Settlement, Redemption and Connections – Richard Ward of Alrewas and Burton, shoemaker (1789-1869)

The Covid-19 lockdown has had many of us setting about de-cluttering and tidying at home. For me a principal tidying target has been the collection of notebooks in which I’ve recorded snippets of information and jottings from research at Staffordshire and Lichfield record offices. Going through one of these a few days ago to make sure I had entered up everything on my laptop in a more organised way, I found some brief notes I’d been trying to track down for ages. These concerned a Richard Ward, shoemaker and the source was Burton St Modwen vestry minutes [1].

On 9 July 1817 these minutes reported that it had been resolved to bring Richard Ward into the workhouse to be employed in making and mending shoes and that his goods be redeemed. On 1 May 1822 the minutes reported that Richard Ward of Alrewas be allowed £5 to assist him in his rent, he being unwell at times. This money was sent to him by a courier. On 16 April 1823 Richard Ward of Alrewas was supplied with some bedding.  Now this was a puzzle. Richard was born in 1789 in Streethay, just north of Lichfield. Parish register entries indicate that his family gradually moved northwards to Fradley and then Alrewas. So why was Burton parish a good eight miles away taking responsibility for him? Clues come from the Alrewas parish register [2] where his marriage by licence to Elizabeth Wootton in 1811 indicates he was “of Burton” and this is confirmed by the associated marriage bond and allegation. [3] He may have gained a settlement in Burton, possibly through apprenticeship.

Resolving a person’s settlement could be a fraught business if they sought parish relief and the overseers suspected another parish should or could be liable. It could also be expensive for the parish if a challenge was disputed. Among the project vouchers submitted by lawyers there are many, many examples of the bills incurred by overseers to resolve matters of settlement.

Sadly, overseers’ vouchers for Burton have not found their way to Staffordshire Record Office, so it is not possible to delve further into Richard’s shoe making and mending while in the parish workhouse in Hawkins Lane. Likewise, vouchers for St Michael’s parish in Lichfield (which includes Streethay) have not survived. Vouchers for Alrewas parish were processed for the project and these show that it did not have its own workhouse but sent paupers over to nearby Rosliston in south Derbyshire. [4]

At one of the workshops held at Stafford in connection with the project, Dr Joe Harley set out how useful pauper inventories could be as sources of information. His talk drew on research published in 2015. [5] His paper sets out evidence for the able-bodied poor using the workhouse as a short-term survival strategy. This may well have been the case for Richard.

Overseers’ vouchers for Uttoxeter [6] show that the constable was ordered on 15 Feb 1832 to grant relief to William Breeze to redeem his bundle of clothes and resume his journey to London, and that Joseph Barnes was paid 8 shillings on 20 March 1835 to redeem four articles belonging to Sarah James. Likewise overseers’ vouchers for Tettenhall [7] show payments of 2s to Francis Taylor on 24 Feb 1831 to redeem James Billingsley’s coat, of 6d on 28 June 1832 to redeem Maria Williams’ shawl and of 19s 2½d on 29 June 1832 to redeem Thomas Williams’ coat and for an inquest .

Richard Ward’s experience of Burton workhouse did not put him off returning to the town after his youngest child was born in Alrewas in 1825. It is possible to track the family living in Burton through the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses until Richard died in 1869 and was buried in Burton’s new municipal cemetery at Stapenhill. Two of his sons (William and Richard) lived out their lives in Burton, too. I have visited all their graves and stood the proverbial six feet above. Richard was my 4xgreat grandfather and William my 3xgreat grandfather. I know lots about their various doings.

During Dr Pete Collinge’s Zoom-based talk to the Erasmus Darwin Society on 28 Jan 2021 on ‘Food and the Georgian pauper: evidence from Sandford Street Workhouse Garden , c. 1770-1834’, a lady attending provided illuminating and fascinating information about cottages on Sandford Street in Lichfield and on the Sedgewick family from her own family memories. It never ceases to amaze me just what detail emerges from studying the overseers’ vouchers and other records in connection with this project and the buzz of excitement that comes from connecting with one’s own family.

[1] SRO, B12, Burton St Modwen Vestry minute book, 1805-1840

[2] SRO, D783/1/1/6 Alrewas All Saints, Register of marriages

[3] SRO, PAL/C/6,7/1811/Ward, Alrewas marriage bond and allegation

[4] SRO D783/2/3 Overseers’ vouchers for Alrewas

[5] Harley, J., ‘Material lives of the poor and their strategic use of the workhouse during the final decades of the English old poor law’. Continuity and Change, 30, (2015), pp. 71-103 doi:10.1017/S0268416015000090

[6] SRO, D3891/6/37/12/1 and D3891/6/41/7/21 Overseers’ vouchers for Uttoxeter

[7] SRO, D571/A/PO/65/13; D571/A/PO/69/71; D571/A/PO/69/173 Overseers’ vouchers for Tettenhall

Isaac and Mary Mark. When will they be Settled?

Three letters which relate to Isaac Mark and his wife Mary can be found with other Greystoke overseers’ vouchers. The first dated 2 June 1821 is an examination of Isaac Mark’s antecedents by the magistrates of Leath Ward to determine his place of settlement . Isaac is described as a labourer late of Kingside Hill, Holm Cultram. Born at Bowscale in Greystoke Parish he had, until about the age of 15, worked on a farm at Newlands. His father rented it from William Pattinson for £50 a year. In 1788 Newlands was described as being in both Castle Sowerby and Sebergham Parish [1]. After that, Isaac served in first the navy for twelve years then in the 81st Foot Army Regiment for twelve years. Not being in any one place more than six months, he had been to Malta, Gibraltar, Sicily, Naples, and Lisbon amongst many other places. He was married in Gretna around 1804-5. His son was born about 3 months later. He said he had not tried to gain a settlement elsewhere.[2]

Examination of Isaac Mark June 2 1821 PR5/67-C3


Isaac Mark was baptised on 30 October 1771, at Bowscale, Cumberland, the third son of Thomas (1736-1812) and Sarah Pattinson(1738-1805). He was the brother of George (b.1762), Mary (b.1762), Elizabeth (b.1765), Ruth (b.1767) John (b.1769), Thomas (b.1774), Sarah (b.1779) and Benjamin (b.1785). All were baptised as Quakers.[3] Isaac’s family were descendants of the Bewley and Mark families whose names dominated the Quakers of Mosedale, Cumberland. Some were persecuted for their faith. [4]

Perhaps struggling to make a living, Isaac left the farm. Military conflict may not have sat well with any Quaker principles he had.

It is not known where his wife Mary was born. The marriage document gives her surname as Marey Gels of Higton Lancshire[sic]. Their son, Thomas, appears to have been baptised in Bolton le Moors Lancashire on 17 June 1804.[5] Shortly afterwards, on 17 October 1804 Isaac enlisted in the 81st Foot Regiment at Londonderry, Ireland. He appears on a list of others in the Regiment serving in Canada [6].

While Isaac was absent Mary and Thomas were removed from Bolton le Moors to Greystoke on 3 October 1808, only to be sent back.[8 ] At a future appeal at the Quarter Sessions, they were returned to Greystoke where they were accepted by the overseers and given relief. The overseers account book shows that Mary was given £1 every 4 weeks but towards the end of 1813 payments were sometimes £2 every 8 weeks.[9]

Cumbria Archives PR 5/45 1810-1814 Poor Account Book payment 11 February 1811

On 14 November 1808 an order was given to remove Mary described as a widow and her son named Benjamin aged about 1 year from the Caldewgate Parish of St Mary’s in Carlisle to Castle Sowerby. The record refers to her son as Benjamin, no reference is made to her son Thomas although a subsequent document refers to a son called Thomas suggesting he was still alive. Mary either thought she was now widowed or claimed she was. It is possible that there were two sons, Thomas and Benjamin. The 1851 census records Benjamin Mark aged 43 a Bricklayer of English Damside, Carlisle living with William Gilmore and his wife Mary Gilmore. Although referred to as Son-in-Law it may be that Benjamin Mark was his stepson and Mary Mark his wife. Isaac having died [10]

Caldewgate was mainly and area of innkeepers, tradesman and manufacturers attracting people from other areas looking for employment. The poor could be looked upon badly, more being spent on removing a pauper than relieving them.[11] Whether Mary was removed is not known.

By 7 December 1816 Mary’s status was no longer described as that of a widow. Once again the Justices ordered that Mary and her son Thomas be removed from Caldewgate Quarter to Greystoke Parish. Mary and Thomas, aged about 11 years, were described as having previously been removed from Bolton le Moors and accepted by one of the Overseers of Greystoke, Johnby, Blencow, Motherby and Gill, about seven years previously. Isaac her husband a soldier could not be found at the time, his whereabouts until lately being unknown. The Magistrates believed that he had returned to the Greystoke area and his place of settlement. They rejected Greystoke’s appeal against her removal as they had been paying her relief and should have been less submissive in accepting her from Bolton le Moors. The onus being on them to prove a settlement in another neighbouring parish.[12] Isaac may have left the army after the Napoleonic Wars about this time and have returned to what he considered home looking for work.

On 9 June 1821 a short letter to Thomas Burn the Overseer for Greystoke from Isaac and Mary stated they had arrived in Wigton. It briefly describes Isaac and Mary’s journey. He writes she desires you send her bed and what there is‘. [13 ]

Letter from Isaac and Mary Mark to Thomas Burn 7 June 1821 PR5/67-C17

The last letter, dated 17 June 1821, is from John Stalker, the Overseer of Castle Sowerby to Thomas Burn warning him that if they try to send Isaac and Mary to them they will lodge an appeal at the Quarter Assizes. Stalker wrote: ‘take care you do not incur a penalty by suffering a woman deranged as she is to be at large’. Greystoke to be trying to remove both of them [14].

Together by choice or necessity it is not known if they every gained a settlement anywhere.

Thomas Burn from John Stalker 17 June 1821 PR5/67-C2

Sources
[1] Cumberland Pacquet and Ware’s Whitehaven Advertiser,6 August 1788, p.1
[2] Cumbria Archives. PR5/67-C item 3, Greystoke Overseers’ Voucher, 2 June 1821
[3] Quaker Birth Marriage and Death Registers, 1578-1831 [accessed at ancestry.co.uk 21 February 1821]
[4] Rev. Edward Thomas Bewley. The Bewleys of Cumberland and their Irish and other descendants (1904).
[5] Gretna Green Marriage Registers [accessed at ancestry.co.uk]; Liverpool Parish Clerk Project Online. www.lan.upc.org.uk
[6] The National Archives, Kew, WO 25/481, 81 Foot British Regimental Registers of Service 1801-1816pp. 89-90 (https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/)
[7] Lancashire Archives, Salford Quarter Sessions, QSP/2575/31, Salford Epiphany 1809 or event date 3 October 1808
[8 ] Lancashire Archives Salford Quarter Sessions QSP/2575/31, Salford Epiphany, 1809 or event date 3 October 1808; Cumbria Archives, PR 5/57, Removal orders, 1737-1833
[9] Cumbria Archives, PR 5/45, Overseers’ Account Book, 1810-14
[10] Cumbria Archives, SPC 67/38, Castle Sowerby Removals, 1778 -1835; Cumberland Quarter Sessions, Q4/2, Christmas Sessions, 1809, p. 105.
[11] Frederick Morton Eden, The State of the Poor (1797) Volume II page 60
[12]Cumbria Archives, PR 5/57, Removal Orders, 1737-1833
[13]Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-C, item 17, 9 June 1821
[14]Cumbria Archives, PR5/67-C, item 2, 17 June 1821

This is a work in progress subject to change with further research