Sunday, 5 May 2013

Jane Atkinson of Kirkleatham, wife of Captain Thomas Galilee (1744-97)

Jane Atkinson married Thomas Galilee in June 1775.

The Newcastle Courant of Saturday 17 June 1775 records: 
“Last week at St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe, London, Capt Thomas Galilee of Whitby, to Miss Atkinson of Kirkleatham”
Jane was the daughter of Thomas Atkinson of Scaling Dam (a hamlet on the Whitby to Guisborough road) and the sister of surgeon Thomas Atkinson, who made a whaling voyage to the Davis Straits in 1764 at the age of 21.

Whitby Whalers in Davis Straits (R Weatherill's book)

Her brother William was a Cambridge academic who invented his own system of shorthand, which he believed was "infinitely superior" to anything yet published.  He tried to persuade his colleagues at Christ's College of its virtues by leaving them his manuscript treatise on the subject and sweetening the bequest with his own "splendid" copy of Chambers' Dictionary.  (This will have been Ephraim Chambers' Cyclopaedia; or An Universal Dictionary of Arts & Sciences.)



The Turner papers in Teesside Archives record that “Thomas Atkinson of Skaling Dam was born 13 April 1722 (old style)”.  Scaling was then in Easington parish; Thomas was baptised there on 10 May 1722.

He was admitted as “Master of the Blue Coat Boys belonging to the Turner Hospital” at Kirkleatham on 9 May 1751 and he gave up his place at Kirkleatham "and removed to Marsk Hall in Cleveland Midsummer 1775."

He was interested in mathematics, judging by his answer to a problem published in Miscellaneous Correspondence, in Prose and Verse.

Thomas Atkinson had eight children:
  • Thomas Atkinson, b1753.  Surgeon.  He was 21 when he made the voyage to Davis Straits.  For his later career, see here
  • William Atkinson (1755-1830).  Academic and clergyman
He was admitted to Catharine Hall, Cambridge as a sizar on 10 Oct 1776.
He matriculated Michaelmas 1778.  He was made deacon in 1778 and priested in 1781.
He took his BA in 1781, his MA in 1784, his BD 1792.  He was a fellow of Catharine Hall from 1781 to 1808.  He was a curate at Sawston in 1807.  
He left Catharine Hall because of a college feud in which he was involved and became a Fellow of Christ's.  Christ's College has no record of him holding a benefice and it appears that he was not resident in College, although he never missed a meeting until five years before his death. 
He died at Stapleford, near Cambridge on 28 May 1830 at the age of 75. 
He had made his Will in July 1828; its provisions indicate that he had lived at Stapleford in some comfort, had owned property there and made an income from farming.   
He left a legacy to his longtime servant Thomas Freeman (for his "honesty sobriety and faithful discharge of his duty")and he divided his estate divided between Daniel's and Jane's children: Jane Galilee's six daughters and Daniel's children Thomas Atkinson, William Atkinson and Mary Thompson. 
His executors were his niece Harriet Galilee and William Williamson of South Town near Yarmouth, Norfolk , who was presumably the husband of his niece Elizabeth Galilee. 
He left a series of bequests – they are rather revealing of his character and his life.
It seems a pity that we will never know why Miss Isabella Cox was chosen to receive his copy of Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, addressed to a Young Lady, nor why Miss Hassett was left the recently published Moral Inquiries on the Situation of Man and of Brutes by the animal rights campaigner Lewis Gompertz.
To the Master and Fellows of Christ College I give my splendid edition of Chambers' Dictionary for the use of the College Library as a mark of my respect and esteem for the Members of that liberal and flourishing Society by which I have had the Honour and Happiness to be adopted   
I will also beg of the Master and Fellows of Christ College to permit a small Original Manuscript Essay of mine on Short Hand to be placed in the College Library by the side of the two Treatises which it already contains on that subject 
This request is not made from any vain opinion on the Merits of the Essay itself but for the sake of a most ingenious System of Short hand (infinitely superior to any that has yet been published) which was the main object of that essay to describe and explain and of which (as no other account of it whatever exists) the very Memorial without this Security for the preservation of it will probably soon be lost
To my Nephew Thomas Atkinson I give my Gold Watch with the Gold Chain Seals and Key attached to it
And to my Nephew William Atkinson I give my Metal Watch and Chain and also a large Seal of Arms engraved on a Scotch pebble rimmed with Gold
To the Revd John Cox I give Mr White Sermons preached before the University of Oxford
To Master Thomas Kent I give my Glasgow edition of Virgil
To Miss Isabella Cox I give Mrs Chapone's Letters
To Miss Hassett I give Gompertz Moral Enquiries
To my old and highly valued friend Dr Brown Vicar of Gorleston I desire a Mourning Ring may be given and also that he will accept of my Miniature Picture of our late excellent friend Mr Hunter of Christ College
I will also that Mourning Rings be given to the Reverend Thomas Cawtley [Thomas Cautley of Jesus College, Perpetual Curate of St Clement's, Cambridge] to the Reverend Townley Clarkson [1841 census finds him at Beyton in Suffolk] also to my Niece Harriet Galilee and to Mr William Williamson”
  •  Isaac Atkinson, b 1757.  Wholesale linen draper in Cheapside.   He was named in his brother-in-law Thomas Galilee's Will of 1793.  By the time of the 1808 London Post Office Annual Directory, his former partners Sage and Rawdon are listed as "Sage, Rawdon & Jennings Merchants and Linen factors at 20 Cheapside" – it therefore appears that between 1793 and 1808 Isaac Atkinson had died.
  • Daniel Atkinson, b 1759.  He had died by 1828.  His three children Thomas, William and Mary were named in his brother William Atkinson's Will.  The specific bequests to his sons by William may suggest that William knew them personally – perhaps they lived within reach of Cambridge, or possibly in London.  His children were:
    • Thomas Atkinson
    • William Atkinson
    • Mary Atkinson.  Mary married a Mr Thompson
  •  John Atkinson, b 1761
  •  Robert Atkinson (1763-5)
  • Elizabeth Atkinson, b 1764, died the same year
  • Jane Atkinson (died 1817).  Her date of birth is not known.  Her baptism does not appear in the Kirkleatham registers and it is possible that she was born before her father took up his post at the Hospital in May 1751; she clearly was not the youngest of the children, as she married Thomas Galilee in 1775.  Presumably she was visiting family or friends in Rotherhithe at the time of her marriage.  For their six daughters, see the preceding post.


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