Wild Boar Stuff

A draper’s bill presented to the overseers of Brampton listed three items as ‘wild boar stuff’. What exactly was ‘wild boar stuff’ and was it really made from ‘wild boar’? ‘Stuff’ was a generic name given to cloth used for making garments. Often the fabric was made from wool, or a mixture of wool and other fibres.

The OED defines ‘hog wool’, as ‘wool from a yearling sheep; the fleece produced by a sheep’s first shearing’. The term originated in the mid-eighteenth century.

John Luccock’s 1809 essay on wool notes, ‘The hog wool, or the first fleece produced by a lamb more than a year old, was greatly esteemed under the old modes of manufacture; and had not the machinery recently adopted rendered it desirable to obtain staples of a uniform length, which is not so easily effected in this class of fleeces, it would still maintain its pre-eminence, as it does in all places where the yarn is spun by hand’.[1]  Might this explanation mean that ‘wild boar stuff’ was actually derived from hand spun hog wool?

The Journals of the House of Lords vol. 60 contains a discussion on South Down wool, noting the increase in demand for hog wool: ‘All the Cloth made from the better Sorts of Foreign Wools have a more felting Property in them. That (producing a sample of Worsted Stuff) is made of South Down Hogs, probably South Down and Merinos together.’[2]

One suggestion is that it might be wool from the mangalitsa pig. This long-haired breed was not developed until the mid-nineteenth century by cross-breeding wild boar with Hungarian domesticated pigs, so cannot have been used to make the ‘wild boar stuff’ listed in the draper’s bill. Equally, there seems to be no reference to the use of its fleece for textile production. Another suggestion is that the ‘boar’ might refer to the colour of the textile, or perhaps the texture.

Any further information on ‘wild boar stuff’ would be welcomed.

Sources

William Beck, The Drapers’ Dictionary: a manual of textile fabrics, their history and applications (London: The Warehousemen and Draper’s Journal Office, 1882).

Polly Hamilton, ‘Haberdashery for use in dress, 1550–1800’ (unpublished PhD, University of Wolverhampton, 2009)

Journals of the House of Lords, vol. 60 (1828), Appendix 3

Wilhelm W. Kohl and Peter Toth, The Mangalitsa Pig (2014)

Oxford English Dictionary


[1] John Luccock, An Essay on Wool, Containing a Particular Account of the English Fleece (London: J. Harding, 1809), 133.

[2] Journals of the House of Lords, vol. 60 (1828), Appendix 3, 84.

Peter Burn (1792–1877), Gardener, Brampton

Two vouchers have come to light showing Peter Burn supplying seeds and plants to Brampton workhouse. The first from 1816 includes early cabbage plants, onion, Welsh onion and leek seeds and ‘green plants’. The second from 1819 included early cauliflower. Such information adds to the current understanding of pauper diets which, derived from workhouse dietaries or daily allowances, often do not specify vegetables other than potatoes.  

Even though Burn’s bills to the overseers were modest in amount, totalling £1 5s 6d, his business was evidently profitable as he held more than £1000 of stock in the Carlisle City and District Banking Company.[1] In 1851 he employed two men and two boys.[2] He was still working in 1871, employing five boys.[3]

Burn is listed in Parson and White’s 1829 directory as a gardener with premises in Front Street.[4] By 1851 he was living in Church Lane with his wife Margaret.[5]

Burn was born in 1792 in Bellingham or Ridley, Northumberland.[6] His wife Margaret (née Johnson) was born in 1797 at Alston, Cumberland.[7] She may have been his second wife. The 1841 Census for Brampton does not list Margaret Burn, but does list a Peter Burn, and children Thomas (15), Peter (10), Elizabeth (20), Sarah (15) and Margaret (14). As was the practice at the time, most of these ages have been rounded. A quick search through FindMyPast and Ancestry show that a Peter and Sarah Burn’s children were Thomas (bap. 13 September 1822), Peter (bap. 8 September 1830), Elizabeth (bap. 20 August 1819), Sarah (bap. 13 June 1824) and Margaret (bap. 17 November 1826).[8] Sarah Burn the elder died in 1838.[9]

Living with Peter and Margaret in 1871 were his widowed brother Bryan, a retired railway guard, and two unmarried granddaughters, Sarah aged 22 (a housekeeper), and Elizabeth aged 15.[10]

Peter Burn died on 19 February 1877. His will contains three codicils and was proved at Carlisle on 26 April by two of his executors; his son Peter, a draper, and John Armstrong, a gardener. Burn’s effects were under £600.[11]

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


[1] Anon, A List of the County Banks of England and Wales, Private and Proprietary (London: M. A. Marchant, 1838), frontispiece, 138.

[2] TNA, HO 107/2427, 1851 Census; RG 9/3907, 1861 Census.

[3] TNA, RG 10/5209, 1871 Census.

[4] W. Parson and W. White, History, Directory & Gazetteer of Cumberland & Westmorland, (Leeds: Edward Baines and Son, 1829), 417.

[5] TNA, HO 107/2427, 1851 Census.

[6] The 1851 Census records Bellingham, the 1861 Census, Ridley. TNA, HO 107/2427, 1851 Census; RG 9/3907, 1861 Census.

[7] TNA, HO 107/2427, 1851 Census; RG 10/5209, 1871 Census.

[8] Ancestry.co.uk; FindMyPast.co.uk, accessed 25 April 2019.

[9] Buried 26 February 1838, Ancestry.co.uk; FindMyPast.co.uk, accessed 25 April 2019.

[10] TNA, RG 10/5209, 1871 Census.

[11] National Probate Calendar, Peter Burn, 26 April 1877.

Blue Duffle

The Cumberland vouchers make frequent reference to the purchase of blue duffle.William Beck’s The Drapers’ Dictionary cites Booth’s Analytical English Dictionary of 1835 which describes duffle as ‘a stout milled flannel, but of greater depth and differently dressed. It may be either perched or friezed (napped), and is sold in all colours’. The name is generally thought to have derived from Duffel (now in Belgium).

In The Compleat English Tradesman Daniel Defoe notes that ‘The manufacturing towns of Lancashire, Westmorland and Cumberland is employ’d in the coarser manufactures of those counties, such as Kersies, half-thicks, yarn stockings, Duffelds, Ruggs, Turkey-work chairs and many other useful things’.

What was the blue duffle being used for? In all likelihood it was used to make coats or cloaks for the poor, perhaps as a type of uniform for the workhouse, or as part of a set of clothes provided for parish apprentices. Joan Lane notes that clothing for apprentices, including particular items that identified them with specific trades, was a common requirement, and that factory apprentices were expected to attend church looking reasonable. She continues that male parish apprentices ‘received a shirt, waistcoat, breeches, stockings and shoes, with a coat and hat for outdoors. A girl was given a petticoat, one or two shifts … with a gown, apron, stockings and shoes … Coats and cloaks were hardly ever bought for female pauper apprentices’.[1]

Five news items provide further information on the uses of blue duffle:

Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Advertiser, 14 March 1787, described how John Bell, aged 17 or 18, had run away from his apprenticeship from shoemaker George Sugding, in Workington. He was wearing a turned blue coat and vest, black breaches and a woollen hat. At the same time another apprentice, Jonathan Atch, aged 17, also absconded. He was wearing a blue upper jacket, a double-breasted blue vest and blue breaches, all duffle.

Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Advertiser, 23 May 1797, detailed the elopement of Daniel Hodgson and Mary Johnston, the wife of James Johnston. Johnston, aged 67, was reported as wearing a white thickset coat, and a blue and white striped waistcoat. Johnston, ‘a stout made woman … pitted with the small pox’, was wearing a a dark stamped gown and bed gown, a brown or blue quilted petticoat, black worsted stockings , a blue duffle cloak, and a black silk bonnet.

Twenty dozen pairs of stockings and ‘some webs of blue duffle and blue worsted stuff’ were stolen from Bridekirk manufactory, Annan. Carlisle Patriot, 14 March 1818.

Carlisle Journal, 7 August 1841, William Dixon gave evidence against John Cope for stealing a jacket belonging to Isaac Sherwin of Aspatria. When apprehended in Maryport, Cope was wearing a blue duffle jacket beneath which was the stolen jacket. Cope was found guilty and sentenced to six months hard labour.

In 1843 the Carlisle Journal reported an inquest. The headless body of a man was washed ashore opposite Eskmeals. The clothing consisted of a blue and white striped shirt, a red flannel shirt, a blue duffle jacket, and white woollen stockings. \lsdpriority

Sources

Cumbria Archives Service, Carlisle, PR60/21/13/3/ no item number, Brampton Overseers’ Voucher, settled 31 May 1795

Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Advertiser, 14 March 1787

Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Advertiser, 23 May 1797

Carlisle Patriot, 14 March 1818.

Carlisle Journal, 7 August 1841

Carlisle Journal, 9 December 1843

William Beck, The Drapers’ Dictionary: a manual of textile fabrics, their history and applications (London: The Warehousemen and Draper’s Journal Office, 1882), 106

Daniel Defoe, The Compleat English Tradesman vol II, (London: printed for Charles Rivington, 1727), 59–60

Joan Lane, Apprenticeship in England, 1600–1914 (London: UCL Press, 1996), 27–29


[1] Joan Lane, Apprenticeship in England, 1600–1914 (London: UCL Press, 1996), 29.

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

Senna and Prunes for Dame Trill

When parishes agreed to meet the costs of medicines for the parish poor, they might require medical practitioners to submit an itemised bill for the raw materials, procedures and travel involved in delivering treatment.  Many of the items were commonly known to contemporaries, but are less familiar to us: therefore when writers abbreviated entries for repeated supplies, they stored up a problem for twenty-first century readers.  It is notoriously difficult (and perhaps unwise) to try to decipher the abbreviated Latin prescriptions of physicians.  It is a little easier to understand the medical interventions involved when the original language was English, and/or the substances remain part of formal or informal treatments.

Eighteenth-century woman perched on public convenience.
National Portrait Gallery. ‘National Conveniences’, James Gillray, 1796. NPG D13021.

Dame Trill from East Hoathly had a problem we can recognise – she was constipated.  We do not know the background to her story; she may have suffered a dietary deficiency of roughage or, if struggling with piles, she might have found relief in additional stool softener.  Whatever the cause, the problem was stubborn.  The parish bought senna and prunes for Dame Trill repeatedly 1770-4, usually at a cost of six and a half pence per treatment.  Raisins were sometimes offered as an alternative to prunes.

Other treatments issued to the sick poor were more general.  The purpose of diuretic balsam is made clear in the name, in that it was designed to remedy the retention of urine, but the specific diagnosis is less easy to divine.  Medicines for the poor at this date still relied on humoural understandings of the body for their rationale.  Humoural medicine construed ill health as the imbalance of humours or fluids within the body.  The four humours of blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile had a unique blend or balance for each individual, and the restoration of health demanded the removal of any humour that was overly prevalent.  For this reason vomits, purges, diuretics and bleeding were among the most frequently used medicines throughout the eighteenth century.

In addition to generic remedies there was a willingness by parishes to pay for the equivalent of brand-name medicines, known at the time as patent medicines.  Widow Cane of East Hoathly was given Hooper’s Pills in 1773.  The patent for this medicine was first issued in 1743  and was one of the most successful and long-lasting products of its type, being sold well into the twentieth century in England and elsewhere.  It pledged to tackle female ‘irregularities’ and so was assumed by some customers to be a viable solution to an unwanted pregnancy.  It is important to say, though, that we don’t automatically suppose that this was the purpose of the parish in buying the pills for Widow Cane!  This medicine also offered to treat stomach problems, hysteria, and menstrual concerns: perhaps Widow Cane was menopausal?

Lists of medicines and treatments for the parish poor have presented a problem to historians thus far: how are we to use them, if we cannot work out the ingredients of items listed simply as pills, powders or mixtures, and if the recipients are not always obvious?  This is one of the problems this project is hoping to address.  Do get in touch with the project team if you have any ideas about how we might use these intriguing vouchers to ask historical questions.

Halberber Root or Halbert Weed?

Darlaston Pauper’s Vouchers at Stafford Record Office contain  an account from 23 April to 22 May 1817. (ref. D1149/6/2/2/20)

This is a list of all bills received, and presumably paid, during the month and a list of smaller cash payments one of which is for Halberber Root.  I have been unable to discover anything with this name but have found Halbert Weed or Neurolaena Lobata.

Although no reference was made to the use of the root, it appears in several references as a medicinal plant such as:

  1. MEDlCINAL PLANTS OF JAMAICA. PARTS 1 & 11. By G. F. Asprey, M.Sc., Ph.D. (B’ham.), Professor of Botany, U.C.W.l. and Phyllis Thornton, B.Sc. (Liverpool), Botanist Vomiting Sickness Survey. Attached to Botany Department, U.C.W.l. NEUROLAENA LOBATA (Sw.) R. Br. Cow Gall Bitter: Halbert Weed; Bitter Wood; Bitter Bush;  Goldenrod. In Jamaica Neurolaena lobata is thought to be useful for treating stomach disorders. Early writers speak of its use as a bitter and also as a dressing for sores, wounds and ulcers. Barham thought it to be diuretic. In Honduras it has a reputation as a malaria remedy.
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3971758/The Journal of Natural Products.  Neurolaena lobata (L.) R. Br. ex Cass. (Asteraceae) is a herbaceous plant distributed widely in Central America and north western parts of South America. In Caribbean traditional medicine, the leaves of this plant have been used for the treatment of different types of cancer, ulcers, inflammatory skin disorders, diabetes, and pain of various origins. In some regions, N. lobata is also used to treat or prevent a variety of parasitic ailments, such as malaria, fungus, ringworm, and amoebic and intestinal parasites.13

A Blog post about Clogs

PR10/100/18, Skelton Overseers’ Voucher, An account of Grace Matthews clothes and goods, 2 June 1785

Clogs feature in both the Staffordshire and Cumberland vouchers. In 1829 and 1830, for example, the overseer of Uttoxeter Mr Wood paid John Green for the following:

2 Sept  1829 Pair of Clogs 1s 4d John Green Mr Wood
7 Nov  1829 1pr clogs 1s  8d
18 Nov 1829 1pr of clogs ordered by Mr Wood 1s 10
21 Nov  1829 1pr of clogs ordered by Mr Norres 1s 6d
18 Dec 1829 1pr of clogs ordered by Mr Wood 1s 10d
8s 2d

 

10 Jul 1830 4 pr boys clogs 5s 4d John Green Mr Wood

Clogs were also by the overseers of Darlaston, Staffordshire: in 1818 Thomas Challinor was paid for three pairs.

In Skelton, Cumberland, the inventory of Grace Matthews goods and clothes included one pair of clogs. There is a separate blog entry for Matthews.

In Wigton, Cumberland, Thomas Watman’s 1773 bill refers to the calking of clogs.

Details of two further vouchers from  Wigton (1771) and Skelton 1791 are shown below.

6 Dec 1771 John Barnes
John Little
Daniel Steel
Daniel Steel
John Barnes
John Little
£0-3-8
£0-0-11
for 3 pairs of clogs
Ironing 3 pairs of clogs
1 Jun 1791 Thomas Mather William Stalker Thomas Mather £4.19.0 Maintenance, repair of clogs & 6 mths house rent

In his State of the Poor Frederick Morton Eden recorded: ‘Some years ago clogs were introduced into the county of Dumfries from Cumberland, and are now very generally used over all that part of the country, in place of coarse and strong shoes. The person who makes them is called a clogger. “All the upper part of the clog, comprehending what is called the upper leather and heel quarters, is of leather, and made after the same manner as those parts of the shoe which go by the same name. The sole is of wood. It is first neatly dressed into a proper form; then, with a knife for the purpose, the inside is dressed off, and hollowed so as to easily receive the foot. Next with a different kind of instrument, a hollow or guttin, is run round the outside of the upper part of the sole, for the reception of the upper leather, which is then nailed with small tacks to the sole and the clog is completed. [The Staffordshire vouchers often contain quantities of ‘tacketts’]. After this they are generally shod, or plated with iron, by a blacksmith. [Calking clogs – adding iron strips or plates to improve their durability – appears on numerous bills for Cumberland]. The price of a pair of men’s clogs (in Dumfrieshire) is about 3s including plating; and, with the size the price diminishes in proportion. A pair of clogs, thus plated, will serve a labouring man one year … at the end of that period, by renewing the sole and plating, they may be repaired so as to serve a year longer… [Many of the Cumberland bills are for making such repairs]. They keep the feet remarkably warm and comfortable, and entirely exclude all damp.”

At Lancaster, Eden noted: ‘Ironed clogs, which are much cheaper, more durable, and more wholesome than shoes, are very generally worn by labouring people’.

The noise clogs made alarmed those unused to it. In August 1797 Henry Kitt recorded: ‘We were annoyed at first by the harsh clatter made by the clogs of the boys playing in the street … We were soon, however, convinced that these wooden shoes, capped with plates of iron, were well adapted to the use of the peasants who inhabit a rough and marshy country’.

Sources

Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor, vols. I & II (1797)

Henry Kitt, Kett’s Tour to the Lakes of Cumberland and Westmorland, vol. 5 (1797)

Cumbria Record Office, Carlisle

PR10/100/18, Skelton Overseers’ Voucher, An account of Grace Matthews clothes and goods, 2 June 1785

PR36/v/2/49, Wigton Overseers’ Voucher, 6 December 1771

PR V/36/3, Wigton Overseers’ Voucher, Thomas Watman 1773

Staffordshire Record Office

D1149/6/2/3/93, Darlaston Overseers’ Voucher, 19 October 1818

D3891/6/34/9/018, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Voucher, 2 September to 18 December 1829

D3891/6/36/8/12, Uttoxeter Overseers’ Voucher, 10 July 1830

Elizabeth Wilson, (fl.1785-1788)

Elizabeth Wilson Voucher PR10/V/16 Skelton

 

Brief research shows that Elizabeth Wilson’s maiden name was Mathews.  Where or when she was married is unknown. She was the daughter of John Mathews (1700-1783) and Grace Sewell (1704- 1788). Their marriage was registered in Skelton parish 15 July 1731. Grace was baptised 13 April 1732 and her brother Joseph on 21 May 1735.

Elizabeth Wilson received money to help with the care of her mother on 1st November 1785. Other vouchers signed by Isaac Dodd, Vestry Clerk,  are of a similar freehand format. The payment to Elizabeth  was  delivered by the hand of Isaac Holm. It is assumed that the money was collected from or sent to a predetermined place known to Skelton people. Very often this would have been an inn or a well-known shop.

Letters from Elizabeth Wilson to Isaac Dodd were addressed with instructions to be left at the Black Bull, Penrith. The Black Bull was situated in the Corn Market area of Penrith. It had eight lodging rooms and stabling for 21 horses. In 1790 a Mr Murthwaite was the victualler there. Rye was sold outside the Black Bull, wheat at the Black Lion, oats at the Fish Inn and White Hart Inn, and barley at the Griffin. All were situated in or near the Cornmarket area.

By 1785 it appears that  Elizabeth was looking after her mother probably at her home, following John Mathews’ death two years earlier aged 83. He is described as a poor man in the parish register. A voucher of June 1785 lists the clothes and property of Grace Mathews to be delivered to her daughter. Isaac Dodd and Thomas Moses signed at the bottom. Her belongings may have been all she possessed. They Included:

  • 1 Chaf bed
  • 3 blankets
  • 1 pare [pair] of harden sheets
  • 1 bolster and pillow and draw
  • 2 Toppings 1 Rug
  • Bed hangings
  • 1 Bedstead
  • Two Gowns
  • 3 Petticoats
  • 1 Hankerchief
  • 2 Blue Aprons
  • 7 Checked Do[Aprons]
  • 1 pare[pair] of shoes
  • 4 Shifts
  • 2 pare[pair] of Stockings
  • 1 pare[pair] of Clogs
  • 6 Caps
  • 1 chair

The first letter to Dodd in November 1787 has Tindal [Tindale near Farlam] written at the top. She expressed her concern that he has not sent cloth for shifts as the money is not enough to buy clothing on top of her other outgoings. Saying she needed to be able to keep her mother clean and cannot do this without a change of clothes. Asking him to show the letter to the Overseers’, she continues:

I have  tobacco and everything to find. She has been a year and a half that she could not dress herself nor go to bed without help. If you don’t send cloth or money I must be obliged to send her back. I have now had her 3 years at May day.’ 

Elizabeth did get the money sent to her, however, as stated in her letter:

‘I received the money but had a great deal of trouble with a guinea which was not weight. When you send again write on the letter full weight or I shall have no chance with the carrier.’  

Counterfeit coins were problematic around this time and up until the 1830s. Punishment could be severe. Weighing a coin was a way of trying to determine its authenticity. It may have been that Elizabeth thought she had been given money that had been clipped, or that it was a newer design of coin recently minted that she did not recognise. 

The last letter of 15  June 1788 updates Isaac Dodd:

‘I received your letter with cash £0.2.9 in due time as for my mother and me we have had a very bad winter for she lay ever since Martinmass, but thanks be to God she has got it over. She was buried May the 29th 1788. So the money as it happened deferred the expenses of the funeral.’

The hand writing in the two letters differs so Elizabeth may have sought help to write them.

John and Grace Mathews

Further vouchers from the parish of Skelton have been found since this original blog was written that show Elizabeth Wilson’s parents John and Grace received help from the Parish prior to Grace being cared for by Elizabeth. In February 1781 an account of their belongings at Skelton poorhouse was made. The overseer for the poor being a John Pool of Unthank quarter. [photo below] After John’s death on 26 February 1783 Ann Steele  received a payment of £1.6s.6d. for the maintenance of Grace. The payment was made by Isaac Dodd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

Cumbria archives and Library.

Andrew Graham, Secret Penrith  (Amberley 2016)

The Register of the parish of Skelton Cumberland 1580-1812 Baptisms, Marriages and Burials

PR 10/110-112 Letters to the Vestry Clerk

PR 10/V/15 Voucher Cumberland. Small Bills and Petty Finance 1700-1834

Newspapers accessed at www.britishnewspaperarchives.co.uk

Carlisle Patriot, 20 September 1823

Carlisle Journal, 19 October 1839

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, 21 August 1771

Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser, 30 July 1782

 

 

 

Thomas Gill c.1737-1789. A Pauper Funeral. Skelton Parish

Voucher PR10/V/14

Thomas Gill lived in Lamonby and Leath in Skelton parish. He was described as a labourer in the parish  according to the records available. It is assumed that he took on labouring work most of his life and that his income and ability to make a living would be very dependent on his ability to work. Skelton being a rural area the work would most likely involve that related to agriculture.

Family

He married Elizabeth (Betty) Gibson when he was 37 and she was 21 on 23 November 1774. It is possible that Gill had been married before as Skelton poor law vouchers show that the parish overseer arranged a binding into an apprenticeship for a Thomas Gill’s son in 1772. Whether this was this Thomas Gill’s son is not known. Thomas and Elizabeth had 5 children William (b.1775) , Hannah (b.1776), Mary (b.1779), Margaret (b.1781) and Elizabeth (b.1786.) When Elizabeth was born Gill was referred to as a pauper. By the 10 March 1789 Gill had died aged 49;  his family were presumably left  to struggle on. His son William had already died in 1775 aged 2 months. Hannah, his daughter, was alive in 1799 and had a son, Thomas. His birth is recorded as illegitimate on 23 May of that year. If his wife Elizabeth remarried or how long she lived is unknown.

Funeral Expenses

Assuming the family were unable to pay for his funeral, Skelton parish appears to have borne the cost. The parish  provided similar provisions for the pauper funeral of Edward Tinkler in 1793 as well as others. With similar items on the small bills and petty cash vouchers, the expense for Gill’s funeral included bread from Wm Nicholson,  £0.4s.0d, Ale and Beer from Ann Todd £0.2s.0d,  butter from Wm Hodgson £1.6s.0d, cheese £0.2s.0d, sugar £0.1s.6d, barley 2 quarters £0.0s.5d, cakespice £0.0s.2d, tobacco 2 0z £0.0s.3d, candles £0.0s.4d,  a shroud £0.2s.6d, 10oz tea, a coffin £0.12s.0, and Church fees £0.1s.6d; the total cost being £1.8s.5d.  Who consumed the food is not known. This may not be comparable with a pauper’s funeral in the larger cities. The respect afforded the poor in death may have been dependent on parish finance and those who administered them.

Footnotes

In rural areas the fear of resurrectionists and anatomists was probably less than in the larger cities with medical schools. These schools could procure  bodies for research in unethical ways. The Anatomy Act of 1832 proposed to address this by allowing poorhouses, workhouses and hospitals to give up bodies not claimed by friends of relatives to surgeons and teachers of anatomy. Some argued that this would benefit the poor by reducing the cost of medical advice while also helping medical science. The likelihood is it perpetuated the poor’s fear of the workhouse.

The following is taken from Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society iv, 425-435, Rev R.W. Dixon, ‘Hayton: The Old Registers’.

Before poor law unions the poorhouse Hayton was at Street House. It is to this the agreement between Thomas Wharton of Faugh and the churchwardens refers to. Thomas Wharton  had an agreement with Hayton Parish for a year in 1773 for ‘letting of the poor’ for a year. The Parish provided clothing and apparel. Wharton was to mend their clothes and stockings. £5 being appointed for the purpose. Under 1 year olds to be counted with their mother as one person. He was to provide meat, drink, washing and lodgings for the paupers. He was given a weekly allowance of £0.1s. 2d for each pauper adjusted if they left before the week was out. A yearly salary of £12.10s was given to him. If the pauper died in the house he was to be buried at the expense of the parish. What this provision entailed can only be surmised. This practice may have continued with an arrangement  with Thomas Milbourn of Towtop in 1776 for letting of the poor for one year.

Sources

Cumbria Archives

PR 102/30 Churchwardens and overseers account book 1740-1796. Includes memorandum on agreement for letting of poor for one year to Thomas Milbourn of Towtop p Hayton,Yeoman, 1776

PR 10/V/14 item 12 March 10 1789 Skelton Overseers Vouchers 

The Register of the Parish Church of Skelton:  Baptisms, Burials and Marriages 1580-1812

Liverpool Mercury, 20 January 1832

 Rev R W Dixon Hayton: The Old Registers’, Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society. vol iv, 425-435

E.S Thomson, Beloved Poison (London: Churchill, 2016)

www.gutenberg.org. Bygone Cumberland and Westmorland. (accessed 9 Dec 2018)

archaeologydataservice.ac.uk

This is a work in progress subject to change.

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.