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.

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