Blue Duffle

The Cumberland vouchers make frequent reference to the purchase of blue duffle.William Beck’s The Drapers’ Dictionary cites Booth’s Analytical English Dictionary of 1835 which describes duffle as ‘a stout milled flannel, but of greater depth and differently dressed. It may be either perched or friezed (napped), and is sold in all colours’. The name is generally thought to have derived from Duffel (now in Belgium).

In The Compleat English Tradesman Daniel Defoe notes that ‘The manufacturing towns of Lancashire, Westmorland and Cumberland is employ’d in the coarser manufactures of those counties, such as Kersies, half-thicks, yarn stockings, Duffelds, Ruggs, Turkey-work chairs and many other useful things’.

What was the blue duffle being used for? In all likelihood it was used to make coats or cloaks for the poor, perhaps as a type of uniform for the workhouse, or as part of a set of clothes provided for parish apprentices. Joan Lane notes that clothing for apprentices, including particular items that identified them with specific trades, was a common requirement, and that factory apprentices were expected to attend church looking reasonable. She continues that male parish apprentices ‘received a shirt, waistcoat, breeches, stockings and shoes, with a coat and hat for outdoors. A girl was given a petticoat, one or two shifts … with a gown, apron, stockings and shoes … Coats and cloaks were hardly ever bought for female pauper apprentices’.[1]

Five news items provide further information on the uses of blue duffle:

Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Advertiser, 14 March 1787, described how John Bell, aged 17 or 18, had run away from his apprenticeship from shoemaker George Sugding, in Workington. He was wearing a turned blue coat and vest, black breaches and a woollen hat. At the same time another apprentice, Jonathan Atch, aged 17, also absconded. He was wearing a blue upper jacket, a double-breasted blue vest and blue breaches, all duffle.

Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Advertiser, 23 May 1797, detailed the elopement of Daniel Hodgson and Mary Johnston, the wife of James Johnston. Johnston, aged 67, was reported as wearing a white thickset coat, and a blue and white striped waistcoat. Johnston, ‘a stout made woman … pitted with the small pox’, was wearing a a dark stamped gown and bed gown, a brown or blue quilted petticoat, black worsted stockings , a blue duffle cloak, and a black silk bonnet.

Twenty dozen pairs of stockings and ‘some webs of blue duffle and blue worsted stuff’ were stolen from Bridekirk manufactory, Annan. Carlisle Patriot, 14 March 1818.

Carlisle Journal, 7 August 1841, William Dixon gave evidence against John Cope for stealing a jacket belonging to Isaac Sherwin of Aspatria. When apprehended in Maryport, Cope was wearing a blue duffle jacket beneath which was the stolen jacket. Cope was found guilty and sentenced to six months hard labour.

In 1843 the Carlisle Journal reported an inquest. The headless body of a man was washed ashore opposite Eskmeals. The clothing consisted of a blue and white striped shirt, a red flannel shirt, a blue duffle jacket, and white woollen stockings. \lsdpriority

Sources

Cumbria Archives Service, Carlisle, PR60/21/13/3/ no item number, Brampton Overseers’ Voucher, settled 31 May 1795

Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Advertiser, 14 March 1787

Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Advertiser, 23 May 1797

Carlisle Patriot, 14 March 1818.

Carlisle Journal, 7 August 1841

Carlisle Journal, 9 December 1843

William Beck, The Drapers’ Dictionary: a manual of textile fabrics, their history and applications (London: The Warehousemen and Draper’s Journal Office, 1882), 106

Daniel Defoe, The Compleat English Tradesman vol II, (London: printed for Charles Rivington, 1727), 59–60

Joan Lane, Apprenticeship in England, 1600–1914 (London: UCL Press, 1996), 27–29


[1] Joan Lane, Apprenticeship in England, 1600–1914 (London: UCL Press, 1996), 29.

Ann Keen and Catherine Keen, boot and shoe dealers, Lichfield

Ann Keen’s listings in trade directories from 1818 to 1851 and her listing in the 1851 Census as a boot and shoe dealer (mistress) belies the notion of the short-lived female-owned business.

Ann Keen was born to William and Mary Keen in Eccleshall, Staffordshire, and baptised on 30 December 1771. She died, unmarried, in 1853, and was buried at Christ Church, Lichfield.

Parson and Bradshaw’s 1818 directory lists a William Keen, ironmonger, grocer, druggist and tallow chandler, with premises in Eccleshall’s High Street. By this date Ann Keen was already established as the proprietress of a shoe warehouse in Market Street, Lichfield. She was one of two female shoe dealers listed in the town; the other being Margaret Pinches of Boar Street. In comparison, ten male boot and shoemakers are listed.

Thus far 11 bills covering the period 1822 to 1829 have been discovered linking Ann Keen’s business to the overseers of St Mary’s, Lichfield. More may come to light. She was supplying men, women and children with ready-made shoes rather than making them. The vouchers show that Ann was assisted by Catherine Keen. What relation Catherine was to Ann is not clear at present, although Catherine might have been the daughter of Ann’s brother Walter baptised in Eccleshall on 31 March 1769. Until Catherine’s Keen’s marriage in 1823, it was Catherine who drew up the bills for the supply of shoes and took payment from the overseers. Following Catherine’s marriage to Moses Smith, a tobacconist from Hanley, Staffordshire, Ann initially employed an assistant J. Beattie, who like Catherine drew up the bills. Later, Ann took to signing the bills herself, or they were initialled by ‘WB’. At the time of the 1851 Census Ann Keen was living on her own in a property on the south side of Market Street.

Catherine’s marriage to Moses Smith was relatively short-lived. Smith died in 1831. By his will Catherine inherited all his stock-in-trade, money, securities for money, debts household furniture, plate, linen, chattels, and personal estate and effects, upon trust during her natural life. His unnamed children (a son and daughter) were to inherit on Catherine’s death. Catherine Smith and George Keen (Moses Smith’s brother-in-law and assistant in his tobacco business) were appointed the executors. An entry in White’s 1834 directory shows that Catherine continued her husband’s business as a tobacconist in Slack’s Lane, Hanley.

Sources

Staffordshire Record Office

BC/11, Will of Moses Smith of Hanley, Staffordshire, proved 7 March 1832

D20/1/11, St Mary’s Parish Register, Lichfield, 30 June 1823

D286/2/11, Christ Church Parish Register, Lichfield, 9 July 1853

D3767/1/5, Holy Trinity Parish Register, Eccleshall, 31 March 1769, 30 December 1771

LD20/6/6/21, Lichfield, St Mary’s Overseers’ Voucher, Ann Keen, settled 18 June 1822

LD20/6/6/, no item number, Lichfield, St Mary’s Overseers’ Vouchers, 14 August 1822, 25 June 1825, one undated [1825], and 29 June 1826, for example

TNA, HO107/2014, 1851 Census

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: J. Leigh, 1818), 165, 175, 184, 188, 189

White, William, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Staffordshire and of the City of Lichfield (Sheffield: 1834), 157, 569

White, William, History, Gazetteer & Directory of Staffordshire, 2nd edn. (Sheffield, printed by Robert Leader, 1851), 5

Young Parton’s Thigh

D10/A/PO/25, Colton Parish Overseers’ Voucher, 19 February 1756.

A brief and partially faded voucher has turned up amongst those for Colton. It reads ‘19 Febry 1756 To reducing Young Partons Thigh 11s 6. Jany 21 1757 Rd of Mr Clark the contents above in full Gilbt Hordeane’.

This produced much speculation amongst the volunteers. Had Clark given Hordeane the reduced bit of Parton’s thigh? What had caused Parton to require the reduction of his thigh? What exactly is thigh reduction?

Currently, thigh reduction treatment involves surgery. The  removal of fat and skin from the thigh area is designed to recapture a more youthful figure; but surely this was not practiced in the mid-eighteenth century? Of course it was not. As usual volunteers on the project were able to provide the answer: ‘Thigh reduction’ refers to setting a fracture. It may refer to a displaced fracture where the two ends of the bone are out of alignment. Reduction and manipulation involves the stretching of the bone to pull them back into alignment.

A Blog post about Clogs

PR10/100/18, Skelton Overseers’ Voucher, An account of Grace Matthews clothes and goods, 2 June 1785

Clogs feature in both the Staffordshire and Cumberland vouchers. In 1829 and 1830, for example, the overseer of Uttoxeter Mr Wood paid John Green for the following:

2 Sept  1829 Pair of Clogs 1s 4d John Green Mr Wood
7 Nov  1829 1pr clogs 1s  8d
18 Nov 1829 1pr of clogs ordered by Mr Wood 1s 10
21 Nov  1829 1pr of clogs ordered by Mr Norres 1s 6d
18 Dec 1829 1pr of clogs ordered by Mr Wood 1s 10d
8s 2d

 

10 Jul 1830 4 pr boys clogs 5s 4d John Green Mr Wood

Clogs were also by the overseers of Darlaston, Staffordshire: in 1818 Thomas Challinor was paid for three pairs.

In Skelton, Cumberland, the inventory of Grace Matthews goods and clothes included one pair of clogs. There is a separate blog entry for Matthews.

In Wigton, Cumberland, Thomas Watman’s 1773 bill refers to the calking of clogs.

Details of two further vouchers from  Wigton (1771) and Skelton 1791 are shown below.

6 Dec 1771 John Barnes
John Little
Daniel Steel
Daniel Steel
John Barnes
John Little
£0-3-8
£0-0-11
for 3 pairs of clogs
Ironing 3 pairs of clogs
1 Jun 1791 Thomas Mather William Stalker Thomas Mather £4.19.0 Maintenance, repair of clogs & 6 mths house rent

In his State of the Poor Frederick Morton Eden recorded: ‘Some years ago clogs were introduced into the county of Dumfries from Cumberland, and are now very generally used over all that part of the country, in place of coarse and strong shoes. The person who makes them is called a clogger. “All the upper part of the clog, comprehending what is called the upper leather and heel quarters, is of leather, and made after the same manner as those parts of the shoe which go by the same name. The sole is of wood. It is first neatly dressed into a proper form; then, with a knife for the purpose, the inside is dressed off, and hollowed so as to easily receive the foot. Next with a different kind of instrument, a hollow or guttin, is run round the outside of the upper part of the sole, for the reception of the upper leather, which is then nailed with small tacks to the sole and the clog is completed. [The Staffordshire vouchers often contain quantities of ‘tacketts’]. After this they are generally shod, or plated with iron, by a blacksmith. [Calking clogs – adding iron strips or plates to improve their durability – appears on numerous bills for Cumberland]. The price of a pair of men’s clogs (in Dumfrieshire) is about 3s including plating; and, with the size the price diminishes in proportion. A pair of clogs, thus plated, will serve a labouring man one year … at the end of that period, by renewing the sole and plating, they may be repaired so as to serve a year longer… [Many of the Cumberland bills are for making such repairs]. They keep the feet remarkably warm and comfortable, and entirely exclude all damp.”

At Lancaster, Eden noted: ‘Ironed clogs, which are much cheaper, more durable, and more wholesome than shoes, are very generally worn by labouring people’.

The noise clogs made alarmed those unused to it. In August 1797 Henry Kitt recorded: ‘We were annoyed at first by the harsh clatter made by the clogs of the boys playing in the street … We were soon, however, convinced that these wooden shoes, capped with plates of iron, were well adapted to the use of the peasants who inhabit a rough and marshy country’.

Sources

Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor, vols. I & II (1797)

Henry Kitt, Kett’s Tour to the Lakes of Cumberland and Westmorland, vol. 5 (1797)

Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle

PR10/100/18, Skelton Overseers’ Voucher, An account of Grace Matthews clothes and goods, 2 June 1785

PR36/v/2/49, Wigton Overseers’ Voucher, 6 December 1771

PR V/36/3, Wigton Overseers’ Voucher, Thomas Watman 1773

Staffordshire Record Office

D1149/6/2/3/93, Darlaston Overseers’ Voucher, 19 October 1818

D3891/6/34/9/018, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Voucher, 2 September to 18 December 1829

D3891/6/36/8/12, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Voucher, 10 July 1830

Richard Bills (1777-1849), Ironmaster, Darlaston, Part Three

As noted in the Richard Bills blog part one, his main connection with the Darlaston overseers’ came through the provision of grocery goods. A number of the bills were sent to Charles Green (see entry Charles Green (1778 –1856), Overseer, Darlaston).

Bills, however, was a gunlock-maker and ironmaster iron master. He also served as churchwarden for St. Lawrence’s, Darlaston, in 1815. Samuel Mills served in the same capacity in 1858 and between 1862 and 1864.

According to Pigot’s 1828-29 directory there were a number of gunlock-makers in and around Darlaston, including Richard Bills and Samuel Bills, and one woman, Elizabeth Bayley.

Richard Ashmore

Elizabeth Bayley

William Baylis

Richard Bills

Samuel Bills (is this a misprint in the directory; should it read Samuel Mills?)

William Golcher

Joseph Harper

William Howell

Philip Martin

William Partridge

Thomas Rubery

Charles Spittal

Thomas Stone

Charles Thornhill

Bagley Turner

John Griffiths Whitehead

Job Wilkes

William Wilkes

Thomas Worley

Samuel Mills was the son of a butcher, Thomas Fellows Mills and his wife Elizabeth. Thomas’ early death, in 1806, aged 23, however, occurred when Samuel was not yet one. In 1813 Thomas’ widow, Elizabeth, married Richard Bills.

Richard’s business was located in Furnace Lane, Lower Green. When he attained the age of 21, Samuel Mills was made a partner in his step-father’s business.

Aris’s Birmingham Gazette (15 June 1829) contained an advert for Bills and Mills at Darlaston Green Iron Works for a ‘steady man to undertake the management of a Mill for polishing shoe heel tips’.

In February 1849 the London Gazette carried the following announcement:

Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore existing between the undersigned, Richard Bills and Samuel Mills, carrying on trade at Darlaston, in the county of Stafford, as Iron Masters, Steel Manufacturers and Coal Masters, under the firm or style of Bills and Mills, was this day dissolved by mutual consent. All debts owing to or by the said partnership will be received and paid by the said Samuel Mills, by whom the trades will in future be carried on. Dated the 7th day of February 1849.

Richd Bills

Saml Mills

Richard Bills died soon afterwards. The business, however, prospered to become one of the largest iron company’s in the region, with around 2000 employees on a site covering 55 acres.

Richard’s connections with the iron industry, however, stretched beyond the immediate area of Darlaston. In April 1810 he loaned £500 to Hannah Lees (née Buckley, 1764–1831), the owner of Park Bridge Ironworks, a large concern near Manchester. It is not clear, at present, how Bills and Lees came to know each other. Perhaps it was through their shared business interests, or through family connections. Nevell believes that in all likelihood the loan was used to finance the building of new weir on the river Medlock and a water-powered building (purpose unclear) referred to in a lease April 1810.

The Park Bridge Ironworks had been established by Hannah’s husband Samuel Lees (1754-1804) in 1786. His death in 1804 left Hannah with their six surviving children (three others had died in 1800) aged between fifteen and two. The management of Samuel’s estate was conducted by his widow Hannah. Although the business was left in trust to Edward, in 1806 Hannah took over the lease of the site. Under her the ironworks expanded significantly.

Sources

Frederick Hackwood, A History of Darlaston (Wednesbury: Horton Bros., 1887)

London Gazette, 9 February 1849

Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory for 1828-29, Cheshire, Cumberland [&c.] (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co., 1828)

This blog has benefited enormously from the information available from the following websites:

Mike Nevell, Salford University: https://archaeologyuos.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/hannah-lees-of-the-park-bridge-ironworks/ accessed 09/07/2018

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Samuel_Mills accessed 09/07/2018

http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/articles/Darlaston/NotablePeople.htm accessed 09/07/2018

This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research is conducted.

 

 

Description of Lichfield from the Universal British Directory

The following is an edited version of the entry in the third volume of the Universal British Directory.

Lichfield is a pretty large town, one hundred and seventeen miles from London.

This city is uninfluenced in the election of its members of parliament.

The city has power of life and death within their jurisdiction, a court of record, and a picpowder court. Here is a gaol for both debtors and felons, a free school, and a pretty large well-endowed hospital, for a master and twelve brethren. The county of the city is ten or twelve miles in compass, which the sheriff rides yearly on the 8th of September, and then feasts the corporation and the neighbouring gentry.

The cathedral, which stands in the Close, was originally built about 300. It was rebuilt and enlarged in 766. In 1148 it was rebuilt, and greatly enlarged in 1296. In the Civil Wars it was several times taken. When the civil war broke out the nobility and gentry garrisoned the close and defended it against parliament.

Here are three other churches, one of which St Michael’s, has a churchyard of six or seven acres. In the neighbourhood are frequent horse races.

A bill is now about passing for a canal from Wyrley canal to Lichfield, to join the Coventry canal at Huddlesford. A considerable manufactory of horse-sheetings is carried on here by Mr John Hartwell.

The late Dr Samuel Johnson was born in this city, 1709. His father Michael was a bookseller. He more than once held the office of chief magistrate. When arrived at a proper age for grammatical instruction Samuel was placed in the free school of Lichfield. Mr Garrick, so famous for his talents in the dramatic line, received the first rudiments of his education at the same free school.

Markets here are on Tuesday and Friday.

The principal inns are the George kept by Mr Burton; Swan kept by Mr Luke Ward; and Talbot, kept by Mr Jackson for gentlemen travelling on horseback.

Bankers: Catharine Barker and Son, and Francis Cobb.

Seats in the neighbourhood are Elford Hall, the seat of Lady Ann Andover; Fisherwick Hall, the seat of the Marquis of Donegal; Packington, the seat of Thomas Levett; and Freeford, the seat of Richard Dyott.

Source

Peter Barfoot and John Wilkes, Universal British Directory, vol. 3 (London: c.1794)

Frederick Morton Eden on Lichfield in 1795

The following is an edited version of the entry in the second volume of Eden’s State of the Poor.

Lichfield contains three parishes, viz. St Mary’s, St Chad’s and St Michael’s: the first has most houses and inhabitants, but no land; the other two have few houses but a considerable quantity of land.

In 1782 the number of houses in Lichfield was 722, and of inhabitants about 3,555; it is supposed, that, since that period, the population has considerably increased.

In the whole city 408 houses pay the window tax; the number exempted could not be ascertained.

The prices of provisions are: beef and mutton, 5d the lb; veal, 4½d; bacon, 9½d and 10d the lb; milk ¾ of a quart for 1d; butter 1d the lb; potatoes, 4d the bushel; bread flour, 5d the stone; coals, 6d the cwt.

Farms are generally small: the principle articles of cultivation are, wheat, barley, oats, turnips and clover.

The poor are maintained in their own houses: about 23 pensioners, at present, receive £2.17s.6d a week; six of these are bastards: several house rents are paid, and casual reliefs are given to many of the necessitous.

St Mary’s and St Chad’s each have a workhouse. In St Mary’s workhouse there are, at present, 41 Paupers; they manufacture a little blanketing for the use of the house. The bill of fare till very lately included puddings and bread and cheese dinners about 3 days a week. On account of the scarcity of bread and flour the following diet is used: Breakfast—every day, milk pottage. Dinner — Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, meat and vegetables; Monday, Wednesday, Friday, broth and cold meat; Saturday, bread and cheese. Supper—every day, bread and cheese.

It is necessary to observe, that a great part of the other parishes bury at St Michael’s [see separate entry on Thomas Clerk], and children at their own churches: it is owing to this circumstance that burials greatly exceed births [at St Michael’s].

In 2 or 3 small parishes in this neighbourhood, which consist of large farms, there are very few Poor: the farmers, in order to prevent the introduction of Poor from other Parishes, hire their servants for 51 weeks only. I conceive, however, that this practice would be considered by a court of justice, as fraudulent, a mere evasion in the matter, and that a servant thus hired, if he remained the 52 week with his master, on a fresh contract, would acquire a settlement in the parish. August 1795

Source

Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor, A History of the Labouring Classes in England, 3 vols (London: 1797), II.

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.

Sources

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

http://www.lan.-opc.org.uk/Fleetwood/stpeter/marriages_1842-1874.html

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)

www.southafricansettlers.com/?cat=9&paged=479

N.B. This  is a work in progress, subject to change as new research is conducted.

Cheese-Making in Uttoxeter

Uttoxeter has a long tradition of cheese-making. By the mid-seventeenth century it was already established as a major centre of the trade in the Midlands, and in the 1690s there were weekly cheese markets and extensive storage facilities. These were used by Uttoxeter’s cheese factors who were engaged as agents by London cheesemongers. By the mid-eighteenth century Uttoxeter’s importance as a centre for cheese meant that some agents retained by London merchants spent more than £500 in a single day on butter and cheese.

Pigot’s directory of 1828–9 notes that ‘the trade in cheese is also of some consequence’ and lists Thomas Earp, James Lassetter, and Orton and Arnold as cheese factors alongside  maw dealers Edward Gent, James Stringer, John Vernon and Co., and Henry Wigley. Before the commercial availability of rennet, curdling milk for cheese involved drying and salting a calf’s stomach or maw, and then soaking pieces of it in water. The resulting liquid was added to milk to create the curd.

Supplementing the  weekly cheese markets, White’s 1834 directory notes that Uttoxeter held three cheese fairs a year in March, September and November and was known for its ‘considerable trade’ in ‘preparing calves maws, to be used in curdling milk’ for cheese. Under the heading of ‘Cheese Factors & Hop & Seed merchants’ the directory lists Thomas Earp, James Lassetter, and Orton and Arnold. Ellen Gent, James Stringer, John Vernon and Co., Elizabeth Wigley, and Frederick Wigley were cheese skin makers. In 1834 William West noted that Uttoxeter was ‘remarkable for instances of longevity of its inhabitants’ and for its ‘abundant supply of cheese, butter, hogs, corn and all kinds of provisions’. Perhaps the latter was the cause of the former.

Workhouses served their inmates with food and drink according to what were known as dietaries, or daily allowances, which stipulated provision across a week. If these are taken at face value, cheese formed a considerable part of the diets of the poor. Tomkins notes, however, that dietaries should be regarded as statements of intent rather than actual evidence of practice and need to be corroborated by other sources. Until a shortage of bread and flour in the 1790s, at St Mary’s Workhouse, Lichfield, the 41 inmates (making it directly comparable in size to Uttoxeter workhouse) were served puddings, and bread and cheese dinners three times a week. With the shortages, milk pottage was served up for breakfast. Dinner on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays consisted of meat and vegetables; alternating with Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays offerings of broth and cold meat. On Saturdays inmates were given bread and cheese.

In the 1820s the overseers of Uttoxeter purchased large quantities of cheese for the workhouse from a wide range  of suppliers including James and John Bamford, Ralph Bagshaw (see separate entry), Thomas Cope, Thomas Earp (see separate entry), Porter and Keates, John Rushton, William Summerland (see separate entry), Edwin and Josh Wibberley, and Sir T. Sheppard, bart. Amounts varied from the 120lb supplied by Mr Bamford in May 1821, through the 90lbs supplied by William Summerland in May 1825, to the 13.5lbs supplied by Ralph Bagshaw in September 1827.

By the 1830s, just as in the 1820s, cheese came from no single supplier. In September 1830 William Bennett supplied over 2cwt of cheese costing £5 10s 4d. Thomas Earp’s bill for cheese in March 1831 amounted to £4 9s 1d. Fifty-five cheeses weighing 4cwt were supplied by Thomas Gell at a cost of £12 4s 3d in April 1832. The variation in the amounts and the regularity of cheese supplied are probably because the workhouse was producing its own cheese. Between 24 April and 30 June 1830, for example, Thomas Hartshorn supplied the workhouse with 947 quarts of milk. This was far more than the population of 40 or so inmates could readily consume suggesting that the milk was being used to make cheese. Hartshorn also supplied 33 quarts in June 1832, followed by 180 quarts in July. The workhouse also had its own milk cart, a wheel of which was repaired and painted by Thomas Mellor in April 1829.

Sources

Julie Bunting, ‘Bygone Industries of the Peak, Cheese-Making’, The Peak Advertiser, 29 January 1996

Catherine Donnelly, The Oxford Companion to Cheese (Oxford, OUP, 2016), 153–4

London Gazette, part 2 (1836), 1369

Sir Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor, A History of the Labouring Classes in England 3 vols (London: 1797), edited and abridged A. G. L. Rogers London: George Routledge and Sons, 1928), 307.

John E. C. Peters, The Development of Farm Buildings in Western Lowland Staffordshire up to 1800 (Manchester: MUP, 1969), 130

Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory [Part 2: Nottinghamshire–Yorkshire and North Wales] for 1828–29 (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co., 1828), 741–2

SRO, D3891/6/8, Uttoxeter volume of parish bills, 1821–4

SRO, D3891/6/9, volume of parish bills, 1825–29

SRO, D3891/6/34/1/14, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Mellor, 3 April 1829

SRO, D3981/6/36/3/4, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, William Bennet, 11 September 1830

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

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

SRO, D3891/6/36/6/66, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Edwin Webberley, 23 December 1831

SRO, D3891/6/37/11/5, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, John Foster, 21 February 1832

SRO, D3891/6/39/2/26, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Gell, 20 March 1832

SRO, D3891/6/39/5/5, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Hartshorn, 10 June–15 July 1832

SRO, D3891/6/39/6/3, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Joseph Durose, 8 November 1832

SRO, D3891/6/40/1/10, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, R. Keates, [1833?]

Joan Thirsk, Agrarian History of England and Wales, 1640–1750, part 1 (Cambridge: CUP, 1985), 133

H. D. Symonds, The Universal Magazine, vol. 23 (November 1758), 219

William West, Picturesque Views and a Description of Cities, Towns, Castles and Mansions and other Objects of Interesting Feature in Staffordshire from original designs, taken expressly for this work by Frederick Calvert engraved on steel by Mr T. Radclyffe (Birmingham: William Emans, 1834), 96

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Staffordshire and of the City of Lichfield (Sheffield: 1834), 762

Uttoxeter Businesses and the Derby Mercury

The details of details of goods, services, and prices contained in vouchers submitted to Uttoxeter’s overseers of the poor are shedding light on the daily workings of the Old Poor Law, but to what extent did these suppliers advertise in local or regional newspapers?

Between January 1831 and July 1832 a survey of the Derby Mercury reveals relatively few Uttoxeter business owners placing notices or adverts specifically to promote their enterprises. Even fewer of them can be linked directly to the poor law vouchers. Initially, this may seem surprising, but is readily explainable. The Derby Mercury was just one of a number of regional papers and perhaps it would be more likely that Uttoxeter’s traders would place notices in the Staffordshire Advertiser. A survey of the Advertiser, however, is revealing a similarly limited pattern of engagement. How can this be explained? In part it was due to the high cost of adverts charged by newspaper proprietors. In 1800 the Derby Mercury charged 3s 6d per advert on top of which duty of 1s 6d was also chargeable. It may also have been the result of local traders supplying very local markets, where the need to advertise beyond the immediate vicinity was considered unnecessary. This was particularly so if the goods were perishable such as meat, fruit and vegetables. There are other things to consider, however. Where the variety (as opposed to the quantity or quality) of stock changed little business owners may have seen little point in advertising the same things week in week out. Instead, they may have preferred to save their adverts for more important events such as changes in personnel, especially the appointment of new staff or business partners, or changes in business ownership or location. The only real exceptions to these were announcements of the arrival of new or fashionable stock, especially if they came from London.

Which of Uttoxeter’s business owners did place notices in the Derby Mercury, and what were they announcing?

Grocer William Lovatt’s marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bakewell of Marston Montgomery was announced in October 1831. On 6 April 1831 tobacconist Jane Smith, with shops in both Uttoxeter and Ashbourne, declared that she was continuing the business of her late husband James for the benefit of herself and her large family. When in February the White Lion, Bradley Street, with stabling for 20 horses, and ‘calculated for a common brewery’, was offered to let particulars could be had from Abel Ault, or John Ault, timber merchant, Derby.

Some Uttoxeter businesses, including those of Samuel Garle (see separate entry), Thomas Woolrich (see separate entry), and Tompkinson and Co., were acting as agents for patent products including Heeley’s rhadiographic pens, Perryian pens, John Leeming’s genuine horse medicines, Barclay’s asthmatic candy, and Dr Sibly’s Reanimating Solar Tincture for debility, consumption, nervous complaints, rheumatism, spasms, indigestion, and lowness of spirits. Chemist Thomas Woolrich (who so far has not turned up in the overseers’ vouchers) had a national business network. His claim to fame was ‘Woolrich’s improved diuretic horse balls’ available from ‘all respectable medicine vendors in most market towns in the kingdom’. In addition to Uttoxeter, they were also sold wholesale by London agents such as Messrs Barclay & Sons, 95 Fleet Market; Mr Edwards, 66 St Paul’s Church Yard; Sutton & Co., Bow Church Yard; and Butlers’, Cheapside. They could be bought at 73 Princess Street, Edinburgh, and at 54 Sackville Street, Dublin. Closer to home they were sold retail by Drewry & Son, Derby; Whitham,  Ashbourne; and Claughton, Chesterfield.

Some people probably wished that notices regarding their businesses had not appeared. The bankruptcy of surgeon George Alsop (see separate entry) was announced in November 1831, but at least it provided work for Uttoxeter solicitors Bedson and Rushton who notified debtors and creditors of meetings about Alsop’s plight at the Red Lion on 24 and 25 November, and on 23 December. Debts owing to Alsop were to be paid to his business partner Mr Chapman or to Bedson and Rushton. Similarly, in March 1831 Bell’s bank suspended payments owing to heavy debts. A meeting of creditors, however, concluded that James Bell’s assets and credits were sufficient to meet liabilities and leave a considerable surplus. The creditors were lucky. Dividends of 10s in the pound declared within 4 months. Bell avoided bankruptcy, but it did him little good. His death was reported at the end of November.

Sources

Derby Mercury