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 and 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 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)

[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

Thomas Earp the elder (1766–1831) and Thomas Earp the younger (c.1799–1864) Cheesefactors and Brewers, Uttoxeter

Cheesefactor and brewer Thomas Earp the elder married Mary Cockayne. They had a number of children including: Thomas (born in Derby, c.1799), Sarah (bap. 9 November 1800), Mary (bap. 3 November 1802), John (bap. 24 August 1809), Maria (bap. 17 October 1813), and Jane.

Parson’s and Bradshaw’s 1818 directory lists Earp and Lassetter as cheese factors with a business in High Street, and Thomas Earp as an ale and porter brewer, cheese factor and spirit merchant, also in High Street.

Upon Thomas the elder’s death in 1831, his probated estate amounted to £200. As the sole beneficiary and executor of his late-father’s estate, he was tasked with making appropriate provision for his mother and his siblings. In 1833 Thomas the younger was involved with a property transaction involving the Croft of the White Hart, Uttoxeter, with Michael Clewley (see separate biography).

On 21 November 1825 at Uttoxeter, Wesleyan Methodist Thomas the younger married Sarah Jane Salt (1804–1856) who was born in Liverpool. They had a large family: Thomas (b.1828), Jane (b.1830), Ann (b.1832), Mary (b.1834), Sarah (b.1836), Edwin (b.1839), William (b.1841), Maria (b.1843), Henry (b.1847), Charles  (b.1848), and Eliza (b.1849). For much of their married life Thomas, Sarah Jane and their family lived in High Street.

At the time of the 1851 Census Thomas employed eight men. Thomas and Sarah Jane were living with children Jane, Ann (a teacher), Mary, Sarah, Maria and Henry (the last three described as scholars at home), Charles and Eliza.

By 1861 Thomas Earp, now a widower, and his family had moved to Burton-upon-Trent. He is listed simply as an ‘agent’ with an address in Horninglow Street in White’s 1857 directory. The family unit now comprised Thomas, and his children Jane, Mary, Maria, Sarah and Eliza, his niece Louisa Ann (aged 13) and his nephew John B. Earp (aged six). Mary, Maria, and Sarah were all governesses, and although his niece Louisa had been born in Uttoxeter, his nephew John had been born in America. Also in the household were Mary A. Eddes (17), a teacher born in St Pancras, London, and Ann Calvert (31), a servant born in Uttoxeter. Louisa’s and John’s parents John, a brewer and Emma Brindley had married on 28 July 1846 at St Peter’s, Fleetwood, Lancashire.

Both Thomas Earps supplied the overseers of Uttoxeter with cheese, but not on a regular basis. This was probably because the workhouse was also in receipt of substantial amounts of milk from the likes of George Hartshorn, suggesting that the workhouse was also engaged in producing cheese.

In the late-1820s Thomas [the younger?] and Edward Saunders established the Uttoxeter Brewery Company. Thomas’ business was sufficiently prosperous for him to be able to invest in railways and to be a member of the Provisional Committees for the Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield and South Staffordshire, or Leeds, Wolverhampton and Dudley Direct Railway and the Tean and Dove Valley and Eastern and Western Junction Railway.

In May 1854 Thomas’ and Sarah Jane’s daughter Ann married George Jones. At some point they emigrated to Mossel Bay, South Africa. They had three children: Charles Earp Jones, Sarah Jane Jones, and George Alliebrooke Jones. George Jones died 23 May 1890, and his widow Ann on 27 November 1896 aged 62.


Bradshaw’s Railway Gazette vol. 1, (London: William James Adams; Manchester: Bradshaw and Blacklock, 1845)

Census 1841 HO107/1007/14

Census 1851 HO107/2010

Census 1861 R.G.9/1965

England and Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index 1837–1915

Herapath’s Railway Journal, 28 June 1845

Lichfield Record Office, BC11 Will of Thomas Earp, 26 October 1831

Parson, W. and Bradshaw, T., Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory presenting an Alphabetical Arrangement of the Names and Residences of the Nobility, Gentry, Merchants and Inhabitants in General (Manchester: 1818)

Poll Books and Electoral Registers 1538–1893

Francis Redfern History and Antiquities of the town and neighbourhood of Uttoxeter

RG4/2701 England and Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567–1970

SRO, D3891/6/36/8/11a–d, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, George Hartshorn, 31 July 1830

SRO, D3891/6/37/2/7, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Earp, 26 Mar 1831

SRO, D3891/6/37/4/3, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Earp, 23 July 1831

SRO, D4452/1/15/2/14 abstract of title of Thomas Earp to the White Hart Croft Uttoxeter 1833

SRO, D4452/1/15/2/15 Lease and release of part of White Hart Croft Uttoxeter 1833

White, William, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Staffordshire and of the City of Lichfield (Sheffield: 1834)

White, Francis, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derbyshire with the Town of Burton-upon-Trent (Sheffield: 1857)

N.B. This biography is a work in progress and will probably be amended as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.


William Dafforn Evarard (1786–1870), Linen and Woollen Draper

Thomas Evarard (1745–1808) of Attleborough, near Nuneaton, Warwickshire married Elizabeth Dafforn (1756–1829) of Tamworth on 26 December 1782. They had eight children: Elizabeth (1781–1849), William Dafforn (1786–1870), Mary (1788–1844), Hannah Maria (1791–1860), John (1791–1829), Joseph (1794–1850), Susannah (1799–1862), and Jane (1800–1831).

White’s 1834 directory, and poll books of the early 1830s list William Dafforn Evarard as a linen and woollen draper in High Street, Uttoxeter. By 1841 he and his wife Sarah were living in Market Place alongside Henry Lawrence, Edward Kelsey, and Anna Leaves, all drapers’ assistants, and servant Leah Morley.

Between 1844 when the poll book for that year recorded him as living in a freehold house in the Market Place and his death aged 83 in 1870, Evarard had returned to Warwickshire with his wife and was living at 8 Union Street, Coventry. His probated estate was under £5,000.

Everard’s pre-printed bills state clearly ‘ready money only’, but this was evidently to encourage prompt payment rather than a strictly enforced business maxim. A bill sent to the overseers for calico, thread, and tape costing £1-7-9 dated 29 April 1831, for example, took two months to settle. Goods were supplied to both the workhouses in Uttoxeter and Doveridge, and to individuals in receipt of poor relief including ‘Brassington’ who was given five yards of Welsh flannel and ‘Ward’ who was given a w[oolle]n frock in 1832.  In the 1830s the range of goods supplied to Uttoxeter’s overseers varied little: calico, tape, cotton, thread, Welsh flannel, brown sheeting, moleskin, buttons, and cord.

Everard’s business success enabled him to invest in the local infrastructure and to contribute to charity. In 1838 his name appeared as a shareholder in the Commercial Bank of England and in 1836 he made a £1-1-0 contribution to a missionary charity.


1841 Census HO 107/1007/15

1832 and 1844 Poll Books and Electoral Registers 1538–1893

A list of the Country Banks of England and Wales, private and proprietary; also of the names of all the shareholders of joint stock banks (London: M. A. Marchant, 1838)

National Probate Calendar 5 April 1870, William Dafforn Everard effects under £5,000.

SRO, D3891/6/37/3/4, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 18 June 1831

SRO, D3891/6/37/10/14, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 12 January 1832

SRO, D3891/6/37/12/69, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 7 February–8 March 1832

SRO, D3891/6/40/10/4, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 23 January 1834

SRO, D3891/6/40/16/5, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 28 June 1836

SRO, D3891/6/40/16/17, Uttoxeter overseers’ vouchers, 28 June 1836

The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle vol. 14 (London: Frederick Westley and A. H. Davis, 1836)

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

N.B. This biography is a work in progress and will probably be amended as further information from vouchers and other sources becomes available.

George Hammond, Uttoxeter Wharf, 1792 – 1835

George Hammond was baptised at St. Bartholomew, Norton in the Moors on 16 Sept 1792 the only son, and second of 4 children to James and Hannah Hammond. At the time of George’s baptism they were residing at Woodhouse Lane but there was no occupation given for James. His sisters were:-

  1. Mary bapt 4 Sept 1791
  2. Anna bapt 13 Nov 1796
  3. Edna bapt 22 Mar 1801

George Hammond, Boatman, of Norton married Elizabeth Bourne, also of Norton, at St. Peter’s, Stoke on Trent on 27 Dec 1814

Only one child has been found for George and that was Ann, who was baptised just before their marriage on 30 May 1814 as Ann daughter of George Hammond and Elizabeth Bourne of Baddeley Edge.  (Baddeley Edge and Norton in the Moors are quite close together)

The Derby Mercury on 21 October 1835 announced his death –  “On Sunday the 4th inst., greatly respected, Mr. George Hammond of the Wharf, Uttoxeter” and according to St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter, Parish Records, he was buried on 6 Oct 1835 age 45.

There is no record of exactly when George and Elizabeth moved to Uttoxeter but amongst the pauper’s vouchers[i] George signs several receipts for large amounts of coal supplied to the Workhouse brick kiln through 1830 and 1831. With an additional one in an account book for 1824-28[ii] with an unspecified date, when George Hammond was paid £73 13s 3½ d. for supplying coal to the brickyard from Sparrow and Hales. ( calculates that £73 13s 3½ d in 1828 converts to around £5,690.00 in 2015’s value.)

The ones in 1830 show he was agent for Charles Hales and later in 1831 he was also agent for Richard Godwin and Co.                                                                                                             White’s 1834 Trade Directory lists Geo. Hammond as agent for Sparrow & Co. Coal Merchant at Canal Wharf. (This was 1 of 3 Coal merchants at Uttoxeter Wharf, the others being Hazlecross Coal Co. agent Sampson Rhead and Woodhead Coal Co. agent John Bould)

Piggot & Co 1835 Trade Directory under Coal Dealers has George Hammond agent for Charles Hales, Uttoxeter Wharf.

Possibly George and Elizabeth went to Uttoxeter Wharf when the Tramroad from Cheadle opened in 1827.

The following timeline is according to

1807 Ten years after the first Act of Parliament, construction of the Uttoxeter Canal finally starts.                                                                                                                                                            1808 Construction of the Woodhead Tramroad begins, to carry coal from the Woodhead Colliery, near Cheadle, to the Uttoxeter Canal at East Wall.                                                        1811 On Tuesday the 3rd of September, the Uttoxeter Canal finally reaches Uttoxeter.     1812 Construction of the Woodhead Tramroad runs out of money and a half share is offered for sale. There are no takers.                                                                                                                 1827 Alton Wire Mill opens and the Woodhead Tramroad is finally completed.

(The Uttoxeter Canal was not profitable and closed in the mid 1840s.)

Herbert A Chester in his book Cheadle Coal Town (ISBN 0 9506686 1 3) published a map of the Tramway showing how the Woodhead Colliery and other Cheadle Collieries sent the coal to Uttoxeter wharf.


This Tramway is now disused but its path can be found in places.

geograph-4616502-by-ian-calderwoodtramway The Gibridding Incline on the Woodhead Tramroad for SK0344                                                                                                                                “One of the paths through Gibridding Wood follows part of the line of the Gibridding Incline. An inclined plane was required to let coal wagons down from the valley side to the valley bottom. This incline was probably self-acting, in which the descending loaded wagons are linked to ascending empties by a continuous rope or chain, controlled by a brake. The loaded wagons, with their greater weight, thus, pull the empties up as they descend.”

As well as coal George had other irons in the fire as is shown by an advertisement in the Staffordshire Advertiser on 13 February 1830 “TO be SOLD, at Uttoxeter Wharf, three BOATS, suitable for the carriage of coals or limestone.— For particulars, apply to George Hammond, or Wm. Ratcliffe.                                                                                                                  N.B.—All persons who stand indebted to Mr. James Bell for Lime are requested to pay their accounts to George Hammond, Uttoxeter, 8 Feb 1830”

(NB James Bell was a local Banker)

This suggests that George may have been the Manager of the wharf (Wharfinger) 

After George’s death in 1835 his widow Elizabeth continued working as a coal dealer at Uttoxeter Wharf according to the 1841 Census when she was there with her daughter Ann.

Whether it was after the marriage of her daughter in 1844 (at Uttoxeter) when Ann Bourne Hammond daughter of George Hammond deceased, married Samuel Cave Fidgeon of Cannock, a Farmer, or the closure of the canal but by the 1851 census Elizabeth has moved back to Baddeley Edge, Norton in the Moors. There Elizabeth Hammond, widow age 55, was running a small farm and gave her birth place as Norton [presumably Norton in the Moors] Next door to her was Ralph Mellart Smith and Edna Smith who have with them Ralph’s Father in Law, James Hammond, aged 83 a proprietor of houses. Edna is probably George’s sister and James his Father.

Elizabeth remained there until her death in 1886. Elizabeth Hammond of Baddeley Edge was buried 7 Sept 1886 aged 93, at St. Philip & St. James, Milton

[i] Stafford Record Office Ref. D3891/35/6/with various sub bundles

[ii] D 3891/6/36/8/29

Sarah Webberley 1766 – 1830

Sarah was born Sarah Corden and was the second of 4 Children of Arthur and Elizabeth Corden.

  1. Mary Bapt 10 May 1764
  2. Sarah bapt 6 July 1766
  3. Arthur bapt 19 Sept 1770
  4. William Bapt 29 July 1773

Edward Webberley a bachelor had married Jenny Cordwell a widow by Licence on 4 Dec 1793 at Uttoxeter, when his occupation is given as Shoemaker.  However the 1791 Universal Directory of Britain lists Edward Webberley, Victualler, so either he had dual occupations or the Marriage Licence is an error.

Children of Edward and Jenny Webberley.

  1. Mary bapt 5 Nov 1795, buried 28 Nov 1796
  2. Mary bapt 12 Jun 1797
  3. Sarah bapt 8 Aug 1804

Jenny buried as Jane Webberley, wife of Edward 5 Dec 1805 at St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter.

Sarah married rather late in life at the age of 42 on 7 March 1808 when she married Edward Webberley, a widower at St. Mary’s Uttoxeter. According to the Marriage Licence Sarah Corden was spinster and Edward gave his occupation as Victualler.

No evidence has been found for any children from the marriage of Edward and Sarah.

Edward Webberley died Intestate, on 20 Aug 1830 with Goods to the value of £600. Administration was to Sarah Webberley, his widow, whose signature appears on the papers.

Edward was buried in St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter on 24 Aug 1830 aged 66

Sarah presumably continued to run the business left by her Husband as White’s 1834 Directory lists her as running the Union Public House on Uttoxeter Heath.

Uttoxeter Paupers Vouchers reference D3891/6/37/12/51, dated 8 Sep 1832 shows 9 gallons of Ale delivered to the Workhouse at a cost of 15 shillings; receipt signed by Sarah Wibberley. The name appears to be written variously as Wibberley and Webberley, sometimes both in the same document.


Sarah Webberley died 18 Sept 1839 whilst visiting relations in Stafford  (Mary Corden married Thomas Bromley on 20 Jan 1830).

Staffordshire Gazette and County Standard 21 September 1839

On Wednesday, an inquest was held before the same Coroner, [Robert Fowke] at the Wagon & Horses on the body of Mrs. Sarah Wibberley, Aged 73.
Deceased had been for the last five weeks on a visit to Mr. Thomas Bromley. She retired to rest the previous night a little before ten o’clock apparently in her usual state of health, only complaining of a pain in her arm: but on the servant going to call her the next morning, she was found a corpse quite cold.

Verdict, ” Died by the visitation of God.”

Sarah died leaving a Will written 4 Jan 1838.

In this she left several bequests;-

  1. £100 to Ellen Corden d/o her late nephew Arthur Corden. Payable when she is 21.
  2. £19 19s 6d to Edward Pegg, s/o George Pegg to be paid at her brother’s decease.
  3. £19 19s 6d to Thomas Chatfield the elder, Joiner, residing at the Heath. To be paid at her brother’s decease.
  4. £19 19s 6d to her trusty servant Robert Abberley in addition to his yearly wages.
  5. All her household, Messuages, Dwelling houses, land Tenements, yards, Gardens, Stables, Barnes, Outbuildings, hereditaments and premises belonging in the Parish of Uttoxeter to her beloved brother Arthur Corden and his heirs.
  6. Her personal estate, household goods and chattels and cattle, unto him [presumably Arthur Corden]

Arthur Corden executor.

Signed Sarah Webberley [very shakey.]

Wit; Elizabeth Lowndes, Mary Branich, Chas Smyth.

Proved at Shrewsbury 23 Oct 1840

Under £200

The beneficiaries of Sarah’s Will;-

Ellen Corden was Baptised in Uttoxeter, on 27th Feb 1828 the daughter of Arthur and Ellen Corden and Arthur was a Maltster. (Arthur was buried in Uttoxeter on 26 April 1831 aged 27)

Thomas Chatfield was the husband of Sarah’s Step daughter.

Staffordshire Advertiser 12 December 1829

Marriage – “On Wednesday last, Mr. Thomas Chatfield, joiner, Uttoxeter, to Sarah, youngest daughter of Mr. Edward Wibberlev. of the Heath, near Uttoxeter.”

Edward Pegg – no relationship proved but he was baptised in St. Mary’s, Uttoxeter as Edward Webberley Pegg on 31 July 1819 son of George and Jane Pegg.

George Pegg, a widower and Auctioneer was married to Jane Dudley, Widow at Uttoxeter on  26 Feb 1811. Witnesses were Edward and Sarah Webberley.

Arthur Corden – Sarah’s younger brother; Arthur was married and had several children and was Farming at Haughmond, Salop when he died in 1856. His Will indicates that he inherited the Union Inn, Uttoxeter from Sarah and he left it to his son Richard Corden.

How long Arthur had been in Shropshire is unknown but he appears to have been in Uttoxeter in 1825 as evidenced by the following unless they refer to his son.

Staffordshire Advertiser 11 June 1825 SALE

LOT 2.—All that Dwelling-House, with parlour, kitchen, bed rooms, brewhouse, cellar, and garden, as, and adjoining lot 1, in the occupation
of Mr. Arthur Corden, with the addition of a ladder-shed, and potatoe-cave; together with a Building (lying to the same), used by Mr. Joseph Cartledge as a hatter’s-shop, and which might at a small expence, be converted into a dwelling house.

Staffordshire Advertiser 26 November 1825

For sale at Uttoxeter by Auction by Mr Pegg. On 7th Dec.

ALL those two complete MESSUAGES, (having sashed fronts), situate in Bradley Street, Uttoxeter, tenanted by Mrs. Chivere and Mr. Arthur Corden; and also two Dwelling-Houses lying behind the same, occupied by Mr. William Hubbard and Mr. John Tabbernor; together with a stable, gig house, slaughter-house, piggeries, ladder-shed, potatoe-cave, large garden, and other conveniences thereto, rented by different persons.

The premises are in good repair, situation desirable, and will be offered for sale, so as the investment will pay near 7/- per cent, and if more suitable to a purchaser, the
whole, (or any part) of the purchase monies, may remain on satisfactory security, at a reasonable rate of interest
The same may be viewed by applying to the said William Hubbard and particulars had on reference to Mr. HUBBARD, Cheadle.

James Sowter (1783-1832)

James Sowter was born on 9 December 1783 to Samuel and Mary Sowter of Ashbourne in Derbyshire.  He was one of at least five children born to the couple, including older brothers John and Charles, older sister Frances, and younger brother Samuel.  James married Elizabeth Noble by licence in Ashbourne in May 1815, and was buried in the town in December 1832. The couple appear not to have had any children.

The Sowters were pig dealers or jobbers.  The brothers began in business with their father, but in 1808 the partnership between Samuel senior and his sons Samuel the younger, John and James was dissolved.  All debts owing to the concern were to be received by the same men with the exception of John, who presumably wanted to work alone.  The brothers all signed the dissolution agreement, while Samuel the elder merely made his mark.

The family supplied the parish of Uttoxeter with pigs between 1821 and 1829.  Their beasts sold for sums between £1 2s and £3 3s apiece, with variations presumably being based on age or size, and on whether adult sows were already in pig.  Samuel Sowter (who may have been the father or the son) supplied two pigs in 1823, but Samuel senior died in 1824 meaning that pig deals thereafter were with Samuel junior or, more regularly, James.  Uttoxeter bought nine pigs from James up to February 1829 but then the parish’s relationship with the family ceased.  Pigs were bought from a range of other men in 1831 including John Williams, Isaac Laban and Thomas Chatterton, but the Sowters had lost or given up the Uttoxeter parish business.

When James died, his widow Elizabeth turned to inn-keeping.  She had been the daughter of Mr Noble of the Red Lion Inn of Ashbourne, and so presumably knew the business.  In the period 1849-53 she was listed as a widow and publican at the White Lion Inn. She died in Ashbourne in 1855.

Sources: Ashbourne St Oswald baptism of 22 February 1784, marriage of 2 May 1815; London Gazette 14 May 1808, p. 685; SRO D 3891/6/8 and D 3891/6/9; SRO D3891/6/37/4/4; Derby Mercury 5 December 1832; Post Office Directory for Ashbourne (1849); census 1851; Staffordshire Advertiser 8 October 1853; Derbyshire Advertiser 28 September 1855.

Absalom Payne, Police Constable


Doc. Ref. D3891/6/45/2/11

Absalom Payne was born circa 1791 – 1794 in Castle Ashby, Northamptonshire.  On 14 Aug 1814 he married Gertrude Smith of Earls Barton, Northamptonshire and they had at least 2 children.

Gertrude pre-deceased her husband in 1855 and Absalom died in the December Quarter 1868 age 77.

Absalom Payne first came to our attention in August 1838 when he was paid 6s for “services” by William Williams the Parish Constable of Uttoxeter, who went to Northampton to “fetch John Buckley”. William Williams refers to Absalom Payne as “Police Constable”.

The 1841 Census reveals that Absalom Payne’s occupation was listed as “Night Police” whilst in the 1851 Census he is a “Police Constable”. By the 1861 census he had left the police Force and was working as a Baker.  (His son William was also a Baker)

Absalom must have been one of the earliest Police Constables according to a web site[i] about the Northampton Police which says:-

The Government passed an 1835 Act which gave town councils the responsibility of forming full-time professional police forces – this was six years after the creation of the Met Police in London.
As a result, separate police forces were created in Northampton and Daventry. The first chief constable of the Northampton Borough Police was the Northampton-born Joseph Ball, who remained in the position until 1851 when he retired with a pension of £35 a year. Initially, the Northampton force had one superintendent and 24 police constables, who worked in a primitive shift system and were paid either 12 shillings or 14 shillings a week, depending on the time of year. This was regarded as a low wage at the time, especially as the role involved working shifts at night.
The[ii] very first police station in Northampton was in Dychurch Lane, it then moved to Fish Street.
William Williams’ Bill for his expenses does not indicate if the 6 shillings to Absalom Payne was paid directly to him in addition to Absalom’s salary or paid to the Police Force itself.