The Reverend Tovey Jolliffe had various posts in Hampshire before becoming Rector of Skelton on 11 June 1791. The living of Skelton was in the patronage of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, from where he had obtained his qualifications (B.A 1768, M.A 1772 and B.D 1781). From 1795–98 he was also Rector of Brooke, Hampshire.
Jolliffe was born on 16 January 1750 at Newport, Isle of Wight, to James Jolliffe (1717– 95) and his second wife Frances Smith (1716–87). Shortly after coming to Skelton Tovey married Grace Dobinson (1751–1832) in Carlisle on 27 May 1793. Two of Grace’s sisters, Catherine and Mary, had also married clergy, whilst a third sister, Elizabeth, remained unmarried. M. Yates’ letter in the Memorials of a Family in England and Virginia 1771–1851 recounts: ‘It is talked that Miss Grace Dobinson is to marry a Parson whose name is Jolliffe. He has a living near Greystoke’. Tovey and Grace Jolliffe set up home in Skelton.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries local affairs were run by parish vestries with the local squire and parson often in charge. There are several accounts of Jolliffe’s involvement in the parish affairs. Newspaper items respond favourably on his provision of coal and beef to the poor at Christmas.
The Carlisle Patriot noted:
On Friday week, the Rev. Tovey JOLLIFFE, of Skelton, with his usual liberality, distributed a quantity of excellent Beef to the poor inhabitants of that village. It is the constant practice of this benevolent gentleman to give large quantities of Soup to the same people every week during winter. He also supports and superintends a Sabbath School, and the children undergo a weekly examination by him.
The last occasion on which he donated food was the Christmas before his death when he gave 30 stones of beef and 636 pecks of coal. Others of means also did the same. The Earl of Lonsdale gave beef, blankets and clothing to those in the Lowther Castle area, and Joseph Cowper of Unthank gave soup to the poor at Christmas. Jolliffe’s visits to the poorhouse with supplies of tea, sugar and soup are reported as regular occurrences too. Jolliffe contributed to the subscription for relief of the Waterloo sufferers following the Napoleonic Wars.
Jolliffe concerned himself with the education of the children at Skelton school. The disbursements record that in 1819 and for the next 18 years until he resigned his post and moved to Workington, Robert Loraine, schoolmaster of the parochial school, was paid £16.3s.5d every half year. The trustees of the school were led by Rev’d Jolliffe. In 1798–9 Overseers of the Poor and Churchwarden account books report Jolliffe striking out one churchwardens and replacing him with one of his choice.
The Rectory provided Jolliffe with an income, some coming from tithes and rents. In 1823 Leeds Intelligencer Jolliffe’s name is on a list of gentleman who had reduced tithes in order to help those struggling with high wheat and grain prices as well as stagnant wages. In publishing the list it was hoped that pressure would be exerted on others to do the same.
From early on, Jolliffe had purchased small pieces of land around Skelton and continued to do so for the remainder of his life. As open ground started to be replaced by enclosed land, opportunities arose for the creation of a market in land purchase. In 1796 Jolliffe’s mother’s cousin (Betty Smith) died leaving Jolliffe half of Hale Manor and the tenement of Stile House in Arreton, Isle of Wight, near where he was born. By his death in 1830 he had at least 27 properties including fenced of areas of land, allotments, orchards and property to his name in Skelton. He also had property mortgaged to him between 1798–1814. One property he purchased in 1820 was occupied by Jane Sewell (b.1759). Sewell’s name appears on overseers’ vouchers between 1784 and 1788 for the maintenance of her child. Payments of £0.19.0 and £0.16.0 were made by Isaac Dodd, clerk. The parish register records the birth of this child, Mary, as base born in 1779 and a further illegitimate child, Ann, being born to Sewell in 1789. Jane had lived in Skelton since 1781. What happened to her after Jolliffe purchased the property is unknown.
Jolliffe collected rents for the properties he owned. Tenant Joseph Robley who had a 21-year lease paid £36 a year; William Whitelock and Joseph Thompson paid £82 a year each. A churchwardens voucher of 1802 shows a payment made by William Whitelock:Rec,d of William Whitelock by the hands of Rev’d Jolliffe the sum of one pound, one shillings and sixpence due to the estate of the late Jos Sanderson.
Jolliffe had also purchased land in Carlisle. Evidence for this is found in 1830 when a meeting of benefactors and subscribers for the building of an Infirmary in Carlisle agreed to purchase land at Coldcoates from Jolliffe.
Jolliffe died suddenly on Sunday August 1830. His remains were interred in Skelton Parish Church. A memorial can be seen in the church today. It reads:
Underneath are deposited the remains of Rev’d Tovey Jolliffe B.D 39 years Rector of this Parish who die on the first of August 1830 in the 81st year of his age. Also of Grace his widow who died at Carlisle the 19th day of June 1832 aged 82 years.
Grace died at her home in Castle Street, Carlisle. Tovey and Grace had no children.
The Jolliffes appear to have amassed an estate of considerable value. Jolliffe left a new cottage and garden to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. Joseph Cowper had the two thirds of Jolliffe’s estate he purchased from the Jolliffe family valued in 1839. It records the purchase price as £2200.
Jolliffe is also listed as a donor to King’s College, London. His contribution was £50.
Information for future research
Both Tovey and Grace Jolliffe left wills accessible at Cumbria Archives Carlisle
Robert Loraine, schoolmaster, married Mary Marie Wright in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, on 27 October 1834. Her father was John “Squire” Wright (1752–1821) of Hutton in the Forest
William Whitelock died 8 May 1817 aged 78 years. He is buried in Skelton Churchyard along with his wife, Rebecca, who died 28 November 1820, aged 80 years.
Cumbria Archives, Carlisle
PR 10/V/24 Skelton Overseers’ Voucher, 1804-5
PR 10/V/12, Skelton Overseers’ Voucher, 1784
PR 10/V/16, Skelton Overseers’ Voucher, 1788
PR 10/14, Lease for 21years at £36 a year from Rev’d Tovey Jolliffe to Joseph Robley, 24 March 1792
PR 10/15, Lease for 21 years at £82 a year from Rev’d Tovey Jolliffe to William Whitelock and Joseph Thompson, 24 March 1792
PR 10/81, Overseers of the Poor and Churchwardens account books entry. 1798-9 by Rev T Jolliffe
DCC 1/63, Personal account and memoranda book of Joseph Cowper of Unthank, Valuation of Rev. T Jolliffe estate 1839
DX 748/214, Deeds of house on Castle Street, March 1798
DX 748/215, Lease and Release of piece of waste ground, formerly bought by Watson Carnaby, March 1798
DX 1/47 Deeds, mostly of various small properties in Skelton, mainly sold to Thomas James and family of Thornbarrow (p. Hutton) and Penrith, 1736-1801, and to the Rev. Tovey Jolliffe, rector of Skelton, 1796–1820
DCC, 1/32, Deeds relating to the purchase of the Skelton estate of the Rev. Tovey Jolliffe deceased, in which Joseph Cowper of Unthank Esq. (with his brother John of Carleton Hall and of Stamford Street, Blackfriars, London, as co-party) bought two-thirds of it from the Jolliffe family, 1831–34
Isle of Wight Record Office
JER/SEL/1A/16, Schedule of deeds re. BROOK ESTATE, I.W., delivered to Rev’d Tovey Jolliffe, clerk, mortgagee, by James and William How, 6 August 1806
Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser, 21 December 1821, 5 January 1824, 10 January 1826, 23 January 1827
Carlisle Patriot, 22 January 1820, 30 December 1820, 22 January 1830, 23 January 1830, 19 June 1830
Hampshire Chronical, 9 August 1830
Leeds Intelligencer, 9 March 1823
Oxford Journal, 14 August 1830
Stamford Mercury, 13 August 1830
The Skelton Parish Histories. Skelton Parish Council Millennium Project (2000)
A. E. Tirrell, Memorials of a family in England and Virginia 1771–1851
www.nfknowlege.org/record/na-254cdec Probate will of Betty Smith, parish of Carisbrooke, dated 4 October 1796, proved 7 February 1804
www.kingscollections.org/calendarscollection/1880-1881/page-572 accessed 9 November 2018
This is a work in progress, subject to change with additional research.