An Extension to St Mary’s Workhouse Garden, Lichfield

In July 2020 the Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies published my article on workhouse gardens.[1] Since then further information has come to light regarding the garden of St Mary’s Workhouse in Sandford Street, Lichfield.

The article noted that in 1769 Henry Rogers supplied the potatoes and kidney beans for the garden.[2] An entry in the overseers’ accounts for 19 July 1777 shows that the existing gardening operation was extended when the committee appointed to oversee the repair and extension of the workhouse for the ‘reception and employment of the poor’ accepted the offer ‘made generously by the Reverend Dr Falconer respecting a piece of Meadow Ground for a Garden’.[3]

Figure 1: LD20/6/3, Lichfield St Mary’s, Overseers’ Account Book 1778-1784.

The accounts for 1778 show purchases for the garden and the payments made to labourers. In April thread for ‘garden line’ was purchased, presumably for marking out the ground. A Mr Bramhall was paid for plants and seeds. Other than ‘beans’, however, the specific types of plants and seeds are not listed. Gardeners were provided with ale. Wm Marklew was paid three shillings for two days’ work digging the new garden. In April and May ‘Brindley’ and others were also paid for unspecified garden work.

One of the crops was potatoes. On 30 October 1778 the workhouse received 5s 10d from a Mr Simpson for ‘Boys getting up Tatoes’. Although workhouse inmates were given ‘pay’ for any work they undertook in the new attic work room amounting to ‘two pence out of every shilling for their use’, it seems likely that in this instance the money went to the workhouse rather than directly to the boys.

 

With thanks to JK for the above image.

[1] Peter Collinge, ‘He shall have care of the garden, its cultivation and produce’: Workhouse gardens and gardening c.1780-1835’, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1754-0208.12717.

[2] SRO, D3891/6/30/32, Henry Rogers, 27 May 1769.

[3] SRO, LD20/6/3, Lichfield St Mary’s Overseers’ Account Book 1778-1784.

Grace Sandwick’s Possessions

Figure 1: PR5/43, Greystoke Poor Account Book, 1740-1812

When Grace Sandwick was granted poor relief by the parish of Greystoke and boarded out with Deborah Bushby in 1774, she brought with her a range of clothing and belongings. Apart from what is recorded in Greystoke’s Poor Account, nothing further has yet come to light to provide further information on Sandwick. Deborah Bushby was baptised in Greystoke on 13 April 1738 and buried in the parish church on 29 January 1814.

The parish recorded in its Poor Account Sandwick’s possessions. Sometimes parishes sold such goods to help defray the cost of relief. On other occasions, if the pauper was admitted to a workhouse, the items could be stored and returned should the pauper leave. In this instance, as Sandwick was boarding with Bushby, it looks as though the list was draw up so that there could be no dispute over what Sandwick owned.

April ye 7th 1774 Agreed with Deborah Bushby for Grace Sandwicks Boarding for one year at the rate of four pounds four shillings pr year to be paid quarterly.

A schedule of the Goods brought with her the said Grace when she came to lodge with the said Deborah Bushby the date afored: viz one feather bed, 2 Blanketts, 2 Feather Bolsters, one quilt, a kuggone[?] lining sheet a Bedstead a line whool [____alor?] one shag hat one stew pot a meal box and brown gown one blew gown & jacket one good quilted black petty coat Callamanca, a blew petty coat and one white one brown petty coat a blew cardinall one blue apron a corner cupboard and Box each with a lock a Check and White Apron 2 or 3 caps.

Though poor, Sandwick had a change of clothes. Some of the terms used to describe them are unfamiliar to us today but they tell us about something the quality and durability of what she wore. From the seventeenth century ‘shagg’ was used to describe the nap of cloth. It was often coarse and long. Sometimes it was used to describe worsted cloth having a velvet nap. Such material was often used for linings. Calamanco was an unprinted, plain cotton, often white. The ‘blew cardinal’ was a short cloak with a hood.

The lockable cupboard and box were important as a means of securing possessions, particularly when spaces were shared. For many people in the eighteenth century, a lockable box was the only private storage facility they had. Lockable boxes became associated with servants. They could be used to transport belongings between one job and the next. The lack of a box, as Amanda Vickery points out was ‘a sign of the meanest status’.

Sources

CAS, PR5/43, Greystoke Poor Account Book, 1740-1812.

National Burial Index for England and Wales, St Andrew, Greystoke, 29 January 1814.

Amanda Vickery, Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), pp. 38-40.

 

 

John Peake (b.1798), Ironmonger, Furniture Broker and Bankrupt, Lichfield

Figure 1: SRO, LD20/6/7/202, Lichfield, St Mary’s Overseers Vouchers, John Peake, 21 November 1831

Living in Lombard Street, by 1851 John Peake, then operating as a furniture broker (which usually meant a dealer in second hand goods) had a large family. Born in Lichfield in 1798, his wife Charity had been born in Exeter in 1806. Between them they had nine children: Edward (b. 1831), a writing clerk; Ann (b.1834); Peter (b. 1837), a tailor’s apprentice; Thomas (b. 1838); Elizabeth (b.1842); Charity (b.1842); Philip, (b. 1844); Steven (b. 1847); and Arthur (b. 1850).[1] With the exception of Elizabeth, Charity and Philip, who were born in Barton, Staffordshire, all the children were born in Lichfield.

This was his second marriage. The Birmingham Journal in 1826 reported the death of ‘Mrs Peake, wife of Mr John Peake, ironmonger, of Market Street, Lichfield’.[2] She was 32.

Listed in Pigot’s 1828 directory and in White’s 1834 directory as resident in Market Street, Peake supplied the overseers St Mary’s with ironmongery such as nails, coffee pots, and canisters, but, as his bills show, he was also a colourman or dealer in paints and oils.[3]

An advert in the Staffordshire Advertiser in 1829 reveals more about Peake’s business.[4] He was a bell hanger, lock and jobbing smith. His stock, offered at low prices with a five per cent discount for ready money, included cutlery, 52-piece table services, grates, lamps, fenders, fire irons, Britannia metal and ‘japanned’ goods, locks, bolts, hinges, nails, and screws. The same advert also announced that Peake was seeking ‘A respectable youth’ as an apprentice.

Things started to go wrong in July and August 1837 when a fiat of bankruptcy was issued against Peake and his business partner Thomas Hall.[5] They were required to present themselves before the bankruptcy commissioners on 7 September and again on 6 October at the Old Crown Inn, Lichfield. There they were to ‘make a full discovery and disclosure of their estate and effects’, and their creditors were ‘to come prepared to prove their debts’. Those indebted to the bankrupts, or who had any of their effects, were to contact solicitors Messrs. Bartrum and Son, of Old Broad Street London, or Messrs. E. and F. Bond, solicitors, Lichfield. The Bonds also undertook work for the parish of S. Mary’s.

At the end of September the Birmingham Journal announced the immediate disposal of the stock-in-trade, counters, shelves, and implements of Messrs John Peake and Co. ‘ironmongers, braziers, and tinmen in Market Street’.[6]

A dividend was paid to creditors in February 1838 at which point creditors, who had not already proved their debts, were requested to attend the meeting at the Old Crown to prove their claim, or be excluded the benefit of the dividend. Claims not proved at the meeting were to be disallowed.[7]

A certificate of discharge for Peake and Hall was issued in March 1838.[8] This allowed them to pursue business once again. This, however, was not the end of the issue. In December 1838, creditors were informed of a meeting to take place, once again at the Old Crown, with the assignees of the bankrupts’ estate on 21 January 1839.[9]

At the meeting the creditors were to assent or dissent from the assignees commencing a law suit against the trustees and managers of Lichfield’s Bank for Savings and against John Peake, Thomas Hall, and others for the purpose of ‘recovering certain sums of money, now in the hands of the said trustees and managers of the said Bank’. The assignees claimed that the money formed part of the separate estate of Thomas Hall. The creditors were also asked to assent or dissent from allowing the assignees to submit to arbitration in the matter. The matter rumbled on.

Six years later in December 1844, it was announced that John Balguy, a commissioner authorized to act in bankruptcy cases would sit in January 1845 at the Birmingham District Court of Bankruptcy, in order to ‘Audit the Accounts of the Assignees of the estate and effects’ Peake and Hall.[10]

Alongside his wife, in 1861 were their sons Stephen (sic), an architect’s clerk, aged 14; and Arthur; and their grandson, Charles Peake, aged eight.[11] By 1871 Peake’s household in Bore Street was reduced in size again. Living with himself and his wife were their daughter Charity and her husband George Smart who had been born in Essex.[12]


[1] TNA, HO 107/2014, Census 1851.

[2] Birmingham Journal, 4 February 1826, p.3/5.

[3] Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory [Part 2:] for 1828–29 (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co., 1828), p.  716; William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Staffordshire and of the City of Lichfield (Sheffield: 1834), p. 160.

[4] Staffordshire Advertiser, 28 March 1829, p. 1/1.

[5] London Gazette, 25 August 1837, p.  2261; 10 December 1844, p. 5139.

[6] Birmingham Journal, 30 September 1837, p. 5.

[7] London Gazette, 13 February 1838, p. 333.

[8] Globe, 8 March 1838, p. 3.

[9] London Gazette, 28 December 1838, p. 3002.

[10] London Gazette, 10 December 1844, p. 5139.

[11] TNA, RG9/1972, Census 1861.

[12] TNA, RG 2913/37, Census 1871.

Joseph Collins (b.1795), Currier, Tea Dealer and Wine Merchant, Lichfield

Currier Joseph Collins was born in Claydon, Oxfordshire, in 1795.[1] He was the son of Quakers William and Elizabeth Collins. His father was a farmer.

He married twice. First in 1817 to Elizabeth Vaughton, at St Michael’s, Lichfield; and second, to Elizabeth Langley of Rugeley in 1823.[2] The second marriage took place at St Martin’s, Birmingham, on 22 September 1823.[3]

In 1851 Joseph and Elizabeth Collins, were living in Tamworth Street, with their children, Charles, 23, also a currier; and Emma, 19, an organist; and servant, Mary Beech, 20.[4]

Joseph was not listed in the 1818 trade directory, although gardener and seedsman John Collins was listed with an address in St John Street, and an Edward Collins, of the Fountain Inn, Beacon Street.[5] Two curriers and leather dealers were listed: John Langley in Tamworth Street, and Thomas Langley in Bore Street.[6]

By 1828 Joseph Collins of Tamworth Street had replaced John Langley. Thomas Langley continued to operate from Sandford Street.[7] By 1834 Collins was still in business in Tamworth Street, Thomas Langley had disappeared, and the only other currier listed was William Hughes of Dam Street.[8]

A currier’s job was to process tanned hides which involved a number of processes: cleaning, scraping, stretching and finishing with oils, wax or polish.[9]  Collins was also a tea dealer and wine merchant.

SRO, L”D20/6/6, Lichfield, St Mary’s Overseers’ Voucher, Joseph Collins, 22 July 1829

Collins supplied the overseers of St Mary’s with leather. His bills are elaborately headed with three distinct images.[10] The first shows the armorial bearings of the Worshipful Company of Curriers with its motto ‘Spes Nostra Deus’ (God is our hope). At the top, arms hold up a currier’s shave, and on the shield are four more pairs of shaves.[11]

In the middle is a classic representation of the tea trade: ‘Chinamen’, tea chests, water and a distant ship.[12] Above this are the printed words ‘Agent to the London Genuine Tea Company, 23 Ludgate Hill’. In 1843 the London Genuine Tea Company placed a notice in the Staffordshire Advertiser.[13] Two circumstances had prompted the announcement: growing concern over the adulteration of tea, which they described as ‘disgraceful transactions’; and the ‘peace recently concluded with the Chinese’. The latter had enabled the Company to increase its stock of the finest teas. Eager to promote its ‘pure and unadulterated teas’, it listed its provincial agents, including Joseph Collins of Lichfield.

The third image shows a woman in a classically-inspired dress standing next to a barrel adorned with vines, and grapes. In her hand and she holds up a wine glass. On top of the barrel is a wine bottle and surrounding the barrel are casks, bottles and a bottle carrier. In the background is a three-masted ship. This image reflects the third strand of Collins’ business, that of ‘Agent to the Wine and Spirit Compy, 141 Fleet Street, London’.

In 1835 elections were held in Lichfield. The results created ‘dissatisfaction’ and the episode was reported widely in the press.[14]

The Staffordshire Advertiser reported that the ‘natural quietude’ of Lichfield ‘has not been proof against the excitement of electioneering ardour … Scarcely has the exercise of the parliamentary franchise ever produced so strong a sensation … Squibs, manifestoes, exhortations, and denunciations have succeeded each other with a rapidity unexampled in the annals of the borough-city’. It continued: ‘Two chief parties divided the town. The Elective Franchise Society … held their meetings at the George Inn. A second and mixed party then met at the Old Crown Inn … [who on polling day] made no public display, and indeed many of them declined voting altogether’.[15]

The Sun commented that the Elective Franchise Society, established soon after the last election, ‘has worked wonders … considering how the city had been confined by the Tories previously thereto. The Tories ‘using all the influence that they were possessed of, as well as using their threats of turning several people out of the official situations which they held, if they did not vote according as they were wished’, failed to get the result they hoped for. The Elective Franchise Society proposed 18 reformers; 17 were elected. One of those newly-elected was currier, Joseph Collins. Other suppliers to the overseers of St Mary’s were also elected: Stephen Brassington, John Meacham, and Nicholas Willday. The one remaining place went to a Tory ‘who had ‘the least number of votes’.

The Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser noted that ‘The result of the election has created dissatisfaction and the opponents of the liberals now blame themselves for not having made vigorous opposition’.[16]


[1] TNA, RG 6/34, England and Wales, Society of Friends, Birth 1578-1841, Berkshire and Oxfordshire: Monthly Meeting of Banbury.

[2] SRO, D27/1/18, Lichfield, St Michael, Marriages, 13 April 1817.

[3] Staffordshire Advertiser, 13 December 1823, p.4/3.

[4] TNA, HO 107/2014, Census 1851.

[5] Parson and Bradshaw, William Parson and Thomas Bradshaw, Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory (Manchester: J. Lynch, 1818), p. 170.

[6] Parson and Bradshaw, Directory, p.185.

[7] Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory [Part 2:] for 1828–29 (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co., 1828), p.  716.

[8] William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Staffordshire and of the City of Lichfield (Sheffield: 1834), p 158.

[9] The Worshipful Company of Curriers, https://www.curriers.co.uk/history [accessed 26 June 2020].

[10] SRO, LD20/6/6, St Mary’s, Lichfield, Overseers’ Vouchers, 22 July 1829; 31 December 1829

[11] https://www.curriers.co.uk/history [accessed 26 June 2020].

[12] Peter Collinge, ‘Chinese Tea, Turkish Coffee and Scottish Tobacco: Image and Meaning in Uttoxeter’s Poor Law Vouchers’, Transactions of the Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society, XLIX (June 2017), pp. 80–9.

[13] Staffordshire Advertiser, 25 March 1843, p. 1/3.

[14] Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser, 30 December 1835, p.2/6.

[15] Staffordshire Advertiser, 2 January 1836, p.3/4.

[16] Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser, 30 December 1835, p.2/6.

The Kirkby Lonsdale Digester

On 10 August 1811 wholesale ironmonger George Backhouse of Kendal billed Kirkby Lonsdale Workhouse for a single item, a digester, costing £1 11s 4d.[1] In a pamphlet from around 1740, entitled Cheap provision, recommended to the publick in general, and poor in particular, the purpose of a digesterwas to dissolve bones that could be used in soups and broths.[2] It was not evident how a digester worked.

‘An excellent Broath is made with Bones, dissolved by a digester, and thicken’d with Rice. To make a nourishing and satisfactory Dinner of it Put Half a Pound of Meat, of any Sort, salt or fresh, or both, or Ox Cheek, Cow Heel, Calves, Feet &c cut into Bits, into a Gallon of Water, after you have made it boil and froth up, put in a Pound of Rice, let it Boil for three Hours, adding another Gallon of Water warm’d’.[3] To this, may be added with discretion, ‘any garden stuff … Pease, Turnips, Potatoes, Parsnips, Leeks, … and it may be season’d with Ginger, Jamaica or black Pepper’.

Sixty years later, the snappily-titled The economy of an institution, established in Spitalfields, London, for the purpose of supplying the poor with a good meat soup, At One Penny per Quart. Principally extracted from the Papers of the Society, and published with a view to the Establishment of similar institutions, in towns, villages, and populous neighbourhoods produced by the Society for the Relief of the Industrious Poor, reported that a digester had been installed in Spitalfields, but it was not yet in use.[4] The committee was of the opinion that ‘most of the nutrient may be extracted from the bones by the usual mode of preparing the Soup’, to wit they had four boilers, two of one hundred gallons each and two of 150 gallons each.[5]

The society gave the following recipe for one hundred gallons of soup: eight stones of beef, 16 stones of shin of beef, 46lbs of pease, 36lbs of Scotch barley, 24lbs of onions, 8lbs of salt, 10oz of black pepper.[6] These were to be placed in a boiler filled with water and simmered overnight. In the morning the water was to be topped up.

The reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor thought a digester saved both food and fuel.[7] The reports gave a description from the Birmingham Soup Shop on how a digester functioned. ‘Soup is prepared by previously dissolving the meat and bones in the digester; a vessel which … is capable of dissolving bones to jelly within a few hours’.[8]

‘The bones are cut into small pieces with an axe, and part of them put into the digester, which is filled two-thirds with water, and the lid screwed down; when the first operation takes place, for two of three hours, with a light weight on the valve. What then remains undissolved is put a second time into the digester, with the rest of the bones, and the same quantity of water, greater weight being laid on the valve, equal to 40lb or 50lb on the square inch. When the bones are supposed to be nearly dissolved, and the vessel cool enough to open, the meat is added … and the whole boiled together for two or three hours, with only a small pressure on the valve’.[9] For this to work successfully, ‘some skill, and a great degree of attention is required’.[10]


[1] Cumbria Archive Service, Kendal, WPR19/7/1/5/1, Kirkby Lonsdale Overseers’ Voucher, George Backhouse, 10 August 1811.

[2] Cheap provision, recommended to the publick in general, and poor in particular (London[?], 1740[?])

[3] Cheap provision, recommended to the publick in general, and poor in particular (London[?], 1740[?]), pp.1-2.

[4] Society for the Relief of the Industrious Poor, The economy of an institution, established in Spitalfields, London, for the purpose of supplying the poor with a good meat soup, At One Penny per Quart. Principally extracted from the Papers of the Society, and published with a view to the Establishment of similar institutions, in towns, villages, and populous neighbourhoods (London: W. Phillips, George Yard, Lombard Street, 1799).

[5] Society for the Relief of the Industrious Poor, The economy of an institution, p. 15.

[6] Society for the Relief of the Industrious Poor, The economy of an institution, p. 14.

[7] Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor, The reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor  (London: printed by W. Bulmer and Co., 1798-1800), p.151.

[8] Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor, The reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor  (London: printed by W. Bulmer and Co., 1798-1800), p. 166.

[9] Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor, The reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor  (London: printed by W. Bulmer and Co., 1798-1800), p. 164.

[10] Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor, The reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor  (London: printed by W. Bulmer and Co., 1798-1800), p. 164.

Richard Brown (1763–1831), joiner and undertaker, Dalston


Figure 1: Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/39/5, Richard Brown, 31 August 1830.

The overseers’ voucher above for a coffin, dated 31 August 1830, is addressed to ‘the Late Richard Brown’.[1] 

A memorial stone in Dalston records:

Erected

to the memory of Richard Brown, of Dalston

who died August 26th 1831

Aged 68 years

Also of Matilda, his wife

Who died December 11 1831,

Aged 67 years

Also of Elizabeth, their daughter

Who died March 31st 1799

Aged 7 years

Also of Richard, their son

Who died December 18th 1811

Aged 11 years.[2]

Brown was a joiner and undertaker. According to James Wilson he had ‘a wooden shanty in the small garth by the Grammar School, belonging to Mr Jackson … “He [X] dropt down dead when screwing down a coffin at the New Rookery: Dr Watson tried to blood him, but without effect”’.[3]

The question that arises is whether the Richard Brown (deceased) named in the voucher is the same Richard Brown whose details are recorded on the memorial, even though there is a discrepancy of a year in the dates. It might simply be that the person who wrote the bill, put ‘1830’ instead of 1831, or that James Wilson made an error when transcription error in his
Monumental Inscriptions.


[1] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/39/5, Richard Brown, 31 August 1830.

[2] James Wilson, The Monumental Inscriptions of the Church, Churchyard and Cemetery of St Michael’s, Dalston, Cumberland (Dalston, W. R. Beck, 1890), 6.

[3] James Wilson, The Monumental Inscriptions of the Church, Churchyard and Cemetery of St Michael’s, Dalston, Cumberland (Dalston, W. R. Beck, 1890), 140.

Benjamin Holland (1794–1877), Hairdresser and Perfumer, Lichfield

Benjamin Holland submitted quarterly bills amounting to 12s each to the overseers of St Mary’s, Lichfield, for dressing hair and shaving the poor.[1] The earliest surviving bill is dated 1822; the last dates from 1837. The wording of the bills does not make it clear as to whether Holland went to the workhouse in Sandford Street or whether the inmates went to his premises in Tamworth Street. Given the limited opportunities during the day for inmates to leave workhouses, it was probably the former. The bills were drawn up by Benjamin. The money was either collected by Benjamin or by his first wife Sarah. After Sarah’s death, the bills were signed by Benjamin only.


Figure 1: LD20/6/6/ no item number, Lichfield, St Mary’s, Benjamin Holland, Michaelmas the 29, 1827

When Holland started his business is unknown, but he is listed in Parson and Bradshaw’s directory of 1818 and in Pigot’s directory of 1828–29.[2]

Holland was the son of George and Mary Holland, and was baptised at St Chad’s, Lichfield, on 24 January 1796.[3] By his first wife Sarah, he had three children: Thomas, baptised 22 February 1824; Mary, baptised 25 May 1828; and William, baptised 27 June 1830.[4]


Figure 2: LD20/6/6/ no item number, Lichfield, St Mary’s, Benjamin Holland, 1828.

Sarah (b.1792) died in 1832 aged 40 and was buried on 12 January at St Michael’s.[5] This was common for the city. St Mary’s had no burial ground whilst St Michael’s extended to seven acres.

Benjamin Holland married subsequently spinster Mary Collins at St Chad’s on 20 March 1834. The register was signed by Holland: Mary with her mark.[6]

At the time of the 1841 Census the Holland household consisted of Benjamin, his second wife Mary, his three children by his first wife, and a female servant Catherine Sawyer, aged 20.[7] A Catherine Sawyer, daughter of paper maker William Sawyer and his wife Sarah of Stowe Street, was baptised 9 December 1821 at St Chad’s.[8]


Figure 3: LD20/6/6/ no item number, Lichfield, St Mary’s, Benjamin Holland, 1829.

Ten years later, the household consisted of Benjamin and Mary, son William, aged 19, a cordwainer; and William Sawyer, aged seven, described as a nephew.[9] Searching parish registers shows that a William Sawyer was baptised on 19 October 1843 at St Michael’s. His mother was Catherine Sawyer, spinster, was a workhouse inmate.[10] Were these William and Catherine Sawyer the same people who later became part of the Holland household? Their ages fit.

The Lichfield Poor Law Union Minute Book for 10 November 1843 contains the following entry: ‘Ordered that proceedings be taken against the Putative Father of Catherine Sawyer’s Bastard Child chargeable to [the parish of ] St Chad.’[11]

By 1861 the Holland household had contracted. Aside from Benjamin and Mary, the only other person resident at the time of the Census was nephew William, now a clockmaker.[12]

By 1871 the household consisted of just Benjamin and Mary.[13] Throughout this time the Hollands were resident in Tamworth Street.

Benjamin died in 1877 aged 83. He was buried at St Michael’s on 25 March.[14]


[1] SRO, LD20/6/6/, no item nos., Lichfield, St Mary’s Overseers’ Vouchers, Benjamin Holland, 1827, 1828, 1829.

[2] 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), 174;  Pigot and Co., 1828, National Commercial Directory for 1828-9, Cheshire, Cumberland &c  (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co.), 716.

[3] SRO, D29/1/8, St Chad’s Parish Register.

[4] SRO, D20/1/4, St Mary’s Parish Register, Baptisms.

[5] SRO, D27/1/8, St Michael’s Parish Register.

[6] SRO, D29/1/8, St Chad’s Parish Register.

[7] TNA, HO107/1008/2 1841 Census.

[8] SRO, D29/1/3 St Chad’s Parish Register.

[9] TNA, HO107/2014 1851 Census.

[10] SRO, D27/1/7, St Michael’s Parish Register, Baptisms.

[11] SRO, LD458/1/2, Lichfield Union Minute Book, 4 February 1842 – 12 November 1847.

[12] TNA, RG9/1972 1861 Census.

[13] TNA, RG10/2913, 1871 Census.

[14] SRO, D27/1/12, St Michael’s Parish Register.

William Snape, Mercer and Draper, Lichfield, part II

William Snape died in 1833 (see entry for William Snape, 9 July 2019). He left no will. His widow, Ann, applied for letters of administration to the Bishop’s Court in Lichfield by which she would gain the authority to administer her husband’s estate.[1] The papers state that William died on 22 March 1833. His personal estate amounted to no more than £600. As was customary for the time, those wishing to administer the estate of a deceased entered into a guarantee or bond to carry out all necessary duties in relation to it. In this instance, those entering the bond, calculated at twice the value of the estate, were Ann Snape and John Dadley, gentleman, of Edgbaston, Warwickshire.

One of the responsibilities in dealing with a deceased’s estate was to ‘make, or cause to be made a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the goods, chattels and credits of the said deceased’.[2]  To do this involved calling in all debts, and settling accounts with creditors. Although it came after probate was granted, Ann Snape placed the following notice in Aris’s Birmingham Gazette:

‘Persons having any claim or demand upon the estate of Mr. WILLIAM SNAPE, of Lichfield, Draper, deceased, are requested to send the particulars thereof and the nature of their securities, if any there be, to -Mrs. Ann Snape, his Widow.’[3]


[1] SRO, P/C/11, Admon William Snape, 30 August 1833.

[2] SRO, P/C/11, Admon William Snape, 30 August 1833.

[3] Aris’s Birmingham Gazette, 14 October 1833, p. 3.

Elizabeth Dawes, Grocer, Lichfield, part II

Elizabeth Dawes’ husband, Benjamin, died in 1817. In his short will dated 14 July 1813, witnessed by William Willdey and Thomas Roberts, he left his wife all his goods and property.[1] His wearing apparel was to be distributed by Elizabeth at her discretion to Benjamin’s brothers, William, Edward, Joseph, and James Dawes, and to his sisters Sarah Bradney and Anna Bradeny. The sisters lived in Bridgnorth, Shropshire. If Elizabeth remarried the property ‘she was then worth shall be held in trust for Ann Willdey my niece but not to be paid to the said Ann Willdey till my wife Elizabeth Dawes’ decease’.

Elizabeth was appointed as the sole executrix giving an indication of Benjamin’s confidence in his wife to settle his estate and to manage her own finances. As suspected (see the entry for Elizabeth Dawes, 9 July 2019) Benjamin and Elizabeth had no surviving children to whom the grocery business could be left.

William Willdey, who witnessed Benjamin Dawes’ will, was most likely the father of the Ann Willdey included in the 1841 Census who was living with Elizabeth Dawes.[2] William Willdey married Ann Barisford on 23 June 1799.[3]


[1] SRO, P/C/11, Will of Benjamin Dawes, 1 September 1817.

[2] TNA, HO107/1008/3, 1841 Census, Elizabeth Dawes, Lichfield.

[3] SRO,  D20/1/4, St Mary’s, Lichfield, Parish Register.

Sarah Oliver (c.1778–1852), Grocer, Brampton

The reconstructed life of Sarah Oliver is a combination of a few ‘definitelys’ and many ‘maybes’. She is most visible in historic records as a widow, but even then the traces she left are few. She has come to attention because she supplied Brampton’s overseers with groceries.

The Marriage Bond Index held at Carlisle, lists Sarah Bell, a minor, who married Henry Brough Oliver, bachelor.[1] The bond was dated 22 October 1798. Sarah’s mother Jane was her guardian and the bondsman was Thomas Bell. This may be Thomas Bell the younger who ran the Howard Arms in Brampton and or Thomas Bell the elder, of the Bush Inn and a carrier operating a service between Carlisle, Brampton and Newcastle.[2] There were, however, many people in Brampton with the surname ‘Bell’.

There is a record of a Henry Brough Oliver born 11 November 1776, baptised 10 December 1776, at St John’s, Smith Square, Westminster, the son of Richard and Jane Oliver.[3] A Henry Brough Oliver and a Richard Oliver served as officers in the Eighth (King’s) Foot Regiment c.1792–98.[4] Henry and Richard Oliver of Intack, Cumberland, both held game certificates and were thus licensed to shoot game.[5] Henry Brough Oliver died in 1808, and was buried in Knarsdale, Northumberland.[6]

Henry and Sarah Oliver had several children: twin sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, baptised in Brampton 24 March 1803; and two other twin sisters Isabella and Sarah baptised in Brampton 13 March 1807.[7] There was possibly a fifth daughter Mary born 1 September 1808, in Knarsdale. There was also a son Richard Brough (23 January 1800) who became a doctor with a practice in Carlisle, before becoming the medical superintendent of Bicton Heath Lunatic Asylum, near Shrewsbury.

The Olivers are not listed in the Universal British Directory of the 1790s, but S. Oliver is listed as a grocer in Jollie’s 1811 directory.[8]

Henry was a cotton manufacturer, but a notice in the Tradesman or Commercial Magazine, and later in the London Gazette show that a commission of bankruptcy was brought against him in July 1808.[9] In 1811 the London Gazette, carried the following notice:

The Commissioners in a Commission of Bankrupt, bearing Date the 6th Day of July 1808, awarded and issued forth against Henry Brough Oliver, late of Brampton, in the County of Cumberland, Cotton-Manufacturer, Dealer and Chapman, intend to meet on the 26th Day of December next, at Eleven of the Clock in the Forenoon, at the Bush, in the City of Carlisle, in the County of Cumberland, in order to make a Final Dividend of the Estate and Effects of the said Bankrupt; when and where the Creditors, who have not already proved their Debts, are to come prepared to prove the same, or they will be excluded the Benefit of the said Dividend. And all Claims not then proved will be disallowed.[10]

Despite the declaration that a final dividend was to be paid on this occasion, this was not the end of the matter. Fifteen years later, another notice in the Gazette called the creditors of Henry Brough Oliver to a meeting at the Office of Messrs. Mounsey, Solicitors, Carlisle, ‘to take into consideration and determine upon the best mode of proceeding as to a certain sum of money, lately become due to the said Bankrupt’s estate; and on other matters and things relative thereto’.[11]

As a grocer, Sarah Oliver was in regular contact with Brampton’s overseers between 1818 and 1820.[12]  In the 139 days between 22 December 1818 and 10 May 1819, for example, purchases were made on 70 separate occasions. Some of her stock came from fellow Brampton grocer Isaac Bird. She settled her account with him in cash, and once in tobacco.[13]

Oliver supplied Brampton’s workhouse with imported items including tea, coffee, sugar, and pepper; and domestic items including, candles, soap, starch and flour.[14] Oliver did not sell a more restricted range of goods than male grocers also located in Brampton. Her goods were identical in name to the flour, soap, starch, blue, candles, tobacco, barley, tea, coffee and sugar supplied by Joseph Forster.[15]  Moreover, prices paid per stone, pound or ounce, were very similar. It is entirely possible that the quality of goods differed, but neither the vouchers nor Forster’s ledger make such distinctions possible.

In the early 1820s Oliver moved her business to Scotch Street, Carlisle, where she acted as agent to the London Genuine Tea Company.[16] Daughters Elizabeth and Jane, became milliners and dressmakers; they are listed in Jollie’s1828–29 directory, as also being resident in Scotch Street.[17] In 1834 Richard Hind, ironmonger, of English Street, Carlisle, married Mary Oliver, of Scotch Street.[18]

Sarah Oliver died Carlisle in 1852.  Her death was reported in the Carlisle Patriot: ‘Yesterday, in this city, aged 52, Sarah, relict of the late Mr. Henry Brough Oliver, of Brampton, deeply lamented by her family’.[19]

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


[1] Cumbria Archives, Carlisle, Marriage Bond Index.

[2] Peter Barfoot and John Wilkes, Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce and Manufacture, 5 vols. (London: c.1795), V, Appendix, 27–9. 

[3] St John the Evangelist, Smith Square, London, born 11 November, Baptised 10 December 1776, Henry Brough, son of Richard and Jane Oliver.

[4] Historical Record of the King’s Liverpool Regiment of Foot; http://oxfordindex.oup.com/view/10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U197827 accessed 12 Feb. 2019

[5] Carlisle Journal, 4 September 1802, p.1; Carlisle Journal, 24 September 1803, 3.

[6] The Monthly Magazine, vol. 26 (R. Philips, 1808), 492.

[7] Cumbria Archives, PR60, Brampton, St Martin’s Parish Registers, 1663–1993.

[8] F. Jollie, Jollies Cumberland Guide & Directory (Carlisle: 1811)

[9] Tradesman or Commercial Magazine, 1, (July–December 1808), (London: Sherwood, Neely and Jones, 1808), 271.

[10] London Gazette, 26 November 1811, 2301.

[11] The London Gazette, 25 February 1826, 437.

[12] Cumbria Archives Service, Carlisle, PR60/21/13/5/100, 6 April 1819; PR60/21/13/5/124, 8 January 1819; PR60/21/13/6/710 February 1820, Brampton Overseers’ Vouchers, Sarah Oliver.

[13] Cumbria Archives Service, Carlisle, DCLP/8/38, Isaac Bird, Grocer, Brampton, Ledger, 1817-19.

[14] Cumbria Archives Service, Carlisle, PR60/21/13/5/124; Brampton Overseers’ Voucher, Sarah Oliver, 8 January 1819.

[15] Cumbria Archives Service, Carlisle, DCL P/8/47, Joseph Forster, grocer, Brampton, ledger, 1819–31; William Parson and William White, History, Directory and Gazetteer of Cumberland and Westmorland (Leeds: Edward Baines and Son, 1829), 426.

[16] Carlisle Patriot, 30 August 1823 and 3 December 1825.

[17] J. Pigot and Co., National Commercial Directory [Part 1: Cheshire – Northumberland] for 1828–29 (London and Manchester: J. Pigot and Co., 1828), 71; W. Parson and W. White, History, Directory & Gazetteer of Cumberland & Westmorland, (Leeds: Edward Baines and Son, 1829), 165

[18] Carlisle Journal, 1 November 1834, 3.

[19] Carlisle Patriot, 27 October 1832, 3.