Robert Hook, East Hoathly

The parish of East Hoathly comprised around 350 inhabitants at the time Thomas Turner was writing his diary and boasted two shoe menders: Thomas Davey and Robert Hook. There was enough work for both to make a living: the inhabitants of the parish seem to have been hard on their shoes. There appears to have been no rivalry between the two men. In February 1756 Thomas Davey brings Turner a new boot to try on “being 1 of a pair I have bespoke near 12 months of Robt. Hook”.[1] Perhaps there is a note of complaint here at the delay in making the boots.

While Thomas Davey was a friend of Turner, often visiting his house of an evening, Robert Hook knew Turner as a member of the small group of village dignitaries and tradesmen who ran parish affairs. Hook served as surveyor of the highways in 1756,[2] and as headborough during 1758.[3] In 1757 at the end of Hook’s term as surveyor, he asked Turner to help draw up the accounts to be presented to the Justices of the Peace. This necessitated Turner meeting him at Jones’s, the local inn, and Turner’s record of the evening contains a condemnation of “that most detestable poison called gin!”[4]

In February 1758, in his capacity as headborough, Robert Hook accompanied Thomas Turner to “take up” Mary Hubbard, the servant of Thomas Osborne Senior, to persuade her to swear the father of her illegitimate child. The year before Hook was also involved in the pursuit of George Hyland, who led the parish officers a merry dance over his reluctance to marry Ann Durrant, having fathered her child, until enough inducements were offered.

Hook wrote a clear hand, submitting long bills annually to the parish Overseers for shoe repair and shoe making. His tone is informal; he refers to children only by their family name e.g. ‘young Trill’, or ‘young Bristow’. This may be because the father’s name was the important one and his wife and children mere dependants, or an indication of familiarity and social cohesion within the parish.

Robert Hook died in early 1775 – the last item on the invoice paid after his death is on February 10th. Besides shoe mending, this final invoice itemises the supply of ‘poals’ and bundles of laths for Thomas Sinden’s house,[6] which suggests that Robert Hook possessed or cultivated a parcel of land, which would have supplied the wood, or that he acquired the wood by trade.

Robert Hook was married with at least two children that we know of. In 1758, his daughter Mary described as “a poor wild girl”[7] had a trial as maid in Thomas Turner’s house but this did not work out and one month later “Molly Hook went away.”[8] Mary Hook would have been twelve or thirteen at the time. In 1767 Mary married William Start, or Sturt, a member of another East Hoathly family. A William Hook was taken on as an apprentice to Hook in 1773, but it is not clear whether he was Robert’s son, or a relative. Robert Hook’s family remained in the village after his death, and his son, another Robert Hook, was also involved in parish affairs. In 1782 he obtained a settlement certificate on behalf of Elizabeth Overing from the Uckfield magistrates. This second Robert Hook, who was also a cordwainer, died in 1824 at the age of 70 and is buried in the Friends Burying Ground in Lewes.


[1] The Diary of Thomas Turner 1754-1765 (1984), David Vaisey (Ed) Page 79

[2] Op. cit. Page 79

[3] Op. cit. Page 133

[4] Op. cit. Page 79

[5] PAR378/31/3/22 Itm 20 Line 28 ESRO

[6] PAR378/31/3/14 Itm 22 Lines 19 and 20 ESRO

[7] The Diary of Thomas Turner 1754-1765 (1984), David Vaisey (Ed) Page 154

[8] Op. cit. Page 158

The Brinkhurst family: paupers of East Hoathly parish

In early 1782 Benjamin Brinkhurst died, leaving a widow and three children. Charles Vine charged the parish 12s 6d for making his coffin on 15th February. John Burgess supplied 4 quarts of beer “for the people at Brinkhursts”, which may have been part of the provisions for the funeral. Benjamin was buried on the 17th February.

Benjamin was originally from Wartling, and after moving to East Hoathly, worked as a labourer for John Vine, starting in September 1760. He married Ann Dalloway in April 1762 and gained the right of settlement in East Hoathly in 1769.

Benjamin and Ann had three surviving children: Benedicta (born 1771), William (1773) and John (1776). Two children born to the couple in 1763 and 1764 had died young. When Benjamin died Benedicta was eleven, and William and John nine and six respectively.

The family had received help from the parish prior to Benjamin’s death, but would be more reliant on its help after the death of the breadwinner. During the period immediately before and after her father’s death it was Benedicta who collected the family’s groceries from Thomas Turner’s store, perhaps because her mother was nursing Benjamin. Subsequently Widow Brinkhurst was usually named as the recipient by Turner in his invoices.

Turner supplied candles and soap to the family. He supplied foodstuffs: cheese (4 lbs at a time), butter and sugar, as well as condiments – salt and pepper. For flour the family went to Charles Fielder the miller, getting through 4 gallands (sic) every week to a fortnight. They ate mutton, which seems to have been the staple meat of the poor of the parish, and this Benedicta obtained weekly from the butcher, Richard Fuller. Fuller’s bill to the Parish for the first part of 1783 itemises weekly supplies of mutton to Benedicta from the 1st February to the 15th April.

In the bills which survive it is startling how often the Brinkhurst boys had their shoes mended, (in common with other children in the parish). In one of his bills Thomas Davy remarks plaintively that he had mended William’s shoes “several times”. There is only one instance of Benedicta’s shoes being mended in the surviving bills, in April 1782.

If the boys were provided with new shoes once or twice a year, their feet must soon have outgrown their footwear, and that, and the active life they led, would help to explain the frequent need for repair.

In December 1786 when Benedicta was fifteen, and the boys thirteen and ten, the children’s’ mother Ann died, and the record of her burial on 15 December was annotated “pauper” (not the case for her husband). She seems to have been ill for some time as Mr Paine the surgeon had supplied medicine worth 13 shillings the previous September.

After that the boys became “parish children”. They lodged with parishioners who fed and housed them, and the parish was billed for their keep. The Mr Turner, who was responsible for William may have been Thomas Turner himself.

At the beginning of February 1786 Benedicta received a new pair of shoes, costing 4s 6d. She was rising 16 at this date, and it seems quite old for a child at that time to be dependent, and not expected to be at work.

Village inhabitants were usually provided with a set of clothes prior to looking for a position. That there is no record of Benedicta being outfitted other than with shoes may be because the records have not been transcribed or are incomplete. In contrast, there are bills for a waistcoat for Benedicta’s brother John in the spring of 1790, followed by a hat and hose later in the year, and in 1791 when he reached the age of 15 he was provided with a pair of shoes and nails, presumably a preliminary to starting to look for work.

Benedicta may have left the village to find work, but the boys stayed on in East Hoathly as parish children, continuing to provide the shoe menders with work.

Benedicta re-surfaces in the records at the age of twenty four, living in Lewes. In July 1795 her marriage banns were read in the parish of All Saints Lewes. Benedicta married Stapley Ade, a cordwainer, of St Michael’s Parish Lewes, on 26 July 1795. Her husband was forty eight years old to Benedicta’s twenty, which makes one wonder how she met him. Maybe he had been her employer prior to their marriage (although they were recorded as living in separate parishes). Their first child Ruth was born on December 25th in the same year, which indicates that Benedicta was already pregnant when the couple married.

The couple had five children: Ruth (born 1795), George (1797), Mary (1801), and John (1803) and Alfred (1808). Only the oldest two lived beyond infancy. The fifth child, Alfred Stapley Ade, was baptised in September 1808, and buried on 5 March 1809. Shortly after, on April 16 1809 there is a burial record for Benedicta, whose age was recorded as thirty six years, although her birth in 1771 would make her thirty eight.

Sources

www.Familysearch.org accessed 18 January 2019

PAR378/31/3/8 for settlement examination of Benjamin Brinkhurst

PAR 378/1/1 Early registers (1560-1812)

PAR378/31/3/19, PAR378/31/3/20, PAR378/31/3/21, PAR378/31/3/22

Thomas Burn, (c.1776-1848) Assistant Overseer for the Townships of Greystoke.

Thomas Burn was appointed the Assistant Overseer serving the Townships of Greystoke , Johnby, Little Blencow, Motherby and Gill at a meeting of the Vestry 16 May 1823. His appointment, to start on 4 August 1823, was for three successive years for a yearly stipend of twelve pounds and twelve shillings. Previously in 1820 he had been Overseer along with Joseph Stagg, Joseph Guardhouse, Joseph Todhunter and Thomas Arnott. [1] It might be wondered why he moved from the position of overseer to assistant overseer. Some might see this as a demotion, but by the 1820s the position of assistant overseer had become an official salaried post whereas an overseer continued to be unpaid.

Thomas Burn was a yeoman. He married Elizabeth Hawell on 30 March 1802 and they had one daughter, Jane, baptised at Mungrisedale on 28 April 1803 then again a week later 5 May at Greystoke.[2] Jane later married Joseph Mattinson on 19 November 1825 but died 31 December 1831 aged 28 years.[3]

Mention of Thomas Burn in newspapers is limited. In February 1828 it is reported in several newspapers that a hive of bees belonging to him had swarmed and were thriving. Comment is made of the mild weather for the place and season.[4] The abundance of reports on bees at the time was a reflection of the regard for their productive ways and perfect society. [5] Thomas Burn probably kept them to supplement his income from farming. In 1831 the Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser refers to a presentation to him of a silver teapot by the rate payers of the Parish in recognition of his conduct during his long service as Assistant Overseer. [6]

During his time as Assistant Overseer letters survive that were sent to him in relation to his office. The letters came from a wide range of places some from the adjacent parishes within walking distance, others from further away. [7] One came from Wolsingham, County Durham, concerning William Miller, a besom maker and his family struggling to make a living and coping with family sickness. [8] Another came from a poor widow Alice Lowden in Liverpool. [9]

In 1835 Thomas Burn gave notice of his intention to leave the office of Assistant Overseer giving up all money, books and papers belonging to the parish 15 April 1835.

Wanted Assistant Overseer Greystoke Feb 2 1835 PR5/53 15-1
Wanted Assistant Overseer February 2 1835 PR5/53-15-1 Greystoke Overseers’ Vouchers

Thomas Burn corresponded with his successor John Cockburn 12 August 1835 concerning pay due.

Burn wrote:

Sir , My Stipend being due the fourth of this month. I now expect you to pay me the sum of sixteen pounds before Saturday first, if not an action for the recovery without further notice. Yours etc; Thos Burn. [10]

Mr Cockburn replied:

Sir , In reply to your note of the 12th inst I have respectfully to inform you that your demand of £16 your full years salary cannot be complied with but I can at the same time inform you that the sum due for the time you were in office £11.2s.8d will be paid on demand. Aug 15 1835. Yours John Cockburn. [11]


Thomas Burn remained in the Greystoke area farming and hopefully keeping his industrious bees. He died on 8 January 1848 and his wife on Elizabeth 23 July 1849. [12]

The British Bee Hive George Cruikshank 1840 (1867)
The British Bee Hive George Cruikshank 1840 (1867) The British Museum

Sources
[1] Cumbria Archives, PR5/47, Poor Account Book, 1820-1837
[2] Cumbria Archives, PR 5/5, Greystoke, St Andrews, Baptism and Burial Register, 1757-1809; PR 5/9, Greystoke St Andrews, Marriage Register, 1813-1837.
[3] findmypast.uk [accessed 30 March 2020]
[4] Carlisle Patriot, 2 February 1828, p. 2.
[5] Ellis Hattie, Sweetness & Light, mysterious History of the Honey Bee (2004)

[6] Cumberland Pacquet and Whitehaven Ware’s Advertiser, 15 November 1831, p. 3 col, b
[ 7] Cumbria Archives, PR5/63, 22 letters to out relief, 1800-1837.
[8] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67/H 1, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 5 May 1834.
[9] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-H 21, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 15 September 1835.
[10] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-K 57, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 12 August 1835.
[11] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-K 55, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 15 August 1835.
[12] Carlisle Journal, 27 July 1829 p.3 col. g.

This is a work in progress

Nathan Arnison (1796-1886), Linen and Woollen Draper, Penrith

Nathan Arnison can be found in a trade directory of 1829 at Nether End, near Penrith, as a linen and woollen draper. [1 ] He moved the business to Market Place Penrith around 1831. He bought the shop from a William James who had purchased it from Christopher Crackenthorpe, a member of the Wordsworth family. The shop once was the home of William Cookson silk mercer and draper, and the maternal Grandfather of the poet William Wordsworth and his sister the diarist Dorothy Wordsworth.

Plaque re the former owners of Drapers on the site of N Arnison business, Penrith


A small bill amongst the Greystoke overseers’ vouchers, is headed ‘Bought of N. Arnison Linen and Woollen Drapers, Family Mourning and Funeral Furnishing’, and dated 27 April 1836. The four items, totalling 11s 1/2d, inclued the versatile fabric of cotton calico, priced at 1s. 6d, and 1 pair of sheets at 4s. 4d. [2] It is not apparent from the bill who might be the recipients of these items. Eight years later as well as a small bill for £1.17.6 a larger bill from N Arnison exists.[3] To the Executors of the late John de Whelpdale it is for his funeral expenses in June 1844 for £123.7s.6d Among the 63 different textiles supplied are black and slate calico, ribbon, black mourning silk, crepe, silk and Barcelona handkerchiefs. [4]

N Arnison Linen and Woollen Draper Penrith PR5/67-K

Nathan Arnison, the son of George Arnison (1744-1833) and Elizabeth Topping (1752-1831) of High Hareskeugh (sic) was baptised 1 January 1796 at Kirkoswald .[5] His father a yeoman and victualler of the Horse Heads Inn, Haresceugh [6]. Nathan married Ruth Barra (1799-1870) in 1827. Two sons joined the business: George (1829-1883) and Thomas Bell (1833-1888). N Arnison and Sons appear in subsequent Trade Directories. Robert (1836-1916) was a draper in Sheffield. The other sons William Barras (1830-1896) and Charles Nathan (1840-1911) were principally solicitors. [7] Nathan and Ruth also had two daughters: Isabella Ruth (1838-1914) and Elizabeth who married Hamilton Woods, an engineer.

When Nathan Arnison died 27 February 1886 he left a well established businesss. [8] Those living in the Penrith area will be familiar with the shop that remains in the same place in the centre of Penrith today.

Sources

[1] Parson and White, Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland Furness and Cartmel (1829).
[2] Cumbria Archives, PR5/67- K 8, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 27 April 1836.
[3] Cumbria Archives, DX 8/1/15, N Arnison Account, 1843.
[4] Cumbria Archives, DHUD/17/60, John de Whelpdale deceased, N. Arnison, Penrith, draper, 29 June 1844.
[5] J.J. Thornley, Penrith Ancient Church Registers of the Parish of Kirkoswald.
[6] Parson and White, Directory of Cumberland and Westmorland, Furness and Cartmel (1829)
[7] M Harrison & Co., Directory and Gazetteer County of Cumberland (1861).

[8] Cumbria Archives, PROB/1886/W570, Will of Nathan Arnison.

A Hastings gentleman takes parish office

In December 1827, the parish of St Clements in Hastings decided that it was ‘absolutely necessary’ to appoint an assistant overseer. This salaried official would be asked to take over all of the day-to-day drudgery associated with relieving the poor, namely to relieve all paupers, pay all bills, superintend the management of the poorhouse under the governor, removal all paupers and do all the other duties of a managing overseer. This freed the annually-elected overseers to do the really important work of collecting the poor rates.

Candidates for the office wrote to the parish in early April asking to be considered, but they had been pipped to the post by the interim ‘internal’ candidate. Mr Solomon Bevill had been provisionally appointed in January 1828. He remained in post subject to annual reappointments until 1833 when (presumably) declining health prompted him to retire. Bevill died in 1834, leaving goods and property to his children and grandchildren.

East Sussex Record Office, PAR 367/37/2/17

Thus far, Bevill’s story fits with the outline for a number of assistant overseers around the country. Men of apparently declining fortunes or towards the end of life secured this sort of post to provide an income in otherwise lean years. What is surprising is the additional detail we can glean from genealogical and other sources about the career that was coming to an end in Bevill’s case.

He had been born in the mid-eighteenth century and was therefore in his late 70s when he took on the parish job. Solomon Bevill was married to Lydia Blackman in 1775. In their early lives, the family members were sufficiently poor to warrant the attention of parish officers: Solomon, Lydia and their daughter Elizabeth were the subject of a settlement certificate issued in 1777. Thereafter their fortunes lifted: Solomon Bevill the elder acquired property in Hastings, and either he or his son, Solomon Bevill the younger, became Comptroller of the Port of Hastings. Most intriguing of all, one of the Solomons (I’m assuming the elder) can be found listed as the commander of a privateer in 1812, during the war against America. A letter of marque was made out to this name as the Commander of the ship Eclips out of Hastings, owned by Thomas Mannington.

The Beach at Hastings, c1812-1815

Elderly though he may have been, Bevill certainly brought something of a swashbuckling approach to parish affairs. At first appointment, and without asking the vestry, he summarily pulled down the wash house attached to the parish poor house and began rebuilding it with contractors of his choice. The tone of the vestry minutes in recording this realisation is, though, quite conciliatory rather than reproachful or outraged. Presumably Bevill’s long history in the town, or his age, conferred a protective veneer.

Sources: The Keep, East Sussex Record Office: PAR 367/12/2/8, Hastings St Clement Minutes of the Vestry concerning the poor 1827-33; PAR 367/12/5 Hastings St Clement vestry minute book 1823-58; PBT 1/1/78/562; National Archives HCA 25/206.

Elizabeth Fox. Overseer of the Poor, 1838.

Gnosall Poor Law Vouchers contain one (Reference D951/5/81/147) which names Elizabeth Fox as the Overseer of the Poor. As it is rather unusual to find a woman I looked to see what I could find out about Elizabeth Fox.

Not knowing if she was married or single I first looked for a death in Gnosall 1838-1841 and as none appeared I started with the 1841 Census which revealed two Elizabeth Foxes in the area.

  1. Elizabeth Fox, born circa 1781 a Farmer at Coley Hall with no apparent husband.

Thomas Fox of the Parish of Newport [Salop] married Elizabeth Whittler of this Parish, at Forton (an adjoining Parish to Gnosall) on 5 Oct 1801 both signing X.

Thomas was buried at Forton on 4 Oct 1831 aged 51with an abode of Coley.

All their children were baptised at All Saints, Forton

The 1851 Census only has one Elizabeth Fox which is the retired Farmer, living at Moreton Park, Moreton, Newport. [Moreton is one of the Quarters of Gnosall] By 1861 this Elizabeth is back at Coley Farm with her son and was buried on 17 Aug 1861 at Forton with an abode of Coley.

2.Elizabeth Fox, born circa 1791 in 1841 is living with Thomas Fox a shoemaker in Gnosall

Thomas Fox of the Parish of Eccleshall married Elizabeth Edge of this Parish at Seighford on 17 Jan 1825. Both signed with a Mark. Seighford is about 6 miles from Gnosall. This may be the one who moved to Gnosall but no children have been identified from this marriage in any parish.

Thomas Fox of Gnosall was buried in St. Lawrence, Gnosall on 6 Feb 1844 aged 66. (DOB about 1781)

As she does not appear in the 1851 Census, or to have died,  I looked for a marriage and found one in Gnosall on 1 April 1844 when John Moore a widowed shoe maker, with an abode of the Hollies [part of Gnosall] married Elizabeth Fox a widowed Housekeeper, with an abode of Gnosall. Both signed with a mark. The service was conducted by the Rev. Fearon Jenkinson and the witnesses were Ann and Martha Jenkinson

None of this is making it easy to identify which Elizabeth is the Overseer. Neither the Order Book of Select Vestry for the Concerns of the Poor 1821-1838 Ref. D951/4/5 nor the Vestry Minutes 1835-1952 Ref D951/4/7 make any reference to the Appointment of Elizabeth Fox as Overseer of the Poor.

At a Vestry Meeting on 23 Dec 1835 Thomas Fox signs as one of the Ratepayers but this is no help as both Elizabeths married Thomas’ and Elizabeth the farmer had a son Thomas who could have succeeded his Father who died 1831.

On the face of it Elizabeth the farmer is more likely to be the Overseer as she probably is more likely to be a Ratepayer. However all the official record such as BMD records are in Forton Parish. 

On the other hand Elizabeth the wife of the shoemaker lives in Gnosall and her second husband has appeared as a supplier in the Poor Law vouchers.

Any further information will be posted later.