Phineas Stone has only one voucher in our project dataset, but he snagged our interest owing to the disjunction between his occupation, as a gunlock filer, and the typical purchases of the overseers of the poor. What business did they have with a refiner of gun parts?
The parish overseers paid Stone for a ‘voice’ or vice weighing 36lb on 3 February 1789. This equipment was for the use of Jonathan Addock or Haddock, and was costed by weight. At three pence per pound, the total cost of the vice came to nine shillings. Therefore the parish was buying a tool for use by Haddock, presumably to enable him to earn money. Unfortunately we have no clues as to what Haddock usually did for a living. He was a some-time pauper and who needed parish help to pay the burial fees when his wife Ann died 1793, but otherwise we are not really any wiser. We can only speculate that, like many men in the parish and the wider West Midlands, Haddock was engaged in metalworking of some kind.
A rather tidy workshop showing the manufacture of metal buttons in the Netherlands: engraving by Prevost c.1751-72 image courtesy of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
The Stone family fortunes were also in decline, but not so drastically as to require the need for parish assistance in the vouchers we have catalogued. Shortly before Phineas died in 1796, his son Phineas (1775-1811) got married and had a son of his own, unsurprisingly baptised Phineas (1797-1837). Of the three men named Phineas, all of whom were lockfilers, the eldest left an estate worth under £300, but his son was worth under £100 at the time of his death in 1811. The youngest Phineas was killed in 1837 by the throwing over of a coach.
Sources: baptisms of 1 May 1775, 12 March 1797, and 19 January 1834, marriage of 7 September 1796, plus burials of 30 August 1793, 6 December 1796, 4 July 811, and 8 August 1837, all Wednesbury St Bartholomew. Probate for the will of Phineas Stone granted 1797. Probate for the will of Phineas Stone granted 1811. SRO D 4383/6/1/9/2/95 Wednesbury overseers’ voucher 1789; D 4383/6/1/9/3/111/4 Wednesbury overseers’ voucher 1793.
In 1828 William Nichol of Bothel brought an action against John Tunstall claiming the horses he had were not his. They were seized despite his attempts to stop it. As a consequence, Tunstall must have felt he would struggle to make a living and applied to William Askew, a bleacher by trade living in the village of Goat and overseer of Papcastle, for relief. Askew suspecting that Tunstall’s place of settlement lay elsewhere and faced with the prospect of a large family needing relief, sought their removal to Greysouthern where he thought their place of settlement might be. The services of Joseph Steele and Son, attorneys of Cockermouth, were employed to investigate. This is just one example of the cases taken on by Steeles for the parish of Papcastle and demonstrates the lengths they went to to determine the facts.
In 1828 John Tunstall and wife, Ann Fletcher, were living in Papcastle just outside Cockermouth. A considerable number of their children were all baptized in the Parish of Papcastle. They were: John (1811), Thomas (1812), James (1814), Fletcher (1816), Jane (1817), twins Sarah (1821) and Mary (1821), Ann (1823), Martha (1824), William (1826) and Joseph (1828). With the exception of one, William who died in 1823 aged three, all went on to live into adulthood.
John Tunstall’s grandfather James Tunstall (1742-1820) had inherited his father’s Moses’ (1700-1757) farm and pottery named Fox House, at Broughton in 1757. Moses was born in Burslem, Staffordshire, and married Sarah Jackson in Duffield, Derbyshire, the place of her birth in 1730. They moved north helping establish some of the potteries of West Cumberland. Moses’ aunt, Margaret Tunstall (1678-1748) and her husband Aaron Wedgewood (1671-1746) of the Wedgwood pottery family of Stoke had already moved from Staffordshire, starting a pottery at Harker Marsh near Dearham at the beginning of the eighteenth century. However, John Tunstall didn’t venture into the pottery trade of his forebears.
The Tunstall case at the Easter Assizes 1829 was described in two local newspapers. The removal order issued was challenged by the parish of Greysouthern.
The following is a summary of events from the evidence given. John Tunstall’s challenge was to prove Papcastle as his place of settlement.
Tunstall was baptized in the parish of Bridekirk on14 December 1788. Papcastle was a township of Bridekirk. His father Thomas Tunstall (1768-1840) was born in Great Broughton. He married his first wife Sarah Johnstone on 15 July 1788 at Dearham. She died on 20 November 1801 and in 1803 he moved to Greysouthern where he rented a property for over £40 a year, therefore gaining a settlement there. In 1804 he married Jane Walker, a widow. Tunstall worked in the local coal mines. Tunstall got into difficulties around 1808 and subsequently his son, John, managed his property while he was in Carlisle Goal.
John Tunstall then moved to Papcastle to work for Thomas Fletcher, and married his granddaughter Ann Fletcher in June 1810. When Thomas Fletcher died the main beneficiary in his will was his daughter Jenny Fletcher, Ann’s mother. The Tunstall family and Jenny lived together. John Tunstall supported his family by taking on a variety of work. Reliant on a horse and cart, he also used to lead wood ( convey wood) for Jenny, . Although her father is described as a yeoman in his will Thomas Fletcher may have diversified into wood leading. Following a difference of opinion and Tunstall claimed he went to rent a property of his own.
There are many contradictions in the depositions taken from various people and confusion about who leased what from whom. The voucher lists the detailed expenses incurred by Steele’s to determine the truth.
Among those examined were Richard Blackburn and William Atkinson, present when the property belonging to John Pooley was let. Pooley, stated he would never let property to Tunstall as he was a servant to Jenny Fletcher. William Twentyman, who leased all of Pooley’s property for three years, subsequently sublet parcels to others. In the interim, Twentyman died, so it fell to his son Robert to be questioned about the letting arrangements. Robert said he couldn’t remember events. William Dean of Keswick who had said he paid rent to Jenny Fletcher for Tunstall for one of the properties had also died in January 1829. His wife, Mary, was asked to travel from Keswick to Carlisle to give evidence.
Various family members were called upon including Jenny Fletcher, Thomas Tunstall, his father, John Tunstall his uncle resident at Fox House Farm and Pottery and joint lease holder of the Glass House Pottery, Ginns, Whitehaven, Martha Fletcher (Barton), his sister in law and Jenny Fletcher’s youngest daughter born in 1796; and others.
The dictum was that John Tunstall had not legally held any property. The result was that Tunstall’s settlement was that of his father’s a few miles away at Greysouthern and the Removal Order was upheld. 
In subsequent years John Tunstall continued to live and work around the area. His wife Ann (baptized in the parish of Papcastle, 11 March 1785) died in 1856. John then went to live with his son Thomas in Appleby. Both stated their occupation as carter in 1861. John died around 1864.[ 5]
Jenny Fletcher remained in Papcastle. With members of John’s family around her in 1841 she was living with John’s son Thomas and his wife Martha (Spark) and their two children. Next door was Mary (Miller) wife of John’s son James and two children. Mary had been recently widowed, as James had been killed in a waggoning accident in May 1841. 
William Askew, married to Eleanor Blackstock, had three sons: Robinson, William and Henry. All three predeceased him. In later life he moved into Cockermouth. His obituary in 1864 suggested he had become quite wealthy. His estate valued around £5000. 
Joseph Steele was born in the port town of Whitehaven in 1758. He moved to Cockermouth where he became an apprentice attorney with John Wordsworth, the father of the poet William Wordsworth. By 1785 he had married Dorothy Ponsonby and they went on to have six sons and one daughter, Dorothy. His wife died in 1799 and Steele remarried in 1804. With his second wife, Mary Hodgson, he had a further four sons. His fourth son, Miles, become an attorney in London but died in Nice, France, in 1827. His eldest son John joined his father’s business and worked on the Tunstall case. Joseph Steele died 27 February 1844, two days after his second wife. The business in Cockermouth continued in the hands of John and Edward Bowe Steele a son from his second marriage until John became MP for Cockermouth in 1854.
Steele and Sons main bill came to £30 14s 1d in September 1829. With hindsight it perhaps doesn’t seem to have been the financially prudent thing to do to issue the removal order, but looking to the future the parish of Papcastle may have feared the burden of the Tunstall family should they not be able to support themselves in the future. However, the Tunstalls, according to subsequent census returns did support themselves except son John who periodically received parochial relief.
 Cumbria Archives, Papcastle Overseers’ Voucher, SPC110/1/3/2/5 8, Nov. 1828 to April 1829
 England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk, 2 April 2021]
 Sibson Florence, The History of the West Cumberland Potteries, Volume II, (Distington: Cope Publishing, 2008).
 Carlisle Patriot, 2 May 1829, p.2; col. d,e.; Cumberland Pacquet and Whitehaven Ware’s Advertiser 5 May 1829, p. 3 col. a; Wake Henry Thomas, 1878 , All the Monumental Inscriptions in Bringham and Bridekirk 1666-1876 at www.books.google.co.uk Cumbria Archives, PROB/1812/W543, Will of Thomas Fletcher.
 General Record Office, Search Index www.gro.gov.uk
 1841 Census HO107; Piece: 161; Book: 7; Civil Parish: Cammerton; County: Cumberland; Enumeration District: 14; Folio: 14; Page: 22; Line: 5; GSU roll: 241278
 Whitehaven News, 8 December 1864, p. 5, col, d; Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk, 14 April 2021]
 Carlisle Patriot, 10 March 1827 p. 2, col. a
 Carlisle Journal, 2 March 1844 p. 2, col. g
 Slater’s Directory (1848), p. 26.
The principal people have been named from the bill only as it is length.
Thomas Fletcher’s signed his Will made in 1809 with his mark. Having considerable property in the Papcastle area most of those who were to receive a legacy were his family. It being stipulated how each dwelling was to be allocated most of their names are prefixed by reputed. For example his reputed wife Jane, his reputed daughter Jenny Fletcher , grandson Thomas son of his reputed son Thomas Fletcher of Cockermouth, and his reputed great grandson Thomas Fletcher natural son of Ann Fletcher who was the natural daughter of his reputed daughter Jenny Fletcher. Jenny Fletcher’s other two daughter’s Martha (Barton) and her twin Mary were to receive twenty pounds.
Among the overseers’ vouchers for Alrewas, Staffordshire, are a few letters relating to paupers. In a few short lines, one in particular, summed up a person’s life. In April 1832 Alrewas vestry received a letter from J. Halton of Stockport.
‘Gents, One John Lakin aged 49 lies dead in our fever ward and we have been called upon to provide for his funeral. It appears he belongs to your place, by birth, having been born out of wedlock and that you have frequently relieved him, in different places. The last time was at Christmas 1827 or 8. This being the case you will, we trust, refund the cost of his funeral amounting to £1.5.0. He was by trade a tailor. Your attention will oblige, J. Halton’
The parish registers for St Mary’s, Stockport, lists a John Lakin aged 59, having been buried on 11 April 1832. His residence was given as The Dispensary. Despite the ten year age difference, this is the same man. Halton had been quick off the mark, sending the letter the day before Lakin’s funeral.
Halton’s letter, though short, is cleverly constructed. It points out that having been born illegitimately, Lakin’s legal settlement was his place of birth, in this case Alrewas. It notes that Alrewas had previously provided poor relief for Lakin, thereby establishing precedent for payment of his funeral. Lakin’s death also makes it clear that this is the last time that Alrewas will be called upon for relief, which might have induced the parish further to pay up.
 SRO, D783/2/3/13/4/1/1, J. Halton, Stockport, 10 April 1832.
From 13 June to 23 July 1827 Charles Cook, the son of Widow Cook, was on a six-week trial as an apprentice boot and shoe maker. As was fairly standard for parish apprentices, Charles was supplied with a jacket, trousers and waistcoat, two pairs of stockings, a hat and five yards of calico to make two shirts. The cost of drawing up the apprentice indenture and attorney’s fees amounted to £1 11s 6d, bringing the amount expended by the parish on Cook’s apprenticeship to £3 7s 0d. In addition, there was the apprentice premium itself which added a further £10 to parish costs. Given that the total expenditure on Cook’s apprenticeship by parish of Whittington, Staffordshire, equated to the yearly income of a well-paid female domestic servant, this was not an inconsiderable sum. It was one which the parish deemed acceptable as it would shift parish responsibility for Charles Cook onto the shoemaker.
Cook, however, was not living in Whittington, but at Grove Cottage, Edmonton St, Camberwell, Surrey, with his mother Sarah. Charles Cook may never even have set foot in Whittington, but the village would have been his legal place of settlement if his father had been born, or had acquired legal settlement there.
Charles was apprenticed to James Rogers of Stretton Ground, St John’s, Westminster, for a term of seven years.
It is possible that things turned out alright for Charles Cook, for there is an entry in the 1841 Census for a Charles Cook, a shoemaker living in Wellington Street, Camberwell, with his wife and three children.
Like many parishes Whittington, near Lichfield, had no workhouse. Instead, it relied on providing outdoor relief, paying rent on properties to house some of its poor and sending paupers to Rosliston Workhouse in Derbyshire.
Around 1802, Rosliston together with the parishes of Caldwell, Coton-in-the-Elms, Croxall, Linton and Stretton-in-the Fields united under the terms of Gilbert’s Act of 1782 to provide for the poor. Arrangements were made with other parishes, including Whittington, whereby paupers could be sent to the workhouse with the costs borne by the parish to whom the pauper had the legal right of settlement.
In 1818 Whittington paid Rosliston Workhouse for twelve weeks board for Catherine Johnson. As with most people from this time we know little about Johnson, but we do know that by 1820 at the latest she had been joined in the workhouse by Catherine Godwin, also from Whittington. For the next two years overseers’ vouchers provide glimpses into their lives. Bills were submitted each quarter by Rosliston for Johnson and Godwin’s board, soap and coal.
Johnson and Godwin contributed to their own maintenance through their needlework skills. Several bills list thread, tape, bindings, linings for bodices, the spinning of flax and the provision of calico, worsted and fustian cloth. One bill of 3 January 1820 notes ‘cutting out and assisting Johnson to make cloth’. Other clothing related items include the provision of aprons, stockings, capes and gowns for both women.
There were also medical bills. One in 1820 was for ‘dressing for Johnson’ and ‘dressing for Godwin’ from a Dr Adams. The services of a midwife were paid for by Whittington for Catherine Godwin at the start of 1821, but all did not go well for we find payment for laying the child out, taking the child to church, a coffin and a burial. Nothing further is then recorded about either Johnson or Godwin in the vouchers.
A recent review of the data we have collected for the Staffordshire parish of Gnosall revealed a glorious surname, particularly when we consider the family business: the Blackbands of Gnosall were grocers and drapers, who doubtless supplied their customers with funereal black bands when required. Further investigation confirmed the sobering reality of the name and the trade, since the latter was insecure despite commissions from the parish.
Brothers Gerard and Benjamin Blackband were both in business in Gnosall in the 1810s and 20s, and their uncle Joseph was in the same line of work in nearby Newport (Shropshire). Gerard had an early partnership with William Keen, in an grocery and ironmongery, but this was dissolved in 1810 shortly before William Keen married Gerard’s sister Elizabeth. Gerard Blackband himself married Mary Harper in 1811, while Benjamin married Elizabeth Burley in 1815: both couples had children baptised in Gnosall. The two families remained in the parish, since Benjamin died there in 1845 and Gerard in 1853.
Fabric samples on a printed background 1813: image courtesy of the Wellcome Trust
The parish made payments to one or other of the Blackband brothers for pauper clothing and textiles for working up into garments. An account book dedicated solely to parish clothing 1811-12 records sales of robust cloth like thick flannel for 1s 10d-2s 3d per yard, and flimsier stuff like calico for 9d-10d per yard. Women’s gowns and jackets were made of linsey, a relatively coarse but durable material of wool and flax (or wool and cotton). Stockings and hats were bought ready-made; everything else was cut out and sewn from the raw materials.
G. Cruikshank, A London Linen-Draper’s Assistant, 1839: image courtesy of the Wellcome Trust
Two features of the account book immediately struck me as interesting. First, it is only concerned with quantities of textile purchased, and the cost per unit, not with the overall expenditure on materials. This suggests that the parish officers were not (in this instance) interested in the bottom line. They were either monitoring the flow of garments to individual paupers (who wore through their clothing most rapidly?), to the indoor versus the outdoor poor (since the workhouse recipients are identified separately), to the poor of different parish ‘quarters’ (placed in different lists), or checking the price of cloth over time/from different shops. Second, a small place like Gnosall could still draw on multiple suppliers for clothing and fabric. The population of the parish in 1811 stood at just 2372 people across all of the parish, but the overseers still managed to spread textile purchases among the separate businesses of Mr Blackband (first name unspecified), Mr Bromley, and Mr Williams. One of our vouchers reveals that Benjamin Blackband was definitely supplying the Gnosall poorhouse with thread, laces and needles in 1823.
Perhaps it was this level of competition in such a small geographical compass that proved so difficult for the maintenance of the Blackband businesses, and perhaps there was a risk in one family investing so heavily in one type of pursuit. Whatever the cause, though, both Gerard and Benjamin Blackband and their uncle Joseph of Newport suffered bankruptcy in the 1820s. Notice was given of both Gerard and Joseph’s bankruptcies in 1822, while Benjamin followed in 1825. The brothers’ recovery from this blow is difficult to chart, but by 1841 Benjamin was living in the household of his brother-in-law William Keen, whereas in the same year Gerard was living independently as a grocer with his wife and children, but lacking any household servants. Once again, investigation of businesses identified in the vouchers suggests that parish custom was used to support fragile ventures.
Sources: SRO D951/5/29 account book of clothing supplied to the poor 1811-12; D951/5/81/117 overseers’ voucher of 1823; NA HO 107 census of 1841 (NB Gerard is listed under the surname Blackland); NA IR 27/304 death duty register 1853; marriages of 24 January 1811 in Edgemond Shropshire, 13 December 1811 and 14 March 1815 both in Gnosall; baptisms of 22 August 1813 and 5 December 1819 both in Gnosall; burial of 12 March 1845 in Gnosall; London Gazette entries for partnership and bankruptcies on 18 December 1810, 22 October 1822, 10 December 1822, and 20 December 1825.
The majority of surviving overseers’ vouchers for Alrewas are from Lichfield solicitors William Bond and Sons of Dam Street dealing with issues of settlement and removal.
Contained within the bundles are a number of letters written by or on behalf of those seeking relief. One letter stands out from the others. It was written neither by a pauper nor on behalf of one, but by Edwin Chadwick (1800-90), a hugely influential figure in mid-nineteenth century health, factory and poor law reform. Committed and talented, he worked for the Board of Health but his approach to reform angered many of his opponents.
Chadwick was born in Longsight, Manchester. His father became editor of The Statesman in 1812 and in 1816 editor of The Western Times. Chadwick trained as a barrister but also wrote reports on London’s slums for newspapers.
At the time of writing in October 1824 to Samuel Taylor, Assistant Overseer of Alrewas, Chadwick was the Secretary of the Poor Law Commission. Chadwick was responding to a letter about the establishment of a workhouse.
Poor Law Commissioners Office Somerset House 11th Oct 1834
Sir, I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 7th Inst and to assure you that the Board will not neglect the expressed wishes of your Vestry, for the establishment of a well regulated workhouse, and for uniting the four divisions comprehended in the Parish of Alrewas, for the purpose of parochial management. When the Assistant Poor Law Commissioners are appointed you may expect that one will make an early visit to your Parish, and in the interim it is suggested to your Vestry to propose the way, as far as possible for the suggested union. I am further directed to send for your information, a copy of the Report and the Extract of Evidence published by the late commission of Enquiry, and a copy of the recent Act.
I am Sir. Your Very Obedient Servant E Chadwick, Secretary.
 SRO, D783_2_3_14_1_1 E. Chadwick, Secretary of the Poor Law Commission to Samuel Taylor Asst Overseer Alrewas 11 Oct. 1834.
Thomas was baptised in Uttoxeter in 1787 (7 March or 30 May), the son of Thomas and Ann Norris . His father was a farmer. He married Charlotte Kiernan Collins at Stone by licence on 26 May 1821 . In 1836 he advertised his intention in local newspapers to stand as candidate for Relieving Officer to the Uttoxeter Poor Law Union . He had had considerable experience of the old pre-1834 Poor Law system as his signature appears on many of the receipts among the Overseers Accounts for Uttoxeter parish in the late 1820s and early 1830s . He was successful in his candidature as the 1841 census shows his occupation as Relieving Officer . His wife Charlotte listed her occupation as dressmaker, which proved important as she would need to support herself and her children after Thomas died in October 1848 .
Thomas and Charlotte had 6 children: daughter Charlotte became a dressmaker, too, Ann and Mary became milliners and Elizabeth became a governess at Blore Hall and at Croxden Abbey . Son Henry eventually became a station master. Their other son, Thomas Henry, died aged 17 months in 1830 . Henry became head of the family, gathering his womenfolk in his home at Dove Bank, including his aunt Harriet, Thomas’s sister, who had been a witness at Thomas and Charlotte’s wedding in Stone . Thomas’s widow Charlotte died in Uttoxeter in September 1872 at the age of 82 .
 SRO, D3891/1/7 Utttoxeter St Mary Register of baptisms
 SRO, D5969/1/16 Stone St Michael, Register of marriages
 Staffordshire Advertiser, 19 Nov 1836
 SRO, D3891/6/31-40 Uttoxeter Overseers of the Poor vouchers
 TNA, HO 107/1007 1841 census for Uttoxeter
 SRO, D3891/1/34 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of burials
 TNA, HO 107/374 1851 census for Uttoxeter; TNA, RG 9/1955 1861census for Uttoxeter; TNA, RG 9/1954 1861 census for Croxden
 SRO D3891/1/33 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of burials
 SRO D3891/1/35 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of burials
The 1841 census listed another Thomas Norris in Uttoxeter besides the one who was a relieving officer . This second Thomas was a printer and bookseller living in the Market Place and was somewhat younger, having been born in 1809 . He was at this stage unmarried and living with his mother Ann and sister Jane. He married Ann Caroline Fowler of Leominster in 1845  and went on to be steward of the Wesleyan Methodist church in Uttoxeter. His sister Jane married a Wesleyan minister (John Peaviour Johnson) in 1844 .
However, it is their mother Ann who is the most intriguing figure. She was born Ann Schofield and married Thomas & Jane’s father John Norris at Leek in 1806 . Sometime after Thomas’s birth in 1809 and that of Jane in 1814 the family decamped to Pentwyn in Llanfair Kilgeddin, Monmouthshire . John Norris had been a baker but became a farmer in Wales. By 1834 Ann was a widow and was living in Uttoxeter again. In May of that year she requested to register a printing press and thus the firm of A. Norris & Son of Uttoxeter was born . This must have been quite a departure from her life as the wife of a baker then farmer. What happened in those 20 years between 1814 and 1834 remains to be uncovered.
Ann died in Uttoxeter in December 1848 aged 72 . Her son continued the business in the name of A. Norris & Son until the 1860s when it hit the rocks financially .
 TNA, HO 107/1007 1841 census for Uttoxeter
 SRO, D3891/1/8 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of baptisms
 SRO, D3891/1/20 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of marriages; Derby Mercury, 21 Feb 1844, p.3
 SRO, D1040/5/10 Leek St Edward Register of marriages
 Gwent Archives, D/Pa 71.1-71.8 Records of parish church of Goytrey, Monmouthshire
Hannah Hall married James Roper on 26 June 1797 in Kirkby Lonsdale. She was the eldest daughter of John Hall and his wife Isabella Taylor. At the time they were running the Rose and Crown Inn in the market town of Kirkby Lonsdale. Presumably this was where Hannah lived before her marriage. James had been baptised in Colton, Lancashire, and was the son of John Roper and Mary Walton.
Hannah’s mother died in December 1801 and her father in 1807. John Hall had been the proprietor of the Rose and Crown for 37 years. His son-in-law, James Roper, announced in the Lancaster Gazette that he would be taking over the running of the inn, while also intending to continue his tallow chandlery business.
Together James and Hannah had three children, all born in Kirkby Lonsdale; Mary Ann (b.1798), John (b.1800) and Isabella (b.1801). Another son, James, was baptised 1 April 1803 but died the same year.
Two vouchers addressed to the overseers of Kirkby Lonsdale signed by J. Roper can be attributed to James. One was for the supply of ale in July 1811 costing 2s 7½d, the other for the supply of a chaise and horses to Lancaster on 13 July 1814, costing £1 5s 0d. 
The inn had many functions but was principally a posting and travelling inn. The coaching side of the business possibly expanded following developments in the mail coach service in the late-eighteenth century. Its role as a posting inn led to James Roper and his fellow Innkeeper and postmaster Alexander Tiplady of the Green Dragon Inn being convicted and fined £5 for letting out horses to draw carriages without the appropriate stamp office ticket (to show that they had paid the relevant tax on horses) to those hiring them on the 14 October 1816.
James Roper died on the 4 June 1817. Hannah, probably already having been involved in the running of the inn while James continued the tallow chandlery, continued to run the inn.
The next three years saw various serious events at the inn. Shortly after her husband’s death, there was a serious fire at the inn. Fortunately, she was insured with the Imperial Fire Office . There was considerable damage to the stabling for the horses and 700 yards of hay . In reporting the event, the Westmorland Advertiser expressed surprise at the lack of a fire engine in Kirkby Lonsdale.
On 4 August 1819 the post coach Lord Exmouth on its way from Newcastle to Lancaster. After stopping at the Rose and Crown, it set off again with eleven people on board only to over turn near the Lune Bridge. William Batty (a surgeon in Kirkby Lonsdale for whom vouchers exist) [ 9] attended the accident but he was unable to save the life of William Howson. The other survivors were cared for by Hannah at the inn. Despite evidence from the guard as to his sobriety, the coach driver William Elmire [Elmer] was deemed to have been driving while intoxicated in a dangerous manner. Convicted of manslaughter he was sent to jail for 12 months.
There are frequent references to the Rose and Crown in the local newspapers concerning sales and meetings but it was on the 6 December 1820 that events at the inn were reported around the country and are still remembered after 200 years later by the local community. Hannah Roper living with her two daughters and servants at the inn awoke to find the inn on fire once again. Hannah and her daughters managed to get out by jumping from a window. Of the men asleep in a different part of the inn, all managed to escape by removing grills from a window. Hannah had tried to wake the other five women asleep to make their escape, but they never made it out. The inn was destroyed and the five women died: Alice Clark aged 31, Bella Cornthwaite 28, Agnes Waling 25, Hannah Armstrong 18, and Agnes Nicholson 17. This time the insurance did not cover the full extent of the destruction, but perhaps partly as a result of a respected social and business relationship in the community and help from public subscription Hannah was able to run the inn again in the adjacent Jackson Hall.
With her eldest daughter Mary Ann Roper now married to Richard Atkinson on the 12 April 1825, Hannah decided to retire. The inn was advertised for sale. Hannah was still listed as the proprietor in the directory of 1828, however.[ 14 ] Two years later she died aged 56 on the 22 May 1830 . The inn was once again put up for sale. Details could be had from John Hall, solicitor. Son John was a chemist and druggist in Ulverston from at least 1824. The inn was taken on by Isabella, the youngest daughter, who was often commended for the sumptuous dinners she provided.
The 23 July 1840 saw the Dowager Queen Adelaide staying at the Rose and Crown as part of her tour of the Lakes. Satisfied with her excellent accommodation, the Westmorland Gazette reported that the Queen Dowager was pleased to allow the Rose and Crown to became known as The Royal Hotel.
When the Roper’s son John died as a result of some unspecified accident on the 27 May 1844, the sale of his property was handled by his cousin Richard Roper (1814-1871). John’s sister Isabella, now 42, married the same Richard Roper on the 7 June 1845 and another branch of the Hall-Roper family were linked together. Richard was a solicitor in Kirkby Lonsdale and was the son of her father’s brother Richard Roper and her mother’s sister Isabella Hall, ( 1778-1840 ) who had married in 1803.
Richard and Isabella had only one son, also called Richard, who died when only 14 weeks old in January 1847.  Isabella died on 11 June 1866.  Richard Roper, now well established in his profession, married again. His second wife Mary Eleanor Brade (1838-1921) was 24 years his junior and they had three children: John, Roland and Hilda Mary.
Although no member of the Roper family seems to have been directly involved with the running of the Rose and Crown [Royal Hotel] after Isabella Roper; when her sister Mary Ann’s (Atkinson) youngest daughter married John Swainson of Liverpool 4 April 1866 a large reception took place at The Royal Hotel, Kirkby Lonsdale. Mr Dawson was the proprietor.
Access to further documents is needed to identify the nature of the terms to which the inn was passed on to successive family members.
 www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 13 march 2021].
 Lancaster Gazette, 12 December 1801, page 3 col. b
 Lancaster Gazette, 25 July 1807, page 3 col. b
 Cumbria Archives, Kirkby Lonsdale Overseers’ Vouchers WPR19/7/1/3/20 20 July 1811; WPR19/7/1/5/6/20 13 April 1814.
 www.postalmuseum.org [accessed 13 March 2021].
 ‘Supplementary Records: Kirkby Lonsdale’, in John F Curwen (ed.) Records Relating To the Barony of Kendal: Vol 3, (Kendal, 1926), pp. 278-291. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/kendale-barony/vol3/pp278-291 [accessed 11 March 2021].
 Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland Church Notes, Westmorland Papers. The Westmorland Historical Facts Project http://dustydocs.com/link/39/39198/131714/monumental-inscriptions-westmorland-papers.html
 Westmorland Advertiser and Kendal Chronicle, 18 October 1817, page 3, col. c
 Cumbria Archives, Kirkby Lonsdale Overseers’ Vouchers, WPR19/7/1/5/6/22 , 11 April 1815
 Westmorland Gazette and Kendal Advertiser, 4 September 1819, page 7, col. c
 Westmorland Gazette, 9 December 1820, page 4, col. c
 Carlisle Patriot, 2 July 1825, page 2, col. b
 Pigot and Co.’s, National Commercial Directory, Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland (J. Pigot and Co, London and Manchester,1828), page 851.
 Westmorland Gazette, 5 June 1830, page 3, col. e; Lancaster Gazette, 20 November 1830, page 1, col. c
Baines’ History, Rectory and Gazetteer of the palatine of Lancashire 1824 (Edward Baines), page 576 Ulverston [accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk]
 Westmorland Gazette, 15 August 1840, page 2, col. d
 Westmorland Gazette, 26 September 1846, page 3, col. f; 16 January 1847, page 3, col. f
 Westmorland Gazette, 16 June 1866 page 5, col. f
 Kendal Mercury, 7 April 1866, page 5, col. e