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

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

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

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

Richard Ashmore

Elizabeth Bayley

William Baylis

Richard Bills

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

William Golcher

Joseph Harper

William Howell

Philip Martin

William Partridge

Thomas Rubery

Charles Spittal

Thomas Stone

Charles Thornhill

Bagley Turner

John Griffiths Whitehead

Job Wilkes

William Wilkes

Thomas Worley

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

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

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

In February 1849 the London Gazette carried the following announcement:

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

Richd Bills

Saml Mills

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

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

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

Sources

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

London Gazette, 9 February 1849

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Thomas Earp the elder (1766–1831) and Thomas Earp the younger (c.1799–1864) Cheesefactors and Brewers, Uttoxeter

Cheesefactor and brewer Thomas Earp the elder married Mary Cockayne. They had a number of children including: Thomas (born in Derby, c.1799), Sarah (bap. 9 November 1800), Mary (bap. 3 November 1802), John (bap. 24 August 1809), Maria (bap. 17 October 1813), and Jane.

Parson’s and Bradshaw’s 1818 directory lists Earp and Lassetter as cheese factors with a business in High Street, and Thomas Earp as an ale and porter brewer, cheese factor and spirit merchant, also in High Street.

Upon Thomas the elder’s death in 1831, his probated estate amounted to £200. As the sole beneficiary and executor of his late-father’s estate, he was tasked with making appropriate provision for his mother and his siblings. In 1833 Thomas the younger was involved with a property transaction involving the Croft of the White Hart, Uttoxeter, with Michael Clewley (see separate biography).

On 21 November 1825 at Uttoxeter, Wesleyan Methodist Thomas the younger married Sarah Jane Salt (1804–1856) who was born in Liverpool. They had a large family: Thomas (b.1828), Jane (b.1830), Ann (b.1832), Mary (b.1834), Sarah (b.1836), Edwin (b.1839), William (b.1841), Maria (b.1843), Henry (b.1847), Charles  (b.1848), and Eliza (b.1849). For much of their married life Thomas, Sarah Jane and their family lived in High Street.

At the time of the 1851 Census Thomas employed eight men. Thomas and Sarah Jane were living with children Jane, Ann (a teacher), Mary, Sarah, Maria and Henry (the last three described as scholars at home), Charles and Eliza.

By 1861 Thomas Earp, now a widower, and his family had moved to Burton-upon-Trent. He is listed simply as an ‘agent’ with an address in Horninglow Street in White’s 1857 directory. The family unit now comprised Thomas, and his children Jane, Mary, Maria, Sarah and Eliza, his niece Louisa Ann (aged 13) and his nephew John B. Earp (aged six). Mary, Maria, and Sarah were all governesses, and although his niece Louisa had been born in Uttoxeter, his nephew John had been born in America. Also in the household were Mary A. Eddes (17), a teacher born in St Pancras, London, and Ann Calvert (31), a servant born in Uttoxeter. Louisa’s and John’s parents John, a brewer and Emma Brindley had married on 28 July 1846 at St Peter’s, Fleetwood, Lancashire.

Both Thomas Earps supplied the overseers of Uttoxeter with cheese, but not on a regular basis. This was probably because the workhouse was also in receipt of substantial amounts of milk from the likes of George Hartshorn, suggesting that the workhouse was also engaged in producing cheese.

In the late-1820s Thomas [the younger?] and Edward Saunders established the Uttoxeter Brewery Company. Thomas’ business was sufficiently prosperous for him to be able to invest in railways and to be a member of the Provisional Committees for the Leeds, Huddersfield, Sheffield and South Staffordshire, or Leeds, Wolverhampton and Dudley Direct Railway and the Tean and Dove Valley and Eastern and Western Junction Railway.

In May 1854 Thomas’ and Sarah Jane’s daughter Ann married George Jones. At some point they emigrated to Mossel Bay, South Africa. They had three children: Charles Earp Jones, Sarah Jane Jones, and George Alliebrooke Jones. George Jones died 23 May 1890, and his widow Ann on 27 November 1896 aged 62.

Sources

Bradshaw’s Railway Gazette vol. 1, (London: William James Adams; Manchester: Bradshaw and Blacklock, 1845)

Census 1841 HO107/1007/14

Census 1851 HO107/2010

Census 1861 R.G.9/1965

England and Wales Civil Registration Marriage Index 1837–1915

Herapath’s Railway Journal, 28 June 1845

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

Lichfield Record Office, BC11 Will of Thomas Earp, 26 October 1831

Parson, W. and Bradshaw, T., Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory presenting an Alphabetical Arrangement of the Names and Residences of the Nobility, Gentry, Merchants and Inhabitants in General (Manchester: 1818)

Poll Books and Electoral Registers 1538–1893

Francis Redfern History and Antiquities of the town and neighbourhood of Uttoxeter

RG4/2701 England and Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567–1970

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

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

SRO, D3891/6/37/4/3, Uttoxeter Poor Law Vouchers, Thomas Earp, 23 July 1831

SRO, D4452/1/15/2/14 abstract of title of Thomas Earp to the White Hart Croft Uttoxeter 1833

SRO, D4452/1/15/2/15 Lease and release of part of White Hart Croft Uttoxeter 1833

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

White, Francis, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Derbyshire with the Town of Burton-upon-Trent (Sheffield: 1857)

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

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

Cheese-Making in Uttoxeter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources

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

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

London Gazette, part 2 (1836), 1369

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uttoxeter Businesses and the Derby Mercury

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources

Derby Mercury

Uttoxeter Businesses and the Staffordshire Advertiser 1831

Advertisements and notices in newspapers can help to put flesh on the bones of vouchers submitted to Uttoxeter’s overseers by providing additional information on people, their businesses, their networks, and their wider interests and concerns. Some names are already familiar; others have not yet appeared in the vouchers (and may never do).

In June 1831 Dr Herbert Taylor, glazier John Dumolo, William Lowndes, John Minors, H. Smith and Francis Cox all declared themselves supporters of the parliamentary reform bill. Alongside others, in July Clement Broughton, vicar of Uttoxeter, was calling for meeting of clergy to petition against the Beer Act.

In a highly unusual move, in January 1831 churchwardens Michael Clewley (see separate entry) and Mr Bladon wanted to borrow money in any amounts but not exceeding £1,000 for which annuities of any age would be granted and secured upon Uttoxeter’s church rates. Clewley cropped up again later in the year. In August he was offering houses to let in the Market Place, late in the occupation of Mrs E. Clewley deceased. With ‘sufficient buildings behind’, these were well adapted for a retailer, a leather cutter, or currier. An adjoining shop in the occupation of George Burton, clock and watchmaker was also being offered to let.

Land and property lettings and sales featured prominently in the paper. John French (son-in-law of William Summerland, see separate entry) was offering for sale the 14-acre Town Meadow, property of late Mr Botham, but now in the possession of French, the tenant. Further particulars could be had from solicitor Francis Blagg. In May 1831 enquiries regarding a shop measuring 20 x 15 feet in the Market Place with a cellar adapted for a ‘show shop in the upholstery line or as a market shop for any respectable trade’, for a rent moderate, could be made to ironmongers and grocers Porter and Keates. It is likely that these premises were those of the late John Jessop, cabinet maker and upholsterer of the Market Place. An auction of his modern household furniture, china, glass, and a well-built covered gig was conducted upon the premises by a Mr Brown in April. Perhaps of significant interest to the workhouse (which manufactured bricks) was that in March 1831 just over five acres of grassland ‘under great part whereof is brick clay, near the Heath, in occupation of James Walker, was being offered for sale; particulars from Mr Higgott, solicitor.

As was common for the time, a number of enterprising individuals had multiple income streams, often acting as agents for other businesses or suppliers. Chemist Thomas Woolrich was the agent for Heeley and Sons pens and for Sun Life insurance; William Smith for Phoenix insurance; Thomas Cross for Guardian Fire and Life Assurance; linen and woollen draper Joseph Norris for the Protector Fire Insurance Company; and Mr E. Hand for Atlas Insurance. Thomas Woolrich, draper; Samuel Garle (see separate entries); and bookseller, stationer, and printer Mr R. C. Tomkinson, were all stockists of Hayman’s original Maredant’s antiscorbutic drops and Blaine’s celebrated powder for distemper in dogs. Tomkinson also stocked Dr Wright’s Pearl Ointment, and Dr Boerhaave’s red pill no. 2 ‘famous for the cure of every stage and symptom of a certain complaint’, the cause of foul ulcerations and blotches which if led untreated would lead to a melancholy death. Aside from being a chemist Tomkinson appears to have operated an informal servants’ registry. On three occasions, in April, June and September 1831, adverts for servants wanted informed prospective employees to refer to Mr Tomkinson. In the first advertisement a good plain cook was required. In the second two cooks and other domestic servants were wanted in a respectable household near Uttoxeter; a good plain cook of middle aged was preferred. Housemaids and nursery maids seeking positions should enquire of Mr Woolrich, Uttoxeter or Mrs Horn and son, Cheadle. In the third notice a clergyman’s family in a country village wanted a plain cook with a good character reference from her last place. Further particulars could be had from Messrs Mort at the Advertiser Office, Stafford, or from Mr Woolrich.

Milliner and dressmaker Mrs Whittaker was the only trader in this survey of the Staffordshire Advertiser who specifically promoted the metropolitan nature of her goods. In May she announced her return from London with her selections including a fashionable assortment of stays (corsets). She also required two live-in apprentices.

A group of people whose names have not appeared in the poor law vouchers (and unless circumstances changed radically for them are unlikely to do so) were the proprietors of schools and academies. Popular times for these owners to advertise were just prior to the start of new terms. From their adverts it is clear that they were aiming at a middle-class market. Mr Doyle’s classical and commercial academy for gentlemen, for example, cost £25 per year for board, education and washing for those under 12, and £28 per year for those above. Doyle offered reading, elocution, arithmetic, bookkeeping, English grammar, geography, Latin, Greek, French, and Spanish. Day pupils were charged 2 guineas per quarter for the languages, and one guinea for the ‘minor branches of education’. Each gentleman boarder was to bring two pairs of sheets, six towels, a knife, fork and silver spoon. Girls had a range of educational establishments from which they could choose: the Misses Howes at Bank House; the Misses Sutton in Carter Street; and the Misses Godwin.

Some events were destined to bring trade to a halt. On 8 September 1831 Uttoxeter’s shops and businesses were closed for the coronation of William IV and queen Adelaide (see entry ‘Coronation Celebrations 1831). After William’s death Adelaide leased Sudbury Hall for three years between 1840 and 1843.

Source

Staffordshire Advertiser, 1831

Mr Blurton’s Swing Frame for Cheese: Winner of the Society of Arts Silver Medal for Invention

Uttoxeter was well-know for the production of cheese. The following extract from The Mechanics’ Magazine, Museum Register, Journal and Gazette, describes Mr Blurton’s new invention for producing cheese.

New cheese requires to be hardened considerably by gradually drying before it become fit for market. For this purpose the cheeses are spread in a single layer on the floor of the cheese room, and are turned by hand every day, in order to expose each surface alternately to the air. This, on a large dairy farm, is a slow and laborious operation, which, as it devolves on the female servants, sometimes prevents them, in the hurry of business, from paying proper attention to keeping every implement used in the dairy in that degree of order and absolute cleanliness so essential to the good quality of the produce. Another objection to the common method is, that the floor on which the new cheeses are laid soon becomes penetrated with moisture, so that the benefit that each surface of a cheese in succession gains by exposure to air, is in part lost by being placed the next day in contact with the damp floor.

A machine, of very simple construction, has been recently contrived by Mr Blurton, of Field Hall, near Uttoxeter, by which these objections are not only completely removed, but the process of drying amazingly accelerated. We extract our present account of it from the last part of the Transactions of the Society of Arts, who have conferred their large silver medal on Mr Blurton for the invention.

The machine consists of a dozen strong shelves framed together, and having bars nailed from top to bottom of one side, in order to prevent the cheeses from falling out while in the act of turning. The frame is suspended on two strong pivots, one of which is let into the wall of the room, and the other is supported by a strong post …By first filling the shelf immediately below the axis of the frame, and then placing the cheeses alternately on the two shelves above and below that which has already been filled, the preponderance of one side over the other can never be more than the weight of one cheese … The cheeses, in the act of turning, drop onto those shelves which, in the former position of the frame, were above them, and, having been exposed to a current of air for twenty-four hours previous have become perfectly dry.

Mr Blurton has had the machine in use for five or six years, and finds by the means of it, fifty-five cheeses are turned in the same time which is required for turning two  by hand.

Source

The Mechanics’ Magazine, Museum Register, Journal and Gazette, vol. 18, 6 October 1832–31 March 1833 (London: M. Salmon, 1833), pp. 370, 372.

Thomas Parker of Uttoxeter: Notes on a Possible Scandal?

From 1815 the law forbade officers of the Poor Law from profiting from their civic positions by awarding contracts to themselves for the supply of goods and services. Thomas Parker was master of Uttoxeter workhouse in the early 1830s, but the poor law vouchers show that he was also charging the parish for goods supplied to the workhouse from his grocery business. In themselves the majority of goods are typical of those supplied by other grocers, but one item caught our attention: copperas (ferrous sulphate). This was a favourite ingredient used to ‘revive’ used tea leaves by boiling the leaves with the copperas. This set me thinking about other ingredients that were used to adulterate food and drink. Many such as cocculus indicus (an extract of the South East Asian fish berry containing a poisonous picro-toxin related to curare), opium, and oil of vitriol (dilute sulphuric acid) were illegal and harmful. Others including liquorice, treacle, pepper and ginger were often used to add flavour to beer. Although not harmful, they were cheaper substitutes for ingredients such as malt and hops. Uttoxeter workhouse produced beer, bought malt, hops, and barm to brew (fermented froth produced during the malting process); there are frequent purchases of liquorice, treacle, pepper and ginger. Were the workhouse masters using such ingredients in a fraudulent capacity?

Sources

SRO, D3891/6/34/9/10a, settled bill to Thomas Parker, 4–29 October 1829

SRO, D3891/6/37/2/8, handwritten invoice, Michael Clewley, 31 May 1831

SRO D3891/6/37/3/10, handwritten invoice Bagshaw and Son, 9 April–28 May 1831

Nancy Cox, Retailing and the Language of Goods 1550–1820 (London: Routledge, 2016)

Peter Shears, ‘Food Fraud – A Current Issue but an Old Problem’, Plymouth Law Review (2008)

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

William Summerland (1765–1834), Butcher, Uttoxeter

William Summerland came from a family of graziers and butchers. His parents, Joseph (1738–1808) – see separate entry –  and Hannah of Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, had at least six children of whom William was the eldest. Nominally, the Summerlands were Quakers, but several birth and death certificates note they were ‘not in unity’ or ‘not members’.

At some point William joined his father in the butchery trade, but in January 1798 the Derby Mercury carried the following announcement: ‘Joseph Summerland and his son William both of Uttoxeter, mutually agree to continue all business separately and without interference with each other.’ The same announcement was made in the Staffordshire Advertiser. The wording does not follow the more usual statements regarding the dissolution of a business partnership where either or both partners were to continue. The phrase ‘without interference’ perhaps suggests a less amicable split. Whatever the cause of the break-up, however, it was not sufficient for Joseph to disinherit his son or to prevent his son from being an executor of his father’s will.

After various bequests and legacies, Joseph left his property in High Wood, late the estate of Thomas Pitts, to William, and all remaining real and personal estate.

William married Mary. They had at least six children: Hannah (1788), Joseph (1789), Ann Marie (1790), William (1791), Mary (1792), Richard Ecroyd (1793–1824). William and Richard followed their father into the butchery business.

William Summerland of Carter Street is listed in the 1818 A New General and Commercial Directory of Staffordshire as a butcher, grazier and mule dealer, and also in White’s 1834 History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire. William was a frequent supplier of meat to the workhouse. Between 26 March and 28 May 1831, he supplied beef on four occasions to the value of £4 17s 7d.

Like his father, William took an active interest in the welfare of his brother John (b.1767) – see separate entry –  who in 1802 spent four months as a patient of William Tuke in the Quaker Retreat in York for mental illness.

William died intestate in November 1834 aged 70, having outlived his wife Mary who died aged 78 in January 1834.  The Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser declared ‘His death was awfully sudden. His servant man called him early … in order to prepare to attend a fair; and a short time afterwards the same servant found him in the room a corpse!’ Letters of Administration were granted to William’s ‘natural and lawful daughter’ Hannah, the wife of John French of the Heath, Uttoxeter. French (yeoman), Joseph Newton (butcher) and Hannah Gammage (widow) entered into a bond to the value of £2,000 to ensure that William’s estate (sworn value £1,000) was administered in accordance with the law.

The appointment of Joseph Newton as an executor is not surprising. A Joseph Newton signed a receipt on behalf of William Summerland in 1832. It was common for people in the same or similar lines of business as the deceased to assist a widow when it came to administering, managing or settling an estate as they knew how local businesses and their networks operated. The people agreeing to be guarantors, trustees and executors knew that they had legal responsibilities to fulfil. There was evidently some dispute over William’s estate. In 1842 the London Gazette reported that pursuant to a decree in Chancery, made in a cause Clough versus French, the creditors of William Summerland, late of Uttoxeter … Butcher, Grazier and Farmer deceased, were to leave their claims before Nassau William Senior, esq. If they failed to do so, they would be excluded the benefits of the decree. Quite what the dispute centred on is not yet known.

Sources

Borthwick Institute, University of York, Retreat Archives, RET 1/5/1/7 Correspondence.

Peter Collinge, ‘Gentility, status and influence in late-Georgian Ashbourne c.1780–1820: Barbara Ford and her circle’ (unpublished MRes Dissertation, Keele University, 2011).

Derby Mercury, 25 January 1798.

Lichfield Record Office, B/C 11, Will of Joseph Summerland, 29 April 1808; B/C 11, Letters of Administration for William Summerland, Uttoxeter, 13 January 1835.

London Gazette, 1842.

Jon Mitchell www.blog.wellcomelibrary.org/2015/03/setting-the-record-straight-mania-or-sick-man? accessed 10/07/2016.

www.quakersintheworld.org/quakers-in-action/92  accessed 11/07/2016.

W. Parson and T. Bradshaw, Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory presenting an Alphabetical Arrangement of the Names and Residences of the Nobility, Gentry, Merchants and Inhabitants in General (Manchester: 1818).

Staffordshire Advertiser, 13 January 1798.

Staffordshire Record Office, D3891/6/37/1/2; D3891/6/37/1/5; D3891/6/37/1/7; D3891/6/37/2/9.

TNA, RG 6/218, 6/650, 6/256, 6/288, England and Wales Quaker Birth, Marriage and Death Index, 1578–1837.

TNA, England and Wales Quaker Birth, Marriage and Death Index, 1578–1837.

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (1834).

Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser, 12 November 1834.

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

John Summerland (b.1767), Uttoxeter

John Summerland was the son of Joseph and Hannah Summerland. He was born in Uttoxeter in May 1767. He has entered historical consciousness through Michael Foucault’s Madness and Civilisation in which Foucault describes Summerland’s treatment at the Quaker Retreat in York for mental illness. Using William Tuke’s description of John Summerland as a being a man of Herculean size and strength, restrained by chains upon arrival and subsequently rehabilitated through Tuke’s treatment, the case is often present as a pivotal moment in the treatment of mental illness. In 2015, however, Jon Mitchell used the archives of the Retreat to present a different image of the ‘wild’ John Summerland, as a man prone to periods of instability, but also a man capable of reasoned thought, contemplation and conversation.

From the correspondence between the Summerland family and the Retreat, it is evident that his father Joseph, his brother William, and his uncle Samuel Botham, all took an active interest in John’s progress organising his admission, funding his stay and hoping that he could gain useful employment as a gardener. Moreover, in his father’s will provision was made for John’s inheritance to be placed in trust. In the correspondence of Samuel Botham it is revealed that John had recently returned to Uttoxeter from America and whilst both in Uttoxeter and in America he had attended Quaker meetings on a regular basis.

Sources 

Borthwick Institute, University of York, Retreat Archives, RET 1/5/1/7 Correspondence.

Michael Foucault, Madness and Civilisation.

Staffordshire Record Office, BC/11, Will of Joseph Summerland, 29 April 1808; B/C 11, Letters of Administration for William Summerland, Uttoxeter, 13 January 1835.

Jon Mitchell www.blog.wellcomelibrary.org/2015/03/setting-the-record-straight-mania-or-sick-man? accessed 10/07/2016.

www.quakersintheworld.org/quakers-in-action/92  accessed 11/07/2016.

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

Joseph Summerland (1789–1824), Uttoxeter

William (1765–1834) – see separate entry – and Mary (1756–1834) Summerland had a son called Joseph born 4 May 1789.

William and Mary Summerland’s son, Joseph, may have been the same Joseph Summerland (butcher) convicted alongside William Allen (dyer) of Pinfold Lane and James Ford (farrier) – Parson’s and Bradshaw’s 1818 directory lists a James Ford, veterinary surgeon, Pinfold Street – of wilfully and maliciously cutting, wounding and injuring a dog belonging to John Greenhough of Uttoxeter in September 1821. They were fined ten shillings and sixpence.

There is also a Joseph Summerland who crops up in Liverpool. Gore’s Directory of Liverpool, 1821 lists Joseph Summerland, butcher at 88 Whitechapel. Baines’ 1824 Directory of the County Palatine of Lancaster, lists a grazier and butcher of that name at 7 Atkinson Street, Liverpool. Is this the same Joseph Summerland formerly of Uttoxeter, farmer and late of Liverpool, butcher and insolvent debtor, who was discharged from Liverpool gaol around 26 October 1822, and whose name appears in the London Gazette, on 9 March 1832? If so, his creditors were requested to meet at the office of Mr Thompson solicitor, 2 High Street, Liverpool, 23 March 1832, for the purpose of choosing the assignee or assignees of his estate and effects. The London Gazette, 18 June 1850, notes that Henry Langley was the assignee of Joseph Summerland, formerly of Liverpool, butcher, insolvent, no. 7,365 C.

A Joseph Summerland of Liverpool, grazier, married Elizabeth Maudsley of the parish St Thomas, Walton, 15 April 1811. One of the witnesses was an H. Summerland. Joseph Summerland of Walton on the Hill, Liverpool died aged 35, and was buried 23 August 1824.

Is Joseph the convicted dog cutter the son of William and Mary? The dates of his birth and death fit. Is he the same person as the Liverpool insolvent debtor and the husband of Elizabeth Maudsley?

Sources

Edward Baines, History, Directory and Gazetteer of the County Palatine of Lancaster, 2 vols (Liverpool: Wm Wales and Co, 1824), I.

Gore, Directory of Liverpool, 1821.

Lancashire Record Office, Drl/2/416, Lancashire Anglican Parish Registers Bishop’s Transcript.

Lichfield Record Offoce, B/C 11, Will of Joseph Summerland, 29 April 1808.

Liverpool Record Office, 283 THO/3/3, Liverpool Registers.

London Gazette.

Staffordshire Record Office, Q/SB 1821 M/3/14, Conviction of Joseph Summerland William Allen and James Ford for cutting and wounding a dog, Stafford Sept 1821.

TNA, RG 6/218, 6/650, 6/256, 6/288, England and Wales Quaker Birth, Marriage and Death Index, 1578–1837.

TNA, IR 1/11, Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures, 28 April 1787.

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