Samuel Garle (1792–1867), So Much More than a Draper

Samuel Garle was born in Uttoxeter the son of William and Ann Garle.

He had seven siblings, although not all survived into adulthood: William (1786–1856), Elizabeth (1787–1789), Richard (1788–1848), Thomas (1790–1793), Ann (b.1793), John (1795–1857), and Thomas (b.1796).

Samuel Garle married Sarah Fox on (b.1802) on 16 April 1825 at Gayton, Stafford. They do not appear to have had any children. He is listed in trade directories as a linen and woollen draper and hosier in Uttoxeter’s Market Place, but bill heads for his business also note that he furnished funerals, provided stays and supplied charities at wholesale prices.

By the time of the 1851 Census, he had retired and both he and Sarah were living in Balance Street, in a freehold house, along with a servant Elizabeth Blow or Bloor. Ten years later, they were still in Balance Street with a servant, Ellen Spare.

He died aged 75 on 14 April 1867. His will was proved at Lichfield by his widow Sarah and his nephew William Garle of Millwich, a farmer. The value of Samuel’s effects was under £6,000, indicating a successful businessman. However, Garle’s interests extended beyond his drapery business and supplying the parish overseers. Samuel and William (probably the brother and not the nephew) Garle were on the provisional committee of the Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield, and South Staffordshire railway, also known as the Leeds, Wolverhampton and Dudley Direct Railway, and the Direct East and West Junction Railway. Samuel Garle’s and John Garle’s names could also be found amongst the list of proprietors on the deed of settlement of the North and Central Bank of England. In 1826 he was listed as one of the jurors in the Quarter Sessions alongside John Garle, innkeeper.


Anon, Deed of Settlement of the North and Central Bank of England (Manchester: printed by Henry Smith, 1835)

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

HO107/2010 1851 Census

RG/9/1954 1861 Census

England and Wales FreeBMD Index, 1837–1915

UK Poll Books and Electoral Registers 1538–1893, Uttoxeter, 1861

National Probate Calendar 1858–1966, Samuel Garle late of Uttoxeter gentleman 14 April 1867

W. Parson and T. Bradshaw, 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)

Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory [Part 2: Nottinghamshire–Yorkshire and North Wales] for 1828–29 (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co., 1828).

Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory, [Derby–South Wales] (London: J. Pigot and Co. 1835).

Staffordshire Record Office, D3891/6/70, Uttoxeter Poor Rate Assessment, 1832.

SRO, Q/RJr/1826.

St Mary’s Parish Register, Uttoxeter

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


Samuel Garle, Draper

Like  many early nineteenth-century  businessmen and women  Samuel Garle of Market Place, Uttoxeter  had several enterprises on the go. Whilst some people regard this as a sign of a person trying to make ends meet by any means, Garle and others like him knew that it was prudent to have several income streams. If one part of his business suffered a downturn, he could compensate with others. A preprinted bill head reveals that  he was a linen and woollen draper, haberdasher, supplier of fashionable London stays and furnisher of funerals. In the corner of his bill is an industrious-looking beehive surrounded by the words ‘Charities supplied at wholesale prices’. This is unusual. Many shopkeepers supplied the wholesale and retail trades, but this is the only example I’ve come across that specifically mentions charities. What I suspect is that Garle’s customers may have supported a number of worthy charities and that this was Garle’s attempt to curry favour.