William Summerland (1765–1834), Butcher, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire

William Summerland came from a family of graziers and butchers. His parents, Joseph (1738–1808) – see separate entry –  and Hannah of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, had at least six children of whom William was the eldest. Nominally, the Summerlands were Quakers, but several birth and death certificates note they were ‘not in unity’ or ‘not members’.

At some point William joined his father in the butchery trade, but in January 1798 the Derby Mercury carried the following announcement: ‘Joseph Summerland and his son William both of Uttoxeter, mutually agree to continue all business separately and without interference with each other.’ The same announcement was made in the Staffordshire Advertiser. The wording does not follow the more usual statements regarding the dissolution of a business partnership where either or both partners were to continue. The phrase ‘without interference’ perhaps suggests a less amicable split. Whatever the cause of the break-up, however, it was not sufficient for Joseph to disinherit his son or to prevent his son from being an executor of his father’s will.

After various bequests and legacies, Joseph left his property in High Wood, late the estate of Thomas Pitts, to William, and all remaining real and personal estate.

William married Mary. They had at least six children: Hannah (1788), Joseph (1789), Ann Marie (1790), William (1791), Mary (1792), Richard Ecroyd (1793–1824). William and Richard followed their father into the butchery business.

William Summerland of Carter Street is listed in the 1818 A New General and Commercial Directory of Staffordshire as a butcher, grazier and mule dealer, and also in White’s 1834 History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire. William was a frequent supplier of meat to the workhouse. Between 26 March and 28 May 1831, he supplied beef on four occasions to the value of £4 17s 7d.

Like his father, William took an active interest in the welfare of his brother John (b.1767) – see separate entry –  who in 1802 spent four months as a patient of William Tuke in the Quaker Retreat in York for mental illness.

William died intestate in November 1834 aged 70, having outlived his wife Mary who died aged 78 in January 1834.  The Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser declared ‘His death was awfully sudden. His servant man called him early … in order to prepare to attend a fair; and a short time afterwards the same servant found him in the room a corpse!’ Letters of Administration were granted to William’s ‘natural and lawful daughter’ Hannah, the wife of John French of the Heath, Uttoxeter. French (yeoman), Joseph Newton (butcher) and Hannah Gammage (widow) entered into a bond to the value of £2,000 to ensure that William’s estate (sworn value £1,000) was administered in accordance with the law.

The appointment of Joseph Newton as an executor is not surprising. A Joseph Newton signed a receipt on behalf of William Summerland in 1832. It was common for people in the same or similar lines of business as the deceased to assist a widow when it came to administering, managing or settling an estate as they knew how local businesses and their networks operated. The people agreeing to be guarantors, trustees and executors knew that they had legal responsibilities to fulfil. There was evidently some dispute over William’s estate. In 1842 the London Gazette reported that pursuant to a decree in Chancery, made in a cause Clough versus French, the creditors of William Summerland, late of Uttoxeter … Butcher, Grazier and Farmer deceased, were to leave their claims before Nassau William Senior, esq. If they failed to do so, they would be excluded the benefits of the decree. Quite what the dispute centred on is not yet known.


Borthwick Institute, University of York, Retreat Archives, RET 1/5/1/7 Correspondence.

Peter Collinge, ‘Gentility, status and influence in late-Georgian Ashbourne c.1780–1820: Barbara Ford and her circle’ (unpublished MRes Dissertation, Keele University, 2011).

Derby Mercury, 25 January 1798.

Lichfield Record Office, B/C 11, Will of Joseph Summerland, 29 April 1808; B/C 11, Letters of Administration for William Summerland, Uttoxeter, 13 January 1835.

London Gazette, 1842.

Jon Mitchell www.blog.wellcomelibrary.org/2015/03/setting-the-record-straight-mania-or-sick-man? accessed 10/07/2016.

www.quakersintheworld.org/quakers-in-action/92  accessed 11/07/2016.

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).

Staffordshire Advertiser, 13 January 1798.

Staffordshire Record Office, D3891/6/37/1/2; D3891/6/37/1/5; D3891/6/37/1/7; D3891/6/37/2/9.

TNA, RG 6/218, 6/650, 6/256, 6/288, England and Wales Quaker Birth, Marriage and Death Index, 1578–1837.

TNA, England and Wales Quaker Birth, Marriage and Death Index, 1578–1837.

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

Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser, 12 November 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.


Joseph Summerland (1738–1808), Uttoxeter, Staffordshire

Joseph Summerland (1738–1808) married Hannah, and was the father of William (1765–1834), John (b.1767), Samuel (1773–1788), Joseph (b.1770), Thomas, (1776–1803), and Susanna (b.1779).  Joseph Summerland senior was a some-time supplier to the Uttoxeter poor.  In 1769 he sold beef to the parish in lots of 30-50 pounds at 2d or 2.5d per pound, presumably for consumption in an early workhouse.

In 1787 Joseph Summerland paid the apprentice duty on James Collier indenturing him to his butchery trade. The Universal British Directory (1790–98) lists a John a Joseph Summerland, butcher. William (see separate entry) joined his father in the butchery trade but by 1798 they announced the dissolution of their partnership in the Derby Mercury and in the Staffordshire Advertiser.

After spending some time in the West Indies and in America, Joseph’s and Hannah’s son John, returned to Uttoxeter, but was evidently unwell (see separate entry). He was admitted to the Quaker Retreat in York (established in 1792 by William Tuke to treat mental illness) in 1802, for which Joseph paid one guinea per week.

By the time of Joseph’s death aged 70 in November 1808 he had accumulated substantial real and personal estate. His probated will of 29 April 1809 made detailed provision for his surviving children William, John and Susannah, their spouses, and his servants. The executors were his son William Summerland, Thomas Lee Higgott (gent), and Samuel Botham (land surveyor). Joseph left personal estate to the sworn value of £5,000. His two dwelling houses in Tinkers Lane in the occupations of John Goodrich and Richard Johnson together with land known as Broad Meadow and Netherwood in Uttoxeter and in Leigh were to be sold publicly or privately with the executors using the proceeds to settle debts and discharge legacies.  Additional property including a house and land at High Wood, Uttoxeter, in the holding of his servant William Felthouse was to be held by Joseph’s son John for his lifetime and afterwards by his wife for her lifetime. After their deaths the property was to be settled on John’s lawful children if he should have any. If John had no children then the property was to go to the children of his son William and to the children of his daughter Susannah Newton, the wife of John Newton.

The sum of £1,200 was to be placed by his executors in government securities with the interest to be paid to his son John and on his death to John’s widow Elizabeth was to receive £400 of the £1,200. The whole was then to be divided equally amongst their children once they reached the age of twenty-one. The executors were to invest £1,000 with the interest being paid to his daughter Susannah for her separate and exclusive use. After her death it was bequeathed to her husband John Newton and then equally to their children when they reached twenty-one. If Susannah died childless then the £1,000 legacy was to be divided amongst the children of John and William. John was to receive £200, but a codicil revoked this and the money was to be added to the £1,200 being administered by the executors for John’s benefit. Leaving money in trust to John, rather than him inheriting outright, may have been as a result of his mental instability. Susannah was to receive £500. Joseph’s servant was bequeathed £10, and his servant Mary Kendrick was to receive £20 if she was still in Joseph’s employment at the time of his decease. His messuage in High Wood, late the estate of Thomas Pitts, was bequeathed to his eldest son William, as was all remaining real and personal estate.


William Salt Library 3/4/00 copy voucher of 1769; Borthwick Institute, University of York, Retreat Archives, RET 1/5/1/7 Correspondence.Derby Mercury, 25 January 1798.Lichfield Record Office, B/C 11, Will of Joseph Summerland, 29 April 1808.Jon Mitchell www.blog.wellcomelibrary.org/2015/03/setting-the-record-straight-mania-or-sick-man? accessed 10/07/2016.www.quakersintheworld.org/quakers-in-action/92  accessed 11/07/2016.Staffordshire Advertiser, 13 January 1798.TNA, England and Wales Quaker Birth, Marriage and Death Index, 1578–1837.TNA, IR 1/11, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures, 28 April 1787.

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