Edward Cheshire, died 1827

The death of ‘Mr Edward Cheshire’ of Oldbury at the age of 75, was announced in the Birmingham Gazette of 10 Jul 1827. He was the father of John Cheshire and the ancestor who bought and first owned the Cheshire Bible.

Bookplate of Edward Cheshire dated 10 Jun 1796, Cheshire Bible 1789 (fragment)

Bookplate of Edward Cheshire dated 10 Jun 1796, Cheshire Bible 1789 (fragment)

It is an interesting and newly discovered fact that both he and his wife were buried at the Old Meeting House of Dudley Quakers. There is no evidence that Edward himself was an active Quaker, although he could well have described himself as a non-conformist and a businessman.

Edward had married Eleanor Linton on 24 Jul 1774 (St Peter’s Wolverhampton) and there are perhaps more Quaker tendencies to be found on her side of the family. She survived him and was buried at the same Meeting House on 29 Jun 1831, aged 81.

Edward left no will that can be traced, but we know from the burial records that he died at the age of 75. This, corroborated by the press announcement, gives a birth year of 1752. However, to trace Edward’s ancestors further back is problematic.

There is a coincidentally good looking baptism in Walsall on 22 Aug 1752, son to Edward Cheshire and his wife Sarah. Back a further generation would take us to another Edward Cheshire of Walsall who left a will in 1742. Significantly this Edward was an Inn holder, but apparently had no sons.

From about 1793 we know our Edward Cheshire was owner of the Bull’s Head public house in Oldbury. His name appears as proprietor on a number of documents. The pub, for instance, was used for many insolvency auctions.

The location of this pub in Oldbury, however, could make it more likely that Edward’s immediate forebears came from Oldbury. A number of Cheshire wills there give a number of potential grandparents to Edward in Oldbury itself. Because of the supposed non-conformism there is little we can say with any degree of¬† certainty.

What is clear, is that Edward Cheshire was born in 1752. He received a good education – good enough to write in Latin in his prize family possession – the Cheshire Bible, that is now in our possession.

The two groups of Cheshires from Walsall and Oldbury could well be closely related. The wills listed below have a myriad of similar names – John, William, Richard and Joseph. The Edwards tend to all be in Walsall.

The Bible lists Edward’s eleven children with their birth date and these are all matched by baptisms – some in Bilston, some in Birmingham and some in Oldbury. All the later children from 1783 onwards are baptised in Oldbury Presbyterian Church.

The list is as follows matching the Bible to Parish register records.

Birth Date
from Bible
from Registers
Mariah23 Mar 17754 Apr 1775St Leonard’s Bilston
John2 Mar 177612 May 1776St Leonard’s Bilston
Samuel25 Jan 177823 Mar 1778St Leonard’s Bilston
Edward1 Dec 17783 Jan 1780St Philip’s Birmingham
Eleanor31 Jan 17821 Apr 1782St Philip’s Birmingham
William31 Jan 178313 Mar 1785Oldbury Presbyterian
Hannah4 Oct 178619 Oct 1786Oldbury Presbyterian
Edward23 Apr 178828 Apr 1788Oldbury Presbyterian
Thomas20 Nov 17899 Jan 1790Oldbury Presbyterian
Sarah16 Nov 179115 Jan 1792Oldbury Presbyterian
Elizabeth2 May 179613 May 1796Oldbury Presbyterian

Apart from the fortunes of the oldest son John Cheshire, it is very difficult to ascertain what happened to each of Edward’s other children. There is insufficient information to tie any marriages down for certain. We know both Mariah and the first Edward are buried as infants. It is possible that a high proportion of the rest also failed to achieve adulthood.

The places of baptism are perhaps the best indicator of Edward’s otherwise undocumented career. Bilston was where his wife Eleanor came from and she herself had been baptised in St Leonard’s Bilston on 2 Feb 1750. The two baptisms in Birmingham suggest a period of transition before Edward takes up the reins of the Bull’s Head in Oldbury in about 1793. Thereafter he settles in to become a member of the Oldbury Presbyterian church.

The Quakers record that Edward died on 5 Jul 1827.

Sources and Notes

  • Old Non Parochial Registers of Dudley, ed Arthur A Rollason, 1899
  • Aris’s Birmingham Gazette, Findmypast
  • Walsall wills (Held at Lichfield)
    • Edward Cheshire, Inn Holder, Probate 19 Nov 1742, mentions brother John.
    • Thomas Cheshire, Probate 27 Jul 1759, brother who mentions nephews including an Edward
    • Mary Cheshire, Probate 21 Nov 1755, Widow of Edward, mentions brother in law Thomas
  • Oldbury wills (Held at Worcester)
    • John Cheshire, Probate 10 Sep 1680
    • Richard Cheshire, Probate 12 Feb 1723 perhaps the son to John
    • Joseph Cheshire, Probate 23 Sep 1719 probable grandchild to John
    • William Cheshire, Probate 5 Jun 1728, brother to Joseph
    • John Cheshire, Probate¬† 5 Jun 1728, another brother to William and Joseph
  • Coincidentally Oldbury Presbyterian Church is where George Downing was baptised in 1789. The descendants of Edward Cheshire and George Downing were eventually to intermarry when William Edmund Downing married Hannah Pitt Showell much later in 1879.