxeter. Both were residents of this parish, with witnesses William Banks and William Smith.

They then had the following children:-

  1. 3 April 1785 Grace baptised at Draycott in the Moors PR St. Margaret
  2. 3 Sept 1787 John Baptised at Draycott in the Moors, St. Margaret.
  3. 31 Jan 1790 Ann baptised at Draycott in the Moors, St. Margaret.
  4. 19 Nov 1792 George Baptised at Uttoxeter, St. Mary’s
  5. 11 Jan 1797 Thomas Baptised at Uttoxeter St. Mary’s
  6. 7 Apr 1799 Charles Baptised at Uttoxeter St. Mary’s
  7. 8 April 1801 Josiah baptised at Uttoxeter St. Mary’s

It then appears that Sarah died and Henry married another Sarah, and this does appear to be the same Henry as a witness at the second marriage was Thomas Dutton who was presumably a relative of Henry’s first wife.

Seen as Banns at St. Mary’s Uttoxeter and marriage at St. Edwards, Cheddleton

Marriage 27 Dec 1802 Henry Wigley of the parish of Uttoxeter to Sarah Locket signed X, Banns. Wit: Thomas Dutton and Elizabeth Eve. Minister Edward Powys. No Marital status recorded.

St. Mary’s Uttoxeter have the baptism of the following children to this couple.

  1. Bapt 3 Feb 1804 Frederick
  2. 26 Oct 1805 Sarah
  3. 23 Sept 1807 John. This John Mar. 5 Oct 1837 to Mary Ann Booth. Occ. Cheese skin manufacturer.
  4. 27 Apr 1810 Ann
  5. Burial 15 Apr 1812 Sarah Wigley – could be mother or daughter.

Henry Wigley mentioned as a Maw Dealer in 1828/9 in the post about Uttoxeter and Cheese.

Henry Wigley was buried in St. Mary’s Uttoxeter at age 90 on 18 Jun 1846 giving a date of birth about 1756

1834 White’s Directory under Butchers lists George Wigley High St, John Wigley High St. and Josiah Wigley Church St. Also John Wigley had the Cock Inn.  Frederick Wigley was a Cheese Skin maker. Josiah Wigley also listed as a Dyer.

1835 Pigot’s Directory lists under Butchers  George Wigley High St, John Wigley High St. and Josiah Wigley, Cotton Mill. Josiah also listed as a Cheese Factor. John also listed at the Cock Inn.

John and George Wigley both supplied meat to the Overseers of the Poor in Uttoxeter.

John Wigley

Note that Henry had a child named John with both wives. The elder John son of Sarah Dutton married on 21 April 1813 at St Mary’s, Uttoxeter when John Wigley, bachelor married Hannah Armishaw, spinster. Both of this parish, Wit; Tho. Ede and Ann Wigley

John and Hannah according to the census entries had several children

1841 Census HO107/1007 folio 7

Address- High Street, Uttoxeter,

First name(s) Last name Gender Age Occupation Birth place
John Wigley 50 Victualler STS
Hannah Wigley 50 STS
Ann Wigley 20 STS
Sarah Wigley 20 STS
Charles Wigley 14 STS
William Dudley 7 STS
John Wigley junr 15 STS

1851 Census Ho107/2010 folio 73

Address High Street, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire

Name Last name Relationship Gender Age Occupation Birth place
John Wigley  Head 63 Farmer And Butcher Draycott, Staffordshire
Hannah Wigley Wife 63 Stramshall, Staffs
William Dudley Grand Son Male 18 Assists His Grand Father Uttoxeter, Staffordshire
James Dudley Grand Son Male 15 Assists His Grand Father Uttoxeter, Staffordshire
Joseph Dudley Grand Son Male 13 Scholar Uttoxeter, Staffordshire

There was another child – Baptism at St. Mary’s Uttoxeter on 11 Sept 1816 John s/o John and Hannah Wigley, Butcher Buried 4 Feb 1817 age 6 moths

John was buried at St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter on 11 Aug 1852 aged 67 (DOB 1785)

Lichfield Wills calendar. Index to Death duty registers 30 Aug 1852 John Wigley of Uttoxeter with ADM to John Wigley. £50

Hannah out-lived John and the 1861 census RG09/1931 folio 10, reveals that Hannah went to live with her Daughter Ann at Church Street, Stoke upon Trent, Hanley Stoke-Upon-Trent,

William Henry Mossley a cow keeper and Town Crier and his wife Ann have with them William’s mother in law Hannah Wigley  aged 79.  Also Richard Thos. Dudley, nephew age 7 born Stoke.


George Wigley

1841 Census HO107/1007 folio 14

Address – High Street, Uttoxeter.

First name(s) Last name Age Occupation Birth place
George Wigley 45 Butcher Staffordshire
Isabella Wigley 45 Not born Sts
John Wigley 15 Staffordshire
George Wigley 12 Staffordshire
Henry Wigley 10 Staffordshire
Charles Wigley 8 Staffordshire


1851 Census.HO107/2010 folio 91

Address – Uttoxeter Heath, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire,

Name(s) Last name Age Occupation Birth place
George Wigley 57 Butcher & Innkeeper Stramshall,Sts.
Isabella Wigley 57 Lazonby, Cumb.
George Wigley 23 Milkseller Bramshall
Charles Wigley 21 Butcher Uttoxeter
Henry Wigley 19 Butcher Uttoxeter
Isabella Henderson 20 Dress Maker Lazonby, Cumb.
John Johnson 63 Butcher Uttoxeter
Edward Chatfield 19 Butcher’s Servant Uttoxeter

George Wigley was buried in St. Mary’s Uttoxeter on 23 March 1865 aged 73.

Josiah Wigley although listed in the 1834 and 35 Trade Directories as a Butcher appears to have changed occupation.

1841 Census HO107/ 1007 folio 9

Address Leasows, Uttoxter, Staffordshire

first name last name gender age occupation born
Josiah Wigley male 40 Farmer Staffs
Mary Wigley Female 35 Staffs
Eliza Wigley Female 14 Staffs
Maria Wigley Female 12 Staffs
Mary Wigley Female 11 Staffs
Ellen Wigley Female 7 Staffs
Andrew Wigley male 4 Staffs
Rosana Wigley Female 1 Staffs
William Holmes male 39 Agent Staffs


1851 Census HO107/2010 folio 160

Address – Spiceal St. Uttoxeter.


First name(s) Last name Relationship Marital status Age Occupation Birth place
Josiah Wigley Head Married 50 Tanner, Fellmonger & Cheese Factor Stramshall, Sts
Mary Ann Wigley Wife Married 45 Uttoxeter, Sts
Mary Ann Wigley Dau. Unm. 20 Uttoxeter, Sts
Ellen Wigley Dau. Unm. 16 Uttoxeter, Sts
Rosanna Wigley Dau. 11 Uttoxeter, Sts
Sarah Wigley Dau. 9 Uttoxeter, Sts
Josiah Stelle Wigley Son 7 Uttoxeter, Sts
Martha G Wigley Dau. 4 Uttoxeter, Sts
Arthur B Wigley Son 2 Uttoxeter, Sts

Not found in the 1861 Census. Wife Mary Ann Wigley buried Uttoxeter 30 Jan 1859 age 51