The Elsmores were Roman Catholics. As a result of Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act, between 1754 and 1837 all marriages had to take place in the Church of England. The Catholic registers that do survive for this period contain records of illegal marriages. Several Elsmore marriages took place at the parish church of St John the Baptist, Tixall, Staffordshire. White’s 1834 directory notes, however, that adjoining the south wing of Tixall Hall ‘is a modern Catholic chapel, a handsome Gothic structure, with an octagonal tower, and beautiful stained glass windows. The parish church … is a small edifice dedicated to St John the Baptist’. For several centuries Tixall had been a safe haven for Catholics. In 1827 the Clifford family, who lived in the hall, built the chapel. By 1835 they had left the area giving the chapel and an acre of land to the Catholics of the area. In 1845 the chapel was taken down and rebuilt in Great Haywood.
William Elsmore (b.1783) married Susan or Susanna Dale on 13 February 1809. The marriage was recorded as having taken place at St John the Baptist church. Susanna was around six months pregnant at the time. Their son James was baptised 23 July 1809 at St John’s. Susan Dale and her sister Frances were confirmed on 5 May 1802 at Tixall chapel.
For Colwich, the 1841 Census (when ages for adults were rounded down to the nearest five years) lists William (55) a cordwainer, his wife Susanna (50) and five children: Stephen (25), Thomas (20), Mary Ann (16), Frederick (15) and Francis (13). Living next to them was another William Elsmore, (30) a joiner and carpenter; his wife Anne (32), and children Teresa, (4); Louisa, (2) and Ann (1).
The 1851 Census reveals that William, aged 68, was born in Stafford, and Susanna, aged 67, was born in Tixall. Stephen (38), born in Baswich, was a cordwainer like his father. No other children of William and Susannah are listed but living with them were two grandchildren, Cecily aged nine (born in Stowe) and Edward Brian, aged two, born in Campden, Gloucestershire. This may explain the connection with Chipping Campden of Thomas Elsmore, a bricklayer, lodging at an inn in High Street, noted in the 1851 Census.
Another child of William and Susanna was Charles, born 1814. At the time of the 1851 Census he was a ‘post’ boy living in St John Street, Lichfield, along with his brother Francis, an ostler and general servant; and an extended family that included their sister Mary A. Brian (37), a victualler’s wife, born in Great Haywood; her sons William (3), born in Longton; Charles (1), born in Great Haywood; and Henry (6 months), born in Lichfield. Also living at the same address was brother-in-law Edward Guy (36), an agricultural implement maker, born Boston, Lincolnshire; and niece Teresa Elsmore (14), a nurse. Visiting when the census was taken was cousin Harriet Dale (30), born in Tixall.
White’s 1851 directory informs us that William Brian was the innkeeper of the Lord Nelson, St John Street, Lichfield.
James Elsmore (b.1809)
Also in the 1841 Census for Colwich are James Elsmore, a cordwainer, his wife Pamela and their children James (b.1836), Robert (b.1837), Pamela (b.1838) and George (b.1840). James and Pamela (née Wood) were married at Painswick, Gloucestershire, on 15 July 1833.
In the 1871 Census James (61), a master cordwainer employing one man, and Pamela (60) and two of their children, Monica, aged 25, a machinist and Francis, aged 15, a cordwainer were all living next to Great Haywood Catholic school and chapel. On the other side of them were William Elsmore, (60) a joiner and carpenter; his wife Anne (67), daughter Martha, (28) a certified schoolmistress; son William (26) also a joiner and carpenter, and a grandson, Francis (3), born in Broughton, Yorkshire.
Jane, Brian and Ann Elsmore
1841 Census for Great Haywood at Norton Land are Henry and Mary Yates and their children John and Ann; and a Mary Elsmore (30). Henry was an agricultural labourer. Next to them at Swansmoor Farm were Robert Cliff [?] aged 70, a farmer; Jane Elsmore (60); Jane Elsmore (26); Brian Elsmore (24); and Ann Elsmore (20).
In 1861, at Swanmoor Farm, Colwich, were Brian Elsmore, (47) farmer of 114 acres employing one labourer and one boy; and Brian’s sisters Jane (49) and Ann (44).
White’s 1834 directory notes that Swanmoor was three miles north-west of Colwich with two large farms. One belonged to Sir T. A. Clifford, constable, and the other to William Moore.
George Elsmore (b.1814)
In 1861, at Billington, Bradley, lived George Elsmore (47), a cordwainer; wife Ellen, (38); Thomas (12), a cordwainer; and Ann (9).
By 1871 George Elsmore (57), born at Little Haywood, his wife Ellen (48), born Stafford, and their children (all born in Bradley) William (16); Thomas (22), an indoor farm servant; Ann Eliza (19); George (18), a ‘farmer’s son’; Ellen (15); Elizabeth (13); Emily Jane (11); Alice (8); and John (5) were still resident at Billington, Bradley.
By the next census (1881) many of George’s and Ellen’s children were no longer living in the family home. George (67) and Ellen (58) were living with their unmarried son William (26), an agricultural labourer; and a grandson Edward B. Elsmore (5) in Berry Ring, Bradley.
Joseph Elsmore (Farmer)
In 1826 Joseph Elsmore of Swanmoor was appointed as a juror for the Quarter Sessions.
Joseph Elsmore (b.1814)
Joseph was born in Fradswell and became a farm bailiff in the parish of St Andrew, Shifnal, Shropshire, living at Hatton School. His wife Elizabeth (b.1823) was the school mistress and was assisted by their daughter Margaret (b.1857). Living with them was Herbert Merriman (b.1853), and agricultural labourer; and Richard Wedge (b.1861), a groom and domestic servant.
Thomas Elsmore (b.1821)
In 1841 in the parish of St Mary, Stafford, shoemaker Joseph, born around 1821, was living with his wife Mary and their two children William, aged two; and Bernard, aged one.
Joseph Elsmore (b.1821)
Living in the same street in Stafford as Thomas Elsmore (b.1821) was shoemaker Joseph, his wife Caroline and their son Thomas, aged one.
Frederick Elsmore (b.1828)
Like his father William, Frederick became a shoemaker. He appears to have moved around a great deal. In 1841 he was an apprentice shoemaker in Stafford living in the household of his master Samuel Mountford. In 1851 he was lodging in St Peter’s parish Derby. Ten years later he had moved to Walsall Wood. He was still a shoemaker and still living in digs.
Robert Elsmore (b.1784)
In 1851 at Mavesyn Ridware, Staffordshire, Robert Elsmore (67), born in Colwich and his wife Sarah (51) were in receipt of parish relief. Their 14-year-old daughter Rebeccah was dressmaker’s apprentice, and their 11-year-old-son Henry was an agricultural labourer.
William Elsmore (b.1816)
Living at Ellastone, Staffordshire, were William Elsmore (35) a bookkeeper to a builder, (born in Bradley, Staffordshire); his wife Charlotte (42) born in Ellastone, and their children William H. (12), born in Colwich; Bryan T. (9); Jane (7); Frederick J. (4); and Louisa (1). The last four children were all born in Ellastone.
John Elsmore (b.1814)
John Elsmore was born in Great Haywood. By the time of the 1851 Census he was a widowed a farm labourer living in Armitage. His daughter Elizabeth (b.1828) was a laundress, and his son, Thomas (b.1829) was a farm labourer.
Birmingham Archdiocese Archives, P162/1/2, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Deaths, Roman Catholic Parish Marriages, 1798–1853
Gloucester Archives, P244, IN 1/16, Gloucestershire Anglican Parish Registers, Painswick
SRO, Q/Rjr/1826, Quarter Sessions Jurors Lists (Staffordshire Name Index)
The National Archives, ‘How to look for records of Catholics’
TNA, HO 107/994/11, Census 1841
TNA, HO, 107/1010/1, Census 1841
TNA, HO, 107/1999, Census 1851
TNA, HO, 107/2014, Census 1851
TNA, HO, 107/2015, Census 1851
TNA, HO, 107/2076, Census 1851
TNA, HO, 107/2143, Census 1851
TNA, HO, 107/2146, Census 1851
TNA, RG, 9/1908, Census 1861
TNA, RG, 9/1909, Census 1861
TNA, RG, 9/2018, Census 1861
TNA, RG, 10/2819, Census 1871
TNA, RG, 10/2820, Census 1871
TNA, RG, 11/2634, Census 1881
TNA, RG, 11/2687, Census 1881
William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (Sheffield: 1834)
William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire (Sheffield: 1851)
This is a work in progress, subject to change as new research is conducted.