Wednesday, 20 August 2014

John Stubbs' diaries (1853-60): people A to B

These are my original working notes, made quite a few years ago in the days before broadband and easy access to census records etc.  I have done a certain amount of extra work in getting them ready to post here, so some of the entries are now up-to-date. 

They include quotations from George Whitehead's Journals, ed. Helier Hibbs, which have been an invaluable resource for which I am very grateful. 

As with the A-Z of Hutton Rudby people, my accuracy is NOT guaranteed!  And I'm afraid they are not quite in alphabetical order.

John APPLETON of/in    Dishforth?
Diary references:
?? Jan 1853 a/c:  “for Appleton    6d”

9 Feb 1856:  “At Night went with Mr Capes to Dishforth to hear a little more about Cousin Marks Horse Cause    Mr Charles Mason & John Appleton were there”

26 Jul 1857:  “Mr & Miss Barroby went to Wm Richardsons childs christening   I came home at night with John Appleton in the pony carriage  They came to meet the Bulls from Salisbury which came tonight”

The Misses D & Sarah APPLETON of Dishforth
Diary references:
17 Jan 1857:  “At Dishforth   Ryotts children were all there & a Miss Rhodes from Thirsk & the Misses Appleton of Dishforth   we had a dance”

30 Dec 1858:  “At Night Went to Capes   Miss D  Miss Sarah Appleton of Dishforth  Miss Clarke of Minskip  Miss Calder  Jane Sedgwick & Mary  Alice & Lizzy Joe & I were there   got home about ten”

3 Jan 1859:  “ Stotts phaeton to Clarks of Minskip to tea   Miss Calder  The Misses Appleton & Miss McCleod were there...”
24 Feb 1859:  “we had Miss Appleton & Sarah Appleton & Sophy to tea”
25 Feb 1859:  “tea at Uncles  The Appletons & Mrs Powell were there”
They are at tea or supper with the Stubbs or Hirsts five times in April, three times in August, and have tea at Bridge Foot once in December

Whites 1840: Dishforth:  Thos Appleton, yeoman

Tithe Map c1840
Thomas Appleton has in hand no316, house, and land, and tenants on most of his farmland; his house is on the west side of the main street of Dishforth, south of Mr Barroby’s
William Appleton has tenants on his 59 acres

Diary references:
25 Jan 1856:  “At Noon went with a note for Mrs Appleton of Langthorp from Uncle Hirst”

Mr ATKINSON decd   

Diary references:
30 Aug 1859:  “Went to the Fulford Road Cemetery [York] for a cert.e of Mr Atkinsons burial”

Monday, 18 August 2014

A large family in 19th century Harrogate

I like this story of Jane Stubbs' family because it's a reminder – at a time when everything to do with bringing up children seems so particularly fraught with anxiety – that the idea we make for ourselves of childcare of the past may not be quite accurate … …

Jane Stubbs was born at the Bridge Foot at seven o'clock on the morning of 5 July 1826, and was twelve years older than John.  She makes only rare appearances in his early diaries – a teenage boy would hardly notice the activities of a sister who was a young unmarried woman of twenty-seven.

By early 1856, Jane is more frequently noticed in his diary entries and always in connection with a young solicitor in their uncle Hirst's office, Henry Hawkesley Capes.  He was a year younger than Jane, and came from Whitgift in Yorkshire, the son of solicitor Thomas Hawkesley Capes and his wife Ann.  He and Jane were now to be found walking together and playing chess.

At some point the marriage must have been announced, but John does not record it.  We might guess that Jane must have been making preparations for her wedding when she went to stay in York in May and came back with a black undress Coat for her younger brother.   With quantities of clothes and underwear to make or buy and the new home to get ready, it is not surprising to find her going to York again in early August, this time with her mother.

York was also the natural place to find a wedding present, and John entrusts this task to his eldest brother Joe who, with the help of his fiancée Sarah Sedgwick of York, buys something suitable:
 “gave Jane a butter dish and silver knife with pearl handle for a wedding present   it cost 11/6”. 
On Wednesday 10 September 1856 Jane and Capes were married.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

A spinster lady in 19th century Boroughbridge

A glimpse of the life of Alice Stubbs:

Alice Stubbs lived all her life in Boroughbridge.  She was born at 6 o'clock in the morning on 2 August 1844 at Bridge Foot, where her father, a grocer and wine merchant, was the third generation to run the family business.

Alice was the youngest of the six children.  When she was thirteen years old, she went to school at Miss Adcock's in Ilkley with her elder sister Lizzy and her cousin Mary Redmayne of Stainforth.  The following year, in August 1859, she and Mary went to school in Blackheath near London, while Lizzy, aged seventeen, had left education and was making lengthy stays with family and friends.

When Alice's father Thomas died in 1867 Alice was the only child left at home.  Her eldest sister Jane and her growing family had moved to Knaresborough, while Lizzy lived in Doncaster with her husband and new baby.  John was establishing himself as a solicitor in Middlesbrough, and the family must barely have recovered from the loss of Tom, who had died suddenly in London the previous year when aged only thirty-two.  Alice and her mother moved out of the Bridge Foot, leaving it to her eldest brother Joe and his wife, and set up home in St James's Square.  She was twenty-three years old and it was to be her home for the rest of her days

We do not know whether Alice chose spinsterhood.  There is no hint in the family papers that she suffered any disappointment in love – unlike her cousin Fanny Stubbs, the Bishop of Oxford's sister.  Fanny had told John of "her smash with George Robinson" as they walked together to the Castleberg in Settle in August 1856; when she died at the age of forty-one she was still unmarried.  Alice, like Fanny, was the mainstay and companion of her widowed mother Mary.

We can glimpse her daily life through family letters. 

She had local duties and obligations to fulfil.  This included visiting the poor ("districting" as her mother called it), teaching in the Sunday School and helping at the National School.  There were calls to be paid and shopping – or, as her mother still said, "marketing" – to be done.  Alice played tennis, went for walks, and of course attended church.  There were frequent visitors to stay and people called on them and were entertained at meals.  Alice and her mother very much enjoyed "romping" with the little children who were brought to the house. 

Alice herself went to stay with friends and family, for amusement and to be useful.  She went to Redcar, visited Cambridge for the May Bumps “and had great gaiety” when a young relative Charlie Stubbs was rowing in the races, to Hychin Hall near Bury St Edmonds with her cousin Mary Redmayne, to Scarborough with Aunt Henlock.  Aunt Henlock was clearly very fond of Alice –
"We had such a pleasant day at Ouseburn yesterday  Aunt sent for us in the morng   paid the bar [tollbar] and sent us home in the eveng, then I felt overpowered with her presents to me it was so exceedingly kind in fact she did not know how to make sufficient of us"
wrote Alice to John in Feb 1869.

Aunt Henlock's generosity, though it made Alice a little embarrassed, was very welcome.  Finances were a constraint, as although their lives were comfortable their incomes were fixed.  Alice was unable to get to Redcar to see her new nephew soon after the birth because of
"lowness in the purses, the sealskin has never been quite recovered   Alice felt she had not sufficient dress to come with and nothing quarter day"
wrote Mary in March 1872.
"Transferring money does not suit those who have only a limited income   payment deferred for a few months is very inconvenient"
she wrote in April 1872. 

Keeping the balance between the necessity for careful housekeeping and the level of hospitality that she had been accustomed to offer guests – and perhaps felt was expected of her – must have required care.

Alice took her share of the work in the house – and it is clear that they enjoyed their garden:
"Alice is taking in her geraniums"
wrote Mary, and
"... tell dear Ellis our Hyacinths and Narcissus’s are all nicely in flower and though not remarkably fine are very pretty, are yours flowering?"
Mary had run a large household, entertaining customers and family for days in succession during the Fair, and was clearly an excellent manager.  The housekeeping skills possessed by Mary and Alice were valued by the rest of the family:
"I have got a ham if you like to have it weighing 21 pounds for twenty one shillings, would you like another one or not if so we will look out and they could both come together"
Mary wrote in September 1875. 
"I have only been able yet to get you the small ham but if Ellis still wishes for a large I have no doubt we can get one and then shall be sent off by luggage train when we hear from you."
Alice made marmalade for the family, and thereby earned a little more income:
"she has put it into bottles to travel best and altogether has cost 6/-"
wrote her mother to John.

For all housekeepers in Boroughbridge, the seasonal house-cleaning was a major undertaking.  Social life came to a temporary halt while the house was turned out, scrubbed, dusted and whitewashed.  Gas had come to the town in about 1860, but even if the house in St James's Square had replaced oil lamps and candles with gas lighting, the light afforded was dim by comparison with the electricity of the 20th century.  When spring brought brighter sunshine into the darker corners and shadier passages, the grime of a winter of coal fires and smoky wicks would have been all too visible.
"We very much wished to be cleaning"
wrote Mary in March 1872 when it became clear visitors would prevent them, and they were forced to put it off until the beginning of May.  It must have been a trying time, and that year they were unfortunate in the weather.  They were assisted as usual by Bessy (who had been the children's nurse) while her husband Henry Carass the butcher was their whitewasher.  By dint of their combined efforts they were nearly finished by 18 May, but the unseasonable coldness – "it is like Christmas" – made it rather unpleasant.  And it was all to be done again in late autumn, ready for winter.
 "We have had a busy day cleaning the dining room putting down the old carpet etc"
wrote Mary at the end of October, and again on 7 November,
"I do not think we have anything more to tell you everybody is cleaning for Martinmas." 
The stone passages were not easy to keep clean and warm: 
"I am rather anxious to have a new oilcloth for one passage … I cannot have it to cover entirely as no one here could properly fit it so it must only be a certain width … the flags are very rough ones that they may be better not covered altogether, and we always roll it up when we go from home"
wrote Mary in April 1873. 

Another comment by Mary in May 1873 shows how consuming an occupation cleaning was for the whole community:
"Everybody is cleaning so we are very quiet.  Alice will be doing all her drawers &c I cannot persuade her to take them quietly I tell her she will be worn out before her time"
Unsurprisingly, Mary grew increasingly reluctant to take on the burden without Alice.  In 1874, when she and John were attempting to fix a date for Alice to visit him at Coatham, Mary wrote
"We must have house cleaning and I do not feel equal to undertaking it alone."
 The house was turned upside down in the process.  When in May 1874 her daughter Jane Capes wrote in the middle of cleaning
"to say she and Henry would come for the night, today was the Audit [probably of the Workhouse Union, which Henry would have to attend] we had not a carpet down up stairs but we took them they slept in the nursery bed (rather small you will say) but they seemed content."
In spring 1875 Mary was 72 years old – that year she found
"the extra work of dusting &c has made my sight rather more dim for we have had a very busy week and thankful it is over."
John and his wife Ellis made Alice the fine present of a sewing machine.  Isaac Singer improved on earlier machines and patented his own design in 1851, achieving such success that by 1860 Singers were the market leaders.  When Ellis prepared her own trousseau in March 1871 she had the use of a sewing machine, remarking to John in a letter from her mother's house in Helensburgh
"10 bodies.  No easy task"
as she sewed her underwear.  She must have realised how very useful Alice would find one.

The machine was set up on the table that Mary used for writing letters.  On 22 February 1872, she wrote to John
"Alice is machining beside me and makes me very shaky but she says to tell them every time I use it I feel more inwardly grateful to them both for it and her best love to Ellis and thanks for her letter."
and the following month
"Alice is machining by me petticoat bottoms &c   she does prize her valuable gift it has done a great deal this week bed curtains &c &c"
It enabled Alice to earn a little money by carrying out commissions for the family.  She did some sewing for Ellis and the children: 
"tell Ellis the frock was sent off to her on Monday"
wrote Mary in February 1874. 

The sisters-in-law both evidently enjoyed discussing clothes and Ellis must have been a useful source of information for Alice.   Boroughbridge had become a much quieter town since the railways came, while Coatham and Redcar were popular seaside resorts, giving Ellis the opportunity to see the lady visitors in their best holiday attire.  The sewing machine must have been particularly valuable in the 1870s, when dresses were decorated with a uantity of elaborate trimmings:
"Am I to have Pekay [piqué] dress or what else can you recommend for I have 6 yards of embroidery to trim it with?"
wrote Alice to Ellis in April 1872.
"Alice begs I will tell Ellis she wore her blue dress"
Mary wrote in July 1873.

Ellis went to visit John’s family for the first time on 28 December 1870. She had met John in late November when they were fellow guests of Thomas Vaughan, the ironmaster.  Tom was a friend of John's, and his wife Kate Macfarlane was Ellis's cousin.  Ten days after their first meeting, John and Ellis were engaged to be married.  Ellis's first visit to Boroughbridge was naturally a matter of great importance, and as he was unable to accompany her, he depended on the post for news.

Her letters give us a glimpse of life in St James's Square.  She wrote to him of sitting in her room beside such a cosy fire, watching old Bessie in the kitchen preparing a turkey, coming in
"from such a nice dinner – and as Alice insisted in me taking some port you must excuse bad writing!?!"
coming home from church and
"taking a nice warm cup of coffee to lunch."
 A few months later, when he was staying at Boroughbridge, she wrote,
"I imagine when you receive this you will be just dressing in the nice comfortable room I slept in perhaps just out of your bath as I was when I received yours." 
Alice died on 23 July 1921.  A loving soul, she was much loved herself.  In a letter to his mother on 15 February 1885 John wrote,
"Don’t please trouble about Alice.  So long as I am able, she shall never want a home, but she will have enough to make her independent of any of us"
 In 1909 Alice wrote to Ellis,
"words will never express what you have been to me throughout the whole of your married life and it was one of dear Granny’s great causes of thankfulness that John had chosen such a wife.  Also that I had gained such a true and loving sister."

Friday, 15 August 2014

Queen Victoria is proclaimed in Boroughbridge, 1837

This seems to be the draft of an account of the proclamation of the young Queen Victoria, written for the Intelligencer:

On Friday the 30th Ult at 2 o’clock P.M. the Queen was proclaimed in the Town with every demonstration of loyalty.  Wm Hirst Esq [‘Esq’ is deleted in pencil, and ‘Mr’ written above ‘Wm’] (in the stead of the Borough Bailiff who was indisposed) accompanied by the Sheriff’s Officer, read the Proclamation in the Square in the presence of a large concourse of people.  The children of the National & Infant Schools formed a large circle & were regaled with negus and Biscuits, and the populace had several Barrels of ale distributed amongst them.  The Proclamation was received with hearty British English cheers, after which the procession being formed & headed by two Bands of music moved to other parts of Town where the Proclamation was read with similar expressions of loyalty - after which a large party of Gent. adjourned to the Crown Inn, where the health of the young Queen with many [other?] patriotic toasts was drunk with due honors and the remainder of the afternoon spent in the greatest good humour.  The Procession was accompanied by a great number of ladies who contributed in no small degree to enliven the scene.”
The solicitor William Hirst was married to John Richard Stubbs' aunt Elizabeth Stubbs (1798-1858).

He was of a local family – one uncle was Thomas Dew, borough bailiff and a partner in the Boroughbridge Bank with Thomas Stubbs and others; another uncle was Henry Hirst, a Northallerton solicitor. 

Hirst’s career bridges the old and the new.  He was the agent for the Duke of Newcastle, who owned the rotten boroughs of Boroughbridge and Aldborough in the last days before Parliamentary Reform.  And he was Boroughbridge's first Postmaster.  He must have had a finger in every pie in Boroughbridge during his years in practice!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Boroughbridge Boyhood: Epilogue

What happened to John's family in later years?

Aunt Ann Pick died in 1860 at the age of fifty and her husband William in 1872.  Aunt Bell, the active spinster aunt, died in 1880 at the home of her niece Jane Capes.

Uncle William Henlock died in 1866.  In his Will he left the sum of £200, the interest of which was to
William Henlock of Great Ouseburn
be distributed to the poor of the parish by the Vicar and Churchwardens.  His wife Ellen died in 1885.  They are both commemorated in a memorial on the wall of the church of St Mary the Virgin at Great Ouseburn, where there is also a plaque recording Mr Henlock's legacy.

Uncle William Hirst died in 1879 at the age of eighty-one.

He had outlived his daughter Dorothy, who died the year before.  John recorded her funeral on 28 November 1878:   
went to poor Dora Hirst’s funeral at 3 o clock.  She was buried at BB Church.  Tremendous funeral.  All the Shops closed.  Grannie [his mother] and Alice went and so did all from Uncles except Uncle who is still very poorly.  It is indeed a sad day at BB. 
She was fifty-one years old and is commemorated by a stained glass window in the church to which she had been devoted through her life.  Her unmarried sister Mary Barker Hirst lived alone in Boroughbridge after the death of Dora and her father.

Their sister Sophy Hirst married William Thompson, a London auctioneer with family in Bridlington.  They lived in Russell Square in some style – they were holidaying in Nice in 1880.  After Sophy's death in 1900 and William's retirement, he and his unmarried daughter Edith Wharton Thompson moved north to Harrogate.

John's cousin Mary Redmayne, wife of his friend James Sedgwick, the Boroughbridge doctor, was a  sociable, kind and active neighbour often mentioned in letters by John's mother.  She died “of apoplexy” on the night of Whit Sunday 1892 “very suddenly at Victoria Station London”.  She was fifty years old.  James and his unmarried son and daughter left Ladywell House and the practice to Dr Daggett and moved to Wimbledon, perhaps to be near his son Hubert Redmayne Sedgwick and his family; Hubert was a surgeon at St Thomas's.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

13. A Boroughbridge Boyhood in the 1850s: "Mulled ale at Starbeck"

John gives few details of Christmas celebrations.  Family letters from the 1870s show that they had a turkey for dinner, hung mistletoe, gave presents and ate plum cake, but in his 1850s diaries John records only one Christmas present:
Thursday December 23rd 1858
To office.   At night rode Joes mare to Uncle Picks.   Aunt gave me two white pocket handkerchiefs & a £1  for a Christmas Box  Got home about ten
It was not often that all the family could be together, so this must have been a precious time for John’s mother.  We have a glimpse of one such occasion in the following terse entries from 1856, which record John’s cold journey to Starbeck station to meet his brother Tom, the drive back in the dark, taking communion together at Boroughbridge church, the walk with the dogs in thick snow and the evening by the fire …
Wednesday December 24th 1856
Went to Office   Retd to Breakfast  Had a letter from Tom saying I was to meet him at Starbeck at 8.25 tonight.   At Noon had a walk up Topcliffe Road   At Night Drove to Starbeck to meet Tom  Left here at six   Got home about half past ten   Had some mulled Ale at Starbeck   It was very dark

Thursday December 25th 1856
Christmas Day
Went to Office   Did the Mail   Went to BB Church in the morning   Stayed Sacrament  Father Tom & I went to Aldbro in the Afternoon  After we came back had a walk with the Dogs a mile up Topcliffe Road & back  It snowed hard.   Dick Hirst & Aunt Bell had tea with us.   Sat & talked all the evening
St James's Square, Boroughbridge (early C20 postcard)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

12. A Boroughbridge Boyhood in the 1850s: “Helped to arrange about the Wedding Breakfast”

Weddings in John’s circle were not celebrated on the large scale of today.  When John’s brother Joe was married to Sarah Sedgwick in York, John did not go:
Tuesday May 12th 1857
Father & Mother  Capes & Jane set off in Mrs Morrells Cab to Joes Wedding at ½ past seven.   Went to office.   At Noon was about home.   At Night I went to Uncles   Miss Milnthorp  Mrs M Smith & Miss Fretwell were there

Wednesday May 20th 1857
Had breakfast at Uncles.   At Noon went to Langthorpe.   At Night Rode Uncle Hirsts pony to Marton with Grafton on business & from there to Ouseburn   Had supper at Uncle Picks   got home at ¼ to ten   Got a pickle Fork Aunt Ann got in York for me to give to Joe & Sarah
Joe and Sarah were away only a couple of days, before they returned to live in Langthorpe:
Friday May 22nd 1857
Had breakfast at Uncle’s   At Noon went to Langthorp.   At Night Capes & I went up the River   I shot 2 rats  Joe & Sarah came home   Uncle came home from London
Sarah was a cousin of the Sedgwicks of Aldborough.  Her father Leonard Sedgwick, brother of Dr Roger, was a wholesale tea dealer in York.