Thomas Norris (1787-1848)

Thomas was baptised in Uttoxeter in 1787 (7 March or 30 May), the son of Thomas and Ann Norris [1]. His father was a farmer. He married Charlotte Kiernan Collins at Stone by licence on 26 May 1821 [2]. In 1836 he advertised his intention in local newspapers to stand as candidate for Relieving Officer to the Uttoxeter Poor Law Union [3]. He had had considerable experience of the old pre-1834 Poor Law system as his signature appears on many of the receipts among the Overseers Accounts for Uttoxeter parish in the late 1820s and early 1830s [4]. He was successful in his candidature as the 1841 census shows his occupation as Relieving Officer [5]. His wife Charlotte listed her occupation as dressmaker, which proved important as she would need to support herself and her children after Thomas died in October 1848 [6].

Thomas and Charlotte had 6 children: daughter Charlotte became a dressmaker, too, Ann and Mary became milliners and Elizabeth became a governess at Blore Hall and at Croxden Abbey [7]. Son Henry eventually became a station master. Their other son, Thomas Henry, died aged 17 months in 1830 [8]. Henry became head of the family, gathering his womenfolk in his home at Dove Bank, including his aunt Harriet, Thomas’s sister, who had been a witness at Thomas and Charlotte’s wedding in Stone [7]. Thomas’s widow Charlotte died in Uttoxeter in September 1872 at the age of 82 [9].

 

[1] SRO, D3891/1/7 Utttoxeter St Mary Register of baptisms

[2] SRO, D5969/1/16 Stone St Michael, Register of marriages

[3] Staffordshire Advertiser, 19 Nov 1836

[4] SRO, D3891/6/31-40 Uttoxeter Overseers of the Poor vouchers

[5] TNA, HO 107/1007 1841 census for Uttoxeter

[6] SRO, D3891/1/34  Uttoxeter St Mary Register of burials

[7] TNA, HO 107/374 1851 census for Uttoxeter; TNA, RG 9/1955 1861census for Uttoxeter; TNA, RG 9/1954 1861 census for Croxden

[8] SRO D3891/1/33 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of burials

[9] SRO D3891/1/35 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of burials

Another Thomas Norris!

The 1841 census listed another Thomas Norris in Uttoxeter besides the one who was a relieving officer [1]. This second Thomas was a printer and bookseller living in the Market Place and was somewhat younger, having been born in 1809 [2]. He was at this stage unmarried and living with his mother Ann and sister Jane. He married Ann Caroline Fowler of Leominster in 1845 [3] and went on to be steward of the Wesleyan Methodist church in Uttoxeter. His sister Jane married a Wesleyan minister (John Peaviour Johnson) in 1844 [4].

However, it is their mother Ann who is the most intriguing figure. She was born Ann Schofield and married Thomas & Jane’s father John Norris at Leek in 1806 [4]. Sometime after Thomas’s birth in 1809 and that of Jane in 1814 the family decamped to Pentwyn in Llanfair Kilgeddin, Monmouthshire [5]. John Norris had been a baker but became a farmer in Wales. By 1834 Ann was a widow and was living in Uttoxeter again. In May of that year she requested to register a printing press and thus the firm of A. Norris & Son of Uttoxeter was born [6]. This must have been quite a departure from her life as the wife of a baker then farmer. What happened in those 20 years between 1814 and 1834 remains to be uncovered.

Ann died in Uttoxeter in December 1848 aged 72 [7]. Her son continued the business in the name of A. Norris & Son until the 1860s when it hit the rocks financially [8].

[1] TNA, HO 107/1007 1841 census for Uttoxeter

[2] SRO, D3891/1/8 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of baptisms

[3] SRO, D3891/1/20 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of marriages; Derby Mercury, 21 Feb 1844, p.3

[4] SRO, D1040/5/10 Leek St Edward Register of marriages

[5] Gwent Archives, D/Pa 71.1-71.8 Records of parish church of Goytrey, Monmouthshire

[6] SRO, Q/SB 1834 T33 Printing press declaration 1834

[7] SRO, D3891/1/34 Uttoxeter St Mary Register of burials

[8] Perry’s Bankrupt Weekly Gazette, 11 Oct 1862, p.7