Another Thomas Norris!

The 1841 census listed another Thomas Norris in Uttoxeter besides the one who was a relieving officer. This second Thomas was a printer and bookseller living in the Market Place and was somewhat younger, having been born in 1809. He was at this stage unmarried and living with his mother Ann and sister Jane. He married Ann Caroline Fowler of Leominster in 1845 and went on to be steward of the Wesleyan Methodist church in Uttoxeter. His sister Jane married a Wesleyan minister (John Peaviour Johnson) in 1844.

However, it is their mother Ann who is the most intriguing figure. She was born Ann Schofield and married Thomas & Jane’s father John Norris at Leek in 1806. Sometime after Thomas’s birth in 1809 and that of Jane in 1814 the family decamped to Pentwyn in Llanfair Kilgeddin, Monmouthshire. John Norris had been a baker but became a farmer in Wales. By 1834 Ann was a widow and was living in Uttoxeter again. In May of that year she requested to register a printing press and thus the firm of A. Norris & Son of Uttoxeter was born. This must have been quite a departure from her life as the wife of a baker then farmer. What happened in those 20 years between 1814 and 1834 remains to be uncovered.

Ann died in Uttoxeter in December 1848 aged 72. Her son continued the business in the name of A. Norris & Son until the 1860s when it hit the rocks financially.


Thomas Norris (1787-1848)

Thomas was baptised in Uttoxeter in 1787 (7 March or 30 May), the son of Thomas and Ann Norris. His father was a farmer. He married Charlotte Kiernan Collins at Stone by licence on 26 May 1821. In 1836 he advertised his intention in local newspapers to stand as candidate for Relieving Officer to the Uttoxeter Poor Law Union. He had had considerable experience of the old pre-1834 Poor Law system as his signature appears on many of the receipts among the Overseers  Accounts for Uttoxeter parish in the late 1820s and early 1830s. He was successful in his candidature as the 1841 census shows his occupation as Relieving Officer. His wife Charlotte listed her occupation as dressmaker, which proved important as she would need to support herself and her children after Thomas died in October 1848.

Thomas and Charlotte had 6 children: daughter Charlotte became a dressmaker, too, Ann and Mary became milliners and Elizabeth became a governess at Blore Hall and at Croxden Abbey. Son Henry eventually became a station master. Their other son, Thomas Henry, died aged 17 months in 1830. Henry became head of the family, gathering his womenfolk in his home at Dove Bank, including his aunt Harriet, Thomas’s sister, who had been a witness at Thomas and Charlotte’s wedding in Stone.

Thomas’s widow Charlotte died in Uttoxeter in September 1872 at the age of 82.

A Policeman’s Lot

Uttoxeter’s police constables were appointed for a year. In most years between  1809 and 1831, two were appointed.  Some of these names also occur in the poor law vouchers, usually as business owners’, or as in Thomas Norris’ case as the overseer.

1809-10 John Dumelo and William Hart

1810 -11 Hugh Clewley and Edward Bell

1811-12 Thomas Salt and Jonathan Garle

1812-13 Richard Morley and Stephen Willock

1813-14 Job Shaw (dep) Thomas Lassetter and Michael Clewley

1814-15 William Clark and John Evans

1815-16 Thomas Smith deputised for Stanford Bell, and James Orton

1816-17 John Salt and James Smith

1817-18 John Vernon and Jos Bull

1818-19 Thomas Norris and Samuel Mellor

1819-20 Richard Keates and William Perkin

1820-21 Joseph Fox and John French

1821-22 Thomas Mapley and Henry Arnold

1822-23 Ralph Bagshaw William Key the younger

1823-24 James Bamford and Fred Lowe

1824 Samuel Brassington and George Foster

1825 William Rogers and Joseph Woolley

1826 Thomas Plimmer and George Greenshaw

1827 William Fletcher, Thomas Osbourne and Thomas Plimmer(?)

1828 Lewis Hall

1829 Francis Cox

1830 Thomas Phillips

1831 James Mills