Robert Chicken, publican and butcher (1794-1847)

As a small child one of my favourite card games was Happy Families. As soon as the Carlisle volunteer group found Robert Chicken among the overseers vouchers for Dalston, therefore, I knew I wanted to write about him. He was also the initial inspiration behind our own card game.

He was baptised in 1794 in Kirkbampton, the son of John and Mary Chicken (nee Skelton). In July 1823 he married Elizabeth Chambers at Great Orton, and the couple went on to have three children: John, Robert, and Dinah. He married a second time to Elizabeth Rayson in 1833 and had another son Thomas. Indicating their level of prosperity, the family kept one male servant/apprentice and a female servant in 1841.

Chicken was a victualler and publican in Dalston parish. By 1829 he was running the Waggon and Horses inn at Hawkesdale at Bridge End. At some point the establishment was renamed the Bridge End Inn, and under this name has survived into the twenty-first century. In the nineteenth century Hawkesdale was a small but arguably elite township, the latter claim confirmed by the residence of the Right Reverend Bishop of Carlisle at Rose Castle, Hawkesdale.

Image courtesy of the Wellcome Trust: engraving by R. Cooper, 1822, https://wellcomecollection.org/works/aseaxzqw. Publicans and food retailers were often portrayed as stout and prosperous.

Chicken supplied the parish of Dalston with meat (beef, mutton, and offal rather than poultry) and other consumables in the period 1834-37, including one and a half gallons of ale for a funeral. The meat came from his shop in the Shambles, Carlisle, rather than directly from the inn. Chicken has been illustrated in the Top Trumps game of this project using an image of a butcher’s shop, but it seems likely that butchery was not the foremost part of the family business. They identified in censuses and directories with the innkeeping part of the concern and we only know about the early history of the butcher’s shop because it is cited in an overseer’s voucher. The property in the Shambles was given up by the Chicken family in late 1846, towards the end of Robert’s life.

Image courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia and its collection of portraits by John Dempsey: https://www.portrait.gov.au/image/87718/87466/ This image depicts Billy Bean, a butcher’s carrier, of Scarborough 1825

Robert died at the relatively young age of 53. His second wife Elizabeth outlived him by over thirty years and died in 1883. She remained in the parish of Dalston and at first continued the tavern business: she employed her step-daughter Dinah as a barmaid in 1861. By 1871 and at the age of approximately 75 she was still living in Hawkesdale but had given up the inn to another female proprietor, Sarah Rayson, who was presumably her younger sister or niece. Elizabeth lived in Green Lane with her son Thomas, a brewer’s traveller, ensuring that two of Robert’s children had some occupational connection to their father’s main trade. The mother and son were immediate neighbours to an elderly mother-and-daughter couple who lived on parish poor relief, but this was not to be the fate of the widowed Mrs Chicken. Elizabeth herself became an annuitant, meaning she bought into a fund for her support in old age, and lived only with a female servant by 1881.

Image courtesy of archival volunteer and regular blogger on this site NMDEA

After Robert’s death in 1847, one Joseph Chicken can be found as an innkeeper in Dalston. In all likelihood he was Robert’s younger brother, who also acted as one of Robert’s two executors. Joseph kept the ‘Indian King’, combining it with work as ‘station keeper’.

Sources: Carlisle Patriot 4 December 1846 and 24 December 1847; White, Cumberland and Westmorland Directory (1829); Mannix, Cumberland Directory (1847); SPC 44/2/47/10 Dalston overseer’s voucher paid to Robert Chicken 1837; census for Dalston 1841-81.

Thomas Burn, (c.1776-1848) Assistant Overseer for the Townships of Greystoke.

Thomas Burn was appointed the Assistant Overseer serving the Townships of Greystoke , Johnby, Little Blencow, Motherby and Gill at a meeting of the Vestry 16 May 1823. His appointment, to start on 4 August 1823, was for three successive years for a yearly stipend of twelve pounds and twelve shillings. Previously in 1820 he had been Overseer along with Joseph Stagg, Joseph Guardhouse, Joseph Todhunter and Thomas Arnott. [1] It might be wondered why he moved from the position of overseer to assistant overseer. Some might see this as a demotion, but by the 1820s the position of assistant overseer had become an official salaried post whereas an overseer continued to be unpaid.

Thomas Burn was a yeoman. He married Elizabeth Hawell on 30 March 1802 and they had one daughter, Jane, baptised at Mungrisedale on 28 April 1803 then again a week later 5 May at Greystoke.[2] Jane later married Joseph Mattinson on 19 November 1825 but died 31 December 1831 aged 28 years.[3]

Mention of Thomas Burn in newspapers is limited. In February 1828 it is reported in several newspapers that a hive of bees belonging to him had swarmed and were thriving. Comment is made of the mild weather for the place and season.[4] The abundance of reports on bees at the time was a reflection of the regard for their productive ways and perfect society. [5] Thomas Burn probably kept them to supplement his income from farming. In 1831 the Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser refers to a presentation to him of a silver teapot by the rate payers of the Parish in recognition of his conduct during his long service as Assistant Overseer. [6]

During his time as Assistant Overseer letters survive that were sent to him in relation to his office. The letters came from a wide range of places some from the adjacent parishes within walking distance, others from further away. [7] One came from Wolsingham, County Durham, concerning William Miller, a besom maker and his family struggling to make a living and coping with family sickness. [8] Another came from a poor widow Alice Lowden in Liverpool. [9]

In 1835 Thomas Burn gave notice of his intention to leave the office of Assistant Overseer giving up all money, books and papers belonging to the parish 15 April 1835.

Wanted Assistant Overseer Greystoke Feb 2 1835 PR5/53 15-1
Wanted Assistant Overseer February 2 1835 PR5/53-15-1 Greystoke Overseers’ Vouchers

Thomas Burn corresponded with his successor John Cockburn 12 August 1835 concerning pay due.

Burn wrote:

Sir , My Stipend being due the fourth of this month. I now expect you to pay me the sum of sixteen pounds before Saturday first, if not an action for the recovery without further notice. Yours etc; Thos Burn. [10]

Mr Cockburn replied:

Sir , In reply to your note of the 12th inst I have respectfully to inform you that your demand of £16 your full years salary cannot be complied with but I can at the same time inform you that the sum due for the time you were in office £11.2s.8d will be paid on demand. Aug 15 1835. Yours John Cockburn. [11]


Thomas Burn remained in the Greystoke area farming and hopefully keeping his industrious bees. He died on 8 January 1848 and his wife on Elizabeth 23 July 1849. [12]

The British Bee Hive George Cruikshank 1840 (1867)
The British Bee Hive George Cruikshank 1840 (1867) The British Museum

Sources
[1] Cumbria Archives, PR5/47, Poor Account Book, 1820-1837
[2] Cumbria Archives, PR 5/5, Greystoke, St Andrews, Baptism and Burial Register, 1757-1809; PR 5/9, Greystoke St Andrews, Marriage Register, 1813-1837.
[3] findmypast.uk [accessed 30 March 2020]
[4] Carlisle Patriot, 2 February 1828, p. 2.
[5] Ellis Hattie, Sweetness & Light, mysterious History of the Honey Bee (2004)

[6] Cumberland Pacquet and Whitehaven Ware’s Advertiser, 15 November 1831, p. 3 col, b
[ 7] Cumbria Archives, PR5/63, 22 letters to out relief, 1800-1837.
[8] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67/H 1, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 5 May 1834.
[9] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-H 21, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 15 September 1835.
[10] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-K 57, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 12 August 1835.
[11] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-K 55, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 15 August 1835.
[12] Carlisle Journal, 27 July 1829 p.3 col. g.

This is a work in progress

Nathan Arnison (1796-1886), Linen and Woollen Draper, Penrith

Nathan Arnison can be found in a trade directory of 1829 at Nether End, near Penrith, as a linen and woollen draper. [1 ] He moved the business to Market Place Penrith around 1831. He bought the shop from a William James who had purchased it from Christopher Crackenthorpe, a member of the Wordsworth family. The shop once was the home of William Cookson silk mercer and draper, and the maternal Grandfather of the poet William Wordsworth and his sister the diarist Dorothy Wordsworth.

Plaque re the former owners of Drapers on the site of N Arnison business, Penrith


A small bill amongst the Greystoke overseers’ vouchers, is headed ‘Bought of N. Arnison Linen and Woollen Drapers, Family Mourning and Funeral Furnishing’, and dated 27 April 1836. The four items, totalling 11s 1/2d, inclued the versatile fabric of cotton calico, priced at 1s. 6d, and 1 pair of sheets at 4s. 4d. [2] It is not apparent from the bill who might be the recipients of these items. Eight years later as well as a small bill for £1.17.6 a larger bill from N Arnison exists.[3] To the Executors of the late John de Whelpdale it is for his funeral expenses in June 1844 for £123.7s.6d Among the 63 different textiles supplied are black and slate calico, ribbon, black mourning silk, crepe, silk and Barcelona handkerchiefs. [4]

N Arnison Linen and Woollen Draper Penrith PR5/67-K

Nathan Arnison, the son of George Arnison (1744-1833) and Elizabeth Topping (1752-1831) of High Hareskeugh (sic) was baptised 1 January 1796 at Kirkoswald .[5] His father a yeoman and victualler of the Horse Heads Inn, Haresceugh [6]. Nathan married Ruth Barra (1799-1870) in 1827. Two sons joined the business: George (1829-1883) and Thomas Bell (1833-1888). N Arnison and Sons appear in subsequent Trade Directories. Robert (1836-1916) was a draper in Sheffield. The other sons William Barras (1830-1896) and Charles Nathan (1840-1911) were principally solicitors. [7] Nathan and Ruth also had two daughters: Isabella Ruth (1838-1914) and Elizabeth who married Hamilton Woods, an engineer.

When Nathan Arnison died 27 February 1886 he left a well established businesss. [8] Those living in the Penrith area will be familiar with the shop that remains in the same place in the centre of Penrith today.

Sources

[1] Parson and White, Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland Furness and Cartmel (1829).
[2] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67- K 8, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 27 April 1836.
[3] Cumbria Archives, DX 8/1/15, N Arnison Account, 1843.
[4] Cumbria Archives, DHUD/17/60, John de Whelpdale deceased, N. Arnison, Penrith, draper, 29 June 1844.
[5] J.J. Thornley, Penrith Ancient Church Registers of the Parish of Kirkoswald.
[6] Parson and White, Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland, Furness and Cartmel (1829)
[7] M Harrison & Co., Directory and Gazetteer County of Cumberland (1861).

[8] Cumbria Archives, PROB/1886/W570, Will of Nathan Arnison.

Isaac and Mary Mark. When will they be Settled?

Three letters which relate to Isaac Mark and his wife Mary can be found with other Greystoke overseers’ vouchers. The first dated 2 June 1821 is an examination of Isaac Mark’s antecedents by the magistrates of Leath Ward to determine his place of settlement . Isaac is described as a labourer late of Kingside Hill, Holm Cultram. Born at Bowscale in Greystoke Parish he had, until about the age of 15, worked on a farm at Newlands. His father rented it from William Pattinson for £50 a year. In 1788 Newlands was described as being in both Castle Sowerby and Sebergham Parish [1]. After that, Isaac served in first the navy for twelve years then in the 81st Foot Army Regiment for twelve years. Not being in any one place more than six months, he had been to Malta, Gibraltar, Sicily, Naples, and Lisbon amongst many other places. He was married in Gretna around 1804-5. His son was born about 3 months later. He said he had not tried to gain a settlement elsewhere.[2]

Examination of Isaac Mark June 2 1821 PR5/67-C3


Isaac Mark was baptised on 30 October 1771, at Bowscale, Cumberland, the third son of Thomas (1736-1812) and Sarah Pattinson(1738-1805). He was the brother of George (b.1762), Mary (b.1762), Elizabeth (b.1765), Ruth (b.1767) John (b.1769), Thomas (b.1774), Sarah (b.1779) and Benjamin (b.1785). All were baptised as Quakers.[3] Isaac’s family were descendants of the Bewley and Mark families whose names dominated the Quakers of Mosedale, Cumberland. Some were persecuted for their faith. [4]

Perhaps struggling to make a living, Isaac left the farm. Military conflict may not have sat well with any Quaker principles he had.

It is not known where his wife Mary was born. The marriage document gives her surname as Marey Gels of Higton Lancshire[sic]. Their son, Thomas, appears to have been baptised in Bolton le Moors Lancashire on 17 June 1804.[5] Shortly afterwards, on 17 October 1804 Isaac enlisted in the 81st Foot Regiment at Londonderry, Ireland. He appears on a list of others in the Regiment serving in Canada [6].

While Isaac was absent Mary and Thomas were removed from Bolton le Moors to Greystoke on 3 October 1808, only to be sent back.[8 ] At a future appeal at the Quarter Sessions, they were returned to Greystoke where they were accepted by the overseers and given relief. The overseers account book shows that Mary was given £1 every 4 weeks but towards the end of 1813 payments were sometimes £2 every 8 weeks.[9]

Cumbria Archives PR 5/45 1810-1814 Poor Account Book payment 11 February 1811

On 14 November 1808 an order was given to remove Mary described as a widow and her son named Benjamin aged about 1 year from the Caldewgate Parish of St Mary’s in Carlisle to Castle Sowerby. The record refers to her son as Benjamin, no reference is made to her son Thomas although a subsequent document refers to a son called Thomas suggesting he was still alive. Mary either thought she was now widowed or claimed she was. It is possible that there were two sons, Thomas and Benjamin. The 1851 census records Benjamin Mark aged 43 a Bricklayer of English Damside, Carlisle living with William Gilmore and his wife Mary Gilmore. Although referred to as Son-in-Law it may be that Benjamin Mark was his stepson and Mary Mark his wife. Isaac having died [10]

Caldewgate was mainly and area of innkeepers, tradesman and manufacturers attracting people from other areas looking for employment. The poor could be looked upon badly, more being spent on removing a pauper than relieving them.[11] Whether Mary was removed is not known.

By 7 December 1816 Mary’s status was no longer described as that of a widow. Once again the Justices ordered that Mary and her son Thomas be removed from Caldewgate Quarter to Greystoke Parish. Mary and Thomas, aged about 11 years, were described as having previously been removed from Bolton le Moors and accepted by one of the Overseers of Greystoke, Johnby, Blencow, Motherby and Gill, about seven years previously. Isaac her husband a soldier could not be found at the time, his whereabouts until lately being unknown. The Magistrates believed that he had returned to the Greystoke area and his place of settlement. They rejected Greystoke’s appeal against her removal as they had been paying her relief and should have been less submissive in accepting her from Bolton le Moors. The onus being on them to prove a settlement in another neighbouring parish.[12] Isaac may have left the army after the Napoleonic Wars about this time and have returned to what he considered home looking for work.

On 9 June 1821 a short letter to Thomas Burn the Overseer for Greystoke from Isaac and Mary stated they had arrived in Wigton. It briefly describes Isaac and Mary’s journey. He writes she desires you send her bed and what there is‘. [13 ]

Letter from Isaac and Mary Mark to Thomas Burn 7 June 1821 PR5/67-C17

The last letter, dated 17 June 1821, is from John Stalker, the Overseer of Castle Sowerby to Thomas Burn warning him that if they try to send Isaac and Mary to them they will lodge an appeal at the Quarter Assizes. Stalker wrote: ‘take care you do not incur a penalty by suffering a woman deranged as she is to be at large’. Greystoke to be trying to remove both of them [14].

Together by choice or necessity it is not known if they every gained a settlement anywhere.

Thomas Burn from John Stalker 17 June 1821 PR5/67-C2

Sources
[1] Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser,6 August 1788, p.1
[2] Cumbria Archives. PR5/67-C item 3, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 2 June 1821
[3] Quaker Birth Marriage and Death Registers, 1578-1831 [accessed at ancestry.co.uk 21 February 1821]
[4] Rev. Edward Thomas Bewley. The Bewleys of Cumberland and their Irish and other descendants (1904).
[5] Gretna Green Marriage Registers [accessed at ancestry.co.uk]; Liverpool Parish Clerk Project Online. www.lan.upc.org.uk
[6] The National Archives, Kew, WO 25/481, 81 Foot British Regimental Registers of Service 1801-1816pp. 89-90 (https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/)
[7] Lancashire Archives, Salford Quarter Sessions, QSP/2575/31, Salford Epiphany 1809 or event date 3 October 1808
[8 ] Lancashire Archives Salford Quarter Sessions QSP/2575/31, Salford Epiphany, 1809 or event date 3 October 1808; Cumbria Archives, PR 5/57, Removal orders, 1737-1833
[9] Cumbria Archives, PR 5/45, Overseers’ Account Book, 1810-14
[10] Cumbria Archives, SPC 67/38, Castle Sowerby Removals, 1778 -1835; Cumberland Quarter Sessions, Q4/2, Christmas Sessions, 1809, p. 105.
[11] Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor (1797) Volume II page 60
[12]Cumbria Archives, PR 5/57, Removal Orders, 1737-1833
[13]Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-C, item 17, 9 June 1821
[14]Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-C, item 2, 17 June 1821

This is a work in progress subject to change with further research

Assistant overseers in northern England: connections east and west

The project’s research into salaried overseers, called assistant or perpetual overseers in the contemporary terminology, took us to the Durham County Record Office. The chapelry of Lamesley in County Durham holds a very unusual collection of sixty five letters, all written in May or June 1831, in relation to the same post for this sort of job. Thirty one men wrote on their own behalf, while others wrote references or testimonials in support of their application.

This flurry of administrative activity was sparked by an advertisement, placed in newspapers for Durham and Newcastle on Tyne, for an assistant overseer. The terms of employment were stringent: in exchange for £60 per year, the appointee was asked to live in the chapelry, have no other occupation, and to offer securities of £200 against the risk of malpractice in office. The candidates would undergo ‘election’ on Friday 10 June at 3pm.

What does this have to do with the project’s focus on Cumbria (including selected parishes in former Westmorland)? The appeal of this post was felt far and wide, attracting applications from Liverpool and other places some distance west and south of Lamesley. An application from Brough in Westmorland came from one George Pearson, who in comparison to some of the applicants wrote rather a good letter in terms of both handwriting and details of his occupational background.

Pearson described himself as a married man of 34 years old.  He had been a clerk to Mr Blackett at his colliery works, left Mr Blackett in 1819 to be clerk to the London Lead Company, and remained there for eleven years.  He gave up that employment owing to ill-health, and on recovering began teaching in a school at Brough ‘as an occupation rather than to make a living by it, there being over many schools in Brough before I began’.  He claimed to be well-versed in accounts, to have property exceeding the requisite security bond, and to command references for his religious and moral character. He named referees including a banker, a reverend, and four others including Mr Blackett. 

Wellcome Images: detail of clerks from ‘Hudibras addresses a lawyer who sits in an elaborately decorated pew next to shelf of books; two clerks sit beneath’. Aquatint by Merigot, 1799, after William Hogarth. https://wellcomecollection.org/works/mqw23ewf/items?canvas=1&langCode=eng

Pearson’s letter went on to ask about the duties required of the post-holder, and his chances of success.  He gave an unusual account of his faith, in that he was a member of the Methodist Society but an attender at Church, to the extent of being a churchwarden at Longmarton and establishing a large Sunday School there (where the teachers were nearly all Methodists, apparently). 

His application looked quite professional, but struck a plaintive note: the salary on offer at Lamesley was less than half of the total he had commanded at the London Lead Company, ‘but such is the competition for situations and so numerous are applicants’ that during the previous year he had visited Liverpool, Newcastle and other places with ‘the best’ recommendations but without success. 

But Pearson’s story doesn’t end there, because he spent some time considering his position and eventually withdrew from the appointing process at Lamesley. He explained his reasons in a letter, and in doing so gives us extra insight into the recruitment of assistant overseers. He wrote on 7 June ‘as all the ratepayers have a vote in the election and have been canvassed by different parties, several of whom may be every way eligible, the choice will probably fall on one who belongs to the neighbourhood and is connected by friends with the parish: the chances of success for a stranger would in consequence, I fear, be so slight as not to warrant the expense I should incur in coming over’. Who knew that you had to ‘canvas’ for ratepayers’ votes to secure a post as assistant overseer this early in the nineteenth century? There was a contested election for the assistant overseer of St Chad’s in Lichfield in 1843, where it is evident that canvassing had taken place, but this was under the ‘New’ poor law of 1834 (where the Guardians of each Union had to be elected, so a culture of electioneering for poor-law offices was more pervasive). And Pearson was not simply making a false assumption because at least three other applicants either refer to their own ‘canvas’ or that of other candidates.

The letters in the Durham archives provide a fascinating insight into the evolution of the job application as a genre of writing, but they also offer us detailed guidance on the tensions and opportunities for aspiring assistant overseers. A single post could be hotly contested, drawing interest from beyond county boundaries. Lamesley is plainly not in the modern county of Cumbria, but its evidence in this respect will form a key component in our writing about the holders of assistant overseer posts.

Oh, and the job? It went to a Mr William Wren, who lived in Lamesley and had already been an assistant overseer in a different location during ‘a most arduous and difficult period’. But that is another story.

Sources: Newcastle Courant, 21 May 1831; DCRO EP/LAM 7/174-240.

Who was Elizabeth Routledge?

Some of the bills that survive from Dalston Poorhouse came from Elizabeth Routledge a miller at Bishop’s Mill Dalston in the 1830s

What can be found of Elizabeth ?

Was she married or single ?

She didn’t appear in a trade directory and wasn’t at first found in the Dalston parish registers.

But looking at the parish registers of Thursby the baptism on 25 September 1831 of Margaret Routledge daughter of William & Elizabeth miller of Thursby was found.

William Routledge died the following year buried 10 October 1832

A William Routledge married Elizabeth Emmerson at Great Orton

Marriage of William Routledge & Elizabeth Emmerson Great Orton Parish Registers PR 88/4

Emmerson was a name on some of the Dalston poorhouse bills.

Is this our Lady ?

In the 1841 & 1851 census no Elizabeth Routledge found.

So a search was made for Margaret Routledge in 1841 & 1851.

In both censuses in Thursby was found a Margaret Routledge step daughter of James Storrow farmer & his wife Elizabeth.

Was this the correct family ?

Searching the G.R.O. marriage indexes for a married of a James Storrow to an Elizabeth found the married of James Storrow to Elizabeth Routledge March quarter 1839 Carlisle registration district Volume 325 Page 33

Was this our Elizabeth ?

Looking at the Thursby parish registers no marriage found.

So Dalston parish registers were searched and the marriage was found 21 January 1839.

Marriage of James Storrow and Elizabeth Routledge Dalston Parish Registers PR41/13

Elizabeth Routledge gave her address as Bishop’s Mill Dalston.

Possibly more research can be done on Elizabeth as the Emmerson name also appears on the bills.

Elizabeth on her marriage to James Storrow gave her father’s name as John Emmerson husbandman.

Jane Gate (1795-1867) Dalston Village.

parish of Dalston Voucher from Thomas watson for the Delivery and Attendance of Jane Gate
SPC44/2/48/73 Thomas Watson Surgeon’s bill to the Parish of Dalston for Delivery and Attendance on Jane Gate feb 11th 1831

Jane Gate was born in Dalston and baptised there on 14 July 1795. The youngest of six children, her elder siblings were William (b.1784), Robert (b.1786), John (b.1789), and twins Elizabeth (1792-1795) and Margaret (b.1792). Her father Jonathan (b.1755) was listed as a labourer in the parish register. Jane’s mother Frances Mathews (c.1760-98) died when Jane was three years old. [ 1 ]
Jane Gate’s name appears on a voucher dated 11 February 1831. A payment for 10s. 6d was made to Thomas Watson (1801-1833) surgeon: ‘to a Delivery and Attendance on Jane Gate ,Workhouse’.[ 2 ] This refers to Jane’s son William who was baptised in Dalston 7 April 1831. This is not the only time that her life converged with the physicians of the parish. To one encounter with Dr Daniel Wise in 1824 she may have owed her life .

Daniel Wise (1781-1829) was born 1 May 1781 Seaville, Holme Cultrum Parish, the son of John and Dorothy Wise. It is not known when he became a practicing doctor although he was in the Dalston area in 1815.[ 3 ] Three vouchers exist with a list of his expenses sent to the overseers of Dalston. Common items supplied include pills 1s 6d, powders 6d and 2s.0, a blister and ointment 1s 0d, while also including the inoculation of children at the poorhouse and attending deliveries. [ 4 ]

Part of Dr Daniel Wise bill 1817 Dalston Parish SPC44/2/51/2

In 1823 Jane Gate was living in the Townhead area of Dalston, an area near the church and the centre of the village. Various newspapers reported on the events in Jane’s house that night, although they all vary slightly in how they relate the facts. In summary, her neighbour Mary Irving like others suspecting she may be pregnant called to see how she was. Finding Jane unwell she went for Margaret Scott who brought Betty Irving, Mary’s mother, as well as Jane Irving and Mary Atkin. Quite a few neighbours appear to have been in the house trying to determine Jane’s circumstances. Eventually, after denying she had given birth, Jane when asked by Mary Atkin if if she had given birth and where it was replied ‘upon the coals in the coal hole’. There they found a male infant dead covered in coal dust. It was also revealed that Jane had a illegitimate daughter, Frances, about 5 years old living with her.

Dr Wise was sent for by the overseer and seeing the injuries to the dead infant felt it had come to some malicious harm. A subsequent inquest conducted by Richard Lowry at overseer Thomas Martin’s house, the King’s Arms, reached a verdict of ‘wilful murder’ against Jane Gate and she was committed under a coroner’s warrant for trial. [ 6 ] Jane could not be removed to prison and her subsequent trial was postponed as she was not considered well enough. The coroner bound her over to the churchwardens and overseer to prosecute. It was reported that Jane had a ‘dangerous and infectious illness’. Jane Gate had smallpox.[ 7 ] Her trial was postponed until the spring assizes.

At the Cumberland Assizes (9 March 1824) Jane faced an indictment of murdering her own child. Appearing before the Grand Jury, she pleaded ‘not guilty’. She was appointed council to represent her as she had none.

Jane’s daughter Frances (1819-85) was asked to give evidence. Frances, on being questioned, said she did not know how old she was or what would become of her if she told a lie. No more was asked of her.

Mary Irving, one of the first to enter Jane’s house, described where Jane Gate lived. A house with one room downstairs, one up, a kitchen, stone flags on the floor and a fire, ‘Very near the public road where anyone can see in’. Many other women also lived there who knew her well. [8]

Evidence given to the coroner was simulary repeated by some of the women who had been present. No mention was made of any employment that Jane may have had or help from the parish.

At the coroner’s inquest, Dr Wise said that the infant had injuries about the head enough to cause death. He was unable to give a positive judgement as to whether the male child was born alive, or if the injuries were deliberate or incidental. [9]

Justice Holroyd directed the jury. He pointed out that there was proof she had concealed the child, but as the law had changed, where previously the mother of a dead child born in secret would be guilty of murder Lord Ellenborough’s Act meant the circumstances had now to be enquired into. She had not dealt with the child as if she meant to murder it although there may be a strong suspicion. Jane Gate was found ‘not guilty’ of murder but sent to Cockermouth House of Correction for two years for the concealment of the child.[10] None of the newspapers give any account of anything Jane Gate may have said in her defence other than her reply, ‘Not Guilty’. One newspaper went as far as to provide judgement of Jane, calling her a wretched woman’.[11]

By 1827 Jane was living in Whitehaven about 14 miles from Cockermouth. She is receiving payments from the overseers of the poor. 1s 6d per week.[12 ] Three letters from Jonathan White asking for the money paid to her to be refunded by the Overseers at Dalston exist.

Jane must have returned to Dalston before her son Robert was born in 1831. By 1841 Jane, and her children Frances and Robert were living together. Jane and Frances were working in the cotton industry. They remained in Dalston, but poverty was never far away. When not working as agricultural labourers or in the cotton industry they were listed as paupers or recipients of parochial relief on subsequent census returns. Jane died December 15 1867 while living at Whitesmith Buildings, Dalston; Frances on 4 January 1885 at Skelton’s Yard, Dalston; and William on 13 February 1900 at Dalston.

Dr Wise died on 13 March 1829 aged 46 years. He and his wife Ann Hayton had three children, Joseph (1810-1830), Dorothy Wilson (b.1812) married to Dr James Allen (who died in Bedlam Hospital, London 1877) and Ann (b.1816). [13]

References
[1] Cumbria Archives. PR 41 Dalston St Michael Parish Register, 1570-2016
[2] Cumbria Archives. Dalston Overseers’ Voucher, SPC44/2/48/73 line 1 24 march 1831
[3] Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser, 12 September 1815, p3 col a
[4] Cumbria Archives, Dalston Overseers’ Voucher, SPC44/2/51/1, June 1817; SPC44/2/51/2, 15 February 1816 – 24 April 1817; SPC44/2/51/3, 22 August 1814- April 1815, bills to the Overseers of the Poor from Daniel Wise
[5] Carlisle Patriot, 12 July 1823 p 4 col. d
[6] Bell’s Life, 20 July 1823, p4 col b (accessed 19 August 2019 at Find My Past.co.uk)
{7] Westmorland Gazette, 16 August 1823, p3 col e
[8] Carlisle Patriot ,13 March 1824, p1 col e,f
[9] Carlisle Patriot 13 march 1824, p2 col a

10]Cumbria Archives. Q/4, Conviction Books 1791-1891, Lent 1824
[11] Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser, 15 March 1824, p2 col e
[10]Cumbria Archives, Q/4, Conviction Books. 1791-1891, Lent 1824.
[12] Cumbria Archives, SPC 44/2/66/30, 19 August 1827; SPC 44/2/66/32 22 September 1827; SPC 44/2/66/38, 5 December 1837.

[13]ancestry .co.uk

Joseph Shields (1795-1858), Yeoman, Schoolmaster and Grocer, Dalston

SPC44/2/52/3 John Sanderson Nov 29 1836 to Feb 28 1837 2s 6d

Schooling had been available in Dalston from the late 1600s. Jonathan Rowland, who died in Dalston on 28 August 1742, had been a schoolmaster for 50 years.[1]

With the development of local industry the population of Dalston grew along with the need for children to receive tuition. This could have provided Joseph Shields with the opportunity to increase his income by combining the roles of schoolmaster and grocer with yeoman. Alongside Dalston’s Grammar School (rebuilt in 1815) available to the poorer children of the parish, there were 16 further schools by 1831.[ 2]

Joseph Shields name appears on four overseers’ vouchers for Dalston Parish. [3] They are dated between 1835 and 1837 and concern the schooling of four boys: George and Thomas Roddick, John Sanderson and John Hind. A charge of 2s 6d was made for each boy for a fixed time span of one quarter per year. John Sanderson’s tuition lasted from 30 November 1835 to 1 March 1836.[4] Three girls from the local factory were also tutored for thirteen weeks each at 1d a day. The bill for them amounted to 3s 3d.[ 5] The 1d may have been deducted from their pay at the factory. The payments were made by James Finlinson, at one time Governor of the workhouse, and later Overseer and Surveyor of Dalston.[6]

SPC44/2/52/1 [c.1836] Dalston Parish Joseph Shields for tuition of John Sanderson, Ruddock brothers and 3 Girls from the Factory

Joseph Shields was born on 30 April 1795 in Kirkoswald, Cumberland. He was the son of Joshua Shields (1762-1841) and Margaret Boustead (1762- 1821).[7] Joseph moved to Wetheral and then to Dalston where he married Isabella Crozier, the daughter of Edward Crozier (1798- 1860) and Isabella Lambert (1795-1836) on Christmas Eve 1823. Both Joseph and Isabella signed the register suggesting they had had some education. When their son, Edward, was baptised on 11 June 1826, Joseph’s occupation was given as yeoman at Fountainhead, Near Dalston, but records for the subsequent baptisms of daughters Margaret (7 September 1827) Sarah (10 April 1830) and Isabella (14 August 1831) describe him as a schoolmaster.[8]

In 1834 Shields was listed as the teacher of boys and girls at Buckhowbank, Dalston. Others who also taught there were a Mr Monkhouse, Joseph Thomlinson, Thomas Stubbs, John Richardson’s wife, Esther MacLean (Cumdivock) John Davidson (Gaitskill),Widow Bailey (Raughton) Ann Blaylock (Stockdalewath), Mrs Twentyman and Miss Dugdale. [9 ]

The 1841 Census shows Shields’ occupation as a grocer. When his wife Isabella died (September 13 1845). [10] When the marriage details of his daughters Sarah and Isabella appear in the local papers, he is noted as a schoolmaster. [11] Mannix and Whellan’s directory (1847) lists him as a grocer and schoolmaster. [12] This switching between occupational titles was commonplace. Sometimes it reflected the social status connected with a particular trade or profession; at others it may have reflected the economic importance attached to their different occupations.


The overseers’ voucher does not make any reference to where the children were taught. Dalston Monumental Inscriptions notes refer to Joseph as ‘Keeping a hedge-school at Corsica’.[13] This refers to Corsica Cottage at Buckhowbank, Dalston. It could be that Joseph taught from a room in his own house. He later owned Sunny Vale near Stockdalewath.

The Carlisle Journal of 1853 [14] has a notice for a house , barn and outbuildings to be let at Sunny Vale. Stockdalewath. The same property was again advertised for rent in November 1857, with three acres of land attached being occupied by a Mr Waugh.[15] Further income for Joseph. This property was subsequently put up for sale after Joseph’s death (21 May 1858).[16]

Joseph’s will of 19 May 1858 gave instructions that his money (less than £20) and that from the sale of his property Sunny Vale should be divided between his 4 children: Edward who was living in Australia, having emigrated in 1857; and daughters Margaret (Brown) in Whitehaven, Isabella (Carlile) in Buckhowbank, and Sarah (Wannop), in Liverpool.[17]

Sunny Vale National Library of Scotland https://maps.nls.uk Dalston Ordinance Survey Map 1862

Sources
[1] Cumbria Archives, DRC/2/95, Wilson, J., 1890, The Monumental Inscriptions of the Church, Churchyard and Cemetery of St Michael’s Dalston, Beck, W., (1890)
[2] Cumbria Archives, PR 41/52, Schools in the Parish of Dalston.
[3] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/52/1-4, Dalston Overseers’ Vouchers, 30 November 1835 to April 3 1837, Joseph Shields to James Finlinson for tuition of children.
[4]Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/52/2, Dalston Overseers’ Vouchers, 30 November 1835 – 1 March 1836.
[5] Cumbria Archives, SPC44/2/52/1, Dalston Overseers’ Vouchers, May 31 to July 21 undated year
[6] Cumbria Archives, Vestry Notices Dalston Parish PR 41/152 List of schools and teachers, 1834.
.[7] Cumbria Archives, PR 9/2, Kirkoswald, St Oswald Parish, Baptism, Marriages and Burials 1659- 1809.
[8] Cumbria Archives, PR 41/8, Dalston Parish Register, 8 Baptisms 1813-1832; PR 41/10, Marriages, 1813-1837.
[9] Cumbria Archives, PR 41/152, Vestry Notices Dalston Parish List of schools and teachers, 1834.
[10] Carlisle Journal, 20 September 1845.
[11] Carlisle Patriot, 18 March 1854, (Isabella Shields); Carlisle Journal, 20 June 1856, (Sarah Shields).
[12] Mannx and Whellan, Directory of Cumberland, 1847.
[13] as [1] Notes et the end of the book with regard to headstones transcribed.
[14] Carlisle Journal, 8 January 1853.
[15] Carlisle Journal, 6 November 1857.
[16] Carlisle Journal, 13 July 1858
[17] Cumbria Archives, PROB 1858/W985b 19 May 1858.

Research is a work in progress and subject to change.

Any information about ‘Hedge Schools’ in England is welcome

Sunny Vale 2019

John and Eleanor Gate (fl. 1753-1776) ‘Whipping ye Dogs out of the Church’

SPC 44/2/53 Dalston workhouse Account Book 1746-1775
SPC 44/2/53 Dalston Workhouse Account book Payment to Eleanor Gate 1786

A voucher dated 1786 has a payment to Eleanor Gate (nee Carrick) for £1.7s.6d. It does not stipulate what this is for but it may relate to the role that she carried out for St Martin’s Church, Dalston, in the years prior to this.[1]

The marriage of John Gate to Eleanor Carrick was registered in Dalston on 10 June 1725.[2]

Amongst the payments and supplies of clothes and clogs for the poor in Dalston Poorhouse’s account book each May from 1753 appears a payment to first John Gate then Widow Gate for £1.0s.0d forwhipping ye dogs out of ye church, opening & shutting ye sashes, sweeping ye church &c for 1 year’. John Gate first received the payment when Isaac Snowden was the master of the poorhouse when he was paid £5.0.0 a year. After John Gate’s death (buried 5 February 1763), his widow Eleanor took over the role. The payments usually appeared at the same time as those to the master of the poorhouse. Eleanor continued to appear in the account book receiving payments until just after John Mark was appointed master of the poorhouse on 3 February 1771. By 1774 ‘Whipping ye dogs out of the Church’ no longer appears to have been a paid task, however, Eleanor received the same payment for the other previously listed tasks. [3]


Dog whippers were engaged by the church to keep order at a time when dogs were perhaps not welcomed but tolerated when they accompanied their owners to church. The role may have also extended to controlling misbehaving children, waking those who had fell asleep or dealing with anything that disrupted the service. This was carried out at other churches. Some dog whippers were provided with a whip, wooden tongs and a uniform. [4]

SPC44/2/37 Payment May 6 1764 to Eleanor Gate for whipping ye dogs out of the church

References
[1] Carlisle Archives, Dalston Voucher, SPC44/2/37 line number to be assigned. June 12- October 5 1786
[2] Carlisle Archives, PR 41/3 Dalston St Michael’s Parish Register of Baptism’s Marriage’s and Buriel,s 1679-1749
[3]Carlisle Archives, SPC 44/2/53 Dalston Workhouse Account Book 1746-1776
[4] Daniel Scott, Bygone Cumberland and Westmorland (1899)

How to build a workhouse

An Act of 1723 allowed parishes to rent or build a workhouse, either for their own paupers exclusively, or as part of a group of parishes working together to accommodate their poor. The following decade saw numerous parishes experimenting with the offer of workhouse relief, and some places went to the trouble of commissioning a purpose-built structure. But how did they afford it?

Parishes were funded by a local tax, which was good at meeting the annual costs of relieving the poor but not well adapted to raising the capital sums required to invest in a new building. Some form of borrowing was inevitable; funding might came from a landowner, or a cluster of wealthy inhabitants who saw it as their duty to underwrite a big social project like a workhouse. It might also take the form of a joint-stock enterprise, where modestly prosperous people purchased a ‘share’ to the value of £25 or £50, received interest on their loan over a number of years, and eventually saw the return of the original share value as well.

A specialised form of this sort of financing was called a tontine, a form of gambling with one’s own (or one’s family members’) longevity. A tontine sold shares and yielded dividends which expired on the death of each share owner, but where the survivors of the scheme enjoyed increasingly-large incomes from the interest (since the money produced was divided between fewer and fewer people). A humorous interpretation of the history of a fictional tontine can be found in the 1966 film The Wrong Box.

Parishes in Cumbria and Westmorland certainly adopted the joint-stock approach to building workhouses in a few instances. The Whitehaven workhouse was built in 1743, and the cost was borne by the sale of tickets for £25 promising to bear interest for 31 years. The whole cost including the principal was paid off by 1780. The Kirby Lonsdale workhouse was constructed using a similar method, albeit 68 years later and with more expensive shares: there the tickets were £50 each, with the aim of discharging the whole debt by 1831. The question arises, was there the additional excitement of a tontine element to these parish ticket sales?

Historian of both workhouses and financial instruments, Professor David Green, confirms that workhouses were erected by tontine in some places, even if not in Whitehaven or Kirby Lonsdale. He writes ‘St Martin in the Fields in London and Forehoe workhouse in Norfolk were both tontine schemes. The Forehoe workhouse tontine was set up in 1776 to raise £11,000 for a new building.’

The manner of raising money for the workhouses in Whitehaven and Kirby Lonsdale is interesting whether or not it involved a tontine, but we are hoping for further enlightenment (perhaps from the overseers’ vouchers).

Sources: Parson and White, Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland (1829), pp. 255, 688-9; email from David Green 3 October 2019.