The poor of Skelton received relief from funds made available from charging ratepayers of the Parish. Payments were made by Isaac Dodd, referred to as Vestry Clerk but occasionally Parish Clerk. A few of those mentioned in the vouchers as receiving poor relief are Philip Bowman, Rebecca Dixon, Sarah Moor and Jane Sewell for child maintenance; and Thomas Gill and Edward Tinkler for house rent. William Hogg and Joseph Nelson received payments for providing board for the poor, and John Hutton for help when he was ill.
Dodd’s name appears on numerous vouchers found between 1783 and 1786. He also received letters from the poor asking for help. One such letter in July 1790 came from William Turner of Whitehaven asking for 20-30 shillings so his daughter can start up a business in a small shop. He says that he is old and in ill health and a burden to her. His daughter was already struggling to maintain herself and her family. William said that he had asked the Parish Officer of Whitehaven for help but they contended that he did not belong to them. It is assumed they don’t think he has a ‘settlement’ in the parish. Therefore, he is writing to Isaac Dodd as he must believe his place of settlement is with Skelton. Notes at the bottom of the letter refer to a Barbara Nelson and that notice is to be taken of Frances Graham, presumably to help determine his case.
Isaac was appointed to the post of Parish Clerk by the then Rector, Rev’d Samuel Starkey (1747-1804) in January 1786 and continued [in the role] after the appointment of Rev’d Tovey Jolliffe (1750-1830) in 1791. In 1810 the Overseers of the Poor and Churchwardens Account Book records that he was paid £1 1s 0d a year. He also received payments for supplying communion wine £2 15s 0d and washing the church linen £0 5s 0d in 1805. His name appears in the account book on other occasions, recording the payments to parish poor and when attending the quarter sessions. Isaac’s name is also recorded frequently as a witness at weddings in the parish. It is not known if he received any payment for doing so. On the birth of his son in 1772 the parish register records Dodd’s occupation as a tailor. It was common for holders of parish officers to have a main occupation.
Issac appears to have been born in Croglin, a small village about 14 miles from Skelton on the 13 August 1744. His siblings were Joseph (1739), John (1742) Thomas (1747-1747) Mary (1749), William (1752) and Elizabeth (1756). He married Rachel Allonby on 7 July 1768. On 28 September 1768 their daughter Ann was baptised but the same day Rachel’s death is recorded in the register. Ann survived only a few months after the death of short her mother, dying on the 14 January 1769. Isaac then married Mary [unknown surname] (c.1748-1797), although the record of the marriage cannot be found in Skelton parish. They had 4 children John (1771), Joseph (1772-1774), Mary (1776) and her twin Betty (1776-1801). Dodd’s second wife Mary died on 19 April 1797 aged 49. Five years later, in 1802 Isaac, now 56, married for the final time Esther Hutton aged 48.
In 1817 Isaac Dodd resigned from his role as Parish Clerk. His signature in the Account Book showing a deterioration in quality from earlier entries. Shortly afterwards he made a short will. It begins: ‘I Isaac Dodd of Skelton in the Parish if Skelton in the County of Cumberland being mindful of my mortality do hereby make publish declare this to be my last will and testament’.
He left any interest from his property to his wife as well as the residue of his personal belongings to her to distribute amongst his brothers and sisters and her brothers and sisters according to her own mind. No one is named. Isaac Dodd died 13 August 1818 and his will was proved on 19 September. His effects were less than £200.
An entry in the Parish Register of 1831 shows that an Esther Dodd aged 79 married a Thomas Mulcaster aged 75 of Croglin. It has been assumed this is Isaac Dodd’s widow.
This is a work in progress subject to change with further research.
Cumbria archives PR10/V/10/6 (Rebecca Dixon) . Skelton Overseer Voucher 6 March 1785
Cumbria Archives PR10/V/14/1 (Philip Bowman) Skelton Overseers Voucher 1 september 1788
Cumbria Archives PR10/V/1-24 Skelton Overseers Vouchers
Cumbria Archives PR 10/81, Skelton Overseers of the Poor and Churchwardens Account Book 1734-1817
Cumbria Archives PR 10/113, Letter to the Vestry Clerk. July 1790
Cumbria Archives PROB 1818/W405, Will of Isaac Dodd
www.familysearch.org Cumrew Parish Register 1676-1961, accessed 5 February 2019
www.ancestry.co.uk. England Select Births, christenings, marriages and deaths 1538-1973, accessed 5 February 2019
www.bankofengland.co.uk, accessed 9 February 2019