Medicated Vapour Baths – for paupers?

Medicated vapour baths became popular in England in the 1820s. Such things were available in earlier decades, but Sake Deen Mohamed advertised them via both his published works and his bathing establishment at Brighton. The treatment he offered for muscular and similar ailments involved massage and steamy bathing with the addition of Indian oils. He introduced the word ‘shampooing’ to popular usage, although with a slightly different meaning to its current one (ie rubbing the body, whereas we lather our hair). Mohamed was named ‘shampooing surgeon’ to George IV and William IV.

https://wellcomecollection.org/works/xg5ewh67

What did such fashionable treatments have to do with the Staffordshire poor? We might have guessed ‘none’: but we would have been wrong. Spa towns like Buxton had long made bathing facilities available to poor patients, albeit in a heavily regulated way.  In 1785 for example the poor were admitted to bathe at Buxton between the months of May and October, on Mondays only, and funded places were limited to sixteen beneficiaries at any one time.  Successful applicants to the Buxton charity had to support their appeal with ‘a letter of recommendation from some lady or gentleman from his own locality certifying whether he was a proper object of charity, and if the patient was a pauper, also a certificate signed by the Churchwardens or Overseers of the poor that the pauper’s settlement was in, and a certificate from a physician or apothecary that the case was proper for the Buxton waters’.  In the 1820s, though, copyists of Mohamed developed their own vapour bathing equipment which was not dependent on location. Charles Whitlaw patented his medicated baths which could be installed in any town, and published his Scriptural Code of Health in 1838 thanking Anglican and Dissenting clergy for funding treatments for miscellanous workhouse poor.

It was still a surprise, though, to discover that the parish of Alrewas actually sent its paupers to a medicated vapour bathing establishment in Wolverhampton. The vouchers show that in 1831 the parish sent William Riley to the baths run by surgeon Edward Hayling Coleman at Dudley Street in Wolverhampton, albeit the parish paid the resulting bill rather slowly. In early 1832 they also sent a woman called Eams, possible Ann Eams born at Fradley in 1805 or her mother Mary, who Coleman reported in March to be ‘somewhat better’ as a result.

Coleman had invested in Whitlaw’s patented bathing equipment, and set up two facilities for treatment.  There was a public bath in Dudley Street costing 3s6d a time, and he also saw the more prosperous of his patients at his own house in Salop Street for 5s per bathing session.  We do not know the diagnosis for either Riley or Eams, but Coleman promoted his baths for cases of scrofula, cutaneous diseases, liver complaints, gout, rheumatism, asthma and (very optimistically) ‘cancer in it’s incipient stage’.  When the first cholera epidemic swept Britain in 1831-2, Coleman even reserved one or more of his baths ‘for the gratuitous use of the poor’.

 

Sources:  Ernest Axon, ‘Historical Notes on Buxton, its Inhabitants and Visitors: Buxton Doctors since 1700’ (1939), among the ‘Axon Papers’ held at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery ; Charles Whitlaw, The Scriptural Code of Health (London, 1838); SRO D 783/2/3/12/8/2/2 Alrewas overseers’ voucher, bill of Edward Coleman to the parish 1831; D 783/2/3/13/7/1 Alrewas overseers’ correspondence, letter from Edward Coleman 1832; Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser 22 June 1831 and 16 November 1831.

 

 

Curious Change of Occupation or dual occupations for Henry Tibbats?

Voucher number D4383/6/1/9/3 in the collection for Wednesbury is a fairly usual sort of bill but was rather feint. It is a bill from Henry Tibbats to Mr Gest dated 30 April 1782.

It reads that Mr Gest Bott [bought] of Henry Tibbats for the [use?] the poor 16 yds woollen jersey at 14d £0.18s. 8d. Recd. the contents of this Bill by me Hen. Tibbats

However, because it was feint I thought I would check to see if Henry was listed in Wednesbury in the 1791 Universal British Directory to make sure I had read the name correctly. Sure enough Henry Tibbats appears in Wednesbury but as a Saw and Trowel Maker.

Now I cannot see the connection between supplying Woollen Jersey material for the Poor in 1782 and being a Saw and Trowel maker in 1791 unless Henry has a wife running a shop under his name (but that is not listed in 1791). Either that or there were two Henry Tibbats

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SRO, LD20/6/6, Lichfield, St Mary’s Overseers’ Voucher, Joseph Collins, 22 July 1829

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coining it, in and around Darlaston

Darlaston’s history is intimately connected to the history of metal-working, particularly  the manufacture of gun-locks and other mechanical components.  We were startled, though, to find such expertise put to felonious ends, and the constable of Darlaston (Thomas Partridge) drawn in to give evidence against the accused.

In 1819 three men were tried at the Staffordshire Assizes ‘for having, at the parish of Darlaston, in the county of Stafford..traitorously made and counterfeited a certain piece of coin to the likeness of a shilling’.  Joseph Wilkes, Thomas Earp alias Reddall and John Duffield stood trial for their lives, since coining was a capital offence.  Witnesses were able to show that Earp had been apprehended with a parcel of metal blanks hidden inside his umbrella, and that Wilkes had taken possession of the dies or ‘stamps’ used to convert the blanks into counterfeit coin.  Duffield was the organiser of the scheme.

Image courtesy of the Wellcome Trust: an eighteenth-century illustration of a machine used in coining https://wellcomecollection.org/works/fuxnvhmx

The three men were working within a midlands network of counterfeiters, and were not apparently inhibited or deterred by the prosecution or execution of members of the circle.    John and Mary Bissaker of Warwick pursued a career in coining, and when John was executed in 1800 Mary carried on (narrowly avoiding execution herself in 1807).  It was Mary’s arrest and prosecution in 1819 that prompted the transfer of dies to the Darlaston men, and Mary’s execution that signaled the movement of the trade from Warwick to Darlaston.

But perhaps the most surprising part of the story is still to come.  When the three defendants were found guilty, Mr Justice Richardson initially sentenced them all to death; yet ‘the prisoners begged loudly for mercy; and the learned Judge was much affected.’  The astonishing result of this spontaneous appeal was that Richardson rescinded the death penalty for both Wilks and Earp, leaving Duffield as the only perpetrator paying for his crime with his life.  Surely this established a problematic precedent for this particular Judge, and for consistency of sentencing, even if it was expressive of candid humanitarianism?

Sources: The Times, 10 August 1819, p. 3; I.M. and M.K. Baker, ‘John Duffield of Darlaston and his descendants’,  http://www.historywebsite.co.uk/articles/Duffield/page2.htm, viewed 28 June 2018

Elizabeth Parrock (d.1787), midwife

The history of midwifery in the eighteenth century in England is a story of a traditionally female occupation being colonised by male medical practitioners. In 1700 deliveries were nearly all conducted by women, whereas by 1800 deliveries to prosperous families were conducted by men. Doctors and surgeons charged more for their obstetric services than their female competitors (typically 10s 6d or £1 1s per child by men, compared with 2s 6d or 5s per child by women), so women continued to deliver only the poorest expectant mothers.

Wellcome Images https://wellcomecollection.org/works?query=man-midwife&search=images

The success of the ‘man-midwife’ can be attributed to a number of social and intellectual developments. The introduction of delivery by forceps in the first half of the eighteenth century, a technological refinement not used by female midwives, probably accounts for some of the increased popularity for trained men. They could achieve a successful delivery in difficult circumstances. Men could claim authority and expertise from studying human anatomy in ways not open to women.

Elizabeth Parrock, a Staffordshire midwife, probably trained for her role in the same way as most eighteenth-century women, by practising among her friends. Female midwives emerged when women accustomed to attending births as a friend or relation acquired a wider reputation for their ability to manage the birthing room. In most deliveries where the baby presented normally (head down, facing their mother’s spine) the midwife’s task was to reassure the mother and give advice, while allowing nature to take its course. The two women would probably be surrounded by the female friends of the mother, and collectively the group would keep fathers out of the room.

If the birth became abnormal, due to the malpresentation of the baby or the distress or excess bleeding of the mother, midwives had few techniques at their disposal to achieve a good outcome. Long experience might have taught them how to ‘turn’ the baby in the womb, but the only other option was to call in a surgeon to do something drastic. Women rarely if ever survived a caesarean section before the second half of the nineteenth century.

Dempsey Portraits https://www.portrait.gov.au/image/87695/87987/
Depicting Mary or Elizabeth Leagrove, a gaol attendant in Ipswich, 1823

We don’t of course know what Elizabeth Parrock looked like. The image above is the one we have used to illustrate her in our card game for the project. We do know that she was earlier called Elizabeth Floyd, and was married to George Parrock at Bilston, Staffordshire in 1752. The couple had at least three children, baptised in Bilston and Wednesbury 1756-1760. Elizabeth, therefore, fitted the typical profile for a midwife, being a woman with children of her own but whose children were mature, allowing her to leave her household to work. We know from the overseers’ vouchers that she charged the lower sum for her deliveries, 2s6d per child, for her work in Wednesbury in the 1780s. She was the only woman recorded in the Wednesbury vouchers so far as a midwife, paid for the delivery of just three babies, yet her association with midwifery was strong enough to ensure she was described as a midwife at the time of her burial. The vouchers similarly show that her husband George Parrock was employed by the parish to mend shoes.

Elizabeth is unusual because we can know something about her working life other than her name. Most women who worked as midwives left no records of their business at all, so parish payments for delivering pauper babies is one of the few ways to see them in action. She is also unusual in that female midwives were typically paid immediately after the child was born and did not need to issue receipts, whereas male midwives allowed parents to owe him the money: consequently relatively few female midwives crop up elsewhere in our project database, with only one named midwife per county so far.

Sources: Staffordshire Archives D4383/6/1/9/1/14/20, D4383/6/1/9/2/80, Wednesbury St Bartholomew overseers’ vouchers; marriage of 29 June 1752 Bilston; burial of 4 June 1787 Wednesbury St Bartholomew.

Ann Keen and Catherine Keen, boot and shoe dealers, Lichfield

Ann Keen’s listings in trade directories from 1818 to 1851 and her listing in the 1851 Census as a boot and shoe dealer (mistress) belies the notion of the short-lived female-owned business.

Ann Keen was born to William and Mary Keen in Eccleshall, Staffordshire, and baptised on 30 December 1771. She died, unmarried, in 1853, and was buried at Christ Church, Lichfield.

Parson and Bradshaw’s 1818 directory lists a William Keen, ironmonger, grocer, druggist and tallow chandler, with premises in Eccleshall’s High Street. By this date Ann Keen was already established as the proprietress of a shoe warehouse in Market Street, Lichfield. She was one of two female shoe dealers listed in the town; the other being Margaret Pinches of Boar Street. In comparison, ten male boot and shoemakers are listed.

Thus far 11 bills covering the period 1822 to 1829 have been discovered linking Ann Keen’s business to the overseers of St Mary’s, Lichfield. More may come to light. She was supplying men, women and children with ready-made shoes rather than making them. The vouchers show that Ann was assisted by Catherine Keen. What relation Catherine was to Ann is not clear at present, although Catherine might have been the daughter of Ann’s brother Walter baptised in Eccleshall on 31 March 1769. Until Catherine’s Keen’s marriage in 1823, it was Catherine who drew up the bills for the supply of shoes and took payment from the overseers. Following Catherine’s marriage to Moses Smith, a tobacconist from Hanley, Staffordshire, Ann initially employed an assistant J. Beattie, who like Catherine drew up the bills. Later, Ann took to signing the bills herself, or they were initialled by ‘WB’. At the time of the 1851 Census Ann Keen was living on her own in a property on the south side of Market Street.

Catherine’s marriage to Moses Smith was relatively short-lived. Smith died in 1831. By his will Catherine inherited all his stock-in-trade, money, securities for money, debts household furniture, plate, linen, chattels, and personal estate and effects, upon trust during her natural life. His unnamed children (a son and daughter) were to inherit on Catherine’s death. Catherine Smith and George Keen (Moses Smith’s brother-in-law and assistant in his tobacco business) were appointed the executors. An entry in White’s 1834 directory shows that Catherine continued her husband’s business as a tobacconist in Slack’s Lane, Hanley.

Sources

Staffordshire Record Office

BC/11, Will of Moses Smith of Hanley, Staffordshire, proved 7 March 1832

D20/1/11, St Mary’s Parish Register, Lichfield, 30 June 1823

D286/2/11, Christ Church Parish Register, Lichfield, 9 July 1853

D3767/1/5, Holy Trinity Parish Register, Eccleshall, 31 March 1769, 30 December 1771

LD20/6/6/21, Lichfield, St Mary’s Overseers’ Voucher, Ann Keen, settled 18 June 1822

LD20/6/6/, no item number, Lichfield, St Mary’s Overseers’ Vouchers, 14 August 1822, 25 June 1825, one undated [1825], and 29 June 1826, for example

TNA, HO107/2014, 1851 Census

Parson, W. and Bradshaw, T., Staffordshire General and Commercial Directory presenting an Alphabetical Arrangement of the Names and Residences of the Nobility, Gentry, Merchants and Inhabitants in General (Manchester: J. Leigh, 1818), 165, 175, 184, 188, 189

White, William, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Staffordshire and of the City of Lichfield (Sheffield: 1834), 157, 569

White, William, History, Gazetteer & Directory of Staffordshire, 2nd edn. (Sheffield, printed by Robert Leader, 1851), 5

Description of Lichfield from the Universal British Directory

The following is an edited version of the entry in the third volume of the Universal British Directory.

Lichfield is a pretty large town, one hundred and seventeen miles from London.

This city is uninfluenced in the election of its members of parliament.

The city has power of life and death within their jurisdiction, a court of record, and a picpowder court. Here is a gaol for both debtors and felons, a free school, and a pretty large well-endowed hospital, for a master and twelve brethren. The county of the city is ten or twelve miles in compass, which the sheriff rides yearly on the 8th of September, and then feasts the corporation and the neighbouring gentry.

The cathedral, which stands in the Close, was originally built about 300. It was rebuilt and enlarged in 766. In 1148 it was rebuilt, and greatly enlarged in 1296. In the Civil Wars it was several times taken. When the civil war broke out the nobility and gentry garrisoned the close and defended it against parliament.

Here are three other churches, one of which St Michael’s, has a churchyard of six or seven acres. In the neighbourhood are frequent horse races.

A bill is now about passing for a canal from Wyrley canal to Lichfield, to join the Coventry canal at Huddlesford. A considerable manufactory of horse-sheetings is carried on here by Mr John Hartwell.

The late Dr Samuel Johnson was born in this city, 1709. His father Michael was a bookseller. He more than once held the office of chief magistrate. When arrived at a proper age for grammatical instruction Samuel was placed in the free school of Lichfield. Mr Garrick, so famous for his talents in the dramatic line, received the first rudiments of his education at the same free school.

Markets here are on Tuesday and Friday.

The principal inns are the George kept by Mr Burton; Swan kept by Mr Luke Ward; and Talbot, kept by Mr Jackson for gentlemen travelling on horseback.

Bankers: Catharine Barker and Son, and Francis Cobb.

Seats in the neighbourhood are Elford Hall, the seat of Lady Ann Andover; Fisherwick Hall, the seat of the Marquis of Donegal; Packington, the seat of Thomas Levett; and Freeford, the seat of Richard Dyott.

Source

Peter Barfoot and John Wilkes, Universal British Directory, vol. 3 (London: c.1794)

Frederick Morton Eden on Lichfield in 1795

The following is an edited version of the entry in the second volume of Eden’s State of the Poor.

Lichfield contains three parishes, viz. St Mary’s, St Chad’s and St Michael’s: the first has most houses and inhabitants, but no land; the other two have few houses but a considerable quantity of land.

In 1782 the number of houses in Lichfield was 722, and of inhabitants about 3,555; it is supposed, that, since that period, the population has considerably increased.

In the whole city 408 houses pay the window tax; the number exempted could not be ascertained.

The prices of provisions are: beef and mutton, 5d the lb; veal, 4½d; bacon, 9½d and 10d the lb; milk ¾ of a quart for 1d; butter 1d the lb; potatoes, 4d the bushel; bread flour, 5d the stone; coals, 6d the cwt.

Farms are generally small: the principle articles of cultivation are, wheat, barley, oats, turnips and clover.

The poor are maintained in their own houses: about 23 pensioners, at present, receive £2.17s.6d a week; six of these are bastards: several house rents are paid, and casual reliefs are given to many of the necessitous.

St Mary’s and St Chad’s each have a workhouse. In St Mary’s workhouse there are, at present, 41 Paupers; they manufacture a little blanketing for the use of the house. The bill of fare till very lately included puddings and bread and cheese dinners about 3 days a week. On account of the scarcity of bread and flour the following diet is used: Breakfast—every day, milk pottage. Dinner — Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, meat and vegetables; Monday, Wednesday, Friday, broth and cold meat; Saturday, bread and cheese. Supper—every day, bread and cheese.

It is necessary to observe, that a great part of the other parishes bury at St Michael’s [see separate entry on Thomas Clerk], and children at their own churches: it is owing to this circumstance that burials greatly exceed births [at St Michael’s].

In 2 or 3 small parishes in this neighbourhood, which consist of large farms, there are very few Poor: the farmers, in order to prevent the introduction of Poor from other Parishes, hire their servants for 51 weeks only. I conceive, however, that this practice would be considered by a court of justice, as fraudulent, a mere evasion in the matter, and that a servant thus hired, if he remained the 52 week with his master, on a fresh contract, would acquire a settlement in the parish. August 1795

Source

Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor, A History of the Labouring Classes in England, 3 vols (London: 1797), II.

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.