Mary Owen

Mary Evans was born Mary Owen, probably in about 1743 and must have come from a wealthy family, receiving a good education. She was a key figure in establishing the Evans family in the coaching business in Wolverhampton. Because a Daniel Banton was guardian to her children and executor of her husband’s will, it has long been speculated that her maiden name was Banton.

She married John Evans on 28 Jun 1767 in St Peter’s Wolverhampton. The original Marriage Act form shows both John Evans and Mary Owen were literate and signed their names. The availability of this document means that we can compare the signatures of John Evans on his will with that on his marriage certificate. They are very similar, giving us good grounds to believe this is the right marriage. To prove how tricky this is there is another marriage between John Evans and Mary Owen in 1769 but here the extant form shows that both the couple are illiterate. The date of June 1767 is perfect for the birth of their first son Richard Evans baptised in Apr 1768.

John Evans died in his early forties in 1784 leaving Mary Evans with six young children. His will indicates that she was well provided for but does not mention the Old Bell Inn, Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton. Possibly this is because it was already in Mary’s name. The evidence, we do have, shows that as a widow Mary Evans proceeded firmly to take over the family business for the eventual career of her eldest son Richard. Daniel Banton was the co-executor of John’s will and must have been a key advisor and mentor.

There are a few problems in establishing the precise relationship between the Evans family and Daniel Banton. Daniel is a successful farmer and landowner in Shipley and a number of documents survive in local archives from him. At the marriage of Mary’s daughter Mary Evans to John Lea Hayley, Daniel Banton is named as the young Mary’s guardian and in Mary’s own will Daniel Banton is the first mentionned individual

The Evans family Tree drawn up between 1900 and 1930 also has a confused picture of the ancestors at this time. This tree correctly lists Mary’s four sons (Richard, Charles, Thomas and John) but confuses Elizabeth Styles, who was in fact one of her two daughters.

To disentangle this, the Wolverhampton Chronicle is a key piece of evidence backed up by parish register information from St Peter’s Collegiate Church in Wolverhampton. In 1790 the Chronicle relates how Mary Evans, widow, acquires the Red Lion Inn in Wolverhampton and her intention to continue running the Old Bell as well. This Red Lion was already a major coaching inn in Wolverhampton, but in the next twenty years under her son Richard it reached its heyday as a renowned staging post for the London to Shrewsbury coach run. The Red Lion was a major civic centre of Wolverhampton and was demolished in the 1860’s to build the new Town Hall.

Mary’s will, made during a long illness before her death at the age of 49 in 1792 only goes to emphasize the importance of Daniel Banton in her life. When she died all her children except Richard were still minors. Daniel Banton, the substantial landowner in his own right is named as the sole executor.

A few years after her death two of her children had married into the Styles family, another inn owning family in Staffordshire and Worcestershire. Her second son Charles married into the wealthy Bradney Marsh family, heiress of the Lloyd house, Penn. Her third son, Thomas, went on to be a soldier and fight in the Anglo-American war of 1812, before becoming a General and holding many high posts in Gibraltar, Malta and Canada.

One of Thomas’s sons was baptized Thomas Owen Evans. This helps to confirm Mary’s maiden name.

Family of John EVANS and Mary OWEN

Husband:John EVANS (b.c. 1745, bur.1784)
Wife:Mary OWEN (c. 1738-1792)
Children:Richard EVANS (1768-1841)
Elizabeth EVANS (bap.1769, bur.1808)
Mary EVANS (bap.1770, bur.1830)
Charles EVANS (bap.1773, d.1820)
Thomas EVANS (1776-1863)
John EVANS (bap.1781)
Marriage28 Jun 1767St Peters Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton

Husband: John EVANS

Name:John EVANS
Birthc. 1745Shifnal?
Will24 May 1784 (age 38-39)October 1784
Burial30 Jul 1784St Michael and All Angels, Tettenhall

Wife: Mary OWEN

Name:Mary OWEN
Birthc. 1738
Baptism9 Nov 1743 (age 4-5)Wombourne
OccupationApr 1790 (age 51-52)Innkeeper; North Street, Wolverhampton
Source: Wolverhampton Chronicle
Will4 Mar 1792 (age 53-54)Wolverhampton
The will confirms her late husband as John Evans – and that Daniel Banton is her sole executor.
Burial29 Mar 1792St Michael and All Angels, Tettenhall
Death4 Apr 1792 (age 53-54)The Red Lion, Wolverhampton

Child 1: Richard EVANS

Name:Richard EVANS
Spouse:Sarah STYLES (bap.1775, d.1812)
Birth1768Old Bell, Wolverhampton
Baptism9 Apr 1768 (age 0)St Peters Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton
Occupationbtw 1792 and 1840 (age 23-72)Proprietor Coaching and Horse Business; Red Lion Inn Wolverhampton
Occupation1818 (age 49-50)Inn Keeper
R Evans listed as landlord of ‘Lion Inn’ North Street, Wolverhampton
Death7 Mar 1841 (age 72-73)Pendeford Hall, Staffordshire
Burial13 Mar 1841St Michael and All Angels, Tettenhall

Child 2: Elizabeth EVANS

Name:Elizabeth EVANS
Spouse:William STYLES (bap.1771, bur.1809)
Baptism9 Jun 1769St Peters Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton
Witness6 Mar 1791St Peters Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton at her sister Mary’s wedding
Burial10 Dec 1808St Michael and All Angels, Tettenhall

Child 3: Mary EVANS

Name:Mary EVANS
Spouse:John Lea HAYLEY (bap.1768, bur.1831)
Described as a minor on the marriage certificate
Baptism6 Dec 1770St Peters Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton
Burial16 Dec 1830Leighton, Shropshire

Child 4: Charles EVANS

Name:Charles EVANS
Spouse:Ann Sophia (Sophie) MARSH (b.1775, bur.1809)
Baptism27 Nov 1773St Peters Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton
DeathAug 1820Compton, Tettenhall
Burial17 Aug 1820St Bartholomew, Penn
Portrait1820that we have a Dighton picture of him (perhaps)

Child 5: Thomas EVANS

Name:Thomas EVANS1
Spouse:Harriet Lawrence OGDEN (c. 1788-1858)
Birth9 Mar 1776Wolverhampton
Date of birth given in Canadian Dictionary of Biography (but false fathers name)
Baptism20 Apr 1776 (age 0)St Peters Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton
Occupation12 Mar 1810 (age 34)ADC to Major General Gordon Drummond; statement on Marriage enrtry
Death11 Feb 1863 (age 86)Quebec, Canada

Child 6: John EVANS

Name:John EVANS
Baptism5 Feb 1781St Peters Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton
Occupation1790ships carpenter on voyage with Captain Cook allegedly